Monday 4 July 2016

Winter? What winter?

Working from home this week, and took a lunch break (well, it's a fasting day, so not lunch, just a cup of tea) out on the verandah. David fetched the extremely accurate thermometer as we were both feeling a bit warm in jeans and long sleeved tops.

22.6 degrees Celsius in the shade!!

And see that? 33.1 deg Celsius in the sunshine

To prove it's not summer, you can see the magnolia is leafless. But look at that very blue sunny sky!

The fairy rose is still flowering

And the lemon grass is still growing. I decided not to torture UK readers in the height of the northern summer with photos of the flourishing parsley and rhubarb and alstromerias ...or the flowering tree fuschia ... Kind and merciful, eh?
OK, confession time: the sky has now clouded over a bit as we are expecting a southerly to come through. Well, it's allowed, after all it IS meant to be winter!

But wait, it's now 6am Wednesday morning, it's cloudy and 10 degrees C, no wind, no rain - what southerly, I ask! Winter, what winter?

Saturday 2 July 2016

70 this week

 Gary Fredrick Collis, lovely friend, on 7 July. His maxim:
Make people welcome, 
Feed them well. 

Sam Hunt, NZ poet on 4 July. His maxim:
 Tell the story
tell it true - 
charm it crazy

A party for our Gary next week. He is not allowed to cook.

OK, we are decided and booked

We have faffed and pondered, faffed some more, made some bookings and changed them. But now we are decided. Tickets are booked and paid for.

We are having a 5 week holiday this year instead of a 5 month one. My project won't be completed when we head away, but we need to be in the UK to spend the two week October holidays with the grandsons. Not because we are obligated, but because we really love being with them, and they with us.

So we are leaving here on 22 September and leaving the UK on 31 October. And in between we have big plans and little plans.

The big plans (i.e. already booked and paid for) include
  • taking the boys to Disneyland in Paris and up the Eiffel Tower. (Well, that will be David and Tim with the boys - I will be the one with my feet firmly on the ground)
  • hiring (yes, hiring) a boat for a short break from Monday to Friday - from Oxford so we can go out on the Thames, depending on conditions, with the boys. (I will be interested to see how we are treated by owners when we are on a hireboat as opposed to how we are viewed when onboard Waka Huia...)
  • taking them and Tim to The Lion King stage show in London for Tim's birthday.
The little plans include visiting family and visiting friends around the country. As we do so, I will continue to work - not fulltime, but a bit.

In the meantime, we are enjoying a very pleasant winter here in NZ. May was the wettest one since 1877 on the West Coast and when it rains there, it is HEAVY. But unlike in Wellington, it comes straight down so umbrellas do work. In Wellington more umbrellas are seen upside down in rubbish bins than in use.

I've spent the last two weeks in Hokitika and this last week, the weather was beautiful and the mountains looked spectacular.

In a couple of weeks we are getting our windows double glazed - it's a retrofitting exercise, and we are looking forward to it. This is the first winter we have had in this house, as last year we left here in May and got back in October. And we have been interested to find that the house is very warm (it's well insulated in the walls and ceiling and is on a concrete pad) but the windows get quite a lot of condensation overnight, even with the lined blinds down. So it'll be interesting to see the effect of the double glazing.

So it's busy here in Waikanae - I am flat out like a lizard drinking with work, David is fully occupied with his Weaving Memories work, and Lynne our friend and house guest is having to fend for herself. The next couple of months will go quickly for us both, and the third week of September will be upon us before we know it. And as our friend Mick said to us yesterday from where he and Julia are moored near Yelvertoft, if we had to choose a summer not to be boating, this is it given the rain ...