Sat back on the blog

1 Mar

It’s been a while since my last venture onto the information superhighway and this old blog saddle ain’t as comfortable as I remember.  But, with a cooling walnut and peach cream applied to my delicates I’m ready to ride again “Yee Ruddy Ha”

Following our trip to the South Island there were so many things to write about that “I couldn’t see any trees in the wood” as the idiotic inverted idiom goes. So I’ve decided to keep this post simple and not over fry the noddles in my think wok.

This post is a bit more serious than any others from our trip as it covers the time me and the other half were in Christchurch. The destruction the earthquake caused  is one thing but the stories we were told from first hand experience stay with you. It’s difficult to even comprehend the history of memories that are gone when your landscape no longer bares a relationship to your past.

Anyway, I’ll shut up and let you look at the photos, next time who knows maybe a new carrot update?

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Houses perched in the suburb of Sumner

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Decorated Storage crates stacked to prevent more landslide

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Middle of Christchurch – Emptied offices

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Ribbons for those gone

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More storage crates preventing further building collapses

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A temporary Church spire erected for more fantastical thoughts

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A chair for each victim.  A monument erected to reality.

Dicey carrot time!

2 Feb

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking it’s a new carrot update, but you’d be wrong my orange-coloured root-vegetable friends. For I speak not of vegetables but of Super Sevens.

Already I hear the cry from the fair Isles of Engeerland “Harrk thee, what be these Super Sevens yee speak of?”

Well, my fellow UK gloom mongers, at this time of year in Wellington they hold a two-day fancy dress/ boozeathon with the rather weak excuse that it’s somehow a celebration of Rugby.

I’m no fool (or so I think) but I know a ‘massive piss-up’ when I see a ‘massive piss-up’ and this whole rugby shenanigans is total BS. For starters, it’s not even proper rugby, it’s 7-a-side with astronomical score lines like 657-889. Even the rubbish players get to score, a bit like sports day at the end of the school year where everyone one gets a chance and it’s all the taking part that counts mumbo jumbo they tell you.

And for those Kiwis who say “How dare you” please just look at the stadium. Those crowds couldn’t give a fig whose running around on the grass. I’m sure I could perform a song and dance routine of  I’m a little teapot, see my spout  and they’d be entertained with their half-sloshed brains.

So lets call this Super Sevens event what it is – a 48 hour alcohol induced mind bender and just be thankful. If this was in ‘Engeerland’ you’d skip the fancy dress, get pissed, watch the game, get even more pissed then kick the shite out of anyone you could find – we call this event Saturday.

UK people click here and see the wonderful costumes that were made, and if you can find any pictures of the Rubgy then let me know.

The Other Half and Me dodged these festivities so here are a few pics from the garden, I was trying to be arty don’t u know.

 

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Scritchy, scratchy listen to the bugs.

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Be positive like a flower and reach for your potential!

Carrot Update III

25 Jan

While out on my daily 15km run I was winding my way around Wellington harbour when a yell came behind “When’s the next carrot update?”. I turned around to see who it could be. But whoever had called had ducked out of sight, so off I went. Then as I made my way towards Mount Victoria again the yell came “When’s the next carrot update?” this time quick as flash I turned, but alas no one was there. Then entering Mount Victoria’s famous LOTR forest it came once again “When’s the next carrot update?” and yet again not a solitary soul could be seen. It was as if this most important question needed answering or it would remain floating around Wellington for ever and ever. Well, wait no longer floaty question, behold the latest picture below.

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In the last update I mentioned the dreaded concept of ‘thinning out’ the carrots. Well root vegetable fans, I didn’t shirk my duties and let these carrots live a hippy lifestyle of free love, weed and Bob Dylan appreciation. Instead I went into that carrot patch with the zeal of a city asset stripper and took out the slow-growing minions that blocked my route to sky-scraping carrot nirvana.

On first view the carrots out performed my expected projections and are almost peaking, but I feel that a second round of ‘thinning out’ might be the order of the day to get max value from my stock.

Second, and this is to be expected in a busy market place, we have huge competition for sunshine ownership. It’s clear from the photo analysis above that both Lettuces and Broccoli are making strong movements on all sides and we can expect this to continue. My long-term objective is for a salad lunch on Sunday and then a roast dinner the following Friday. This classic pincer removal technique will open up both sides of available sunlight and I expect a full recovery with potentially huge carrot based gains to follow.

Where the eagle soars and the birdies drop

24 Jan

Midway through our South Island travels we perform a 90 degree left hand skid off the Alexandra highway and hitch our wagon up at the homestead belonging to the Other Half’s Uncle and Aunt.

Perched up high the views here blow my little UK socks off – it’s spectacular with a capital Spec and a wow infused tacular.

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The Far Yonder that was to the left.

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The Far Yonder that was to the right. Notice the mountains peeking out the tops of the clouds.

At this altitude you get better dreams at night, scientific studies clearly finding that good dreams float higher than their dark depressing counterparts. For instance, my usual dream of being naked in the final of Masterchef and finding out that my Soufflé had not risen was replaced by me chasing Jeremy Clarkson through a forest with the world’s bluntest knife to the sounds of Queen singing ‘Another one bites the dust’, a life affirming dream as you can well imagine.

On another note we’ve gone even more Crazy Golf crazy! Lock us both up and throw away the Tee!!!! (get it? do you get it?)

Yes, golf fans we played two rounds on two different courses. The first in Cromwell and the second in Queenstown. Although different courses there was something similar about the layouts of a number of holes, we suspect this maybe a part of a franchise. The other thing that was the same about both courses was that I won. A thrashing you ask? A modest man such as myself would never say, but after the last game see here I’ve now returned some glory to my shabby name.

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Cromwell Mini Golf

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Giant Fruit – why?

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Angles to wangle your ball around.

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Queenstown Mini Golf

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Red Rabbits

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The international scoreboard

Clyde Dam

24 Jan

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There are a number of dams in New Zealand. This is Clyde dam and it’s a tiny wonder of engineering. However, it does make one wonder the logic of building dams in a country that is notorious for earthquakes.

Hi De Hide Hedgehog

23 Jan

While staying with the Others Half’s Uncle and Aunt we happened one evening to notice a small spiky creature clambering into one of my shoes.  As you can see from the pictures below he/she was having a grand old. So enjoy the pictures and then I’ll let you know what happened next.

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Climbing into shoe – Photo © 2013 P. Dodgshun

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Leaving the Shoe – Photo © 2013 P. Dodgshun

You’ll be pleased to know I’m alright. There were no side effects of having a hedgehog in your shoe despite what certain sections of the media like to portray. However, the hedgehog in question is dead!

The group’s first reaction to this was sadness which then was immediately replaced by accusations of murder that were directed firmly at me, in particular the odour of my left foot.

This self-appointed kangaroo court’s half-baked assumptions were based on no medical evidence, but still they decided my left foot was guilty . In a metaphorically sense I was not only on the back foot, but also wrong footed and almost without a leg to stand on!

However, I loved my left foot and I would set out to prove its innocent. First step Google and my search criteria was ‘Dead Hedgehogs why?

The first hundred and seventeen pages basically covered road accidents and the accepted theory that a car’s ability to drive at 70mph versus’  that of hedgehog to waddle at 0.3mph meant that in 99.9% of cases the hedgehog would not be able to dodge the automobile, even if the car was travelling at a min speed of 10mph. This was no road accident! (my case bearing similarities to this).

I was almost at the point of giving up when I came across a rare hedgehog illness call RSD (reverse spine death). RSD is a genetic illness where a single or group of spines (also know as the pointy/prickly bits, needles, or spikes)  grow inward instead of outward. So as the hedgehog grows they in turn shorten their life until finally they feel a bit of a prick and then it’s all over! Off to hedgehog heaven.

This had to be what happened to Lord Anthony Huxtable the Third (I’d given the hedgehog a name so he wasn’t just a number, in addition this is something an alleged  murderer would never do).

With my solid gold RSD fact I ran out to find the Other Half and her Uncle and Aunt. They were busily building a gallows and I had to cough loudly to gain their attention. I then explained all about RSD and what had happened to Lord Anthony Huxtable the Third. Anyway, long story short they begrudgingly admitted that this might be the reason for the death of Lord Anthony Huxtable the Third . However, they were bitterly disappointed to abandon the planned hanging and wondered if I wanted to give it a go? I told them I’d prefer a cup of tea, I suspect this wasn’t the answer they wanted.

Seal, Lamb and Hedgehog

20 Jan

This is not a title for my new children’s book about a undecided flip flopping seal, a wooly thinking lamb and a prickly but cowardly hedgehog (the subtext being a clever dissection of the 3 main UK political parties). No, this is going to be a post in three parts about the creatures I’ve encountered on the South Island.

Seals – Part 1 Creature tails from the South Isle

On the way to Akaroa the Other Half and me got to see a vast community of bone idle, out of shape, benefit scrounging Seals, as shown below.

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Anyway, while we watched these liquorice flavoured sea beasts flap about on their four stubby protrusions and whisker their whiskers in the sun, I casually mentioned to the the Other Half that you can’t really blame people for wanting to club the useless things. Instantly I realised this should have been a silent thought and not a sound emitting thought, for the the Other Half frowned a frown of Grand Canyon proportions. Luckily I was denied a lecture on the subject as three Canadian lads in their twenties suddenly appeared, Josh, Josh and Josh.

“Awesome, Seals!, ” said Josh one.

“Seals, awesome!” said the next Josh.

“Awe, Sealsome!” said the rather confused other Josh.

The Other Half as is her custom asked about the Joshs’ travels and what they were doing, apparently this is what you do in New Zealand and it’s called ‘showing an interest’ a somewhat alien concept to an Englishman but I think I get the gist. Anyway, to cut a long story short the Joshs’ had heard that you could club Seals down here and that they wanted to have a whack just like their Fathers and Grandfathers had done in the olden days of legit Seal abuse. It was then I noticed a sign that said ‘Club hire One Hundred dollars’. To my surprise The Other Half nudged me and winked, maybe all was not what it seemed. I was intrigued on a curious scale of 8.3.

So Josh, Josh and Josh used second Josh’s awesome credit card and paid their money. Off they went swinging their clubs back and forth, each club having been nicknamed ‘The Awesome one’. It was then that I noticed that each club was attached to a cord. This I assumed was to avoid it being taken home as a bloody souvenir, but I was wrong.

By now Josh, Josh and Josh had found 3 seal targets and they each raised their clubs aka ‘The Awesome one’ above their heads ready to deliver the first of many whacks. I gasped, but the Other Half was icy cool and pointed to a line that was just in front of each seal. I immediately put 2 and 2 and a 4 and another 2 together and realised the answer. For as Josh, Josh and Josh brought down each of their clubs aka ‘The Awesome one’ the cord snapped tight and the intended blow landed short while at the exact same time a camera flashed and a stern voice sounded from a speaker disguised like a rock “Your details and this photo are being submitted to the New Zealand authorities, please find the nearest police station”.

The Other Half smiled as we made our way back to the car. According to her the New Zealand government has caught over 415 Seal clubbers using this simple ruse. What a country!

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5 standard NZ Seals

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Lots of standard NZ Seals