Archive | January, 2013

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

Akaroa

19 Jan

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The town of Akaroa.

Look at that view, what a peach!

 

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More Akaroa.

The Akaroa Tourist board has a strict policy that UK passport holders must smile at all time during their stay or leave post haste.  Apparently, a photo was published in a rather up market travel brochure of two men and a woman looking ‘peeved’. These Sons of B’s were tracked down via ‘internetty stuff’ and found to be from Kent in England (a miserable county if ever there was one). The Other Half was taking no chances with me and soon found the local Ecstasy dealer. Now, after 48 hours of solid smiling my cheeks are rock hard and my eyebrows have moved 2 inches up my forehead, I’m permanently quizzically happy.

 

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Fishing for rocks provided successful. This particluar beauty we just had to photograph before returning him to the river.

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Kaikoura Seagull © 2013 The Other Half.  This was snapped just after a quick swim and a sarnie somewhere between Kaikoura and Akaroa.

South Island Adventures – The Beginning

19 Jan

For once I board a ferry with the intention of visiting more than the destination’s cheap booze outlets and returning home by 7pm.

It’s January 10 at 8.30am and the sea is “looking a mighty bit choppy me hearties”. The sick bag is rolled up and tucked behind my ear ready to whipped out at the first sign of the ‘Chunder Express’ arriving.

But on a serious note these weather conditions are a worry. The captain has just told us not to go on deck as there is spray and strong wind. He says “stay inside if you don’t want to get wet or lose your hat”.  That kind of insight really settles the nerves; “We’re in safe hands aren’t we?” I ask the Other Half.

The Other Half then lights her pipe takes a nip of brandy from her hip flask and begins this crusty barnacle ridden tale. “AAwrrr, young lad, tis reminds me of the final words spoken by the captain of that heavy set dame of a ship the Titanic. “The Tit is up” he spluttered “The Tit is up”. And that me sweet young fellow tis whence we get the phrase It’s all gone tits up“.

I’m now trying to think of a last cry of desperation for our ship the Santa Regina which one day might also become a common misinterpreted expression. I’ve donned my thinking cap and opened this up for discussion among my rocking and rolling shipmates.

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Leaving Wellington – Photography © 2013 The Other Half

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Half way across– Photography © 2013 The Other Half

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Down Queen Charlotte Sound – Photography © 2013 The Other Half