What I Did On My Summer Vacation

So..the family went away. The kids & Grandma flew to Invercargill on the Sunday, then (as regular readers will know) Si & I went the following Wednesday.

I’ve tried to select some different shots from what I posted on IG, and they should have captions. If you want to know more about a place/time, let me know in the comments.

Enjoy!

On New Year’s Day, Si & I then drove the Toy Car back up, along the West Coast, catching the ferry at Picton, spending time in Wellington then back home.

Tourists in our own Island

My rotation plan has gone out the window- well, not entirely but there’s an edit. When we checked the referee’s draw on Thursday, neither Si nor B had been allocated games, so we decided to escape Auckland for the weekend (thanks Emma for feeding the fish!). We knew the weather wasn’t going to be sharp anywhere we went, but it’s all about the adventure. We don’t know how many more weekends we will be able to get away as a family of 5 (B plans on finding an apprenticeship for 2017) so we want to take advantage of the opportunities. Raven Queen is too unwieldy to do in the car (32ct dark fabric? ah no) so I picked up Afternoon in London. I needed a jump to get over my stitching hump with this one.

We booked in at a little cottage in Opua, in the Bay of Islands. It’s just before Paihia (too touristy) and it’s where the car ferry for Russell leaves from. Small, but we could see ourselves retiring there. They even have a Stitch & Bitch session! Sadly we did not win lotto so that dream will wait a while longer. Even in the gloom the view from up on the hill was engrossing and I spent time at the windows both mornings. My only complaint would be that the kitchen doesn’t face that view.

Saturday we were all up early so we jumped in the car, planning to get to the northern most tip of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. Mase wanted to be the first boy to have been at both top & bottom of the islands (he’s forgotten all about Stewart Island!) & goal achieved. We did stop wherever we felt the need – lots of junk shops & second hand bookstores. I found some haul too as well as a very thick bio on Mary Magdalene (amazon link here).

The Cape was a bit different from what Simon remembered as a teen. The parking lot is now well back from the lighthouse (a ten minute walk) and the entry has been all tourist-fied with piped in traditional Maori music and planned plantings. Never mind. Once you’re thru that, it’s raw and as it should be.

The lighthouse is smaller than I thought, much smaller than I remember Castlepoint being. Sadly it’s operated by remote computers now, but I could imagine the loneliness a keeper would have experienced. It’s so open and you can see where the two seas meet – Tasman on my left, Pacific on the right – and recall the Maori myth about this being the departing place for the spirits of the ancestors, as they made their way back to Hawaiki (better story here).

20160709_145257Being back at work is kind-of a letdown. I would much rather be back at the lighthouse.

and lastly – Mase reenacting the story of Jonah…

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WIP Wednesday

Confession: I have no stitching to show you. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Despite what I thought, I didn’t have the urge to stitch while we drove nor any downtime, so London looks exactly the same as it did last Wednesday.

But what I do have to show you is my favourite part of the trip. Despite family being all over the South Island, I’d never been to Moeraki and I leant (just a little) on Simon to stop.

Love it. In a lot of ways it reminded me of my Bethells, windswept and open (just more crowded). It was a good recharge-the-soul spot. I was told as a child that these were the floats on Maui’s fishing nets, but the below legend makes far more sense. In any case, I’ll be back.

This was written about them in 1966:

MOERAKI BOULDERS

The Moeraki Boulders are situated on Koekohe Beach at a place named Kumara, midway between Hampden and Moeraki townships in North Otago. Access to them is gained by a small one-way side road, 1 mile north along the main road from Hillgrove railway station. The boulders are grey-coloured septarian concretions, which have been eroded out by wave action from the cliffs of soft, black mudstone that back the beach. In places, partially exposed concretions can be seen in the cliffs. They originally formed on the sea floor when the mudstone was accumulating during the early Tertiary period some 60 million years ago. The largest concretions are traversed by cracks, filled by yellow calcite. In some the upper part is worn away; only a shell remains, looking like discarded segments of orange peel. The concretions weigh several tons and are up to 12 ft in circumference. Similar concretions are known on the north-facing foreshore of Shag Point, some 12 miles further south, but these are derived from older (upper Cretaceous) mudstone.

According to Maori legend, the origin of the boulders dates from the loss of the Arai-te-uru, one of the large sailing canoes that came from distant Hawaiki. On her quest south for the precious greenstone, the canoe was wrecked near Shag Point (Matakaea). The reef which today extends seawards is the canoe’s petrified hull, while close by, in the shape of a prominent rock, stands the petrified body of her commander. Strewn along the beach are the boulders which represent the eel baskets, calabashes, and kumaras washed ashore from the wreck. The name Moeraki (Moerangi) means “drowsy day”.

by Alexander Russell Mutch, B.SC., A.O.S.M., New Zealand Geological Survey, Dunedin.

So there’s a row, then a few separated out and more emerging from the cliffs. The outer surface really does look like concrete, but they are so different on the inside. I took a shot of Si next to the row – that one on his far right is the far left in the top shot. These things are massive (he’s 6ft).

Yep, I’m going back.

 

WIP Wednesday

Wow. After six nights of the N drug I am feeling so much better. It’s amazing how productive I can be without that constant drag feeling & mental fog. The humid weather may have disappeared for a while too, which is adding to my overall feeling of goodness.

The Project Life app is FINALLY available on android. Finally. I had my first page in minutes of downloading the app, true to the promise. As I don’t have any games on my phone (I’m so disciplined, lol) I can see that this might be my “what shall I do for the next five minutes” app. This is using the Kraft kit, one of the freebies:
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Stitching-wise I am still working on Afternoon in London. I’ve finalised the threads I am using & that makes it faster. There’s been a couple of days where I didn’t do any work on it, but the last two mornings I’ve woken refreshed at five so snuck in half an hour before leaving for work (I do bring it to work but don’t often stitch at lunch, as Sarah & I walk usually) & as usual on any project, some visible progress enables more progress 🙂  plus I also want to do Paris.
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Si & I are going away this weekend – five days! – & I hope to finish while we’re driving. I may have to pack a second project just in case. I will more-than-likely be social media free for that time, so have fun everyone! See you in a week!

Travel Recap + WIP Wednesday

Just for Chiara! Here’s a small sampling of our photos from the long weekend.

This is a boutique hotel in Cambridge. I’m thinking it could be the perfect spot for a stitching retreat – altho it would be a pricy one!

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This is B – if you’re on my FB, sorry, as you would have seen this already. From our stop in Taupo. Plus the sundial that is in the Rose Garden next to the play park, on State Highway one as you drive through town.

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Junk shops – we probably stopped at about 50% of those we saw, so Z can look for vintage Commando comics. One of my bosses collects old gramophones – this was in an ugly shop in Havelock North.

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Also in Havelock – Duart House. As soon as I saw it I recognized the resemblance to the family home in Scotland. http://duarthouse.org.nz/ sadly it was shut when we discovered it, so it’s on the diary for the next time we visit Hawkes Bay.

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Day two was in Wellington. We went to Te Papa, the museum where Z started his Lord of the Rings/Hobbit costume search. This is the Elven Lieutenant – love the detail.

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M as a pilot! He’s got his “oh grow up Dad!” face on.

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B designed a plan in the AirNZ exhibit.

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We had drinks then walked around with one of my brothers. We don’t spend much time together and I’m so sorry R – B & M combined can make anyone’s ears bleed! R helped Z find more costumes. Here’s Gloin – one of the dwarves. His costume was sumptuous yet sturdy. Those boots! Huge.

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Day 3 was more Wellington then the drive to New Plymouth. This is one of the houses along the Wellington ocean coast. I have a thing for lighthouses!

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Hawera – the water tower. Again, closed – but had we been 30 minutes earlier we could have climbed to the top. Apparently only takes 10 minutes! Yeah, right. Chiara, I’m sitting on the ground about 300m away from the base to take this. Any further away and I would have been on the road! The oaks surrounding it are planted to commemorate Armistice Day in 1918 by the local dignitaries and a VC winner.

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And the War Memorial in Hawera.

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We didn’t take many photos from New Plymouth to home. Unfortunately we’d done too much in too few hours and everyone was grumpy and ready for their own beds. It was fantastic to get home.

I did get quite a bit of Stargazer done, given that most of this was in the car on the long straights (don’t try to stich thru the Manawatu Gorge. It’s too windy and too beautiful to miss). All that dark yellow was the trip & I’ve pretty much made up my mind to rip the face/hands and re-do it with 2 over 1 tent, to give more detail. One more week of work then I’ll rotate to a small plus some finishing.

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Reading – Monica Ferris’ Needlecraft Mysteries. Gentle (Betsy’s no Miss Marple) & I like the stitching references. I also like the way the author is experimenting with the genre. Luckily there’s a few books so far in the series! Next will be a re-read of Unbroken before I see the movie (it’s been a few years since I read an advanced copy).

 

We’re home!

And the unpacking begins. I have a load in the washing machine already, the dead fish has been farewelled (not the baby sitters fault I must add) and my treasures are being stashed.

I picked up a Mirabilia for a song as someone lost the photo (fairie treasures) & a New Zealand Centennial jug. The Jug has a couple of chips so again it wasn’t much; but it’s only 15 years to our bi-centenary and for something that probably got a lot of use it’s looking good.

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Z has about ten more Commando comics to file away; B has some Marvels and my little M didn’t want much. He’s so sweet right now. I bet he becomes a little rotter when school goes back!

Windy as in Wellington

Actually, it’s not. I only had to use one hand to hold everything down!

We went to the AirNZ exhibition at Te Papa; funny how many of the little bits and pieces we have at home! I’ll have to add photos when we get home as the mobile app isn’t uploading photos.

Also we caught up with my brother, who helped Z find a few more of the costumes he was missing. I didn’t realize Orlando Bloom was so short, he can’t be much taller than me! 
Today is more exploring Wellington; I think we’re heading out to Miramar and hoping Weta is open, then a bit more in town, then up to New Plymouth via Wanganui. Bye!