Saturday, May 28, 2011

20: Egg-citing Stuff!

Him Outdoors sponsors some hens, through a scheme run by Remarkable Vets. The ex-battery hens are rehoused at the clinic, and they begin to find their feet - quite literally.  Having been kept in cages all their life, they are doddery and particualry scatty, often with damaged wings and twisted beaks. But when they start to adapt, they lay eggs occasionally, and these are sold for sponsorship purposes.

The eggs are often as misshapen as the hens themselves, but the yolks are bright yellow and delicious scrambled on toast with avocado and black pepper - which is what we've been having for breakfast recently. I really do love eggs - there's something soothing in the eliptical shape and porous shell which makes for pretty patterns with light.

After a weekend away in Christchurch, we returned to move the furniture around. Some people say 'a change is as good as a holiday' but they are clearly mad. Few things are as good as a holiday, and moving a sofabed and a couple fo tables doesn't quite cut it. Chester still has to check out developments, however.

Friday, May 20, 2011

19: Mists of Milford

A weekend away in Southland and Fiordland was very wet but provided some photographic opportunities nonetheless. Here are some images of the scenery en route from Te Anau to Milford Sound.

This weird-looking valley is Eglington Flat.

This is Lake Gunn - the weird-looking gentleman in the flat cap is Him Outdoors.

The weather closes in on the road to Milford.

The scarily impressive Homer Tunnel hacks through the moutain side. Before it was built, the postman had to climb the saddle to deliver messages to the settlement at Milford. Legend has it that one Christmas he lugged a bicycle over the pass. I hope the recipinet was suitably grateful, even if there was hardly any road on which to ride!

A side-trip takes us to The Chasm where the water wears down the stones, and shining rocks and ferns create curious formations.

It's true that no matter how often you have seen the pictures, nothing prepares you for the majesty of Mitre Peak and Milford Sound. Spectacular in any weather, today the mists and waterfalls add atmospheric grandeur.

On our way back through the Homer Tunnel, I play with the long shutter speed and low lighting to wibbly-wobbly effect.

Him Outdoors has decided we will go for a walk to Lake Marian, even though it is raining heavily. By the time we get back to the car we will be drenched, it will be dark, and there will be thunder and lightning. This a typical outing for Him Outdoors. The track starts along the Hollyford Road and begins alongside the Hollyford River through the dripping green bush to the roar of the Marian Rapids.

Of course, when we got there, Lake Marian in its hanging valley, surrounded by the Darran Mountains, was shrouded in mist and try as we might, there was nothing to see.

Allegedly it is one of the most beautiful vistas in Fiordland, so I googled it. These images are not mine; they are by Kimball Chen and Vincent Morand, respectively (and respectfully). Yep, it's stunning alright. It looks like we'll have to take another trip when it isn't chucking it down. Perhaps, I should be in charge of the planning next time...


Friday, May 13, 2011

18: A rose is a rose is a rose

I have a couple of 'thank you's for my beautiful rose. Thanks to Witch 2 for giving me the plant in the first place, and thanks also to Jo Reid for telling me how to keep it alive. As I have killed every plant I have ever owned, the fact that I have had a second bloom from this bush is quite fabulous!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

17: Autumn Festival Parade

Arrowtown turned on the weather for the start of the Autumn Festival and people flocked to the main street to see the markets, the local entertainment and the street parade.

The Queenstown Ukulele Orchestra were a huge hit performing on Buckingham Green. You may recognise the Mischievous Minx among their number.

The Wee Red Hen here is also our musical director for Cribbies. We are very lucky to have her, and even more so as she is extremely busy juggling all her commitments.

Celtic Sounds also performed their blend of pipes and ballads on Buckingham Green. Yep, that's the Wee Red Hen again, and also Carolyn Crum, our leading lady in Cribbies. It's a busy time to be a performer...

Now I know this is wrong, but this picture reminds me of that scene in The Young Ones when they're on University Challenge - you know the one: "I'm going to have to wee on Lord Snot's head".

What's the collective term for bagpipers? For some reason, I think it should be a snaggle, or maybe a banshee.

The entertainment was all very good, and then just before the parade of floats, we were treated to the sight of glorious vintage cars driving down the main street - young lads were on their hands on knees to get a better look and only one stalled, mentioning no names of local real estate agents...

And then the pipers led the parade - him in the front there is Mark Owen, who was our piper for Cribbies.

This is the Hogwarts float, which I thought was very good (although Harry Potter was minus his lightning bolt scar and glasses, so perhaps it wasn't actually him after all) even if I don't know what it was representing.

The folk from the Remarkable Sweet Shop barely need an excuse to get decked out in fancy dress.

These colourful creatures were on the Where the Wild Things Are float - apparently they are in Arrowtown, as are kids on unicycles, Bob the Builder, Kate and Wills, David Clarke (of the Lakes District Museum), and some other scary-looking dude.

The Miners' Band continue to fiddle away while the Buckingham Belles show the crowd their knickers. And the crowd, it must be said, seem to love it!

Here is a child disguised (somewhat unconvincingly and not particularly happily either) as a tomato. There's something rotten in the state of Otago...

Something tells me that these lads from the Arrowtown Rugby Club don't practice their ball skills nearly as much as their haka.

This is the captain of The Earnslaw, supposedly, whose passenger list includes a witch and a girl in a mobcap. They are followed by the Fresh Fish Brothers with dubious looking piscine specimens and a shoal of little mermaids.

Little Bo Peep is on stilts and unlikely to lose her sheep as it is pronging around on springs.

Darth Vader is here, for whatever reason...

And Him Outdoors gets an attractive new haircut as part of the Remarkable Vets Shave for a Cure campaign.

The Arrowtown Entertainers had a float in to promote Cribbies which was starting the next day. As a very kind director, I had given them the day off you see.

And here come the engines - an old fire engine and a steam traction engine. Boys young and old love them. The folks from the Fire Service are keeping a close watch!

Meanwhile, on the other side of shops, the boys are still playing their games...