Tuesday, May 23, 2006

weekend blues

this weekend dan and emma andrews stayed with us. we had home cooked indian, now I can do aloo saag, and a great brunch at our favorite cafe in methven. dan, emma and I all had french toast with bacon, grilled banana and maple syrup - a real kiwiana dish. we went for a walk on the edge of the mountains and when we finished the sky was doing amazing moody & light things with a golden glow from the setting sun. this is us walking back to the car (this time I've not done any cheeky colour editing, it's the real deal). I'm also enjoying going through our old photos and editing the ones I like the most. I'm going to make sure our pics go to good use and get them printed up when we move into our new place in queenstown. this is fran feeling happy at the moeraki boulders on the west coast of the south island. they're spheres of stone around crystalline deposits that get eroded out of the coastal cliffs and sit on the beach looking pretty.

I've also put some more up on my art site so check it out...

Monday, May 22, 2006

and the winner is...

so the rose 4x4 competition was for the most creative reason for rose's repose:

and the winner is greg mickelborough (fran's bro) with this explanation - 'Despite missing the drop zone, Rose felt she'd finally silenced Fran's constant questioning of her off-road ability.' rose is a pretty gutsy girl, so I like the image of her skydiving to show fran up, even if it she didn't quite land in the right place! now, in reality our mirrors were very condensed up and fran's reversing didn't go quite to plan but by the time we were on the wrong track there was no going back and rose got stranded on her bottom. plenty of people driving past thought this was pretty amusing and stopped to take pictures (nice!) but a 4x4 pulled us out of our predicament with as much ease as it'd take a pony to pick up a polo. quick solution and no damage to rose or the bike, thanks to her rear bars.

Friday, May 19, 2006

winter's snowy touch

the hills are white and crispy here, ready for the ski season which officially starts in 3 weeks time. when the sun's out the days are gorgeous and pretty mild, but the inside of our lodge remains a freezer regardless and we now have the fire stoked up every day. this week I went to a craft workshop and made butterflies, angels and even a miniature sheep out of wool!! I was younger than everone else there by at least 20 years but I haven't laughed so much in ages, aided not in the least by Sigrid, who ran the workshop, and her creative translation of bavarain german into kiwi. I have now been requested to make more miniature sheep for Ian (skydiving instructor) and Seb's wedding in August - they're Welsh...

Friday, May 12, 2006


our rose got a bit excited on the way to fox glacier, but before we reveal what actually happened, I open the rose 4x4 caption competition. most creative explanation for rose's repose get's an exciting kiwi prize airmailed from new zealand. please comment...

closing date sunday 21st may

ok, so it's been a few weeks since we were away, but finally I bring you the pictures...

avalanche peak waterfall, arthurs pass

we decided for our week off we'd head to the west coast and go south past the glaciers, through the mighty haast pass and have a day in queenstown checking out the rental situation for when we move in june. above: this gorgoeus little waterfall had a track up next to it to more pools and falls. great place to stop and get a coffee as we headed over the pass on our first day.

arthurs pass summit

I snapped this piccie while stopped at roadworks. I love road signs in pictures, they really add national identity. we freedom camped at kumara junction (kumara means sweet potato) on the coast for our first night at a spot on a beach we'd used before. unfortunately there was a huge storm and we didn't sleep at all as it pretty much felt the van might blow over at any moment all night long! by morning the 2 other vans camped there for the night had dissapeared and the river next to us was in flood. in the rain we headed south and in hokitika we found rodney...

rodney needs love

...and it rained some more so we kept on south til we got to franz josef, the first of 2 toursity glaciers which end only 300m above sea level and are pretty accessible. you can go glacier walking & climing or go for helicopter/airplane sightseeing tours over them.

franz josef glacier

we tried to walk to the terminal face of franz josef glacier but the huge storm the night before had changed the course of the outwash river literally removing the path in places. in fact, that ice in the pic above was the path at that point. in some places 20ft wide and 10ft deep of earth forming the path was just gone & replaced by an iceberg laden river. it was pretty amazing to see. we camped in luxury with hot showers in franz josef for the night.

sunset as we walked back from the glacier

now here are a couple of pics of the sort of thing I really really really love - colour and texture in nature just... well, there aren't words to describe how much beauty I find in them. normally it's small stuff, small scale, like the contrast of a leaf on lichen or the glow of a tree with all it's leaves turned yellow blanketing the floor. I'm hoping to get a teeny camera so I can always have one with me cause there are so many times I see something as I go about daily life that I want to capture.

these gorgeous leaves were on the walk up to the glacier, people thought I was a bit odd with my camera 20cm from wet foliage, but there you go.

rock & leaves, haast pass

fran was hoping to do a few jumps at the next glacier along, fox glacier, but the rain persisted so we had a walk in the chilly rain up to the glacier then kept driving south for another day. this was also where rose went off roading (see post above). in the morning we stopped for a walk by the sea and found a stunning lagoon. it was very still and misty and the deep brown river waters snaked along the back of the beach before emptying into the sea. our pictures failed to capture the beauty of the reflections and stillness of the lagoon, but did manage one along the coast. the west coast is incredibly moody and stormy and there are beautiful wild beaches you could spend hours exploring. however, there are also sandflies whose bites swell up and itch for literally weeks, so I had my trousers tucked in my socks and my clothes pulled tight around me as we checked out this beauty spot.

west coast beach

we headed on up haast pass back inland and stopped at all the trail walks along the way. new zealand is great for 5min-1hour signed & boardwalked trails to little beauty spots and it's a great way of getting a taste of the envirnment you're driving through. this pic was taken on a very bouncy bridge walking to see the blue pools.

fran goes to the blue pools

we had a day in wanaka before heading to queenstown to check it out again before our move in june. I had the tastiest bacon of my entire life with french toast at cafe vudu in town which at the moment is the best cafe we've come across in QT. we brunched and check out the rental listings (encouraging, and we're SO ready to be living on our own again!!) then went for a walk in the park - a penisula sticking into the lake looking back at queentown and out to the surrounding mountains.

queenstown from the park

on our walk we discovered, to my absolute delight, an ice skating rink in the park. I've always loved skating, so it may have to be my new hobby. who needs snowboarding??!!

view up the lake from the park in QT

so that's pretty much it. we headed home early due to wet rainy weather and to do up our van which we're hoping to replace before we go to queenstown. our subaru estate died a few weeks ago, so I've been keeping my eye out for a new car, and this one caught my attention. a 1977 datsun 120Y ... now that's the kind of car I'd like! we also saw a 1970's canary yellow ford cortina estate in queenstown, so maybe it'll still be available when we go back in a months time...

the 1977 datsun 120Y. how can you say no to a car like this?

check out the space rocket rear end. I want one...
check out this news article, it's amazing - the French made a national apology for their part in slavery and yesterday celebrated their first Slavery Remembrance Day with President Chirac saying slavery was an indelible stain on history and that facing their colonial past was key to national cohesion. imagine Britain doing something as profound and giving up the guilt of the British Empire...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

this gorgeous picture was taken outside our lodge on a sunny day and was a complete fluke as I got 3 pictures taken before the batteries died. enjoy the view whilst I get my blog & pics from out trip away last week sorted...