Monday, 9 April 2007

Mo' Piccies

This week: More pixelated goodness, less waffle. I will say one thing, though. Iain is very handy for shoving in a photo when you want to get an idea of scale.

our enormous log pile

Bason Botanic Reserve

Iain and an avenue of palms

I never get tired of views like this!

me in the orchid house

the toilets (???!!!)

a hole on the frisbee golfcourse - we'll have to take a frisbee next time

one of the lakes

Iain and storybook toadstool

beautiful autumn colours

Iain and triffid (or maybe it's just a giant aloe-type thing)


Sunday, 1 April 2007

Seizing the day

Both of us have been incredibly busy with work over the last two or three weeks, so when we drew the curtains this morning and saw blue sky, we decided to escape to the beach for a couple of hours.

We went to Waiinu Beach, (pronounced 'why EE noo') whose name means 'drinking water' in Maori, referring to the dozens of fresh-water streams that trickle down to the surf.

one of the fresh water streams on Waiinu Beach

It's a typical west coast beach - big breakers, black volcanic sand,huge piles of driftwood left by the high tide, and an expanse of sand dunes. There's a small settlement there consisting mainly of ramshackle 'baches' or holiday homes, and there's also a rough and ready camp ground frequented by travellers. There's a sign welcoming travelling visitors, pointing out that regulations only allow stays of up to two months at a time. Many of the caravans and build-it-yourself-from-a-truck campervans looked as though they'd been there much longer than that! One of the things we love about New Zealand, (and one of the things many other ex-pat Brits find very difficult to stomach), is this laid back attitude to rules and regulations.

nature's sculpture

I wandered off to take some photos and to do a bit of beach combing (you never know what treasures you might find on a beach) while Iain sat and soaked up the sunshine.

Iain, chillin'

An hour or so and several finds later (including a pebble that has the same markings as Smudge) we set off back home, lungs and minds blown clean. Within sixty seconds of starting the car it started raining. We were very pleased to have made the most of the fine weather.

Our old PC, which was a cannibalisation of the still-functioning bits of the two machines we bought when we first arrived in New Zealand, finally packed up last week. Iain has a theory to explain this alarmingly high attrition rate. He thinks it might be due to electricity spikes causing damage to the hardware. Apparently the NZ power supply is very variable, with huge peaks and troughs in voltage. We've had everything connected to a surge protector, but Iain's beginning to think that that may not have been enough protection, and we should have invested in a UPS (uninterruptable power supply).

The upshot of all this is that we've bought ourselves a new computer - a 24" iMac. It arrived on Friday and most of Iain's time this weekend has been spent in setting it up. He did let me have a go on it yesterday, though, and in just two and a half hours I managed to put together a swish new website, using 'iWeb', the Mac's 'instant website for idiots' program, which wipes the floor with the Microsoft equivalent, Front Page. Check out my website here.

Iain and our new iMac

Well, it's the first of April, the equivalent of the first of October in the Northern Hemisphere, and the weather is still warm enough to sit on the beach in a t-shirt. In two years we've got used to an awful lot about our new home, but I hope I never stop appreciating the mildness of the weather here. A stroll on a UK beach on October 1st would only ever be described as 'brisk and bracing!'

Must sign off now and write a post for the other blog.
Catch you later.