Tuesday, November 25, 2014

But wait ...There's more...

Or as Katrina has #'d it "the Best Surprise Ever"

As Harry is travelling south from here in the Waikato to Invercargill he is having a few stops along the way.

One of the stops was Christchurch where Katrina our youngest is currently living. Its been so hard to keep it a secret from her as she and her friends would really like to meet us and I don't know when I will get there but this was Harry's secret plan.

So when Harry arrived unannounced and knocked on the flat door I won't even type what she said (much to my disgust - the first word was what you would call something that is set apart for God and the second was a slang word for what is produced when you do the number two's) but suffice to say she was pleasantly surprised and so happy to see him.

He also took her to see the latest Hunger Games movie as they have been seeing them together  and slept in an empty room in the flat. It was certainly a God planned time as Katrina had been asked to go to this movie the week before with some friends but by the time she was asked and checked the bookings there were only two seats left right down the front so she decided not to go.
How special is that!

Anyway before Harry continued on with his journey Katrina took a selfie with him.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Burt Munro Rally

Harry's gone. I don't mean really gone I mean he's gone on his big adventure.
For a few years now he has wanted to go to the Burt Munro Rally and this year saving all he could for the last couple of years and sorting his bike, he has gone. He is not entering any of the challenges just going down to have fun and be part of it.

Burt Munro is most famously known through the movie made of him The World’s Fastest Indian. He purchased his first motorcycle at the age of fifteen having his first Indian Scout in 1920 – the bike he would continue to modify (with his own custom made unique parts) for the rest of his life. After setting a number of New Zealand land speed records in the 1940s and 1950s his next goal was to compete at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, United States. At 63 he made his first trip to Bonneville as a competitor and there he set a land speed record of 178.97mph. He travelled there a further 8 times setting more world records. His 1967 record of 183.58mph still stands today.

In 2006 the Southland Motorcycle Club created the Burt Munro Challenge to honour Burt. It has since forged a name for itself as one of New Zealand’s major motorsport events. It has a strong local & national following, and rapidly growing international interest. It attracts top New Zealand riders as well as all the weekend warriors, all provided with a variety of exciting events, fantastic entertainment, and famous southern hospitality. The Munro family has generously donated a spectacular trophy which is given to the “Competitor of the Year” at each annual Challenge. It is held in Invercargill.

As the time got closer for Harry to leave he was still working on his bike. I really didn't think he was going to be ready in time and in the end I went online and changed his ferry booking as he hadn't even started packing when it was passed the time he should leave. Then we he did get there he was still 15 minutes late but as it was the 2.30AM sailing they weren't too worried.

So here we have the bike a Kawasaki Voyager nearly packed and ready.

And still a few last minutes adjustments.

Nearly ready...

Helmet on ...opps better give you a kiss now!...

"You're not really going to smoke while you are riding are you?"

"Just watch me!"

And with that he was gone.

 Like I said....

Sunday, November 23, 2014

South Waikato 4WD Club Christmas Dinner

Harry's Mud Truck

Harry belongs to the South Waikato 4WD (Four Wheel Drive) Club and although its 'his' thing I go to some of the functions.
And yes its usually the ones that invlove food!

I'm not much of an adventurer when it comes to the activities they get up to so I stay home and let that be 'Harry's thing'. Some have said I should go with him but I don't believe in 'shoulds' as they suddenly put pressure on you. I 'could' join him but I choose not to. Not all the wives/partners do, so I am not alone in my decision.

The trips up and down hill and dale and the competitions to see who can do it the quickest,
just don't interest me ...
...more to the point  really just scare me.

It involves a lot of mud and interesting positions to be trapped in.

I mean do I really want to be traveling on bumpy roads, being tossed around a bit and end up like this?

Well in case you were not sure the answer to that question is a definite "NO".

Do they mean to do that and how did it happen? Could they not just drive in the gap sensibly instead of trying to go up the sides?

I am told that half the fun is then helping each other to get up/out of the mud or tricky positions making sure no-one is left behind or broken down at the end of the day.

Well that's all good and fun, and boys will be boys what ever the age; so they can do that with out me thanks.

In New Zealand, the end of the year means that with everything there are breakups and Christmas functions and for some reason this year there seem to be some starting in November.

The 4WD club were very nice and organized this around Harry being able to go as he was going down south for the Burt Rally. Apparently because he was the only one who spoke up when they were talking about it, a date that would fit him was chosen and others told.

We had a dinner at The Prince Albert in Cambridge.

It is an old English style pub so although it had a slightly dated atmosphere and people seemed relaxed and able to be there with their children, it wasn't a place I would choose to go to again.

It got quiet noisy as the evening wore on with younger people coming in, not necessarily for eating, but to drink and have a good time (as far as they thought).
Yeah I know I must be getting old!
I suppose I just like to be able to chat with those around me while I'm are out eating.

There was a live band - two singers with a guitar - but the music drowned out their voices so we couldn't really hear them singing.

The food was just typical pub food but Harry and some of the guys seemed to like that and it was for them really.

Harry chose his usual favourites - sea food ... and as long as there are plenty of chips with the mains he is not that fussed with what else is served with it. In fact he usually leaves the salad (or "green stuff") on the plate.

So it was...

Mussels for entree and a fisherman's basket for mains.

He couldn't eat all of his so we asked for a "doggy bag" which I heated up for his lunch the next day.

The only entree that wasn't a fish dish or garlic bread was deep fried Camembert with a dipping sauce. So I had that and it was nice.

For mains I chose Cajun chicken with apricot sauce.
I was a bit disappointed with this as the menu seemed to 'dress it up' but when it arrived (as you can see) it was really just the chicken with salad and chips and the sauce in a bowl.

It wasn't long after we had eaten that people started to leave. We left too as Harry had things to do ...

He was heading South and still had work to do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bran Muffins

I was looking for this recipe the other day and I couldn't believe I hadn't posted it on here. This is a recipe from my mother so I don't know where it has come from previously.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup wheat bran
1 cup sultanas
1 tbsp butter
3/4 cup milk

In a large bowl sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.
Add the bran and sultanas and toss with a fork.
Melt the butter and add milk warming slightly either in bowl in the microwave or a pot on the stove.
Pour the wet over the dry ingredients
Fold in gently so as to just moisten the mix but not over mix.
Spoon into 12 greased medium muffin tins.
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes at 200°C until lightly brown and the tops will bounce make when lightly pressed.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the tins before turning out

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Little Black Vest

Jennifer has started a board on Pinterest titled:

Things I'd like my Mum to make :)

that her and Sarah have added to. I check it out and have started making some of the items; quite handy if I am just feeling like knitting, crocheting or sewing and not sure what to do.

This is a child's v-necked vest but she wanted it in black for her dear son to wear next winter with a good shirt for things like church. She ideally wanted it in four ply but I couldn't seem to find it in black, but I had some double knit in an acrylic that would mean easy washing so we decided on that.

I had an old English Woman's Weekly pattern I used. I used to get the magazine every week for a few years and when I had finished and before I threw them out I would rip out patterns, recipes and other articles I was interested in and have them saved in clear-files that the girls often look through for items they would like me to make.

I actually don't like knitting in black as for some reason it is very hard on the eyes especially when looking for errors. Must be because the contrast between shadow and the colour (if you can call black a colour) is the same. But it didn't take long and I was reasonably happy with the result.

Of course it was too big for Jacob at the moment but it will do good for next year. When he tried it on he sort of mentioned it was a bit big but then proceeded to just wear it. We told him it wasn't really for him just yet. That way we managed to get it off him and put away before he ate food in it!

Now on to the next garment.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Aunty Pearls at the Hamilton Gardens

A group of ladies at our church decided that there were times when, as slightly older than middle age ladies, needed to be able to just do things for no reason. Most were grandmothers and over fifty so Aunty Pearls was formed 'cos we're all sort of related through Christ. However it's not limited to just church ladies and although there seems to be a core group of us we bring others along just for the fun.... and the one stipulations is....

You have to wear your pearls.

A couple of weekends ago a trip with a walk around the Hamilton Gardens was organized with late morning tea at the cafe.

The week before had been quite wet but the Saturday was a lovely sunny day, but not too hot, so perfect really. We traveled in two cars and met up for the walk.

The first feature garden we visited was The Japanese Garden of Contemplation. It had two parts; a dry part with raked pebbles and a wet part with a pond.

The row of shrubs at the front of the raked garden, although just slightly higher in appearance was quiet deep, something you only noticed when you looked deep down into it.

Many of the trees around the pond were a large version of a bonsai tree.

The next section was the English Flower Garden, the one I really liked.

It is a selection of different designs to create compartments within the area set aside for this garden, from a cottage style (the first photo here)
to a formal style the sort you would see at an English Manor. (the garden below with the pond)

Each had seats and statues, fountains or a pond for focal interest.

There were a couple of arched gateway-ed corridors to enter each 'room' with formal paved paths and boxed hedging.

In the formal garden there was a small flock of white homing pigeons that were quite interested in the goldfish in the pond.

All added to the desire to just sit and relax.

However by this time we had split into three groups.

Jan and Shona were well on their way and by the time we had finished were in the cafe and had finished their hot drinks.

Heather, Catherine, Judy and a friend were a bit ahead of us - Frances and I.

This pic is of us meeting up with the second group near the end.

The interesting thing is that the next day there was to be a scarecrow festival and set up around some parts were scarecrows. Heather is standing in front of one that occupied the seat we rested on and believe me he was pretty scary! - enough to scare more than the crows I'm sure!

The next garden we came to was the Chinese Scholars Garden. 

This had a walled entrance and little windows to look through to 'annex' rooms. Walking the path you cross bridges and wind your way up a bamboo lined path to a balcony that over looks the garden but also the Waikato river behind you.

One thing we noticed here was that the paving was in need of repair.

We also realized that someone in a wheel chair would not be able to access the gardens. Some of the paths were smooth enough but there were also stairs and rocky pathways so some gardens would not be accessible.

The next garden,  the American Modernist Garden, was not a fan for me. It was quite "concretey" and with succulents and abstract sculptures it just did not appeal.

What made it worse was that the 'sculpture' was taped off and the pool had no water in it. We were yet to decide what 'they' actually were. I suggested Felix the cat and Tweety bird but that is with a bit of a stretch of imagination.

Moving on we came to the bright Indian Char Bagh Garden with chalk like high walls. There is a rainbow coloured Persian carpet of flowers spreading out from a marble fountain, which unfortunately was not going. With all the white walls it was very hard on the eyes and the missing splashing water was not desirable. Even in the shade of the Pavilion it was still very 'gleary.' One had to take a careful look at the patterned ceiling so as not to get the sun in your eyes and also more stunning views of the River as you sat on the benches.

By this stage we thought we had lost sight of either of the other two groups but looking down from above we could see them in the next garden which was...

the Italian Renaissance Garden. This two was quite formal with a large fountain surrounded by lions as its central focus, geometrical shapes all around including the pools around the fountain and the twelve boxed gardens with different plant combinations and potted citrus trees in each corner.

Before descending into the walled garden you walk through an arched trellis work pathway and pass a sculpture depicting the original 5th century Capitoline wolf with Romulus and Remus.

The two babies, Romulus and Remus, were thrown into the Tiber River, which carried them to Platine where they were suckled by a she-wolf and then raised by a shepherd.

I didn't know this at the time and thought it an odd sculpture!

By leaving through a different exit we came into a small arena type area and Frances and I sat up the top to take it in and rest for a moment in the cool of some overhanging branches.

What was interesting was I was trying to get a photo of the wall but other people kept coming through the tunneled walkway.

In fact a group of Chinese people thought we were wanting to take photos of them and didn't seem to want to move!

In the end what amused me the most was I took my first selfie, with my camera and not my phone.

We wandered on to the productive section of gardens visiting the Sustainable Backyard with its chooks penned away. I did wonder looking at the garden if they ever let them out as I am sure from experience the garden would not have looked so established if the hens were allowed out to 'scratch'.

The Herb Garden had four beds in boxed sections separated for their purpose, - culinary, medicinal, cosmetic and perfume herbs. Two other sections contain herbs used for dyes and for herbal teas.

The Kitchen Garden was quite bare and seemed to be between seasonal plantings, which seemed a little odd to me as we had just had Queens Birthday weekend which is a typical time for plantings of summer crops for the vegetable gardener.

Before entering the Productive Collection of gardens there is a circular planting path like a wheel with the spokes being the path into each garden. On the edge was this sculpture of the Mad Hatter ready for his tea party from Alice In Wonderland.

There were some other gardens we looked at briefly but as some were either under construction or for some reason 'out of water' like the Tropical Garden, and being aware that we were way behind the others, we didn't linger and hurried back to the cafe.

So we had lunch together then headed back to our cars and on the way lingered to listen to some pipe bands as they were warming up and practicing for some competitions.

I thought how my father would love to have been here.