Christmas 2009

Posted in Food and Drink, Rants And Rambles on December 25th, 2009 by Coffee

As none of you are here for Christmas this year, I thought I’d document our day so you can share it with us. For half of you your day is over anyway, so may as well enjoy ours too. I’ll try to update this as we go…

It’s a pretty quiet Christmas planned for us this year. No plans except to eat and drink. Oh, and we’ve decided that we need to go for a walk outside each day too. So don’t expect much in the way of excitement!

Christmas for me starts on Christmas eve. Unfortunately we both had to work Christmas eve, but fortunately we both were working at home. Yay us!  So at 3pm we downed any tools that we might or might not have been using and started Christmas proper.  First up, a good old Kiwi classic. Can you tell what it is then?!


Not long after the table was cleared of that, out came the first stage of the Christmas entertainment: a puzzle!


Oddly enough, this is the  first puzzle I’ve known that the blue bits got done first!Brief pit stop for some pies (an no, not Christmas mince pies, some real ones), then back to the puzzling until we couldn’t see straight any more, so bed called.

And then it was Christmas proper!

After a bit of a slow start, mostly because the puzzle kept distracting us (“just one more piece, honest…”), we finally got breakfast together. Eggs Benidictish (one plateful with ham, one smoked salmon) with champers.


Once that had at least started to digest, it was pressie time!  Here’s the gifts we gave each other (clicky):


In case you’re not quite sure what you’re seeing: it is indeed a Christmas pudding; some nail clippers; 3 sauce jugs (one with matching plate); a milk pan; an egg timer, and an indoor/outdoor light up gnome!  I’ll leave you to guess who gave who what. Maybe we’ll make that into a quiz a bit later on!

We had slightly more luck from our gifts from others. Although to be honest, most of them we purchased ourselves after coming to an agreement with friends that this year we’d all just buy ourselves stuff that we wanted, and it would actually come from them… Worked for us! So here’s what you got us! (clicky)


Right, course 1 of “dinner” complete now. Slightly later than planned, but then we weren’t getting too hungry after breakfast anyway. Starter was Indian inspired fishcakes with mint and coriander sauce. yum.


Oh, and I can report puzzle was completed at 15:05. Now what?! Oh yeah, better start on course 2!…

Second course/meal of the day: Spicy sea bass and new potato salad.


Burp! There might be a small delay now while deal with what we’ve already eaten!

Ok. So we decided that we’d skip a course today so we could have it tomorrow. Straight to the cheese course it is then! Yum!


Now, can you follow up cheese with fruit pud and custard, or should that wait for another day too?.. .


Posted in Rants And Rambles on December 14th, 2009 by Coffee


It’s getting to be that time of year when the weatherpeople start teasing me.  Come Wednesday I bet this turns to rain or something.

Did I mention that I like snow?

Homeward bound

Posted in Travel on December 13th, 2009 by Bec

OK, you got us. Yes, we’ve been quiet for a while because we were away on yet another holiday. Yes, I know it’s not been long since the previous one, but it is only the second (real) one of the year…

About once every 2 years or so we manage to make a trip home, and usually there is a wedding involved.  This time wasn’t any different. The trip was centred around a family wedding.  So we left the dark and cold of the UK for 3 weeks to take in some longer days, warmer days (mostly), lovely NZ scenery, great food and wine, PIES, fish and chips, and of course family hospitality! You just have to put up with some strange looks from some of the locals who aren’t quite sure where you fit into things any more.


The flights are always long and tedious as we prefer to get them over and done with in as short as time as possible.  The flight out was surprisingly easy and seemed nice and short (for it’s 27 hours) due to the fact that we both managed to get a lot of sleep on the first, longest leg.  It meant we both suffered from the least amount of vacantness after such a long flight we have ever experienced and pretty much managed to hit the ground running as soon as we landed.

Which was just as well, as with any trip home things get a little complicated and busy. The movements this time went Christchurch to Alex to Dunedin to Alex to Christchurch.  Not bad really. It could have been worse!

The weather was a very mixed bag and most of the time we were really lucky with it.  The wind, I never remember NZ having so much wind, but apparently November is a very windy month.  It followed us down the island, from Christchurch to Alex and Dunedin.  But on the wedding day, it couldn’t have been more perfect, great sunshine and no wind – just what you need for an outside wedding.


We took our time driving to Dunedin from Alex, and stopped off at some little rest areas on the way to take some pics and we took a look at Gabriel s Gully, something neither of us have done for years – next time we may even take some time to do some of the walks it has.  In Dunedin we managed to play the tourist for a bit with a visit to the butterfly house in the Dunedin museum, set in a tropical rain forest environment (boy is it hot in there) over 3 levels.  It’s definitely worth the visit. You get to walk amongst the different types of lovely coloured butterflies who are quite happy to land on you.  It also has a goldfish pond and some turtles too, and some quail running around… Something for everyone! I’ll warn you now though, taking photos of flying butterflies is not easy!


Next on the tourist trail in Dunners was the new addition – the Chinese garden. Nice enough, but a) it needs a bit more time to establish itself and look like a real garden, and b) we’re still really sure what the point of it really is, and c) it seems pretty pricey for what it is for just a single visit.


If we had to pick one to visit, it would be the butterflies!

We also managed to watch Kevin in action at the auction house and he kept us entertained for a bit, but I can’t help but wonder how confused all the attendees were about where all the nanotubes being mentioned were hanging out!


The wedding was really good. It was a good size, not too many people there, and we even managed to pick up suntans on the wedding day – boy was it hot!  It was great to catch up with family and people we had not seen for a while.  All in all a good time.


If the trip out was great, the flights back lived up to their usual standard. The trip was long and tedious and tedious and long…  The only good thing was we got to experience a Qantas A380 plane for the first time on one of the legs. The main differences are:

  • it seems a lot, lot quieter;
  • the TV screens are larger, widescreen models;
  • it has a very cool webcam on the tail of the plane that you can watch from all flight (including taxiing, take off and landing);
  • the moving map thing has been updated to be a lot clearer and cooler;
  • but the wall is further away from the window seats so it’s not as easy to use them to lean on to sleep.

But we made it back almost in one piece (each). But almost a week later and we’ve still not managed to get back to proper UK sleep patterns! Early morning waking, and early evening falling asleep on the couch are not quite what we’d like, thank you!