Posted in House on February 28th, 2011 by Coffee

Finally! We got to see some painting action!

Can’t say it was really a highlight! Watching it dry might have been more interesting!

But the good news was that our project manager had managed to work out a way to get us into the house earlier. The bad news is that that was before the earthquake. So we’re not sure when the final date might be now, but from all the information we should hopefully not be too badly affected, and we shouldn’t be too far. Sigh. But as per last time, if there’s any way anyone can carry on with their work they’re giving it a go and cracking on with things.

Container update

Posted in Rants And Rambles on February 25th, 2011 by Coffee

(And no, I’m not talking about the state of our backyard hole!)

Looks like our stuff has made it to Singapore. Through all the chaos in Egypt and through the canal, crept past all the pirates off Somalia, and into harbour and offloaded on the dock there.

So the ADRIAN MAERSK is longer the most important ship in the world to us, the MAERSK DUNBAR now holds that honour, but it’s not due to collect the container until the first week of March and move it on to Auckland.

An earthquake update? Nah. Bored of it all now. The only thing you really need to know is that we’re no longer restricted to the back yard…

Although whether there’s a port in action for it to arrive into at some point in the future, and whether the house is ready on time to receive everything we’ll just have to wait and see.

We’re ok!

Posted in Rants And Rambles on February 23rd, 2011 by Coffee

We’re all ok here. Shaken and tired, and still having to sit through the long series of aftershocks to the aftershock…

This is the current reality of life:

But as this is currently all we’ve got to worry about, we’re doing ok.

I’m not even thinking about the house at the moment. Or how or where our stuff will arrive!

When is a lamb’s ear not a lamb’s ear?

Posted in Plants and Gardens on February 20th, 2011 by Coffee

When it’s a Verbascum thapsus (Great or Common Mullein), of course! We finally managed to persist in our research long enough to track down the actual plant name.

But I think they might always be lamb’s ears to us!

And despite our best efforts to date at digging them all out, there’s still a huge number appearing as single rosettes or in little clumps around the place. We keep digging them out, and they keep popping back up. I guess it’s just going to be an ongoing war until either the seed bank or ourselves are exhausted. We’ll see who gives in first.

But having seen what happens if you leave them to it in Central, I think we’ll keep making the effort!

Hacking holes in the walls… Already!

Posted in House on February 17th, 2011 by Coffee

When the guys came to install all the Gibb they decided for some reason (known only to themselves) not to cut out some little holes over two of the gang boxes we’d installed for some rear speakers. So for some reason (known only to our builder) we had to work out where they were likely to be lurking behind the Gibb, and hack away at the walls so we could drag the wires out before the painters finally got around to painting.

It was actually quite scary drilling into the walls with only blind faith that the boxes were where I thought they were. Especially with an audience that wasn’t exactly oozing confidence! Luckily it all went well, and we managed to get the locations right. Whew!

The other highlight today was seeing the “spare” bath installed on its plinthy thing that the builder had created. Seeing and trying it out, I should say!

And while we didn’t actually see any actual painting, there were at least half a dozen painters all standing around waiting for their brushes or the paint to turn up or something. So we hope by now there might be some colour somewhere!

Lunching with Ladies in Lyttleton

Posted in New Zealand on February 16th, 2011 by Coffee

Deciding we better start to make the best of the rest of summer, and the “days off” when we’ve little else scheduled in, we scheduled in a lunch with Emma in Lyttleton. And a lovely lunch it was too, on another stunning summers day! Thanks Emma!

It was also our first real visit to Lyttleton. (The last time was when we were test driving a car, where we went around the roundabout at the end of the tunnel and straight back into town). A pretty cool place it was too. A really different feel to the place than the bigger neighbour over the hill. We might well have to try a few more cafes and bars there.

Before that, when we were trying to find a park that wasn’t a 60 minute one we ended up way up the hill at a lookout where we had a birds eye view of the port action. A cruise ship and a container ship both loading and unloading their respective cargoes. Buses for one, and the strange but cool little vehicles that move the containers around for the other. We didn’t have too much time to stare then, but after lunch we wandered back up the hill to the better viewing spot and sat and stared for a while more. We decided that the Star Wars Imperial Walkers are based on the little carriers.

We could have sat and watched for hours, but we were getting a bit sunburnt by this stage, so we decided that we can go back any time we like (at the moment at least) and stare a bit more. Notice the “we’ll” there. I think Bec was more interested and excited by it than I was! But then it does have some special meaning for us, as it’ll be where our stuff gets unloaded, assuming it makes it this far! We’ll just have to work out where the website is that’ll tell us when all the interesting ships are in. If we can get a coal, timber, and container ship in at the same time, that would be fantastic!

A very last minute call (so late that we had to go around the roundabout one-and-a-half times) had us take the curly scenic route back along the coast to Governors Bay, where we had to drop in to the pub there for a quick refreshment in the garden bar before coming back over the hill.

A really enjoyable day out!

Moving towards the final phase?…

Posted in Food and Drink, Plants and Gardens on February 12th, 2011 by Coffee

Looks like the plasterers have now finished work. If they haven’t then they spent a lot of time cleaning up their (not inconsiderable) mess for nothing! So today’s excitement was seeing things that we’ll actually see once the place is finished coming into the site, ready to be installed.

Ok, so a few boxes of vanity units aren’t all that exciting, but it does seem like some progress to us! There was just something about seeing them that made me feel like we’d really turned a corner, and all the construction was now complete, and we’re onto the final stages. Finally!

Mind you, there are still a lot of skirting boards still to be cut and fitted, but seeing a lot of them in today was also another reminder that we’re into the finishing stages of making things look good, rather than holding things up.

And as an added bonus, we managed to increase our zucchini production 100% over the last few days, without doing anything! Today we harvested two, instead of the last record of one! I feel a graph coming on if you’re not careful!

We also harvested most of the rest of the beetroot as we desperately needed to find a bit of space to plant the potted celeriac plants that were starting to look a bit cramped. You can buy tinned beetroot, but I’m not sure you can get celeriac quite so easily!

A somehow familiar start to a story…

Posted in House, Plants and Gardens on February 8th, 2011 by Coffee

On Sunday it was way, way, waaaaaaaay too hot to go out to the land (38 degrees C outside at some stage);
Yesterday it was way, way, waaaaaaay too wet to go out to the land (it rained for every daylight minute);
But today it was juuuuuuuust right for a trip to the land!

So we went.

First up, checking the drains that that guys had finished off once they’d helped us plonk our irrigation pipe in the trenches. And mighty fine drains they are too! These guys obviously take a lot of pride in their work.

Next job, using all the excess Batts we managed to grab to add a token level of insulation to the roof of the pump shed, hopefully making it just that little less likely that all the pipes will freeze. (Not that that’s likely right at the moment. Still beautiful weather at the moment.) Not that we’ve really got the right Batts for the job, but it’s better than nothing.

Pretty horrible work really, we had to keep taking breaks to get a few breaths of clean air. We really should have rescued the Batts before they started all the plastering and sanding and stuff. Duh! Looking in at some stages it looked like we were setting the shed up for some sort of weirdly themed party. Maybe an undersea theme? But in the end we got there, and the whole roof has been covered.

A quick cough or 20 later and we were ready for the next task. Adding a bit of hare and wind protection to the larger trees before they get munched any more. We’ll see if they stand up to the first gale that whips though!

Last task for the day was to harvest some goodies! A (single) zucchini, and seven beetroot. Yum, yum! All to be eaten fresh for tea tonight. Gutted the photos of the just harvested beetroot didn’t come out (too bright to see the camera screen to check them at the time. Grrrr.) but we did manage a photo of the cooked up stuff, and it was all good!

Pipe Installed

Posted in House on February 5th, 2011 by Coffee

After a bit of faffing about, we managed to get the joiners on and the pipe extended enough to get past the far end of the house. Whew!

Now we’ll just have to work out just what to do with it at the far end. I’m guessing some sort of mini shed with a line of valves in it would be ideal. But that can wait for now. A few more important things to sort first than the watering of non-existent plants and lawns.

Re-enacting history?

Posted in House on February 3rd, 2011 by Coffee

We got a late call last night to tell us that the drainage guys would be starting their bits and pieces soon. Very soon, in fact. Like this morning soon!


Once again we had to organise a few things to happen in a hurry so that we could take advantage of the new trenches that they were digging. (Last time we had just about the same amount of notice to organise ourselves to get the water pipes into the power trench in case you’d forgotten (or I didn’t write about it at the time…))

This time we’re piggybacking on the drainage trenches to run one of the water pipes down past the house so we can use it for any irrigation for the back half of the land.

So the place is starting to look like we’re trying to re-enact some sort of battle from WW1!

Pity the plumber didn’t turn up when they were supposed to though so we could finish it all off today. We need them to shorten the pipe that provides water to the house so we can use the leftover bit to extend the other water pipe past the house (along with another couple of bits of pipe we have lying around).

It turns out it’s cheaper for us to buy lots of joiners to join all these little bits of pipe together than it is to buy a new longer length of pipe, as you can only buy that pipe in 50 meter plus lengths. That might be a bit more than we need right now.

Looks like we’ll have to go out again tomorrow to have all that joining up fun and games. Expect a report then unless we drown in the process!

Have to say that once again the guys out there have been fantastic so far in allowing and assisting us to make the most of their trenching. I still believe that if we tried to do anything like this in the UK we’d be told to dig a new trench instead.