Merry Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas Everyone!

In a wonderful confluence of weird retail scheduling and Christmas I ended up with Christmas Eve, Christmas and December 26th off. This is probably the second (third at most) day-after I’ve not worked in the past sixteen years so I’ll not complain.

This morning I was lucky enough to catch the lessons and carols from Kings College Chapel on the radio which was just wonderful. I may not be in the religious mind but the music is incredible. What voices! That’s a fine tradition, up there with listening to Arlo do Alice’s Restaurant on Thanksgiving.

Had a lovely lasagna dinner with the family at Kate and Aaron’s house tonight and we’ll return there tomorrow morning for gifting. We enjoyed some lovely New Zealand wine – The Ned Pinot Noir – with our dinner and then tucked into desserts of bouche noel and a Jello-Raspberry-Sherbet recipe from Peg’s childhood.

We’re expecting snow tomorrow according to the weather guys so we shall see. Meanwhile, have a peaceful Christmas Eve and may the Jingle Bells Be With You!

Tuesday, Akaroa to Oamaru

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We drove (well Marge drove while I gawked at scenery and sheep and took photos) from Akaroa to Oamaru today stopping for lunch along the way at a place called The Jolly Potter in Temuka.

Found our place in Oamaru and did a little walking to stretch our legs. After some computer catch-up time, we had dinner at the Portside restaurant a short distance and overlooking the water. Great meal as we watched the night come over the water and now we’re ready to rest up for tomorrow!

Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto. — Dale Carnegie

Tea – From the Quote Box

From a packaged tea bag today:

Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world. — T’ien Yiheng

Seriously one of the best things about travel to both NZ and Wales is the excellent tea service. The following was found here.

In accordance with the Chinese practice of prescribing the proper moment and surrounding for enjoying a thing, Ch’asu, an excellent treatise on tea, reads thus:

Proper moments for drinking tea:
When one’s heart and hands are idle.
Tired after reading poetry.
When one’s thoughts are disturbed.
Listening to songs and ditties.
When a song is completed.
Shut up at one’s home on a holiday.
Playing the ch’in and looking over paintings.
Engaged in conversation deep at night.
Before a bright window and a clean desk.
With charming friends and slender concubines.
Returning from a visit with friends.
When the day is clear and the breeze is mild.
On a day of light showers.
In a painted boat near a small wooden bridge.
In a forest with tall bamboos.
In a pavilion overlooking lotus flowers on a summer day.
Having lighted incense in a small studio.
After a feast is over and the guests are gone.
When children are at school.
In a quiet secluded temple.
Near famous springs and quaint rocks.

Moments when one should stop drinking tea:
At work.
Watching a play.
Opening letters.
During big rain and snow.
At a long wine feast with a big party.
Going through documents.
On busy days.
Generally conditions contrary to those enumerated in the above section.

Things to be avoided:
Bad water.
Bad utensils.
Brass spoons.
Brass kettles.
Wooden pails (for water).
Wood for fuel (on account of smoke).
Soft charcoal.
Coarse servant.
Bad-tempered maid.
Unclean towels.
All varieties of incense and medicine.

Things and places to be kept away from:
Damp rooms.
Kitchens.
Noisy streets.
Crying infants.
Hotheaded persons.
Quarrelling servants.
Hot rooms.

Akaroa New Zealand

Here are a few bonus photos of the place we’re staying and of the nearby lighthouse and harbor-view.

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Monday – Akaroa and The Giant’s House

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What a thing, The Giant’s House is. How lucky the maker, Josie Martin is to have come to this place, begin a garden, find some shards of china and begin this journey. Her life and art has merged nicely. The garden is a “Garden of National Significance” and in total it’s “The happiest garden on Earth”.

Doesn’t get much better! It rained while we were there, but it was impossible not to smile at the sculptures and the carefully placed pieces of china and cup handles and everything else, the topiary bushes, the beautiful plants and flowers and even the other visitors.

Check out all the photos here

Also pretty cool was this statue of a painter, Charles Meryon, who’d been stationed on a ship here. I thought the concept of the statue was pretty amazing.

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Sunday afternoon in Akaroa NZ

We left Christchurch, fortified with breakfast and a look at the Postcards from Antartica exhibit and started down the road to Akaroa. We stopped at Birdlings Flat after having had views of Lake Ellesmere. Quick stopat Little River (Gateway to Banks Peninsula) for a shop and lunch and at Barry’s Bay Cheese and and we were to Akaroa in no time.

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Looks like the drizzling is about stopped. We walked down in the rain to check out shops and maybe get a few groceries, but we found a good place to head tonight for fish and chips so we’ll put off shopping til tomorrow. Also on the agenda for tomorrow – The Giant’s House (The Happiest Garden on Earth)

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Finally, anyone who’s ever been to an event, quilt show or otherwise can attest to this bit of wisdom from the quote box:

There’s nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head. — Thornton Wilder

Saturday at the NZ Quilt Symposium

There was the merchant mall. I test drove some new Berninas and found out I could still machine quilt pretty darn well. Then I looked at a lot of quilts, in several locations around Christchurch and chatted up some of my fellow travelers. The quilts were very interesting overall and the winners much nicer in person than they’d been on the big screen during the awards presentation.

I walked home from the main venue. It was chilly and rainy. I was glad to think of a hot cup of tea in our room and was thrilled when the Egyptian Kebab shop across from the hotel was open for business! Lamb kebab for takeaway please. Ridiculously messy even with a fork.

Tonight was the big evening event – Carnival! Folks had brought all kinds of dress suitable for the occasion. There were food trucks with a variety of choices for both main course and dessert and bars with wine and beverages. Soon everyone was urged to sit down as the show was about to begin.

What a show it was. The troupe put on feats of amazing agility and daring and there was a lot of audience participation by way of clapping and cheering and two men from the audience got brought up on stage to assist with acts.

All in all a wonderful evening.

PS some of these photos I took of lights in a dark room I intentionally moved the camera to get some cool effects. I only had one glass of wine!

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Friday in New Zealand

Sort of squeaking this one in under the wire but hey, it was a pretty busy day! Got up and figured out a bus to take downtown. The bus ended at a terminal building where you can change buses but I started walking. It was only a few blocks and most of the morning commute was over. Saw some interesting things, new things, old things being fixed, and finally the Art Gallery. Went there because they had Matisse’s Jazz on display.

The lady who stowed my backpack said – oh yes but do see the other exhibits too. I did and it was great. Len Lye: Stopped by Wonder really did make me feel sometimes like a small child gaping up at the stars or a tree or something wonderful.

Upstairs there were wonderful paintings and sketches about landscape and place as well as another exhibit about sunlight.

Then it was off to the Canterbury Museum to hear Guy Fredericks speak about his work and his recent project, Postcards to Antarctica. I went to look at part of the exhibit afterwards and ended up chatting with his mother-in-law. Lovely woman. She sends a message out to the rest of the world: stop being in such a hurry. Slow down and be aware of what your actions do. Choose better.

Time to see some quilts and there were some in the area. How handy is that? There are quilt exhibits spread all over the city because the large convention center isn’t ready yet.

Spent some time afterwards in the Christchurch Botanial Gardens in the bedding area. So beautiful with so many types of flowers: tulips, oriental poppies, lilacs, azaleas, pansies, all sorts of bulbs. Lots and lots of forget-me-nots underneath classic red tulips.

Tonight dinner with other quilters at an excellent italian restaurant. Yummy!

We get to do it all again tomorrow.

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Things learned while riding along in NZ

There are plants here that have very different forms as juveniles, “adolescents” and mature plants. Think about it – most of the time if you look at a very young plant it looks like a tinier version of what it will be as a grown up. Not so this plant – I introduce you to horoeka – the lancewood

Thursday in New Zealand

A long drive from Murchison to Christchurch, filled with road construction and fantabulous views of mountains and geologic formations and rivers and all. It’s hard to be upset when the nice man says sorry there will be a half hour delay because they’re working on the road above here, and there’ a convenient food truck to get a drink – in my case a nice hot tea. Little break and then we were on our way.

All told between Picton and Christchurch about 30 points of being stopped for one way traffic because of road repair. Everything kept moving along pretty well in reality. Most of the repairs were because the roads are getting a lot more use than normal due to re-routing from earthquake blocked highways.

Got to the hotel and found our way to the school and got Marge all registered. While she was getting a tutor’s briefing, I went in and looked at the tutors’ quilts and two of the special exhibits. Then it was off to a happy hour and finally onto a bus bound for the Transitional Cathedral for the Opening event and awards ceremony. A good time was had by all. Can’t wait to check out the other exhibits.

As always, all the photos via the link at upper right.

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