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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