Monthly Archives: February 2010

Rock On Kiwi Music

Strangely .... I knew what was in the envelope .....

So – now we get to the reason for the trip away. 



Annie’s Birthday!!!


The main event was attending  “The More FM Winery Tour ”   

The Winery Tour

  – which does not, despite the name, mean that we got to tour a bunch of wineries. The only people touring a large number of wineries are the performers  giving  the Tour.  (Well, I believe there are a few fanantical followers of one or other of the musicians who have bought tickets to every single concert over the whole country. (I guess those people have no jobs and lots of money …… hmmmm…… seems an unlikely combination…….)) 

We went to the concert at the Villa Maria vineyard near Blenheim in the Marlborough wine region and the performers  for the concert we attended were: 

Opening act – Boh Runga & Che Fu, 

The main thing – Bic Runga, Tim Finn & Dave Dobbyn. 

This was the line-up for most of the performances around the country, but a few of the bigger centres also had some other bands or local artisits. Dave Dobbyn is my all time favourite New Zealand musician – he writes and sings the kind of stuff that has layers of meaning anyway, and added to our own memories and experiences that these songs have been the backdrop for means that I shed the occasional tear during some of the songs. 

This is the music all New Zealand has grown up with, so everyone was there from the grandmas & grandpas to the babes in arms.  The atmosphere was fantastic and the police officers on duty  should have been glad to be getting paid to attend a great evening out – ‘cause they sure didn’t need to be doing anything else much to earn their pay. 

In front of us were a group of older (well, late middle age!) couples and then beside them two families with pre-teen and young teen kids.  I think the craziest dancing was done by one of the older guys – especially towards the end of the evening when he’d had a few drinks!!! 

We were sitting about 2/3rds of the way back, so we don’t have great photos – but here they are. (Charliebug – Tim is there especially for you!)  And following our photos are a couple of reviews from the local newspapers in the area. I can’t really top anything the reviews have said. 

Tim Finn - especially for my Aussie Postcrossing pal CharlieBug!

Some of the audience

Meeeah - not sure who they are .....

Tim on keyboard, Dave & Bic


'Welcome Home'


ARTISTS Villa Maria Estate, Blenheim – 12 Feb 2010

Dave Dobbyn, Tim Finn and Bic Runga provided a revolving door of Kiwi classics and the crowd loved it at the More FM Winery Tour concert at Villa Maria Estate on Friday night. 

The show was opened by Boh Runga who played from her album Right Here, which was released last July. 

She was joined by Che Fu for a duet rendition of Come Together by the Beatles. 

Their 40-minute set saw those dancing in front of the stage slowly grow in number. 

Then the three Kiwi music powerhouses took to the stage to a loud reception, playing Crowded House’s Weather With You, which had people flooding to the front. 

The sun was hot until it sunk below the hills and the event was nestled away from the wind providing the perfect setting for doing just as Dobbyn instructed: “letting your hair down and getting a bit of culture”. 

As the light began to fade the once-orderly rows of spectators at the front had dissolved into a writhing mass of singing and dancing. 

During crowd favourites such as Split Enz anthem I See Red, Bic Runga’s Sway, and Dobbyn classics Slice of Heaven and Loyal, dancing punters could be seen in all directions, silhouetted against the stage lighting or fading sunlight. 

Finn was as energetic as ever, especially during I See Red where he was practically bouncing around the stage. 

They left the stage after 50 minutes, and the crowd’s cries for an encore were granted. 

The stage lit up to show Runga, Dobbyn and Finn without supporting band members, sitting on stools with acoustic guitars playing Runga’s Something Good. 

Then the electric guitars and the band returned for some more popular tunes. 

They signed off with Dobbyn’s sing-along Welcome Home and the massive throng before the stage roared its approval with the fading music.
Michael Berry – Marlbrough Express 


ARTISTS Fine talent captivates all 

With a mysterious intensity that made every woman aged over 50 swoon, Tim Finn stole the show last night.
Alice Cowdrey, Nelson Mail – February, 2010 

Breaking out into the possessed dance moves he refined back in the days if Split Enz, Finn was a bright spark you couldn’t drag your eyes off during last night’s gig. 

Wearing a black coat lined with red, Finn’s tortured genius dance moves had him working up a sweat as he pulled out all the Enz classics – Couldn’t Be Done, Dirty Creature, I See Red, and Six Months in A Leaky Boat. One of the 1800 strong crowd favourites was Finn’s 1983 hit Fraction too Much Friction, with hoots from the audiences and a lighter happy fan getting a bit close for comfort. 

The tour is the first time in 10 years the legendry trio have shared the stage. Back in 2000, they released the Together in Concert album and last night played many of the tunes on that album as if they had been practicing every night since. 

These included Dave Dobbyn’s tear jerker Beside You, and his Kiwi classics Whaling and Language. Bic Runga’s gentle tune Sway and Finn’s well known tunes Weather With You and Persuasion. 

The night opened with Bic’s sister Boh who was accompanied by Supergroove’s smooth and soulful Che Fu. The pair, who are performing together for the first time during the 18-date tour have perfectly suited voices. Che Fu did a lighter version of Chains, as well as Fade Away and Misty Frequencies, with Runga performing solo tracks and songs from the Stellar* songbook, including radio pop hit Violent. 

The main act, however was worth the wait and exceeded expectations. The trio played a good mix of each other’s songs and the tracks people wanted to hear, such as Loyal, which dragged even the less enthusiastic on to their feet. 

The sound of “da-da-da” would have been heard for miles during Dobbyn’s Slice of Heaven, and Welcome Home was the cheery on the top for many. 

Dobbyn was, as usual full of good graciousness and feel good messages for the crowd (“God Bless” and “you are in fine voice and great heart”) and the backing band was tight. Backing vocals were performed by soul jazz songstress LA Mitchell, whose live sound never fails to impress. 

The scene on the night was a happy one, but my only grizzle is that the venue, as always was squashed. The mob of dancers had to spread out onto people’s picnic blankets and I think I stood on someone’s bacon and egg pie. Sorry.

Close Encounters of a Pukeko Kind

(Ken, don’t read this – You’ve been warned OK?)

As you may remember (check here if you don’t – linkie) boggy roadsides and pasture are the one of the favoured hangouts of one of our common New Zealand  birds, the pukeko.  I think  I also mentioned that pukekos are not very bright about roads.

As we started our drive away on our holiday, it was about the time of evening that the pukekos like to graze. So there’s any number of them out in the paddocks (fields) and PB & I are discussing how we must try to get some better  close-up photos of them on this trip.

Then two pop up out of the ditch on the side of the road.  And cross the road.  Just as we are driving towards them. Just as a car is coming towards them on the other side of the road also.  Did I mention before that pukekos aren’t the brightest

We hit one.

The car hit one.

I did mention before that pukekoes are not very road-savy didn’t I?

At least the vehicles didn’t hit each other.

There was no way to avoid them.

It was them, or the other car, or end up in the ditch.

We stopped – the car didn’t.  The one we hit with the van was, well, dead.

PB couldn’t find the other one, so we hope it just got clipped but was OK.

So that was a bad start to our holiday.

Our record  for the whole trip.


–  Pukekoes   1

–  Small nasty insects  100’s

Near Misses

–          Pukekoes 3

–          Rabbits 2

–          Quail families  5+  (also not very bright about crossing the road)

–          Harrier hawks  1

–          Small birds 10+

 In the end we never did get any really good close-up pic of the pukekos. Here are a few of our efforts.

Annie's Pukeko stalking effort

Parent & Baby

Pukeko & Friends


And here are some other pukeko we spotted on the trip.

Camper Pukeko

Motueka Pukeko

Market Pukeko

Pukeko Couple


And coming soon to a blog near you are a number of new entries:

A Cache A Day    (including another surprise FTF !)

Limestone Country

Rock On Kiwi Music!


 Freedom Camping in New Zealand (or Would You Poo behind a Bush?)

Sing along with me …

“We’re all going on a summer holiday, no more working …… ” 

Right – now that all my Northern Hemisphere readers, especially the ones with nasty snow, are quite jealous – I’ll tell you where we’re going!

Firstly to a place called St Arnard in the Nelson Lakes District, then to Blenheim in the Marlbourgh wine district for a concert in a winery. After that to a  geocaching event near Nelson City and finally, hopefully, to a little patch of the middle of nowhere around about Golden Bay.

Now you’ve two options, you can look all those places up on a map OR you can wait for me to come home with a whole bunch of photos and postcards to show you what it was like!  So, up to you really …….

Chat amongst yourselves for the next ten days or so, but I’d also really appreciate it if you commented and answered these few questions. Which as you see, will apply whether you’ve been here from the start (Hi Ken!!!!) or this is the first time ever that you visited my blog.  (I’d LOVE some comments from newcomers about how the heck you ended up here!!)

1) How long have you been visiting this blog? ( Answers may range from 4 minutes – 4 months or any where in between.)

2) How did you happen to find my blog? (Via Twitter, Flickr, Postcrossing, randomly, someone else’s blog etc etc etc…)

3) Which content do you read most? (Postcrossing, geocaching, pets, randomness etc etc….)

4) Any other comment you’d like to make!!

I will be back – see you all Monday week!

Best Wishes and happy snowfights/sunny days to you all as appropriate.



Country Road

FTF is a geocaching term that  stands for ‘First to Find.’  Now this isn’t something that usually happens to us – it’s a bit of an extra game that some geocachers enjoy chasing. What is means is that you are the first person to find a geocache that has recently been hidden.  This particular one had been in its secret spot for a week now, and a couple of other caching teams have had a look for it. So we didn’t necessarily expect that we would find it. However the scarey fact is that we must be beginning to think like the person who hid this one, because we found it in a few seconds.

Signing the Log

Geocaching is at its basis a giant world-wide scavenger hunt!! Go to the right spot, find the right thing, sign the logbook to prove you were there, and that’s it. Sounds simple –right??

Ah ha – not necessarily so. The challenge of the game is that what’s hidden can only be found at a certain geographic location (or  983,726 certain locations as the case may be)  and that you need (in general) to use a GPS receiver to find the right spot and the ability to think outside the square to find the hidden box .  And the fun of it is there are as many deviously minded folk out there hiding these little suckers as there are deviously evil places to hide them, and the combination makes for some great adventures. Because you could be out for a simple stroll in the park with the family, looking for a lunch box sized or larger plastic container hidden under a tree, or you could be abseiling down a rock face, looking for a something the size of a matchbox hidden in a rock amongst a gazillion other rocks.

And the beauty of geocaching is that you often end up in amazing scenic spots, informative historical locations, quirky places that only the locals in an area know about, at fun artworks or intriguing old relics or any other number of interesting places that you never knew about before.

For some people the fun is in finding as many geocaches as they can, or as quickly as they can, or before anyone else (hence the FTF thing), or as many different types as possible – or any other  ‘game’ they make of it themselves.  For me, it’s mostly about the places geocaching takes me and the fun PB and I have together – whether we find the pesky little things or not.

Today, we ended up on a beautiful country road that we’d never been down before, and found an interesting old farming relic, and as a bonus we WERE the first to find!!

"Why can't I get this started!!"

The spiders are happy to have homes.

Not going anywhere fast!

So go here:  and find out how many geocaches are near you. Just enter your town or postcode. And if you have a GPS go out and find one!!!

Waitangi Day

February 6th – Waitangi Day.

  I guess the closest  I could get to comparing  what this might be like is the 4th July.  However, I think our national day has been more a day of discord and dissention than I have ever heard that 4th July is.  It marks the day that the Treaty of Waitangi  – considered to be New Zealand’s founding document  – was signed in 1840.

The issues arise from the fact that the treaty in its Maori and English versions does not seen to say quite the same thing, so the Maori chiefs that signed were not agree to quite what the English signatories were agreeing to, on behalf of Queen Victoria.

This year, there were no protests at the official celebrations at Waitangi, as there often are.  So that’s a good thing. The debate this year seems to be mostly taking place in the media, and focussing around whether New Zealand needs to change  our flag.

At present this is our flag:

Current New Zealand flag

Flying the flag


These are some of the other contenders,  each of which has their pros and cons.

The 'Maori' flag

The 'Maori' Flag

Original United Tribes Maori Flag

Original United Tribes Maori Flag

Based on our famous Silver Fern

Which one do you like???


Flags on display

For your average Kiwiw today wasn’t spend arguing about flags though.  It was probably spent in the sun somewhere, at a  beach or a barbeque, hanging out with family & friends.

We went to the local Waitangi Day Picnic that the District Council and  the Lions Club put on. Free bbq and hangi and icecream for the kids.

Dinner is almost cooked!

Unfortunately we didn’t stay long enough for the hangi – I guess that is the slight disadvantage of cooking your meal in a hole in ground is that it’s a bit unpredictable as to when it is ready.  It’s a pity because I wanted to take a picture of the food  for you all. The hangi is the traditional Maori way of cooking – the basic principles are dig a hole in the ground, full it up with a fire to heat up the soil and specially selected rocks. Once the fire has almost burnt out the ash is removed and the prepared food is put in the hole. Some hot coals and the rocks remain and soil is quickly piled on top so that there is minimum escape of heat.  Now days the food – pork, chicken, lamb, kumara, potatoes, pumpkin, cabbage – is wrapped in foil and muslin cloth and placed in wire baskets in the hole.  In traditional times leaves and woven baskets were used.  The food is partly baked by the hot rock, partly steamed by the water tipped on the rock and sack used to cover them, and partly partly pressure-cooked.

 There were other entertainment – music, things for the kids, some craft stalls and just the chance to hang out in the sun.

A young Matador

You didn't know we had Rhinos in NZ did you!?

Lining up for food

Musicians performing

Time to just hang out.

The day was also marked for us by picking our first wild blackberries, and making a blackberry & apple pie.  Yummmmmm.

First Blackberries, Last Raspberries

Pie by Chef PB

The City of Bridges.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA is sure going to get added to my list of places to visit!!! A city that has 446 bridges – that is three more bridges than Venice, Italy – is a must do.  Apparently this is a world record for number of bridges in a city! And I could write you something about all the bridges in Pittsburgh – but someone bet me to it.   This website – Bridges and Tunnels of Allegheny County & Pittsburgh, PA will tell you everything you could ever want to know about Pittsburgh’s bridges. And here  are some more great photos. The first photo should be a daytime version similar to the purple postcard below.

These are some postcards  I have received recently:

This one from a private swap via the Postcrossing forums

Pittsburgh Sunset

 And this one was very kindly sent to me by PostMuse when I adopted some of her postcards.

City Lights of Pittsburgh

 This  beautiful covered bridge is the Logan Mills Covered Bridge, which is in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, so that’s another great reason to visit this corner of the US of A.

Covered Bridge

You say, I say

It’s weird sometimes – how just one little word can change the meaning of a sentence, or completely confuse us. 

Take ‘Kiwi’ – for instance.  Are you talking about me – that is, a person from New Zealand, or is it that small brownish oval shaped fuzzy fruit that’s green inside, or then again, is it that truly peculicar flightless bird with th really long beak and the really large eggs – and who also comes from New Zealand????  Language is a very strange thing …..

You would think, at first glance that NZ and the US, or NZ and the UK, or even NZ  and that far West Island called Australia, were pretty much the same. But thanks to the invention of Postcrossing, blogs, Twitter, Flickr and other marvels of modern technology, I’m learning more and more how different we are .

Laundry is today’s topic of discussion. At the moment, due to having no kitchen, we are washing our dishes in the laundry tub (well, not actually IN the tub – but in a plastic crate, in the tub.Who knows what last got washed in my laundry tub!!!)

The first point to note is that, in fact, I’d usually say ‘washing’ instead of ‘laundry’ (the clothing etc.)  And probably ‘wash-house’ instead of laundry (the room where-in resides the washing machine.) So that’s different.  And generally (when it’s sunny)  I peg my washing outside on the ‘clothes line’ to dry.  When it’s not sunny (usually) I put my washing on the ‘clothes horse’ to dry.  In fact, I don’t even own a ‘clothes dryer’ (as in the machine that tumbles the washing around and blows hot air on it until it’s dry!!)

However – the word under discussion currently is  laundry ‘tub.’

Tub and Washing Machine

Here is a picture of it – well, a picture of half of it and half of my washing machine:

This is my laundry tub, or laundry sink, or washing tub.  Nowdays all kinds of random stuff is likely to get washed in there, but not  the washing.  (It does have the ripply bit down the side that you would use for doing the washing in it!!)  The washing machine does  drain into it though.

So – do you have a thing like this in your laundry (or wash-house) and if so, what word do you use for it.

And did your mum/mom use one of these to do her laundry/washing?? Because my mum did!!

A wringer washing machine

And while we’re discussing household appliances – what DO you call that thing that you use to suck up rubbish off the floor. NO, not the dog.  The machine!!!

Maintenance Run

We’d had the third DNF on one of our caches on Monday. Even though it is a cache that does have a tendancy to migrate seasonally as the vegetation changes, we though that three in a row was a bit much, and it was probably gone.

It was a lovely bright sunny day, so when PB got home from work we decided a little maintenance run was in order, as we’d had another cache in that direction to check a few things on also.

So off we went to our ‘lost’ cache – replacement in hand – as surely it was gone. But no, no, no there it was, a mere metre or two from where it should be.   It was a tad damp, so we sat it in the sun to dry out and busied ourselves with other things – PB lookingfor a new spot and taking co-ords, and I with playing around with the camera (seem to be doing that a lot lately for some reason……)

Not so 'lost' cache.

This is one of the shots that I got –  no special effect involved  at all –  it’s just what the light was doing shimmering off the river and through the leaves of all the trees around.

Special Effects

Once everything was dried out  a bit, I re-bagged the log book, and we settled the cache in its new spot – tucked under a particular branch this time, so hopefully easier for people to replace in the correct spot.

We carried on our way, past  an old disused garage where some even older cars are parked up. So of course that was a chance for a photo stop as well!  If it wasn’t mind-bogglingly hot standing out on the asphalt, I would have tried a few more angles too.

Old Cars

We tried to check on another which is a multi/puzzle, but couldn’t check the final due to maintenance crews in the area, so that will be another trip. And when we got to the WP, there was that worrying look of slashed vegetation. Yes the trees near the sign had been trimmed, but the container was still safely tucked away in its place behind the sign.

There’s another cache that we’ve had a few issues with – the kind where the cache owner goes  ‘It’s a difficulty 3, terrain 5 multi. Of course you’re going to have to do a bit of work!!!!!’   when cachers claim that it’s not there.  Over its life span thus far, very experienced and not so experienced cachers have claimed that each & every part of it was definitely missing  at various times– and when we, upon investigation, have found that said ‘bit’ is definitely NOT missing.   So we’re a bit sceptical when logs say that part of it is missing.  But this time – they were right!!! So the last laugh is on us.  We need an horrible little film canister to fix it too – do you know how impossible they are to get these days!!!?

A is for Annie

Maybe there is a WP or two in this picture?

So we trotted off to PB’s mum’s – to drop in her copy of Dogs that Blog: the Australian Cattle Dog Edition (which finally arrived!) and to pilfer a film canister that I’d seen lying on her garage bench. I think it probably belongs to PB’s brother – JemNZ, but never mind, all’s fair in love and war when caching is concerned!!!!

We were 2/3rds successful with our mission: calendar dropped off and suitably admired, flower photos –  that I’d been trying to get for a couple of days – taken, but film canister filtched – NOPE – we forgot.

Daisy Line-up

Daisy Close-up

Ah well ….. there’s always another day.

 And speaking of days – if you need another calendar (and who doesn’t) go here and buy one starring all the most handsome Blue Heelers in the world ….. and not to forget Norwood!!! 

Ours arrived yesterday and they are awesome!!

 Dogs That Blog – Australian Cattle Dog Edition! 

Dogs That Blog

Enter the code SHADOW for the next two day only and get 15% off!!

Fat Chance …..

Now that the French doors are in, and the west wall will be finished today, I though I’d drag an old chair from the bedroom out where I can sit in the sun – or the breeze – from the doors.

I sat on it yesterday. For about half an hour. Peacefully reading my book.  Then I got up to go to the toilet.  I was only gone for a couple of minutes:

"Thanks Mum! this will be just great for looking out the doors."

Fat chance of me ever sitting in that chair again!!!


His sister took it over later in the evening:

"Yea - it'll do. I don't like the Ruger cooties though."

 Hmm ….. I really must wash that glass……..

  it’ll stay clean for oh, about five minutes, I guess.


Until it gets covered with dog snot.