Wednesday, April 13, 2011


It was lovely to wake up this morning with the gorgeous view of the sun peering through the clouds over Otama Beach. I'd had a broken night so wasn't energetic enough to get up and take photos. They will come later today.

In the meantime I made coffee and turned on TV. We have Sky here and that's a change for us. I went to the travel channel and watched an Englishman's tour of part of the Civil War Trail. Washington, Maryland and Virginia. This aspect of US History always makes me want to cry. The second program was in Utah, Salt Lake City, not too much, a Cowboy Ranch and the amazing Arches and Monumental Parks.

I felt quite emotional. I have a heart connection with USA. Where did it come from? I've no idea. I just know that as I come to a place of peace regarding the non-possibility of us ever returning to follow our travel dream there, I still love all things North American. It's a little bit weird but I don't mind. There is another place I have this heart identification with. It is the country of my Great Grandfather, Poland. I can become very emotional when Poland is in the news and identify with the people there. I guess it's part of my heritage but that is not the case with North America. There my connection is more spiritual through some terrific churches such as Bethel in Redding, Ca and Catch The Fire in Toronto, Canada. Funny how other aspects of my heritage do not have the same hold. Another Great Grandfather was Swiss, and then there are the English and Irish.

We still hope to travel USA but I'm at peace as to whether we do or not. We've even decided which RV brand, (Lazy Daze), if the opportunity to travel overseas opens up. We are interested in the various trails, eg, Oregon Wagon, Trail Of Tears, Route 66, wild flowers when the dessert blooms, Deep South, Tennessee, North West Coast, Canada, Friends all over, and much more just to give ourselves some kind of focus so that we don't wander aimlessly. On our first trip we kept our "Must Do," agenda small so that we could wander in between as we heard about other places we might like. Our list was small. Grand Canyon, Flamingo in the Everglades, Kennedy Space Centre. Key West became possible as did the Indianapolis Raceway, Santa Fe, Pagosa Springs, Lake Havasu for a giggle and Joshua NP. Our other two trips were shorter so we had to be fairly specific to make the most of our time without exhausting ourselves driving too far.

My RVer's Blog list is far too long but mostly I keep up. I keep telling myself not to add another but then I come across one that's too good to bypass. There are so many wonderful writers and photographers. I can travel along with them whether they be at home, in between trips or Full Timers on the road. It's all interesting and important information is being gleaned for our maybe future trip. Following Blogs is filling a gap and rather than making me more restless is satisfying my need to know more about North America.

Sometimes I wish we'd discovered the RV world when we were younger but Life has it's own seasons and looking back we have needed to be within calling distance of our family. We have found freedom and yes, happiness, within this constraint. Not many New Zealanders have been able to travel to the degree we have, or even see as much of New Zealand. We have paid a price. Our finances for now are Zilch but what memories.

I'm going to start a series on a trip we had in the South Island. I think it was 2008. I need my diary to get it right. It seems like yesterday but a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since that trip. (This too will have to wait until we are home again. See note below.)

Now I will save this until after I've been for a photo walk.

Later:- Ooops! I forgot I'm not using my laptop but a friend's PC and have no idea how to add my photos. They'll have to wait until I can use my wireless internet again.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Our mornings are decidedly chilly. We are supposed to be having sunny days but there's a weird thing happening. The high pressure area over New Zealand is bringing us cool cloudy weather. I love autumn but not this kind. It takes a long time for the sun to burn through ... then it's lovely.

We're getting ready to go over a to a friend's place to baby sit the cats and dog while they have a holiday. It's a view to die for and only 15 or so minutes from home.

Last night I had a chat with one of our South Island sons. D lives in the country S.E. of Christchurch. He drives for a local transport company and this last week was carting fertiliser from the Lyttleton Wharf to a depot. It's a job that has to be done as quickly as possible so the ship can be turned around. It's all trucks on the road, or as many as are available and D was called back to work on the last day of his holiday. I asked him about the roads because I'd been reading a news item. He said the road is very rough. They have to go over the Evans Pass Road which is quite steep. Not sure why they can't use the tunnel because it's open in spite of the damage. He also said that while the Ferrymead Bridge has been strengthened he has some reservations about the approaches. I have spent far too much time making a map and losing it and trying to source a photo of the Ferymead Bridge. I know there are some goo one's on line but where????

It's difficult to live in a city where 150 years of development is destroyed in a minute. Thank goodness it was only a portion of Christchurch but 0f the 2000km of road 1000 km is damaged. The earthquake on September 2010 caused about 1200 road defects. After February 22nd 3800 cracks, slumps, humps need repair, not to mention the cordoned off area in the centre of the city.

People are becoming angry and frustrated with the rate of progress but the reality it that it's going to take a very long time to rebuild or restore. You don't just pick up 150 years of growth and put it back in place. There is planning and organisation and money and manpower required. There is an order which is not always apparent those far off let alone those close up. My heart goes out to those who are badly affected but the truth is they have to find a way to pick themselves up and get going again even when they cannot access information, records and other stuff they want.

The building is the Carlton Hotel, an historic building. Everyone in Christchurch who drinks beer is likely to have been in this Pub.

I hope I don't get into trouble for pinching these photos from various places. I do look for copy write but it's not always obvious.

Time to hang the washing on the line and here's today's sky to brighten things up.

Not the prettiest sky so how about the cows over the road from us. We watch them from our kitchen.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Last week John and I reached a mini milestone To be precise March 30th was our 48th Wedding Anniversary. How on earth did that happen? I can't say it feels like yesterday, there's too much living, a lot of joy and some grief for that to be possible. Even so the years have kind of crept up on us

We don't usually make a big deal of anniversaries and this one was no different but we did make it an excuse for a leisurely lunch. Wednesday was our designated shopping day this week so we chose one of the Cafes near the wharf. The day was pleasant enough to eat outside and we were pleased to find a table with warm sun filtered through the green leaves of an overhanging tree. John ordered a hamburger. It was huge and filled to the brim with healthy salad and trimmings with lovely fresh fries on the side. It looked delicious he didn't leave a morsel. My meal was a tasty but a not quite satisfying beef hotpot with s tiny side salad. We completed our meal by ordering cappuccinos and dessert. We both chose affogato, vanilla bean icecream with a hot double shot of espresso to pour over, drowning the icecream. Talk about a caffeine hit.

After lunch John wanted to get his hair cut. I decided to sit and wait in the sun. It wasn't long before I realised I needed our camera. I enjoyed the short walk back to the car. The time flew by while I watched boats swing on their moorings, seagulls squabble, and passengers embarking and disembarking from the ferry. There really should be a bridge but the population is just too small warrant the cost. Instead a small passenger ferry plies back and forth. People who live or work on the otherside often keep a car both sides of the estuary. Our daughter is one of those people. She begins her work day on the other side so she parks her car and catches ferry. On the otherside she collects the work car from the carpark where it has been left the previous night by another nurse. The two nurses job share, working different days. They are on call one weekend a month because they share weekends with the nurses from Whangamata, the next town south.

John returned looking somewhat shorn and we wandered over to the wharf intrigued by the collection of masts standing tall above the wharf. It was a few minutes before the penny dropped. These yachts were part of a flotilla on their way to Gisborne to protest against off shore testing for oil.

In June last year our Government announced it had made an agreement with international giant Petrobras to test for oil off the East Coast of New Zealand. The Brazilian company is the first exploration company to be awarded a permit to test the Raukumara Basin off East Cape. They have been awarded a five year permit to explore this area which was identified by Crown Minerals as having large reservoirs. Yesterday the Orient Explorer, a Petrobas ship left Tauranga harbour heading for East Cape, where it will begin seismic testing to explore the ocean for oil sediments.

Greenpeace and local Iwi, (Maori), have joined forces to protect our waters from this oil exploration. I'm no researcher so I only find what is there for all to see. The little I did find is either hilarious or extremely disturbing. I found this website today. It is subtitled Revolutionary Colonialism and Anti Capitalism in the Pacific. Apparently the call went out from Greenpeace for the protest ships to gather. While I have reservations about the wisdom of deep sea oil drilling I do not believe aggressive protest is the answer. Perhaps I'm a hypocrite. I am happy to keep New Zealand nuclear free and without deep sea oil drilling but I don't have much time for protesters. Maybe there's a place for them but don't ask me to join them.

The oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico almost a year ago, should make us very cautious. My confidence has not been improved by the decision not to install a tsunamograph because the cost is too great. This fairly sophisticated device, which helps in the forewarning of Tsunamis not only costs lot install but is high maintenance. We are a tiny island nation with limited resources. But this seems an extremely shortsighted decision especially when you consider it in the light of our vulnerability to earthquakes and Tsunami. It seems pretty stupid to risk spoiling the clean green image for which we are known around the world.

Politics aside the yachts made a pretty picture.

We ended our day by having a roast chicken dinner with Mum and our daughter. The cats, Lexie and Katie are fine and decorative too.


From the Top:-
1. Dust over a ruined city

2. Re-aligned

3. Prince William stands before Christchurch Cathedral after the Bell Tower was demolished

4, Prince William plants an oak tree of hope watched by Prime Minister John Key.

Prince William spent time visiting Christchurch, families of earthquake victims and the families of the Pike River Mine Disaster. He also spoke heart felt words at the big Memorial Service in Hagley Park and shook hands with hundreds of people before planting the tree. He then went to Australia were he visited the recent flood stricken area.

Many Americans are involved in making donations to rebuild Christchurch following the February 22nd earth quake.

There has always been a variety of connections between New Zealand and the United States. For many years Christchurch has been the final stop before flying personnel and equipment to the Antarctic Base. Following the earthquake a group calling them selves Ice-Aid for Rebuilding Christchurch was formed. Now a concert is being planned in Denver, Colorado. You can read all about it here on FaceBook. I hope you'll pass this on to as many people as you can and they in turn will pass the message on to anyone they know in Denver.

Saturday, April 16 · 5:00pm - 11:00pm

The Bug Theater
3654 Navajo St
Denver, CO

Created By

More Info
Doors open at 5 p.m., with the concert beginning at 5:30 p.m. There will also be a short live auction before 8 p.m. Cover is $10 cash, with proceeds from ticket sales and auction to benefit the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal. Continue to monitor this page for more details on the benefit, band lineup and auction items.

Concert and Auction Press Release
by Ice-Aid for Rebuilding Christchurch on Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 2:56am

Benefit concert and auction to raise money for Christchurch rebuilding efforts

Denver, Colo. – It started with an email.

“Cookie” Jon Emanuel sent a simple message to Jay Fox a couple of weeks after the Feb. 22 earthquake that destroyed much of the central business district of Christchurch and left nearly 200 people dead.

We should do something, Emanuel wrote. Maybe some sort of benefit concert.

On April 16, at the Bug Theatre in Denver, Colo., more than a half-dozen bands will take the stage to rock the roof off and raise money for the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Fund (

“It’s going to be totally off the page,” said Fox, one of the chief organizers of the event who, like many of those involved in the charity fundraiser, has traveled through Christchurch numerous times en route to Antarctica in support of the U.S. research program there.

The concert will mainly feature bands and musicians who have performed on the Ice, as those who work on the continent refer to Antarctica.

Among the headliners is Monroe Monroe, a local Denver band fronted by singer-song writer Frank Abbatecola, who has also worked in Antarctica. Denver folk band Bone Orchard Revival will also perform. In addition, a live auction will be held during the evening, with items donated from around the world.

“It’s really awesome to see the Ice community rally around this event,” said Emanuel, who worked as the executive chef at the South Pole Station before becoming the executive chef at the Denver area nonprofit Project Angel Heart in 2005. “Christchurch is like a second home for so many of us.”

Doors open at 5 p.m., with the first band scheduled to take the stage at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.

For more information, see the Facebook page, Ice-Aid for Rebuilding Christchurch.

Peter Rejcek

There's less than 2 weeks to spread the news.

It warms my heart to see how all kinds of people have set up a huge variety of projects to help this city. The damage is serious. Beyond anything New Zealand has previously experienced. Insurance companies are going to be stretched to meet their commitments. The city infrastructure will be years in the rebuilding. New satellite cities may develop and it is hard to imagine the CBD ever becoming the wonderful mix of offices, boutique shops, hotels and restaurants again. So many people have had their lives changed forever and now the redundancies are pouring in as some of the larger companies realise it might be years before they can function again.