Tuesday, June 28, 2011


First is was the sad story of Shrek the merino sheep which was euthanased due to failing health and old age.

Photo is from here taken by Mark Mitchell

This week we have penguin stories. A young Emperor Penguin was found on a popular beaches on the Kapiti Coast, near Wellington. These penguins belong firmly in the Antarctic and he was soon sick with unaccostomed warmth and lack of proper food. He filled his stomach with sand and sticks. Wellington Zoo rescued him and first pumped most of the sand out of his/her stomach. Yesterday a gastric surgeon came to the rescue with an endoscopy and other tool and removed a heap of sticks and dried tangled roots from HAPPY FEET'S stomach. Today he seems to be recovering while a committee is formed to decide on the best way to release him back into the wild. I hope you can view the videos TV news a couple of nights ago
Latest news 

Should he/she be dropped off at Bluff and left to swim back to antarctica or should the offer of of one of NZ's philanthropists deliver him by boat or maybe he can be flown down on one of the Antarctic shuttles next summer? Big and important questions.

And then there is this little fellow. Morgan, a little penguin was found wandering and disorientated on a farm. He was taken to the Antarctic Centre in Christchurch but refused to swim. After 56 days he's now doing what penguins are supposed to do. I hope you can watch the video. Too cute.

On a curious note, for some reason no-one is able to sex the Emperot Penguin. Not sure whether it's because he is young and maybe immature but I think they are waiting on DNA testing to determine the sex of Happy Feet.

Today a helicopter was out searching for a Humpback Whale which had apparently freed itself from a lobster trap it had been seen caught up with.

Our daughter is going to Christchurch for a holiday with her brother and sister-in-law in a few weeks. There are many traumatised pets needing to be re-homed away from the earthquakes. I'm thinking of asking her to see if there is one for us.

On the political front there is another crazy scenario playing out. Democracy in New Zealand means we have a multitude of parties and now Maori have split their votes again. It's quite fascinating to watch but also maddening as these 'worthy' MPs, (Members of Parliament), vie for popularity. We have Conservatives, extreme right and centre right, Socialists, extreme left and centre left, Greens, and at least three flavours of Maori from activists and somewhere left of centre to those who want to completely control NZ. Recently our local TV picked up this of Jon Stewart on the Daily show fell of his chair with boredom at the mention of NZ politics. I thought it was really funny but then he doesn't live here. It might be insignificant in World terms but New Zealand politics are fascinating.

I guess if I'm anything, it's conservative, but more important to me is the character of the man/woman. Good governance needs people of sound principles. We can but hope that all the various colours and flavours keep whoever is in the Government honest without choking it with political correctness. This is election year so whatever shenanigans go on it is important we make wise choices as we are pretty much stuck with them for the following three years.

I'm just happy to cosy up to our heater for the evening watching Tv between Blogging.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I've posted here

Last week and again this week our skies have been charged with volcanic cloud from the Chilean Puyehue-Cordón Caulle eruption. Mostly the ash has been high in the atmosphere and Air NZ has continued to fly most routes, most of the time at a lower than usual height, but still well within safety limits. Today Quantas and Jetstar cancelled flights again.

The cloud has given us some interesting skies although much of the time the weather has been non-co-operative as well.

Here are a few photos. The first three are shots from last week on the beach at Mum's and the rest this morning from our deck.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I've written a new post here. It's a little more personal. I find myself being fearful of so many things. In particular I am anxious about Christchurch and the ongoing earthquakes.

The severe earthquake last Monday caused more damage to the Catholic Cathedral. The cross on top of the dome has now been removed and the dome in being cut up so it can be removed. Prior to last Monday the work had begun to remove the copper dome in a single piece. Men working from the crane above watched the dome shake like a jelly.

Last night we watched an elderly couple on Campbell Live, who do not want to leave their home and community. They live in a beautifully furnished place which once had a garden, now covered with liquefaction silt. Terrible situation for elderly, infirm and young families.

Tomorrow there will be an official announcement about the areas that are going to be abandoned for housing. It is going to be heartbreaking for everyone from our Prime Minister to the least able to cope.

So many people face tough times. But people are generally resilient. Out of the ashes the Phoenix will rise is a story from the Lebanese Mountains which describes a people who would rebuild more beautifully than before,everytime they suffered at the hands of invaders. This will be Christchurch and the surrounding area towns.

Sam and Donna warned me that my comments are not working. I've done all I know to do and still cannot ake it possible for you to leave a comment. Until I can fix the problem you can email me, it's on my profile, or leave a comment on my other Blog where I can be found more frequently than here.

Well.... Whadayah know? The comments thing is back. Halleluia!

Look forward to hearing from y'all.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I'm so glad we were home before the latest Christchurch earthquakes.

In spite of the Prime Minister's encouragement many people will want to leave Christchurch although most of the city is barely affected.

It's all getting too much for most people.

Our family is safe but their road is trashed again and they have some damage to their business stock. It's so hard to know you are starting from scratch again. Power is being restored section by section to the affected area but water and sewerage are a mess again. Portaloos are in action everywhere.

It is so difficult to comprehend.

I want to write about something different here but all I can think about is how this once beautiful city is suffering.

The scientists are saying yesterday's quakes are from a brand new fault.

Monday, June 6, 2011



Many times we have said, "Only in America!" Today we have a story that could only come from God Zone aka NZ

About 7 years ago a merino sheep was found in the South Island high country. That's not news. Merino sheep are farmed in the area. This particular animal had escaped the muster for six years by hiding out in a mountain cave. The shepherd who found him thought he'd discovered a monster. The sheep was brought in and more than 27 kilo or 60 pounds of wool was removed in front of TV cameras with hand clippers. What a job! He was given a red coat to keep him warm after losing his fleece.

The animal, a wether, that is a castrated male sheep, was named Shrek. Despite his years of isolation he proved to be extremely placid and very good around children. He helped put Bendigo Station on the map and became world famous for his extraordinary photo shoots and charity work. He was visited by VIPs and celebrities including Helen Clark when she was Prime Minister.

The children at tiny Tarras School wrote a book and he was always there for fundraisers.

Owner John Perriam has also written two books with royalties going to the Cure Kids Charity. I understand Shrek raised tens of thousands of dollars for Cure Kids. His legacy will linger as long as the story of Shrek the Sheep fascinates.

A publicity stunt. Shearing Shrek on an iceberg off the southern coast

The wool industry reckons his pictures were worth over 100 million dollars to our international export trade. There was also a spin off to tourism.

Today there were emotional interviews with John Perriam and Josie Spillane from Cure Kids. The aging sheep was euthanased this morning as he was beginning to suffer pain. He even had his own care-giver over the last few weeks. Shrek was almost 17 years old, at least 90 in human terms.

Shrek has only been pushed off the top of our national headline news by two substantial earthquakes, a 5.5 and 4.5 near Christchurch today There have been about 19 other quakes today on the same fault as well. It's been a big news day. The first weekend in June is a three day holiday to mark the Queen's Birthday. It is also the time for a variety of honours some from the Crown others purely New Zealand. There are 2 new Dames, 4 Knights and a huge list of others including community/social helpers, a gossip columnist and various sports people.


View Larger Map

The little town of Tarras is marked if you click to enlarge the map.

I should have photos of Tarras but I can't find them. We stopped for coffee enjoying it beside a lovely fire in the country Cafe. We had come from Wanaka and were on our way somewhere. We parked the bus in a quiet spot nearby and listened to bird scarers from early morning. There were extensive vineyards on the rugged, dry hills. Had we turned left we would have been on a route toward Mt. Cook, our highest mountain. We turned south east, stopping at Lawrence and Kaitangata near Balclutha in Southland.