Tuesday, 30 April 2013

being nan

The Boys have various gran and great grandmothers....I've ended up being called "Nan Pots"

I made it to Aberystwyth in an easy drive with one stop in Rhayadr.  The first stop was three hours of Twins Club!! Only three sets this time! Another pair of hands is always welcome, but I didn't have to do much.

Having almost three year old snuggles, one each side , on the sofa as you watch childrens' TV.....can't fault it! 
They're not perfect- who is? But on the whole they are well behaved and talking is progressing fast (and bilingually). Life is SO much easier when you can communicate, for both sides!
Today we went out on the bikes, myself on her best road bike and daughter on her other road bike with the Boys in their trailer.  We went to Borth, by the sea, for another playgroup where they play with other children of anything up to five years of age, in a large hall. They can ride trikes and toys around, play with play-dough and all sorts of toys. We had lunch there before riding the longer way home.

It was a lovely day for a ride, despite the chilly stiff breeze.

Then making pastry for lentil pie, rhubarb (fresh from the garden) pie and redcurrant tart.

Just being part of Family, another pair of hands, someone else to read with and build brick towers....

Now it is route setting time to get to Knutsford tomorrow for 5.30pm, and collecting The Wizzard from work.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

ready to go..

The car is, as The Pirate says, "cubed"....only room for me and two bags and a computer left in it!! 
It didn't take long to pack, after The Oily One had fitted the new heater matrix. That was the long job, loads of fiddling and cussing to get the dashboard off and back on and disconnecting and reconnecting things. Unfortunately I now  need a speedo cable...but at least I can judge the speed by the engine revs.
 The weather stayed dry all day until it was time to pack, of course, but at least it is only fine rain.

One problem....we've got the Leach kickwheel in, and clay and tools...but so far I cannot find the wheelhead!!     Something to hunt for tomorrow after breakfast.
If it doesn't turn up it should be easy enough to get another. 

I've sorted and tidied and cleared- two more boxes of rubbish pots and two bags are waiting to be disposed of.  Yet there still seems to be far too much left!!   I've no doubt that I'll "weed" this lot further when I get home and we'll be back in June for another go.

Now after supper and a glass of crab apple vodka...takes two years to make but its worth it...its time to ask The Carpenter to shift the pictures et cetera from the old laptop, then to here.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

less stuff

Thankyou for your comment, Soub!

One carload to the recycling centre so far..and I'm working on the next.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

back again

We're back in Britain...still a little jet-lagged, but getting there!

The Pirate is busy digging, dogwalking and grass mowing, while I'm down in Wales trying to seriously reduce Stuff, again.  Very seriously as we have no room to spare!!

It is not a job easily done alone.

I took time out today and went to Cardiff with The Oily One .  Lots of thinking time and list making (and left the list there!) and seeing a good friend too.

Now I'm trying my "new" big laptop!!  The next step will be to get an internet connection at home....also to get the password from The Wizzard!

It is raining again this evening, here in South Wales...but I spoke with The Pirate half an hour ago and he was sitting in our front window at home, watching the new lambs bounce about the field and the full moon rising.  I'll be glad to be back home in Scotland soon.

Friday, 5 April 2013

sick computer

My laptop wont connect to the internet, so I'm using the I site computer...which isn't happy either as it is on InternetExplorer!!
So I'll forego blogging until we're home....which could be interesting as we have nomphoneline connected yet!!
See you all after the 17th of April....

Monday, 1 April 2013

workshop visits

Three workshop visits stood out for us on our walk last Sunday.
The first was to Ross Mitchell-Anyon's pottery. He was the potter who worked with local people to create the handprints monument/artwork, by the Serjeant Gallery in Whanganui.
Although I'd be concerned, living and working right on the riverbank, apparently the water has only ever been up as far as the windowsills of the workshop, once!
                                                           jetty with tinny.

It was good to see yet another different woodfired kiln, getting inspiration for when I have a place to build my own.   This one has two fireboxes at one end, followed by two chambers then a chimney with a small firebox at the base for pre-warming to create a through draught.

Back to the Left Bank in town off Taupo Quay, we visited Louise Herdman, Mosaic Artist and tutor....notice by the entrance "keep your shoes on!" (unlike usual Kiwi practice). 
Beautiful work, and sharing an area in this lovely old building with a restorer of old sewing machines, mainly Singer. He took them in exchange for selling new machines, then got them working again and the collection includes some of the oldest made.
She is one of those working in the old Whanganui Chronicle building.
Our next visit was to the Chronicle Glass Studio situated in the old press room in the white building in the centre, just before the modern college (UCOL) building.
Two glassworkers work from here (at least) and others are in the mezzanine gallery.
They also run courses-I was very tempted to make my own paperweight-but I'm reducing weight to pack so I couldn't!!

Then we walked back over the city bridge and up Georgetti Road to Bricksticks.

We'd been intrigued by the name since we came here...now we understood! 
It is a fantastic space, and for the weekends the kiln spaces were filled with other craftworkers and artists from out of the city.
We checked it out on google earth when we reached home. We knew it was big!! It is just surprising how close to the surrounding houses it is situated.

showers on Sunday

We walked around the River City, visiting galleries and workshops on the second of the Open Workshops Weekends.

Of course, it rained!!  Sunshine and showers of refreshing and slightly warm rain.

I hear tell this morning of 12C in Scotland....can that be true?  I hope it is a bit warmer in a fortnight.

Gallivanting in a Minor Key

We were lucky today to be lent a Morris Minor Pickup (1958) by a Morris enthusiast for a little Tikitour to Turakino Beach.
We went to see the Red Bach Gallery, where as we drew up, three small dogs ran up....and were disappointed....the owner had sold hers two weeks ago so they knew the sound! She makes driftwood sculpture and garden art from copper pipes and water tanks as well as a small range of pots, some using local materials for glazing.

The journey was not without event as only 2k out of town the fuel pump decided not to pump...but after a sharp tap was administered, it worked.   The gallery owner told us that she had kept a small rock by the dashboard of her old car for this purpose!!

Then we looked to the skies as there was a flypast in formation  of what looked like Sopworths to the Pirate, and a slightly bigger plane flying behind.

Then we saw a Vauxhall Velox (only made in Luton, not Birmingham) which is the same age as the pickup we drove.
and a Vauxhaull Wyvern, which is work in progress.

Kiwis certainly keep old vehicles going...they do have an advantage as they don't salt the roads in Winter.

Then I drove back into Whanganui for lunch and coffee, parking very tidily, but forgetting that the Morris is a bit narrower than today's cars!

Riding the River Road

Last Saturday we headed North against the breeze (always a good plan- have a tailwind home!) up the Whanganui River.  We were following part of the Mountains to the Sea cycle route  which goes from Okahune near Mount Ruapeho to Castlecliffe at the sea, just beyond Whanganui.
 We start climbing a little after leaving the State Highway, at about 15k. That is Gentle Annie, and she is 3k of steady climbing with no respite, despite the zig-zag bends in the road.
I arrived at the top without a stop.

and this was the view from the top

You can see how the road goes on the right hand side of the river.  There isn't a lot of flat, just ups and downs.
There are marvellous views (especially if you're ok with heights and drops!) of spectacular scenery.
We took it steadily, this wasn't a race or a training ride and we knew how far there was to go!
This sounds a beautiful place to be...and how do you get there? By river, or by the Flying Fox itself..a cable car that seats six.........there it is, the far side of the river.

You travel through several small villages and hamlets, gradually climbing, and as you do the vegetation slowly changes.   It was still painfully dry, but from some narrow side valleys came a breath of moist cool air from the micro-climate within.
The river itself seemed quite low, with wide gravel beaches and mounds of logs and trees waiting to be washed down in the next flood. 
Before the road was built, only in 1934, river traffic was the rule, and boats were used as far as Taumaranui. They were winched over the rapids.
There the boats met the then railhead. 
At Taumaranui the river heads East for 6k to Mananui, then South for about 4k to Piriaka.   This was the rail town for the workers who built the spiral at Raurimu,
20 k further South.
From Piriaka the rail and river and road go together for 2k before the river heads East past Kakahi and then towards its source by Mount Tongariro.

The road goes past many river cliffs like this, some now well above the river.
Many are over twenty metres high, some look as much as seventy metres.   In  places the road is just on a ledge along the cliff!

Our aim was the Matahiwi Gallery and coffee shop. Lovely coffee and the best carrot, walnut and pineapple muffins anywhere! Good art and crafts and interesting history.
We took our photos by the special entry gate.

The gate was here before Marlene Ranginui arrived to run the gallery , so she does not know its story.
The old people used to hand the stories and history down to the next generation- but now she said she is one of the old people. The youngsters, as in many rural districts all over the world, are moving away and losing their heritage.

After her lovely welcome we were revived enough to brave another hill to the flour mill at Kawana.

The mill and miller's house were restored and you can walk around the mill and read its history and restoration there.

The millers garden was still in evidence, with apples, quinces and walnuts waiting to be harvested.

Then we turned for home with 56k to be ridden steadily.
 It would be good to go further one day, but this is not possible on road bikes as the road seal only goes another 5k. The Pirate has ridden the whole way through Pipiriki to Raetihi on a cyclo-cross bike, but most now would use a mountain bike on the gravel roads.
This shows why the road is at least ten metres above the river level. This floodmark from 10.March 1990 is on a barn above the road....
and the river is way over there through the gap in the trees.....

By a small tributary, which seems worth further investigation.  I've done a quick hunt on Wikipedia and Google, but no explanation as yet.
It was good to have a relaxed ride, to stop and talk to a farmer about the wild pigs wandering along the road, to wave to others and appreciate the grand scenery.
Then back over Gentle Annie...and despite it being straight and steadily up in the evening sun...yes, there is the top by the skyline....I rode all the way!!
It is definitely a journey to be recommended, however you do it, bike, car or boat.