Saturday, 29 February 2020


 Our hotel room view
 The town house on high street

 Room view at nightfall
We had a good clear drive up here, just over 200 miles, five hours including a good lunch stop and slow driving through roadworks.
At the highest there was snow from the verges up to the mountain tops, but no snow falling, just a little rain and hail at one point.
Who knows what it will bring overnight! We are on the edge of the yellow warning area for storm Jorge, so hopefully the bike ride will go ahead in the morning.
We are doing the shorter 26 mile ride, not the 44 mile hilly ride.
These are organised in memory of our great friend Ivor Reid...and raise money to help young riders.

Thursday, 27 February 2020


Aimz asked if we could swap seasons...we have the wettest winter so far for 89 years.....
Northland Aotearoa has drought....

I don't think either are ideal....

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Almost Spring

 Keeping in touch with neighbours!....and then sunny again...

Tuesday, 25 February 2020


The weather is trying to tempt us out, looking all bright and sunny...then roars in with rain and sleet showers.
Pirate is getting frustrated, we need time out on the bike..we have a memorial ride coming up on Sunday starting at Kirkhill just outside Inverness...we are only doing the short ride of 26 miles. We know the route, its just going the reverse way round this year, which should be easier, and there is a nice tailwind forecast for the run in from the far end!
It is in memory of Ivor Reid, a massive loss to Scottish Cycling...a generous person and good track rider over many years. 57 was too young..  The rides raise money to assist young up and coming Scots riders.

Meanwhile we are working on cleaning and tidying the house, doing some decluttering...things that got lost in the rush of going away last November!
It would be easier to do if the weather was kind...but if it was we would be out on our bikes...or doing something with the garden...but even that isn't possible as it is absolutely sodden, despite being at the top of the hill!!

We did get a walk around our village perimeter walk was damping seriously, not quite raining during the hour we were out.
The highlight was seeing a goldcrest....but have you ever tried catching an image of one?!!

Monday, 24 February 2020

We wanted a walk...

No explanation as to what the intent is here. The trees felled don't appear to be diseased. Lady Hunter Blair's walk was a peaceful walk up one side of the linn and back.
We then had a quick drive past where we lived eight years ago... luckily saw one old neighbour..many changes of course..and looks like our old landlady is moving in to the cottage we lived in. Well, it is a shepherd's cottage...and he is a retired shepherd...

You can just see the roof just left of centre in the first photo...the last was our view across the valley.

I don't think that we should go back again...we have literally moved on. We married in the local village, just over three miles from the cottage.  That was really the close of our time here as we no longer have lawns we cut there.

We found a lorry parked...

Intriguing...I think this must be somebody's home.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Keeping warm

We are still working on getting back used to colder temperatures takes time!
The process wasn't helped by a two hour electricity power cut this morning..but thankfully the gas fire doesn't need electric to run and we have a camping stove.

This afternoon Pirate is taking part in a pursuit training session on the velodrome in Glasgow...and I am having a break!
The drive to Glasgow wasn't the easiest, being buffeted by the wind, then horizontal snow showers,  then low visibility with hail and snow for the last five miles....but we are here, warm and dry!
He is taking stock of what he needs to do and possibly change to achieve his aims this season.

Not easy taking photos of moving subjects in low light levels!

Friday, 21 February 2020

Braving it

We started this morning doing more sorting and tidying..and when I went to the dentist today, a bagful of  items went to the Shelter Scotland charity shop.
Driving to Prestwick was.. interesting....I reduced speed to stay safe. It meant I was a bit late for my appointment, but the dentist said she would rather I was late and safe!!

A visit to a friend five miles or so further on , gave us a chance to catch up and arrange a possible ride on permitting...

Then on to stock up on fresh fruit and veges while Pirate collected a special light bulb . This goes in the oven, so I can read the thermometer without opening the door. The thermostat is not reliable...but I am not buying one of them!! If we owned the house it would be different.

Then back home again, through the rain and wind...and half an hour on the turbo trainer before supper. No way are we going out on the road...and half an hour on the Thing does make you feel better.

Another day using the car, but lots of useful things done that would be difficult without, so not just one wasteful journey.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Ciara, Dennis...

Followed by Ellen and I believe Francis....rain, rain and more rain.
Today we had snow and hail as well. For a change!!
We are even riding our bikes on the turbo trainers..

Today we went out just to get out in daylight, even if it was in the car! We had several here and there errands to do, not all possible by bus.. yesterday's travel was by bus .
Tomorrow will be by car...if it had only been for the dentist..that would have been two buses..but to see one of our close friends, add another two buses or a walk in (forecast) heavy rain along a busy road for an hour....

A book to read....

I am looking forward to the end of April...and the release of the follow up to "The Salt Path" by Raynor Winn...The Wild Silence, I think it is called...

Monday, 17 February 2020

Another day

Another day of cold, wet and windy.
Walking down the hill to collect the car after its MoT check it sounded as if there was a heavy surf behind the was a hail squall!
Today hasn't been very constructive, but I have double "glazed" the kitchen windows and one of the bike room windows with window film.
Pirate adjusted the rubber seal on one of the kitchen windows, as it 'sings' when we get wind on the back of the house. The back door needs adjusting as well, but that job needs more help and heft than I can add.

We are both feeling the jetlag a little, adjusting our body clocks to being this side of the world. Also tired because we are using extra energy to stay warm!

Plans are brewing for our next travels to see friends, and to see friends and family. However the present weather and flooding makes one wonder what travelling will be like...what roads will still be affected...and what is the long term weather forecast!
We have heard from most friends and family that they are fine and dry, but some we are still waiting to hear...

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Hunkering down

With post number 2140!
Never thought that I would write this many.
Storm Dennis is on us now. We managed a foray into Ayr, which is a sad grey town centre now, full of closed shops, puddles and rubbish.
Then home again on the bus, and carry on unpacking and sorting.
There is a limit to how much you can stand to do at one time!! Pirate did half an hour on the turbo trainer...I had a baking session!
I found an old cutting from Country Living magazine.. unfortunately undated..
I am not sure who wrote the article, but there is a source for the recipe within it, and it might be a book to hunt out...

Very tasty indeed!

Friday, 14 February 2020


I like the interaction between bloggers that comments give.

I can understand why some are disabling comments, but it feels a bit sad.

The other frustration is wordpress blogs that use a spam preventer..aktismet or something similar it is called.  You need a wordpress account to comment, apparently...
Perhaps that is why some of those bloggers on wordpress are also on least you can pass on your views on the postings there!!
A couple of other blogs I cannot comment on, despite also being on blogger, as the comments box takes too long to load...I haven't worked that one out yet.

Still, well over 2000 posts and I still go on. I enjoy the interaction I get, apart from the occasional spam which is deleted from the comments inbox!

Home again

We had a good journey, the only delay being a tyre or perhaps wheel change on the plane (as it took an hour....) in Sydney.
So 25 hours flying backwards in time from Wednesday a few hours in between so about just under 30...and we are in Glasgow by midday... I assumed it would be Friday...turned out it was Thursday!!
Time travel is bad enough going forward!

We flew in over snow then through cloud and arrived to 4 degrees C.  I am glad that we packed hats in our carry on bags.
Three buses, past snow on the roadside, and we were home.
Nice to be back in our own home, but we could easily settle in Whanganui if it were possible...however it is not.
After overnight wind and rain, the snow is only left on the hilltops, and we can survey the damage to the garden.

The cover is off the polytunnel..and has been since last year.
And a week ago the jackdaws moved back into the roof....
However the autumn sown veges are growing, so not all bad.
The ground is absolutely sodden and more rain is forecast as Storm Dennis comes over this weekend.
Back to sorting and getting rid of Stuff!

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

The calm

Hopefully not before the storm!!
Most of the packing done, and now the problem that we are 3.36 kg over the hold limit...with a little more to pack..we will see what will go in the carry on bags.

I have already been weeding out clothes, giving almost new away to someone they fit much better than me, and other things going to the Op Shop...and some worn out so going for rags or the bin.

The pictures of Storm Ciara and the flooding and devastation she has caused are worrying..but I think we will be ok at home in Scotland.  There has been much flooding damage in the Southland here, and in Fiordland.
We have heard that the jackdaws have broken into the eaves at home, so they will have to be evicted.  Probably the ground cover will have blown away from the cultivated part of the garden...but that can cheaply be replaced. At least the report is that the shed rooves are still on!! No word on the wee polytunnel so that must still be there too.

A little bit of us is looking forward to seeing Scotland again.
We have enjoyed being here for almost three months, and certainly enjoyed three months of good health.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Weather and travelling thoughts

Just thinking that we arrived here in Christchurch in the tail end of a horrendous hailstorm...and mostly since then it has been t-shirt and shorts or cycling kit weather, unless we were at altitude...and even then!!
Now with Storm Ciara barreling its way across Europe, it looks as if we will be arriving back in Glasgow on the tail end of another!

We are busy car cleaning and resting. Two friends we had hoped to meet up with here are busy with family and funerals of aged relatives.
Another was away in India and Nepal, until we left the North Island...
Things happen. New friends are made too.

We have done just over 4800 km...a little over 3000 our almost three months here, plus the distance pedalled.  I wish we could have done it all by public transport, but it would not have worked, unfortunately.
We will be making up for all those miles travelled when we return, apart from when we go on a Visit Family Trek...but we will have to see if that can be done by public transport!...all 1500 miles round trip to see them all!!

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Snow moon

Full moon at 4am this morning...Snow moon it is called in the Northern hemisphere...and it seems to be bringing snow to Scotland, and Storm Ciara.
The forecast for our arrival looks chilly and damp, but not so bad as this weekend and the next three days.. here's hoping all will be well!!

Pictures from the South, 2

Up from Naseby...which starts at over 600m above sea level...and up and over Dansey's over 930m!! Only about 150m lower than the top of Yr Wyddfa/ Mount Snowdon in Wales.
It is mostly gravel, but well made and graded...not suitable for campervans or caravans but ok in a car driven steadily.
Pirate enjoyed the views...I don't do heights!!
An old bank building in many beautiful old buildings are around !
We headed up valley to cross the river Waitaki, not wanting to go through Oamaru again, and to go on a road new to both of us.
The river was blue, deep, wide and fast..and full! Impressive.
Back towards the coast, through Waimate..another place to visit properly next time...full of murals and history, with this on an old flour mill silo...

And back to Geraldine...
The top 10 campsite kitchen table
Then a wander around town before we left to return to Tai Tapu in the morning.
Geraldine is a lovely, lively town, full of thriving small businesses...long may it thrive.

Last coffee before we left at the Running Duck cafe!
We followed the Scenic Route 72 , but saw mainly fields and very tall least 15 metres tall! As the wind blew (and we were thankful for the hedges!) and it rained steadily we crossed the mainly flat country between the Rangitata and Rakaia rivers...
We must have been climbing more than we realised, as suddenly we were heading into the Rakaia gorge...breathtaking!

Steeply down then across several river flows and steeply up again...then more straight and flat roads to our home for a few days.