Friday, June 29, 2007

Blue Quilt Progress.

Enough about holidays for now I think. I have in fact been carrying on making hexagons for my blue backed girlie themed "I Spy Quilt." ( for those who have been visiting here a while it is the same as the black backed boys quilt I made) This one is going to be slightly larger. The rows across have 15 (58.5" ) then 16 ( 62.5" ) then 15 etc hexagons per row . So far shown here I have completed and sewn together the first 9 rows. These are sewn by hand then machine quilted then sewn together by hand in rows ; then rows sewn to rows. ( lots still to go )

Today 2 young guys came to put ECO wool insulation in the half of our roof / ceiling that had none. So for NZ$900, the bedrooms and office and bathroom should be much warmer - I'll let you know about that.

I have added a couple of photos I liked from the holiday that you haven't seen. One is a huge Oak tree in Hagley Park in Christchurch - how come walking through all those leaves was wonderful but walking through leaves off my own Oak tree crowding around our back door is NOT!

The other pic is of wide open spaces in Otago - neat eh? ( all photos are enlarged on clicking )

Monday, June 25, 2007

Meggie and Shirley Will Know.

Some are under the water. Some are under the sand. Some are in the banks. Some are nicely exposed. They are the Moeraki Boulders , on the East Coast of the South Island at Moeraki which is south of Oamaru.
If you read Meggie's Blog you will have seen photos of her with her children years ago sitting on the same rocks. Shirley lives quite near them.
They are granite and are I suppose harder than their surroundings hence there durability. We had to wait for most of the other folk visiting to drift away so we could get some shots of the rocks naked and in the raw. One shot shows a rock cracking and starting to disintergrate. That's me ( for a change I handed over the camera ) with the red shoe on a rock.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pt. 4. Underground.

When we got off the schooner we got back on the bus for the return journey to Lake Manapouri. The scenery looked different in more light and later in the day.
At the West Arm of the lake is the Manapouri Power Station. A little of it is above ground - a switch yard and 4 huge transmission lines to the National grid. The rest of it is below ground!
The bus pulled up at the locked gate and the driver punched in the code to let us in. We then drove 2 kms down and round ( not that you could tell ) in the tunnel, dug into the granite, till we reached the power station set176 metres below the lake level. This power station was built between 1963 and 1971 and was a huge engineering project. People from around the world worked on it's construction.
( anyone nervous could have waited at the top )
Turning the bus around down there was quite something! Most of the electricity produced goes to run the aluminium smelter at Bluff. It was very warm in the huge room looking at the generators as the heat gets trapped under the rocks.
What an awesome thing to see, what a feat of engineering brilliance ( don't think earthquake )! There is no direct road access to this power station only water.( so worker either stay on site or travel as we did daily. So do supplies! )
The discharge ( used water from the generators) goes in a tunnel out to Doubtful Sound.
That was the 2 nd furthest ( strange word that ) under ground I have ever gone. The furthest was in the 1960s when I went down a coal mine on the West Coast - much more scary as it was in a cage basket in the dark straight down. I remember the sensation of the air rushing past. ( the guys who worked there did it daily ! )
We then boarded the launch and fairly barrelled back to Manapouri as the weather was closing in and turning nasty. That day out was expensive but worth every bit of it . DH agrees.
*An aside. I have been continuing to sew blue backed hexagons by the fire most nights - the number is growing. Photos of that progress soon.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pt 3. On Doubtful Sound

At deep Cove we boarded the Fiordland Navigator a 38 metre long schooner that can sleep 70. Normally this vessel does the overnight cruise but as the day trip vessel was off having it's annual overhaul we lucky ones got to go on the big vessel! I have certainly never been further West anywhere in NZ ( would be near impossible to go further )
It is 40 kms from Deep Cove out to the entrance to the ocean, ( this is visible in one photo - the gap on the horizon ) making it the 2nd largest Fiord. It is part of Fiordland National Park and a World Heritage Area. We also explored the coves and arms of the Fiord. ( it was wrongly named a Sound in the first place ) It is one of the wettest places in the World! Moist air streams come across the South Tasman Sea. Deep Cove has a mean average rainfall of 5,290 millimetres. It had rained 48 hours before we were there so there were waterfalls just everywhere. The most spectacular one being Lady Alice Falls. The Captain did his party trick of nudging the front of the vessel right up to the base of the falls; the fiord is SO DEEP and SO STRAIGHT DOWN having been ground out by glaciers about 2 million years ago.
I spent my time with the camera of course ( not as trigger happy as one lovely Japanese lady - she had to take every waterfall ) and eating my yummy packed lunch ( could have had hot soup too if I'd had room ) and talking with the others and generally being overawed by the sheer majesty and slpendour of this probably once in a life time expereince.
The next post will be about the final 2 parts of this big day out.

Part 2.

This road over Wilmot Pass is one of the remotest in NZ and was built in the 1960 to transport heavy equipment when building the Manapouri Underground Power Station.( we are going there later ) The road winds for 22 kms through dense rainforest ( huge rainfall here ) and at the top the view of Doubtful Sound is breathtaking. The only vehicles in here are the bus; a road grader and some service vehicles , as there is no road access. ( only water ) We now descend to Deep Cove to board our Vessel and spend 3 hours cruising Doubtful Sound ( Patea ).

Lake Manapouri to Doubtful Sound. pt 1.

Come with me on the biggest day out of our holiday.

We left our deserted Hotel ( of my last entry ) and drove the 22 kms to catch the first leg of our adventure. At a place called Pearl Harbour at Lake Manapouri, we collected our packed lunches and boarded the Motu Rau along with only 10 other folk. ( Yes, they would still do the trip for just 12 passengers - lucky us ) The day didn't look promising it was dull, but we were assured that it would change several times in the course of the day - which proved to be true. We cruised across Lake Manapouri with the clouds misting around us, but could still see numerous small islands beaches and coves. It is NZ's 5th largest lake and was ground deep by glaciers many years ago.( 440 metres ). We all helped ourselves to hot drinks and got to know the other passengers - quite a mixture. As we reached the western arm of the lake the above ground part of the Manapouri Power Station came into view ( more of that later. )

We got off here at the visitors centre and boarded our bus for the journey over Wilmot Pass. Every now and then our most friendly, funny bus driver would stop for photo opportunities. He gave one of the best commentaries I have heard; just enough facts and lots of jokes. DH was the first to notice the unusual cooling grill on the back of the bus cut out in the shape of small Kiwis. The bus we discovered was made in Tauranga ( our area ! yeh )
( to be continued ) ( this all takes place on the very South West part of the South Island of New Zealand )

Friday, June 15, 2007

Travelling in the OFF season.

We found lots of advantages travelling at this time of the year. There was little need to pre - book anything. There were generally just enough people around to make it pleasant, but we had one really funny experience.
The photos here are of Lake Te Anau; we stayed 2 nights at a Hotel on this waterfront and one shot shows the lovely view from our window. It was a huge 2 storied building, with corridors 100 metres long.( R paced it out ) We were on the upper floor. We found out later that there were in fact 9 guests at the hotel ( somewhere ). We decided to have dinner in the hotel the first night. There we were the 2 of us in a dining room that could seat 200...just us and our young waiter James. Of course he was so bored he spent a good part of his time talking to us ( just for the company ).
We said " Do you know what this reminds us of ? "
"No, what ? " he replied.
"Did you ever happen to see a movie called The Shining?" we asked.
"Oh, yes I did," he said. "Ooh my."
"I have been watching for Danny on his tricycle, " I said.
The Shining was a Stanley Kubrick horror movie in the 1980s, based on a Stephen King book of the same name. It starred Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall and was set in a snow bound hotel in the Colorado mountains in winter. Their little son Danny cruised the long empty corridors on his tricycle. ( Nicholson of course was weird as only he can be )
For the rest of our stay we had a feeling of deja vu......I think young James did too. We ate out the 2nd night!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Yet More ( part 3 )

More photos.( part 2 )

The sky really was that blue. The shot through the rails is going over a viaduct!

We met a lovely farming family from Tasmania, who have visited us here since we got home. That's their teenagers William and Madeline at the Hindon Station ( shed ). we plan to keep in touch. And what about that brave little tree on top of the about One Tree Hill.

Clickerty clack, Clickery clack......

No! Not the sound of busy knitting needles but my train trip !
Yep, I was a passenger on one of the World's Great Train Journeys ( says so on the pamphlet ). It was great fun and oh that rugged scenery. Guess where I spend almost the entire outward the very back of the train with my arm wound around a railing for safety; my camera at the ready. I'm really glad I did because the light was all wrong on the homeward leg.
The Taeiri Gorge Railway was build by hand over 100 years ago, cut through schiest rock, straddling deep gullies with wrought iron viaducts. What an engineering marvel.
We set out from the historic Dunedin Railway Station and climbed to 250 m above sea level to Pukerangi. ( means hill of Heavens ) We travelled through now almost deserted places called Slope Gully and The Notches and The Larches, Christmas creek and Mullocky Tunnel. Because it is now nearing Winter there was a mere handful of passengers on board that day so we had the run of the train. We met some lovely folk all enjoying the sunshine and different era transport. I will post more photos on the following blog just in case blogger drops some off. If you would care to have a look at Official website. Click on the view photos of trip on the right.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Fabric, Quilts and Samplers.

While I was on Holiday I did 3 things Quilty / crafty. One planned, the other 2 lucky surprises.

I caught the final day of Quilters and Patchworkers of Otago Inc. 2007 Exhibition. A far greater percentage of the quilts were hand pieced and hand quilted than I am used to seeing, but that is good. The work that most took my eye was a wall hanging of flowers and butterflies on black. Quite stunning and would look good wherever it was hanging.

I also stumbled upon "Stitched in Time," a display at the Otago Settlers Museum of the samplers they have cleaned, restored and preserved. 54 samplers. The oldest from the 1780s! Wonderful detailed work by girls aged 7 - 14years. ( yes 7....imagine that! ) as they were all under glass in low lighting taking photos without reflections was a challenge. ( click on my image to enlarge ) This exhibition is on till 24 th June if anyone is nearby.

As I had often noticed the advert for Catlin Quilts in the NZ Quilter mag, I gave DH early warning that I wanted to stop at that shop. I was the sole customer and we were the only car stopped in Owaka that afternoon. How does that become a viable business ?( Maybe more customers stop by in Summer ) From the smallish collection of fabrics on display ( compared to what I see up here ) I choose 6 FQs that were typical of that part of the South Is. The little blue penguins and Kakas ( NZ Parrot ) and the ponies will be good for my I spy quilts.

I do so hope some of my regular readers come back and say Hi or leave a comment, I'm feeling lonely here with nobody calling by!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Flying South.

The Kiwi is a flightless bird, and that pretty much usually describes me!
But Mother Nature heard that this Kiwi and DH were flying South so she really turned on warm temperatures and cloudless sky for us. From the plane (a Saab 340 T prop )I could pick out all the landmarks along the journey over the North Is. As we flew over the Tongariro National Park, Mt. Ruapehu had just a light dusting of snow and away in the distance I could see Mt. Egmont ( Taranaki.) We changed planes at Wellington and flew down to Dunedin on a Boeing 737.
The tall building is the hotel we stayed in the first 3 nights. Our room is on the top floor at the front corner - from it we got a 270 degree view of the city. On the second night someone set fire to an old uninhabited house and we had ringside seats as fire engines rushed in and flames leapt....blimmy!
I'll continue my holiday on my next blog entry.We just got home in time as the TV News tonight showed storms and cold had hit the South ; snow is falling on the very places we have just seen.
I have been busy processing my 160 photos ( trigger happy! ) washing, etc so have hardly had time to realise that today is my special day of the year where that number changes to the next.
My holiday was a great present don't you think. Good to be home all the same.