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Life with the Lusks

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12th March 2014

These days dreaming and looking forward to something can make me really happy.  I am in a state of limbo.  I am neither here nor there.  I am so looking forward to seeing the wee ones on the other side of the world but boy am I going to miss the wee ones over here.

The wee ones here are the faces that light up when they see me,  Miss O and her 'put on'  cry when I get in the car in the morning because she knows Mum is then going to work (we ignore and she stops).  Master A and his songs,  especially when he thinks you are not listening.  B and his 'big boy' look when he knows someone is misbehaving and it is not him.  Missie E and her realisation that she can read and you hear her sounding words to herself.

But oh I long to see Miss E (NZ) do her gymnastics,  Master L and his sense of humour (just like his Dad) and the Devil that is Lady C and all that that brings.  Lady C was only 12 weeks when we last met and so much has changed in the last 2 years, we have to get to know her again.    Her Mum has told us of her nature, her determination and we see her curls and dimples on Skype but nothing compares to the smell of a grandchild,  I always have one last sniff as I am leaving.

Time passes so slowly this last week,  so looking forward to the time with them, but in the blink of an eye we will be back home and into the routine again.    Sometimes the looking forward is the best time,  we are neither here nor there, in limbo I suppose.  Bags are packed,  presents have been bought,  but we have not left the ones who are in our daily lives yet.   When we are away, presents will be bought for those left behind and we will haul them the 12,000 miles home, eager to see their faces.    It would seem we are constantly taking a bit of our lives here and taking it over there and then bringing a bit of our lives over there back with us to share with others.  We should be grateful that we can afford to do this,  many parents of children who emigrated in the past had no hope of seeing them again.

Planning to go to the other side of the world is an adventure, one we do not take for granted.  As long as we have the ability we will be there, but each time it is harder to leave those behind on both  journeys.  

Next time I write, I will be with them and can see for myself how they have grown.  Watch out for grandparent overload on here.

28th July 2013

Dunure Castle Day out.

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Yesterday Mr T and I were asked if we wanted to accompany our friends B & E for lunch and a catch up.  E has been battling cancer and her treatment is now finished.  We had lunch at the Puffer Cafe which is nothing fancy but does basic food,  it has a lovely open seating area with windows along one side looking out  over  the harbour in Irvine and is part of the Maritime Museum.

Myself and E had Chilli and Nachos with cheese which we both enjoyed,  but Mr T and B plumped for fish and chips which they said was very dry and they were not impressed at all.

Some time later we headed south towards Ayr and took the scenic route from there to Dunure.  Stopping next to the castle we were surprised to be asked to pay £2 for the privilege of parking.  The sun was out and a picnic table was available near to the edge overlooking the beach.  The view of Arran was magnificent and  many photographs were taken. Dunure Castle is a ruin but in it's day must have been an impressive dwelling sitting perched on the cliff edge and ovelooking the Firth of Clyde with views of the Isle of Arran and the Holy Isle quite visible on a clear day.



Sat there for about an hour and headed further on where we stopped to take in an unusual aspect of Culzean Castle from a vantage point beside the road.


Driving on we approached the Electric Brae and just had to stop to see if it still worked.  It is an optical illusion but still fascinates me as much as it did when I was little and my Dad would stop the car and put it out of geat and you end up going UP the hill with no reason visible as to why.

A further stop at the supermarket to pick up some wine for us and a few provisions for B & E we headed home.

Nice of them to offer to take us with them on their day out,  having not driven since December and can't see me being able to in the near future it was nice to be out and about.   Thanks B & E.

20th July 2013

As the oldest daughter I inherited a teapot from my Mum which has always been passed on to the first born daughter.  In other words this passes through the mitochondrial line. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother and therefore I have the same NDNA as my mother and grandmother and so on back through the ages.  My mother had 3 living daughters and a son (one daughter died shortly after birth) and passed her MDNA to us all.  Only the daughters will pass this on.  I have 2 daughters and a son, but only my daughters will pass this DNA on, my 2 daughters have 3 daughters between them, so my MDNA lives on.

I was first introduced to this fantastic system by reading the book The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes on how there are only seven known types of MDNA in the world and therefore we all stem from one of those seven woman.  This is quite easy to understand given that you only inherit MDNA from your mother so genetically we are all descended from 7 woman.

This idea of women passing genes through the maternal line fascinates me.

Getting back to the teapot.  This teapot dates back to as far as I can ascetain between 1870 and 1890 therfore if what my mother told me was true it dates back to my great, great grandmother.  I was made by Philip Ashbury and sons in Sheffield and has the Britannia mark on the base.  Also some number which will be the design number.

Line of descent:

Jean (Jones) Clark -  GG Grandmother
Marion (Clark) Spiers -  G Grandmother
Marion known as Minnie (Spiers) Dougan - Grandmother
Marion known as Maimie (Spiers) Murray - Mother
Me  another Marion known as Lynette



My daughter to whom this teapot will be passed to also has Marion in her name,  not because of the teapot but because as middle names she was given her two grandmother's names.

I feel privileged that this teapot is passing through my hands,  I hiope my daughter and grand-daughter feel the same when their time comes.

3rd January 2013

2012 started on a high, 

We headed to New Zealand for 2 months at the beginning of February and had an awesome time with the folks down under.   Took a trip to Wellington to see good friends holmesfannd her beloved hubby.  Later, after a holiday in Geraldine with the family, Mr T and myself took daughters car and went down to Dunedin and stayed with SERVAS hosts Greg and Phillipa who lived in McAndrew's Bay on the peninsula.  What a good few days that was and we encountered our only rainy day in our whole holiday whilst there, but we didn't let that hold us back.

Returned home in March to the news that youngest daughter was pregnant with her 3rd,  but elated to find out some time later that it would be a girl.  Orla Maimie was born in November, a much loved sister by her two big brothers.

Had SERVAS visitors from Mexico and New Zealand during the year.

Son and his wife are working really hard to make a go of their business,  things have not been easy having a teenager and a 4 year old to contend wirh.  Things should be slightly easier this year with the wee one starting school and us keeping on top of the accounts ourselves (accountant was costing a fortune).

We had a wedding in the middle of the year when my niece got married and her big brother surprised her by turning up on the day from Canada.

Good friends J & J holmesfan ame to stay for a week after spending time in France with their son and family and then Scandinavia though SERVAS.  They flew into Edinburgh and we picked  them up in Kilmarnock.  Loved spending time with them.

Also another friend lytteltonwitch ame to stay and we loved seeing her.

I had a significant birthday in August and got loads of lovely gifts.

Saw George Michael in September, a birthday gift from last year.  Daughter-in-law and I had a lovely night and a memory for me to treasure.

September also saw me start a quilting class after having a taster in New Zealand.  Making a quilt for eldest grandson (Bestboy) and learning lots of new techniques. 

Had a 'day out' with our knitting group Kilmarnock Knitters to New Lanark World Heritage Centre and also they had a stall in the December Christmas Fair in Kilmarnock which raised £350 for Headway Ayrshire.

Took Grandson B and grandaughter E to see the Coca Cola 'Holdays are Coming' truck.  A bit of a let down but can say we have seen it.

Took 3 granchildren to the Christingle Service on Christmas Eve,  this was young A's first visit and although he is only 2 he did very well.

Had my usual run of hospital appointments and as far as Auto-immune and Cancer  is concerned I should just keep taking the tablets.  

My biggest problem has been my eyes.  I came home from holiday and had started to have problems reading and with close work (threading a needle etc).  Went and got new varifocals and after giving them a month to get used to new prescription I felt it was no better.  The upshot of the saga is that the week before Christmas I was diagnosed as having Wet Macular Degeneration and was in danger of acute Glaucoma.  Had laser surgery to put a hole in each eye to relive the pressure, which is now normal.  but have to start having injections into my eyes on 24th January to try to save my sight.  My understanding is they will inject me every 4 weeks for 3 sessions and then review.  The injections are costly and they should know by the 3rd if they have made an improvement or arrested the development or if it is not working at all. 

My mind races as to what will be the outcome,  my photography, sewing, knitting and lmost of all my grandchildren all require a keen eye.  I'm trying to stay positive, but sometimes I just succumb to tears.  Dame Judi Dench is living with the same thing.

Trying to think ahead and have already said we would like to work towards going to NZ this time next year.  Skype is a wonderful thing but not the same as cuddles.  The children now know my voice when I telephone without asking who they will shout 'Mum, it's Granny on the phone'.  And Ella is doing so well at her school and Gymnastics (a wee Olga Corbut).

I am going to try to keep this journal up to date, and I apologise to my friends (especially holmesfanfor the gap in proceedings.

All the best for 2013!!!!!!!!! 

20th March 2012

Lots more to see.

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Hope everyone is enjoying reading this, We are having such a good time.

5/3 Monday

The two children were up and away for donkey rides at 9.30 and Chris and I waited with Cora as Stef wanted the opportunity to get some photos for herself with the two older ones.

I was also on the cards for swimming for the children and we headed into Geraldine for them to go to the open air pool,  stopping along the way at the Vintage Car Museum.  Loads of ld cars but more and more tractors of all shapes and sizes,  also lawnmowers and household items like irons and mangles etc.

When they went swimming Chris and I headed to the shops and to the small shopping precinct which hosts Barkers which is famous thoughout New Zealand for pickles and sauces.  We called into Victoria's Wood Works and spoke to the woman there whose parents came from Galston in Ayrshire of all the places,  it's a small world.

6/3 Tuesday

This was our holiday with the Van Meers finished for the time being and Mr T and I were taking Stef's car and heading south on our own.   We made good time and was at Moeraki Boulders for lunchtime.  Had our lunch first and then headed down to the beach to see the 60 million year old wonders.  We felt a sense of awe and like everyone else we just had to touch them.  Younsters having their photos taken standing on them, Mr T did manage this too but I was a bit afraid I would fall and anyway I don't know how I would get on them either (too strenuous).

Made good time in getting to Dunedin and we had arranged with our Servas Hosts Greg and Philippa that we would be at their place by 6pm,  so about 5pm we headed round the Otago Peninsula to Macandrew Bay.  A lovely little village but the drive is round the most horrendous road I have driven in a long time.  About 5km of narrow winding roads and on the outward way you have about 2 feet between the care and the bay after you corss the causeway.   Then it was uphill to G & P's place but what a sight they have from their place.  Panoramic views of Dunedin.  Greg is retired and he was there to greet us, unfortunately P had to work late that night and we would not meet her until the morning.  Had a beautiful meal and a few glasses of wine and spoke of our travels and our families.

7/3 Wednesday

G & P were both there this morning and we were heading into the city after brakfast.  It was raining this morning and this was the first rainy day in our entire holiday, we have had rain overnight but not during the day.,

13th March 2012

I'm back.

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Sorry it took so long for me to return to my journal but we have been busy.  This entry might be very long but I will split into two entries, so here goes.....

27/2 Monday

Chris Van Meer had a beauty appointment in Rangiora so I accompanied her, more to have some time to explore, she went for her treatment and would have been about one hour.  I was looking for a book with toilet humour for Bailey as he is getting to that age.  I found one in Paper Plus called Why Dogs Sniff Bottoms.  A hilarious tail about dogs going to a dance and being asked to leave their bottoms at the door, then the fire alarm went off and they all picked the wrong bottom, so now they smell all bottoms to see if they can find their own.  Well written with pictures and I am sure her will love it.

Christine and I went to the Blue Rooster Cafe for coffee.

28/2 Tuesday

Stef had to get a WOF ( MOT) for her car and we took it down to Northwood Shopping Centre in Belfast.  We had a good look round at all the shops before returning for the car.  Went to Esquires for a coffee and they don't do loyalty/business cards, this is the first time this has happened and I don't have a card for my travel journal.

29/2 Wednesday

Stef had been dissappointed with her heair cut and the hairdresser suggested she return today so Mr T and Leo and Baby Cora headed for Chipmunks (a soft play area for small and larger kids.  Plenty of slides and ball swamps galore.  Also a shooting range for ball which used air pressure and the kids in there seemed to be having loads of fun.  The noise was quite bad so Cora's sleep was disturbed but she had lots to look at so she was amused and the time passed quickly, Mum soon appeared and we had survived.

I was in charge of tea tonight so I made a chicken and Brocolli Bake which went down well.

Paula and Cheryl (Stef's friend Kylie's Mum ) came over and we did some quilting.  The men watched football in the other room.

1/3 Thursday

Antz had another golf day, this man has a great job!!!!  We were packing for our week-end away in Geraldine with The family and Chris and Theo.  Tommy spent a lot of time cleaning the bathrooms as Stef's cleaning lady normally does these but Stef is going to ask her to wipe down all the kitchen units tomorrow instead.

Tommy and I won't be returning to Kaiapoi after Geraldine.  We are taking Stef's car on Tuesday and heading off until Friday,  staying 2 nights with SERVAS hosts in Dunedin and then one night in a Motel in Timaru.  Tommy and I have been members of SERVAS for 5 years now and were introdduced by our special friends in Wellington.  We have met many wonderful people through this organisation.

Both children at school today which made the cleaning and packing a lot easier.

2/3 Friday

Quite a fraughtful morning with over-excited children and parents with short tempers trying to get everything done whilst feeding baby, playing a trumpet and organising cars, so the kids were decanted to Nana and Poppa's, they stay at the beginning of Stef's estate and have a wonderful street name of Magnolia Boulevard.

We eventually set off about 11am.  Antz and Tommy with Ella,  Chritine, Theo and Leo, and then Stef, Miss Cora and Myself. 

Stopped after about one hour at Rakaia Salmon World Cafe.  Had lunch and a toilet stop for big kids and smaller alike. 

Set off again and we were following Antz, well he took what I thought was a wrong turni but Stef said he is probably taking the scenis route for you.   But then after about an hour he turned again and headed back to join the other road.  This was a slight detour but the scenery was magical,  the Alps in the distance and they had a dusting of snow.   We all eventually met up in Geralding town centre and Antz said that Stef should have flashed her lights when he took the wrong turning.

Got direction for the Farmyard Hoilday Centre in the I-site and we were to head straight through Geralding until we came to COACH ROAD.  Antz was in front and Theo next and what did they do..... they run past Coach Road.  Stef flashed and blew her horn and flashed again and honked again, no one took a blind bit of notice.  We just pulled over and she phoned A and told him to turn around, so eventually we made it to Farmyard Holiday Park.
By the time we were all together we were laughing so heartily and we were all saying 'well so much for flashing lights eh!!!!!!!'.

Stef had prepared a meal of meatballs yesterday and we had them for dinner tonight, all eating in the cottage which Stef, Antz and the kids had, Theo and Chris and Tommy and I had a studio unit per each couple.  Lovely wee seslf contained unit which would have slept 7 easily.  It had hob and microwave and kettle and fridge, really everything you needed.  We were to be based here from the Friday to the Tuesday.

After dinner we made a fire in the fire pit area and roasted marshmallows.  The younger children had never had them before and Ella and Leo couldn't wait for the next one to be ready and were shouting  to be first for the next roasted one.

3/3 Saturday

Torrential rain overnight which was part of a storm coming over from Sydney, we have got off lightly mind you when we see the photos on the TV of the devastation in NSW.  The north of the North Island has also been hit and some damage reported there.

The day brightened and we headed to Geraldine to explore the farmers market and a woodchopping competition which impressed the men.

The men waited on and watched the lumberjacks and jills and us women went to the supermarket for supplies.   We all bought wine,  I bought a McGuigans Private Bin Merlot, which turned out to be good.  Stef bought more marshmallows for the children too.

When we returned to the camp the quad bikes were set up for the kids and they had a great time with their Dad,  the quads are the only things to be paid for for the kids,  they have animals and playground and donkey rides and they are all free.  The rides are $3 each and Nana and Poppa paid today so Mr T and I will pay tomorrow.

The men also made the fire and toasted the mallows tonight whilst us 'girls' had a glass of wine and bedded baby and some time to chat.

4/3 Sunday

Donkey rides at 9.30 and the children had such a good time, this was all they spoke of for some considerable time today.

The proprietor suggested a ride out to Pleasant Point today (sounds a bit like a place Jessica Fletcher might visit) where there was an historic railway.  Problem is the railway only runs every second week and guess which week this was.  But anyway a very nice village and lovely Legends Pub which is full of memorabillia.

After lunch at Pleasant Point we headed along the road a wee bit to see the Maori Rock Art, but as it had a bit of a climb, Christine and me stayed behind with the car.  Stef took some photos for me and at least I can have a look at them.  This is the place that Billy Connolly spoke of on his journey round New Zealand.

Ella sang the New Zealand National Anthem in Moari for us whilst we were travelling, she says she will sing again so we get it on video for the folks back home.

We then headed to Kakhu Bush and to see the Lime Kiln there.  Antz had a walkabout here and the rest of us headed back.

Will leave it here, back soon.

28th February 2012

Next Update

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Saturday 18th Feb

Heatwave forecast for today so we headed out early (10am) to the beach with the kids.  Went to North Brighton and picked up a coffee to go at the Beach Cafe.  Driving through New Brighton it was very visible that there had been a lot of damage with the earthquake.  The kids play park is across the road from the cafe and we sat on benches first to have our coffee and the kids played on the climbing frames etc.  The beach was a short walk through the dunes and Mr T and SIL walked along the beach whilst the kids played at the edge of the water.  Stef says this beach reminds her of home as it looks the same on either side as standing on Irvine beach and the only thing missing is Arran.  Stef asking a lot of questions about family history and about my younger life.  Home for lunch and Ella going to Click and Climb with a wee friend this afternoon.

A quiet afternoon and I went food shopping with Stef.

BBQ for dinner with Steak, Chicken, Sausages, Salad, and a brown rice salad  and Christine and Theo joined us.

Sunday 19th Feb

We were invited to Antz's nephew Luc's 3rd Birthday family party.  He had a Teddy Bears Picnic and all the cousins brought teddies,  Chris and Theo brought theirs too.   Theo got covered with the toys and was counting out loud and then throwing them in the air which all the kids loved.  Then everyone was asked to play too.  Lots of laughs.

Stef made a stew in the slow cooker as we were out most of the afternoon.

Monday 20th Feb

Ella at school,  we headed into Hagley Park where they are celebrating a Festival of Flowers.  Thousands of cicadas greeted us in the heat and at one point Mr T could hear the low note but he still could not hear the cacophany of sound, he could only hear one or two clicks.  Managed to get quite close to a few cicadas in the trees.   Some very large trees in this area and the Hot House is called Cunningham House (but with no 'e' like Irvine's Cunninghame House) but it was closed because of the earthquakes and I suppose it is in the central city.  Saw some damage about the park, like columns which are now off centre, but this was well cordoned, and judging by the amount of visitors it did not deter the tourist.  The exhibitions were all free.

Tuesday 21st Feb

Went down to the local hairdresser for a trim as the water here is making my hair so soft and I cannot seem to get it to any style.   The hairdresser was very interested in Scotland but she has never been out of NZ. 

Stef had a lunchtime pedicure booked and a Shellac polish and she treated me to one later in the afternoon at 3pm   Afterwards had coffee in Chino's in Kaiapoi which surprisingly is still standing because a lot of that area has damage.

Wednesday 22nd Feb

One year from the earthquake that dessimated Christchurch,  the service from Hagley Park was televised at 8am this morning and there would be a report on TV tonight called 'When a City Falls'.  It was rivetting material and well worth watching.

Stef met some mums and their children in Victoria Park in Rangiora this morning for some play time for the kids, they lost their Mother and Toddler Room in the earthquake and have been meeting in the park regularly ever since.  I sat in the park with a coffee with the young mothers and then wandered round the shops for an hour.  The cones where the cordons are all had flowers in them and it was such a nice touch.  It seems that everyone had been encouraged to do this and it certainly made an impact.  At night on the news the people putting flower petals in the rivers also tugged at my heart.

Thursday 23rd Feb

Had coffee this morning at Sally's, Stef's frind who lives on the same estate,  only needed to take Miss Cora with us as Leo was at pre-school and Ella at school.  Sally is working towards becoming an anesthetist technician and sits her finals soon.  No mean feet with a husband and young children to look after.  We spoke about the earthquake and how she had been involved in theatre on that day. 

Saturday 24th Feb

Mr T, Antz, Greg Van Meer and Andrew Tolman were at a Beerfest in Hagley Park.  From 3pm to 7pm, which was classed as a half day.  Bands playing and boutique beer tasting which always interests the boys.

I watched Miss Cora whilst Stef dropped them off, she is a really placid baby and only cries if she is tired.

Stef went out for Chinese Take-away tonight and Chris and Theo joined us to help with the kids at night when Stef went back for the male folk.  Stef says she prefers Scottish chinese meals, but I enjoyed what I had.

Sunday 26th Feb

There was a Custom Car Show at Rangiora Showground today and Richard Van Meer's Holden would be on show so we had to support him.  Not only cars, tractors,  rally cars, drag racing cars,  radio-controlled planes,  helicopters (real) and animals etc were all there.  Also the local battle en-actment group who were all done up in German uniformas inside a trench surrounded by barbed wire.

I was very impressed with Richard's car which is a year older than Stef (1976) and was spotless and gleaming.  Also all the old tractors (oldest I saw was 1929) looked like new.

Everyone had a slice sausage roll with HP sauce and I had a bacon and black pudding one from a Scottish Food stall called Thistle Do Me (stef thought it was Thislte DOME to begin with until we pointed out the difference). 

Spoke to Bailey and Alfie on Skype this evening, really miss them.  Alfie kept trying to kiss me and was looking behind the laptop to find me.

Well hope you are enjoying my holiday with me,  please feel free to comment,  I love to know if you read it and don't forget to leave your name if you do comment on here.

Until the next time then...........

18th February 2012


The flight to Wellington was booked for 9.40am but it was delayed and didn't leave until 10.30am.  But the flight was short, only 30 minutes and Jack and Jan were patiently waiting for us.  Jan is a Lusk by birth and we met throught the internet 12/13 years ago but so far we have not been able to connect the family although her Lusks do come from Ayrshire so the chances are that there is a connection somewhere.  She also has Baillie connections and we could be related through this line too..

Stopped at Scorching Bay on the way to Upper Hutt.  A lovely bay with cafes along the waterfronet.  We went to Scorch-o-rama, a cafe situated on the front and the only thing coming between the cafe and the beach was the road, which the waiters crossed diligently and often to greet patrons.

Mr T had Veggie Pizza , I had the Tomato and Saffron Seafood Broth, Jack had quiche and Jan had Caramelised Onion and Feta Tart.  It was a very hot and clear day,  headed to the supermarket for provisions for dinner and of course a bottle of wine.    Jack always the gallant host made us a G & T before dinner and during dinner Mr T and I sampled the red whilt J & J had the white, not much changed there then.

After a leisurely breakfast, we were on  our way to the Dowse Museum in Lower Hutt.  They had a display of designs by Kristian Fredrickson for the New Zealnad Royal Ballet.  There were stunning designs on the walls of the artwork of the designer and the costumes which were made to his specifications were magnificent.  Materials of Lace, jewels and feathers all used to enhance the costumes.

From her we drove to Petone, the area where the first settlers arrived,   after a short while it was apparent that this was quite a blustery coast and then moved around to what is now Wellington.  Lots of shops here and many cafes.  Jackson Street is a haven for the cafe culture and the small boutique.  Many Art Deco buildings in this area to admire.

Jack wished to call on an African Shop called On trays where he had bought some wine before at a good price.  Unfortunately he was not as lucky this time.  The assistant came forward and offered us coffee (which we declined) and we browsed the shop.

Later tonight about 5.30 Jan and I headed  ito the Arizona Bar in Wellingotn City for a Bookcrossers meeting.  Ten of us arrived including a bookcrossing virgin (Carl from Quebec) who had only joined that morning, he is also a SERVAS member like us,  he was taking time out to travel and had met many friends along the way.

Bookcrossers here are Lusks, Sherlockfan, Discoverylover, Edwardstreet, LizzieP, JessieP, Missred58, Carlos51, Daisy-a-day and Captainsdoxy.  Great to see you guys.


Was overcast this morning and had been raining overnight so J & J suggested a run over to Porirua which is over the hill from Upper Hutt and has a micro-climate so if overcast in UH is could be fine in Porirua, and it was.

Went to the Pataka Museum which had an exhibition of the Samoan-German relationship, which none of us knew about.  It seems the UK asked New Zealand to go and take Samoa from the Germans at the start of the First World War and this was done in a day without any bloodshed, they just gave up.

Lots of craftwork from local artists adn a photographic exhibition called Nollywood, which was a Nigerian Film/Photo producer who was interested in the macabre.  Lots of very weird photographs which after the fist few we decided to give this a miss,  not my cup of tea.

Headed back down into Wellington City and the Botanic Gardens.    Parked the car and walked past the rose garden and into the Picnic Cafe, J & J had a rose wine each, I had a Orange and Mango Juice and Mr T had a Flat White.   Across from the Cafe was the Peace Garden with the flame brought from Hiroshuma and kept alive in a lantern in a pond which had loads of ducks and plants,  also a piece of stone brought from Hiroshuma was at the entrance. 

The Lantern holds the Flame.

Walked through the Begonia House and through another hot house which had a risen pond at the end with lots of liles and very small fish.


Meeting Marrisa of The Dawes Family in New Zealand was always on the cards if we were going to visit Upper Hutt.  Marrisa and family came out to New Zealand about 5 years ago from Yorkshire and I had been following her blog for some time.  I phoned her on Tuesday night and arranged to meet her this morning in a  the Fig Tree Cafe at 10am, a short walk from J & J's.  J came with me and we sat outside to await Marrisa's arrival.  Immediately after the introductions it was like meeting a very old friend,  we went inside and had coffee and talked and talked, Marrisa's parents are due to arrive this Tuesday.

After lunch at J & J we drove up Whiteman's Valley and past the Short Straw Cafe (a dawb and wattle building).  Near here J was explaining about an english couple who came out to settle in this area and before long all their neighbours from back home had followed suit and now there is about 6 bungalows all belonging to this crowd.

Next stop on our journey was Te Marua and a quaint quilters shop and next door The Stonestead Cafe which sold Devonshire Teas.  Kevin the owner was a bit of a character and we were surprised to learn that he was a ballroom dancer and his partner was the quilt lady.  They got the idea for the tea shop after competing at ballroom dancing in Blackpool and most of their friends didn't think it would take off but it has.  He was quite happy to allow us to have coffee with our scone, jam and cream and Mr T had a cola, Jack was the only one to have tea and he picked a Christmas Tea from all the teas on hand to pick from.

Had dinner tonight with the Coopers, J & J family in Upper Hutt.  a wonderful chicken dinner, salad and potato salad.


Going back to Christchurch this afternoon after a wonderful 5 days with J & J.    We headed out of Upper Hutt and over to Mainuiomata to Moores Valley and the Garden Centre there.  J & J are trying to think of what to plant in a new plot just inside the front gate.  Their choice would be flaxes, but I spied something I liked and bought them it as a thank you gift.  It was a Chatham Island Forget-me-not and the name is very appropriate as well as my favourite flower and I carried this in my wedding bouquet. 

On the way back we stopped at the Lookout to take in the view.

Headed to the airport at 2pm but our flight was then delayed and we did not arrive back in Christchurch until 6pm.

12th February 2012

Friday 10 February

Antz had a 'jolly' with his work.  A corporate Golf Day at Pegasus Golf Club.  He was leaving about 11am so we followed him out and had a coffee in the Flat White Cafe,  then brought both cars back to the house.  Met Antz' brother and sister-in-law with her sister and friend.  The womaen were going to the Pegasus Winery Concert of the evening to be held on the Pegasus Reserve.

Mr T and I took the car to Northlands this afternoon before going back to Pegasus to Richard and Claire's for Fish & Chip dinner.  Kids had a wonderful time playing with the other children and then Stef picked Antz up from the Golf on our way home.

It was a late night for the children as we were not home until after 7pm.

Saturday 11 February

Mr T and myself headed for Oxford this morning, a town about 32 km from Kaiapoi, we have been there many times.  The famous chef Jo Seagar has a cook school and store here and there are many arty shops and also a museum (we passed on the museum this time). 

Had lunch at Cafe 51, a very old house which is an award winning restauant.  I tried the seafood chowder again but it was not as good as Marshlands Cafe.  Mr T had a BLT and he was soooooo pleased when it came with chips.  All the bacon over here is smoked and we have looked for unsmoked but never found it.

Stopped at Coffee Culture in Rangiora for a Flat White on the way back.

Corned Beef (Brisket) for dinner with a mustard sauce.  Chris and Theo joined us.

Sunday 12 February

Quite a lazy morning and I saw a wee bit of Home and Away,  not going to tell you but someone has died.  LOL.

We headed out to Spencer Park for a picnic.  Had a walk around and the kids played in the paly area and we also had an ice 'block'. 


10th February 2012

Sunday:  Best nights sleep yet.  Chris & Theo took us out this afternoon and we headed to Amberley stopping along the way to pick some Apricots.  One of my favourite fruit.  I picked about one and a half kilo at NZ$ 2.99 a kilo was a very good price, that's about 1.50 a kilo in UK so would work out at 75p a lb.  

                We went to 'Sparks in the Park'  tonight with extended family, Stef and Antz and the kids stayed at home as it was on late.  Fireworks and classical music set in Hagley Park.  A wonderful night.

Monday:   Waitangi Day today, a public holiday set to mark the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.  Antz was playing in the local park in the bandstand with his jazz ban 'The Mules'.  They played Fly me to the Mooon, Blueberry Hill, St James Infimary, All of Me, House of the Risisng Sun and No Secrets.  A Pipe Band played before them and they were very good.  An improptu Sword Dance by a ' I think quite inebriated woman' was a hoot and she also danced to The Band.  She told them afterwards that she came from Wellington and did a lot of 'entertaining'.  she was a hoot.

                Tommy & I were doing dinner tonight so we walked back via the local supermarket and got all the ingredients to make a Chicken Pie and a Bottle of Gunn Estate Pinot Noir.

                We also had afternoon tea in Pegasus at Greg and Paula's place,  they have moved since we were last here to a lovely sprawling 4 bedroom house in a new town,  backing onto a championship golf course.  The town's motto is 'Live where you play'.

Tuesday:    Everything back to normal, kids back at school, SIL back to work.  Took a wee run to Northlands which is a big shopping centre, Much like Silverburn back home.  Went to the fabric shop and bought some fat quarters as Stef's friends are coming over tonight for a quilting night.    I am hoping to make a wall hanging and bought some Kiwiana fabric.    Chilli and Nachos for Dinner.

                    Karen who is teaching the girls to patchwork and quilt has her own blog at From Plot to Plate.

Wednesday:  Tommy and I took off on our own in Stef's car today and went to Kaiapoi town centre and then on into Rangiora.  Rangiora is one of the nicest town's around and we had lunch sitting outside at Coffee Culture on the corner of the main street.  The small birds are all around waiting for crumbs and they are very tame.     Mr T had a Cheese Scone the size of a tea plate and I had a Chicken Wrap.

                      Later in the day we went to Chris and Theo's for coffee and took Leo with us, Ella had her first Gymnastic Lesson today after school.  She is a natural and the teacher said she might be entering competitions soon.

                    At 7.08pm whilst sitting in the front room of the house there was a 4.2 earthquake.  Mr T nearly missed it,  that's how quick it was,  I just managed to say EARTHQUAKE and it was over.  There were more that night and had been some before but we have not felt them.  Go to Geonet to see all the latest quakes and the one I felt on Wednesday.

Thursday :   Both children had school.  Stef helped me cut out my wall hanging and I made a mess of one,  you have to be so precice and I was off a bit with one of my squares.    Christine came round after her pedicure in the morning and we headed to Marshlands Cafe where I had Seafood Chowder for lunch and I have to say it is probably the best thing I have ever tasted.   Went to a retail park called Homebase (yes it was) and whilst Stef went to buy a planter in Bunnings (a DIY store) Chris and I explored the rest of the shops.

Fajitas for tea.

Well that is me caught up and hope to be back on here soon.

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