Observations


We’ve up to the North Island for a few days. I must say that the vegetation there is lush. You get giant ferns, stunning Kauri trees, Totora and beautiful Pohutukawa trees boasting crimson flowers.

We stayed in a lodge and our window looked over a small white church nestled amongst Winter foliage. You can just see the red roof of the church in the photo below.

IMG_8681What really caught my eye though is the tree in the middle of the photo. What a stunner.

Every year, around this time, I start to look for signs of Spring. In the Southern Hemisphere, that important date for us is September 1 – six days from now. We’ve had some warmer days recently and the grass is definitely growing.

Around the property, new buds are appearing. Two cherry blossoms have started to bloom and cheery, yellow daffodils are about to pop up from underneath the elm tree in the front yard. Once the daffodils appear, I feel that Spring has arrived.

The large cherry blossom in the front yard takes its time to wake up and doesn’t usually bloom until around October. The weeping willow is also showing green tips.

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The first stirrings of a cherry blossom in the corner of our front yard.

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The daffodils are starting to push up from underneath the elm tree.

Oh yeah, so…..late last week, we were hit with a pretty fierce snowstorm. We lost power for over 24 hours and had to sit in a dark living room with candles and, gasp: talk to each other.

It’s been friggin’ cold as New Zealand is in the grip of some Antarctic blast. Parts of NZ have seen temperatures as low as -20C (-4F). We probably had about 10-12cm of snow and, four days later, it still hasn’t melted because the early morning frosts are pretty severe.

The horses are a bit odd. They seem to love the snow and roll in it. Every time I go out, Saffy seems to be rolling in the snow. Karma likes to frolic in the white stuff and Miss Rosie, well she is stoic and watches Karma and Saffy being lunatics. Although, she occasionally rushes around.

Zeph and Zsa Zsa have busted out their fleecy, warm dog coats. They wear these after getting up in the morning, until it warms up. Then Zsa Zsa rushes out into the snow and runs around. She seems to love it, whilst Zeph is less than enthused.

I’m hoping this is the only dump of snow we get this Winter. It’s very pretty to look at but, when it melts, not so great. I’ve been slipping and sliding over parts of the property due to the black ice. Bring on Spring!!!

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Zsa Zsa was initially not sure about the snow.

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Looks like a Winter wonderland!

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Looking at the stream area.

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Karma and Miss Rosie frolicking in the snow.

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Zsa Zsa frolics!

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Zeph declines to get his paws wet hahaha

Around this time of year, we get some amazing morning and night skies. Sometimes the sky is awash with apricot, mauve and orange flushes.

I rushed out to get you a photo of a recent early morning sky. How glorious is this!! This photo is straight out of the camera – I haven’t done a thing to it.

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I have discovered a new oil for sale up in the North Island 🙂 I’m not sure if it’s similar to Olive Oil LOL.

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I have a habit of reading signs. Along with reading menus, it’s a favourite activity as I like to spot the spelling or grammatical mistakes. I saw this sign last week – what the?

IMG_3727It was posted at a cash register we were about to use. Guess it’s some play on the word Save but, honestly, the bulk of the population these days are pretty awful at spelling and grammar – this won’t help the situation.

The North Island is actually quite different to the South. I used to come to New Zealand with my Dad – both my parents were born in Wellington, as were my maternal grandparents. I did the whole North Island tour thing with Dad (as well as the South Island). He hired a car and we visited relatives in Dannevirke, went to Rotorua, Lake Taupo and so on. Each time we hopped across the ditch from Sydney, my mother refused to come with us.

Once she left Wellington, she vowed never to return saying it’s a small, boring, windy city. I never understood her dislike for NZ’s capital city. I think it’s the quirkiest city and the coffee you get in cafes is sensational. What’s a bit of wind? Heck, we have gale force winds in Canterbury where I currently live in the South Island.

We decided awhile ago that the South Island isn’t for us long term. Sure, it’s majestic and has less people (a bonus since I dislike over-populated areas) but the Nor’westers are a major issue for us. We’ve lost around 20 large eucalyptus trees since we bought the property nearly five years ago. Previous owners grew these water-suckers for firewood but never trimmed or chopped them down.

Where we live is also probably a little too isolated, although we are close enough to Christchurch to go there for a big day out. Christchurch was, of course, basically flattened by the 2011 earthquake so we feel we’d rather be nearer Auckland or Wellington. El Hubs also wants a warmer climate and parts of the North Island get pretty hot in Summer.

We have chosen the area we wish to live and I’ll tell you that it’s the Wellington rather than Auckland area. I’m happy about this because I have an emotional attachment to Welly since my Dad was born in Island Bay and my mother in Lyall Bay. Now that we’ve made the decision, we will choose the time to move. Could be within a year or maybe a bit longer. I’m looking forward to being able to spend the day shopping in Welly or just walking along the promenade around the harbour.

Zeph, Zsa Zsa and the horses will come with us and we think we’ll probably take Splash and her baby too. That reminds me, I don’t think I’ve posted a photo of Splash with her baby (who is now 9 months old and no baby). I’ll get a photo soon.

What I’m really looking forward to is downsizing. I carted a lot of stuff with me when we moved from Oz. I thought to myself: I might need this; I might need that. But there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t used since we arrived, so I’m going to radically prune things when we move. Get rid of some furniture, books, clothes and so on.

For personal items, if I haven’t used it within the last year, it’s going. For furniture, we’ll take minimal stuff because we’ll be building a house up North rather than buying one. Since El Hubs is an architect, it’s the opportunity to finally design the proverbial dream home. The problem with architects though is that nothing is ever perfect hahahaha!

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Soft rolling hills are a common sight in the North Island, plus lush vegetation.

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It’s New Zealand so of course – sheep!!

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The beaches are hauntingly beautiful. It’s not the golden sand I’m used to of Sydney’s beaches. But you often see soft, sandy stretches of grey or black sand, complete with driftwood.

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