Monday, July 06, 2009

Back to normal... literally...

Well, hello again world.

Since my April post things have really moved on.

Firstly, I've had my spine surgery (discectomy) and while recovery is quite hard and tiring, the pain I've suffered in my back and the sciatica have gone!! All that is left for me to do now is get fit again so Warren and I can get back to enjoying the outdoors again.

I'm so chuffed and just want to publicly acknowledge how wonderful my husband has been, as usual, in getting me through this. I love you, hon! Also, a big shout out to all my friends who have, as usual, been a massive support through this in particular my neighbour, Alva, and my friend Tanya. I won't bore you all with details about the experience, but if you want to hear about it check out my ENZ forum post here.

The second piece of news is that my parents sold their home in the UK at the end of May! The latest timing for their arrival to start their new life in New Zealand is the beginning of next month and I'm sick with excitement at that prospect.

Am also happy to report that our home is now roasty-toasty thanks to the two new woodburners - so warm, in fact, that we had to open the windows the other night to let some heat out!!

Whilst I won't be able to go skiing this year, the snowfalls have meant that the local resorts opened early - Mount Hutt in particular. Just last night they had another big dump of half a metre so hopefully Dad will bring his skis with him and can go on the piste with Warren.

We now have a few more members of the Leggatt clan. I purchased some 'rescued' chooks - five of them - and they were in a pathetic state when I brought them home - their combs were pale and drooping over their eyes, their feathers were bare and they were just so depressed and despondent. Well, now they are all very happy, with bright red combs, lovely winter plummage and they are confident, happy and dust-bathing to their heart's delight. Today they thanked us with our first egg :)

Well, I'll leave this wee update for now and promise to post more regularly in the future!

Best to all.

Labels: , ,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blame Facebook...

Ooops! It's been quite some time since we updated our blog - and I blame Facebook! While Warren doesn't like Sadbook (as he calls it), I'm hooked. But, we'll try and keep this blog going too as it's been going so long!

This September we will have been in New Zealand 5 years - time flies - we still love it here.

So, what have we been up to since the last update in November (nearly six months ago!)? Nothing terribly exciting, I'm afraid! Life rolls on, we've both been working hard and playing hard. My back has been very bad so that's limited what we can do.

So far this year we've been to the local A&P Show, socialized heaps, spent lots of time in the garden looking after the fruit and veg and I've become a birth partner (no.. don't laugh!). My friend, Asli, is preggers so it's very.. errmm... intriguing, following it through with her.

More recently, we've have two woodburners installed in the house, our neighbour got burgled (on the only day for weeks that we were away from home overnight) and Summer is on anti-flams for arthritis.

Mum and Dad are still trying to sell their house - they have until the end of the year to do so.

Our friends Jason and Leslyn got married on the beach at Taylor's Mistake in March - it was a lovely service.

The first snows of the season fell on the Southern Alps on 9th April, although it's been a lovely warm Autumn so far.

And finally, Billy the Hunted One is still loose in the area - he's been on the run for over 2 months now, having stolen 2 cars locally and robbed the local supermarket. My doctor (Dr Vlok) was on telly after having chased the fugitive through Darfield early one morning. He's becoming quite the local legend. UPDATE: the local fugitive has been captured!

Oh, and I got a new writing gig - I now also write for WebProNews and SmallBusinessNewz via iEntry publishers :) while continuing to write for BizReport for whom I've written for over 3 years.

I'm waiting to hear back from orthopedic surgeon regarding surgery on my spine - not great news but if it cures the pain I've been suffering for months then it'll be worth it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Lazy Labour Day

Monday 27th October was a public holiday here in New Zealand. It was Labour Day which commemorates the struggle for an eight-hour working day.

New Zealand workers were among the first in the world to claim this right when, in 1840, the carpenter Samuel Parnell won an eight-hour day in Wellington. Labour Day was first celebrated in New Zealand on 28 October 1890, when several thousand trade union members and supporters attended parades in the main centres. Government employees were given the day off to attend the parades.

We took our portable camping stove (part of our yet-to-be-used earthquake kit) down to the Waimakariri Gorge and drove down the side of the river for a few km's and found ourselves a nice little patch to sit and chill. We took a heap of tiger prawns, garlic (of course!), lemon, butter and some roti and ate al fresco while the dogs went for a swim (water was too cold for humans!).

The temps were in the high 20's and despite sunscreen we both ended up with sunburn! Oooops.

Veggie garden begins to take off

The warmer weather is encouraging our new veggie plots to flourish. We've moved a couple of the raised beds into the vineyard where they get more light and I've started veggies from seeds, using the tower as a greenhouse!

So far this season we have planted broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, artichokes, garlic, corn, peas and carrots. We decided that we'd concentrate on growing sufficient of the veggies we use daily instead of growing one or two of each.

This year we've also put in raspberries, strawberries and a lemon tree and renovated the orchard so hopefully we'll have more plums, apples and pears this year.

No sign of our lambs yet. We're waiting for some to come on sale and shall be getting another two. Our friends in Springston got some orphaned lambs which their kids just loved to feed!

We're also considering adding some meaty chickens to the brood so we can have eggs and meat. I just need to find a homekill service as hubby and I can't agree on best way to kill them - I personally couldn't wring a chicken's neck and hubby doesn't fancy axing them!

I've finished the vineyard (it's my little project while Woz deals with the firewood/pruning). It's already shooting away with wee flower-bud clusters so things are looking hopeful. We're at the mercy of the weather now, hoping there's no late frosts. The temperatures have been in the low to high 20's this week so let's hope we're out of the frost zone.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The torment is over...

My parents have been approved for residency in New Zealand!

After a helluva rollercoaster ride my parents have been told they can come and live in New Zealand. We went via the family sponsorship route and, from their application in March it took until September to be approved. Why? The medical assessors were being uber-efficient and made Dad jump through hoops, which he did, and it was all worth it!

So, anyone want to buy a lovely home in Sussex? :)

Congrats to Mum and Dad - can't wait for you to get here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spring is in the air

The weather has certainly turned the corner and it's hotting up. This is the green time of year before the sun turns the grass brown. The colours are stunning at the moment with azaleas, rhododendrons and the gorse colouring the countryside.

In the Malvern Hills the rapeseed fields look stunning against the blue sky and the mountains. This photo was taken not far from the house.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


WARNING... Turn away now if you are unable to face the reality of where our food comes from, even when it is purchased from the shops.

The sheep have now completed their job. The paddock and vineyard are well mowed, we have even had to feed out for a month or so. We had also solved the freezer space problem with a loan of a freezer so it was time.

I had been dreading the day in ways but in others knew it had to come. We got the sheep for a reason. Well two reasons as they mow grass well but the main reason was a source of hopefully some very nice lamb. A friend of our neighbours was going to kill, skin and gut them for us.

We knew it was going to be Sunday but not when. He turned up around 10am in the end. I was just walking out of the front door and almost into him. We rounded up the sheep with the help of a neighbour. It took a few attempts to grab them but in the end we had both secure. It was over quickly.

I helped string them up into the tree and watched as they skinned and gutted. I have to say that when you know what you are doing it is a quick process. The skinning is mostly done by hand, you run the hand on the inside of the skin to separate from the carcase. We both found ourselves really absorbed in the whole process and Helen even helped remove the liver and kidneys.

By the time it reaches the gutting it is just process from then on. No buckets of blood, just neat tidy packets that just fall out without spilling their contents. We moved the carcases to the garage and strung them up and this is how you see them below.

From this point is it a quick trip to the butchers to be chopped up. A few days later and we have a freezer full of lamb. Legs, shoulders, flaps and lots of chops. It would have been nice to get some racks but the butcher just cut that all into chops.

Having been through the process the question is would we get sheep again...... Yes. The next two mowers turn up in December to start mowing duty.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hair today, Gone tomorrow

Looking back I have no idea how I ended up with a bald head. I think it started when I got lazy with shaving long enough that I reached that tipping point where you might as well grow a full beard. It was a short step to the Goatie that is on show in Helens 40th pics. From there bald was not as large a jump as I thought.

I left it until after Helens 40th, although I have put my hair through enough over the years I have never shaved my head bald before. I found a tradition barbers in town that could shave me with a cut throat razor, a rare thing it turns out.

I booked a lunch time appointment and then quickly found myself sat in the barbers chair nervous and excited. The woman who I am going to shave my head run a set of clippers over my head taking it down to stubble before I knew what hit me. I guess if you book the appointment saying you want your head shaved with a cut throat razor they have no need to ask the classic "And how would you like it today sir?".

She then wrapped a couple of hot towels around my head and left them to soften the hairs. Then I sat "very" still while she shaved me with the cut throat. I have to say that in the right hands it is a very pleasant experience, enough to get my face shaved at well. Next came more hot towels to exfoliate the scalp and then oil to sooth the skin. A final clean with a modern razor to make sure it is smooth and I am done.

It's hard to describe what it feels like to run your hands over your own scalp without hair. Something many people will never experience in their life. You soon realise how quick that smooth finish, you get about half a day with a smooth scalp until it gives way to stubble.

I picked the wrong time of year for this look but I have got used to it so it will stay for a while now :)