Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hobbiting about the end of the year

Treated the boys (and ourselves) to a big-screen viewing of The Hobbit (II) this morning. We seldom go to the movies as it's outrageously expensive, but apparently on Tuesdays the prices are 'terrific'. Not sure about the truth of that marketing ploy but it's the best day to go.
The remainder of the last day of the year was spent at home; we spotted Caleb sitting quietly on the garage roof waiting for the day to end, I guess.  To see out the Old Year we rented The Hobbit (I) - what better time to see it than directly after the second one!  First though we had a game of Taboo, starting the movie late enough for it to almost run into midnight.  Mom and Dad didn't last but that was more a dislike of the movie than actual tiredness! 
And so another year draws to a close and we stand on the brink of 2014. This year we will either get our permanent residence in NZ, or be packing our bags and moving on. We're praying for the former!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Materially speaking

One of the items on a very short shopping list for my parents to bring from SA was 'fabric'. In Timaru our sewing shop stocks an array of ridiculously expensive materials, so I generally buy oddments from the Red Cross shop, or duvet covers and curtains which make lovely dresses a-la Maria von Trapp.  It's been a treat to work with brand-new, uncut fabrics which are large enough to comfortably accommodate all the necessary pattern pieces!  My mom and sister-in-law together chose some fabrics, and they made good choices - particularly loved this piece of cotton which is now a cute blouse with three sets of ruffles down each front.  It's also very gratifying having my parents ooh and aah over the process and finished work - here my mom is describing it to Nick as a 'work of art' :)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Get the braai on

After an excellent morning service and Nick's message from Romans on God's providence (highly recommended to listen to on-line), we invited the Bothas around for a BBQ. Unfortunately Betta was feeling poorly so opted out, but we were so pleased that Andreas and Danielle could spend a very relaxed afternoon with us.  The sun broke through the clouds early afternoon and it was a treat to be outside enjoying the mild weather and warm fellowship.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day 2013

We had Alfie Orr fill the pulpit for our Christmas Day service, who preached an excellent message on the good news of Jesus' birth...and the necessity of His death.  Following the service and an extended time of hugs and greetings afterwards, we gathered with a few South African families at the Bothas' home for a bring and share lunch and fellowship.  We had a wonderful afternoon of 'kuiering', petanque, music, singing, eating and laughing.
And trifle!!  Betta's marvellous creation was amazing.
Although we'd had some heavy showers and even thunder during church, the weather lifted enough for it to be pleasant outdoors, with a hint of sunshine breaking through. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas in NZ

Christmas Eve - such a blessing for us to be spending Christmas with family! When Mom and Dad announced in March that they had booked airline tickets to come visit, the theme was centered around 'Christmas in NZ'. So here we are then...this is it!  With our German heritage we always open gifts on Christmas Eve, following a good meal.  Tonight we had roast pork and veggies, and pavlova for pudding.  We also stuck to our usual family devotion following a meal, and tonight we reflected on Jesus' birth and the events leading up to it, and how Mary pondered all that the angel had said.  What a blessed time of reflection on the birth of our Saviour and the gift He has given us, of salvation and reconciliation with God, our creator and Father.
Ooooh, anticipation!!
Grandad Tony provided the means to buy air rifles for the boys - thank you so much Dad-in-Law!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Of stone-fruit and weeds

Oooh yes, cherry picking in Cromwell - ticked that one off our list too! Took a bit of driving around to find a PYO orchard, and although it's no more economical to buy ready-picked cherries than it is to pick your own (we thought they should pay us to pick their cherries?!), it was definitely worth the effort.  None of us really had any idea what to expect...Dad thought cherries grew on the ground like strawberries, but no, they are on trees like apricots, and sprout forth from the branches from ground level to the topmost branches. 
This orchard boasts several varieties of cherries but to our untrained eye we could see two - dark cherries and 'white' cherries, which are a pale yellowish colour and slightly less sweet than the traditional dark maroon ones.  We picked 3.2 kgs between the five of us, along with the free sampling allowed along the way. 
We'd been super impressed by the bounteous display of lupins growing along the highways.  We wanted to stop and photograph them on Friday but it rained most of the way to Wanaka, so we determined to find a good place to stop on the way home.  Apparently they are actually quite an aggressive weed, impacting on the ecosystems along Canterbury's many river systems. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Queenstown featured on today's itinerary. Although it was a beautiful clear day, there was a strong Southerly about which made it almost unpleasant being outdoors.  Poor Mumsie already had a head cold which was settling into her chest, and being buffeted by icy blasts didn't help much.  Still, we intended to ride the gondola and do the luge, so trudged up the hill to the entrance. 
I still don't like the gondola ride.  Mom cheerfully sang songs about the lovely lupins and crashing into rocks to try occupy and distract me, but her unconcerned state about whooshing up the side of the mountain was more help than her dotty ditties.  I certainly didn't want to ride with the boys who no doubt would have rocked the car on purpose. 
Glad to get out though and be on solid ground, albeit it very high solid ground. 
Cute jelly bean rendering of American Gothic ey!
Upwards for the luge ride.  Graham Gregory would be impressed to note that I whistled for the boys to turn around and wave for a photo :)  Caleb and Aaron both rode the luge like seasoned rally drivers; Dad was moderate in his overtaking of my little cart which I rode like an old lady complete with straight-back posture.  Still, that's how I enjoy it!  Mom found her pleasure in a cup of coffee and book, indoors and out of the wind. 
Dad still thought this sign was funny - so no ghosts permitted in Queenstown then?
Once safely down the mountain, we used my phone to navigate to Subway for lunch, where a lovely lass offered to take our photo.
Replete on onions, roast beef, salami and other delicious and messy combinations, we meandered up and down a few streets in Queenstown.  We were sorry to be missing church on this Sunday, and felt particularly sad about the throngs of people enjoying a lovely day out without thought of God and church-going. 
On the shores of Lake Wakatipu...a tight-rope line had been established between two trees and the would-be walker didn't mind Caleb and Aaron having a go. 
Beautiful Anglican Church - glad to say they were announcing service times on a billboard outside.
We sucked the Queenstown experience dry early afternoon, and drove the 20 minutes back to Arrowtown.  Spent a portion of the afternoon enjoying the sights on the main street.  Below is "The Postmaster's Residence" - turned into a quaint eatery.
Since we had brought pre-prepared meals with us there was nothing that needed doing, so I found a seat in the sun with a hat and book and enjoyed a blissful afternoon of reading.  That's where true holidayness happens!