Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy Birthday Willie

Willie Nelson is 80 today. This is a man who has given me much pleasure over the years. In fact this very week I am struggling with learning to play "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain" on my guitar.

That was the song which launched his solo singing career. Prior to that he was better known as a song writer - for instance he penned the famous "Crazy". He has recorded scores, if not hundreds, of albums, in many different styles and genres. He will have a go at anything, not always with pleasing results, but some of his songs are memorable.

He also seems to be a thoroughly nice chap. You can always tell by the way they treat their guests.and Willie is supremely kind and encouraging.

Happy Birthday Willie - and many more of 'em.

And the same goes for my brother Paul, who is slightly younger, but who nevertheless shares a birthday with Willie.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Swiss Break

We have had 5 days with Nicola and family in Rome. After an 800 kms drive last Thursday, we are now doing 5 days with Karen and Kenny at their home in Beckenried, on the shore of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.

The view from one of K&K's balconies

A 200-metre walk brings you to this view

There are boats too

A door in the immaculate apartment building

Beckenried is a ski resort - the lifts are about 300 metres from the house. In the summer the lifts take hikers up the mountain to some magnificent walks, I understand.

It's alovely place.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Picture Of Our House In The Telegraph

I woke up this morning to find a picture of our tiny village illuminating the Daily Telegraph, or at least the online version of it. Not just the village, but our own house is clearly visible.

It is an article about disillusionment among the French people about the political and economic situation. Places mentioned and people quoted are several hundred kilometres to the north of us, in the dead centre of France - "la France Profonde", so I don't know why Puivert is pictured.

A pleasant surprise to see the picture - we didn't expect our first glimpse of the village for several months to be in a newspaper.

You can read the article by clicking here

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Video of Airbus A380 Landing - Pilot's Eye View

Greetings from Rome. Since Thursday afternoon we have made 5 aircraft flights. Christchurch-Sydney-Bangkok-Dubai-Rome. Fortunately punctuated by a night's sleep in Bangkok. Just the 20,000 kms.

The last two flights were on the enormous Airbus A380, as pictured above.

Coincidentally, yesterday, the same day we arrived in Rome, a friend sent me a wonderful video of the scene in the cockpit as an A380 comes in to land at San Francisco airport. It is a real eye opener not only of the technology involved but of the skill and professionalism of the pilots.

Click HERE to see it.

So, we are back in the Northern Hemisphere for the first time since January. But not home yet. Fist we spend 5 days with Nicola here in Rome. Then a drive to Beckenried by Lake Lucerne in Switzerland for 5 days with Karen. Then a drive to Grenoble for a one-night visit with Andy Greene, Amercan conqueror on foot of New Zealand North to South, then home by May 1.

Just a few days now, really, in the life of your everyday globetrotter.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Husband Parking

No, not the age-old dispute about women drivers versus men drivers.

This sign was seen outside a new antique shop here in Oxford, New Zealand. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Walk In Kaikoura


These Are The Fastest Growing Mountains In New Zealand

Whale Rider

Sunbathing. Just Outside Our Accommodation

Sunbathing Too

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Incredible Hulk And Friends In Motueka

Incredible Hulk

Just A Closer Hulk With Thee
Johnny Rebel

Looking For A Kingfish

Up Front

This will be our last full week in New Zealand this year. We have hardly seen any rain. NZ has been suffering from a  severe drought. Even the West Coast of South Island has, for the first time ever, been  declared a drought zone. Normally, the wet clouds coming over from Australia rear up in horror when they see the Southern Alps then absolutely wet themselves at the sight of Aoraki Mt Cook. This results, often, in spectacular downpours and very high rainfall totals for the year. Not this year, though. However, the drought broke when we were in Hokitika. Fortunately we were indoors, nay, asleep, at the time, because it was in the middle of the night. But it was absolutely deafening. But for the eleven days we were in the town we saw barely a drop fall. 

One of our two days in Reefton saw rain falling all day long. It was only when we went to load the car up for departure the next morning that we realised we had left the front passenger window open since our arrival two days earlier. We have almost managed to dry the carpets now, we think. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Twisters, Coal, Gold and Light

We took a walk in the woods at Reefton, yet another town which built up around a gold rush. One of the mines in these woods, with the pit-head at about 500 metres, went down to 200 metres below sea level. The mine was closed in the 50s because of internal collapse, but 230,000 ounces of gold had been extracted. They hadn't finished digging, so there is obviously still gold in that thar shaft.

The woods are full not only of fallen trees but abandoned mine workings. Much of the track we walked on was on the bed of a railway which served the mines. It is amazing to think of somebody hauling all the equipment up into what must have been a very remote spot in the early years of colonisation.

Memorial To The Scores Of Coal Miners Who Have Lost Their Lives In The Greymouth Area, Including  The 29  Killed In The Recent Pike River Mine Disaster

Lovely Balconies

This is the Lantern Court Motel in Reefton, where we stayed for the last couple of nights. Before that we  were in Hokitika for a week. On Saturday we were having a coffee over the road from a very similar hotel, the Railway, and we were admiring the upper balconies. On Sunday, as we munched lunch in our motel room, a tornado came in from the sea and ripped the roof from the Railway Hotel and a few other buildings.

Reefton, Town of Light
Reefton was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to produce and reticulate (I think that means distribute, so why can't they say so) electricity.

And the house just above that picture, believe it or not, is for sale.

And I do know there is some duplication of the photos but I don't seem to be able to correct that.