Friday, April 28, 2006

essayed out

I have got two more days of holidays before I go back to university, and I'm spending them writing this blimming essay. It is quite satisfying when I finish a paragraph or section, I admit, but the rest of the time I'm either making myself continue working or feeling guilty because I'm not working. I think when I've finished it I'll have to post it up here as a trophy of my hard work over the last few weeks. :)

It was Anzac Day on Tuesday, which is, I suppose, one of New Zealand's two major holidays. Anzac is basically a mixture of the words Australia and New Zealand and is the name that refers to the Antipodean men who fought in the World Wars and other wars like Vietnam. It's our day for remembering their sacrifices. I like Anzac Day. I was planning to get up early (ie around 5:15am) and go to a dawn service, but when I woke up it was absolutely bucketing down with rain and somehow getting up didn't seem that tempting!

A couple of photos: Top, at a sister's house for a meal when my sister and brother-in-law came down from Auckland. Dad gazing at one of the outdoor candle thingys while Tony, a brother-in-law, cooks on the barbecue. Bottom, another brother-in-law, Mike, when we realised the flowers were right behind his head.

Monday, April 24, 2006


The native bush on the Bealey Spur walk.
Dad, near Mt White - looking very Southern Man-ish.
Looking down the river from the railway bridge we walked over.

Has anyone read any of the Milly-Molly-Mandy books, by Joyce Lankester Brisley? I'm curious because I was basically brought up on them and for some peculiar reason, I've been thinking about them today. :) I loved all the little stories and the pictures. I used to copy the stories; eg the one where Milly-Molly-Mandy gets locked in her bedroom by mistake and she leaves a basket hanging out her window and her family leave little presents in it for her to pull up? That was a particularly fun idea!

Other books I got into when I was a little older (ie seven or eight) were Enid Blyton ones: the Famous Five series, the Secret Seven, Five Find-Outers and Dog... I was obsessed with Enid Blyton in the way I love Jane Austen now - something that is rather embarrassing to admit, when I flick through those books now... I don't think Enid Blyton was ever popular in the States, or at least not with my generation, because most Americans I talk to don't have a clue who she was. Not surprising I suppose, because she was very British!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

some more photos

The view from the top of the track up the Bealey Spur.
From the railway tracks as we walked along, on Tuesday.
My father--as we sat at the top of the Bealey Spur, having lunch, sheltering from the rain and wind behind a tree.
Evening falls. From the Waimakariri riverbed, where I was having a stroll after dinner (you can basically walk out the motel door and be by the riverbed).

Here's some more pictures from Arthur's Pass; I got both films back today. I wasn't quite so happy with them as I could have been but some turned out really well.

I especially like the bottom one, I think. I love the Waimakariri river, it's beautiful. It braids its way down from the mountains across the plains to Christchurch, where I live. We get our water from it, and it is so pure that it doesn't need to be treated, after filtering through all the gravel on the way down. The best water in the world, in my opinion! No yucky chlorine taste. :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Arthur's Pass

How's this for a view out your bedroom window in the morning? [Insert big plug for the Bealey Hotel here]
This was taken from halfway up the Bealey Spur track. Glorious views from the highest point, but I'll post photos of those when I get my film developed.
Castle Hill--hard to take a photo that shows just how big and cool this place is. It's very like the area where they filmed the battle scenes for the film Narnia, but on a much bigger scale. (Flock Hill, where they filmed Narnia, is actually very close to Castle Hill.)

Well, I'm back from Arthur's Pass! Had a great time, of course. We took both bikes up with us on the back of the car, which made us look very sporty, but we didn't actually end up using them...! :) Oh well, we did do a big walk yesterday, up Bealey Spur (see middle photo), and we did a lot of other little walks just as we saw something that interested us... ie we went up to Castle Hill (as shown in bottom photo), which I've driven past hundreds of times and never actually walked up to, or we walked down the railway lines for about three quarters of an hour on the way back. We stayed at the Bealey Hotel (which is really a motel, with the BEST views of any motel I've ever stayed in-see top photo).

I used my 'real' (ie film) camera most of the time, just as it's easier to use on the go; turn on-point-click-bang, whereas the digital is more like turn on-wait-wait-wait-point-click-wait-wait-wait-it's there. I also have a feeling my film camera is better with colour; my digital camera seems to make Arthur's Pass always look very brown and dull when there's much more colour in reality. So I have to wait for a couple of days while the film is developed before I can see most of my photos. I tried to take a few on the digital camera though... as you can see.
By the way, I went busking again on Saturday with Louise, and we made 1000% more money (=$10) in half the time! Yay for us. $10 still isn't loads but we've found a much better place now and if we play for longer, we'll make more easily.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

Happy Easter, everyone. I like Easter; I guess mostly because it's a time when one can't help be reminded of what Jesus did for one... sometimes a pretty nice and timely thing to be reminded of. (Excuse my understatement.) We had a Good Friday service at my church this morning, a joint service with an Anglican church that's nearby us. It was really nice to do a bit more mixing with other denominations and get a taste of their format of things (eg we all said the Lord's Prayer out loud, which we hardly ever do at my church; that was lovely). Usually we do stuff with other Open Brethren churches and between you and me, I'm a bit sick of jokes about Pentecostals. :)

This afternoon I went to the beach with my aunty, uncle and grandmother. It's been a beautiful day here; I love April. We just wandered the length of Sumner beach, watched a few kite surfers, all the dogs, and everyone out enjoying the holiday.

As you can see, I tried taking a few photos of the kite surfers. I've never seen so many out before; there were about fifteen in all. I got a few photos of them flying through the air as they took jumps but none of them worked that great. I was really disappointed the photo of the little girl was so blurry. (That's why it's so small; hopefully it's clearer!) I might go back tomorrow or another fine day and try and get some more photos because there was a lot of really interesting stuff going on there.

On Sunday afternoon my dad and I are going off to Arthur's Pass for two nights. Arthur's Pass is our classic family holiday/day-trip destination. It's a national park, and one of the only ways to get from the east coast to the west coast. We're going to climb mountains and ride bikes... not so much a me thing but I always enjoy it, and at the very least feel a better person because of it. :) I made Dad promise we wouldn't be biking up or down mountains; I find mountain-biking so frightening and besides, I'd die of exhaustion before we'd been going five minutes.

provinicial chambers

Yesterday I went for a wander round the old Canterbury Provinicial Chambers - they're the old council buildings for Christchurch city, and I have never been into them before, despite spending my whole life in Christchurch. How weird is that. Because they are really cool, very old (well, old for New Zealand, anyway) and very pretty. I never had any idea, before, that you were allowed to go into them, but they're open every day, free admission. I had trouble taking photos because it was dim inside for the most part, so using the flash was too extreme, and not using it was not quite good enough. But here are some of the ones I liked, and I'll put more up later too.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

P for pegs

Funny story for today: my sister was down here a few days ago for a conference, and she was telling me she has a policeman friend who is on the squad that trys to bust people in Auckland who make P (a type of methamphetamine, if you haven’t heard of it). He told her that a man who’d recently had his furniture stolen was flicking through the realty section in the paper and saw a house for sale, with photos in it of his stolen furniture! So he went to look at the house on its open day, and sure enough, it was his furniture. He also thought there were some slightly odd things about the house, and he rung the police to report robbery. The police raided the house and discovered a fully-functioning P lab. :) You’d have to be pretty stupid, really, to advertise your house with photos of all its stolen furniture.

She was telling me a lot more about this and it’s actually pretty sad how big a deal P is now. There’s actually an excess of it so its price is way down, meaning more and more people are going to get addicted. She said the police are only discovering a tiny fraction of the P labs around, and that a lot of them are these poor family homes with lots of kids around, growing up in a horribly unhealthy environment. On the other hand, people who are way up in society and business are just as likely to be P-smokers as the poorer people. My sister is a speech therapist and she says they really often get people coming into hospital with really grave illness due to P, it just can’t be proven exactly what the cause is. She said last week she had a fifteen year old and his thirty year old uncle come in with really bad strokes after they had both been smoking P in the uncle’s apartment—fifteen and thirty? That should be proof enough, methinks. It’s a disgusting drug. I don’t know whether to feel sorry for the dealers or despise them.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Well, on Saturday, Louise and I went busking for the first time. I wouldn't call it an abysmal failure, quite. It did help in terms of finding the best spots to play in. Yet we finished with the fantastic sum of $1. Hardly a raging success!

Let me explain. We started off near the Art Centre, which is a very popular spot on the weekend with locals and tourists alike. Our license doesn't allow us to go actually into it, but we got a good spot on the edge... until a one-armed man with a performing dog came along and set up right next to us. (It's kind of comical when I think about it now...) We were pretty angry then, because we had got there first, and he came along with his little dog who sat on a skateboard and tooted a horn loudly, completely upstaging us! :) To be fair, I've seen him there before, so he probably views it as his spot. All the same, it wasn't very polite.

That was where we made our dollar, and then we moved because it just wasn't working, with this loud horn going off every ten seconds, battling our beautiful recorder duets that we'd worked on all that morning (and I must say they sounded fantastic--I didn't think we'd get anything quite that good). So we tried the City Mall, but all along there the sounds of bagpipes reverberated, very unhelpfully, and our recorders are no match for bagpipes. Then in the Square, there was some cultural concert on, with a big kapahaka group doing loud hakas and waiatas--all amplified, of course. So that didn't really work. Then we went to the Worcester Street bridge, but it was really really windy there, and our stand kept blowing over. So we decided to leave.

What's kinda funny is that parking cost $2. So we actually lost money. :)

We're definitely going back, a bit wiser about where to go, and when. We're planning to get there earlier, and get a spot on City Mall before any bagpipes players get a chance to get there, because that really was the best spot. And it, being sheltered, had the best acoustics for recorders, which don't carry well in the wind.

The recorder I've included a picture of is a Moeck 239, a wooden treble (or alto) recorder that I would love to get. One of the girls at music has one, and it's beautiful. (Only problem is it's $500 so yeah... I'm settling for a $75 Yamaha plastic one which at least is better than the only I have now.)

(By the way, have managed to post those photos that were giving me trouble on the last post.)

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Finally managed to get these photos up!

For your reading pleasure: here is a short thing I wrote a couple of years ago. Don't know why I'm putting it on my blog now... but here it is!

On Moving House

The worst part about open homes is not the tidying-up. It’s not the fact that you’re being kicked out unceremoniously for half an hour. It’s when you come back before it has finished and sit waiting outside in the car and watch people walking brazenly into your home as if it were just a house, wandering around checking out your wardrobe and flicking their eyes over your bookshelves, criticising your wallpaper and letting their kids play on your bars. You didn’t know that seeing it would make your stomach clench like this.

It makes you think about how much you love your house. There is something about it; you don’t know if it’s just because you’ve been there forever or if there really is something magical and safe and alive about it. And the memories flash through your mind like a slideshow. Fragmented orange light through the leaves of the hideaway; daisy chains in the long grass; red currant picking of a summer evening; tall, personable corn dominating the vegetables; hanging upside down off the bars with your head touching the grass; violets at the bottom of the garden; leaving gifts for the fairies under the piles of Halswell Quarry stone; plum blossom and daffodils; hot potatoes in tin foil and ash; tennis against the red brick wall; screams through the sprinkler.

And then there was the huddling around the fire with marshmallows; the candlelight games of Snap when the power failed; lying on your stomach gazing at the flames and feeling like you couldn’t be more comfortable if this was Buckingham Palace and you were the Queen; the sprints up the stairs in the freezing cold with two extra blankets; Mum’s lemon and honey drinks when you’re dying of a runny nose.

Still more images attack you, and you can’t get up, smile, and think about something else. Getting up at 6:00 on your birthday and groping around in the dark for your presents; waking up your teenage sister at 6:15 to say thank you; being sick and lying on the couch looking through the window at the mountain beech leaves and the patterns they make with the clouds and feeling like you’re the most special person in the world; the way you come down the stairs and open the door and are suddenly hit with the smell of the roast chicken or bacon or whatever it is that’s for dinner; the house full of people and noises and smells and laughter at Christmas; songs in the new-lounge with everyone playing a different kind of instrument or making do on a tin whistle; bookshelves exploding with every kind of book; your sisters and brothers coming home and you being so excited to see them come and so miserable when they leave; returning from holidays in the old blue van and the house being so pleasingly familiar and solid.

No house can ever compare. Suddenly it feels like leaving the house will be like betraying your best friend. You’ll drive past in the future and everything about the house will say, 'I’m not yours anymore. You have no right to look at me.' They’ll cut down the deformed silver birch that Dad annually mangled and install a second bathroom with tasteful wallpaper, or they’ll dig up the vegetable garden, filling it up with manageable concrete, and they’ll transform the kitchen into a symphony of stainless steel. You hope the dodgy gutter falls on their fat heads. You hope they freeze upstairs in winter. You hope the roof leaks on their beds. You hope the mice plague them.

You never want to leave.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

the entrance to Hell

Scary picture huh? It's weird because in normal colour it's the prettiest little church door thing ever... but here it looks like the opening to Hell.

Yay for holidays! I am now officially on my mid-semester break, a wonderful three weeks of near-freedom... well, maybe not freedom exactly when I have an essay due first day back... but a lot less restrictions, anyway! I have no plans whatsoever at the moment. I might be going to Dunedin to visit my sister and her family, and a few friends I have there, but at this stage, probably not. Dad wants to go away to Arthur's Pass for a night which I admit would be great but it doesn't really tie in with my whole image of blobbing all holidays. :) I think I'll go with him if he does go, though. Arthur's Pass is the coolest place.

I had an odd dream last night that Colin Firth married my sister. Hmmm. It was very strange. We got to go to the premiere of one of his movies. Doesn't sound that odd, but in the dream everything felt very strange...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I went for a walk this morning, taking my camera plus a few squares of multi-coloured cellophane... makes for quite a striking result, does it not? I'm not sure if I exactly like it but I think it's quite cool really... will post a few more later. I found the red cellophane made the hugest difference, whereas blue hardly none at all, and yellow and orange a little bit of difference. (The second photo is blue + red.)

Have been writing notes on Aleksandra Kollontai (Bolshevik feminist) for three or four hours; got so sick of it I went and photocopied the rest of the pages that were relevant. That's the problem with these huge biographies of people--there's too much information!

Bolshevik social policy 1917-1924

Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you all about Bolshevik social policy. I just feel like it is coming out my eyeballs at the moment. I am feverishly researching for my essay because I would like to finish by the end of the week, when we have our mid-semester break for university. I have only gone through three books so far (aiming for six or seven) but it's such a soul-destroying operation it feels like I've been working on it for weeks, with hundreds of books. Yes, it is interesting. I just hate copying everything out into notes. Gah.

I'm not sure if I said anything about getting my buskers license before? Well, I have! My friend Louise and I are meeting up this Saturday to go through the music and then possibly going into town if we have time to busk. How exciting. :)

Hi Angie, thanks for visiting my blog--very nice to meet you! In what way are you making your career out of Jane Austen? (Cos that sounds really interesting/tempting!) I think I agree; right now Jane Austen is probably winning the war. But I really admire Bono too, and the rest of the band, especially the Edge.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Ta da da daaaa

Well. This weekend I have been indulging my list-making mania, and I present you with [insert drum roll here] the 2006 list of Allie's Favourite U2 songs!! I am planning to do this again next April and see how it changes. Reading this, I cannot help but see just how piteous my life is. :)

1. One
2. Walk On
3. In A Little While
4. All I Want Is You
5. Desire
6. Bad
7. Running to Standstill
8. One Tree Hill
9. Numb
10. Pride (In the Name of Love)
11. Yahweh
12. The Hands That Built America
13. Original of the Species
14. Where the Streets Have No Name (and this won the special Best Live song award)
15. Beautiful Day
16. Discotheque
17. 40
18. Until the End of the World
19. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
20. New Year's Day

And honourable mentions go to: Exit, Miss Sarajevo, Grace, With or Without You, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, New York, and Kite. It was actually very hard to decide all this and there's still some I'm not exactly sure on--but as a general idea, it works! The first six are very very close and I had real trouble separating them out.

I had a go at deciding what my favourite Jane Austen books are but wasn't quite so exciting because I already basically knew the order and there's not that many!

1. Persuasion
2. Pride and Prejudice
3. Emma
4. Sense and Sensibility
5. Northanger Abbey
6. Mansfield Park

[Photo from Retro Toys]

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I belong in Dublin

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

Sighhh... I'd settle for any European city, if only I could actually GET there.