What a beauty!

The Gauntlet was thrown down, the challenge was made.

Who can make the best Pork Pie!

Much labour and effort produced a Pok Pie of splendid proportions and wonderful flavour

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Yum, yum, yum.

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Weddings and Walks

Hi all

Just returned to NZ after a 4 week trip to the UK. We stayed with Michelle and we had luxury accommodation ready for us when we arrived!

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But we were not too sure about the other residents….

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Primary reason for going was Julie’s Wedding. The wedding was at Burley Manor in the new Forest and it all went very well. Julie was beautiful (as were all the other ladies of course), the weather was perfect, the venue was great and everything went without a hitch. The only blot on a perfect day was that I had a really bad cold and missed out on the evening do as I was feeling rotten. Was really miffed the next morning as every one else was nursing hangovers and I felt just as rotten – but I had not even had a drink!

 

As usual we did a lot of visiting to friends and relatives and it was great to see everyone, even though it meant a lot of driving about.

IMG 1430Before we went we also decided to take some time out of the visit to do something just as a holiday, after all, having travelled 12,000 miles to get to the UK summer it seemed a bit silly not to take advantage of the fact. The thing we decide to do was to Walk the “Dales Way” again. We had already done this in 2005 with John & Denise and we really enjoyed it. Rather than try and sort all the B&B ourselves, which would have been a bit tricky with the time difference, we got “Sherpa Van ” to get it all sorted for us, and a good job they did too. Not only do they book all the B&B’s but they also provide a bag transfer sevice so you don’t have to carry very much while you are walking during the day. the Dales Way is an 84 mile walk going from Ilkley to Bowness in the Lake district. We did it over 6 days going via, Burnsall, Buckden, Ribblehead and Lambrigg. The weather was really good, got a bit sunburned on the second day but had a really great time and thoroughly enjoyed it. There are lots of pictures in the gallery – click here .

I’m back in NZ now, but Karen is staying on in the UK for a few more weeks – she was able to get longer off work than me.

So I am back at the grindstone in winter while Karen is still enjoying the UK summer.

Oh well

More soon

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Freezer full of Pork

Very busy weekend last weekend as we dealt with the first pig that Ben & Claire have been raising. Aa it was the first time we weren’t sure how it was going to go, but it was a really good day for it.
The weather was cool but clear so we worked in the garage with the door open, plenty of room and fresh air. It was a team effort and everybody mucked in.

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We spent the morning doing the butchery and the afternoon making sausages. My back was hurting after a lond day spent bent over the table but the results were superb. We now have a freezer literally full of pork.

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Have just finished cutting up the bacon so now we have a load of streaky bacon in the freezer as well.

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Today – Sunday – we are going to have our first roast joint so we are looking forward to that.

More soon

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Landscaping, Cycles & Sausages

Things have been trundling along as normal here since we came back from the Catlins.

The weather has been really mild now we are moving into autumn, but the clocks have gone back so the evenings are starting to draw in now, which is slowing down a project I have started in the garden. There was an area where the clothes line was that was really just some dead space getting overgrown by a climbing rose on trellis. With the help of Ben, Claire and a chainsaw we cleared the space and I am going to create another seating area. As it is sloping I am putting in a retaining wall at the bottom and then just a few plants on the slope before putting in a new block patio at the top. this area will be more sheltered from the sun and will be higher than the existing patio.

In anticipation of the Pork we will be getting soon I have had a couple of practice runs making sausages. Both batches were sampled and well received by local food critics.

 

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We are have recently purchased a couple of Mountain Bikes. Karen started this trend by buying one from a friend at work who was moving abroad. so, since Karen had one (and there was no way I was going to try “running” alongside her) I had to get one too. So now, with two bikes and a rack for the back of the car we are planning to go out onto some of the (easier) bike trails that abound around here. I am also going to start to use the bike to go to/from work but riding all the way up the hill to get to the house will be a real killer. I tried for the first time last night and did not get very far – had to walk up most of it! Still, at least I am burning calories!

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Holiday down south!

We have been for a weeks holiday driving down the west coast from Christchurch to the very bottom of the south Island, passing the Moeraki Boulders, to the Catlins coast and to Milford Sound.

We did a mixture of camping and staying in motel type rooms depending on the weather and what was available. We did not get rained on but it was a bit windy on a couple of days.

There are lots of pictures in the gallery over here.

we had a really great time and the scenery was really great. A lot of driving to see all the things that we wanted to, but it was worth it.

I have started a major project in the garden, in the area where the washing line was we have removed an old trellis fence that was covered in a huge climbing rose and cleared the area. I am planning to try and drop the level by cutting into the bank behind to give us another seating area, but one that gets a bit of shade during the day.

Karen took part in a fundraisng event for Cancer research at the weekend, Karens ward had put a team together to take part and I helped put up the tents. It was a 24 hour “Relay for Life” event where relay teams walked around a track for 24 hours carrying a baton. Quite a lot of money was raised.

On top of all that we also hosted a party for a couple of leavers from Karen’s ward, a good time was had by all  – of course!

PS. The picture at the top is Nugget Point on the Catlins Coast

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Birthdays, Buskers, Kites and Livestock!

Another milestone passed recently, we have now been in New Zealand for over two years! We went out for a meal in town with Ben & Claire and Gareth & Ruth to celebrate.

Up till now the summer weather has not been very good – plenty of grey days. It’s picked up a bit now and just in time for some of the free activities that are so regular here. We went to see some of the performers at the Buskers Festival which was really good.

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This Sunday we went to the Kite Day at New Brighton it was a nice day with a decent breeze and the Kites looked really good. Karen really liked flying the kite as you can see so I am going to have to get her one of her own.

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There are more pictures of the kite day here at the link below

 http://www.christchurchdailyphoto.com/2010/01/31/kite-day-and-buskers-at-new-brighton-beach/

and also on the Gallery –  http://pics.jleiper.com/thumbnails.php?album=29

Also, thanks to Ben & Claire (and their land) we are now the owners of half a cow and a pig. Some of you know I have always fancied the idea of getting a little bit of land and doing the smallholder thing.  Our garden is not big enough for me to have any animals but going into part ownership with Ben & Claire is the next best thing.

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Apart from looking forward to beef and pork I have just got a rifle so hopefully bunny burgers will be back on the menu soon.

Next Friday we are off to Classical Sparks, the free concert and fireworks display.

Busy, busy, busy

More soon..

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Happy New Year !!

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Happy New Year to everyone – hope you have a really good time.

Karen and I went out with Hillary & Paul on New Years Eve, first a meal and then a few drinks

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Then – off to Cathedral Square to watch the “Black Velvet Band”

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And then – at Midnight – watch the fireworks

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Today – New Years Day – Karen and I are off to Akaroa for a couple of days camping, then it’s back to work on Monday.

We hope you all have a really great new year

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Christmas on the Beach!

Possibly  just to make you even a bit more jealous we had a lovely picnic on the beach for our Christmas Lunch!

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After a relaxed cooked breakfast in the sun on the patio, we had a Webcam session with Julie and I ended up carrying the laptop round the house to give Andy’s sister a “guided tour”. We then packed up all the goodies we had – with a bottle of wine of course (thanks Julie) and headed off to the beach.

It was lovely and sunny but the water was a bit too cold for a swim so a paddle had to suffiIMG_0677ce.IMG_0682IMG_0679

After a lazy couple of hours it was off to Ben & Clares via a quick visit to Peter & Gill. I attempted to fly a small plane I had made from balsa but suffered a most embarrasing “crash and burn” as the motor cut out on the maiden flight. Oh well, back to the glue and try and find out what went wrong. Then there was a cricket match in the field.6

Then back home for an hours webcam with the Wood Mill Mob  to see the girls opening their presents, much fun watching Fern and Esme “Dressing up” while Neve watched on quite happily.

It’s back to normal now as we are both working Boxing day but we have Sunday off so depending on the weather we will find something to do I’m sure.

Hopy you all had a great Christmas

Best Wishes

Jim & Karen

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Happy Christmas!!

pohutukawa-flowersHappy Christmas to everyone who takes a look at this blog.

We will be thinking of you all in the UK shivering in the snow while we have our Christmas Picnic on the beach.

Just to make you jealous here is a typical NZ Christmas scene.

 Hope you have a wonderfull Christmas and a good New Year.

 Love and best wishes to you all from Jim & Karen

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Home again…..

Back home in Christchurch again after the 3 week trip to the UK to see new granddaughter, family, friends, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all……

 As hectic as usual, even apart from Neve arriving on the scene. It was really good to see everyone again, sorry if we could not get to you bu there was only so much time available and a lot of ground to cover.

 Neve is lovely and is already growing well, the verdict so far is that she will be like Fern but not so thin. Fern is loving going to school to do her “gluing” and Esme, as usual, is running rings round everyone.

We got back to Christchurch on Tuesday 29th after the usual long journey via Singapore. This time though I had booked an 8 hour stop in the Transit Hotel in  Terminal 1 prior to the holiday. This meant that we could go straight there from the airplane without all the hanging around that we had last time. We had a good 7 hours sleep and then went to the rooftop swimming pool for a swim and a rest for a  while longer. By the time we had walked through the building back to terminal 2, with a stop for a coffee and sandwich on the way, we only had to wait 5 mins at the gate before boarding for the last leg. Our house sitters, Paul and Hilary, did a marvellous and Paul (because he works next door to the airport) had even driven our car in so that we could get straight in the car and drive home.

The weather in the UK was pretty good while we were there but the weather here has turned cold again even though it is springtime.  We had a good day on Saturday so I managed to get the Veg Patch turned over and ready for planting, but the next day it was really chilly and we even had some snow flurries!

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