Friday, 27 March 2009

My "Most Viewed' Flickr Stats

It's getting close. For a long time Maggie and Fergus were way ahead of all my other flickr photos but the Herb Garden has been really going for it the last while. It has just got past Flinders Ranges and is now only 3 views behind the pups.

Flinders Ranges

Looking at my flickr stats it's almost always viewed as a result of a search for "herb garden" on I like watching this race :)

Herb Garden

By the way, can anybody explain how flickr order photos based on "Interestingness" 'cos I've now idea how they do it!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Happy Campers

So last month a friend suggested that a few of us go on a "cruisey" tramp in to Totara Flats, camp for the night and then tramp out the next day. The idea was that while there we could fish, take some photos, chill, read, sleep or do whatever we fancied. In the end six of us were free to go last weekend so the date was set.

I have to be honest and say that come Saturday morning I was not feeling enthusiastic about this. The forecast showed rain coming in in the afternoon and hanging around overnight and the next day. I wasn't quite sure how much fishing, photography and general chilling was going to take place in the rain. But we were packed (Dave v kindly carrying the 2 person tent) and ready to go so off we went. I should probably mention that I was feeling pretty tired so I had already decided that my "relaxing" and "chilling" on arrival at the Flats was going to involve me in a sleeping bag inside a tent :)

While the tramp was definitely not difficult by Kiwi standards, it wasn't quite what I had in mind when I signed up to a "cruisey" walk in. But having said that I actually rather enjoyed it. Admittedly it took me a little while to get in to it as it wasn't what I was mentally prepared for but it was a fun group and some of the bush that was walked through is lovely. We were in to our third hour and had just descended down to walk along the side of the river, when we decided to take another wee rest... always nice to get weekend packs off the back. We had been there about 10 minutes when Amanda (organizer) mentioned that actually we were camping just around the bend in the river! Lots of packs hoisted on packs pretty fast and within another 20 mins we were at lovely little camping spot! It was right by the river (but up a ledge so no fear of flooding at this time of the year) and it was sheltered from the wind on three sides by bush and tree and just to finish it off there was enough room for our 3 two person tents! Just perfect.

Up went the tents (well the rain was still forecast so obviously it makes sense to get the tents up while it's still dry) and general sorting of thermarests, sleeping bags etc.

Happy Campers

We had dinner relatively early as it was pointed out that it would make sense to cook before the rain arrived. Around 6:30 or so I'd say we started to get a few drops of rain appear and by 7 we were all in our tents. It's been a while since I've been in a tent while it's raining outside... it's wonderful just lying there, talking quietly and listening to the rain on the tent! I didn't move for the rest of the evening, nor did anybody else actually other than James and Spencer who set some eel bait and then headed down about 8:30 to see if they'd caught anything. They had. I just wasn't getting out of my warm, dry sleeping bag to look at it. However when I got up in the morning there was a 2 foot eel (dead) hanging off a tree outside one of the tents.

Even though it never really cleared up on Sunday we never really got rained too heavily on as we were so protected in the bush I guess. It was a v enjoyable walk out with more conversation than I would have thought possible about eels! And I'll finish by saying that apparently NZ eels actually spawn somewhere near Tonga and before dying (well not the poor fella on Sat night) they head back there to spawn. Pretty impressive, eh?

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

A Small Bit of a Catch Up

I'm getting bad at keeping this blog in any way up to date. I don't think that this will necessarily improve that but but no harm in a quick update. Our "long hot" (eh, yeah right!) summer is potentially on the way out though I'm hoping that it's actually just been in hiding for the last few weeks and is going to surprise us all by making an appearance next week and then not going anywhere for the next 2 months!

My climbing is progressing... at last! I did some good climbs last week and again this week and I've also started on a new wall... trust me when I say that I did not get very far this evening. At all. Next week maybe.

Looking busy for the next few weekends too. We've a big project going live this weekend so I'm on call which means I can't actually leave Wellington. If I am called in it won't actually be until Sunday so I'll have to see if I can do something to amuse myself on Saturday at least. Five of us are off tramping to Otaki Forks the following weekend. I've been informed that this is an easy fishing/photography weekend so hopefully even I'll manage! In the middle of the following week Dave is heading off to the Sth Island with his brother and sister and I'm flying down to Queenstown to join up with them the following Saturday and not back to Wellington until the following Wednesday night. We'll be going via Mount Cook... this will be my 3rd visit there and there'll be tears if I don't see Mt. Cook on this visit. I mean honestly, how many times does a girl have to visit a place in an effort to see the highest mountain in NZ??!!! For the Easter weekend I'm going on a 4 day tramp on Abel Tasman. The terrain is easy but I to admit that I'm a little nervous about carrying a pack for 4 days! However hopefully the weather will be nice and the sandflies on holidays... I can dream :)

The weekend just past Dave did the Karapoti Classic which is a 50km mountain bike race for people who are mad enough to enjoy cycling for 4 hrs over rough terrain and generally getting covered in mud. I was out there for a few hours before the end and the variety of mud covered people coming in was amazing. The youngest competitor was a 9 year old boy which I thought was pretty impressive! The Wellington Jazz festival was also on so on the Sat night we headed along to see the Tomasz Stanko Quartet and on the Sun evening we saw The Brad Mehldau Trio. I have to say that the latter was the one that I was really looking forward to it but was actually the former that I just loved. The musicianship of all 4 members of the group was just amazing, and the way that they interacted when performing was so subtle but so right. They whole performance had a certain quality that I haven't experienced at a concert in a long time. Highly recommended. Don't get me wrong btw, I enjoyed The Brad Mehldau Trio but, for me, it just wasn't at the same level as the Tomasz Stanko Quartet.

Book wise I'm reading Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. It took a while to get in to it but I'm really enjoying it! Mind you I still have 248 pages to go (have read 400 already)! Even with the fact that I'm slowly getting through this book and have another 7 unread books on my book shelf I still acquired a new book at the monthly Wellington bookcrossing meet up last night. Unbelievably I hadn't been since October! It literally just seemed that I had stuff on that I couldn't cancel miss on the 2nd Tues of each month from Nov to Feb inclusive. Anyway it was nice to get along last night and show my face and get some news... and an Ian Rankin book :)

Matthew (my nephew) is doing well. From what I can gather he likes his food and has a good set of lungs on him. Oh and apparently he's very difficult to wake up... a bit of my brother there I reckon!