This is yet another amazing NZ scene. I tell you friends, they are never-ending. This is just outside of a little resortyish town called Hanmer that we drove up to yesterday.

Here we are. Outside Hanmer. Its a gorgeous valley...a little over exposed here but you can feel in a beautiful valley behind us.

Yesterday Mike, Ashley, and I went to Hanmer Springs which is about an hour outside the city. Its a pretty spot and it has some hot springs which is very pretty. They have a bunch of different pools and we all relaxed and dreamed of buying a boat, making lots of residual income, and playing around forever. After those sorts of afternoons its hard to come home to the dishes. Dreaming people we are.

This isn't a fantastic photo but on Monday this week Christchurch a real proper snow storm. It began early in the morning and by the time I got to school it looked like a real nice Vermont snow drift. It took me back to the days of wonderment of snow days and snow time. I loved it. It kept up consistently for an hour and do to the fact that Christchurch has no way of getting rid of it, most things shut down, which really made me feel like I was in high school. So Polytech shut down and Mike mucked through the slush and slow traffic to pick me up. We spent the rest of the day at the Cammocks watching movies and staying warm by the fire. The snow stopped by the afternoon but it was a nice day. I kept trying to tell people how much more snow we got in Vermont and how amazing it was....but its too hard to pass on and I don't know that it really matters so now I tell you webpeople...i tell you.

This week we prepared the chimney for the new arrival...a pellet stove. We knocked the chimney out weeks ago and finally it was time to get something in there. I asked a brickey guy from my painting course how we could clean up some of the bricks and he suggested Spirit of Salt which is like sulfuric acid and burns the mortar off the bricks. I wanted to be sufficiently covered for the job at hand so here I am dawning my painting overalls that I got at my couse. Of course, my tutor (well one of them) wouldn't be so happy with this arrangement as he says we need to keep our white overalls as clean as possible. Hmmm...I was under the impression that overalls were meant to get dirty with lots of paint. Like the dirtier they were, the better. Ummm, wrong Chris. First lesson so I felt a little embarrassed because the first project we did, I relished in wiping my hands all over the front of my overalls quite meaningfully...like "Ah yes, now I am a real painter with dirty overalls". Oh well, I am just a pre-trader and have also been told by one of the block boys (a working apprentice that come to school every so often to be tested) that I shouldn't get so much paint on my hands. I am the only girl around so I think they feel some sense of cumpulsion to guide me in the wise ways of painting. I mean when I see a row of 10 guys under the age of 25 with cigarettes hanging out the side of their mouths, nappy hair, and scody facial hair I think "Oh wise men, please do come impart the ways of the Painter to myself. I am but young and feminine. I know not how to paint the panels on these doors" So anywho...this our chimney and these are my overalls.

This is called "proning". Its like a press up that you keep pressed up for as long as you can. Mike is up for any sort of test so he and Liz got at it. Mike seems to be joyfully proning here but soon ducked out of the race while Liz rose to the occasion and got 2.5 minutes... the face helps out in the longevity of your prone I hear. This isn't the easiest task. I consider myself semi-active and I can prone for about 1 minute. I only prone, when I do prone, in private however.


This is McGregor sucking on some pork fat aka bacon. This was at Ashley's birthday breakfast the other morning. I have never seen anyone (adult, child, but in this case babe) suck down the bacon like he did. By the end of the morning, he face was shiny with grease. He is a very cool one, this Digga (as he is nicnamed) with the most brilliant eyes ever. Carry on Digga.

Tough guys eh? Tom, McGregor, Thomas, Ashley, Mike, and Mack.

Less tough...except for Ash. He's too tough. Can't stop him. I think Mike and Mack are both standing on their tippy toes here as well. Not Thomas though...he's a tall one and he is a really cool guy and can't even pretend to be a bad boy..not like these other ones.

Another Birthday Breakfast a la Liz. This time there were waffles, ice cream, berry sauce, bacon, eggs, etc....They are killer breakfasts.

The Birthday Boy. A man of 23. Ashley.

Here they are...the Chefs. Jonny and Mike. The other night we had a crew of 5 hungry wandering UK travelers to feed and Mike and Jonny rose to the occassion with this lasagna. As you can notice...this dish is quite thick. Oh yes, it was the mother of all Lasagnas. I just want to make a quick note and say that I have this random memory of being about 7 and riding the bus home to our house in Connecticut and going over in my head how to say "Lasagna". I couldn't remember it and all I could get was "Laguhsna". The ride was a good 30 minutes and I probably sat there most of it desperately (well perhaps not desperately) but very purposefully trying to remember it how my mom said it. I would also like to note that I love lasagna and I love how it is spelled very much unlike how it is pronounced.

Here she is...Little did we know hidden inside this amazing creation was a little wee shard of glass that had come off the side of the bottle of canned tomatoes. Nick (our guest from England) discovered this when it embedded itself in his tongue. I have to stop there because the thought of where that glass was going makes me eeeeek. Luckily the tongue is the fastest healing part of the body and Nick was very cool about it. Of course we felt like complete idiots but what are you going to do. At least he didn't swallow it eh?


This is funny. I like it. I hope you do too. After Mike's haircut.

Last night we went to the airport to pick up Ashely who has been serving a mission in Japan. This would be Sasha's (the girl yawning and Cammock's foster daughter) brother. His plane was a bit delayed so the troops were fading and Mack really wanted to get out to watch the Rugby game between NZ and Austrailia. He is actually coming home "for a bit" to get some medical issues checked out but he's been away 20 months so I guess he'll see what the doctors say and maybe he will see this same scene again. Don't worry we livened up before he came down and Mack made sure to shake his hand before he bolted off to watch the game. We won.

Liz made sure there were lots of goodies for him upon return...NZ favourites.

Ash looking great.

RED!!! I don't know what this is either but I am sure many many others do. As you can see I was not a Botanic Garden wannbe scholar (not reading any signage) as I just enjoy the aesthetics of it all.

I think my favorite to see are these loaded magnolia trees. Its like the tree is the awkward prom date and he has been poked with hundreds of corsages they are typically overly gaudy and large for a him. We just want you to be pretty and they do it well.

Magnolia tree in black and white

They are so big and heavy. Next to me, a Japanese woman said and I kid you not, "oh so pretty but smell so ugly yuck". Hmmm yes.

Magnificant coral colored Poppies..that is what they are right?

Lots of blossoms everywhere as well.

Here are some more Botanic Garden delights. I should have asked one of the 'gardens speicialists' roaming around what these were. Maybe you know. That's the fountains in the back and the museum behind it.

The Botanical Gardens are filled with daffodils...literally filled.


I call this "Sun in the Fountain" oh yeah

Yes, you can have a gondola ride down the Avon River in the middle of the city. The weather last week was astounding.

The setting sun. Not a great view from our back window, wish we were a bit higher but this isn't bad.