Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Birthday

I have decided that celebrations are worth sharing and so I am posting this years birthday hap's for me.

After spending the morning at work and then coming home, Daniel came around to get an alternator out of one of Harry's Isuzu's (as you do, as there are six at our place) and Harry finally got to the shower, so we made our way to Hamilton for my treat.

Well we were late and so missed both the two movies I had chosen to see before we had tea (a first and second choice depending on when we got there) so the plans had to be changed.
This time we booked the tickets and then went for tea.

We went to the Foundation Bar at the Base in Hamilton. What a lovely place with awesome food and service. We had never been there before or heard of any recommendations but would certainly recommend it now.
We had a starter of garlic rosemary pizza bread.

Harry had his

  • grilled scotch fillet 
  • with Potato Gratin, 
  • Wilted Spinach, 
  • Sauteed Oyster Mushrooms and
  • Beef Reduction 

and I had

  • Warm Winter Salad of Roasted Kumara, Pumpkin and Honey Glazed Carrots, 
  • Spinach, 
  • Red Onion, 
  • Feta, 
  • Radicchio Salad, 
  • Orange + Cumin Dressing and 
  • added Smoked Chicken.
Like I said the food was awesome and so not only could I not fit in a dessert I couldn't finish my main. I asked for a doggie bag which arrived in a plastic bag and paper carrier bag.We decided we would come back for coffee and desert after the movie.

The movie I had chosen was my second choice but it came with a good review from our Jennifer.

This Is Where I Leave You is a dramatic comedy based on the hilarious and poignant best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper.
When the Altman family's father passes away the four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof. They don't get along, and they haven't all been together in years. But when the patriarch dies, the whole clan is expected to fulfill his final wish and sit Shiva for him for an entire week. 
Judd Altman was married to Quinn, whom he recently caught cheating on him with his boss, is now newly divorced, newly jobless and has to travel home to face his dysfunctional family. This includes: his hot-to-trot over-sharing mother, who having written a highly-successful guide to raising children, is a celebrity psychologist; 
Paul his sarcastic older brother, the no-nonsense brother who is responsible for the family business. He is married to Annie. She and Paul have been trying to have a baby for a long time;  
Wendy his unhappy sister, a responsible mother who is married to Barry and has two children. She is the ex-girlfriend of her childhood friend Horry who still lives with his mother across the street from the Altman family home due to a brain injury he suffered when he and Wendy were dating; 
and Phillip his too-perfect younger brother, the playboy of the family who is nothing like his father. He is the baby of the family who has grown into perhaps the most troubled of the lot. 
The movie tells the effort they have on one another as family bonds prevent them from killing one another!

After the movie we did go back to Foundation Bar for coffee and dessert. Wednesday nights is 'two-for-one-dessert night' so Harry ordered the truffles and I had Lime and Coconut creme brulee served with coconut gelato.

We couldn't help musing and pretending to be judges just like the cooking competition shows we had been watching on TV over the last few months. Needless to say we gave them high marks!

So then it was home for a cosy night with the fire going as a chill had descended on the night.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Fence Post

Yesterday I posted about The Passchendaele Express and how we waited down at the Tirau Railway lines waiting for the steam engine that ended up being nearly an hour late.

So to fill in time I started looking and snapping at things around us while we waited.

One thing that caught my interest at the time was an old farm fence post and so here is a series of pics I took.

Some may be a little out of focus but if you actually look at the bit that is in focus you can just 'see' something else.

So just for fun...
A Fence Post


Miss Rush added the flower

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Passchendaele Express

On Sunday 26th October the Passchendaele Express was passing through Tirau on its way to Tokoroa.

Tirau station sign
I didn't see it on the way down as I was at church.

Harry had and he said the train stopped to let the passengers off. They were then able to walk down the track and take photos of the train as it edged its way towards them. They then all climbed back on again and continued on down to Tokoroa.
Water tower (not working)

It was due back in Matamata at 2.00pm so once I was home we went down to the the railway line to watch it coming back. It had just gone 1.30pm.

We waited for ages with many others joining around the track.

Looking south down the track
Two o'clock passed, the time it was due back in Matamata.

Then we heard the sound of a train crossing the bridge, at the south of Tirau as it crosses State Highway 1, and the road crossing signals just to the north of us went down with their bells ringing.

We all watched the far south end of the track...

cameras held in anticipation but... was just a freight train...

...a very long freight train.

So the wait went on.

We knew that this train coming past meant that the steam train would be a fair way back so Harry decided to take a nap, as he can, just about anywhere!

I spent time take photos around us.
(A Fence Post)

And then finally after waiting for nearly an hour the sound of train wheels on the rail bridge, the bells ringing as the crossing 'arms' went down and Passchendaele came steaming around the corner in to view.

It had worked up quite a speed (probably to try and make up for time lost because of the freight train having to go before it) so there was no stopping this time and it passed quickly by with a loud whistle as it approached the railway crossing, steam and smoke blowing out.

And then it was gone.

The train trip on Monday was reported on TVNZ one news

Passchendaele the steam locomotive Ab608 traveled with Steam Incorporated North from Hamilton (8:05am – 4:00pm) to Waharoa and then down the Kinleith Branch line through Matamata and Putaruru to Tokoroa for a day out using a fleet of heritage carriages, most with open end balconies. The train also included a buffet car selling drinks and snacks.

This was one of the first excursions using WWI Memorial locomotive Ab608 “Passchendaele” since the completion of a major restoration taking many years and costing over half a million dollars. Ab608 was built in 1915, the first of the successful and prolific Ab class, and in 1925 named “Passchendaele” in memory of all of the railwaymen that fell in the Great War.

It was fitting to run this excursion to coincide with the start of WWI, 100 years ago.

There was a stopover of over an hour at Tokoroa for a lunch break while the locomotive carried onto Kinleith to be turned in preparation for the return journey.

The adult fare ex Hamilton to Tokoroa and return was $NZ195. Child fare was $NZ115. After returning to Hamilton the train continued on to Pukekohe and Glenbrook.

In 1925 the minister of railways, Gordon Coates, agreed to a proposal to name a steam locomotive ‘in memory of those members of the New Zealand Railways who fell in the Great War’. More than 5000 railwaymen served overseas between 1914 and 1918 (out of a total workforce of 14,000), and 447 were killed. 

After considering the names Somme, Le Quesnoy and Ypres, Coates chose Passchendaele. 
The locomotive selected to carry the name was AB 608. Built at Christchurch’s Addington railway workshops in 1915, this was the first of the famed class of AB ‘Pacifics’ – probably the most successful and versatile locomotives ever to run on New Zealand railways. More than 140 of these engines were produced between 1915 and 1926. 
The gleaming Passchendaele was one of the stars of the show at the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition in Dunedin in the summer of 1925-26. 
In 1927 it was chosen to haul the Duke and Duchess of York’s royal train in the South Island (a role it had also performed, unnamed, during the Prince of Wales’s tour in 1920). 

The memorial nameplates fitted to the engine’s flanks were removed during the Second World War. Copies of the plates were later put on display at Christchurch and Dunedin railway stations, where they have remained ever since. 

By the time it was withdrawn from service in 1967, AB 608 had steamed more than 2.4 million kilometres. After being withdrawn from service the locomotive was donated to the New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society. 
Later it was leased to Steam Incorporated at Paekakariki for its restoration and eventual operation. Currently the locomotive is on long term lease to Steam Incorporated.

The extensive rebuilding of the locomotive to main line operating standards has taken many years and excluding untold volunteer hours will have cost over $500,000 when completed. The objective was to have the restoration completed in time for it to be available to participate in First World War commemorative activities. A small dedication ceremony for Ab608 was held on Anzac Day 2014 and was ready for main service by end of June 2014.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

So What Can I Say?

I have been so absent of late. I haven't been doing any of the things I enjoy...
walking and even...


I haven't really got any excuses but I know the cause...
Facebook and games!

I have realized I have to take up the challenge of turning things around so I can get on with the things I miss.

I was looking through some of the things I had pinned on Pinterest and I had to laugh at point 6 of this "How to creatively manage your time".

Now I know for me that means games and silly TV programmes. I have been through this before and the funny thing is one of the games I have been playing again is not letting me do things for some reason and I can't help but think this is from God. Because of the frustration I am not bothering with it at the moment.

So today, Saturday (the first day of New Zealand's Labour Weekend) Harry and I have been out in the yard mowing, weeding and trimming to our hearts content.
Watching the place look nice again is a joy in itself.
It just excites me even more to get on with the other things I have just let go.

So here's to a productive time in all areas.

This was a rest time for lunch

And I might just add....
Oh to be as skinny as he...!

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Just a few more for family and memories sake.

Some are classic looks.

Some are of Charlotte and Milly; they were only friends when it was to an advantage to each other.

Some are fun and others just because...

Some dogs have to put up with a lot.
This was letting Milly be close before Charlotte realized she was a bit of a foe.

Before one can fall asleep one has to make sure all bedding is scratched into the right spot!

The glory box in the pic above nearly had its whole cover scratched off by the time she had finished using it as a bed.

Not really friends but will share a blanket if it means being near the fire

Last trip to Wellington about a month before she passed away

She knows all about sun sense!

Feeding on scraps.
A classic "Daniel put me here" pose.