I finally gave in....

As some of you know, our winter here in NZ has been  anything but cold. There have been very few days that we needed the fireplace going during daylight hours to keep warm.

Now, I have to admit that I am a rules sort of person. Probably more than most. And the 'rule of thumb' is that we don't plant seeds and bulbs until after Labour Day, which is the fourth Monday in October.  That's also about the time that camellias are usually in full bloom.

Well, this year has been so mild that camellias and rhododendrons are blooming everywhere now.  Gardens close to the ocean already have trees full of blooms and fields full of daffodils!

Seeing that other gardeners have planted bulbs already, Hubby convinced me that the worse that could happen would be that they get frosted and don't come up until next year, so, today, I put out all my dahlia bulbs and I feel like such a cheater!

I also planted about half the seeds I have had in the cabinet just waiting for spring so we will just wait and see if my impatience paid off!

KiwiRail weekend

We spent Friday and Saturday travelling by train on KiwiRail Scenic Journeys.  It was a fantastic little getaway and I recommend  travelling by train to anyone who wants to see New Zealand. The crew took very good care of the passengers, even making sure that taxis were waiting for those who needed them when they disembarked. You can take your own food or buy it on the way. The windows are quite large so you can take in the scenery. In addition, there is an open car for those who are brave and/or want to take photos.

In addition to the fabulous scenery, there is audio commentary with some interesting history and facts about the railway and some of the areas through which the train passes if you want to hear it. I learned that Alexander Graham Bell came to New Zealand and married a Maori lady. You can google it to learn more.

Friday's travels took us from Palmerston North up to Hamilton where we spent the night and then headed back on Saturday.  
It took about 6 hours to leisurely travel the 390 or so driving kilometers and that was the perfect amount of time for us before we were ready to get off the train. 
Of course, no driving made it stress-free and we saw scenery that we would have not seen by driving.  You can click here if you are interested in the railway system.

Being the middle of winter, there was a lot of water rushing everywhere and the hillsides were fabulously green (with lots of brown mud from the rain).

The original railway made lots of little towns pop up along the way--some for workers, some for suppliers. Most are, sadly now, gone and only a few buildings remain.  Other towns rebranded themselves and continue to thrive today.

I will be posting photos on my photoblog soon. You can click here to see them.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

We just got back from seeing the Hunt for the Wilderpeople and it was fabulous! 

It was funny and serious and touching and actually had a huge car chase--with an army tank among the lot!
There aren't a lot of actually New Zealand-made movies and the last one that I watched and loved was Predicament, which was shot mostly in the little town of Eltham (not far from where I live).
If you get a chance, I highly recommend giving it a look.

Ten years!

It was ten years today that I arrived at Auckland Airport at 5:30AM, having gone through customs for the first time in my life (after a 14 hour flight) and hoping that I recognized a man I had only seen on my computer screen.

Today we celebrated the anniversary in our own weird unique way with Burger King at Pig Out Point to watch the ocean and feed the gulls as we eat. 

Before I could get the food out of the bag, Hubby jumped out of the car. He then placed one of our mantel candle holders on the hood bonnet to make it a candlelight dinner lunch. Needless to say, it was perfect.

After that we soaked in the mineral pools for a while to relax. It's always a treat to sit in a jacuzzi full of very warm bubbly water every now and then.
All in all a great day together.
Here's to ten more great years!