Whanganui rocks!

If you have seen my photoblog, you'll know we recently spent the day in Whanganui, about an hour and a half drive from the house.

When we got there, it seemed that two of the main reasons for going were not going to happen. We wanted to visit the Durie Hill tunnel and elevator, just for fun but it was closed. We found out later that it was a temporary thing but they could have done better with communication.

The other thing was to see St Paul's church and take pictures. We showed up at 2pm like the website said. As it turns out their website is rubbish and, if it weren't for other visitors who had gone to the information center to 'book' a tour, I wouldn't have gotten in.

This is part of their website with a CAMERA icon next to the words '1 hour'.  In my literal mind, it meant that you had an hour to take photos. I snapped one photo and then was informed that photos have never been allowed, so I paid $10 to hear an hour of Maori history.

We saw other things, so the trip wasn't a complete waste of time, but I was far from a happy camper about the church.

I didn't want to launch a public complaint, so the next day I wrote a message to the 'Visit Whanganui' Facebook page, explaining very calmly the problems we had.

A few hours later, I got a great response thanking me for 'fantastic feedback'. They seems genuinely glad that I let them know there were problems. They said to give them a bit of  time to talk amongst themselves and they will get back to me.

I am absolutely impressed.

What is up with Pixlr?

I tried to download the Pixlr photo editing program a couple of days ago, but couldn't get the download finished.

So,I emailed the company for help--but they 'only give one-on-one support to Pixlr Pro members, not for free apps.' Huh??

I think most people know that to become a Pro member, you have to download the free app first, then decide if you like it enough to buy. So there is more than a little irony in their reply. I don't know who decides their priorities, but whoever it is is not real bright.

Hubby pointed out that, in the time it took to tell me they wouldn't help, they could have given me a solution!

Oh, well, that's one program I will never use.

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.