Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jellyfish at Hataitai Beach

This afternoon, I peered intently at the water at Hataitai Beach, Wellington.   Yesterday and the day before there'd been jellyfish there.  The water looked clear today and it was so beautiful to look at.  Absolutely flat, I felt I could almost walk on it.  So, I shook off all my jellyfish fears and jumped in.  Well, I waded actually, it was sort of low tide. 

"Oooh, yes, this is lovely."  I swam lazily, aiming for the fourth tree across the bay.  The fourth tree is my turning point.  I kicked a jellyfish.  Yiick.  Oh, well, it was just one.  I turned back again, not a sign of any more jellies.   I got back to the starting point at the bottom of the stairs.  I was back in happy mode again.  I could do umpteen more widths.  But then - yeeeechhh! - I actually grasped a saucer sized transparent jellyfish.

That was it.  With a girlie shriek, I fled the water.   Fast!   

Let's hope The Invasion of the Jelly Monsters will be over in a day or two.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Matamata Hobbiton

There's a scene at the end of "Return of the King" where the hobbits are coming home.  They go through a narrow cut-out path in a grassy bank.  There's a view of a hill in the background with Frodo's house and the 'party tree', as well as the tree above Frodo's burrow (this is the only fake tree in 'Hobbiton').  It's a real iconic scene and is used again in the trailer and film of "The Hobbit".  The 'path' was cut through the grass bank for LOTR, paved, rock-sided, filmed, then filled up again when the land was left pristine for the farmer after the trilogy was completed. The path was opened up again for "The Hobbit".  

It was such a treat for me to be at 'Hobbiton'.  I'm so glad now that it's now being kept intact for the public.  NZ sure needs the tourist dollar, and as tourist dollars go, it's quite cheap to go to 'Hobbiton' in Matamata.   Look what happened in Tunisia (was it?) where they filmed 'Star Wars'.  Tourists have been going there for many. many, many years.  Some cynical reporters say that surely nobody is interested anymore in LOTR scenes and we should stop flogging a dead horse.  What rot.

Christmas Day 2012

Hi there.   My goodness, wasn't Christmas Day in Wellington hot?  (and I do mean the weather).   29c.  It was the second to hottest Wellington Christmas day ever.  The hottest Christmas day had been in 1934 apparently.  I went for a swim at 9 a.m.  Then I went for another swim at 5 pm and Hataitai Beach was positively crowded.  People were trying out their new bikes, kayaks, paddle boards.  I drove to the beach via Oriental Bay and I could hardly see a gap in the sand, there were so many people.

On Boxing Day it was 27c, and  I did the same thing -   I went for a swim in the morning and another one later in the afternoon.  I figured that  by 3 pm, I probably wouldn't get a park at Hataitai Beach - I wished my foot was better and that I could have walked there - so instead I drove over the hill behind my place, to Worser Bay.  For years I used to swim at Worser Bay until they fashioned in the flax-covered dunes.  Because of those stupid dunes, picnic-goers who want a sea view are now scrunched into one little end of the beach, quite a way from the changing sheds.  The water is colder at Worser Bay than at Hataitai Beach because it' s more outer harbour.  But I relished in the colder water yesterday.  Oh yes, jellyfish at Hataitai Beach (one slithered over my leg) and also, too, Oriental Bay.  The saucer-sized transparent ones.   Apparently they were about on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day last year, too.  Hope they're gone soon.

So much for all the pundits and forecasters saying for days that Christmas Day was going to to be storm-ridden, eh?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fifth Swim!

We've made it!  J and I have now done our "minimum of 5 swims per month for the year 2012"  Yippeee.  Including the winter, and in just bathing suits, not wet suits.  Easy peasy over summer months, a bit difficult over winter months trying to get those swims in - what with bad weather, holidays intruding, etc.  Today and yesterday the water at Hataitai Beach was truly nice.  And for the last couple of days we've seen a host of our summer friends.  What does annoy me however are the kayaks and paddle boards aplenty!  When I'm swimming I don't see them until they're almost on top of me.  Today, there was a four person kayak, three of the four on board were uncoordinated children.  I only got out of the way in time.

I was surprised the weather was so gorgeous this morning when there was supposed to be rain.  I could hardly wait to get to the beach with my sandwiches!  After my swim, the sun was out for about a half an hour and I was deep in a book.  When I looked up, I saw that there was a heap of mist that had rolled in through the airport and was crossing the water, heading toward Petone,  at a fast rate.  In the bottom picture, youi can see a sort of gap in the background hills.  This gap is called The Cutting and it leads in to the suburb of Miramar where I live in Wellington.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gandalf hat from "The Hobbit" premiere

At the world premiere of "The Hobbit" part 1" in Wellington last November, they threw out into the crowds, Gandalf hats.  They had the premiere name, date, etc on them.  I expect the other premieres around the world will have the hat thrown out, too, but with different dates and venues on them.  They are made from felt and they made beaut sunhats on the day.

I had my 4th swim for December at Hataitai Beach today.  I need five swims this month to make it a minimum of five swims a month all through this year.  Even if there's a hurricane, a typhoon, a tsunami, the worst, coldest storm in history every day until the end of December, I still have to get in one more swim, otherwise every swim this year, including all those terribly cold winter swims, will have been for naught.   Darn it, J has already done her five swims for this month.  We decided that this month only (being December when we didn't know if we could coincide with each other) we would be allowed to swim singly (rule book rule).

a) Wizard's Guide b) Jackson Christmas Tree

Hi there.  

a)  My friend, AJ (A. J. Ponder) has just had a children's book published.  It's called "The Wizard's Guide to Wellington".  The official launch isnt until February but there are several independent book shops around Wellington that already have the book, eg, Children's Bookshop in Kilbirnie, and Rona Gallery/Bookshop over in Eastbourne.   Details can be seen at (though AJ has admitted that she's a little late getting details about the book onto the site.  She's had a crisis on the homefront and apologises).  Also on AJ's website are photos she took at the Red Carpet premiere for "The Hobbit.".   Her book is about two cousins who go gallivanting around Wellington on a magical quest.  Suitable for, say, 10 year olds (though I'm not a very good judge on children's ages, sorry).

b)  There's a big fir tree in the grounds of Peter Jackson's Miramar Peninsula house (I like to call it a  'compound', a la the Osmond and Jackson' brothers).  The tree's  loaded with light bulbs.  Every Christmas it's lit up and it's absolutely beautiful, all different cololurs.  I think you'd probably even be able to see it from the inter-island ferry.   As usual, I took the wrong camera out with me tonight, and it was all a little bit too dark;  I should have gone sooner.  But here's my best attempt. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Swimming today at Hataitai Beach

What a nice day.  26c, which is terrific for Wellington in December.  I went out to Westfield Mall in Lower Hutt, had a lovely time trying on loads of summer clothes.  A great Christmas atmosphere everywhere, however, very hard to find a parking place, even though I got to the Mall at 9.30 a.m.

Then I stopped off at Hataitai Beach and had a  leisurely swim.  Three of the summer regulars were there.  It's great to see my beach friends for the first time this summer.

It's my third swim at Hataitai for the month.  Even though I swam dozens of times when I was on holiday fhe first two weeks in December , J and I have agreed to only count Hataitai Beach and all points south of Wellington  in our "head count".  Northern beaches are warmer and if they were counted, it would be an unfair advantage to me, (darn!).  So, two more swims and we're both home and hosed - we will have done a minimum of 5 swims every month this year.  This obviously doesn't mean much in the summer but, oh boy - brrrhhhh - in the winter, I figure it's  sure something to be proud of.

Here's a couple of pix I took today at Hataitai Beach.  Schools knocked off today for the long summer holidays.


Seen "The Hobbit"

Last Friday, when I was staying at Ohope Beach, I rang my doctor in Wellington and made an appointment for Monday because the pain in my foot was getting worse.   On Monday the doctor told me to take a break from the gym for a time.  I was so upset that I stomped out of the surgery - well, actually, I didn't stomp, much as I would have liked to, instead I limped rather badly.   I went straight to the Roxy Theatre (owned by Weta people) and I saw "The Hobbit".  Comfort viewing.

What's all this talk about taking an hour to get used to seeing 40-something frames per something-or-other format?   (Am I great with technical language or what?),.  I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary re the film.  As a matter of fact, I truly enjoyed the first hour.  The only slight grating was our first long-distance view of the elfin city .  I thought "Oh, heavens, the Weta folk havent been very good with this background painting."  I even felt a touch embarrassed for them.  My friend later pointed out that it was nothing to do with Weta Workshop.  It was the 40-frame-thing-a-me-bob that was responsible for the 'painted background' look.  Who knows? ....

The movie went fast.  I even took my lunch in with me, but forgot to eat it and, believe me, cheese and chutney sandwiches are not easily forgotten.  About 10 minutes or so after the movie started, a guy a couple of rows in front of me appeared to stand up to go to the toilet.  I thought "Why couldn't he have gone earlier? He's blocking my view."  Turned out, the guy was coming out from the 3D screen!  Now that's cause for embarrassment ...

Much as I did enjoy the film, it seemed to lack the emotion that was in the LOTR trilogy.  Perhaps because it didn't have young, cheeky vibrant actors.  Also, it must be so very very hard to give personality to everyone when there's so many dwarves all striving to get camera time.  I wish we'd seen more of the deliciously handsome Aidan Turner (from the tv series "Being Human") and also James Nesbitt who, to me, is a true star.

"Gollum" was brilliant in this movie, 

When I went to Matamata about 18 months ago and saw the Hobbiton set, I took a pic of   a) the notice as we entered Hobbiton and  b) the map we were handed to find our way around.  We could go wherever we liked..

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My holiday at Ohope Beach

I've just returned from two weeks at Ohope Beach, a half a dozen or so kms from the township of Whakatane (where the infamous "Skyfall" movie viewing took place).  The weather was gorgeous.  Over the first week the temps were between 24c and 29c!  Great, for December.

I seemed to spend most of my time at Ohope a) eating strawberry sundaes with strawberries fresh from Julian's Berry Farm, b) eating oysters from Ohiwa oyster farm, and c) boogie-boarding. Oh, I also spent a lot of time hobbling around with my hiking stick. As I hobbled along the beach, I tried to pretend I was out for a jaunty hike, but I think passersby quickly caught onto the fact that I was using my stick like a drowning person would cling desperately to a life-raft. I'm used to walking a loooong way along Ohope Beach but this time I could only go at the most about 400 metres. It was so sad. One day, my heel was so bad that I took a chance and parked in a disabled parking spot outside the shopping complex - then I sat in my car and cried ... If I'd parked in the normal parking area it would have been about 20 extra paces; too much to walk.

Here's a pic taken at Mt Maunganui.  I took it from Main Beach, and you can see through to Pilot Bay at the end of the road.


I went over to Tauranga and Mt Maunganui for a day (about an hour and a quarter drive from Whakatane).  I swam at Pilot Bay, Mt Maunganui, which I like far better than the Main Beach.  Pilot Bay is a more 'swim-friendly' beach whereas Main Beach is all about surf, bikinis and preening.  However I did enjoy sitting outside a nice posh cafe at The Mount and watching  all the beautiful people go by.

(I havent seen "The Hobbit" yet.  It was on in Whakatane but I didnt know if the theatre there had the right equipment to watch the movie in all it's glory so I will go this coming week in Wellington  Besides I didn't want to be covered in popcorn or have to tell randy teenage boys off for various unnamed theatre antics!).

These top two photos are of Main Beach, Mt Maunganui.

The above pic is of the view of part of MaraeTotara park from the deck of my Manchester Unity holiday home at Ohope Beach.  A children's playground in foreground.  The rental home is up for sale.  Hope it's not sold.

 A view from the Ohiwa Oyster Farm, just out of Ohope.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

sales assistants

What is it with sales assistants nowadays?  They used to come up to you and politely enquire "Can I help you?".  And you always answered, "I'm just looking, thank you."  Me, I always varied it a little to be different ... "I'm just looking FOR THE MOMENT, thank you."  I adored look of incomprehension that flitted across the sales assistant's face as he or she had to translate in their mind for a minute what I'd said because my answer was different from the norm.

Then a few years' ago everything changed.  Now we get asked, "How has your day been?" or "What have you been doing today?" or "Have you had a good day?"

I couldn't stand it any longer, this forced niceness.  I was in New Plymouth last year, fingering a red blouse on a rack, and the sales assistant said, "Have you had a nice day?"  

"No," I answered.  "I've just hiked 21 kilometres and I'm tired and grumpy."

"We have that red blouse in other colours, " she said. 

Goodness, she hadn't heard a word I'd said, so programmed was she.

I went into another shop.  "How has your day been?" asked the shop assistant.

"Well," I said.  "I woke up about 6 a.m., then couldn't decide between Kornies or Frosties.  Then, goodness, what outfit should I wear?  I debated for, oh, half an hour between a blue floral dress, and my denim jeans.  But the denim jeans had a tear in the hem, and ....."   I stopped and giggled.  The look of sheer horror on the assistant's face had been worth everything.    In the end we both laughed over it, but, heavens, I truly am tired of this "sales assistant niceness".

And while I'm at it, I hate the way sales assistants pick up on something you're wearing and go into raptures over it.

"Oh, I love your trousers ..... blouse ... shoes, bangle ...."  And this, perhaps, when nothing I'm wearing matches, I could have just painted my room and be paint-splattered and definitely  in my worst clothes.  In desperation, the sales assistant, when he/she can't find anything to clingo, they'll say something like , "Oh, your watch is so nice," when  I'm wearing my swimming watch - plain, old,  ,masculine, and black.  Don't the powers-that-be in the retailing sector realise the public are onto all this flannel?

When I was in Las Vegas last year, it all came to a head.  I was walking on one of the cross-over bridges.  There was a woman begger sitting there.  She shouted out to me as I passed, "What a lovely blouse!". 

Oh dear, apparently even the beggers now have retail sales motivation courses!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

at the pictures

When I was a kid living in Onehunga, we used to go to the pictures every Friday and Saturday. We called the movie theatre "The Bughouse", there was a weekly serial,  and often when we went to sit down there was no seat there!  People would take fish and chips into the theatre and, really, looking back now, it was a terrible place.  But we didnt know any beter

I thought I'd left those days way behind me.  But I went to the movies yesterday to see "Skyfall".  It was only about a 100 seater little theatre and it must have been a day off for kids finishing their school exams because there were about 20 youths sitting behind me.  All, I would guess, under the age of 16.    This theatre was not, repeat-not, my usual theatre, i.e. it was not the Roxy in Miramar.

By the end of the performance the three back row aisle steps were completely utterly positively covered in popcorn that had been thrown around; the carpet looked like snow.  One youth earlier had yelled out to his mates that he wanted to do a certain something to himself (actual wordage censored by me!).  Someone yelled out "Wait until the lights go down".

There was an adult and his wife sitting in front of me.  Half way through the man got up, crossed the aisle and told the lad opposite to stop doing something.  Previously the  lad had had both legs high up on the seat in front.   I can only imagine what he had been doing.

The boys didnt appreciate the story behind the film.  They only appeared to be there for the action sequences.  There is a glorious scene where Bond is tied up and the villain starts sensually fingering Bond's naked chest, neck, face.  The villain sexily says something like, "There's a first time for everything, Mr Bond.".  Bond answers something like, ""What makes you think it would be the first time."    Absolutely hilarious.  But the lads behind me had no understanding of what had just occurred.  It was up to me and the couple in front to snort in appreciation.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Talent Quests

Well, I've just finished re-reading "ChartThrob" by Ben Elton, a book I truly like.  At the same time "New Zealand's Got Talent" has finished on TV One.  I switched in for the last five minutes of NZGT (I hadnt watched any of it before), just to see who had won.  And - surprise! - the three top people were all teens!  I guess that goes to show who does the voting.  Mind you, the song that the winner sang didn't seem too bad.  With the right publicity and marketing, I reckon it coulld possibly become an evergreen like "Yesterday".  Mind you, there doesn't seem to be that many verses.

The book "Chart throb" is about a show like NZGT, and it is truly hilarious in parts... and sad.    I don't think the main character is truly Simon Cowell, but I do think that Ben Elton has enlarged on a Simon Cowell-type  character.  I also don't truly believe that all the behind the scenes shennigans of "Chart Throb" are the same as NZGT, or any other talent show like "X Factor" or "American Idol" or whatever, but oh boy it is truly fascinating to find the lengths the Chart Throb show's producers will go to ensure an audience.

From the beginning, the Cowell character determines that Prince Charles will be an entrant.   And, my goodness, the public like HRH!  The second judge - dare I say a Sharon Osborne type person - is a male  rocker who has had a  sex change and  become a real mumsie type, ready to nurture any aspiring singer on the show.  The other judge is just there to do the bidding of his boss.  And what a host of entrants!

I read the library book several years ago, and a couple of weeks ago I saw it at a local thrift shop I dithered about getting it.  I went back an hour or so later and, darn it, the book was gone.  Still, I didn't give up hope and - kismit! - I found another copy at a thrift shop a few days ago.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Hobbit premiere

Hi there

At a specified time yesterday when the audience were invited to count down, the Air New Zealand 'hobbit' plane flew overhead.  It has paintings of the Hobbit cast, designs, settings, etc, on it.  I was lucky enough to be walking around Miramar the other day and it went overhead as it left the runway, gaining height, and  so  I had a great view.  Not such a great view as it flew over at the premiere, naturally, because it was so high in the sky.   Actually, I can't understand why I'm even attaching a plane photo.  It reminds me of those photos we've all taken where we think we've got a shot of a beautiful island that's not that far away, and when the photo turns out, all you can see is a tiny dot way, way, way in the background.

Arriving in Wellington from England, the plane  had picked up Hobbit actors in both London and America to bring them here.  Personally, I think the designs on the original LOTR plane were more stand-y out-y.   Some flight attendants from Air New Zealand walked the red carpet.  Several of the women had added Hobbit tiaras to their uniforms (like in the Air New Zealand tv commercial).  The women were all beautiful, but the men, OMG, they were... gorgeous;  I wanted to vault the railing and ravish every one of them.

We edge-of-the-red-carpet-sitters-and-standers kept looking at the countdown clock on the top of the Embassy theatre to see how long it would be before the happenings started.  Here's a pic of the end- result clock.

"The Hobbit" World Premiere in Wellington, New Zealand

Okay, yes, I've now learnt that premier has an 'e' on the end of it so, henceforth, I will try to remember to type the word 'premiere!

I got down to Courtenay Place about 9.45 a.m.  Most of the front rows were taken but I managed to find a front row possie just around the corner from the red carpet and opposite the stage which was all done up to resemble a hobbit burrow in the side of a hill, and had two hobbit doors.  The band playing a couple of times during the wait was Neil Finn's who is singing the 'mountain morn' song on the soundtrack of "The Hobbit".  He's one of NZ's favourite top evergreen singers.  Check out his pedigree.

It was very very very hot.  There were over 100,000 of us squashed together.  There were lots of people dressed up, mainly as hobbits.  They looked so good.  Thousands upon thousands of tourists who had come expressly for the premiere.  Red Carpet Tours had a group there and they seemed to be really enjoying themselves.

 I sat on the ground, then stood up, then on the ground, then stood up... and it continued like this until 3 pm.    After the first few hours  a maintenance crew came out with ladders, tools and posters.  They immediately transformed the traffic lights in front of me into a giant Gandalf monolith , thereby blocking half my view.  I managed to squeeze sideways a couple of feet away from the monolith. After another couple of hours, a very very big camera on a crane took up residence in front of me in my new position,  blocking a lot of the stage.  Then some security guys stood in front of the one bit of stage that I could now see.   From 3 pm until 7.30 I stood up, and please remember I had a sore foot!

I hardly saw a celebrity on the red carpet because right beside me on the corner was a group of PETA animal rights campaigners complaining about mistreatment of animals on the movie set (this is complete rot because the SPCA was on the set all the time and they said the animals were treated very well) and they waved placards. They did not reveal themselves until the last second.  Naturally the stars scooted away from these people, so no star really came near where I was standing.  After a while, a group of security people stood directly in front of the PETA people holding up their own (Hobbit) placards trying to block off the PETA ones, but not before the press had had a field day taking pictures of the PETA folk.

I did spot James Cameron, director of "Avatar" for a brief moment.  He's a NZ citizen now and lives in the Wairarapa, somewhere near Peter Jackson's estate.  All the 'dwarfs', too, were there, but honestly, there were so many of them that I got all muddled up with who was who.

At 6 pm, the speeches began and I managed to get some photos (well about 50 actually and here's just a few of them) but by now the sun was lowering and it was shining in the wrong direction. Oh dear. I truly don't believe I'll go to any more premieres. It's just not worth it anymore, what with the long wait, the heat, and having waited 8 hours I only got to see folk on the stage for a short time and by then I was almost on the verge of collapsing (hey, old person here, remember?).

 Elijah Wood  (See a PETA placard being held a-high over to the left?)
 James Nesbitt
 Peter Jackson emerging out of hobbit burrow onto the stage.
 Peter Jackson with MGM and Warners reps.  Thank you reps for finally letting us make "The Hobbit" in New Zealand.  But you almost gave us all nationwide heart attacks for a week or so!
 Peter Jackson with Hugo Weaving
 Peter Jackson greets our Prime Minister, John Key.
 James Nesbitt and Martin Freeman.
 Cate Blanchett emerging from hobbit burrow.  She showed a leg first!
 Sylvester McCoy and Barry Humphreys.
 Andy Serkis
Richard Armitage (Thorin) in centre


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weta Collectables

Today I went down to the Weta Cave.  It's the Weta Workshop shop/mini museum/small theatre that shows a great film on the growth of Weta.  Surprise, from today they'd opened a new section that takes you skirting around the inside of Weta Workshop for $20.  We saw loads of props, costumes, sculptures,  weapons, models used in the movies like "District 9", Narnia Chronicles, LOTR, "King Kong", "Meet the Feebles", etc.  We saw the armoury, and there were also two sculpters working on Weta collectable sculptures.  We were told by the guides that they didn't know how long the display would be open for, maybe just this week or a little bit longer.  It looks pretty permanent to me.

Here is a photo of the two guides (notice the LOTR sword) in front of the newly painted outside wall of Weta (the design wasnt there a few days ago).  Guides are rotating a bit this week.  The woman works in Costuming, the guy in Armoury.

I bought a new t-shirt advertising the world premier of The Hobbit.  Here is front view (hobbit burrow) and back view stating premier date, etc.

Also, too,  there was a pin (that I heard about on the grapevine) advertising the premier, but you had to ask for it.  Apparently it's a collectable.   I wouldn't be surprised if they passed some of these out to the crowd by the red carpet on Wednesday.

The Hobbit is getting closer

The World Premier of "The Hobbit - An unexpected journey" is on Wednesday in Wellington.  Along with, hopefully, thousands upon thousands of people, I'll go to the city and try and see something.  I loved the atmosphere surrounding the three LOTR premiers.  For one of them, I decided to get a bleacher seat but waiting-in-a-bleacher turned out to be a bit boring.  I loved it when I was with the 'ordinary' people down on the street.  However, one good thing about the bleacher seats:  the seat-ees ran from their seats down to the front railing and the stars - knowing what high-rollers bleacher seat-ees are - trundled over and signed autographs.  I didn't have a digital camera during LOTR premiers.

I also went to the "King Kong" NZ premier.  Here are some pictures I took of Peter Jackson and also a pic of  Andy S (Gollum) 


About 19 months ago, I went to "The Hobbiton" set in Matamata.  I thought it had been closed off for public tours because the very day I passed through Matamata, was the day Peter Jackson was supposed to start filming there.  But, wonder-of-wonders for me, but so sad for Jackson, the set was open because Jackson had been taken to hospital a few days before. 

I saw the set in it's pristine magnitude.  Sunflowers and pumpkins growing in the gardnes, roses around the doors, swans on the lake.  One would swear it was a true village.  It must have spread out for km upon km.    It was so hard to believe there weren't hobbits living behind the doors in the houses.  I stood under the 'party tree', knocked on Bilbo's door, wandered along the flagstone path leading down the hill from said house, swung on Rosie and Sam's gate, and almost tripped over a grass-hidden chimney.    Even the fences were growing fungus (a mixture of yoghurt and something-else for realism). I took a great photo looking down a sort of grassy rock-sided alley, and showing a hill topped with Bilbo/Frodo's house in the far distance.  This exact shot was in one of the end stories of "Return of the King" as the hobbits return home,  and it is also in the trailer for "The Hobbit".  In all, I took about 80 photos.  I may be allowed to show them after the premier.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Hobbit Artisan Fair, Wellington.,

Today, I thought I'd go down town to Waitangi Park.  For the next week there is a Hobbit Artisan Market there, with Weta Workshop showing off things.  There's the guy who 'loomed' the cloaks the hobbits and Gandalf wore in LOTR,  there's LOTR jewellery, sculptures, Weta t-shirts, the armourer from the film selling knives.   There was a maypole, and a throwing-horseshoes game.  Also a huge screen that showed all the video log entries for Peter Jackson as he has worked on The Hobbit, as well as the Air New Zealand middle earth tv commercial that I absolutely positively adore.  Families were eating their sandwiches in front of the screen.  It was a lovely picnic day for people. 

The screen and the market will stay in the park until the 'The Hobbit" world premier.  The big screen will show the red carpet arrivals and speeches.  Waitangi Park is only a block away from where the premier will be.  I can't really see people preferring to watch it on screen when they only have to wander around the corner to see the real thing.  But, then again, they'll probably see more on the screen.  Our main tv channels will also be showing the red carpet from 3 pm or 4 pm right through for several hours.

I took the bus to the market.  It didn't open  until noon, so I wandered around Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand.  My sore foot was okay until I got off the bus on my return home to hobble the block back to my house.  The rest of the day, it was truly sore, darn it.  My foot just has to be better for my trip to Ohope Beach/Whakatane.  Cross fingers.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

five swims at Hataitai Beach

Bingo!  J and I have  done it.  'Five, five, five swims for the month of November. 

The other day as I got into the water, there was a woman sunbathing on the deck, the first  sunbather we'd seen since last summer.  I'd earlier spoken to another woman who had told me that the sunbather had been in the water for about a minute.  As I exited the water, the sunbather said to me, "That was quick".  I was floored!  I mumbled something about, "I don't think 21 minutes is all that quick" and scuttled away. I can only put it down to the fact that the sunbather had been so engrossed in her book that she hadn't realised that I'd been in the water for so long in the November cold Wellington seas. 

When we first started swimming over the winter a few years back, we were no more than a couple of minutes in the water.  Non-swimmers just don't realise how bad Wellington winter waters are, what with our cold and windy climate.    Especially when one is just in a bathing suit and not a wetsuit.


Come December, it's all systems go, swimming-wise for  J and me.  Our 'rule book' says we can go anytime without letting the other know.  Summer-summer-summer, la-de-dee-dah!!!

R and her dog Pinot were at the beach yesterday.  A sure sign that summer is coming.  It's so nice to meet our summer friends once more.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mt Tongariro Eruption

Oh, goodness, Mt Tongariro erupted an hour ago. See   Or   They've been talking about Mt Ruapehu (Mt Doom, where filming was done for LOTR) maybe erupting over the next few weeks and as a sort of afterthought, the scientists have mentioned Tongariro.  Mts Ruapehu, Ngarahoe, and Tongariro are all side by side on the edge of The Desert Road in New Zealand.   It doesn't seem an overly bad eruption as of this moment.  Scientists also said that there seems to be some sort of activity on White Island also.  White Island is a good four hours drive away from Tongariro and is off the coast of Ohope Beach.

Guess where I'm driving to very soon?:  Yes,  (1) Ohope Beach!   Oh, and  (2) The Desert Road! 

Wellington Airport - Hobbit stuff

As planes glide to a stop  at Wellington Airport the passengers are faced with the top sign.  As they leave the airport by road, they're met with the above fence.  Okay, here goes with what's on the fence in close-up:  ......

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wellington Airport Carousel

The luggage conveyor belt/carousel at Wellington Airport is now Hobbit-orientated (see below).

Because of my sore foot, I had to take my car to the airport instead of walking the  approximately one kilometre to get there.  I was parked inside the terminal carpark.  It seemed like many many kms away from the entrance. 

I got into the terminal with the express idea of photographing everything Hobbit .  I took one photo of the luggage carousel and the battery on my camera conked out.  Still, I had lugged along with me my Calvin Klein suitcase (containing two cushions) to see if the bag would fit in the 'compartment' where one gauges to see if their bag is allowable as 'cabin' baggage.  My bag did fit - just .... Don't tell anyone that one wheel stuck out a fraction!  I'm off in the summer on two separate holidays:  Queenstown and Waiheke Island (whoopeee), so I want to be sure  any bag that I take is of permissible size  (I don't take 'hold' baggage).   I don't want to be turned back at aeroplane door.

I couldn't have been more than 20 mins in the terminal and it cost me $5.  I am so furious with my foot for not allowing me to walk there.   Naughty-naughty-naughty foot.   However, my lounge cushions, I'm sure, did go on a smashing adventure.

A pleasant aside:   We have now done 4 swims for the month.  Last week's one was so cold I thought I was going to come down with a bout of hypothermia afterwards.  My feet were hurting so much with the cold that I told my friends I was probably going to get frostbite and that would turn to gangrene, I'd no doubt die, and I wanted the theme from (Star Trek) "Enterprise" to be played at my funeral.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Embassy Theatre - The Hobbit premier

The below photo is the just-erected Weta Workshop sculpture on the front of the Embassy Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand, in preparation for "The Hobbit" world premier on 28 November.

It is Bilbo Baggins' house with Gandalf knocking at the door.  The hobbit house frontage is almost identical to Bilbo's house frontage as was filmed on the location site in Matamata.

Lots more Weta stuff being built, sculptured, on flag poles, and on sides of buildings.  Wellington truly will be the Middle of Middle Earth next week.  Stand by for more pix.

Third swim for November, hooray.  But we're trying for 5!