Sunday, November 27, 2016

7 Swims!

Hi there

Well, I made my seven swims for November!  I got through earthquakes, and holiday, and storms, and jellyfish .... but I only just made it through the jellyfish.  Today we saw some menacing ones near to me in the water.  J's personal paparazzo, along with J (she'd already done her swimming quota for the month), watched me from shore as I dog-paddled in knee-high water around and around in a couple of little circles in front of the steps, with one of the lion's mane jelly-fish drifting closer and closer.

Still ... done!

Thong Man and Bob took the plunge, with J and her personal paparazzo semaphoring directions to them:  "Go right!  Go left!"  How brave can two guys get?

Friday, November 25, 2016

more jellyfish

Hi there

My friend J, and I, went to the beach today, between the rain bouts.  J's personal paparazzo stood high on the fence surrounding the deck whilst we were swimming close in to the shore.  His eyes were alert for the enemy, with orders from us to shout "Jellyfish!" at the top of his lungs if he saw any.

Suddenly, "Jellyfish!" was shouted.  "Lorraine, it's beside you!  Beside you!"

Forget about swimming.  I ploughed out for the shore, almost at a run, and hoping I was going in the right direction away from the jelly.  My friend J rushed to the steps that led up from the water.

We got out real fast.  Within minutes, J's personal paparazzo counted four huge lion's mane jellyfish approaching the deck steps.

I have one more swim to get in before the end of the month.  But I'm not going in the water for a day or two...


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Jellyfish at Hataitai Beach, Nov 2016

Hi there.

What a month this has been.  Holiday.  Rain.  Earthquakes.  And now ... jellyfish at Hataitai Beach.  Two big jellyfish, with tendrils.

The three of us - The Young One, J, and myself - were swimming along today, chatting away, not a care in the world, enjoying the lovely sunny weather when The Young One raised her arms and I saw what looked like fishing lines hanging down from her arms

"Oh, no, you'll have to take the line to the shore, to a bin" I said.  Whenever we see plastic bags and such in the water, we always take them to shore.  We don't want a dolphin caught up in debris, and dying.

The Young One kept pulling more and more dangling 'lines' from her arms.  Then she shrieked.  "It's a jelllyfish!"  And not just a little see-through harmless one, but this one had a big red centre.  The Young One was caught up in the tendrils.


We got out of the water, and spotted a second replica jellyfish.  I declared that there was no way I was going back into that sea until at least the weekend.

And because it's been such a traumatic month, I've only managed to get in four swims at Hstaitai Beach (according to our 'rules' I am not allowed to count my four swims on Waiheke Island).  I have to get in three more swims in before December to make up our minimum quota of seven per month.  If I don't, the whole year's swimming, including those horrific winter swimming  months, have all been for nought....

Friday, November 18, 2016

Earthquake After-shocks

Hi there

Sat. NZ time

When Christchurch kept getting earthquake after-shocks for years following the big one in the South Island,  and the city residents got all stoic and casual about it all, I was gob-smacked.  How could people carry on normal living whilst being faced daily with after-shock followed by after-shock.  I'd never be able to do it.

But you know what?  I am doing it.  As i write this, there have been over 2000 after-shocks since last Monday.  Lots I haven't felt, lots I have.

I haven't sheltered under the table in several days.  Last night I was sprawled out on the sofa playing a word game on my Kindle when I felt a tremor.   I was almost at a winning score, so I played on.

There was a second tremor.  But I was nearly game-triumphant.  I kept going to the end.

On Thursday I went to the movies.  Only a couple of tremors disturbed my immersion in J K Rowling 's wizarding world.

I don't think I've suddenly developed a bravado I never knew I had;  it's  just the way my life has become.  But I must not get too casual.  I must school myself to think that the next tremor could continue on to be The Big One.  My emergency bag is by the front door, I sleep with a torch beside me ...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Chocolate! Chocolate! Gimme Chocolate!

Hi there

Wednesday morn NZ  time

While I was still cowering (no, no, sheltering-sheltering) under the table after the big quake on Monday morning I got a wild instant craving for chocolate.  I had been dieting for weeks without one piece of chocolate entering my temple of a body, but now chocolate was chorus-dancing in my head, row upon row of the stuff.  It was all I could think about.

I stood on a kitchen chair and rooted around on the top shelf of the larder;  this is my hard-to-get-to place for stashing left-over chocolate when I'm overcome with remorse but don't have enough remorse to throw the stuff away.

Nope, not a scrap of chocolate in the entire house.

I held off for eleven hours.  Then fought my way out through the perfect storm to the Miramar Petrol Station.

"I need chocolate," I whimpered.

"Don't blame you," said the lady behind the counter.  "Its the stress".

Magnificent!  I had permission.  For the rest of the day I lived at Chocolate Central...

Many shops, malls, were still closed yesterday, Tuesday.  My supermarket was open, but the shelves were severely depleted; lots of stuff must have broken during earthquake.  Also, our Prime Minister has told us to shop and store, because so many roads are impassable for lorries and trains bringing food supplies to all round the country.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

12 hours later

Hi there

The main after-shocks and quakes went on for two and a half more hours after the big quake. And little trembles are still going on. As I'm typing this I've felt two tremors. The country got a tsunami warning as well.

I could hear the tsunami sirens blaring right across Wellington Harbour warning people living near water to get to higher land.  In the end, the tsunami was about 3 metres high.

The centre of the biggest quake was just after midnight and centred around Kaikoura in the South Island.  I've never known quakes to be all over New Zealand.  Usually it's just one region.  Geonet New Zealand (our earthquake people) have listed hundreds of little quakes and after-shocks since midnight.   Lots of highways through both islands are blocked off.  Some towns are impossible to get into.  Landslides, road slips.  Wellington CBD all but closed today while buildings are being checked for damage.  No trains, no buses, no schools open. First day of graduate exams cancelled. The inter-island ferries could not get into their respective wharves (Wellington, Picton) because of damage, and the boats are sitting in their respective harbours.
No damage at my place, thank heavens.  Lots of things falling.



It's now about 1.30 a.m. Mon morn in New Zealand.  Just after midnight, I was woken by a severe earthquake.  I stumbled to the dining room and cowered under the table, praying!  The quake went on ... and on ... and on ...  Cupboard doors and drawers flew open.  I heard glass breaking somewhere.  Things flew off shelves. I could hear things falling off shelves in the garage too.   I was so scared.  Aftershocks still going on....

I have put on the radio, and there appears to be lots of damage in Wellington city.  Over the past hour there have been quakes all up and down the country, both islands.  Main quake was 7.5.  Callers on radio are asking if it might be related to King Moon and King tides due around the country this week.  Check through  Or

Now, I hear there is a tsunami alert for the the country.  I live by the sea.  We've been told to stay away from beaches. As I type this, three metre high waves have hit the South Island. They say maybe higher ones to come.

I wish it wasnt dark.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

My Big South Island Road Trip?

Hi there

The trip is on!  I've been cleared to drive for the next three months!  Whoop-de-do!!

My Big South Island Road Trip isn't until the end of January so my return from holiday in February will just fit in with when I have to go to the eye doctor again.  They will then make another decision about my driving.  But for now, phewww, the relief.

My friend in Auckland is beside herself with happiness too, because she will be house-sitting for me in the middle of summer instead of the middle of winter, like she usually does.  My garage guy is also tap-dancing gleefully - he can now fit a new $800 cambelt to my car.  I'd been holding off getting this done until I got my eye results.
Billy Elliot the musical was so good.  We have such talent in New Zealand.  Here is an overseas clip.  It's a sort of dream sequence.  I was in the third row at the show in Auckland and - cough-cough - got  engulfed in the smoke.
The young Billy is dancing, and an older Billy is mirror-ing everything.  I liked our version a tad better -

I've returned from holiday

Hi there

Well, I've been to Auckland to see the two stage musicals, "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and "Billy Elliot".  I was a fraction disapponted in "Priscilla".  This was a production from England, and the version I saw about ten years ago at the same theatre was the Aussie version before it had been workshopped for the West End, and Broadway.  I figure last week's production was a bit jaded, extra songs had been added or deleted (I have the Aussie version soundtrack), and the so-called Aussie accents sounded too British.

"Billy Elliot" was great.  What great dancing (more about this in a future blog).

Then I went to Waiheke Island (45 mins from Auckland by fast ferry) for five nights.  I was staying at a holiday home practically on Oneroa Beach.  I swam every day  .I didn't take my camera and had to make do with my cheapy mobile phone, please excuse quality of photos.

Oh, and I got covered in sandfly bites.  Then I got bitten on the arm by something.  Still ... somehow I managed to enjoy myself!

Oh, and I bought two dresses.

 above:  I was staying about fourth house from this end.   Below: three views from house balcony.

 Below: holiday house, taken by me standing in the shallows.  It's the house behind the  tidy hedge.

Cross fingers for me for tomorow please.  I'm going to the eye doctor and the decision will be made as to whether I can continue driving....

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Hi there

I'll just have a quick look in this dress shop, I thought.  Just an in and an out. Fast-like, I don't really want to buy anything.   I'm not.  Truly.

"Oh, that's a nice dress," I said to the lady behind the counter..  It was the right length too.  Usually dresses trail behind me like the train on a wedding dress.  Or they only just cover my bottom.

"Try it on," said the lady.

I did. It was sort of perfect.  But I'd made up my mind not to buy any clothes.  I was saving up for My Big South Island Road Trip (providing I would be given permission by the eye doctors to drive).

"Here's another dress, same style, different colour".  The lady whisked another dress into the changing room.

Oh.  This dress was just as good as the first one.

I caved in.  I bought one.

"Come back if you want the other dress," said the lady.

But I am determined.  It's bad enough that I've bought one, I don't  need two.

No way.

Maybe ....

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Swinging a rat

Hi there

I was e-mailing my swimming friend J, and telling her that the hotel room I was in wasn't even big enough to swing a rat.

She sent me the below photo.  I think I could've managed it.

PS:  I rather suspect it's not really a rat?