Thursday, 28 April 2011

Thankful Thursday

It's Thursday morning and this afternoon I shall be back in my Lewis home.

A few weeks ago I was listening to Radio New Zealand Concert and a conductor was being interviewed.  He travelled frequently between New York and London if I recall it correctly and he said that he had never, after many years, managed to get over the problems of jet-lag.  Since then I have listened to stories of what people go through with jet-lag.  I have to be honest and say that I had never realised how unpleasant it could be.  Yes, after being awake and traveling for long periods of time, I sometimes feel tired (most of my life I have needed very little sleep so that helps) but I had never appreciated what people who suffer from it experience.  Yesterday a friend was explaining.

So today - having had a great day yesterday without even feeling tired - I am exceptionally thankful that I don't experience jet-lag.

Floods in Napier

I'm up early this morning thanks to a Blackbird and the beautiful clear skies even though it's not yet 6am but I'm alarmed to find that Napier has had a really bad time since I left.  Jayne sent me these pictures of the croquet lawns:


0345!  I'm developing a love/hate relationship with a Blackbird!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

I'm Awake

After being awake for nearly 50 hours (except for a few hours dozing on the plane between Auckland and LA) I fell into bed  before 10pm last night and slept soundly until......   0430 this morning when a lone Blackbird outside my open bedroom window started the dawn chorus.  Wow.  I had forgotten just how noisy the dawn chorus could be.  In fact, though it was the single Blackbird's very shrill, loud song that woke me, the comfort of the dawn chorus soon lulled me back to sleep and I woke at 0600 to make myself a cup of green tea.  The household is awake and the morning here in Glasgow promises to be absolutely stunning with the sun shining out of a cloudless sky.

Hearing the Blackbird and the dawn chorus was quite an experience.  At The Cottage the song of the birds including the beautiful but noisy Bellbird and Tui is ever-present as are the cicadas when the weather is warm enough but, because I sleep with the windows closed (if I don't I've discovered that the mozzies and so on come in and use my dormant body as a feeding place) and The Cottage is double-glazed the bird-song is not loud enough to wake me.  In Eagleton we don't have a dawn chorus and, in any case,  I tend to sleep with closed windows because of the wind!

So I woke to the following Facebook message: Fiona Richardson You missed the Waipuk earthquake last night, and they are evacuating the Hastings waterfront because of torrential rain and storms.... pretty good timing to escape! Sounds as if I've been lucky.  Fortunately, despite the bad weather and storms in Taupo where The Family are on holiday the weather has improved and they are enjoying some sun.  The landslips on the Napier to Taupo road should have been cleared by the time they are ready to return to Napier.

A day doing odds and ends today and then I return tomorrow to Eagleton.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Safely in Heathrow Terminal 5

The USA and LA airport seem to be on a charm offensive.  Over the last 6 years I have gone from waiting over 2 hours to get through Immigration into a transit lounge where the rest of the plane is already boarding (we set off late!) to today where we were through quickly (possibly 10 to 15 minutes at most).  More peculiarly though is the fact that both my NZ Telecom and my UK Vodafone cellphones worked!  This has never happened before.  Wow.  We even had free internet access.  Unfortunately it seemed to be down as was the T-Mobile network.  Very odd.  Of course the answer is to get my emails set up properly on the cell-phone.

The new Air New Zealand 777-300 is a splendid aircraft.  I haven’t quite worked out the ‘cuddle class’ yet.  The 3-seat beds either haven’t been taken up or they are not yet in use.

So now I've arrived at Heathrow Airport and am waiting for the flight to Glasgow.  Frankly a shower and change of clothes will be very welcome indeed.
And on that note I shall set off on the last leg of the journey - for today at least.  I'll be back in Eagleton on Thursday.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Almost Ready

With two hours to go before the off I'm packed and The Cottage is ready for it's new occupant.  So I thought I'd just say 'cheerio'.  I don't arrive home in Eagleton until Thursday afternoon because I'm stopping in Glasgow for a few days.  I had hoped to get more blog posts done today but 'twas not to be.  I always believe that things will take me less time than they actually do.  

I'll post a few more on this blog when I get back to Scotland and then I'll be back on Eagleton Notes.

See you soon.  Oh, and while I'm away don't do anything I wouldn't do.  That's what my Grandmother always said to me.  I never really knew how much scope that gave me!

Looks Like

I'm doing the right thing:

Sunday, 24 April 2011

A Thoroughly Satisfactory Day

It's nearly 11pm.  Still a few hours to sleep.  I might even allow myself a little cheese and a glass of Shiraz.  Reward myself would be more appropriate because I am almost packed up and ready to go which just leaves the bedding to be changed and some vacuuming and so on in the morning and then I have a free day until I leave for the airport at 1630.  I might even get up to date with blog reading!  Mind you I've said that before....

The Nighthawk outside The Lews Castle Grounds, Stornoway.
In fact I was feeling so up-beat after lunch and the weather was so beautiful and warm (24℃ 75℉) that I decided to take the lid off The Handbag and go for a spin.  And that's just what I did.  Now The Handbag is not the world's fastest sports car.  In reality it's a fun car that clings to the road with a great deal more tenacity than the average double deck bus but my staid turbo-charged diesel-driven Nighthawk can outpace it any day.  So off I set into the interior down the Dartmoor Road.  This is a road a few kilometres from where I live but which I hadn't ventured down until last week.  It's a wonderful drivers' road with little traffic and lots of good corners with reasonable visibility and it's also quite wide.  About 20k in it becomes a metaled road (UK/US = graveled road) with very few houses and huge views into the interior of the country and the central mountain ranges.  

Generally speaking I drive quietly because most of my driving is in or near town or on rural state highways.  Today I decided to let the car have its head and, though top speed was modest and well within the legal limit, she really had a blast on the hilly, windy road.  In fact I probably wore more fibre off the brake pads in 50 ks today than in the previous 5 years.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think she did too!

The scenery, too, was teriffic.  I never cease to be amazed by the fact once you leave a town in New Zealand the countryside around it can feel completely isolated:

I would just add, too, that I think it is the first time that I have encountered and driven on a metalled road in Hawkes Bay; something one takes for granted in Northland, for example.