Thursday, 18 December 2014

I can never get enough of my mates, the Tui. I have made another bird feeder and had removed my original one to the verandah, and left the new feeder in its place. The Tui, though, were not impressed, and were determined to continue feeding from Mark 1 feeder even though it was placed very close to where I was enjoying an evening wine.

 Not without some argument, though. One had clearly found some nectar-laden flax flowers and his pal was obviously not impressed.

"Alright! Enough of this. I'm off!"

 "Now where's the old feeder?"

"Found it. Just replenished, too."

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Friday, 22 August 2014

My brother Marty, in the mid ‘70s, purchased an aircraft to enable him (he hoped) to more cheaply accumulate flying hours towards his commercial pilots licence. He eventually went on to gain his CPL and flew for a number of years for Mount Cook Airlines at Mt Cook, landing tourists on the glaciers in ski-equipped Pilatus Porters, and also for a Swiss company, ZIMEX, in Algeria and northern China. A splendid description of one of his adventures can be found here.

Dad was tickled pink that Marty soloed 50 years to the day after he did.

The aircraft Marty bought was an Auster J/1 Autocrat ZK-AUX, which, sadly, is now in bits in someone’s shed.

ZK-AUX had an interesting past, having landed on two aircraft carriers - HMS Illustrious in 1946, and then aboard HMCS Magnificent in 1948, which is really something for a civilian plane.  More on the aircraft here and here.

ZK-AUX was the aircraft in which three of our children sampled the delights of heavier than air transport. Although I can’t remember, I suspect that my first flight was also in an Auster  – probably ZK-APO.

I was fortunate to have been aboard for the kids’ first flight and was able to get a few photos.

Here is the pilot. Youngest brother, Marty.

Here is the view over the bow. The Boulder Bank and Port Nelson.

And here are the first-timers trying not to show any nervousness. L-R:  Susan 5½, Nathan 3½ and Paulette 7 years old. Ca. Oct 1977

Saturday, 16 August 2014

 Granddaughter Meaghan showing how it's done. 

 What a player! She really works.

 Megs lining up for the shot.

 And in it goes - again! Nayland College 35 - Nelson Girls 3. Well done, Meaghan!

 Meaghan's younger sister Bailey ready to pass...

... and identical twin Caitlin scheming about the next set, at the break.
The girls won. Broadgreen Intermediate 11 - Waimea Intermediate 8. Well done!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Our weather this morning.

 "Mostly cloudy and cooler. Windy". Not a cloud in the sky. No wind. But it is definitely cooler!

This graph starts at 00:05 13 August. Data are recorded every 5 minutes. Note the precipitous drop in temperature at 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon when a squall with hail came through.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

As it was -1.5°C outside when I saw Mr Tui having breakfast, I took his picture through the window rather than venture outside.

It seems strange that the camelias flower when the temperatures are so low.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Mrs Sheep's morning adventure.

 "Hmmmm, I wonder if I can get into their garden over that cattle stop."

 "C'mon, lamb. We can do it!"

 "Uh, oh! Busted! Here comes the boss."

"Come on, lamb, we're outta here."
Bridge Widening

Work is due to start on transforming our nearby bridge from a single lane to a two-laned one. The bridge is about 4.5 kilometres from the north end of the Motueka River West Bank Road, which is increasingly used by heavy traffic such as milk tankers transitting from Golden Bay to Timaru and livestock trucks wishing to avoid the streets of Motueka.

 The approach from the south is quite dangerous as the bridge is only visible to a driver from about 50 metres.
There isn't much warning of traffic approaching from the south.

Unfortunately, some of our neighbour's >100 year-old walnut trees have to make way for the widened road.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

One of my winter projects has been to copy my father’s Pilots Logbook into Excel. Along with the first entry of an aircraft’s callsign/registration I hoped to hyper-link to a photograph of the aircraft referred to, and so I turned to the internet to find them. (This was before I’d scanned my mother’s albums).

In this case, I had started entering the first page of Dad’s log that referred to ZK-APO, and noted that this was the first flight he had made since 20 November 1944 when he flew a slightly larger aircraft, Lancaster KI3834  from Dorval (Canada) to Gander to Prestwick (Scotland).

I remember the Austers with fondness. We used to get the odd flight with Dad around the hinterlands of South Island and occasionally visited Dad’s brothers and their families.

Here I am protecting my cousin Elizabeth from some baddies that have taken one over. In this case ZK-AWY, c. early 1952.

When I googled for more info on ZK-APO, I found the Civil Aviation Authority’s site, which provided an accident report in PDF form.

The first page of the report showed I was on the right track.

Now, colour me surprised when I came across this on page six of this Official accident report:

“1.6 Aircraft information
1.6.1 Auster J1B serial number 2212 was manufactured in January 1947, and was first registered in New Zealand on 18 August 1959. A total restoration was completed in January 1998, and the aeroplane had accrued a total of 255.8 hours since. It had remained in the possession of the same owner since first being registered in New Zealand.”

Dad had accrued 1,568 hours and 40 minutes in an aircraft registered as ZK-APO in the 12 years before it was ‘first’ registered. I had done a few hours in it, too!

Sum of Single engine day Pilot
Grand Total

Just shows, don’t believe everything you read. Or hear. Or see.

Monday, 11 August 2014

I had considered posting the occasional photos from the my mother's albums in chronological order, but on reflection decided to just post the odd photos ad hoc, as the mood dictates. Please post in the comments any corrections. (Click on the pics to enlarge)

My father (with stick) at the Kaka Point beach, south of the Clutha River mouth near Balclutha, with his brothers. L-R: Jim, Alan, Fred, Dick and Clem. c1926. 

 And here he is about 17 years later at the controls of New Zealand's first DC3, NZ3501. April 1943 at Wigram.

Squadron Leader Frederick J. "Popeye" Lucas DFC. 1943.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A trifle cool this morning. -2.2° C. Cold-country readers will laugh, but for those of us who lived in the tropics for many years, it is quite cold. (Note the tui refueling with sugar-water)
Last Saturday, being grandson Joshua's 13th birthday, made an ideal excuse for a gathering of the clans - our three daughters and their families - here at the farm. The only ones missing being the clan living in Fiji, and granddaughter, Meaghan.

Even though it was cold, and later, wet, the farm provided an ideal playground for town kids to get out and about - making huts and finding creepy-crawlies under rotten tree branches and rocks - topped off later by a rabbit hunt with their Uncle Daniel.

Whilst your scribe prefers a good roast for dinner a fairly high percentage of the gathered tribe love their lasagne and salad - besides, it was birthday boy's choice as well. Two competing cooks provided equally delicious examples.

 Lasagne time. My homebrew Dark Ale wasn't bad, either

 Identical twins Bailey and Caitlin with cousin Joshua and brother Cameron tucking in to their favourite nosh. 

 Wet but happy. The hunters return. (Daniel reports that when it began to rain, the girls wouldn't hear of coming back to the house.)

Happy teenager, Joshua,  cutting his high calorie birthday special.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

I've been very slack in keeping up some kind of narrative with this blog. Until one attempts it, one doesn't realise the discipline required to regularly update the page to maintain a reader's interest. My (rather pathetic) excuse is that I have been occupied by scanning and transferring all of the photos from my mother's photograph albums on to my computer. 

In a book (The Exiles of Asbestos Cottage) by Jim Henderson about the couple who lived for 40 years in the bush up near the Cobb Dam, 22 kilometres as the crow flies from here, he laments that New Zealanders are the world experts at "burning their bloody history". As I'm not keen on being one of that kind of 'expert', I thought it would be a useful winter project to digitise the photos to, in the first instance, preserve the images, and secondly to make them available to other members of the family who may wish to have a copy. 

It is still very much a work in progress. I have so far copied eight albums of black & white photos, and have made a start on the first of a similar number of albums of colour photos. Some of the albums contained up to 450 photos, which all needed to be annotated, for, without them, the photos become meaningless to later generations. 

My first photo is of my mother, taken in October 1944, who spent hours and hours maintaining the albums, and instilled in us an appreciation of our history.

Loraine Jean Lucas (née Flansburgh-Washbourne) 1920-1999

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Of such are childhood memories made. Identical twins Bailey and Caitlin zoom around the paddock on the little bike their father had resurrected that day. 

Bailey demonstrates to cousin Joshua how it's done. 

 Joshua returns the favour.

While the older kids put the world to rights.

Monday, 10 March 2014

 Queenstown at last. TSS Earnslaw sailing sedately up the lake towards Walter Peak Station homestead that can be seen in the distance behind the beacon. Walter Peak itself is the rocky peak above and to the right of the trees. 

 A trip in the gondola takes us up the hill behind Queenstown for a superb view around the Wakatipu basin. The township of Frankton where I lived for the first few years of my life can be seen in the upper left of the photo.

 We lived at Cecil Peak Station from 1960 until 1975. Cecil Peak itself is in the foreground, and the homestead is in the valley just behind and to the left of the mountain. Bayonet Peak, part of the station,  forms the other side of the valley. 

The little blue building was once the Queenstown District's Maternity Hospital where I, two of my siblings and three of my children were born. It is now a backpacker's hostel.