Saturday, 8 October 2016

Reciprocal links

I've been posting links to this site on Facebook, now I'll do vice versa. I posted this to FB tonight.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Grey in Christchurch

It's very grey in Christchurch, and may remain like this for a week. Don't bother clicking, it's just pine trees and clouds.


Friday, 23 September 2016

Found in the forest

What is the significance of these three plywood panels in Bottle Lake Forest? They are arranged like an arrow, are they a guide for some higher being? Or just rubbish?


Lotte didn't know either.



Thursday, 22 September 2016

Make my day

I went to the local vege shop, and saw this old Mark III Zephyr outside. It's a bit rusty, but it goes. The passenger was a real old-school bogan, about 60 with a bottle of beer between his legs, black beanie, rollie smoke in hand - it's his girlfriend's car, it's been laid up for 17 years, it's going to be restored. Then the girlfriend appeared, and she was as non-bogan as they come - and about 20 years younger than him. So I dunno...

Anyway, it made my day seeing the old Zephyr, it reminded me of Friday nights in Dee St Invercargill in the 60s - all the boys with Zephyrs and Valiants and PA Vauxhalls lined up outside the Post Office, then rumbling off to do a circuit of the main streets.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Wait! It's breathing...

I should update this blog more often, so I've made a sort of resolution: I'll try to post a daily photo or two with a brief note about something semi-relevant. Hopefully I won't descend to "What I had for lunch", but there are no guarantees.

More seriously, brief blog posts allow more freedom than Twitter, and possibly more than Facebook. (Though I'll do a Facebook link/post each time, as hardly anyone drops by this site nowadays.) Anyway, here are a few phone pics taken on recent dog walking expeditions.


In Fleete St, Dallington. The power and phone lines will probably go once someone comes up with a plan for the Red Zone.
Dallington is a lovely park-like area, with the best trees preserved.
Chestnuts (I think) on the fringes of Bottle Lake Forest Park.
Blossom at Bottle Lake.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Back to earth

First - our trip was fantastic, though memories fade very quickly. Still, it was a great thing to do. A large collection of photos, though not with captions, can be seen on Google Photos.

We returned from Europe in early May, and immediately became dog owners - we have Lotte, a 5 month old Miniature Schnauzer.

Monday, 28 March 2016

On our way

28th March, two days before our departure for France, Switzerland, and Italy. I'll do updates on Facebook. We'll do our best to have fun. 

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Still here

Just to confirm that this blog is still alive, though not exactly active, here's an update.

Heather is back at work at Shirley Boys High - for how long we don't know at this point. I'm at home doing odd jobs, errands, and daily housekeeping.

I've been to Alexandra to meet a real estate agent about putting our Omakau section on the market; details aren't certain yet, but it will be a bargain. I've also done some preliminary dog-proofing around gates and fences, and made a drop-down barrier for the single bedroom's door so Vida can have a dog proof space.

We're now counting down to a 30 March departure for France, Switzerland, and Italy, then home via Hong Kong, back on 5 May. Nearly all bookings are sorted but we need to book for the Eiffel Tower, Uffizi, Colosseum, etc. I hope April in Europe isn't too cold - at least Sorrento should be warm. We'll need boots and sandals, fleece tops and swimsuits - a bit of a packing challenge!

For news of our travels, try Facebook first; https://www.facebook.com/gregor.ronald

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Here we go

I suppose we must admit that 2016 is well and truly under way. We came back from Napier last Friday, to three days of overcast and drizzle, followed by some warm and humid days. Heather will go back to work next week, and I've started on the reform of our financial and legal affairs.

Later this afternoon I am seeing a lawyer about dissolving our family trust. This has been a rather expensive exercise, which we started as a way to separate asset ownership from ourselves to the trust, in case one of us needed long term care. The trust would guarantee that the other partner would still have the house. However, National changed the rules, and that protection no longer applies.

We also have our savings in various accounts owned by the trust, and any interest (hardly worth mentioning in today's economic climate) is being taxed at the trust rate of 36%. It would be cheaper, now that my tax code has changed, to count these interest amounts as personal income. So it's goodbye to the trust, and farewell to a lot of unnecessary time and expense.

Once the accounts are all back in our personal control, the next task is to rearrange the term deposits so that we can draw out some cash as we need it, to supplement our pensions of approx $500 a week. I've been doing spreadsheets based on withdrawing varying amounts, meaning we can afford to live modestly until we're well into our 80s if we're lucky. I suppose that in around 10 years we'll probably sell this house and buy something smaller, and people say you spend more in the 65-75 period than you do later, so we'll probably shuffle through in genteel parsimony. Of course, rises in fixed outgoings, like rates, could make a big mess of these plans.

A miniature schnauzer (someone else's)
Before we settle to the pensioner lifestyle, though, we have a trip to France, Switzerland, and Italy in April - that's paid for (mostly), and we've committed to buying a miniature Schnauzer which will be born in a few weeks, and will be ready to collect when we get back from Europe. Let's hope its upkeep doesn't cost too much!


Monday, 4 January 2016

Overseas travel

Not really overseas, but over the sea; tomorrow afternoon we'll be on a ferry going from Picton to Wellington, then we'll drive to stay with Cam and Jenny in Otaki Beach. On Wednesday we'll drive to Napier where we'll be house sitting for some friends.

Ten days in Hawkes Bay should go pretty quickly, then we'll be back to Wellington and Christchurch, and Heather will start thinking about a return to work. And my to-do list is growing by the day.