Friday, 29 January 2010

It was worth the risk....

January 30th 2009 was the day that I took my life into my own hands and did the scariest thing that I have ever done in my life.... but... I live to tell the tale... and it was FAB!
It was with some trepidation that Pam drove me to Motueka and a tiny airfield... if you can call it that... on a balmy, clear day. I was feeling more than a little nervous as Pam's experience of this event was not a good one... lets just say that she wasn't able to open her eyes AT ALL and thinks that I'm more than a little odd wanting to put myself through this. Actually, this is one of the things that I had on my 'To do' list whilst I was in New Zealand. I had told everyone at home that I was gong to do it and so I just couldn't go back without trying!
This little field is the airstrip and where it all begins.....
Here I am, all kitted up, being filmed... just in case I didn't make it... no not really, just kidding...

Final wave as we set off.... do I look slightly nervous or is it hysterical????

Yup, you've guessed it... that's me in that there plane, squashed, very tightly... if you know what I mean..... being strapped to a big burly Kiwi!.......

... and this is the moment that I was literally hanging into thin air... aghhhhhhh!!!! The guy on the right had a digital camera strapped to his head and a small bit in his mouth that he had to bite on the depress the shutter and take a photo... he also has a video camera attached to the side of the helmet... which means that I now have a short film where I am the main attraction!!!! Not ever likely to happen again!
.... and we're off!!!! .... to me it felt like an out of body experience... that's the only way I can describe it..... I wanted to stay calm, not think about the possible consequences and enjoy every moment. It's an amazing feeling, dropping from 13,000 feet and free falling for 50 seconds... feels like an eternity! The views were awesome!
... Bye bye plane....

... f..a..l..l..i..n..g..g..g..g..

Still falling at 200mph! But, look at those fabulous views... 3 mountain ranges, the sea, the Golden Spit.... A.W.E.S.O.M.E..

Hey Mum... look, I'm flying!

Actually, I think I look like a bug with that green helmet and goggles on!

Breathtaking....

Coming in to land about 5 minutes later....

Legs up, get ready to run.....

Touchdown....
Slightly wobbly legs, but safe.... can I go again... can I? Can I????

Thanks so much for giving me an amazing ride and for bringing me down safely... 'sweet as'!
I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to do this... I would dearly love to do it again! It has taught me so much.... if I hadn't taken the risk I NEVER would have known how amazing, stunning, brilliant and awesome it would be .... it's an attitude that I apply to life now... that if we don't take the risk we will always be wondering what it would have been like; missed out on SO much; and, what's the worse that could happen anyway? If you're toying with something... give it a go, take the risk, jump out of the plane and enjoy the ride.. you might just love it!
************************************************************
On another note completely, I have had a wonderful day today too! It started with a fairly early drive across dartmoor to Princetown.... what a perfect day for the journey. We had a powder dusting of snow this morning and it had lingered on the moor... it looked like some one had taken a sieve full of icing sugar and dusted the surrounding countryside. The sun was out, the sky was blue ( I feel a song coming on!), the bracken was golden and my heat was singing... truely perfect!
I stopped to take a few photos on the way home but they really don't do the colours any justice....


Once in Princetown I went to the Duchy Square centre for creativity where I was booked on to a PMC taster session..... it was really inspiring and great fun. I have come away with a pendant and a pair of earrings... will have to show you tomorrow as the light has gone now for photos. I have to say though, the best bits of the day were driving to and from the venue across the moor.... note to self... must go there more often.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Abel Tasman National Park

January 26th 2009 was an amazing, stunning, hot, adventurous day for me....
It all started with being brought tea in bed.... thanks Pam.... a real treat and very lazy! It was then time to pack a picnic and head out to The Abel Tasman National Park... this is another beautiful area at the top of the South Island of New Zealand... I knew that I was in for a real treat and I wasn't disappointed! We drove to Marahau where we parked up and booked a water taxi to Akerston beach. Although I say 'water taxi', the first part of the journey was in the boat, but being pulled along the road by tractor!
Once in the water we were OFF!!!! The driver was obviously a thrill seeker and was just out to get us all as wet as possible... not really too much of a problem though as it was a stifling hot day....
The first stop off was to take a look at 'Split Apple Rock'..... need I say more....

We were the first of the passengers to be dropped off at Akerston beach... the boat backed in, we jumped out, the boat roared away....

.......and we were left on our own little piece of deserted paradise....

The sea was warm, the beach deserted... apart from a curious bumble bee... and the cicadas sang in the trees as the sea gently lapped at the shore... cue island music!
We enjoyed a quiet contemplation on the beach before embarking on the walk back to the car....
... enticing views were around every corner.....
There were several of these wigwams, made from driftwood, along the coast line... isn't it beautiful.... I certainly found it truely inspirational... don't be surprised if you see the wigwam influence on some of my work soon!... The colours are so clear and pure too...

This was the beach that we stopped and had a swim from... just amazing..

This was one of my favourite days of the holiday... I was so inspired and just in awe of the beauty of creation and it's Creator.
The final adventure of the day was driving Steve and Pam's jeep around Nelson... a dummy run for tomorrow when I was to be left to my own devices for the day and was allowed to drive the jeep into town... driving there is very similar to here except for a few silly rules... once you've mastered those it's easy peasy.... still, I was very nervous! You will be pleased to know I left no dents and returned home in one piece!
**********************************************************
As promised, I said I would show you some of the things that I have been sewing over the last week... my poor sewing machine has steam coming from it again and the kitchen, where I sew, is unrecognisable!
Anyway.... Ta Dah.........

Journal covers made from recycled blankets that I have dyed and felted....

This has to be my favourite design... scruffy flower motifs...

... lots of swirly whirly goodness... around and round we go... wheeeeeee...

Obviously, I had Valentines day in mind for this one, but it would make a great gift for any occasion....

Ooooh look.... more swirly whirly scrumptiousness....


I'm always surprised at how well this turquoise blue and red go together.. it's a great combination, sort of clashy, but not at the same time!!! If you know what I mean!!


These are slightly larger journals ... this time covered with a variety of beautiful cotton prints..

Sweet....


It's so satisfying to see piles finished product...


I have also made some gorgeous, scrummy... even though I say it myself... bags. I was hoping to photograph those today but the light was just terrible and also I just had no idea how to set the photos up... any ideas gratefully received. I will endeavour to solve the problem over the next few days and have them ready and waiting to show them to you along with some exciting news about the other changes that will be happening with my work situation...

..... watch this space......
xxxxx

Monday, 25 January 2010

South Island....

So, here we are in the South Island of New Zealand..... This is a stunning island, and although I love the whole of the country, the South Island is my most favourite of the two.... It seems a lot more rugged and varied in scenery than the North... I am sure there are many of you who will disagree!
I decided this time to put a collage together of some of the places that I visited and activities that I undertook whilst in the south ....
From left to right, top to bottom the photos are as follows....
Picton, Malborough Sounds; Whale watching at Kaikora; Dolphins at Kaikora; the coast line between kaikora and Christchurch; Tranz Alpine train journey; Mount Cook National Park, Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo; pier at Akaroa; Departure sheds for swimming with dolphins, Akaroa; more Akaroa; backpacking hostel in Akaroa....
..... can you tell? ... Akaroa was my favourite place... it's stunning!
On this day last year I arrived in Nelson ....


.... and was met at the bus station by this lovely couple, who thoroughly spoilt me and gave me a wonderful week in nelson.....

Steve
.... and Pam

Hopefully, the story will continue tomorrow!!!!.... Don't hold your breath, I've not been good at this blogging for a while now... I do have great intentions, but life and work just gets in the way!!!!

****************************************************

On another note, I have been very busy this last week... lots of sewing (and mess making) which I will show you tomorrow.. (not the mess though... you'd throw your hands up in horror!!) My back is beginning to feel better although it feels very fragile. One of the changes that I am going to make as a result of having spent a week on my back is to take time to look after me!!!! It's not an easy thing to do... everything and everybody else usually come before me, but, I can't take anything for granted now and I definitely don't want to go through that again. So, I have enrolled in a pilates class and am also intending to try to swim several times a week to strengthen my core muscles. You can ask me how it's going if you like just to shame me into keeping it up!!!!

Hope to catch up with you again tomorrow..

Keep warm and snug xxxx

Friday, 15 January 2010

Back....

Hello again.... You may remember last time that I mentioned my very painful back... well I have spent the best part of last week on it, on the floor... watching all the snow falling outside and listening to all the chaos on the roads on the radio!!! In some ways it has been a very frustrating week because I have had to rely a lot on other people.... and I'm definitely NOT good at asking for help, in fact I useless at it and feel very embarrassed when others want to lend a hand. So it has been a humbling experience, but also a steep learning curve. A huge thanks to those who have been there for me this week... you know who you are xxxx

It has also been an opportunity... somewhat forced... to stop and think about the future, about work, my family and life in general. As a result of being reminded about my weak back I have had to re-think how and where I work. It has actually been an amazing week of revelation, insight, inspiration and planning..... I will tell more soon.....

So here we are back in New Zealand.... before I was laid up I was going to show you more of my pictures of the Bay of Islands... it's such an amazing, stunning place....
My first full day there was spent on an excursion to 90 mile beach and Cape Reinga which is the Northern most part of new Zealand.
After being picked up from the hotel at 6.30, we made our way up to the 90 mile beach.... it isn't actually 90 miles, its nearer 55! There are several stories as to how it became to be thought of as ninety miles long but the main one is that it was measured by missionaries riding along it on horse back, who calculated that as it took 3 days to complete and their horses covered 30 miles each day the beach was therefore ninety miles in length. What they forgot to take into consideration, however, is that the horses were moving at a much slower pace due to the fact that they were walking on sand!
So here we are setting out on our journey... the roads are actually this busy all the time!!!!

The entrance to Ninety mile beach... obviously you have to be aware of tide times are there are only a couple of places to enter/leave the beach... there was plenty of evidence along the beach of people who hadn't taken heed of the tides and who had paid the price with their car!!! Lots of tin roofs jutting out from the sand and abandoned rusty vehicles!

The sand is quite hard in most places which enables you to drive along the beach. Incidentally, if you plan to do this in a hire car... think twice... you will NOT be insured should anything happen to you along the way!

This is a view looking back towards The Bay of Islands and the 'hole in the rock'... more about that soon..

After driving along the beach we left via a river... yes, that's correct, we drove along a very bumpy river bed..... to....
... some of the biggest sand dunes I have ever seen ..
This is where we piled out............... grabbed a surf board............... climbed the dune........... huffing and puffing....... and surfed down again..... wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Brilliant fun, but walking up the dune was killing... one step forward..... a long slip back!

Our bus....
Coming down on a board was not the only way to come down!

Here we are at Cape Reinga... the northern most point of New Zealand and the place where the Pacific ocean and the Tasman sea meet... what's amazing about this is that you can actually see where the two oceans meet... there is a definite line in the water... honest!

A long way from home.....

Just to prove it... I was actually there! Funnily enough this photo was taken by a couple who I met whilst on this excursion who were on holiday from Paignton... about 5 miles from where I lived!... small world....
This is State highway 1... the main road that runs the length of the north Island..... good condition eh???? The last house before you reach the lighthouse is 3 hours drive from the nearest supermarket... imagine that!

.... and back to Paihia for the evening.....

Remember the 'hole in the rock'... well, here it is again but from a very different angle. the following day we took a boat trip around the Bay of Islands which included a daring drive through 'the hole in the rock'!
A coffee stop meant that I was able to climb up high and take some photos of the islands....

This is just one of the many places I would love to return to....


I am hoping to show you a few more photos of the rest of my time in New Zealand... very different scenery to the white wonderland that we have all be experiencing of late.
Keep warm and toasty till next time
xxxx