Patricks New Zealand Weblog

What a difference some fresh powder makes.

For the last few years our friends Steve & Michelle have organised a weekend with friends down in Twizel. It gets bigger and bigger each year, this time I think there was 40+ people. A really great weekend and very well organised. Managed to get two days skiing in, one at Ohau, I do love that field..


I took a ski lesson. So. Many. Things. To. Practice !!! It’s endless… I do sometimes (ok often) wish I’d taken up skiing instead of boarding back in the day, that said, it was nice to learn from scratch at the same time as Maaike. And I’m not even jealous* that her technique is way better

Second day went to Dobson. Their coverage wasn’t quite as good, but still more than enough for a day.. The top t-bar wasn’t even going. I remember a few years ago when Dobson opened at the end of May with decent cover. Climate change? Just a bad season? El Nino? Not great that’s for sure.

Dobson, a little bony

And then this weekend headed off to Mount Olympus for the weekend. Left on the Friday night after work, which meant arriving in the dark and getting the rope-tow up to the lodge in the dark. It was actually fine! even with my basic head torch. It’s a really excellent deal actually, it’s $120pp/pn I think, but that gets you bed + breakfast, lunch & dinner.. a very good deal. And it’s good food.

Woke up to 20cm of fresh powder and awful awful visibility.

bad vis

But then the sun cleared and there was fresh powder to be had everywhere… I have a lot of perfecting to go on my powder turns.. seeing the neat little jumps the better skiers tend to do… yes, lots to learn. Anyway, some pictures & video’s for you:

Mount Olympuspow powMark Megaughin

I also brought the raspberry pi up the hill to take a timelapse.

I unfortunately didn’t properly check the script before going up the hill and I’d left in the daytime check… and unfortunately the pi doesn’t really keep time when it’s not on the Internet (it has no on-board clock) .. so for the powder day, well, it thought it was night-time :( very unfortunate. Still, sort of mistake you only make once!

Well, a really lovely weekend, learned a lot, had heaps of fun – a really really good group + weekend. Many thanks to Mike Plank for organising!

* not strictly true.

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Out and about on skis

Two days, no, three days of skiing so far this Winter. First up Cheeseman, even had oh, 10cm of fresh or something, lovely. Skills have certainly improved since Japan, but I’m still desperately in need of a ski lesson!

Next up it was Broken River.. Maaike’s first time? back on rope tows since getting badly pinged off them last year at Broken River. So much easier on ski’s are the old nutcrackers. Here you can see a video – easy as :)

And a few pictures from around… the basin here (Alan’s Basin) is a black – and we all (pretty happily) got down it – a marked improvement.

Maaike BR RidgeMore Alans BasinAlans Basin

And finally, Glynn & Jayne & Isla & Emmerson were down for a week, and Glynn and I sneaked off on the Friday for a ski at Mount Hutt. It was pretty firm conditions but had a lovely day. It’s great being in an industry (and working for an employer) who is happy to let you switch around the odd day when it suits (I just worked the Saturday instead)

glynn at huttIMG_20150717_123025IMG_20150717_084248

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Wellington Getaway

Quick trip up to Wellington to catch up with Glynn & Jayne & Isla and Emmerson… always a treat getting to hang out with them (and no, I’ll never ever ever forgive Jayne for moving Glynn up to Wellington!)

Pancakes for breakfast, they’d just ran out of gas, so Glynn cracked out the MSR, ever the resourceful one!


Went for a quick wander up to the wind turbines, which affords a great view out over the surrounds. Very nice.


Took in a quick trip to the ANZAC exhibition that Peter Jackson put together. Very well done. So very sad.


There were so many awful stories, we’re so lucky that at the moment at least, we don’t have conscription etc. That said, we do seem to be doing a decent job of destroying our environment, which may very well lead to more deaths, admittedly over a longer period.

Anyway – lighter things ;)


Had a lovely time geeking out with Glynn, showing him some of my favourite vim tricks, and seeing some of the interesting containerisation technology he’s been working on as part of Solaris. Very cool.

Finally, had a very enjoyable hour or so playing mariokart for the N64. I’m very tempted to setup my Raspberry Pi as a Retropie. A project in the making.


Finally, finally, I took a timelapse ;)

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End of Celta

For the last few months Maaike has been studying for CELTA, a pretty rigorous English language certification. It was at least 20 hours a week of work on top of a normal job.. she didn’t get out much (and I had to cook a lot, to the point that we’re now both sick of broccoli soup ;). Anyway, she finished, and we headed off for a slightly lazy weekend, twas good. Just over to a bach on the banks peninsula. We had a quick look around birdlings flat and went to the (link currently broken). This very enthusiastic amateur had collected a lot of rocks – very beautiful and well worth a visit if you’re passing (it’s free!)


Anyway, congratulations to Maaike for finishing, and I must say, it’s very nice having her back (and not having to cook all the time ;)

As a final word, Maaike got an “A”, which only 3-5% of students get – excellent effort!

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Backgammon 2015

This weekend it was off up to Thames to play backgammon. I do love the game, though I really haven’t played it in a long while, at least, not with any consistency. We ran the “National Competition” (very loose definition if ever there was one) as a part of the mindsports festival, which is an initiative the Thames county council is trying to get going, with some success. Anyway 17 players turned up, and we had a good competition, it was great to be playing again. I ended up coming third overall, but it was a very close competition.

BackgammonBaffle BoxPolice Station

Oh, the other picture was of the police station which was finally demolished. There is still a huge amount of rebuild left to go.. my heart goes out to the people of Nepal who are going through hell at the moment, no doubt about it, even though it has faded from front page news.

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A piece of Pi

May disappeared in a blur. Some of which was spent playing with my Raspberry Pi mini computer. I was attempting to make the pi talk over a 3G modem so that it could take pictures (from anywhere within cellphone reception) and upload them to a website. Basically worked too!, wrote a small ruby gem for interfacing with the modem. All in all a satisfactorily geeky time was had.

Other than that, went to a tiki-tane music evening, visited the graffiti exhibition which has taken over the rock climbing wall at the YMCA.


Decent exhibition, but, once you’ve seen it once that’s it. I really think that the new leadership at the YMCA has done a massive disservice to the climbing community here by halving the number of walls available. I do not see how having an exhibition is furthering their mission in any significant way. Hey ho.

What else… not too much really… work has become properly busy again, and I’m certainly enjoying the projects I’m working on at the moment. Helped encourage one of our clients to upgrade their version of Rails from 2.3 (very very old) to 3.2 (still quite “old” as these things go, but still under warranty so to speak). That was satisfactory!

Anyway, no major adventures to report, it’s sort of shoulder season while the ski season approaches.

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Katrina & Aaron’s wedding

For a solid year and a half, or so, I played scrabble with Katrina. I went so far as dictating the 2 letter words into an mp3 so I could study while biking around ;) Did help, but not enough… I was mercilessly thrashed week in week out. Anyway, she moved away to Melbourne, mostly to be closer to family (why would anyone want to do that ;) ehehheheeh. ehem. kidding Mum) and she ended up meeting a most excellent Kiwi (Aaron), and this weekend they got married.

It was a lovely ceremony, and then great food and dancing. (un)Fortunately no time for scrabble.. I’m completely out of practice it would have been murder.

Anyway, a hearty congratulations to Katrina & Aaron :)


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For the long weekend Steve & Michelle were heading away to Lake Tennyson and I went along with them (because, someone, who shall remain nameless, is working super hard on a course and doesn’t come out to play ;) heh,

Aaaanyway, it was a lovely weekend away. The highlights were: being somewhat lazy on the Saturday and reading lots of Hornblower (excellent books, highly recommend), and then going for a walk up to “Princess Bath”, a very nice corrie. Personally I think the princess could have chosen a warmer bath, but there you go.

Lake TennysonSteve and Michellegot'im

This blob here is actually a mass of bees:

bees like beer

We had left a couple of beer bottles at the camp and when we came back, the (dark!) beer bottle had about 2cm of bees at the bottom of it. Steve, being the kind entomologist he is, warmed them up by the fire (but not too close) until they could fly away.

All in all a very nice Easter. Thanks Michelle & Steve :)

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Quail Island

There is an island in the middle of Lyttleton harbour called Quail Island.

View Larger Topographic Map

There was a trip organised to go there by the local royal society, and I happen to be on their mailing list – so off I went. Had a nice day walking around, seeing the various efforts at pest eradication (reasonably successful, though one of the party were pretty sure they saw a rabbit – which they thought they’d cleared off)

Also heard about the leper colony which was there. Here you can see one of the dwellings and also the crockery etc. which was recently discovered down on the beach. It had all been dumped there when the colony was destroyed.


Then a wander around the rest of the island, seeing the various plants which had been brought back, even a native mistletoe carefully grafted.


Oh, you can also see the remains of the kennels and the wharf where Captain Scott got ready for his trips to Antarctica (1901 and 1910).


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West Coast Weekend

Had a nice trip off to the West Coast for a relax after the previous festivities. Stayed in quite a nice bach just outside of HariHari. Walks along the beach, lots of lazing, reading, very nice, quite needed!DSC_0079DSC_0084

There was the remains of a beach art festival at Hokitika which looked pretty fun.DSC_0063DSC_0059DSC_0027DSC_0037

Where we went for a walk, there was a monument to the first (mad) lad who made the flight from Oz to NZ. He didn’t tell anyone about it (as he knew it’d be denied) and just off he went. Crashed into a swamp just outside of HariHari. Good on him!


Finally, a picture quite a large honey extractor. For dad (who’s a beekeeper). I may have to learn the skillz someday, there’s little better than an unlimited supply of fresh honey. That said, I’m not partial to the stings.


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