Patricks New Zealand Weblog

Stag, wedding, fireworks a plenty

I have been somewhat slack on the blog front, but then, there’s a reason for that too – namely planning 13 months of travel (and packing everything up)

First off though, Steve’s stag.. it was a great weekend, the main event being rafting (which my go-pro seems to flatten out a bit – it was quite scary I can tell you!)

Then the wedding the following weekend… lovely trip down via Mt. Cook in all its glory:


Unfortunately, while I hear the wedding was excellent (how could it not be, such excellent folk getting married – and down in the stunning surrounds of Lake Ohau), I was, extremely ill. Somewhere I picked up a very nasty 24 hour D&V bug, so I was completely knocked out. Lost some weight though, so that was great ;)

Finally, 5th Nov and we had Guy Fawkes at Rachels place. They’ve bought a do’er upper over in New Brighton… it’s uninsured as-is-where-is… so, it’s a risk if there are more earthquakes, but I must say, I loved the house.. it had such a nice feel to it, big rooms, stunning view..

Nice view for the fireworks too!


Right – up to speed. Next post will be about leaving NZ for travelling. I am excited about it, but I am also looking forward to being on the plane and having all the faff of moving out behind me. Maaike is being wonderful organising everything, and putting in countless hours in the garden… but wow there’s a lot to do. Selling the van too, and kayak… and and .. it does make me a little sad to be honest. The van has been going well of late, and it seems a shame to sell it.

Hey ho, one door closes and another opens… :)

(first world problems or what)

Comments (6)

Temple Basin & Tabasco sitting

Our friends Candace and Dan were away, so (Maaike) had offered to dog-sit their dog Tabasco. Very much her initiative – but it was almost like a mini holiday – a change is as good as a rest!


They also have chickens who had just started laying again after winter (who knew they stopped for winter?! I didn’t anyway!). Those eggs got turned into chocolate mousse:

4 eggs
200g Dark Chocolate
Coffee/Rum essence

Separate Eggs
Beat Egg whites until firm
melt chocolate
beat egg yolks with essence

slowly add choc as you beat essence-> until all choc is added

give egg white another whisk

gently fold in egg white to mixture - keep air - use whisk.
place in fridge overnight.

Then this weekend we headed to Arthurs pass for Paul Thompsons 40th. It was a lovely weekend, amazing the amount of kids & babies that have popped up in the last couple of years – definitely different sorts of parties – a 40th vs a 30th!

Did get away to Temple Basin for the Sunday… had excellent conditions again, 10cm of fresh and just a perfect day. It does take extra effort to get to Temple, but that effort is well rewarded!


Comments (2)

Palmy & Citizenship

This weekend it was up to Palmy to see my cousins, especially as my cousin Thomas was over from the UK. It was a lovely weekend, managed to sneak in a few games of Settlers, eat lots of lovely food, see quite a few netball games (Hannah’s kids play a lot in the school leagues)… yes, lovely trip.


Also, after many many years in the country, I got around to getting Citizenship. It was a nice ceremony and I did like how they said that you should bring your culture to NZ not renounce it (in marked contrast to the way some other countries want it)


There isn’t really much of a difference between permanent residence and citizenship in NZ. I already have the right to vote, work and stay indefinitely, but it does mean I could legally work in Australia (I don’t particularly want to), and it does mean I could run for public office (I don’t particularly want to).

Also, I got a native plant (a cabbage tree) as part of the ceremony, which was nice :)

No comments yet.. click here to add the first one.

TPPA (and some pretty pictures)


I do love the sunsets we get in Christchurch. And I do love the timelapse website I put together… happpy days.

Anyways, the TPPA, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement… they call it a “Trade” agreement, but there’s certainly a huge amount of overreach in it. NZ has a right leaning government in power, and they would certainly like to sign it if they can (it seems). The main thing I do not like about it is the ISDS clauses which basically allow foreign corporations to sue *governments* in offshore tribunals for lost earnings. E.G Australia passed a law making cigarettes be sold in plain packaging, they are currently being sued for this. We can expect more of that if the TPPA is passed. But it’s the insidious nature of the thing I don’t like, what laws would a country not even try to put in place because of the fear of being sued. It’s a horrible provision and there are many other things which I think are a bad idea (longer copyright terms, software patents (which we don’t really have in NZ))… so no, shouldn’t sign. Went protesting:


In the rain. Our prime minister who I have very little time for, dismissed the tens of thousands who protested, as “misinformed”… well, of course we’re misinformed.. the text of the TPPA is secret so we don’t actually have any idea what is being negotiated. Also, the government has, in my opinion, been deliberately misleading as it does NOT openly say that the TPPA is signed by cabinet and not run past parliament. So yes, lots of reasons to protest.

No comments yet.. click here to add the first one.

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.

Comments (2)

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

No comments yet.. click here to add the first one.

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 ;)

Comments (1)

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!

Comments (2)

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.

No comments yet.. click here to add the first one.

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.

No comments yet.. click here to add the first one.