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The adventures of Fe & Chris

The Land of the Long White Cloud

We’re in New Zealand! The nice Quarantine people at the airport did indeed clean our boots for us! Over the last few days we’ve been enjoying the fine hospitality provided by Justin and Nicola, friends from the Polar Star.

We have seen the sights of Christchurch - in places like a clone of Oxford and Cambridge (you can even go punting). We have been welcomed by the numerous species of European birds which were introduced by the early settlers to make us feel at home. This has been a successful enterprise, we do indeed feel at home, but now I have a hankering for something of a more native persuasion.

I found a lovely model of the MS Explorer in the Antarctic department of the Christchurch museum. It was labelled “A Historic Tourist Ship” - the label now needs a little updating with its recent demise, but is largely correct.

Yesterday we had a lovely drive on the Banks Peninsula and enjoyed several tiny Hector’s Dolphins, some wonderful scenery and some very nice food (there’s even a cheese shop!).

We’re off to collect our new campervan home in a few minutes. Must fly…


  Lachlan wrote @ December 5th, 2007 at 8:57 pm

I remember waking with great excitement in the airport hotel in Christchurch, having arrived at midnight, looking forward to seeing all the wonderful and unique birds of New Zealand. I opened the curtains and saw a dunnock, a blackbird, a house sparrow and a starling. A little bit disappointing but it gets better.

  Hairless Keir wrote @ December 5th, 2007 at 11:05 pm

random and not on the subjecgt of long clouds but at the moment the great tits that visit my feeders would appear to be building a nest in my box. Should I evict them as the place is really only set up for summer lets?

  Christopher’s Mum & Dad wrote @ December 9th, 2007 at 8:17 pm

I wonder when Merchant Vessels (MV) became Merchant Ships (MS) ??
Keir, as the birders have not responded to your question - leave your great tits alone. They will take a look at a box at any time of year, and take stuff into it, but it doesn’t mean they are nesting. The blue tits did it regularly in our old box. Blue tits here took a couple of looks at our new one then just went away! Apart from one visiting female sparrowhawk which landed on the fence, the only birds we have regularly in our garden are sparrows, starlings and two collared doves. I got excited the other day when I actually saw a blackbird at the back of the garden!
Why is NZ the land of the long white cloud?

  Hairless Keir wrote @ December 9th, 2007 at 11:27 pm

it is the mauri name for the place and having just read the cloud spotters guide I am presuming it might be something to do with lenticular clouds due to the mountains - but that bit might be a guess. Have to say I have a great range of birds here though the sparrow hawk is enjoying a few too many of my sparrows!

  Shorn Graeme wrote @ December 10th, 2007 at 9:19 pm

On your great tits, sorry for not responsing sooner. Mr and Mrs Hill are right. It may be that the birds are roosting in there too, as they often do this in winter. I would not evict them as that may put them off using it in the summer when you want them to.

  Hairless Keir wrote @ December 11th, 2007 at 3:35 am

should I take down the to let sign then or leave it up hoping to get a better offer?

  Chris’s Mum and Dad wrote @ December 11th, 2007 at 2:57 pm

While on the topic of birds, I wonder if they are going to see the royal albatrosses at Taiaroa on the Otago Peninsula, north of Dunedin? I suddenly remembered someone bringing us a booklet about them, and actually found it - quite an achievement having moved house!

  Shorn Graeme wrote @ December 11th, 2007 at 8:03 pm

I would take the sign down - having a flappy sign up is not likely to encourage birds to move in.

  Hairless Keir wrote @ December 12th, 2007 at 1:42 am

It is a high quality one! Can I ask why C’s M&D decided when moving house to keep a note on albatross rather than minimising things in the move?

  Chris’s Mum and Dad wrote @ December 12th, 2007 at 6:46 pm

That’s a good question Keir. We minimised so much that there was no time to go through that particular bookcase and it just got packed! The question now is did we keep the christmas tree table or did we throw it out! I am beginning to think the latter - oh well, we can always improvise!

  Soph wrote @ December 12th, 2007 at 7:57 pm

Minimise!!!!! Simply, you should have started sooner as we tried to get you to do! :-)

  Grumpy Graeme wrote @ December 13th, 2007 at 5:12 am

Chris and Fe - Instead of phoning each other, your family are now communicating through your log: - we need more news from New Zealand fast.

  Fiona wrote @ December 13th, 2007 at 10:54 am

Yes indeed- we are working on it as I write….Much as we value everyone’s comments, perhaps we could recommend a social networking site instead of this - facebook seems popular!

  Keir wrote @ December 13th, 2007 at 9:32 pm

oh but that is half the fun! Facebook is great for scrabble but that is about the only use I have found so far!!

  Laura wrote @ December 25th, 2007 at 5:11 am

Fiona, this is your Mum’s cousin Laura. I just heard from your Dad that you were in NZ. Do you know we have cousins in Alexandra (not too far from Queenstown) and other locations in NZ. I’m sure they’d be pleased to see you. If you’d like more details, addresses or whatever, email me.

Sounds like you two are having a fabulous trip and I’m green with envy to be so young and adventurous!

Take care…

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