Mum’s birthday and driving north

Our final day in Timaru and the main reason we’d come down, Mum’s birthday. The morning was spent preparing food and getting everything ready for brunch as a bevy of family arrived. There were copious pancakes and croissants, fruit and Christmas mince pies. And then it was time for a birthday cake to be presented.

Time for cake

Time for cake

Blow out the candles

Blow out the candles

As is traditional there were a number of family photos taken. Frances and Helen were excellent photographers standing in my Richard and myself.

Uncle Richard

Uncle Richard


Siblings (Alayna standing in for Patricia )

Family photo

Family photo

Alayna and the birthday girl

Alayna and the birthday girl

Early afternoon saw as saying our goodbyes and taking to the road once more. We were splitting up our journey with our Ferry not sailing until the following evening and we would be spending the night in Cheviot. Getting there we somehow managed to avoid most of the thunderstorms and hail that was threatening, only getting hailed on just north of Christchurch for a few minutes though it was loud enough to wake Alayna and concern her a little.

Stormy skies

Stormy skies south of Christchurch

We arrived in Cheviot and our accommodation at the Cheviot Motels and Holiday Park in good time. There was a trampoline, guinea fowl, rabbits, chickens, geese, horses, a donkey and a friendly cat so Alayna was set. I could see the heavy weather coming our way so dashed up to the next door Church as the front same in and got some photos of moody clouds before the wind kicked in, shortly followed by heavy rain. It blew through quickly thankfully, much to the relief of the cyclist who had just set up his little pup-tent.

The storm comes over

The storm comes over St. Johns at Cheviot

Here comes the rain

Here comes the rain

Morning rainbow

Morning rainbow

Timaru for a few days

From Hanmer Springs we continued on towards Timaru with a couple of stops in Christchurch, one to pick up some duplo we’d bid for on TradeMe and a second stop at Riccarton Mall to stretch the legs. We were looking for some new shoes for Alayna and found a pair on big discount at Rebel Sport that did the trick, even if they were a bit more bling than we’d normally buy. Alayna loved for sparkle shoes so that’s the main thing I guess (and they were a good fit and were made well of course).

We arrived in Timaru in the evening and it was good to see Mum and Dad. Not so good was Dad being hospitalised later that evening with what turned out to be food poisoning. This meant in the end that Dad missed being at home fro Mum’s birthday but there was a silver lining of sorts with some planned tests for other complaints being brought forward because of being in hospital already but it was a long week for Dad to be in an isolation room. Thankfully there was plenty of family around so we were all visiting every day, dutifully putting on out gloves and plastic aprons each time before sitting down for a chat. Dad’s much better now which is good.

Alayna loves new places and toys which are different to those we have at home so she was kept interested by the things available at my parents place. Exploring was also on the agenda and Alayna liked looking around and finding things to look at, touch and feel.

Alayna at play

Alayna at play

Checking out cobwebs

Checking out cobwebs

We had a look around the Timaru shops and spend a morning down at the Caroline Bay playground and then playing around at the Timaru aquatic centre where we managed to get the childrens areas mostly to ourselves.

Around and around

Around and around

Horse riding

Horse riding

Drive time

Drive time

My brother’s family is down the road from my parents place and we had a few afternoons there as well and Alayna loved to play with her cousins. Again there was an array of new-to-Alayna toys to check out and play with. There was also a trampoline so it was perfect really.

Keira and Alayna

Keira and Alayna

One night there was a chance of Aurora activity so I ended up picking up my brother and he showed me a good local spot for photography out on Adair Road. While we didn’t get to see or photograph an Aurora it was a beautiful night with plenty of stars which reflected nicely in the hood of the car. We did attract the attention of one curious local who drove past us at least three times, turning around and coming back slower each time while presumably trying to figure out what we were doing.

Star reflections

Star reflections


Today was my Granny’s funeral in Timaru. We couldn’t attend but by all accounts it was a lovely ceremony and lots of happy memories were shared. Keryn and I will say our final goodbyes when we next visit down South.

Granny was 95 and we attended her birthday celebration earlier this year in Ashburton, a nice family event where I had a good conversation after eating tasty birthday cake. Granny was a strong willed, friendly and driven lady who right up till the end was living her own life; tending her beautiful garden, cutting her own firewood and keeping guests well fed with her great baking. She is now back with Grandad and no doubt catching up on the years they’ve had apart. I’ll miss Granny and will have to fill our daughter in on the great Granny she will never meet but hopefully will get to know through stories, photos and the memories of her family.

Back in 2003 and out for a walk at the Rangitata Huts

Down South

We took a long planned trip down to Timaru on the weekend. Keryn finally got to meet Liam and also got reacquainted with my Aunty Helen who provided the transport between Christchurch and Timaru. We had a fairly chilled time hanging out with family, no stress or bother. I ended up providing willing entertainment for Keira though I realised today that my arms are sore from all the lifting and jumping performed in the name of fun.

Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Liam takes a rest.

MG 6135Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Keira, not resting.

MG 6152Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Climbing the web down the bay.

MG 6165-2Photo by Brendon & Keryn

What makes me dizzy makes Keira reflective.

While playing at Grannies I also managed to get a few shots of lovely garden blooms and a few other little details.

MG 6195Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A pink rose.

MG 6226Photo by Brendon & Keryn

More roses.

MG 6229Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Orange this time.

MG 6246Photo by Brendon & Keryn

In the garage.

MG 6249Photo by Brendon & Keryn


MG 6272Photo by Brendon & Keryn


It wasn’t just the flora and Keira having their photos taken.

MG 6292Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Crossword time.

MG 6297Photo by Brendon & Keryn


But there were plenty of Keira photos here as well.

MG 6257Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Mostly patient with the photos.

MG 6282Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Dancing around.

MG 6302Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Inside with the toys.

Leaving Timaru with Helen I stopped us after crossing the Rakaia River and I headed back to the river to try and get some photos of the view we had seen while traversing the span. Dust from the riverbed had turned the horizon downriver into a white haze but the dust had gone by the time I arrived at the riverbank.

MG 6324Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Beside the Rakaia.

MG 6330Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Helen and Keryn.

MG 6334Photo by Brendon & Keryn


Our next flight will take us to Australia for the Wedding of Roger and Kate, which reminds me that Keryn and I need to get new passports. Oh, and there are plenty more photos on the flickr, this link would be a good place to start.

Christchurch and Timaru

Earlier this week I had a quick visit down South, taking in Bridget’s graduation in Christchurch and a day and a half in Timaru to visit my recently arrived nephew Liam.

Bridget was receiving her Masters from Canterbury University and I was tasked with taking a few photos. There was a graduation parade first up followed by a ceremony for the many graduands at the Town Hall and then a short time to take a few photos afterwards before the gown was returned. Also present were Mum and Dad and Bridget’s friend Angela.

The Graduand Parade

The Graduand Parade



Master of Engineering

Master of Engineering

Adam had been left in the care of Helen and we returned to Helen’s after the gown had been returned. Adam was happy to see us return, racing up and down the garden path on a trike while we all chatted, Georgina and Jason were in the middle of mowing lawns and tidying edges when we arrived (its years since I’d previously talked to both Helen and Georgina). We spent the evening at Angela’s having a yummy curry dinner before saying goodbye to Bridget and Adam who were staying the night. We drove to Timaru, with a quick stop in Ashburton to drop off the trike at Frances and Meryn’s.

The next day was all about visiting Richard, Jenna and family. Once over the first up shyness Keira was happy to play a few games, we spent quite some time checking on the bear at the bottom of the garden, hiding from the BIG NASTY DRAGON and seeking refuge by the secret door on the side of the house. There was also the playing of ball games, having a go with some of Liams toys and waiting for the doctor in the waiting room that also looked very much like Liams room. In the afternoon we went down to Caroline Bay for a walk and to visit the playground followed by a quick pop in to town for a drink at Richard’s friends Ash’s cafe.

Keira on the spiders web

Keira on the spiders web

Now on the swing

Now on the swing

Not sure about the wheel

Not sure about the wheel

Fluffy time

Fluffy time

Only a week old Liam wasn’t really much beyond sleeping, feeding and pooping but it was nice to meet him for the first time, hold him and just be there. Naturally photos were taken, Richard hatching a cunning plan to borrow my camera while I was entertaining/being entertained by Keira.

Jenna and Liam

Jenna and Liam (photo by Richard)


Liam, 9 days old (photo by Richard)

The trip home the next day was complicated by my flight from Timaru being cancelled. This meant I switched to the shuttle to Christchurch and was booked on another flight (which also had a short delay) so was a few hours later than expected back at Wellington. Keryn picked me up, we went home and then I had to go to work.

Family Christmas

We travelled down to Timaru by car, taking the Blue Bridge ferry across Cook Stait. We had Patricia and Sam with us and Patricia has inside knowledge for the first ferry, running off to find us a cabin upstairs. It was nice to have an area we could relax and have our own space.

IMG 7016Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Peeking in to our cabin

Heading south from Picton we stopped just out of Blenheim to eat lunch at the viewpoint looking over the old single lane Awatere Bridge.

Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Looking over the rail bridge

We had another stop before Kaikoura to have a look at a seal colony, smelly fur seals relaxing on the rocky shoreline.

IMG 7078Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Discussing who gets to sit on the rock

The day after arriving in Timaru Keryn and I drove back to Christchurch to pick up Catherine and Paul who had taken the train. We also caught up with my old flatmate Karen, the last time we’d talked was way back at our leaving drinks before we headed over to the UK.

Our late Christmas was good. We did the normal family things; Christmas lunch, presents, lawn cricket and mini golf (I was joint winner with Dean).

IMG 7087Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Adam with Richard and Keira being read a story by Bridget

IMG 7128Photo by Brendon & Keryn


IMG 7139Photo by Brendon & Keryn


IMG 7174Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Catherine and Patricia on the Caroline Bay Carnival Ferris Wheel

While in Timaru Keryn and I took an early morning trip further South to the boulders at Moeraki. We were joined by my Uncle Michael and we had a cold half hour walking down the beach and looking at the boulders, warming up at the Bolder Cafe (the much more famous Fleur’s Cafe in the Moeraki township was closed for the holiday season which was a pity).

IMG 7141Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Dried seaweed on a boulder

IMG 7162Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Beach boulders

IMG 7165Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The small harbour of the town of Moeraki

When it came time to head back towards Wellington we had a nights stop over in Marlborough to break up the journey. Staying at the Korohi Vineyard B&B near Renwick we were right in the middle of the wine region, so we visited a few vineyards for some tastings. The afternoon we arrived we visited Drylands, the Moa beer brewery and the Makana chocolate shop. Good wine, fine beer and delicious chocolates made for a good afternoon.

After dinner I went for a walk through the local vines, and later on was joined by Patricia and Keryn to head down to the Wairau River for another walk. It was cloudy and windy, so it was moody rather than pretty photos that came out of the short exploring.

IMG 7219Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Wind in the vines

IMG 7226Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Slowly rusting away

IMG 7231Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Clouds hide the evening light

The next morning we visited three more vineyards before we had to head to Picton for our ferry. First up we went to Spy Valley Wines and were there for the first tasting of the day. It was good to be the only people being servered and the hostess was friendly, informative and not holding back with the wine, letting us (well, not me, I was driving) taste eight different wines.

We got a recomendation from Spy Valley for a couple of nearby smaller vineyards. Next we visited the Seresin Estate, an organic vineyard. There were more people here when we arrived but the welcome was just as friendly and the wine good as well. The final winery had the most interesting Cellar Door; a small shack integrated with a lovely little outdoor garden area. Bladen Wines were one of the first vineyards in the area and we had a nice talk with the one of the owners, Christine Macdonald. All too soon we were having to head away so we could get to Picton in time for our ferry crossing.

We had a different ferry on the return journey and it didn’t have the same cabins available, but we found a table in one of the cafe areas and claimed it as our space. It was a colder and windier crossing but the swell was low and the journey smooth.

IMG 7247Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Grey skies in Cook Strait

We went to Timaru

I took very few photos on our Timaru trip, not sure why in the end. Anyway, we were visiting family and seeing niece Keira for the first time (Skype excepted). I did spend an evening taking a few photos of Keira as she did her thing, they’re up on flickr with a few here.

IMG 4036Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Playing with Grandad.

IMG 4077Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Calm and peaceful, probably planning something.

Recently we’ve had a friend staying with us while she did a placement at a nearby Steiner school. Incredibly I didn’t take any photos of Pauline while she stayed, no photos in three weeks. Anyway, on her last day I dropped her off at a Kindertarten near Evans Bay and she suggested I take some photos of the old boathouses found o the west side of the bay. So I did, and also took photos of a few other interesting things in the area.

IMG 3674Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Colourful boats.

IMG 3713Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Shed doors.

IMG 3715Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Ropes and rust.

I have also been experimenting with some photos for the Canon Photo5 competition. Here are a couple of examples.

IMG 3637Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The Bokeh category. Making shapes out of out of focus elements

IMG 3851Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The hundreds and thousands close-up category. I need to get closer, new lens time?

Wedding photos

It has been a while but today I was able to upload the photos taken by myself at Bridget and Dean’s Wedding last year. Our current hosting package had it’s one year anniversary today so I was able to upgrade our package to give us lots more space. So, click the photo below to see photos from Bridget and Dean’s Wedding.

Click for photos of Bridget and Dean's Wedding day.
Click for photos of Bridget and Dean’s Wedding day

And now New Zealand

After a whirlwind tour we have now found ourselves in Tekapo. We’ve been up north and stayed with Keryn’s family, going for walks on the beach and in the forest and also spending time with our cats. Then it was down to Timaru and time with my family before The Big Day, my sister Bridget marrying Dean at the Basilica in Timaru. I was official photographer for the day and I think the photos have turned out OK so far, I’ll have to spend some time on them back in the UK. We’ve now travelled out to Tekapo for a couple of days relaxing and tripping around the Southern Alps.
As always I’ve been taking photos, a few of which can be found below.

Looking over Matapouri Beach
Looking over Matapouri Beach

Bridget photographed at the Timaru Botanical Gardens after the wedding.
Bridget photographed at the Timaru Botanical Gardens after the wedding

Looking over the valley from the hydro canal just south of Tekapo.
Looking over the valley from the hydro canal just south of Tekapo

The Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo.
The Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo

The Sheep Dog Monument at Lake Tekapo.
The Sheep Dog Monument at Lake Tekapo