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Dec 21st 2010 - Ness Valley

Well another week has passed by.  It was the pub quiz again last Wednesday and this time it was a bit special, it was the Christmas Quiz!  Everybody dresses up for this one and so we put in a bit of an effort (not too much!) and aimed to make our team's table the most Christmassy one.  We bought a little tree and decked it all in gold baubles, stars, drums and prezzies etc and it looked very cute.  We also had a collection of headgear, namely reindeer antlers, santa hats, halo's etc.  All in all we didn't look too bad and everybody got into the spirit of things.  Our team, Grey Matter, didn't win the quiz, in fact we came 9th (we're getting worse!) but we did win the best dressed table prize so we were well pleased.

Grey Matter in festive mood!

We've had quite a busy week on and off.  Clive and I have been to the supermarket again and stocked up the fridge etc.  Lindsey, Philly and I went Christmas shopping at the weekend and left Clive at home in peace.  Now I have all my prezzies bought, wrapped and labelled, just waiting to go under the Christmas Tree. Said tree has been living in Lindsey's garden in a pot for some time and latterly the poor thing was on its side! However it has been resurrected and repotted and its not looking too bad at all.  Once it is bedecked with baubles, lights and tinsel I am sure it will rise to the part!

The other thing to mention is the fact that it has been raining, on and off all week!!  When I say rain, I mean RAIN!!  It has really been coming down in stair rods but the wierd thing is, it was warm rain!  I actually got caught in a downpour trying to get from one shopping centre to the car wearing my flip flops! Now anybody who wears flip flops knows that running in them is impossible!  I got absolutely soaked but just couldn't stop laughing, it was hilarious!  I soon dried off in the next shopping centre we went to.

When we got back from our shopping expedition we found Clive getting a wee bit concerned about the rising water levels in the stream adjacent to Lindsey's land!  Normally we can't actually see the water itself from the house, just the water course, however now it was a different story altogether!

High water levels in the stream!

Fortunately the water had subsided considerably by the next morning and is now back to normal, phew!  However just because it has been raining we haven't been confined to barracks.  We actually went to the cinema the other evening to see the latest Harry Potter movie; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!  We really enjoyed it but that was only part one, we have to wait until some time next year for part two!

On Sunday night we were invited to a party.  Lindsey's neighbours, Ken and Pete, have a party every year just before Christmas.  We had a lovely time, it was good to meet all Lindsey's neighbours. Ken and Pete were great hosts and the wine was flowing freely.  There were also wonderful snacks and nibbles, all home made - mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!  The only thing that marred the evening is that I ended up bitten to death by sandflies again!! Pesky things!  However although the bites are itching like mad I don't seem to be having the bad reaction that I had in the first week. Perhaps I'm building up an immunity to them!

New Zealand has some absolutely amazing birds which are totally unique to these islands.  One of them is the Tui.  Lindsey's garden, having been lovingly planted with lots of indigenous trees and shrubs is now an absolute haven for birds and we were really thrilled when a Tui came and landed on her New Zealand Flax plant and I managed to get a few photos, still a wee bit blurred as it was quite a distance away.  The Tui has the most wonderful song, very characteristic.  We have heard them singing but this was the first real opportunity to photograph one.

A Tui

So now we have only a few more days to Christmas.  Lindsey has decided to host Christmas at her house this year.  We have got the day all planned out (hope the weather holds up!).  The plan is to all head for the beach on Christmas morning with the campervan and once there we will cook and eat bacon sandwiches and wash them down with Champagne (doesn't everyone?!).  Then we wll all trek back to Lindsey's for Christmas dinner later in the afternoon.  We are not going for the trad Christmas lunch with turkey etc we are having baked, stuffed field mushrooms with prawns as the starter, followed by barbecued butterflied lamb (a leg of lamb which has been deboned and flattened out) plus a barbecued snapper.  These will be accompanied by roasted veggies and new potatoes and the whole thing will be finished off with one of Mary's glorious homemade Christmas puddings with brandy butter!  However for those who aren't fond of Christmas pud (namely Clive!) there will be a tropical fruit salad as well.  Can't wait, it all sounds yummy!  I'm making the starter so hope it goes down well!  Have to thank my mate Marian for the recipe - she will also be in the Antipodes for Christmas, visiting her son Steve and fiancee Kayley who are getting married at the beginning of January!

So all that remains is for us to wish you a very merry Christmas and a really happy and prosperous New Year.

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