And now for something completely different …

Do you listen to the radio very much?  In my drive to and from work each day I listen to Radio New Zealand’s National Programme, which is a non-commercial station, and love the afternoon programme they run from late December to mid-January, when a lot of people are on holiday and ‘normal programming’ is sort of suspended.  It’s called ‘Matinee Idle’ and the hosts are Phil O’Brien and Simon Morris, with Production Assistant Kelle Howson.  Phil and Simon are an irreverent twosome who excel in quick repartee and the ability to find quirky, off the wall numbers to entertain and amuse.  On New Year’s Eve they played a little gem called ‘Bulbous Bouffant’, by The Vestibules (, which is actually a video about three guys waiting for the bus, made by a chap called Spencer Parks in 2006 as part of his independent study at the University of Iowa.  I love the concept of taking a whole lot of slightly unusual sounding words (eg macadamia, gazebo, bouffant, blubber, etc) and weaving them together into a sort of chant – it reminded me so much of The Muppet Show, with the same sort of humour:  great stuff!

Had some time tonight after work and before bridge to take a walk in the Botanic Gardens with the camera – it was a beautiful evening, although the wind made it a little tricky for photos.  I have no idea what some of the plants/trees are (I should be more diligent and note down all the relevant botanical information for you, shouldn’t I … nah, that’s too much like work!), but here’s a selection of shots for you:

No time for Zentangling today – I’m almost suffering withdrawal symptoms! 🙂 I did, however, get the chance to discuss it with one of the librarians at Fendalton Library today, as she was practising in the tea room at lunchtime when I in there – like me, she has only recently discovered it, and is enjoying the creative and therapeutic aspects. I shall have to do double homework tomorrow to make up for missing today 🙂

Bridge tonight was fun – good to be getting back into it, although my brain seems to have forgotten a few things over the short break! Always love the challenge of the game, though, and the opportunity to play against better players and to learn from them.

And with that, I’ll bid you all a good night, and we’ll catch you again tomorrow – take care.

Bath time in the gardens

With it being Tuesday today, once again I had some time between finishing work and my bridge game at 7.30pm, so off to the Botanic Gardens I went (yes, yes, I know, again??!)  But the evenings are so lovely at the moment, and what better place to capture some of that golden evening light?

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Making my way back to the car, I spotted a little flurry of avian activity to my left and on moving closer, I discovered it was evening bath time, where water had gathered in the hollow of what appeared to be a tyre rut just to the side of the path:  I guess with rain being virtually non-existent for some days now, any bathing opportunity is to be seized on, no matter how rudimentary the facilities are! 🙂

Bird bath time 1 

Bird bath time 2  Lookout keeping an eye on me …

   Bird bath time 3  Bird bath time 4  Splish, splash, I was havin’ a bath …

   Bird bath time 5  Still keeping an eye on me …

  Bird bath time 6  Woah, it’s getting crowded around here!

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Bird bath time 9  Ah, that feels better!

I smiled all the way back to the car! 🙂 🙂

Things botanical

Took a walk through the Botanic Gardens after a lunchtime meeting I had today – it was a beautiful warm, sunny day and there were lots of people (and insects) out enjoying themselves as I was.

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There’s a bit of construction work just beginning in one part of the gardens, with the building of a new information centre which is due to be completed by the end of 2013.  They’ve got quite a nice story board up on the protective fence which surrounds the project, explaining what’s going to be put up and also giving a bit of history of the gardens, given that this year is their 150th year celebration.  I also liked the ‘windows’ cut into the fence at various places, which will allow you to view the construction as it is carried out – it looks as though it’s going to be a rather impressive structure!

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I always love visiting the gardens, there’s always something to have a look at, and the bird life is quite prolific and, as per my post of a couple of days ago, quite friendly too! 🙂

Here are a few more flower pictures I took on that previous visit as well …

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Am I right in thinking that the first 4 of these are … zinnias???  And that the pink one at the end is a nerine lily??  Love flowers, but I’m darned if I can remember many of their names!  (Being the keen gardeners they were, my parents up in that great garden in the sky are probably rolling their eyes at my ignorance!)

Well, I think that’s enough botanical stuff for tonight – tomorrow we’ll move on to how to achieve world peace, shall we?  See you then! 🙂 🙂


PS  Forgot to say how much I’m enjoying the NZ vs England cricket test at present:  go, NZ Black Caps!!! 🙂

A close encounter of the feathered kind

Magic happens when you least expect it, don’t you find?  I had a couple of hours to kill between finishing work and my bridge game tonight (OK, technically it was actually last night, ‘cos it’s now after midnight), so I thought I’d make the most of the fine evening and head down to the Botanic Gardens, to take advantage of that beautiful light you get at the end of the day … soft and golden and so good for taking photos.

I stopped by the begonias, which are a riot of bright, vivid reds and yellows and peachy oranges at the moment …

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And that’s when he arrived – this little fella:

Little bird 3  He landed to my left, about 6 feet away from where I was sitting on the ground in front of the begonias.  I turned my head slowly towards him, fully expecting him to take off immediately, but he didn’t.  Instead, he hopped a bit closer.  And closer.  And CLOSER.  And now he’s only 2 feet away from me, and I am ab-so-lute-ly entranced.  (Call me the Bird Whisperer, why don’t you!)  I slowly manoeuvre my camera round so I can take another photo, and he cocks his head at me:

Little bird 9

“What you lookin’ at?”, he appears to be saying.

“Nothing, nothing at all”, I reassure him.  And I take a few more close-ups …

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By now I’ve noticed his fluffy little feathers, and I’m pretty sure he’s a young fledgling, an innocent who just doesn’t know the ways of the world (boy, is he going to get a telling off from his mother when he gets home!)  🙂 We sit together for just over 11 minutes, conversing quietly – well, actually, I was the one doing all the talking, he just sat and looked at me with those bright beady eyes, seemingly unafraid and content just to listen while I told him how beautiful he was, and how pleased I was that he had joined me.  Sadly, eventually I had to move – time was marching on, and besides, the grass was damp and the cold was starting to register on my posterior!  But even when I got up, slowly and carefully so as not to frighten him, he continued to sit and watch me closely, as if to say, “Do you REALLY have to go?”  It was a truly magical few minutes – other than the fantails, I’ve never had a wild bird so relaxed and unperturbed at being in such close proximity:  normally they squawk in alarm and flutter off as soon as you make even the slightest movement, but not him, he was Mr Cool, Calm and Collected. 🙂   Precious little bird, thank you for such a special moment – take care, and I shall look for you again amongst the begonias!

Hands up all those who know what a wollemi tree is!

No, well I didn’t either, at least, not until I went for a walk in the Botanic Gardens this evening and came across this rather startling object:
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(We take our tree protection v-e-r-y seriously here in Christchurch … I mean, this cage is padlocked, even!)

Closer investigation revealed a series of stories explaining why the strange looking tree is in a cage … (click on the pictures to enlarge and make reading easier)

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But wait, there’s more on t’other side of t’cage!
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And finally, here’s what all the fuss is about:
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Kinda cute looking, ain’t it? And neat that they can actually reproduce it without having to import seed and run the risk of introducing unwanted disease, etc: very clever people, these scientists.

Also came across this beautiful white flower on a big tree which I think is a magnolia – it was a huge blossom with beautiful waxy white petals, quite stunning.

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Things are looking rather dry in the Gardens, although there were a number of sprinklers operating – I hesitate to say it after the wonderful summer we’ve had, but … we sure could do with some rain! 🙂