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Armistice Day 11-11-18

  • 11th Nov, 2018 at 10:29 PM
poppy
11am on 11-11-18: the armistice celebrations at the Oamaru war memorial on a glorious spring day.


Soldiers and poppies outside the town hall

Five more photos under the cutCollapse )


... and when I got home, we found a single poppy out on our rock garden! I am stunned. We also had a first poppy bloom on 11 November in 2016. The blue tiles are a garden seat.

This evening we went to see Peter Jackson's film They Shall Never Grow Old which was commissioned by the British Imperial War Museums in association with the BBC. It features 90 minutes of restored and colourised archival footage and a soundtrack created with voice-overs from archival interviews with British WWI veterans recorded in the 60s and 70s.

And man, it was intense.

A veteran told me about it when I was a child, how a shell blew up the man next to him, how he and others drank from a shell-hole for three days until they found a dead German at the bottom, how he was gassed (only slightly compared to others), and he let me feel the pieces of shell in his arm. I was only about 8 but I remember it vividly.

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Fic: In the Company of Strangers

  • 20th Aug, 2018 at 3:59 PM
cally alien
Here's my Unconventional Courtship story, written during renovations (ceilings coming down, new ones going up, walls being stripped, noise, and dust everywhere). This fic challenge is one I enjoy though - because? - I find it hard, romance not being a genre I go for. It's also fun finding a plot synopsis that appeals.

Title: In the Company of Strangers
Author: Vilakins
Fandom: Blake's 7
Pairing/Characters: Cally, Kerr Avon, assorted assassins
Rating: PG-13
Length: 5,438
Summary: A woman without a past... She didn't know her name; she didn't know her home planet. "Mina" knew only that her martial-arts skills and weaponry and assassination techniques went far beyond the average person's.
A mark that became a death warrant… The people who'd tried to assassinate her all shared one common trait: a tattoo of a winged horse, like the one on her ankle.
Notes: Based on the plot synopsis for The Business of Strangers by Kylie Brant

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Fic: A Human Resource

  • 6th Jul, 2018 at 6:18 PM
avon blue
I finally got round to uploading the Avon story I've been sitting on for a while. It was written for a gen bingo card, but I very much doubt I'll get a bingo as it's been so long.

It's a PWB about Avon working in the Aquitar Project, and was for the prompt "Office".

A Human Resource

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About that giant teapot...

  • 5th Jul, 2018 at 10:11 PM
steampunk raygun
I was just checking out the Christchurch Grymmstone and Treacle Emporium who will be bringing their wares to town for the Victorian festival - and also found out who owns and drives the giant teapot we saw: it's a very cool mobility scooter!

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Steampunk Festival: Sunday

  • 3rd Jul, 2018 at 5:39 PM
oamaru 2
Later than I'd planned, but here's the last lot of photos.

Tintype photography, monster teapot racing, and parasol duellingCollapse )

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Steampunk Festival: Saturday

  • 29th Jun, 2018 at 6:08 PM
tea
I've tried to select photos that are different from last year's, so none of tea duelling for example, though I did watch again (but didn't compete this time).

The parade, steampunk morris, a chap on tracks, a wizard and an author, and Splendid Teapot RacingCollapse )

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Steampunk Festival: Friday

  • 25th Jun, 2018 at 2:17 PM
steampunk me
Earlier this month was the annual Steampunk Festival (see these two posts for last year's). I've finally sorted out some photos for each of the three days. Not much for Friday as it officially started that night.

Book launch, Fire and SteamCollapse )
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Taking flight on the shortest day

  • 23rd Jun, 2018 at 9:54 PM
flying
I still haven't got round to sorting out and selecting from my many photos of the steampunk festival, but here are some others.

On Thursday, the shortest day (yay, past at last!) I went on a Tiger Moth flight from Omarama over Lake Benmore, a gift Greg ordered for my birthday. It was freezing (literally: -1C) but totally awesome! The plane was one that took part in the Warbirds over Wanaka and is based there, but I got a 30-minute flight from Omarama (a place famous for clear skies and great gliding weather) on its way north to Auckland for winter maintenance.

Photos including me, aerial shots, a shining sword in the lake, and two ShreksCollapse )

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stars
Here's my [community profile] intoabar fic - yes, yet another one where I throw Vila into a universe he doesn't belong in. There are probably vanishingly few people who know both fandoms, but [personal profile] zoefruitcake, who put me and Greg onto Detectorists - for which I am very grateful - is one. If you can get hold of it, do.

Title: The Delta Hoard
Author: [personal profile] vilakins
Prompt: Vila Restal goes into a bar and meets... Andy Stone!
Fandoms: Blake's 7, Detectorists
Word count: 2,728
Rating/Contents: Gen, No Archive Warnings Apply
Summary: Vila needs to retrieve two Terran Federation credit coins, so he enlists the unwitting help of two metal detectorists.

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Ashley is 10

  • 1st May, 2018 at 8:01 PM
ashley
It's Ashley's observed birthday today (we're not sure when she was born, but it's close enough). Here are some photos of her (and occasionally her friend and adopted brother Sebastian) taken over the last year. She's 10, but still looks half-grown, being only 3kg - as light as a silvery-grey cloud.

Five photos of Ashley RiverstoneCollapse )

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Anzac in Action

  • 25th Apr, 2018 at 10:58 PM
poppy
It's Anzac Day today, so here are photos from the Anzac in Action event we went to on Sunday at the Rangitata Island Aerodrome. It was really impressive with WW1 trenches complete with dugout, lots of military vehicles, and a simulated battle to end the day.

Stargate fans, look for the surprise Goa'uld!

Photos, plus bonus airfield catCollapse )

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Warbirds Over Wanaka - Sunday

  • 25th Apr, 2018 at 4:19 PM
tarrant ace
A bit late because I am slack, but here are a few photos from Sunday, the last day of the airshow. It started off literally freezing - we had to scrape ice off the windscreen - but was so hot later we both got sunburned.

Tiger Moth, Herc, the mad LithuanianCollapse )

Plus bonus photos from the day after in Wanaka.

Includes Roman and other toiletsCollapse )

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Warbirds Over Wanaka - Saturday

  • 9th Apr, 2018 at 10:39 AM
flying
Saturday last weekend at Wanaka started off muddy and cloudy after a night of heavy rain, but at least the rain and stopped, and the hot sun was back out before lunch. Unfortunately right at the beginning a Yak-3 clipped a cherry picker with its wing after landing, got spun right round, and damaged its wing, undercarriage, and the cherry picker. Right in front of our stand; yikes! And why were the cherry pickers even there? We were told it was for fireworks, or maybe something to do with the coloured balloons on the far side of the runway, but they were gone the next day. Anyway, the investigation and getting the poor Yak-3 off the runway closed it for two and a half hours, so much of the morning programme was cancelled. We were glad we bought passes for the three days.

Here is a small selection of the many photos I took.

F16, WW2 dogfight, the Harvard big wing, and moreCollapse )

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Warbirds Over Wanaka - practice day

  • 5th Apr, 2018 at 8:00 PM
liberator
We bought gold passes for all three days of the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow, arriving around midday afternoon. We missed some of the practice routines because of wandering around the grounds in the hot sun looking at static displays and parked planes - bit of a mistake as the Spitfire and Messerschmidt were up at one point, and they were the top of my list to see.

Six photosCollapse )

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The Annual Tree Octopus Hunt

  • 18th Feb, 2018 at 8:56 PM
steampunk me
The annual expedition in search for the elusive antipodean tree octopus took place in the Oamaru Gardens today. It's a fun steampunk event starting with a splendid (a very steampunk adjective) picnic and tea, then armed with a list of clues we ventured forth in search of octopodes. Why yes, that is the correct plural, the word being Greek rather than Latin.

We had to follow cryptic clues taking us all around the gardens answering questions on our forms and keeping an eye out for Octavia and the more rarely seen Septimus. Our team found them both, plus a third unnamed plushy. It was a fun day, but very hot and humid; I admired the fortitude of those sporting more elaborate and heavier regalia than I did.


Music for our picnic in and around the rotunda was provided by this chap with his gramophone.

More photos of splendid explorers and octopodesCollapse )

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Chinese New Year in Oamaru

  • 17th Feb, 2018 at 8:15 PM
joy
I've been meaning to catch up with my photo backlog, but hey, here are some from this evening!

I just got back from a wonderful time at the Chinese New Year celebrations in the Oamaru Gardens down the hill from us. There was lots of yummy food, we were entertained by beautiful dances, and I even scored a relaxing massage for a donation. It was a brilliant evening - no fireworks though because there's a fire ban this summer.

I should add: the cultural dance group from Dunedin was led by... a Dr Hu!

It was enormous fun, and tomorrow there's yet more with a steampunk octopus hunt, also in the gardens.



Four more photos of dancersCollapse )

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It's 2018

  • 1st Jan, 2018 at 12:15 AM
fireworks
And we're just back from spectacular fireworks down at the harbour, bursting right overhead; I lay on the grass to watch.

All the best to all of you!

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Rainbows and AO3 invites

  • 29th Dec, 2017 at 12:12 PM
writing
Have a double rainbow over the hill opposite our house, taken from the upstairs sunroom.



I keep meaning to say, I have several invites to AO3 (Archive of Our Own), the fanfic archive which will avoid waiting in the queue. So if you want one, message me with your email address and I'll send you one.

Which reminds me, I must get round to posting an Avon story, and writing some more. (Lazy summer days...)

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Google doodle

  • 25th Dec, 2017 at 12:30 PM
planet
Yo, Google! It's summer for penguins - no snow outside the Antarctic. We have two colonies right here.

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Assorted December photos

  • 24th Dec, 2017 at 11:27 PM
live forever
I haven't posted for a while because I have a backlog of photos and can no longer get into flickr, damn them, as I don't have a yahoo email address and don't want one. After looking around, I found imgur, though I suppose that won't last long either.

This is what I found in the car when we went to the vet to get supplies and left the windows down because it was a hot day. I laughed as I do love an unexpected cat.


This cat lives at a nearby house but hangs out at the vet, testing their cat beds. She's pretty friendly and was happy to be picked up and carried away. Her nose is slightly green; she must have had it buried in the grass.

Three more seasonal ones including Christmas lilies in our garden, the Christmas Farmers Market, and a stuffed Queen VictoriaCollapse )

And with that, I wish everyone who celebrates a great day, and everyone who'd off on holiday safe journeys and a good time.

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Christmas ads from Aotearoa NZ

  • 18th Dec, 2017 at 11:05 AM
xmas, party
I've been having a discussion about Christmas stories and traditions, and secret Santa which reminded me of this Farmers (department store) TV ad about one. There are not many ads I don't FF through or mute, but these are among them.


I should add that the milk and biscuits/cookies are an American import. Note: yes, it's summer here.

There's also a cute series of short ads about a man called Noel who might be Santa working at New World supermarket:
New World Christmas
It must be Christmas (we don't drink milk like Americans do so that's why the stares)
Santa's Grotto
Santa stocks up on carrots
Are you Santa?

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The Last Jedi

  • 15th Dec, 2017 at 1:51 PM
joy
The Last Jedi was great! It's easily the best of the three most recent: danger, excitement, plus humour. Pity Rian Johnson isn't directing the next one too.

We went to the midnight showing (well, one minute past to make it the day of release) so this is a couple of days late. I could say a lot about it, but [personal profile] selenak  has said it so well already. (but spoilers, of course).

If you're a fan and you haven't already, go, enjoy!
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All black cats look alike

  • 27th Oct, 2017 at 11:33 AM
sebastian
This story came up on a US site, and I was even more amused when I realised just who had tweeted it - Clarke Gayford, the partner of our new prime minister, Jacinda Arden (about whom I am very excited).

The story of the mistaken cat

It's worth looking at a few others of his tweets. My favourites:

His response to the account set up in their cat Paddles' name

Paddles' response to the media mobbing their house

Swearing-in day - 'lady' for Labour?

The kea, bird of the year - YES! I absolutely loathe our people being labelled - and labelling themselves - as a stupid, shy, nocturnal bird that can't fly. If people can't handle the four syllables of New Zealander (the same number as in "American" or "Italian" - c'mon!) than let's go with kea. They have personality.

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A bit wet

  • 22nd Jul, 2017 at 10:17 AM
weather
One of the many reasons we moved to Oamaru was the weather. It's a lot drier here than wet, humid Auckland.

The latest storm hit the whole country, but especially the east coast of the South Island, this area particularly badly. Oamaru got over three months of rain in 26 hours. The infrastructure couldn't take it, rivers have flooded their banks, State Highway 1 is closed in many places including downhill from us where it crossed the river, and houses in the North End, a flat coastal area, are flooded, and steep Don Street, one we considered, is now a river with water running under houses.

At first I was pleased to live on a hill - and so far we're all right as the rain continues - but we woke up to see a slip on the hill opposite. There aren't houses on the slope (another reason for picking this place - nice view) but I suspect there are on the flat under it.

We have to go to Christchurch next week, so I hope the roads are open by then.

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I haven't been everywhere, man

  • 12th Jul, 2017 at 11:21 AM
stars
Copied from sallymn because I felt like it. Not that I've been anywhere lately since 2004 when I went to England and Wales. Painting the whole US turquoise is somewhat misleading as I've only been to Florida.


Create Your Own Visited Countries Map


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High school meme

  • 13th Jun, 2017 at 2:27 PM
nikau (NZ!)
A high-school meme, ganked from [personal profile] zoefruitcake and de-Americanised - we don't have class of [insert year], yearbooks, school mascots, class rings (WTH?), or graduation - graduation's for tertiary institutes. As for what kind of car I drove to school? Seriously, only in America! Pupils walk, cycle, or get buses (though some spoiled ones get dropped off by parents). Pupils generally can't afford cars here, and for that matter the parking's for staff. Nor do we have driver ed, though that would actually be a very good idea, given some of the lunatics on our roads.

I went to three different high schools due to my family moving around the country and they were all single-sex. I was a boarder at the first and third, so I'll have to cover boarding / private and day / state schools. I think Americans call the former prep schools, but to us, prep was another word for homework. For that matter in the UK, a prep school is for younger pupils, preparing them for a public - IOW private - school. We're honest down here; our boarding schools are mostly private (though there are a few state schools offering limited boarding for country pupils).

Anyway, it's an opportunity to post something possibly of interest.Collapse )

Any questions about our education system and terms - or What I Did At School - ask away!

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Winter sunset

  • 11th Jun, 2017 at 10:46 PM
oamaru 1
I finally figured out how to get my phone to take decent photos of sunsets without overexposing them. The sunset tonight was spectacular.

SunsetCollapse )

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World famous in Oamaru

  • 9th Jun, 2017 at 2:07 PM
steampunk raygun
Re the post's title: it's from our well known "world famous in New Zealand" which I see the owners of L&P have trademarked despite it being in common joking use.

Anyway, the photo the Otago Daily Times took of me has indeed shown up, but in the ODT-owned Oamaru Mail. It's on page 6 of this week's paper (digital edition - it takes a couple of seconds to load full size) along with others of steampunkers. Unusually, it's not a bad one; I usually loathe photos of me.

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Steampunk dinner

  • 5th Jun, 2017 at 4:57 PM
steampunk me
Behold: just in time for the last steampunk post, an icon showing me in wig, leather helmet, obligatory steampunk goggles, and raygun. The raygun also has its own icon.

On Saturday night I attended the League of Victorian Imagineers Mess Dinner, a huge function full of adults having fun cosplaying and just plain playing. There were hobbyhorse and teacup races* and a bizarre and illogical murder mystery with about 12 corpses.

* Teacup races? See this Victorian picture for the idea. Contestants were selected ladies wearing corsets, but they only had to balance one (empty) cup and saucer.


Lady with blinged-up Dalek handbag. Yes, it did say, "EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE!"

Two more of the dinnerCollapse )

Yesterday it was the Moments in Time fashion parade at the Opera House in which contestants also have to have a story about their persona. I didn't take photos as I knew they wouldn't come out well, but the overall winner was a chap in top hat and goggles - and a wonderfully retro spacesuit. The fire angel with wings he could ratchet out to be HUGE was also wonderful; hey, they all were!

Afterwards I had coffee with Katelin from Budapest (now living here).

Two photos of Katelin and her magnificent hatCollapse )

Links to the Otago Daily Times reporting (I didn't make the cut, I'm relieved to say):
That's it for this year, but it's board games night tonight so that's good.

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Steampunk Market and Tea Duelling

  • 3rd Jun, 2017 at 2:09 PM
tea
My photos of the Fire and Steam event last night didn't come out well. Here are two anyway.


It was pretty cool, with various groups performing including Cook Island and Taiko drummers. I do love Taiko.

Steampunk market and probably more than you ever wanted to know about tea duellingCollapse )

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