Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Zealand photos, part 2

Thought I forgot already, did you? Well I kinda did. But the rest of the photos are here now! As promised before, it's the awesome scenery we saw while on two of NZ's three scenic trains: the TranzCoastal and the TranzAlpine, both operating in the South Island.

The photos start off with ones from the TranzAlpine, travelling from Christchurch on the east coast to Greymouth on the west coast and back, complete with entertaining commentary on the scenery as you enjoy the ride. The last 4 are from going up north along the east coast with the TranzCoastal and travelling across to Wellington in the North Island via the Interislander ferry.

On the way to Greymouth it was absolutely pouring with rain and so windy that said rain was horizontal. It did however give us the chance to see rainbows and pretty waterfalls from the mountains.

Once we got close to Greymouth however, the weather began to clear up.

On the way back there were clear skies and warm sun most of the time. The weather couldn't have been better, as this way we got the chance to see completely different conditions in one trip.



While travelling along the coast, I spotted jumping dolphins several times. Yay! Also seals.

The only problem with this type of sightseeing is that you can't jump out and walk along the beach whenever you wish.

Mmmmmmm again.

I do like this water. Oh yes I do. (I suspect NZers must dump blue dye into the water. No water can be that gorgeously blue and turquoise and be real!)

So there you have it. A small selection from the 1000+ photos we ended up taking during the trip. I hope you enjoyed them!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Introducing the Pensive Goldfish and the Timid Turtle

The title above could make a pretty neat little story, don't you think? Or alternately a good name for a pub. I know I'd want to visit "The Pensive Goldfish" immediately, should such a place exist.

orange goldfish fridge magnet
I'm not starting a pub, however. This particular goldfish possessing a thoughtful nature happens to be one of my latest magnet designs. You might find the look familiar from Eustace the Tiny Goldfish - the brooding one is indeed similar and based on the same pattern. What is he pondering, I wonder? Whatever it is, he seems a bit worried. Poor thing.

green and yellow turtle fridge magnet
Fortunately he's not alone. His friend is a tiny magnetic turtle, and a timid one at that. He's not afraid of helping out a friend in need, though. Perhaps they can figure out goldie's troubles together?

(If the timid one also seems familiar, it's because he too is based on a previous design: Harald.)

Want to see more creature introductions?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I bring you some knitting! Yes, really!

An actual post about knitting! Yes! *gasp*

The description of this blog says "a place on the net where I show off handmade creatures and creations of my own design", but it occurred to me that it's been aaaaaages since such a post. Oops. Well, today I'll fix that. Behold, a knitting project!

Mmmmm, what a yarn. Just look at those colours. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it, so I brought this home from New Zealand. It's a kid mohair/merino wool blend, so soft and light. Yum yum!

The project I'm using it for is a scarf for myself. Yup, for me. This yarn is MINE. It doesn't show up in the photo, but the scarf has a lace pattern - geometric and asymmetrical, just the way I like it.

At this rate I'll have it ready soon, just in time for... sunny spring. Ack!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Zealand photos, part 1

So yes, I've been to New Zealand with Mr Morrgan. The whole thing started out as a family emergency, so we "planned" the trip, got time off work, got tickets and were off in only about 3 weeks.

We're good at panicky surprise travel, it seems. If it isn't work-related or unplanned, it doesn't happen. We still need to go on our honeymoon, for example. Been thinking about doing that for only the past 5 years or so.

Anyway. Fortunately everything ended up going well, so we got about 3 lovely weeks in New Zealand with Mr Morrgan's side of the family. As tradition dictates, there will now be some photos.

Early in the trip, we got the chance to explore Real Proper NZ bush with just a little trail going through it, somewhere near Palmerston North on the North Island. For a Finn, it was odd seeing pines and tree ferns mixed together. How exotic!

Ah, the tree ferns, how I love them. It's not too hard to imagine a big dino munching on the fronds.

More tree ferns! Well, one. We also spent a lot of time among more organized plant life, such as the Botanic Garden in Wellington...

...and the one in Christchurch. Once I'm rich and famous, I want a pond and a bridge like this.

We even went to see the Ellerslie International Flower Show in Christchurch, with such fancy sights as a flower lighthouse...

...a brass band on bicycles...

...and a more peaceful Japanese-style garden.

While in Christchurch, we also spotted this pretty water fountain thingie...

...and this. The NZers have interesting ideas about lawns!

The 2nd part will be all the awesome scenery we enjoyed, mostly from the South Island. Hills! Mountains! Rivers! Turquoise seas! Cows! Don't miss it!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Spring Approaches

flower basket One thing I hoped for during the trip to the other side of the world was that when we'd return, we'd be welcomed by the awakening greens of spring and that we'd miss the icky, wet melty-snow part before it. Well, we kinda managed it. Most of the snow is gone, but the greenery hasn't returned yet.

The balcony is pretty grey at the moment, but there's a bit of exitement nevertheless. The second half of this autumn post of mine shows the plan I had for my early spring balcony. The photo on the right here shows the current state of the basket. There are shoots! Yay! Due to the trip I was a little late in digging them out of their winter protection, but I hope that won't be a problem.

Which of the flowers, if any, will appear from these beginnings? We shall see!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Welcome Home

So, we've been travelling. Starting with the train to Wellington at 6 am Tuesday morning local time from Palmerston North, New Zealand, and arriving in Turku, Finland, at about 1 am local time on the night to Thursday. All in all, that's over 50 hours of trains, flights and airports. Over 50 hours. *shudder* Fortunately everything went smoothly, with the main setback being a jar of Kraft's crunchy peanut butter confiscated by airport security (sniffle).

sunny Wellington in march After two days of travelling, with no proper sleep during the whole time, one ends up in a certain zombie-like state. In such a state, we found the last flight of the trip, from London to Helsinki, to be very amusing. Hilarious, even. It was like a "welcome back to Finland" type of thing.

Some background first. On the way over, we went with British Airways from Helsinki (Finland) to London (UK), from there to Sydney (Australia) via Bangkok (Thailand), and finally to Wellington (NZ). Travelling back, we flew with Qantas from Wellington to Melbourne (Australia) and from there to London via Hong Kong. The last bit to Helsinki was with Finnair.

The BA and Qantas flights, especially BA, happily surprised me by actually having good food. For example the lamb and whiskey pot pie, or the nice chicken curry... All served with salad and dressing, bread, dessert and your choice of beverage (mostly wine in my case). In short, food with actual flavour and variety. Even the coffee was nice most of the time.

So, what about the Finnair flight?


Imagine, if you will, the following "meal". Overcooked, soft pasta. Strangely cooked chicken, with occasional inedible crunchy bits of... cartilage? (Actually, I don't really want to know.) Veggies that seemed to be that cheap kind of thawed frozen peas, carrot cubes and undefined beige "other". Anything alcoholic had a price tag and I don't even know how to describe the coffee.

Welcome home to Finland!

Then getting off the plane and stepping into the Finnish early spring weather; cold, dark and rainy with dirty piles of melting snow... Remembering the pictured warm sun, blue waters and 25+ °C (77+ °F) of that last day in Wellington...

Yup. Home sweet home. *sigh*
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