December means Summer here in Christchurch. According to weather experts we haven’t had any measurable rain for 43 days, the current record in 45 days back in the 1950s. In the last week the temperature has been in the thirties for four out of seven days. Today they reckon it will peak somewhere between 33 and 36 degrees – phew! It’s one thing having these temperatures for a week or two when on holiday it’s something else when it’s part of your daily life. On the plus side the washing dries within an hour. When it’s this hot we keep the curtains closed, use air conditioining, store bottles of water in the freezer, use face cloths to keep from sweating and plan to be most active in the evenings. It’s unlikely this weather will stay at these temperatures but we are so glad we arrived in Winter and have had time to adjust.
On Saturday 25th November we went to the Coca Cola Christmas Spectacular in Hagley Park. It was a very big affair but there was room for everyone with almost everyone taking folding chairs or picnic blankets. The show starts with traditional carols then local singers sang current pop hits then the event finished with a big fireworks display, in all it was about 3 hours but very well done and in it’s 24th year still very popular.
Last Sunday we went along to the Santa Parade. There were 125 floats/entries in the parade which took two hours to pass by. There was a mixture of sponsored floats based on traditional children’s stories, local groups including Irish and Highland dancing as well as cultural community groups from China, Thailand, Fiji, Philiphines etc. which were all very colourful and entertaining. Two highlights for me were the dancing chinese dragon and the sheep taxi (Cab 4 Ewe). I took almost 300 photos trying to capture everything I saw.
We have moved in the last two weeks. Things hadn’t been going well in the shared house with one of the housemates being threatening towards one of the others as well as selfish and rude meaning we were trying to avoid any confrontation with him. Chris and I along with others felt we couldn’t relax in the house and the atmosphere was only getting worse. Although we did contact our letting agent and I attended an uncomfortable house meeting we were lucky in that our lease was up so we have now moved to a small one bedroom house in a gated community. We have a front and back garden with plenty space of our own to relax and enjoy. We have both felt much more relaxed since moving and thankfully it’s not far from our old place so the city centre is still a short walk away. I now have a garden to potter about in and my vege/salad patch is coming along very nicely.
Since it is now Summer it is time for Summer cocktails. People of NZ seem to be into them in a big way here so I have a collection of recipes to try so far. They sell champagne frozen popsicles Called Cuvee in strawberry and mint or passionfruit and lime. I have also found the perfect ice bucket for storing bottles in.
Last night we went to see Love Actually at an outdoor cinema. It was at the Arts Centre in town and all they asked is that people made a donation using gold coins ($1 or $2 coins). It was very popular and not everyone got in. They had Polar Express on before it for families which was also full to capacity. In January they are showing Aladdin, Moana and Grease and films in February are up for public vote. It’s definitely something worth doing when the weather is so nice. It was about 22 degrees at 8pm and very nice.
Today we attempted to walk the Bridle Path which follows the route of the first settlers to Christchurch from when their ship landed in Lyttleton. The path is very steep (equivalent of 41 floors in 30 minutes) and although we set off at 10am it was about 28 degrees by then so after almost reaching the summit but feeling a bit sick with the heat we turned around. I guess we will give it another go on a cooler day.
We found a local cafe today that does a Scottish breakfast complete with Lorne sausage, tatties scones and haggis – result! It was closed but I hope to have a review in my next blog.
I found this video online from Air New Zealand that explains how we are getting on understanding Kiwi accents.