Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Crafting again..

It's sporadic at best, but I am trying to keep a hand in with the crafting. I'm currently making a quilt for a soon-to-arrive baby.

Greys and reds and white. I'm liking it so much, I'm thinking I might make two and keep one for myself.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Down the back of the garden..

We are still in our 'temporary accomodation', which is depressing, but down the back of a garden is a glasshouse. Given the the cold has set in (and Jack Frost has already visited a couple of times in the past week), I thought I would try to raise some seedlings and maybe get some winter rocket (arugula) growing.

I planted seeds in a tray, then watered, then left them to do their thing. That was one week ago. I went and checked them today and...voila!

Lots of baby rocket seedlings!

Now I just have to keep them growing until they are large enough to plant out - hopefully by then I can put them back in our own vege garden at home, fingers crossed!

Friday, 27 May 2011


I was so excited by my latest baking escapade, that I almost forgot to photograph it before it had all disappeared.

And now the photos are kind of underwhelming. But the cake was not! It was Ray McVinnie's gluten-free carrot cake (published recently in the Sunday paper) - base on a rice and corn flour rather than normal stuff.

I have made carrot cakes before, and I have to say, this is the best ever.

Nom nom nom.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Matt's new digs..

After a couple of months of Matt's office being fenced off in the "Red Zone", it became obvious the boys were going to have to set up shop elsewhere. They chose a villa in the suburb of Addington (otherwise now known as "Adding-town" or "the new CBD").

As with his first office, I am in charge of foliage. I didn't go quite as crazy as last time, but picked up a few decent ferns and palms. My favourite would have to be this one:

It's a pretty sweet pad, it gets a decent amount of sun, and sitting outside will be awesome when summer comes back.

Monday, 23 May 2011


We spent the weekend in Akaroa. the weather was AMAZING. Not a cloud in the sky all weekend, and yesterday I was granted two whole hours of quiet reading in the sunshine. Unheard of.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A tidbit of normalcy

We went out for dinner last night to a little Japanese restaurant we'd never been to before. For an hour or so we forgot our troubles and concentrated on okonomiyaki, tempura and naban. And beer (an Asahi for me and a Sapporo for Matt).

Sometimes, a little bit of beer and some fried food is all you need to feel normal.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Weekend snaps.

Lots of photos today - the sunshine is becoming rarer, and so the camera seems to come out whenever it is shining. There's no denying that it's autumn round these parts...

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Bomb-sniffing prowess

By far my favourite news article this week - about a specially trained dog sent in after Osama bin Laden- the part I like best is the speaker in the dog's vest. Genius idea. Total genius. If I had one of these for Boo I could call her back when she was out of ear-shot. When are these going to be widely available??

"The identity of the military super-dog, like that of the 79 Navy SEALs involved in the operation in Pakistan last Sunday, will remain a secret.

But experts say the canine is either a German shepherd or Belgian Malinois — breeds the US army believe have "the best overall combination of keen sense of smell, endurance, speed, strength, courage, intelligence and adaptability to almost any climatic condition", according to a military fact sheet cited in the New York Times.

In the Abbottabad compound raid, the dog was equipped with protective body armour before rappelling onto the ground from a hovering helicopter in a support harness attached to its handler, according to US media reports.

This particular dog was known for its bomb-sniffing prowess and The Daily reports it was trained to "sniff out enemy troops from up to [3km] away".

The German and Belgian shepherd dogs can run twice as fast as humans, so if bin Laden tried to escape on foot the dog could have stopped his getaway, the Atlantic reports.

The US Army has invested heavily in training dogs for combat, deploying about 3000 canines that can parachute, rappel or swim into action.

The Navy SEALs recently bought four tactical vests for their dogs worth $20,000, each with infrared and night-vision cameras that allow handlers in bomb detection situations to see what the dog sees, but from a safe distance.

The handler can also give commands to the dog via a speaker on its vest.

General David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, told US network ABC News: "The capability [the dogs] bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine.

"By all measures of performance, their yield outperforms any asset we have in our industry.""