Thursday, June 30, 2011

Foggy and wholesome Northern California Coast

Mendocino was our first stop north of San Francisco.  Think, Akaroa, but exempt of any modern buildings at all, a slightly creepy 'Crucible' vibe, but plenty of organic and wild souls around.  

Our 'lodging' had a private track that led to this beach:

 The owners cooked up a great organic breakfast, and had limitless coffee and cookies on tap...

 This fishing boat had divers jumping off it.  Pretty rugged and real.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Good City Living...

The food in California is incredible (of course). This shot is from a small suburban 'market' around the corner from Japan Town...and the choice, presentation and colour of fresh edibles was amazing....

 Check the glass milk bottles.
 Here's a shot of rainy San Francisco (Filmore Street).  It was kind of nice. Especially when the Japanese hardware store owner said to us when we ran in dripping to buy umbrellas: " You guys really got caught out"!  I love the language of this country.  It fits me well.
 And on our way out of San Francisco, we crossed that beautiful red Golden Gate Bridge (Marvel x 10000000000) and dipped down to Sausalito (as if we were locals), and stopped off at Heath Ceramics.  This is where they make their famous ceramics - and the place was as you would imagine - full of the goodness  that is California.  As well as a couple of cups (things were unfortunately not at the 'factory' prices we thought they would be),  we bought a glass straw!  Now that is goodness. 

San Francisco - we are officially on holiday

It is day 4, and we are slowly winding down.  Poor San Francisco has been smothered in fog, and yesterday we had the biggest daily down-pour since 1952!  Needless to say, we used yesterday as a travel our brand new Ford Focus hire car (14 miles on the clock)  and are on route for Oregon!  We've had a couple of days of "lets get out and see San Fran, but we are really quite jaded and jet lagged" so visited what we could (don't you love it how you fight that jet lag)? Here are some pics of the very chilly city (we are so underdressed for the 12 degree days and have had wet feet)!
This time round, we stayed in Japan Town (recommend Hotel Tomo) and it was bliss. Quiet, no tourists, lots of fresh and cheap Japanese food, and close to everywhere.
     I had a Monday morning appointment with 'Jonathan' who I met last year at Barneys.  I restocked on make up (he made me look incredible - not too much piled on - but enough to take away the jet lag).  He also convinced both Al and me to buy a parfum between us - one to share!  The perfumerie part of Barneys is amazing, so beautiful.  I'll update you on what we are wearing, but lets just say we left with so many samples of unique, one off perfumes that we are doing a lucky dip daily, to choose what to wear.  Above and below is the equisite perfurme display, in the basement of Barneys.
     So 'all set' as they say here, we headed out to the famous San Francisco pizzeria -  Delfinia, this time in Pacific Heights (rather than the original restaurant in the Mission).  Japan Town is close to Pacific Heights, and Filmore Street, where we spent most of our time this time.  The area is made up of some great heritage housing, is the place where the Jazz scene exploded in the 30s, and was nice and gentle, and free of tourists. 
    At Delfina we had the broccoli rabe, a pizza each and a cherry sunday (to die for).  Its so popular you have to put your name up on arrival and wait to be called. Everyone stands on the street taking apperatifs while they wait ( a good 40 mins).  I had written Jo + Al up on the board, and when the Maitre D consolidated the list, she rewrote us 'Jotal' - and when time to call us, her pronounciation and confidence of calling 'Jotal' was divine.  'Jotal' it is - smelling of fresh fragrances daily - on the road - in the rain.  Standby for the next up date!

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Double Disaster Dust" Winter Mornings

Have been doing the odd 6am Dog Walks lately in this very mild winter we are having.  These photos don't show it, but we have been having some absolutely stunning sunrises due to our clingy seismic activity creating spontaneous dust clouds, coupled with Chile's volcano.   Leaving for a San Francisco summer tomorrow. Better be no ash cloud!

Elizabeth the Third?

Infected paw is the reason this fly looking Danish dog bucket was donned on Thursday (or "cone of shame" I believe is the correct term).  It lasted only 12 hrs before the wining to "get this off" got too much...(and poor Digby's balance wasn't too good either)! Look at those ears...sleek and pulled back. Not a happy Queen. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

6 ft sink hole

 We live in the dry and low liquifaction part of St Albans (that is our tiny cottage, 12 o'clock at the end of the street). All the streets around us had been levelled by the super Council of the crazy mounds and holes that emerged since the February earthquake .  But on Monday, this hole (below) appeared.  Its hard to capture.  After 2 large earthqaukes and liquifaction, there musn't be much 'sludge' left. No one quite can explain where all that liquifaction comes from either - if you dug for pre-eartquakes, you'd never find it.  
And, If you stood in this hole (below) your head wouldn't even pop out to the road (its so deep). Haven't been out East to see the carnage they must be dealing with. It may seem indulgent to talk earthquakes, but I report this kind of thing to 'record' the times, and hopefully they are unique times, and that once over this seismic period,  we won't see this sort of thing again for a while.

What a Week

So, Alistair was priviledged (well so he thought at the time) to have a coveted pass to the Red Zone, to help our good pals at C1 take some of their irreplacable things from their cafe 4 months on.  This was 2 Thursdays ago - and all I could think of after the double banger of quakes we received this Monday just gone.  The recent bangs have really messed up our minds this week.  Exhausting to have no certainty on when we are over these jolts. And heartbreaking to see the liquifaction monster revisit half our city again.  Here are some of the C1 mission photos..

 We used to live up in the building on the right.  This is the back alley of C1 (Poplar Lane). 
Inspecting the damage. ...

 Not a sole around but those with a Red Zone Pass (not so popular any more)!

The 5 hour mission accomplished outside the front of C1.  Alive and well, on a jolt free Thursday.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Home is where the heart home of abandonned slippers, washing piles, dog toys....Its good to be back!


We have just spent 4 days baby sitting our nephew and niece out in Waipara.  Digby helped a great deal obviously... It was fun to take on the role of 'super-mum', chauffeur, entertainer, cook, cleaner, 'try to do your own work in between-er', , best friend, enemy, voice of reason and trampoline partner.  RESPECT to those who do this 24/7.....forever.  Such selflessness.