Back from holiday…

After a hectic three weeks of holidays, travelling and weddings we’re back to reality. It’s been a fun, crazy time with the week leading up to our wedding seeing the arrival of Andy & Jerome, Chris & Beula, and Mum & Ben from overseas. The wedding was superb and the whole day came together nicely with the help of many people that I hopefully remembered to thank during my speech.

After the wedding Deb and I drove Andy & Jerome and Mum & Ben up to Taupo for three days. Highlights of the trip were the Polynesian Spa pools and the visit to Whakarewarewa in Rotorua. We drove back to Wellington first thing on Wednesday to get Andy & Jerome back to the airport on time so they could get on to the Mardis Gras in Sydney.

Then on the Friday we headed down to the Marlborough Sounds to a place called Kamahi Lodge in Resolution Bay. The lodge is in a private cove with self-generated electricity and easy access to the Queen Charlotte Track. It’s a beautiful setting and with the inflatable dingy and private jetty we got lots of fishing done. Best catch was a big baracuda caught with a eight foot spinning rod and light tackle, but we also caught heaps of blue cod which we cooked up on the last night there.

After the Sounds we dropped Mum & Ben off at the airport on the Friday. Later that day we went to Sarah and Junior’s wedding which was a beautiful occasion. Everyone had a great time and we only got home at 3am after a big night’s partying.

Now it’s back to reality and we’re back to work tomorrow for the first time in three weeks. Will write soon, after I get after the shock of getting back to work…

Brackenridge

We’ve been on holiday for a week and are now staying at Brackenridge in preparation for the big day. We had the wedding rehearsal last night and all went well, including the music – I bought an inverter to plug in the cigarette lighter of the car to be able to power the stereo, and fortunately it didn’t drain the battery during the rehearsal.

It’s been an eventful week with Andrew and Jerome flying in on Monday, Chris and Beula on Tuesday and Mum and Ben on Wednesday. I took Andrew and Jerome all around the Wellington sites on Tuesday, including Te Papa, the waterfront, a drive around the bays and up to the windmill. We’ve had a couple of good, South African braais this week with Boerewors and Biltong too.

Yesterday was a bt of a mad rush packing up and heading over to Martinborough, but we’ve now settled into Brackenridge and kicked off proceedings with another braai last night. It’s a beautiful setting here and we’re greeeted by black-faced sheep in the morning when we step out of the cottages.

Today we’re playing golf at Martinborough Golf Course and then we’re planning a big night out at the Martinborough Hotel. There’s also Super 12 on this weekend so don’t forget to get in your picks on Virtual Super 12 before 5pm this afternoon.

More great weather…

We’ve been having some of the best weather ever in Wellington over the last couple of weeks. Good timing as my old friends Brad and Amon have been staying with us for the last week. We’ve been swimming down at the river in Moonshine and the beach at Scorching Bay. The only downside is that I got nicely sunburnt on Saturday and am still in pain now!

Wellington in the Summer

The last week or so has been superb in Wellington – summer is here at last!!! We’ve been to a couple of the concerts in the Botanical Gardens put on for free as part of the Meridian Energy Summer City Festival 2005. Highlights have been the California Dreamers who performed all the classics music of The Mamas and The Papas as well as other iconic 60s hits – the oldies were loving it! We also saw the local Celtic group Jacky Tar who perform “funked-up original and traditional Celtic music” and are often see at Kitty O’Sheas on Courtenay Place.

Photo gallery added…

[EDIT: The Photo gallery is back up and is can be found here: stuart.amanzi.co.nz/photo-gallery I’ve had to temporarily take down the photo gallery because I’ve upgraded to the new WordPress 1.5. Hopefully I’ll get it back up soon…]

I’ve just added a cool photo gallery to the site – there is a link on the right-hand side under ‘navigation’ to get to it. (You may also have noticed that I have reorganised the links a bit better too…)

The gallery is using a nice, easy script called ‘Simple PHP Gallery’ and their website is here: http://relativelyabsolute.com/spg/. I’ll only keep a few of my favourite photos here – the rest will all be on the debandstu.co.nz website.

Wellington earthquake…

We had a pretty big earthquake here this morning – measured 5.5 on the Richter scale, and it was the first big one I’ve felt over here – quite exciting. Here are the details taken from the Geonet website: http://www.geonet.org.nz/x2354133g_l.html

Reference Number: 2354133/G
Universal Time: January 20 2005 at 18:56
NZ Daylight Time: Friday, January 21 2005 at 7:56 am
Latitude, Longitude: 41.09?S, 175.06?E
Focal Depth: 30 km
Richter Magnitude: 5.5

Within 5 km of Upper Hutt
20 km north-east of Lower Hutt
20 km south of Paraparaumu
30 km north-east of Wellington

Widely felt in the Wellington region.
Earthquake map

What is Amanzi?

I’m always asked the question: “What is amanzi?”

Amanzi is the zulu word for ‘water’ and the town that i grew up in was called ‘Amanzimtoti’ which means ‘sweet waters’. The town got it’s name from the chief of the zulus, Shaka Zulu, who once stopped to drink at the river and declared: “kanti amanza mtoti” (so the water is sweet.) The name of the river became Amanzimtoti and also the name of the town that was formed at the mouth of the river.

Skype me…

I’ve started using some software called Skype – it’s free internet, telephone software which enables you to make free phone calls over the internet to other Skype users or really low-cost calls to land-lines around the world.

If you’re already a Skype user, you can call me using this button Skype me!! or by adding my username – stuart.maxwell – to your contacts list.

If you haven’t got the free software yet, you can download it and learn more about it from the Skype website: www.skype.com. It’s really easy to use and it seems to be catching on, so this could be the next big thing!