Sep
18

What a place!

Went hunting in the high country with some friends! First image:

Jun
12

ニュージーランド 親子・小中高留学

先月まで娘の中学校から頼まれてタイの11歳の男の子のホームステイの受け入れ先となった私達。公立の学校がしっかりとした留学生の受け入れ態勢を整えていて感心してしまった。何でも1980年代頃から国策として留学制度を整え推進してきているとのこと、なるほどね。今回留学生を預かってみて初めて分かったのだけれど、留学生にとってはほんと良いシステム。ホームステイ先には同い年の子供がいて同じクラスで勉強することになる。そのホームステイ先の子供は「バディ」と呼ばれ、さりげなく(?)傍にいて面倒を見てくれるという仕組み。ホームステイ先のママにしても「今日は体操服いるよね?」とかも自分の子供と一緒だから楽というわけ。授業が終わる時間も一緒だし、何せ担任の先生ともうすでに顔見知りだし、いろいろと話もしやすい。

これって、母親目線で見てもかなり安心だと思う。近所の学校で留学生の受け入れを行っている小、中、高は日本人が全くいなかったり、いても少数なので英語学習にはもってこい!自然いっぱいで人も穏やかなこの土地、小中高留学にはもってこいなのにね~なんて思う毎日。

そこで!親子、小学校、中学校、高校留学のサポート事業を立ち上げようと決心しました!私が実際に足を運び、その学校や学生さん達を見てここなら自分の子を送ってもいいと思える学校のみを紹介していきます。今のところ私が母親目線で選んだ小中高が1校づつ、それらの学校からは「日本からの留学生、大歓迎!」と言ってもらっています。

興味のある方は、ご連絡くださいね~。

May
10

The (R)Otter

I spent one evening randomly looking at a few yachts online when I cam across a very reasonably priced 39 ft keeler. If you imagine a spark hitting a pile of kerosene infused straw you more or less get the picture of what happened to my mind. I realised that the little dream I had been harboring for a few years suddenly became reality. I was going to do this and there was no going back.
Listening to the by now very silent voice of reason I decided to meet with a couple of local yacht owners. I was hoping that they might be able to put out the fire blazing away ferociously. The logic was clear. I have no experience sailing big yachts and surely committing to such a time and money eating hobby without plenty of prior experience is madness.
I did not expect the couple yacht club members to arrive at our lunch meeting bringing along a canisters of petrol. Instead of calming things down they made things worse. They assuring me that now was the best time to get into yachting and that prior knowledge was overrated. They explained that when it comes to yachting it is all about thinking with your heart and not with your head. I reckon I am quite an expert.
Well after 2 weeks of manically browsing the internet I have a boat. Reason did win over a little in the end and I have committed to a 2 year lease and plenty of mentoring from a local sailor. Isn’t she beautiful.

May
07

ばらの門

裏庭はすごいことになっている。何でも過去10年間あまり手を入れてなかったらしく、木の枝が伸び放題。一人ではしごに上ってのこぎりでぎこぎこ剪定している今日この頃。家の前の垣根をヘッジカッターでばりばりと刈っていたら通りすがりの人に褒められた。

裏庭には白い門があってバラが伝わっていくようになっているのはいいのだけれど、これも古く枯れた枝がそのまま絡み付いていてその上からまた新芽がでてを何年も繰り返し、すごいことになっていた。これをようやくすっきりと片付けることができた。野菜畑に時間がかけられるようになるまで時間がかかりそう。

ただの木だと思っていたら結構かわいい実がついた。なんだか種子島にあったヤマモモを思い出す。この実も食べれるらしいのだけれど味は全くしないって向かいのおじさんが言っていた。杏がヤマモモ大好きだったからもう少し赤くなったら一緒に味見してみよう~。

その後、杏と味見してみました。新は「おじさんは味しないって言ってたけど、結構いけるよ~。」といっていた。食べられる、でも食感がぱさぱさのリンゴっぽい。ジャムにでもできるかなと思ったけど、そのままか凍らして食べるぐらいかな~。杏は種子島のヤマモモの方がおいしいよ、だって。

May
07

牡蠣採り

牡蠣を採りに行くぞ~ということでいそいそと出発。ここのブラフオイスターは有名で毎年5月にオイスターフェスティバルがあるほど。新菜は船長さん帽をかぶせてもらってヨット操縦の特訓。そしてみんなが牡蠣の籠をあげている間のかじ取りを任されて必死の私。復路はイブさん。昔から船が欲しいと言っていたけれど、ここ最近取りつかれたようにヨットの話ばかりしている彼。私はスチュワート島まで自力でいけたらいいよな~なんて思う。ニュージーランド人はさすがだわ。この船に乗っている人達でニュージーランドからフィジーまで行ったんだって。

で、肝心の牡蠣はというと、、、5個収穫。でも海と鳥が素敵だったからよしとしよう~。

A fantastic day out on a fantastic boat with fantastic people! Yukie and I had an amazing time and managed not to throw up. The kids liked it too but were a bit put off by the sea sickness and the puking. Nina’s competition of who could throw most pizzas was exemplary of true fatalistic humor. Our exchange student from Thai clearly won the race. he leaned over the railings seven times.
I was hoping that this trip would put a damper on my obsessive pursuit of getting a yacht for spring. It did not! I came away feeling more certain than ever that I need a boat. Yukie equally enjoyed the day out and when at the end of the day we discussed over a glass of wine whether we should go for a big seaworthy boat or a smaller trailer yacht that we can take up to the lakes she suggested that maybe we needed one of each. I know why I married that woman!

May
07

カップケーキ

今年のバースデーケーキのリクエストはカップケーキ。お友達を呼んでお泊りパーティーをして満足げ。カップケーキの飾りつけっておもしろい。家族全員でがはがは笑いながら楽しみました。

お誕生日おめでとう~。この1年、楽しいことがいっぱいありますように!

Apr
11

Horse Riding

The kids’ dream has finally come true. Horse riding in New Zealand is a bit like playing football in the UK. Everybody seems to do it. So we thought finding a riding school for our girls would be a doddle. Unfortunately we quickly realised learning to ride came with one major challenge, you need a horse. There is plenty of people willing to tech riding but they all expect you to have your own horse. Well we did after a bit of research and a lot of luck find the right person to teach Nina and Anna and supply horses at the same time.
I still feel nervous around these big creatures but it took our girls only a couple of days to get used to their new friends. Nina and Anna look like naturals even going bareback, although I have heard Anna is very good at falling off when going around corners.

イギリスにいた頃から乗馬がしたかった二人。残念ながら種子島には馬がいなくて屋久島まで行ったりしたけれど、引き馬じゃなくて一人で乗れるようになりたい!といつも言っていた。ここニュージーランドに来てやっと念願が叶いました~が、杏はよく落馬しているらしい。この前は「きゃ~落ちる~とたてがみにしがみついたけど落ちちゃった~!そしたら馬がこっち向いて立ち止まって何してるの杏、早く乗ってよね!って言う風に私を見たから走って追いかけて乗りなおしたよ~。」って言ってました。私も実は乗馬を始めたかったのだけれど、先生に大人は1回落馬したら恐怖心が出てやめてしまうから教えないと言われました。悲しい~。1日中乗馬しての帰り道、家まで自転車で30分なのだけれど途中で疲れて倒れたように休憩する姉妹。ワイルドな休憩だわ。

Apr
09

Beef Wellington!

 

As part of my Gold Challenge I cooked a 3 curse meal. For starters I prepared chicken liver patee with marmelaide and rocket salad on toads. The main curse was beef Wellington and fried potatoes and the desert was peach ice cream served on caramelised pineapples.

My sous chef was Anna who helped me a lot! Thanks Anna!

Check it out!

By the way I formatted and graded the pictures all by myself after my dad taught me how to use Photoshop. I guess I can add that to my challenges as well now? “Learning to work with Photoshop to grade images and optimize graphics for the web.”

Apr
01

The Shadow of the Wind ~風の影~

商品の詳細

この本はイギリスWBに住んでいた時メンバーだったブッククラブで読んだ(あ~懐かしい。みんな元気かしら。)このブッククラブはイギリス、スコットランド、サウスアフリカ、スペイン、そして日本出身のお母さんたちの集まりで、月1回ワインとチョコを持参で明け方までぺちゃくちゃ語りつくすのがお決まりコース。それまでは本と言えば研究分野か実益がかなったものしか興味がなくフィクションは時間の無駄と思っていた私が改心するきっかけになった本とブッククラブ。ありがとう~

そうそう、この本に出てくる ’The Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ この響きが何ともいえない。行ってみたい。濃厚にロマンチックで劇的でスペイン人の血を感じる本でした。

 

Mar
27

Hunger Games ~ハンガーゲーム~

最近、長女と同じ本を読むことが多くなってきた。いわゆるヤングアダルトの枠に入る本なのだけれど、結構これがおもしろい。で、イブも私も読みました。一気に読み終わってしまうほどだったハンガーゲーム。映画も観に行ったけど、本もお勧め。著者がこの本を書くきっかけについて書いている部分があり(英語版にはついていた)これを頭の片隅において読むとなかなかいい。

Mar
24

編みぐるみ ~くま~

これが、編みぐるみ第一号でプレゼントにしてしまったくまさん。次女からのリクエストは茶色の犬。いつになるかは謎だけどがんばってみます~

Mar
18

編みぐるみ ~ねこ~

ついに!というかやっと完成。

種子島でクマの編みぐるみを作った時からおねだりされてたのにね。(このクマさんはプレゼントであげてしまった)もっと小さい時に作ってあげればよかったのに、長女ははや12歳になろうとしてる。今週は仕事が入らなかったので、母はがんばりました~

 

Mar
14

Oyster Regatta

Mar
14

Night Sailing with Anders

Feb
20

First Steps

I remember a one week fencing and sailing camp I took part in when I was a teenager. I enjoyed the fencing but it never inspired me deeply. The sailing on the other hand I remember clearly. It left a deep trauma I never quite got over. Sailing boats don’t have breaks, and that is probably my strongest memory, losing control, tipping the boat and running into things like shores and other boats. I also remember the feeling when the wind catches your sail and the boat glides, or rather slices through liquid. It is an experience similar to surfing. You render some of your control over to the elements and just go with the flow.
It is time to awaken something of the past.

Feb
01

pipi あさり?(ピピ) と ムール貝

Yesterday Anna and I went down to the coast to catch some waves together but unfortunately the sea was flat. On the way back we passed our favorite little town Riverton and noticed people out in the estuary collecting something from the shallow waters. We did not realize straight away that the little black dots in the distance were actually bent over people. They looked more like rocks scattered around the seashore.
After we realised what they were up to we both got excited. “Hey Anna they are picking shellfish! Shall we try and get some before we head home?” Anna is not one to say no to any challenge especially if it involves running around the beach. So we made it down to the estuary and started looking for shells. According to Anna you need to look for little breathing holes in the sand and then dig. My head started filling up with images of myself presenting a big catch of shells to Yukie on return. Muscles in white wine…. but deep down I was doubtful. It is never quite that easy. We were unsuccessfull and gave up after about 10 minutes of digging.

If in doubt, ask the friendly locals! So we waited for an elderly couple to wade out of the shallow water and walked towards them to find out what they had been collecting. Pipi shells they explained are easy picking and taste beautiful. We obviously had missed the moment and the tide was now far to high to collect anything. Anna and I had a quick taste and to my amazement they were beautifully fresh and I was stunned at how nice these little shells tasted although a bit sandy.

We went home empty handed but we had an idea. Next morning we were back at low tide and we were in for a surprise. It was a bit like finding Aladdin’s cave. All we had to do was bend down and pick up the shells and once we had our share more friendly locals told us about further secret spots so we went on to get mussels…

こちらではピピと呼ばれる2枚貝。あさりっぽいかな。これがとってもおいしい!イブと杏がピピが採れるビーチを見つけてきた。地元の人におしえてもらったらしい。早速、家族全員で出発。いるいる、数人の人影が見えてきた。近くに行ってみてびっくり!ものすごい数のピピが重なり合って白い線になって波の下にごろごろいる。なんて贅沢、、、ため息がでる。その後、数回ピピを採りに行ったけれど、この日ほどの大群にはお目にかかれない。満月の干潮時をねらわないとね。ピピは1日一人150個までという制限がある。ちゃんとおじさんがチェックしにくる。こういうところがさすがニュージーランド!自然の恵みを程よく享受しつつ後世に残していこうという姿勢に共感。

Jan
05

Paua fishing 黒あわび~パウア~

What an end to a long holiday! After an amazing day in the Catlins on Saturday we managed to cross off another experience off our list of must do’s over the summer holidays.

I am a great enthusiast of all thing edible as long as they do not contain butter cream or lady fingers. Yukie is similar in that respect except that she loves lady fingers and isn’t averse to butter cream either. If Japanese proverbs are anything to go by, we are a little bit like the Chinese, we eat anything with four legs except tables and chairs. So one of the first stories to spark our imagination since arriving in New Zealand are about rather large and extremely tasty Paua shells, also known as Abalone or as the Japanese call them, Awabi.

When we lived in Tanegashima in Japan one of the best kept local secrets was where to find Nagarame and Anago shells. Both are a shell similar to Awabi but smaller. Tanegashima locals although warm and welcoming are generally not keen to share their hunting grounds with foreigners (meaning non islanders). But they could not resit the enthusiasm of a famously friendly and very popular foreigner like myself. After half a years worth of strategic nagging on my behalf I was finally taken down a mountain track through the bush to the rocky seashore where the promised abundance of Awabi left me with a sense of disappointment. After a couple of hours of crawling around on my knees and looking under random rocks for well camouflaged minuscule shells I came away with a catch big enough to serve as a starter and plenty of bruises and cuts. According to my local guide, as little as ten years ago, the shellfish were much larger and found in greater abundance. I guess years of indiscriminate foraging might explain why the shells are disappearing and why the locals are a little shy and maybe even embarrassed to reveal what is left of their treasured shell picking spots.

The hunt for Paua on the other hand turned out to be more than I could have hoped for and has prompted me to write a simple manual on how to catch Paua in Southland.

  1. Drive to a rocky coast line with plenty of kelp. Kelp is important because Paua eat it. I like to eat kelp too, even though it has no legs.
  2. Ask a friendly looking local where the best Paua diving spot is.
  3. Follow their instructions, take a deep breath and be amazed by the abundance of food available on the sea bottom. Abundance means locals are often friendly and eager to share useful information.
  4. Take care not to get entangled in the kelp, as that might bring on a mild panic and cause you to lose you weight belt, including the first lot of Paua’s you collected. If that happens just go back into the freezing water and start over. This time diving will be much harder due to lack of weights.
  5. Try and source a post 1980s wetsuit, preferable with no holes in it and you will not go blue after 20 minutes.
  6. Make sure you stick to size and number limits. This preserves abundance which in turn means friendly and forthcoming locals. (see point 3) It also stops you from getting your car impounded and incurring a hefty fine.

There you have it, the easy guide to getting fresh Paua and a cheap feed (if you haven’t lost too much equipment during the dive)!


今 日はパパのアワビ取り初チャレンジ!こちらのアワビは日本のアワビより大きめでなんといっても黒い足が特徴。パウアといいます。穏やかな天気で波もないは ず!と海に向かって出かけるとそれらしき人が潜っているではないか!早速車を停めてパパが情報収集に行く。あわびは取れなかったがうにはとれたらしい。と りあえず先に進むと今度はアワビがごろごろ入ったバケツを前に話しているお兄ちゃんたちを発見。これはいけるかも?!このお兄ちゃんが親切にも「早く入ら ないと満潮になるよ。あそこら辺でもぐるといいよ。」と教えてくれた。パパさん、入水。そしてなんと大きなあわびを4個も取ってきてくれました!ウェイ ト、フィンもなしでしかもアワビを入れる袋もなしでスーパーの 袋をぶら下げていったのだけれど、潜っている最中にわかめにひっかかって何個もアワビを落としてしまったらしい。それにしてもすごい大きさ!

Dec
28

Southland and Fjordland

It has been nearly 3 full months since we moved here and time seems to have flown by. I started my new job shortly after we got here and in between working full time, organizing various insurance, moving 3 times and buying a house I have had little time to really get to see much of the landscape of “Lord of the Rings”. Sure I went surfing a few times and I certainly cannot complain about the consistency and the quality of the surf here. Considering the random five or six early weekend mornings I have been sneaking out to catch a couple of waves, I have been fortunate to have good size offshore surf some of the time.

But it is the curiosity of what lies just 100km South of here that had been plaguing me these last few weeks. The promise of bigger swells and nicer beaches, wild mountainous terrain and dirt tracks through the wilderness had been the cause of my restless obsession about the Christmas holidays and all of the trips and adventures we would be getting into.

Well Christmas has come and gone and we spent a lot of time eating, drinking and watching videos together hoping for the weather to change…

Although our epic adventure trip was downgraded to a day trip that in turn was upgraded to an unplanned and badly prepared 2 day trip, we managed to finally get to see some of the amazing countryside Southland has to offer.

We travelled from Invercargill South via the coastal Southern Scenic Route.
The further South you go the less sheltered the beaches are from open ocean swells. Up to Riverton Aparima, Stewart Island seems to have a calming effect on the sea, providing a barrier between the open ocean swells and the coastline. Once you get past Colac Bay the scenery changes dramatically. About 30 km past Riverton on our way to Gemstone Beach the sight of the regular swell lines extending into the distance made me all jumpy like a little child at the sight of snow flakes outside the window. It got so excited I had to pull over and get out of the car.
I walked up to the edge of the Cliffs to take in the overwhelming sight of swell lines,  their floorboard like regular pattern cueing to roll in to the beach and break perfectly.
I am not a brilliant surfer by any standards but I recognise good surf when I see it. As luck has it the wind turned and the tide was less than favourable by the time I managed to get in the water. The conditions had changed into a bit of an onshore mess leaving me with an hour of getting tumbled (I am very good at that) and enjoying the scenery (I am good at that too).
.

 

 

Dec
07

自家製散歩紐

犬の学校最終日、スパーキーの前足にからまった散歩紐を外そうとしていると、

パパ 「紐が絡まっていると引っ張らないのだけどねえ。」

トレイナー 「私達も大会の時は犬の前足にわざと紐をかけるのよ。」

と何気ない会話をしていたのです。少しづつ改善されているとはいえ、まだまだ散歩を楽しめる状況ではないのを察して鼻紐つきの散歩紐を使ってみては?とのトレイナーからのアドバイス。残念なことに合うサイズがなく注文することに。その間の代用品としてパパさんが家に着くなり作ってくれたのがこれ。何でも↑の会話からヒントを得たらしい。

ただの紐じゃないかーと思うでしょ?でもこれがあるおかげで、私も子ども達も散歩が楽しめるようになりました。装着の仕方はこちら。

まず紐の結び目を合わせる。

結び目を首輪のすぐ後ろに添え紐の長さを犬の体に合わせる。大きすぎると散歩中に取れてしまいます。

前足を輪の中へ入れる。

数回ねじると外れにくくなります。

輪になっている結び目を首輪の下から通す。

輪になっている結び目にもう片方の結び目を通す。

そこへ散歩紐を装着。

出来上がり。

まだまだトレーニング中のスパーキーですが、この紐のおかげでガッと引っ張られて痛い思いをすることもなく、不意を突かれて尻もちつくこともなく散歩できています。パパさんに感謝。

Nov
18

犬のしつけ本

スパーキーの学校初日が終わった後、古本市で偶然「WHY DOES MY DOG…?」by John Fisherという本を発見。1991年出版だけれど、ま、根本的なものはそう変わってないだろうと早速購入。必要な箇所だけさっと目を通す。ふむふむ。なかなかおもしろい。本の題名通り「どうして私の犬は噛むの?吠えるの?引っ張るの?飛びつくの?」などとずらーっと目次が並んでいる。

1.犬の祖先はオオカミである。
犬の行動を理解したければオオカミのそれを学べ、ということらしい。オオカミはグループで生活しリーダーが存在する。飼い主はリーダーにならなければいけない。

2.全ての決定権は飼い主にあり。
オオカミはリーダーが先に食べる → 飼い主が食べてから犬にご飯をあげるべし。
オオカミはリーダーが先頭を走る → 門、細い道などは飼い主が先に通るべし。

読む進めているうちに学校でのしつけの内容にも更に説得力がでてきた。更におもしろいことに犬は掛け合わせれば合わせるほど、耳が立ち尻尾がふさふさになって本来のオオカミの姿に戻っていくのだそう。これってスパーキー?!


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