Weekend in Rotorua

Last weekend I drove down to Rotorua to stay with friends I haven’t seen for a really long time. I saw Heather for dinner after work one night back in 2013 – maybe later I’m not sure, but I sure haven’t seen Heather and Cameron at the same time since 2005.

The drive down was easy, and I got to drive through the Fitzgerald Glade which is probably one of my most favourite things to do on a drive.

Fitzgerald Glade

Shortly after driving through the glade, you turn a corner and there is a stunning view of Lake Rotorua in the distance, and I always start to get excited. Soon I arrived at my friends very large home with a choice of guest rooms and my very own ensuite bathroom. After chilling out for a while I was persuaded to go jetboating – this was nothing like I imagined. I have gone jetboating before back in the 80s in Rotorua so I imagined it would be the same – on a big boat with about 20 other people travelling along a river very fast and way too close to the rocks. This was nothing like that.

Check out the Velocity Valley website to see what I mean. That’s not me in the pic below, it’s just a pic I found on the web.

The weather forecast for the whole weekend was supposed to be very heavy rain – thank goodness they got that wrong. Velocity Valley also had pigs and an ostrich which was cool for an Auckland City guy like me to see.

Next we stopped at Kuirau Park in the city so I could try and take some photos of the thermal activity. It wasn’t easy as all the steam just looked like mist, but there was an area where you could take your shoes off and dunk your feet in the wonderful warm water – so relaxing.

After dragging ourselves away from there we drove to the lakeside to check out a very spiritual and special place – Ohinemutu Church where an Anzac Day dawn service is held every year, which would be amazing to attend.

Back home after that for some relaxation with some beers and pizza. Once it got dark Heather drove me to the Redwood forest where they have a treetop walk you can do at night. We weren’t going to do the walk although I HAVE to go back one day to do that, we went so I could see the forest lit up at night – it was awesome.

Back home for some more beers and an occasional sound of the six60 concert in the distance.

Auckland Brick Show 2022

After a 2-year absence the brick show was back 5 & 6 November. In 2020 it was a small part of Armageddon and in 2021 because of Covid it didn’t happen at all. So, this year I was a bit more excited about going to the show than normal. And I wasn’t disappointed, there was lots of stuff I’ve never seen before, so thank you Lisa for coming with me.

The winners of Lego Masters NZ were there with the winner’s trophy. Yes the box of chocolates is made of Lego.

One of my favourite builds in the NZ Lego Masters show from my favourite team was also there in miniature form – it was life-size in the show.

Interestingly even though I’m not a huge Hobbit/LOTR fan, my favourite builds were from those movies:

If you look closely at the next photo you can see each little scene is made from one colour:

There was even a life size motorbike:

I have a campervan model just like the one below, but this one opens up!

In the next video you can see actual water running through the model – I’m sure I’ve never seen real water used in a Lego model before.

Lastly, one more pic but it’s not Lego – amongst this guy’s Lego models were a bunch of old computers that actually worked and ran programs to make his Lego models work. These took me way back to the 80s. So cool.

Duncan the drinking bird

Many years ago when I was about 6 or 7, maybe younger, my family spent Xmas at my Aunty’s house in Manurewa and all I remember from that Xmas was getting a drinking bird for Xmas, but it only worked for a day. On boxing day it refused to drink and that was the last I saw of it.

My dad tried so hard to get it to work, but it just refused to drink.

A couple of weekends ago I was at a friend’s place and we were talking about toys from our childhood and Duncan the drinking bird came up. I said they should remake him coz I’d pay good money for one of those. She said you can get them, they’re around, so I Googled him, found him and bought one immediately.

Duncan took a few weeks to arrive from Australia – as with all things coming from overseas these days, he spent a while at the airport waiting for a courier to pick him up. But he arrived and I’m pleased to say after a bit of experimenting he works.

I think the problem on that dark and sad Boxing Day morning (I remember it being very grey outside, maybe even raining), was that it was just too cold for Duncan. The instructions say he works best in 25 degrees. This morning he was disappointing me again by refusing to drink, so I moved him in to the sun and 4 hours later he’s still drinking.

Hamilton Gardens & the Good George Brewery Tour

Back in February on the 20th a friend and I did an awesome tour of Hobbiton and then we drove to Hamilton to check out what’s new in the Hamilton Gardens. They have created several fantasy gardens and they were amazing, loved them.

The rest of the gardens were beautiful and well worth checking out.

After the gardens, we drove across town to the Good George Brewery, where we made it just in time for a free tour. Good George is the brewery that provides the Green Dragon in Hobbiton its beer, so we had to check it out. This was quite possibly the best brewery tour EVER! Before the tour starts you are handed a glass of beer to taste what the beer you are about to learn about tastes like. Then near the end of the tour you get to sit down in the boardroom and sample as much cider as you like, while learning all about the history of the brewery and the many awesome things they do, like making free hand sanitiser for charity.

I think that was a cunning ploy to make you buy more beer on your way out. We stayed for a late lunch/early dinner in the bar and ended up buying glasses, beer and a whole lot of cider.

Our tour guide.

What a fantastic big day out.


On the 20th of February I went with a friend to Hobbiton, it’s about a two hour drive from Auckland and somewhere I’ve always thought about going to, but it’s not cheap so the price has always put me off. However my friend read an article about Hobbiton and how they may have to close because the number of tourists is way down thanks to Covid and they might not be able to continue with the upkeep. So we decided to go just in case we never get the chance and that would be a real shame.
The tour bus was full, lucky we booked. The very brief bus ride is basically to get you across the road from the meeting point, shop and cafe and in to the farmland where the movie was made (it was filmed on privately owned land). The guided tour starts the minute the bus takes off – they play a DVD with music from the film and scenes from the movie to remind you of what areas we were driving past looked like in the movie. It set the scene and got us excited, it was strangely emotional. It also made me want to watch the first movie all over again, luckily there is a big gift shop and I could buy the DVD.

The bus ride ended at an instantly recognisable stone path where either Bilbo or Frodo met Gandalf and excitedly we set off.

It was exactly like in the movie – the details were amazing and I understood how the cost of maintaining the movie set justified the price of entry. It was well worth it and I’d happily go again.

Eventually we came to Bagend where Bilbo lived and I couldn’t actually believe I was seeing it for real.

The tree above Bilbo’s house is the famous tree that featured a lot in the movie – turns out it’s not real!

After that we headed to the Green Dragon Inn for a complimentary beverage – the beer they were serving is brewed by the Good George brewery in Hamilton, you can also do a tour of their brewery.

After that the tour was over and we headed for the bus. On the way back we crossed paths with another tour party just setting out and it made me appreciate how lucky we were to be on the tour with reduced numbers. At times it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves and we could walk around at a very leisurely pace. But I imagine in the height of the tourist season the place would have been packed and the tours would leave every 10 minutes rather than every hour or so.

From there we set off for the Hamilton Gardens and a tour of the Good George brewery.

Russell January 2021

For many years now a friend of mine has been trying to get me up north to stay at her farm cottage, but it’s never happened for many reasons. But this Xmas break we picked a date and stuck to it and it actually happened.

Selena picked me up in her brand new car and we headed north. Our first stop was at the Eutopia Cafe which I have driven past many times and always thought I should stop in because it looks so cool and very different. So I was really happy to be stopping there for coffee after all these years.

My joy didn’t last long, as they didn’t have any Covid check in QR codes displayed anywhere and there was no hand sanitizer anywhere and no soap in the toilet. Luckily I always have some with me and I asked for their QR code. They were quite rude about it and gave me a look that said: “this is not Auckland – we don’t have Covid”. So we didn’t stay there to drink our coffee, we took it back to the car and drunk it on the way. Turns out a week later somebody with Covid visited that cafe and it became one of the locations of interest!

In the past when I have asked Selena where her cottage is she has always said somewhere north of Whangarei, so I thought we were headed for a place near Whangarei. So when she asked me how hungry I was and would I be ok till we got to Russell because there is a nice hotel there she wanted to go to for lunch, I was very surprised but very happy to be going there for lunch. I have been to Paihia but never Russell and I had an Irish flatmate in Japan whose claim to fame was that she’d worked at the “Duke“. Which is a famous hotel in Russell and one of the earliest hotels in New Zealand apparently.

When we made it to Paihia we had a bit of a drive round to see how much it’s changed since I was there back in the early 90s. Then we headed for the car ferry that takes you from Paihia to Russell. We drove on to the pier after a really short wait up the road and then the pier MOVED! Well not really but I thought it did – turned out what I thought was the pier was actually the car ferry. Guess I was expecting something big like the Cook Strait ferry or maybe even the Devonport ferry. But this thing was more like a floating platform that moved. I was hoping to get out and move around maybe even get a drink or something – but nope – we were trapped in the car! For a whole 10 minutes LOL.

After a really great lunch in the grand old Duke of Marlborough we strolled around Russell, bought some supplies for the cottage and headed for the farm.

We took a slight detour to see one of Selena’s favourite spots where there is a house tucked in to the hillside and for some reason made me think of Hollywood and Marilyn Monroe.

Finally we made it to the farm – what a stunning place. Nobody around for miles, lots of land for cows to stroll around and a view of the ocean. So peaceful and so quiet, it was going to be very hard to leave this place.

Shortly after arriving we grabbed a few drinks and went for a stroll down to a small river that runs through Selena’s land – she called it a stroll, I’d call it a trek across dangerous terrain and wilderness. While seated by said river and enjoying the nature I saw a random cow appear out of nowhere and as I tried to remain calm it got closer and closer. Eventually I exclaimed: “COW”, which Selena thought was hilarious, because she couldn’t see the cow approaching from behind her. Till I yelled out: “There’s a COW headed for your river”. I thought I was safe on my side of the river but apparently the river didn’t make any difference to the cow and it crossed over in order to get a closer look at us which is when I took off very quickly up the steepest bit of terrain I could find knowing it couldn’t follow me. I had no idea though that this was a mountain climbing cow and the hill meant nothing to it. Selena tried her best to shoo it back to where it belongs – turns out the herd of cows don’t belong to her and had somehow broken through the boundary fence, probably lured over by the smell and sound of naive Auckland city folk (and alcohol).

That’s the cow that chased me – it didn’t want to face me once it saw the camera and we weren’t on good enough speaking terms to ask for it to pose for a photo.

The rest of my time on the farm was awesome, Selena even lit a fire for me and scared off a few curious possums. The cottage was wonderful – filled with books, plants and beautiful old furniture – and each piece had a fascinating story of where it had come from and what its history was.

Thank you Selena for a wonderful trip.

A Very Heidi Xmas 2020

After the long and first of several lockdowns in Auckland, Heidi and I decided we needed to plan something to look forward to, and after the fun Xmas Eve and Day we had last Xmas we decided (after much research of prices and locations etc) on Wellington for 5 days. We started out thinking Sydney would be good, but the uncertainty of another lockdown and the frequent promotion of “stay local”, we decided it would be cool to be in Wellington for fun rather than work for a change – we know where everything is and we both have friends down there.

Thursday 24 December – Day one

Heidi picked me up and we headed for the airport early afternoon, giving us plenty of time for a bit of shopping and a drink before boarding the plane wearing facemasks.

After arriving in Wellington we realised we would need to rush to the supermarket to get alcohol supplies before going out for dinner as the shops might close early, so we decided to get the taxi to stop and wait for us while we bought beers etc on the way to the hotel. I said to Heidi I was a bit unsure about this plan because the taxi driver could drive off with all our worldly possessions, but Heidi assured me we’d be fine. Guess what – as we walked out of the liquor store fully laden with at least a week’s worth of alcohol we discovered the taxi was gone!!! I thought to myself that this was not a good time to be right. Turns out he had parked over the driveway and had to move a little bit up the road ha ha.

Because our suitcases combined were too big for the taxi boot my suitcase was in the front seat and we were surrounded by all the alcohol and bags which looked hilarious when we pulled up to the hotel and the doorman kindly opened the taxi door for me and I kinda fell out of the taxi surrounded by booze! It did seem an excessive amount of stuff for just two people for a few days in a hotel. It’s not like we were going camping and needed a whole lot of equipment. Still – the doorman graciously placed all our bags and alcohol on one of those flash suitcase things and wheeled it away while we checked in.

The hotel was so pleased to see me back after staying with the Intercontinental in Sydney for my birthday back in February, that they upgraded us to the newly refurbished rooms on the top floor – thank you Intercontinental.

Dinner was at Charley Noble which was just across the road from the hotel and very very popular. The service was awesome and the food was amazing. Poor Heidi is not a fan of Oysters but I can’t help myself, if they are on the menu then that’s what I’m having (turned out I had a lot of Oysters on this holiday – sorry Heidi).

After dinner and a few beers I decided it was time to decorate my room for Xmas and build a Lego Xmas tree in time for the big day.

Xmas Day 25 December 2020Day two

We planned to have our special Xmas Breakfast delivered to our rooms around 8:30 and knowing everybody in the hotel would probably be doing the same thing, we knew we had plenty of time for showers and get ready. So… hilariously when our breakfasts arrived early we were both in our showers and the poor room service guy was running backwards and forwards knocking on our doors trying to get one of us to let him in. We both opened our doors very wet and grappling with a towel at the exact same time – poor guy did not know where to look or what to do!

After that very eventful start to our hotel style Xmas Day we settled in for a wonderful day or relaxation, much more food, presents, endless Xmas music videos and of course alcohol.

By late afternoon we were over the Xmas videos (well I was still good, but Heidi was over them after the first two I’m sure), so we switched channels and discovered there was a whole channel dedicated to Winter Olympics and that’s how we learnt you could in fact ski uphill.

Xmas Dinner was a flash affair with 5 courses of amazing food and the cutest puddings ever.

Boxing Day 26 December – Day three

Today we got to enjoy the Boxing Day sales without all the stress usually associated with this day. We could just walk out the front door of the hotel (no parking issues), walk a few steps to all the best shops on Lambton Quay, make the most of the great prices available and drop off the shopping back in our rooms once our hands were full and head back out again for more. Best buy of the day for me was from JB Hi Fi (which had moved and proved quite hard to find the entrance), the Bose wireless noise cancelling headphones – beautiful sound and so comfortable unlike the things I bought from Apple that were definitely not designed for ears like mine.

After all that shopping we changed for dinner and headed out to the restaurant at the Rydges Hotel – The Portlander. The food was amazing and we spotted someone drinking a fabulous looking cocktail called a Neopolitan which looked so good we had to have one (or maybe two I don’t remember). It tasted just like Neapolitan ice cream.

A friend met us at the hotel for dinner and came back to one of our rooms to finish off the night with a rather large glass of Baileys Red Velvet Cup Cake liqueur.

Our friend took this photo after dinner before heading back to the hotel and I think it captures how we felt perfectly.

Sunday 27 December – Day four

I think the Baileys may have been a mistake! Or perhaps it was the sheer size of the tumblers we were drinking out of. Or could it have been the Neapolitan cocktails or beers? I’ll never know but let’s just say neither of us felt much like a big day trip north when we headed out for the train station.

Today we went to Cape Palliser Lighthouse which is at the very bottom of the North Island. The plan was to catch a train to Featherstone where a friend of Heidi’s would pick us up from and drive us to the lighthouse. BUT thanks to some renovations at the train station we had to catch a bus!!! Travelling on a bumpy lurchy bus was not ideal in our state. Luckily we only had to catch the bus as far as Upper Hutt and then transfer to the train for the rest of the journey. The train journey was not too bad but it did travel through what must be the longest tunnel in the world – it went on and on forever.

We had no idea which way the train was going to go, so Heidi sat in the seats we assumed were going to face the way we were headed. We were wrong!

To get to the lighthouse we drove past a few spots where the Lord of the Rings was filmed which was cool and then finally we made it to the lighthouse. Only problem was… it was at the top of a million steps.

I’m very proud to say I made it. The photo doesn’t really do a good job of showing how steep the stairs were or how many there were, but hopefully you get the idea from the fact there is a special resting platform a third of the way up.

Once at the top I had a huge sense of achievement, and am very grateful that I still have a certain level of fitness that enabled me to make it all the way to the top.

On the way back to Featherstone we stopped at a Seal colony and the Lake Ferry Hotel for a well earnt drink. Apparently the Lake Ferry hotel is very famous, but I’m not convinced.

After that we stopped at a few vineyards to try some famous Martinborough wine.

It was a big day out so we had a very quiet dinner back at the Portlander restaurant which just wasn’t as much fun as it was the night before.

Monday 28 December – Day five

Our very last day was tidy up time and a bit of relaxing before heading home for Auckland.

Dunedin 2020

At the end of November I got to travel to Dunedin for work, which is where one of my best friends lives, so I was very lucky to get down there and have 4 fun filled nights with my friend.

Because of Covid 19 I haven’t been on a plane or travelled outside of Auckland since February and I had some reservations and was a wee bit nervous and my biggest concern was – how do you eat and drink on a plane when you have to wear a mask? Turns out you just take it off!

Air New Zealand - over Mt Taranaki

Sunday 22 November – Day one

My friend Kelly picked me up from the airport and we drove straight to my hotel to drop my bag off.  I was staying at the Quest (serviced apartments) and there was nobody at reception, I had to ring them and get them to open the door remotely which didn’t work, so eventually they had to send someone to open the door.  So glad I didn’t need to go to the toilet.

From there we went to Kelly’s home where I got to meet her husband, read a story to her twins and have KFC for dinner.  Then she dropped me back to the hotel.

Monday 23 November – Day two

After a very short walk from the hotel I turned a corner and saw the Dunedin Court and very famous train station.  The weather was stunning, the buildings looked like something out of a movie and I thought how lucky am I to be working here for the week.


At lunchtime I raced out to take photos of as much as I could before getting something to eat and heading back to work. First stop was the Dunedin Train Station which is apparently the second most photographed building in New Zealand (the first being the Sky Tower in Auckland, apparently).


Across the road from the train station is the old Cadbury factory and a cool old building with the names of what it used to be called many years ago.  This amused me because when I was a kid I belonged to the Hudson’s Cookie Bear club and I had forgotten all about that.



Then I headed past the stunning Dunedin Court to look for some lunch.


After work I walked to the Otago University to meet Kelly and have dinner in the Lone Star restaurant.  After dinner we walked back to my hotel past more beautiful buildings and fascinating historical shops.



Tuesday 24 November – Day three

Another stunning day in Dunedin – which made me feel so lucky because Auckland was suffering from flooding and my garden needed it thanks to the stupid water restrictions. 


After work Kelly got dropped off outside my hotel and we headed to La Porchetta for dinner with Bridget.  Afterwards Kelly and I went back to my hotel for a couple of wines while we waited for her bus home to arrive.

Wednesday 25 November – Day four

Another stunning day in Dunedin with perfect weather.

At lunchtime I headed back to the railway station to check out the inside of the magnificent building.

After work Kelly picked me up and drove me all the way to Larnach Castle. This was something I have wanted to see for many years and has now been ticked off my bucket list – thank you so much Kelly. We knew the castle would be closed by the time we got there but I hoped I would still be able to see it and get a photo of it maybe peeking through a hedge or something. The man at the gate said we couldn’t go inside but we could definitely walk around it and enjoy the gardens. And it was worth paying the garden entry fee because at last there was the castle in all its glory and the gardens were beautiful too.

From there we headed to Saint Clair for some dinner with a fab ocean view.

After that Kelly drove me back to the city for a walk around the amazing Otago University buildings.

Thursday 26 November – Day five

My last day in Dunedin and as you can see it was a stunner – vivid blue sky and not a cloud in sight.

Then it was hometime – the airport was kinda groovy and had some cool stuff to look at, my fave was the old NAC Boeing 737.

Lockdown 2020

The COVID-19 (Novel Corona Virus) which started in Wuhan China late December 2019, forced New Zealand in to lockdown on Thursday the 26th of March.  Prior to this I started working from home on Monday because I had a laptop and was not involved in any face to face training that week so I could.  News of the lockdown came on Monday afternoon, so I raced to the supermarket before the inevitable panic buying set in leaving nothing for me to buy on the shelves.  I’d seen videos of other countries and the awful behaviour of people buying up all the toilet paper and desperate people punching each other in attempts to get at least one pack.

Luckily when I got there I only had to wait in a queue of about 10 people and only took 10 minutes before I got in to the supermarket.  It had a strange surreal feeling about it, people behaved weirdly and one lady with her friend going up and down the aisles at the same time as me constantly commented loudly so everyone could her how virtuous she was, on how they were only buying just enough to get buy on and shame on all these other people.  However she wasn’t virtuous when it came to the 2 meter distancing rule coz she constantly got way too close to me, which made me speed up my shopping but as luck would have it, she ended up right behind me in the checkout queue.  I gave her the death stare but she was too busy bragging about her minimalist shop to notice.  Her trolley was overflowing – how many people live in her house?

My supermarket had plenty of toilet paper but no bread!

While heading back to my car a slight panic attack set in as I thought the stress of the world closing down had got to me and my car looked strangely different.  It had changed colour and one wheel was all rusty (had I driven through some rusty coloured puddle?).  But then the car parked next to it backed out revealing MY car.

car 1car 2

What are the chances eh!  I never see any other cars on the road like mine, it’s not really very common, it’s a bit old now.

On the drive home it felt like the world was ending, everybody was driving like maniacs, far too fast and doing strange things like U-turns in weird and dangerous places and like they were the only cars on the road.  It felt nice to get home and close my garage door shutting out all the madness.  And so started this blog post, I thought there would probably be many more strange events that would fill a blog post and be a reminder to me one day when I can look back at all this, and think oh yeah – that’s right, that did happen.

The underpants incident.

One morning while getting dressed for working from home, after putting on boxer shorts and a tee shirt I had this random thought that the black boxers looked just like shorts and who would know or care if I didn’t put shorts on today.  Even if I attended a video conference for work nobody would ever see or realise I wasn’t wearing shorts.  However that is not something I would do, so I put some shorts on and laughed to myself how much the shorts really did look like the boxers, just a little bit longer.

Later that day I went to the mailbox… just as I got to the end of the driveway having walked past several people and houses I had a terrible thought – I wasn’t wearing any shorts!!!  I did a very weird kind of maneuver as I tried to pull down my tee shirt to cover up this fashion disaster, in case anybody was looking.  A moment later I remembered I was indeed wearing pants and I could breathe normally again.

The Bush is Closed.

One Sunday morning halfway through lockdown I set off for my usual bushwalk, really looking forward to seeing the beautiful huge trees and getting out for some fresh air.  As I approached the path that takes you in to the bush I noticed a man staring at the track and I thought he better hurry up coz I don’t want to come too close to him while entering the track.  But he just stood there and soon enough I caught up to him.  He told me it was closed and sure enough there was a brand new fence blocking our way in to the bush!  Shortly a very fit jogging lady turned up and then an elderly couple came walking down the hill.  We all just stared at each other and then turned around and headed back the way we came from, all in different directions.  I guess there are parts of the bushwalk that would be impossible to get past someone without entering their bubble, so they had to close it to keep us safe.  I’ve never seen that many people headed for that track ever.  I’m always alone!

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So I went for a longer walk along Onewa Road.  It was strange to see no cars on the road.  Onewa Rd is one of the busiest roads on the North Shore.

You can’t buy Wine or Beer on Easter Sunday.

I usually go to the supermarket on a Sunday evening, but with the lockdown I know this is not the best time to go and now that I have to make my lunch every day, it’s important to go while they still have cooked chickens available so I can eat some kind of meat for lunches during the week.

So I have been keeping a very close watch on the Google “popular times to visit” chart.

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I rushed out when I saw there was a dip in the chart and it turned out to be very wise as there was only 4 people in the queue and I only had to wait about two minutes.  I managed to get a chicken no problem, but shock horror I could not buy any wine or beer!!!  How did I not know this?  I drank up all my wine last night happy in the knowledge that I would be able to replenish my stocks the next day.  But no – all the alcohol was trapped in cages, like animals in a zoo – only to be looked at but not touched!

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Things I missed the most while in lockdown:

  1. Hugs
  2. Buying my lunch
  3. Mitre 10
  4. The TV Guide

Things I learnt while in lockdown:

  1. I can make my lunch every day and be creative if I have to.
  2. You can’t buy wine or beer from a supermarket on Easter Sunday.
  3. I am on a lot of emailing lists – including every single chemist I have ever brought restricted medication like Voltaren from.

And now New Zealand has moved from Level 4 lockdown to Level 3, we were in level 4 for 4 weeks till the 28th of April – but I’m still working from home and living in a bubble, so it doesn’t feel any different to me.  I still can’t get hugs or go shopping in Mitre 10 and I still have to make my lunch.

My Garden Makeover

A friend of mine asked me back in January how my courtyard was looking these days.  It was quite a timely question because another friend of mine had recently paid some students to do a massive clean up of her backyard and I had looked longingly at her very tidy garden and wondered what it would cost to get someone in to tidy up mine.  So I told the friend who asked after my courtyard and I told him what my other friend had done, he offered to do the same as he was currently between jobs and looking for something to do.  The next weekend he came round to have a look at what was involved and guestimated what it would cost.  Done deal!

So here is the before pic – a bit overgrown but looking very lush.  I really just wanted the Leaning Tower of Yucca to be chopped down and get rid of all the wild bromeliads in the corner.  My friend recommended water-blasting, repotting and planting some stuff in to the small strip of dirt at the back.  Ok!garden 1

Thursday the 6th of February was Waitangi day so my birthday holiday had officially begun and my friend turned up to get stuck in, another friend decided it would be fun to join in (she’s crazy).  So here they are trying to chop down the massive yucca with a very small handsaw!garden 2

At the end of the day the yukka was chopped down but there was a big mess and we all had places to go so we had to just leave it like this…garden 3

I wasn’t feeling very comfortable about it looking like a tornado had swept through, but by the end of day two I was loving the new garden and even thought the yucca looked kinda cool where it was laying waiting to be removed, so I suggested we leave it there, as it might act as a garden edging and stop mulch and soil from ending up on the cobbles.garden 4

My friend dug a massive hole which took hours big enough to plant the bamboo and we hoped it would survive the transplanting.  (I’m pleased to report that a month later not only did it survive, but it’s thriving and no less that 5 new shoots have appeared.)  This leant itself to the creation of a little Japanese corner.garden 5

After the water-blasting the whole backyard looked brand new and I love it.garden 6

Even the frangipani did some late blooming to add a beautiful finishing touch.
garden 7

From upstairs…garden 8

I think it’s nearly ready for visitors.garden 9

The timing of the work on my courtyard could not have worked out better.  As we are now in lockdown my backyard is the only place I’m allowed to go, so I get to enjoy it every day for a lot longer and much more regularly than ever before.