vilakins: Vila in cold-weather clothes looking unhappy (weather)
2017-07-22 10:17 am

A bit wet

One of the many reasons we moved to Oamaru was the weather. It's a lot drier here than wet, humid Auckland.

The latest storm hit the whole country, but especially the east coast of the South Island, this area particularly badly. Oamaru got over three months of rain in 26 hours. The infrastructure couldn't take it, rivers have flooded their banks, State Highway 1 is closed in many places including downhill from us where it crossed the river, and houses in the North End, a flat coastal area, are flooded, and steep Don Street, one we considered, is now a river with water running under houses.

At first I was pleased to live on a hill - and so far we're all right as the rain continues - but we woke up to see a slip on the hill opposite. There aren't houses on the slope (another reason for picking this place - nice view) but I suspect there are on the flat under it.

We have to go to Christchurch next week, so I hope the roads are open by then.
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
2017-07-12 11:21 am

I haven't been everywhere, man

Copied from sallymn because I felt like it. Not that I've been anywhere lately since 2004 when I went to England and Wales. Painting the whole US turquoise is somewhat misleading as I've only been to Florida.


Create Your Own Visited Countries Map
vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))
2017-06-13 02:27 pm

High school meme

A high-school meme, ganked from [personal profile] zoefruitcake and de-Americanised - we don't have class of [insert year], yearbooks, school mascots, class rings (WTH?), or graduation - graduation's for tertiary institutes. As for what kind of car I drove to school? Seriously, only in America! Pupils walk, cycle, or get buses (though some spoiled ones get dropped off by parents). Pupils generally can't afford cars here, and for that matter the parking's for staff. Nor do we have driver ed, though that would actually be a very good idea, given some of the lunatics on our roads.

I went to three different high schools due to my family moving around the country and they were all single-sex. I was a boarder at the first and third, so I'll have to cover boarding / private and day / state schools. I think Americans call the former prep schools, but to us, prep was another word for homework. For that matter in the UK, a prep school is for younger pupils, preparing them for a public - IOW private - school. We're honest down here; our boarding schools are mostly private (though there are a few state schools offering limited boarding for country pupils).

Anyway, it's an opportunity to post something possibly of interest. )

Any questions about our education system and terms - or What I Did At School - ask away!
vilakins: (oamaru 1)
2017-06-11 10:46 pm
Entry tags:

Winter sunset

I finally figured out how to get my phone to take decent photos of sunsets without overexposing them. The sunset tonight was spectacular.

Sunset )
vilakins: (steampunk raygun)
2017-06-09 02:07 pm
Entry tags:

World famous in Oamaru

Re the post's title: it's from our well known "world famous in New Zealand" which I see the owners of L&P have trademarked despite it being in common joking use.

Anyway, the photo the Otago Daily Times took of me has indeed shown up, but in the ODT-owned Oamaru Mail. It's on page 6 of this week's paper (digital edition - it takes a couple of seconds to load full size) along with others of steampunkers. Unusually, it's not a bad one; I usually loathe photos of me.
vilakins: (steampunk me)
2017-06-05 04:57 pm

Steampunk dinner

Behold: just in time for the last steampunk post, an icon showing me in wig, leather helmet, obligatory steampunk goggles, and raygun. The raygun also has its own icon.

On Saturday night I attended the League of Victorian Imagineers Mess Dinner, a huge function full of adults having fun cosplaying and just plain playing. There were hobbyhorse and teacup races* and a bizarre and illogical murder mystery with about 12 corpses.

* Teacup races? See this Victorian picture for the idea. Contestants were selected ladies wearing corsets, but they only had to balance one (empty) cup and saucer.


Lady with blinged-up Dalek handbag. Yes, it did say, "EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE!"

Two more of the dinner )

Yesterday it was the Moments in Time fashion parade at the Opera House in which contestants also have to have a story about their persona. I didn't take photos as I knew they wouldn't come out well, but the overall winner was a chap in top hat and goggles - and a wonderfully retro spacesuit. The fire angel with wings he could ratchet out to be HUGE was also wonderful; hey, they all were!

Afterwards I had coffee with Katelin from Budapest (now living here).

Two photos of Katelin and her magnificent hat )

Links to the Otago Daily Times reporting (I didn't make the cut, I'm relieved to say):
That's it for this year, but it's board games night tonight so that's good.
vilakins: (tea)
2017-06-03 02:09 pm
Entry tags:

Steampunk Market and Tea Duelling

My photos of the Fire and Steam event last night didn't come out well. Here are two anyway.


It was pretty cool, with various groups performing including Cook Island and Taiko drummers. I do love Taiko.

Steampunk market and probably more than you ever wanted to know about tea duelling )
vilakins: (attolian me)
2017-06-02 12:01 pm

Steampunk weekend

At last I live somewhere here that has a winter festival - Steampunk Festival Weekend! It starts tonight with Fire and Steam.

Fire and Steam

I haven't been able to find my leather helmet*, but I have the rest of the gear I need: goggles, wig (see icon), leather cap and jacket, army jacket, pocket watch, flask with compass, and raygun. I realised I also needed a persona, like the other steampunkers here, so I'm Lucinda Augusta Throgmorton. I toyed with Henrietta Buckleton which was the magnificent name a school friend rejoiced in (she wanted to be a truck driver when she left school) but decided I'd create my own.

Other things I'm going to:
  • Tea Duelling tomorrow morning, as a competitor
  • League of Victorian Imagineers Mess Dinner, Murder Mystery and Airship Racing tomorrow night
  • Steampunk NZ Moments In Time: a series of tiny theatre pieces at the Opera House on Sunday
  • Assorted markets and demos

* Found the helmet which is good because my leather flat cap didn't fit over my wig.
vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))
2017-06-02 11:47 am

Whitestone City

Oamaru has three major attractions: steampunk (see next post), the old Victorian Precinct and other beautiful whitestone buildings like the Opera House. A new tourist attraction, Whitestone City, opened a couple of weeks ago and they held a free open day for locals. It's an immersive experience with lots of things you can do.


The penny-farthing carousel for kids (and the occasional adult).

More photos )
vilakins: (writing)
2017-05-31 03:36 pm
Entry tags:

Gen Bingo Card

Since June picowrimo is coming up, I thought I'd use the opportunity / motivation to actually write something for this. I didn't post my card at the time, but here it is. I'm leaning towards the bottom row.

Another year older: Birthdays Mare Necataris (Sea of Nectar) Direct Mentors Someone / Something is Hidden / Camouflaged
Hurt / Comfort Perfect Werewolves Habits and Routines Revelations and Concealments
That Moment (incident / chapter / episode) in detail Careless Talk Costs Lives Wild Card Secondary Colours (Orange, Purple, Green etc.) Meson
Mutation / Transformation Teacher Space AU Silk and Velvet Heat
Office Outsider POV Puppets Quarantine Roomates / Sharing a Room
vilakins: (autumn)
2017-05-19 11:59 am

Autumn in Oamaru

I just discovered how easy it is to use DW's image hosting instead of mucking about with Flickr to extract URLs, so I'll be making more pic posts.

It's late autumn here and at the weekly farmers' market they had carved pumpkins - the first I've ever seen in RL.


Farmers' Market on a lovely crisp day

Pumpkins, pasta, and a castle )
vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))
2017-05-01 10:48 am
Entry tags:

Shitler word cloud

I don't usually do political posts, but I did like this word cloud created from an online poll of NZers asking for a word to sum up the orange waste of skin I call Shitler (I refuse to dignify it with its name).

(Results are again from a UMR online SAYit poll of n=1000 nationally representative New Zealanders conducted between the 28th March and 11th April 2017. The margin of error for a 50% with 95% confidence is +/- 3.1%.)

OK, it's a small sample, but yay for NZers not following the global trend towards fascism. OK, there are a few supporters there like my appallingly right-wing sister, but the majority are pretty damned clear-sighted. Let's hope it's reflected in our September elections.
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
2017-04-10 09:30 pm
Entry tags:

Plague of mice

Due to all the unusual rain, there's a plague of mice here, and we're not the only ones* as I found out at the hardware store when I went today to buy a humane mouse trap. I brought it home and I've already got a mouse inside it, but I've had to hide it as the cats are far too interested. I plan to release the mouse in the country, well away from houses. Maybe I'll go there tonight so it's empty for the next one.

Ugh. I'm so over trying to chase mice around the house and trap them before Ashley kills them, having been a feral kitten once; Jasmin just plays with them, and Sebastian is totally uncertain what to do with them, just looking at them a but nervously.

Right, I'm off with this one.

* I know sallymn in Australia is suffering too, even getting mice running across her office desk. Bloody wet weather.
vilakins: (data)
2017-04-08 06:11 pm
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The great LJ exodus

I've been on DW for a few years now, cross-posting, but I don't have all of you on my subscription filters there as in many cases you did most of your posting and commenting on LJ.

However, if you're moving and I'm not already reading and commenting on DW, please let me know and I'll subscribe and grant access, or change my filters so I do.

I'm vilakins there too. If you have a different name on DW, please let me know what it is. I don't want to lose touch.

In the meantime I'll be staying in both places until I no longer know anyone here. :-) (I'll also be doing an extra-icon purge so I don't pay LJ any more money.)
vilakins: (me with cat and wine)
2017-04-06 10:49 pm

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] quarryquest!



Have a good one!
vilakins: (loose cannon)
2017-04-06 06:30 pm

Drunk in charge of a picnic table

The floods after Cyclone Debbie are appalling, a 1-in-500-years event leaving the entire town of Edgecumbe under water and a lot of the work done on the Kaikoura roads munted by landslides. The weather in this country NEEDS TO GO HOME.

But this made me laugh: a guy caught trying to drive his motorised picnic table up a hill in Dunedin (about an hour south of here). His lawyer said that "he has ceased associating with the type of people involved in operating motorised picnic tables while under the influence of alcohol", but the last line is a killer.
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
2017-04-04 11:39 am
Entry tags:

Belated update

I suppose I should, you know, actually post instead of just reading and commenting. I've felt very blah lately for several reasons and though I have some cool photos, some of them taken on the 14 separate days of summer, the effort of posting just seems too much. I've been taking refuge in reading, knitting, and painting what I can. Re the last, the downstairs sunroom looks amazing.

The weather

We never got a summer this year, and many places have had over a month's rain in a day for several days running causing terrible floods. I'm taking vitamin D3 and K2 pills because the lack of sunshine really gets me down. It's normally dry and sunny here. OK, we get isolated nice days but that's it. I'm hoping the weather comes right in winter; the last one was lovely. At least the frequent rain is light, not like the cary subtropical stuff in Auckland.

And now the central country is about to get battered and flooded by Cyclone Debbie. A friend just posted that she had a scary drive through landslides, worrying that one would hit her as she dodged rocks, so it must have arrived up there.

The house

My friend [personal profile] zoefruitcake said about her house that "I'm starting to hate living here as I just can't stand this constant living in limbo, waiting for one thing to happen before the next and then the next. I want it all done now and I'm losing patience," and that expresses how I feel so well.

We can't paint the bedrooms and upstairs sunroom till the holes in the walls are fixed (and one huge one made by Greg's brother trying to get at the wiring requires a carpenter), we can't fix the downstairs bathroom and loo till we have a shower upstairs, and we can't have that put in till we pull up the toxic old lino. Greg's too busy to do that and I won't. Also the so-called study is full of boxes we can't unpack till we load the stuff in the storage room into the high cupboards that need ladders to get to and I hate ladders.

We've only managed to do up one room in the 9 months we've been here, and that was a filled-in porch (downstairs sunroom) made of limestone so it was easy to patch damage and repaint. It looks amazing now. I want the rest of the place done up in those light colours, but first a lot of the walls downstairs need replastering, and that can't be done till the rewiring is completed, and Greg's brother hasn't been here for weeks so we'll have to get someone local in. It feels neverending. Right now we're fixing holes in the guest room so I can seal and paint. That will be something, especially with more guests coming.

I also want my computer with all its files and apps instead of this work laptop, and a proper desk instead of a tiny sewing table. :-(
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (stars)
2017-01-13 10:11 am
Entry tags:

Staying here

I should make it clear that I'm not leaving LJ (I think my last post was a bit ambiguous). I just didn't want to lose track of anyone I follow if they left and went to DW and I didn't know about it.

I don't see why people are worried about the servers being in Russia other than the problems LJ has been having lately. But if you move to DW, let me know to make sure I can subscribe to you there.
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (stars)
2017-01-11 06:39 pm

LJ problems

Is anyone else failing to see comments even though there's a > 0 count showing? I haven't had problems with LJ till now, though I know others have. And damn, I now find I can't even select an icon.

While I'm here, is there anyone I follow who would rather I subscribed to them on DW? I've added a lot of people to my circle over there, but have only added them to my default filter if they said they prefer DW. I daresay that's changing as several people have said they're moving.

Let me know if you are, plus your DW ID if it's different.
vilakins: (fireworks)
2017-01-02 06:14 pm
Entry tags:

New year in Oamaru

Our neighbour Michael the Bookbinder invited us to a new year's party. He's the one who dresses in Victorian clothes every day...

... even when clearing the gutters on his house.


He invited us to a new year's party. Photos including Noisel the cat )

I discovered from all Michael's books on the Napoleonic wars that he's a wargamer with thousands of tiny hand-painted soldiers and equipment from the period; we spent some time looking at those and he was impressed with how much I knew. I used to wargame but my period was the WW2 North African campaign and I used boards and counters. I wish I still had them now.