Monday, February 17, 2014

Chur Chur

Picnic up the Porthills
 With three weeks to spare in New Zealand before we headed off to North/Central American, we made the most of our favorite place, Christchurch. Crashing at a retirement village doesn't sound like the most fun ever, but over the three weeks we had a blast staying with Gran. Her rules were pretty easy to follow, as long as I made dinner every night, were all good. Its not like were difficult people to live with. We made our rounds of the city on bike, with great co-operation from the weather. We had some scorchers hitting 32 degrees on two separate days remarkably with a just a few cool days down in the teens too. Gran is really a busy bunny so she had plenty to entertain us with as well we visited friends, flocked to the Buskers, drank craft beer and had some bro time too.

Pegasus Winery with Angela, Gran, Amy and Thomas

Feeding the eels!
One day Gran took us out to Amberley, 45 minutes drive north to visit mum's cousin Angela on her farm. We had a roast lamb lunch and took a walk around the surroundings of the farm. We stopped in next door to Pegasus Winery and had a full sampling, which was fantastic, and the first time I have done that. The wine was very good and the surroundings were beautiful. Once at the pond Amy was sent by Angela to ask for some food scraps from the kitchen to feed to the eels. I have never seen so many eels and such fatties! There were 20+ and they were climbing out of the water to get the the fish off cuts we were giving them. It was awesome! We continued on through their sheep paddocks, past their son's house, and on a search for ocean fossils. We ended up staying for dinner too and had huge servings of lemon pavlova after both meals. We saw the baby piglets too, which were super cute! Maybe dinner for another day though.

We caught up with all our friends in town. We had a mean BBQ with my friend Andrew and his lovely girlfriend Jess. Partied with old kayaking club members with the obligatory bonfire in the back yard. We went to Woodford Glen Speedway with my old mate Simon and his misses. We frequented our favorite beer pubs a multitude of times and I took a ride out to New Brighton on my bike. We made trips into the CBD every day, walking around to see whats newly gone and whats newly been put in its place. We love the "Gap Fillers" that now fill the gaps in town, and took advantage of one in particular, playing with make-shift musical instruments created from recycled materials like fire extinguishers and old pipes. Amy got to running around Gran's neighborhood everyday, and eventually up to to running nearly 8kms. She also learned how to play a card game from Gran's neighbor Audrey and even took up the challenge of completing a puzzle!

Woodford Glen Speedway
 With fantastic planning we were in Christchurch perfectly for the World Buskers Festival. Every year I have been in ChurChur when the festival is on, I always try to get out to as many acts as possible, which usually is most of them. This year had an extremely difference, being that we actually donated to the performers, seeing as we were so loaded from working up in New Plymouth. Our favorite acts were, 'Mario: the Queen of the Circus', 'Frasier Hooper' and 'The Boy with Tape on his Face.' All the performers were great and it was so fantastic being able to just pop into town everyday to catch a few acts. I was pulled up on stage in front of hundreds, if not thousands, at the boy with tape on his face show. This was more of a full-on show rather than busking, as it was in the auditorium at Christ College. We had the best seat too, front row centre, so no wonder I was picked upon!

I somehow managed to convince John to drive up from Queenstown to visit us on his days off, and we had a mean couple of days. His friend Leigh joined us for a few action packed days. We boosted off to the Buskers Burlesque the night he got into town, which was very entertaining and hilarious. Before we went to the show, we meet my friend Euan and his American girlfriend Natalie at a tiny whiskey bar in New Regent street called 'The Last Word'. They also had two beers from the local Raindog's Brewery on tap, and the Deadwood IPA is just delicious. The following day we went to Thompson Park in New Brighton, had a little skate session, followed by some fish n chips. We spent the next few hours scowling the suburbs for some cricket nets which we failed to find. Finally making it to the Twisted Hop in Ferrymead for a couple of lovely afternoon ales. Then we went to dinner with Edward, Kathrin and Gran at the Lonestar. We then spent the rest of the evening listening to some bass heavy dubstep, while drinking my favorite beer in the world, Nor'Wester at the Dux. Its been several years since I have had that beer, the first IPA I ever had, the beer that made me love beer, and it tasted sooooooo good!

Gap Filler Mini Golf
We were a bit slower to get out of bed the next day, but more action awaited. We finally got our fix in using all our new cricket gear John had got from the supershed the day before.  A bat, pads and a ball for $7.50! Not bad, and we had found a net to play in too. After some dodgy bouncers and cheeky yorkers we headed into the Buskers for a couple of shows. We had decided that today we would play the 'Gapfiller' minigolf that is scattered across vacant lots through out town. We bought two putters and four balls, and we walked around the city streets in search of each hole. Each hole used recycled bits like chairs, pallets and road cones. There weren't any rules, so we didn't play with any! We had so much fun, and in the end John won, Amy came in second, Thomas third and Leigh last. We needed to head off and nourish ourselves after that. We stocked up for a mean picnic up the hill on what was a beautiful but windy day. Ham sandwiches, with egg, chips and dip LnP and some other bits and bobs. Of course we were getting thirsty so headed to our favorite pub, Pomeroy's. Tony met us there too. Dinner with Gran that night and finished with a goodbye to my bro over a couple more fantastic pints at the Volstead on Riccarton road. A funky new craft beer bar with comfy old couches and a speakeasy vibe. 

Devo Bros at the Volstead
At this point we started to get a bit silly, and at the thought that it might be some time till were back in ChurChur and therefore able to visit these cool bars and drink the tasty beer, we would convince ourselves at about the same time each afternoon that we might as well sneak off for a delicious pint. Continuing on the beer theme, over a 24 hour period I read a book cover to cover, it was 'The McCashin's Story: How Craft Beer Started in NZ." I have never read a book so fast or with such interest. I enjoyed the history relating to the beer and as well the culture and society back then in the 80s into the 90s and to now.

Christchurch besties!
The McCashin's Story: How Craft Beer Got Started in New Zealand - See more at:
The McCashin's Story: How Craft Beer Got Started in New Zealand - See more at:


  1. You certainly had a great time and a nice finish to your time in New Zealand. Gran really loved having you stay. In fact she keeps telling me how much she misses you. You were both a pleasure to have stay she said.
    Love Mum

  2. We loved staying with her too! We really did appreciate the time we had in Chch, and the quality time we got to spend with Gran. It was really amazing that she was willing to help us out in a hard time, and inconvenience herself for so long. But its nice knowing that she enjoyed us as well. It was sad leaving, but hopefully we'll be back soon!

  3. it would seem im a little behind in the blog reading!!