View from a roof

…we have guests in the Chalet at the moment, indirectly the cause of my drenching on Thursday morning; being the top host that I am, I had gone to set the fire prior to their arrival so it would be cosy inside. I couldn’t get the damn thing to burn not even after half a pack of Lucifers and bringing some guaranteed dry wood over from the Lodge – the air would have turned blue if the room hadn’t been full of smoke  already. We’d only had the chimney swept a couple of months ago so I was not impressed and with the crap weather there was no way I was going up to check out the flue in any detail.

With the return of decent weather (finally) over the weekend, I made myself the ACC poster boy yesterday  and hopped up to see what the story was and discovered some enterprising sparrow had managed to cram 8 inches thick of pine needles down the flue – and it was crammed: I had to chip it all out with a screwdriver…

View from a roof 009This is not a journey I intend making too frequently so I made the most of taking a few pics from this vantage point…it’s always difficult to get good shots of the Lodge due to the bush and this isn’t one of the better ones…not until Lotto Day when we can go fully down the Alternate energy path and tell the Lines Company to get their crappy lines and poles off our property!!

View from a roof 001

Once that happens it will be a major improvement all the way round. The TV aerial on the far side needs to go as well – it has been years since it has done anything but rattle in the wind – the only reason that it is still there is that it is a long way up (and down) on that side of the Lodge…the spa area on the far right is about to get a major ‘tough love’ pruning effort as it is just a little too encroached by scenic beauty at the moment. The two windows are the spare room on the right and the bunkroom on the left. In the next round of renovations, the bunkroom will become the study/library, and the current study/library will become another bedroom on the sunny side. The mega-renovations planned for some time will lift the roof from a point around the top right corner of the spare room window to enable the installation of en suites and walk-in areas – the extra head room will also allow a proper rear staircase with a mid-level landing…

Fish for Dinner again…

Dinner last night was a bit of a mixed bag….fish again because Carmen had the same ‘let’s have fish‘ flash as I on Friday and had picked up some snapper on her way back from Te Kuiti…I found a recipe in the Healthy Food Guide book and semi-modified that to suit. I say ‘semi’ because I didn’t actually adjust it as much as I should have; in fact, apart from halving the quantity of fish and pan-baking instead of oven baking it, I kept all the quantities of spices etc the same. As the twins would say ‘uh-oh’…I served it up with a good serving of tabouli but, man oh man, it was hot!! Too hot for the taste of the fish to really come through. I have some issues with the recipe and wonder if the HFG team actually made it before they published it as the picture in the book just looked like normal baked fish (clean and white) when the marinade is actually very dark. I wondering perhaps if they have skipped out a key ingredient like some form of cream to take the marinade from a paste to something that will actually be enough to cover the fillets AND be poured over the fillets – even using twice the quantities there was barely enough to paste over each fillet…

In Other News

I was checking the blogstats with morning and noticed an incoming link from an unfamiliar site – thinking perhaps I had made a break-through in the blogspace I clicked on it. While it was beyond me to find any connection between it and The World…, M|O|N|G|K|O|L was a fascinating  and diverse read; Memoirs of Saigon brought back many memories of my brief time in Vietnam a decade ago, in particular the bubbling friendliness and hospitality of the people of south Vietnam – I don’t think the writers  of the Lonely Planet on Vietnam had ever visited the place, or certainly gone any further than the bars of downtown Saigon. My deepest regret is that I did not purchase the painting I saw in a  gallery in Saigon: using just four colours, the brown of the rivers, the orange of the dust, the bright green of the foliage and the blue of the sky, it encapsulated my first image of Vietnam as we made our approach into Tan Son Nhut. I was saddened by Cambodia: A Country For Sale – at the time I was in Vietnam, it was still relatively untouched by the depredations of the big corporates and multinationals. One of the reasons that I am not sure I want to return is that in ten years all this may have changed and I don’t want my memories tainted by sights of such a beautiful nation going the same way as so many others…Coming Anarchy this morning has a graphic image of that way….

The Strategist has also picked up on the ‘Always Blow on the Pie‘ story – if you haven’t had a look already, please do…Peter’s latest post regards ‘modern slavery‘: I am less than sympathetic…these people choose to have these lifestyles and it reads to me that greed (in the form of £200k bonuses) is the primary motivator. If you can’t stand the heat…but before jumping out of the pan and emigrating to New Zealand…(to be continued)…

Cheeseburger Gothic has the next of JB’s insights into the perils and pitfalls of being a writer: anyone with aspirations of writing even casually should track both these posts and the ones on a similar theme by Steven Pressfield. Having collected a lot of DIY writing material of varying standards and usefulness over the years, I can recommend both as key resources for budding or even experienced writers…


I have been fairly consistent in my stated aim of doing some minor work on the B-4 each night. It has turning out to be a rewarding and fun build: although relatively simple in construction, each sub-assembly looks delightfully complex. I’m working on the assumption that it should be able to be assembled almost fully before painting so except for some minor fiddly bits I will put on last – to save me refixing them last after snapping them off with careless handling – I am building it pretty much out of the box…progress so far:

B-4 203mm build 001

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