Halswell Domain

Halswell Domain
View from the Model Engineers' site in the Halswell Domain

Friday, March 29, 2013

The end of summer (but not of the golden weather)

I am sure I am not alone in noticing how the length of the days is fast diminishing. I am still surprised by the streetlights coming on soon after eight, and, while I can still rely on the sun to dry the sweat on my horse following our afternoon rides, this will not be the case for much longer, as we lose a couple of minutes of light each day.

The temperature has definitely dropped in the last few weeks. As the days shorten and the temperatures decrease my horse has started growing in his winter coat. His summer-sleek lines looked distinctly fuzzy yesterday, and by May most of my finger disappear into his ample winter hair. The oldest of the horses I look after is already chomping through a full 20 litre bucket of hard feed each night, and this will increase to at least twice that amount each evening. 

The apples on the apple tree are nearly ready, and the birds and the dog have consumed the majority of the plums. I am sure that the plum tree welcomes this, as it is no longer bent over by the weight of fruit. My pumpkin patch on the horse manure pile is going slightly ballistic. Some of the pumpkins are so heavy that they have started sinking into the pile (we won’t tell that to the people who will hopefully be eating them!) so they have been propped up using bits of firewood. The dog thinks that this is a great game, and (un)helpfully drags the bits of wood back over to me once I have finished putting them in place. I am starting to hear the occasional ‘crack-crunch’ of walnuts as I walk under the trees, but it will be a few weeks yet before it sounds like I am letting off fireworks as I walk along because of the sheer amount of nuts.

The rain last week was much appreciated, but like almost everyone with stock, we would like more please!

Hope that you all have a good break this Easter.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sabys Road Bridge and beyond

I was delighted to see the Sabys Road bridge finally opened.  Considering the mentality and the quality of our benighted council it was quite an achievement to see them actually repair this little bridge only two and a half years after it fell down in the first earthquake.  Of particular interest was the expert production planning which resulted in a neat illuminated sign which first assured us all that the bridge would be repaired by 18 November, then the sign changed to 18 December.  A few days later it read 21 December, a week later 18 January. At last it said "SOON".  I am so glad these clowns are not running a bus service ! Being a regular traveller over his bridge I frequently trotted by to see progress and I am pleased to inform local residents that my new book " Variations on the Theme of Leaning on Shovels - Illustrated" will be coming out shortly.

Anywhere else in the civilised world this work would have been done in a couple of weeks, but in The Peoples Republic of Christchurch, Marxist Leninism thrives.

Has anyone any one idea what the ****** is going on with all the long dragged out road works on the main Halswell- Tai Tapu Road ? I only wish I could make my "work" last so long, get paid, no doubt handsomely, and stay "employed" so securely. Or am I just a little bit cynical?    

Does anyone else feel, as I do, that earthquake recovery actually means mindless vandalism of beautiful heritage buildings, repair of roads that are serviceable while really ruined roads are ignored, badly planned disruption to traffic, construction of ugly concrete boxes and an end to any character or history of what was a shining example of British Colonial achievement?

 Thanks to Ron for this piece