Friday, 12 March 2010


I have decided that the unwellness I have experienced the last few days is from chilli. It's happened before but I didn't want it to be so. Since we came to stay with W & A, son and his wife, I have done most of our meals and the only spice in the cupboard is Cajun Seasoning. I like it because it has some complex flavours plus a little heat but not too much and can be used so many ways. Even the tiniest bit is triggering the inflamation now that my gut is already irritated. It's nothing more than a nuisance but I shall have to be more careful with seasonings over the next few days. I am quite disappointed as the Cajun turns bland food into something tasty. I can manage pepper by the spoonful so still have options.

Ellerslie Flower Show

This show began a few years ago at the Ellerslie Racecourse in Auckland. It moved to the Auckland Botanic Gardens and when they came under pressure Christchurch City bought the package. This is New Zealand's modest equivalent of the Chelsea Garden Festival. 2010 is the 2nd year at Hagley Park in Christchurch and they have done a good job. They listened to all the comments last year and made appropriate changes. It was easy to walk around, there were plenty of places to sit and rest, on a hot day there are lovely shady places under the old English trees. They had plenty of entertainment including an old fashioned bicycle band complete with Penny Farthing performer. The Army Band came in for a while and I enjoyed resting in this lovely park with their lively music. Great atmosphere. We ate our picnic lunch in the open and were entertained by 2 lady-flowers on stilts. They were very good and may have been gymnasts. Oh so slender - I was never like that! There were lots of retail outlets, all well set-up, some doing a roaring trade. Plenty of good coffee stops, food stalls as well as the more up-market Cafe Marquees. There were 2 sculpture gardens, one lot spread among the trees.... I wanted to keep going back among them, the other a more compact area with various forms in stone, marble and granite. It would have been an exercise in logistics getting them placed.

We did no buying because I didn't see any 'must haves' and more importantly we have no spare cash. But I saw a few ideas I liked and picked up some ail order catalogues. And there will never be any photos because I left the Camera in A's car when she dropped us off. Grrrrr! After nagging TWJ to make sure we had spare, charged up batteries too.

The foodhall, sponsored by a major Grocery Chain was chock-a-block with stalls selling and giving free samples of everything from dips, bagel crisps, chocolate drinks to potato salad. I was very circumspect only trying 3 or 4 samples. TWJ must have gone wild in there because he couldn't eat his lunch and seemed quite oblivious to the fact that I was hungry. I collected a huge stack of brochures, some with recipes for further reference. We enjoyed one food demo, cooking NZ lamb which we sampled. Verdict - excellent - best I've ever tasted. There were lectures going on by various experts but somehow I missed the best ones of the day.

The landscape gardens were great, but not enough of them. Since moving to Christchurch most North Island landscapers have boycotted the show saying it is too expensive to come down. Their loss I think. I was disappointed with the Floral Art displays, most of which were minimalist. Some where brilliant enough to get oohs and ahhs. The rest were sometimes brilliant, sometimes clever and some seemed to have little to do with the garden at all. I was delighted to see they ran a live Apprentice Florist Competition so there were stalls with young creative people at work. There was also a small focus on young designers and a live landscape project being built during the day.

I'm pleased we went. I wouldn't make a special trip to Christchurch for it but I would try to coincide another family visit while the show is on. Obviously there are improvements on last year and more exhibitors and competitors. This will increase as the years continue. We haven't done an awful lot here, in Christchurch apart from being with family but we've had a few highlights. The 2 day Vintage Car Club Rally on the first weekend, visiting the Giant's Garden the 2nd weekend and the Flower show this week. I would like to go into the city for a browse around the shops and a nice lunch and we still have TWJ's cousins to visit. Only today and 3 more.

Now I need to get my day on the road. I'd like to go into town but it will be up to TWJ. In the meantime I've weighed and am happy with the result. Of course I realise that after yesterday's low eating I will possibly regain some of what I've lost. I can't properly update my prgress until I get home next Wednesday and use my scales. I'm looking forward to seeing what my real progress is. I'd hoped to be under 100 kg/220.5 lbs by then by that could be a bit of a stretch as we have a few 'eating out' moments before then.
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