Archive for December, 2013


I am fortunate to have travelled widely.

I spent 25 years living and travelling in the US and Europe, I spent months travelling through Africa, the Middle East and South America… and I’ve made two trips to Antarctica.  The first trip was to the Antarctic Peninsula, a year later I ventured to the Ross Sea. I think Antarctica simply stunning.

Just a few pics scanned from my photo album – these are not digital –  so the quality is somewhat compromised …











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The Garden

Eventually the villa was almost finished but the garden required a make-over.

I consulted with a number of landscape designers and was clear on what I wanted – an English cottage garden with only white, blue and purple flowers.

And I was very clear in what I didn’t want – pebbles, curves, native plants, anything prickly, seating, a water feature.  And each of them returned with fancy drawings showing curves and pebbles and seating and….

So I did the garden myself. Lovely Kevin from across the road helped build the retaining walls and I went shopping for plants.  We brought in loads of super-soil and then I began planting. It is still a work in progress…

garden reconstruction 001garden reconstruction 002Garden 003garden 003front garden 001

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The Villa Project

I made a number of house hunting trips to Nelson before finally moving here.

Nelson has a high number of stunning turn of the century villas set within immaculate gardens, none of which I could afford. I was looking for a more modest older house that I could weave a little magic on.  I had my eye on a small house near the beach, but then discovered it had compliance issues which the vendors weren’t willing to negotiate over. So having already sold in Wanaka with the moving van booked, I potentially had nowhere to move to. I had just three days in which to decide what to do, or the problematic beach house would be mine.

So I looked online, saw a property which I thought might do and asked the estate agent for a floor plan.  I was sent the footprint of the house and pulling out some graph paper I spent an hour that evening drawing up the house plans. Half the night flew by as I redrew the house, remaking the interior spaces as well as adding a garage and an entire new wing plus a large deck.

Splendid, I thought, and come morning I placed an offer which was accepted. Had a building inspection done and by afternoon the house was mine.

1892 - my house on far right

my house on far right, 1892

One month later I drove up to Nelson with my sleeping bag and vacuum cleaner in the car. The following morning my furniture arrived and the next year was typical hell of living in one room of the house while renovations went ahead, plus a pup and then a kitten joined the family.

The house still isn’t quite finished; there is some painting, some tiling and some landscaping to finish, but everything else is done. The house was built in the late 1880’s and is now fully modernised with new everything – roof, plumbing, wiring, double glazed windows, solar hot water, kitchen, bathrooms. I am proud to say most visitors can’t tell which is new and which is original.

The house has now become a home.


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2011 was a big year.

My beloved pup Badge died, I sold Falling Leaves, re-homed the goats Raspberry and Cinnamon and moved to sunny Nelson.

Why Nelson? Well I didn’t mind where I moved to, within the following criteria;

  • must be in the South Island
  • must be dog friendly
  • must have great weather

and so here I am in Nelson, the sunshine capital of NZ (most years).

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