Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Theatre Organ Concert... Amazing...

A friend invited me to an organ concert... Somewhere in
somebody's home. I was very ho hum but she was
insistent so off we went... I was in for the biggest treat
and a big surprise.
Since, I have found this article in the Christchurch
Press... Published last year...

Ray's Collection Just Keeps on Growing...

"When Ray and Nancy Drury first moved to Knightsbank, their
Halswell home had a three car garage.

Now it has expanded across the property to house
Ray's collection of more than 40.

Ray, 79, picked up his first car, a 1952 Riley 2, at an
auction by mistake.

"I never go to auctions because it's bad news," but he
walked in anyway just as the Riley was going under the
 hammer. It cost 3000 "something ot other" but 
Ray can't remember if it was dollars or pounds.

"That was the start of the disease."

His collection now spans cars, motorbikes and even a plane
suspended above the rest. 

He has never sold a car in his life, though he has given  some to
friends, or swapped them.

The plane was in Wanaka and Ray swapped a friend three cars
for it. The plan was to get it flying, but the costs were prohibitive
and he thought he might be too old to fly it anyway.

Then Nancy suggested he "put it up there where it costs no more

All the cars are driveable and registered. They are started up at
least every month and he and Nancy get to pick which car they
take on outings with their four grandkids.

He doesn't have a favourite. "I like them all, all of them have a story
to tell."

How does he get it past Nancy?

"A few of the more expensive ones are registered in her name as
a bit of a sweetener."

Born in Sydenham, Ray has lived in Christchurch his whole life.
He started an engineering business with his father in 1958. They
worked together for 30 years and "never had a fight."

The extra space for the cars has a dual purpose for Ray's other
passion, organs.

He is restoring a 1920 Wurlitzer, a theatre organ that was played
during silent movies. It was languishing in a damp building in
Wellington and probably had not been played in 60  years. Organist
Eric Apperley is helping convert the instrument to electric.

"Eric says he tried to tell me it was going to be a massive job, but
obviously I didn't hear him," Ray said, of the restoration that has
already taken a year... They hope to be close to finishing it for the
next Drury Theatre Organ charity concert in September.

At the concerts Ray and Nancy host international organists in
 Christchurch and donate the proceeds to local charities.

So when will he build his next garage?

"I think that might the one thing the wife will put her foot
down about. The more you build the more you fill." "

This is part of Ray's collection of cars... But I didn't go to
 see those this particular day...

I went to hear an organ recital... Which turned out to
be this restored 'Allen' Wurlitzer Theatre Organ being played by...

Donna Parker from the USA. Donna heard her first Theatre
organ when she was 10 and there and then decided that, that
was what she was going to do for a living... so 40? years
later she is an amazing and very accomplished, international,
 Theatre organ player.

 Here is the keyboard... Up close...

A bit daunting... Where would you start?

And the foot pedals underneath the seat...

It took two hands, two feet, two eyes and a very
musical brain to play this instrument...
And Donna was superb.

The audience... If you go to the next concert... Wear
warm clothes and take a rug...Email:
to be put on the mailing list.

A stop for a hot cup of tea or coffee...
Take your own mug and snacks...
No frills but beautiful music. This time the
charity that benefited was The Chris Ruth
Centre' a day service for over 21 year olds with
 very high disability needs.

And the concert continued... You can see her hands...

 And feet all working. Donna was very knowledgeable about music
and played a variety of classics, jazz and pops, telling us the
history and composer which made the whole afternoon
very interesting. Donna plays as a soloist but also with the
scroll further down to hear Martin Ellis...
And look here for her CD's.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Three Days in Akaroa...

Last week I went with a friend to Akaroa. We stayed in
her house there, just past the lighthouse and up 
the hill... With a wonderful view.
 We turned all the heaters on and didn't move out of 
the house the whole time we were there. It was a 
fantastic lazy time but incredibly cold. This is the 
view looking over the Akaroa Harbour to the hills we 
had driven over from Christchurch.

Day One...

Day Two...

Day Three... The sun came out... But it was -3 degrees...
So we stayed inside... No walking or fishing...
Or anything but lazing around... Delicious!

Monday, 28 July 2014

More Solar Power...

For a long time I have been wanting to install more solar panels 
and therefore have more power and therefore
 be more self sufficient... Off grid for a long time.
Finally, after months of debating and
pro's and con's and lots of advice the decision was made.

Here I am, parked at UCC in Christchurch. This place
was recommended by Able Solar in Auckland where
I purchased the panels. UCC's service and workmanship
was excellent. Ross at UCC gave me a quote that
included all panels, all new wiring, controller, batteries and
labour... And that's what I paid. I liked that, I knew what it was
all going to cost and didn't need to worry about any hidden
extras. I think the job took a little longer than anticipated...
 But there was no increase in price.

As soon as I arrived at 8am... I was plugged into power so I could 
have my  heater going. It was a freezing cold morning and in the
workshop couldn't light my fire. The big dock was secured
alongside and the work began...
 2 x 150 watt Hilight Monocrystalline shade tolerant panels...

3 x 12volt 95A/hr Exide batteries...

A Morningstar MPPT charge regulator with remote display...

Discussion over the batteries, where to fit them...
And the regulator...

The old batteries were taken out and an old charger plus an old
wooden shelf at the top...

The old 85 watt panels were taken off... to be repositioned...

Moss under the old panels...  Next job is to clean and paint the roof...

Here they are... All the panels in a line along one side...

They just fitted... Why all on one side?
So I can put a kayak on the other side!

The batteries fitted in a row... And being wired up...

This is the end result in my locker... The starter batteries
on the right, then the solar batteries. On the left the
 regulator and underneath the bit of wood I use when 
parking on my levellers so I don't roll backwards. 
The finishing touch was a little free standing shelf over 
all the batteries to sit my levelling chocks on. 
UCC were wonderful, nothing was a bother.

And here I am the next morning... Parked outside in the sun...
Well... Daylight as there wasn't any sun! checking that
everything was working... And it was.
All you can see from the ground is the four edges of the panels...
But I know they are charging up the batteries
and with 470 watts of panels and 285 A/hr of battery
capacity... I think I will survive the south island winter
with absolutely no worries... Plenty of power and some to spare.

Today (a few days later) is a beautiful sunny day, after
a succession of several cloudy days.
My batteries are full up to 14.5 volts and 7.20 Amps
is going in... Well I don't think it can as the batteries are full.

I just have to put a wee 'add-on' here...
If you are observant you might notice in the photo above
that I don't have any hub caps... Well just in case
you are a mere female like me... Or like  me didn't
know... It is now required that I take my hub caps off
for a Cof so the wheel nuts and whatever else can be inspected.
The first time I went to VTNZ in Jipcho Rd, Christchurch I sat
in the queue for 2 hours. One of the men there walked along the
line of trucks and asked me to move into another lane. He
looked at my bus but made no comment. When it was my turn and
I was over the pit he looked at my wheels and would't look
any further - the hubs caps were still on... so I had to go back
another day. It was a simple job to take then off. I could
have done it while waiting in the queue - if I had known.

While at VTNZ I bought some more diesel road tax miles...
In the government money making scheme, I sold back the
ones I hadn't used during the last year and re-bought them
at a higher price! I also re-licensed my bus, so all done
for another year... Well not quite... I have since applied for
another DoC Pass and am about to pay my NZMCA sub.
I think I'll go and live in the wilderness for a while.
Hopefully one where money grows on the nearby trees!

Soon I'll have to decide... New jeans or diesel tax!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Rakaia Gorge...

We left Hororata... Driving through the flat Canterbury Plains...
Crops growing here...

Sheep grazing... Unperturbed by the bitterly cold climate...

We got closer to the mountains... Not much snow...

And here's our next destination... The Rakaia River...
At the gorge.

On one side of the road, overlooking the river is the
Mt Hutt Lodge, close to Methven and the ski fields.

On the other side of the road is the Rakaia River with the huge
wide expanse of shingle river bed... One of the largest
braided rivers in New Zealand. 
 The Rakaia River has a mean flow of 203 cubic metres per second and 
a mean annual seven-day low flow of 87 cubic metres per second.

It rises in the Southern Alps travelling 150 kilometres in a
 generally easterly or southeasterly direction before entering the 
Pacific Ocean 50 kilometres south of Christchurch.

it is briefly confined to a narrow canyon known as the Rakaia Gorge.
The Rakaia River is bridged in two places. The busiest crossing is 
at the small town of Rakaia 20 kilometres from the river mouth, 
where State Highway 1 and the South Island Main Trunk Railway
cross the river using separate bridges. These two bridges are New 
 Zealand's longest road and rail bridges respectively,
approximately 1.75 km long. A second bridge, much shorter
and less used, spans the Rakaia Gorge.

These are the two bridges at Rakaia Gorge...
Both with a lot of history.

This concrete pole measures the water depth, of particular
 interest when in flood. You can see how the water flow has
washed away the bank and the different colours of the silt and
 stone buildup over the years.

The Rakaia River is fed by meltwater from the Lyell and Ramsay Glaciers.

There are some people in this photo that I took standing on one 
of the bridges... Puts the size of the river into perspective!

There is a small sheltered camping area with water and toilets.
I want to go back when the weather improves
and do some of these walks.

The Rakaia is also well known for Salmon and Trout fishing.
I'd like to try that! Need some lessons and a license first!

Having walked over both bridges and looked around
it was time to head for home...

Along the endless flat roads, the huge shelter belts...

In this photo if you look carefully you can see the enormous
irrigation machines that stretch the width and length of the paddocks.