Monday, November 20, 2006


Poppy's written a few good songs- now she has her own year 8 band. They're called 2Incurable, they've been practising once a week most of the year- and here is their very first public performance. (They do have a couple of other songs...)

Monday, October 02, 2006

New Foals

Penny's been asking me to put some footage of the Connemara stud up on the web. Two new foals this September seemed like a good reason. It's complete with a cheesy voice-over, and genuine kiwi bluegrass mandolin, from my late great mate Ken Nichol. So I thought I should post it here, too....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ricky - The Bible (animals)

Any evilutionists out there? Mr Gervais has news for you!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


The dank weight of the mighty University of Canterbury looms over the defenceless College of Education. Desperate staff pin their hopes on- well, you'll have to watch the video to find out what happens! Keen to keep up wif youf kulcha i bunged it on youtube.
(Keen-eyed observers will note that this is part III - however there's a recap which pretty much sums up the miniscule content of parts one and two.)

Friday, May 05, 2006


The winter term stretches ahead, bleak and grey. I'm hoping the sun will someday return. Job.... from dull to tedious. And the school morning routines are bleak: arise at 6:15, make 6 lunches, coffee, wake people up, feed the little kids, pack their bags and get them dressed and shod and brush their hair; herd them to the van.
We had a glorious holiday over Easter and right through to Anzac day. April 22nd I had J, B and O down at the beach. It was glorious.

The water was cold, but we all still went swimming. Oscar particularly loved climbing on Awakeri- and jumping off, as well!

A glorious holiday, during which I got in a few hasty sails, a couple of morning motors with the little kids, went swimming and built a long-drop.

Now it's horrendous petrol prices, and the prospect GWBush might just start a war with Iran in a desperate bid to save his "legacy" as president (douple or quits?). I can't imagine congress or the senate voting to give him the sort of powers they did in '02... but with Rove on the case (between supoenas) who knows how it'll spin.

I've been trying to get back into recording some music- a couple of new tracks, and some older songs I'm re-inspired to work on thanks to Sampletank. It's a "sampleworkstation"- but it does the work for you- and it has very good sounds. There's a free version you can download here:, (look for the "downloads" tab) with a limited number of sounds. It's very good. (While the sounds are limited, if you can get hold of the whole range, it's quite complete in its own way, including: a few drumkits, three different guitars, a nice Hammond b3, a good electric piano, and terrific "accoustic" piano, alto sax, and solo violin. I've bought an "le" version that comes with a basic GM soundset, and it feels like I could do anything.... if I only had the skill!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Eat a Peach

Or better still, plant a peach tree.
Of all the trees we've planted, few are as rewarding as fruit trees. And one of the best of these has been the Golden Queen peach.

This is the first year we've got a decent crop- and it's been delicious and plentiful. The birds get quite a few, but there are plenty for us. Some of my happiest childhood memories relate to eating fruit from the tree (not always legitimately), and it's something I want to pass on to the kids.

And tree-ripened on your own tree does taste better. Even when they're firm and not-quite-ripe, Golden Queens are good eating- not so juicy that they drip have to down the chin. At full ripeness, they are sweet nectar (and they drip- but it's worth it).

It's already getting cooler, the seasons shifting gear again. That's part of what gives bite and savour to my current life. The peaches won't be here for long. But they are glorious. And they are here NOW. Bite.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Painting is over: now for a slew of photos.

Awakeri's looking smart. I'm still not totally in love with the colours, but she's ready for the water.

And here's picture of Ollie....

And the twins, with an enormous apple from one of our trees. It's called, I think, "Nonesuch Bastard". Bred for cooking, the apples are pretty sour until they get very ripe. The twins, on the other hand, are very sweet.

Well, that's pics sussed. I guess the next thing is audio...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Picture this.

Of course adding a picture is a simple as clicking on the little picture icon. Shame on me.
This one's stolen off the net: it shows the head of Lyttelton harbour, looking east from the summit road that meanders around the top of the western port hills.
Manson's Peninsula is the long finger pointing out towards Quail Island- right in the centre of the picture. It's 72 hectares/180 acres, with about 12 hectares of forestry, maybe 20 hectares of scrubby gorse-and-broom infested eroding steep hillside, a hectare or two of bush and a series of paddocks.
We live on the other side, about 2/5ths of the way out. I am hoping to do some landscape/house photography soon, and put up some more pics.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

2006- DOOM!

2006: Radio NZ has public announcements about the precautions we should have in place for a pandemic (birdflu); there's a lot of talk about peak oil- economic growth worldwide being based on ever-more gluttonous consumption; the New Zealand economy looks like crashing; and the Chch College of Education- where I work- losing jobs, cutting back, hunkering down- and about to be swallowed by a monster....
In the midst of all this end-is-nigh apocolypse-approacheth noise, daily life keeps rolling slowly on. Cars to fix, kids to feed, horses to water. It's easy enough to blank out the noise in the hubbub chez Stowell/Mahy.
Ok, maybe I don't live in paradise- there are mosquitoes, the tide goes out and we're surrounded by mud, and I'm pretty sure paradise has a river or two flowing melodiously- while we get mighty dry.
But life is pretty good for us. There's a spot by one of our water-troughs I've sat some evenings lately- waiting for the trough to fill. There are trees, copses, forest all around, now, surrounding the paddocks. If I'm lucky I'll see the flash of a kingfisher- blue and tan. We've planted a couple of gullies in bush- and bell-birds come for the flax-nectar. Quail are everywhere this year, and a family- semi-comical- usually comes out of the macrocarpas to fossick and dust-bathe on the track.
It's a beaut place to be of an evening- dirty water swirling from tank to trough (lots of mosquito larva) and birds all settling to sleep. One day I'll work out how to post pictures. Until then, I just wish everyone could have a moment or two of this peace.
Ka kite
A sort of postscript: here's the spot. Sorry, couldn't catch a quail!