Sunday, November 29, 2009


Aaron had a craving to have turkey and a proper Thanksgiving this year (he hasn't had Thanksgiving for >5years). Unfortunately we don't get thanksgiving off as a public holiday and when it takes a couple of hours to cook a turkey we would have been eating at midnight. So we cheated slightly and had a little celebration on Saturday instead. The weather was even appropriate - grey, cool and rainy! Excellent weather for spending half the day cooking and then eating lots!

We bought a small turkey (7lbs), then we invited a few people over to help Aaron eat it. I was a little worried that it wasn't going to be defrosted in time and then it wasn't going to be cooked. I did some research on the web before hand and had about 5 different sets of instructions and then modified them to suit. It turned out just fine and fortunately we invited our friend Carolyn who wasn't scared to carve/attack it! I even made stuffing and gravy to go with it. We then finished the meal off with pumpkin pie and brownies. An almost perfect thanksgiving feast - apart from the fact that it was on Saturday.

However, our friends didn't do a very good job of eating the turkey - so Aaron will have a lot of turkey sandwiches to eat in the next week!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Woods Hole, MA, again!

After only just visiting Laura in September I found out that I got funding to go to a workshop in Woods Hole. I arrived on the weekend, which also coincided with Gill visiting from Canada. So we had a fun weekend catching up and hanging out - the first time the three of us have spent together (without partners) for the last 10 years. Laura, Gill and a couple of Laura's friends did a fun run from Woods Hole to Falmouth. They did a 7.1 mile run in an hour - very respectable.

Kate Hendry (Laura's postdoc), Laura and Gill

The workshop was great. Two weeks of lectures, lab-work and computer stuff about Ocean Acidification. It was rather intense - but we learnt a lot and I met lots of people. We were very lucky with the weather during the two weeks and we regularly went for walks around the village and up to the Woods Hole campus on the bike path. Laura also kindly lent me a bike - so I could ride back and forth to Falmouth and her house. It was really nice to catch up with her several times during the weeks and have a home away from home!

Unfortunately my visits to Cape Cod/New England missed the best of the autumn/fall colours. There were a few leaves still left on the trees and they ranged in colour from yellow, orange to bright red. There were plenty of leaves on the ground that made a great satisfying crunching noise as you walked through them.

The beautiful autumn/fall leaves

Most of the leaves on the ground

Woods Hole village was quiet when we were there. I am told it is very busy in summer. It is a very pretty place with lots of boats in the harbour. Although I think I left at the right time - the weather turned just on the last day with a cold wintery storm.... It was good to get back to summer in New Zealand.

Boats on the Eel Pond

Sunset over the harbour

Friday, November 6, 2009

Guy Fawkes Night

Last night was Guy Fawkes night. For those of you without an English (or Australian or Kiwi) background, Guy Fawkes became famous when he was caught in an attempt assassinate King James I by blowing up the English Houses of Parliament during the state opening on the 5th of November 1605.

Details of the plot were leaked due to concerns over the safety off others who would be present at the opening of parliament. Fawkes and several other conspirators were captured before they were able to detonate the gunpowder they had stockpiled in a ground-floor flat beneath the House of Lords.

Each year the people of England celebrate the foiling of the plot by lighting bonfires or setting off fireworks. In Wellington, last night, we had a 20 minute fireworks display set off from three boats in the harbour. I find it pretty odd that the Australians don't celebrate Guy Fawkes really at all, but the Kiwis really seem to get into it. I guess any excuse to light fireworks...

Fireworks in Wellington Harbour

I think this a fascinating bit of history. A really good movie to rent if you haven't seen it is V for Vendetta. It borrows many ideas from Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.