Monday, April 22, 2013

In the Pilot's Seat and the Life Flight Air Ambulance

Being given instructions on how to fly the plane.

At Wings Over Wairarapa, Salem got to have a go sitting in a small plane and was told how the plane works and what all the controls were for.

Checking the wings.

He loved sitting in the plane imagining that he was in the air flying.

Then it was off to check out the Life Flight Trust Air Ambulance.
This is the Wellington based plane which looks like it has been all bandaged up.

The Life Flight Air Ambulance

The design on the plane was created by Weta Workshop.
Check out more information about the work this plane does at:  and .

Salem got to have a look inside and saw all the medical equipment that it has at the ready.
It was very impressive.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Going to Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 and We are Back and Blogging

Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 was held over the Wellington Anniversary Weekend ( January 18th - 20th) at Hood Airport in Masterton.

We had to get up very early and catch the train into Wellington and then caught the specially put on train to Masterton.  It was the train that is used for the Capital Connection from Wellington to Palmerston North.  Much more comfortable than the usual Trans Metro train.

On the train.

It was a very nice trip, Salem has only been out this way once before and that was in 2007 which he doesn't really remember too much.

I prefer the train as the car ride over the Rimutaka's to get there is very winding I always get car-sick.
Salem was very excited about the train ride and getting to see all the planes.

Making tiny paper planes.

He spent a lot of time looking at the scenery and making minature paper planes.

Over the next few posts, I will be posting some of our photos that we took at Wings Over Wairarapa.
I used up nearly all my SD card and Salem who was using a proper film camera, used up many rolls of film.

It was very mild when we arrived in the morning but turned out to be a hot scorcher of a day.
Even though we both put on sunscreen, be both got very, very sun-burnt.

When we first arrived we were greeted to planes flying above us in formation.
The joy and excitement was written all over Salem's face.
We found a good spot to watch quite a few flyovers before we went off exploring.

So the photos on this post are of the sight that greeted us as we arrived.
There were so many people there, and more and more arrived as the day went on.

Luckily I had made us a picnic lunch and plenty of snacks, a flask of tea and plenty of water.
There were long lines of people at the food and coffee venders.  I was dying for a coffee later in the day but I couldn't be bothered waiting in line for half an hour or so.  Though it would be something I would have had to do during wartime for everyday items.

It was a fantastic day out and we would have loved to go back the next day.
Can't wait until next year!!!!!!

We have been very slack with our blogging lately, life has been very busy but we are back into blog-mode
so watch this space..............

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wright's Hill Fortress on Waitangi Day

In Gun Pit One

On Waitangi Day, the 6th February, we walked up to the Wright's Hill Fortress, boy what a mission that was!!!!
We walked from Karori Road, up Campbell Street and then turned into the road that went up Wright's Hill.
It had been many, many years since I had been up here and the last time was in a car.

View from Wright's Hill

It wasn't that bad so far, but the 2 to 3 kms up the hill was really hard.
It was very sunny and getting quite hot, we were carrying jackets as it was really cold when we caught the train into Wellington early in the morning, so we were getting hot and hoping that we wouldn't get sunburnt.
It was a very steep walk.
There wasn't a footpath so we had to keep stopping while letting the many cars coming down the hill get by, we didn't want to fall off the side of the road down the hill into the bushes.
There was loads of cars going up and down the road.
We were very high up.

Taking a closer look

When we finally got up to the fortress, we had a bit of a rest before going in.
The electricity was down and the generator had stopped working so we were given a torch to go exploring.
It was so much fun going through all the tunnels in the pitch black by torchlight.
Salem was so excited.
We explored the engine room, gun pits, plotting rooms etc.....
We didn't stay as long as we would have liked to but plan to come back next time it is open and we will catch a taxi up!!!!!!

We were lucky enough to be offered a ride down the hill and then the lovely people took us right to the Railway Station.  Just in time for a train home and we were able to quickly by some icy cold drinks for the ride home.

Checking out the Tank

Open days are on:

Waitangi Day - 6th February
ANZAC Day - 25th April
Oueen's Birthday - June
Labour Day - October

Opening hours are from 10am - 4pm

Wellington's 9.2" coastal defence battery.
© Darcy Waters 1999

        In 1935 the top of Wrights Hill in Karori, Wellington was chosen as a site for a 9.2" coastal defence battery.  Although it was not as large as some overseas fortresses such as that on the Rock of Gibraltar, it was fairly extensive with 2,030 feet of tunnels linking magazines, gun pits, engine room, plotting rooms and more.
         In March 1942 the authority was given to construct the battery.  Engineering reports and cost estimates were submitted to Army HQ in July and  preliminary site work including roads was started in October. Downer and Company of Wellington got the contract for the underground work and started in November with the driving of the tunnels were completed late 1943.  On the 13th of April 1943 Downer and Company were  awarded the contract to do the concrete work for the pump chambers and gun pits.  The gun pits were completed in December 1943.
         The first gun was installed during June 1944, with the 2nd gun shortly thereafter.  Due to the improved situation in the Pacific theatre of the war the third gun was cancelled despite the gun pit and underground works for it having being constructed.  The only time the guns were fired was when they proofed them to ensure that they worked properly  The proofing consisted of 3 shots fired - each shot at a different elevation and bearing. The No.1 gun was proofed on the 28th of June 1946 and the No.2 gun was proofed on the 26th of March 1947.   The only damage caused by the proofing was some broken windows at the fortress and in the suburb of Karori below.
         About 1950 the Fortress Battery was put into care and maintenance with crews from Fort Dorset visiting weekly or biweekly to service and maintain the guns and equipment.  In August 1957 the Army decided to decommission many of the coastal defence installations including the Wrights Hill Fortress Battery.
         During the summer of 1960/61 the guns were cut up for scrap and the Battery was stripped of nearly all of its equipment.  The scrap dealer was from Sydney, Australia and they were also responsible for the scrapping of guns at Palmer Heads and  Fort Dorset as well as those emplaced in Auckland and Christchurch.  Ironically the scrap metal salvaged from the batteries was sold to the Japanese. 
 The Post Office took over parts of the former defence occupied area and used it as a receiving station.  The Post Office was later split up into Telecom and N.Z. Post.  Telecom still has a small presence on Wrights Hill.  
          The Karori Lions cleaned up the inside of the Fortress Battery, and they opened it up for public viewing for the first time on ANZAC day 25th April 1989.  The Wrights Hill Fortress Restoration Society Inc. took over the custodianship of the fortress in 1992. The incorporated society's aims are "To restore and preserve the Wrights Hill Fortress as a historical monument for the benefit of the community."

Down in the tunnels

Map only viewable with graphics on

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

We Love Beans

Lots of fresh asparagus and beans

We have been having huge amounts of beans growing in our garden and have been given loads of fresh asparagus.  Yum!!!!!
With all our beans, practically every meal has beans in it.
One of the kids favourites is beans with baked beans.

A meal of beans with baked beans

Beans and Baked Beans

In a large pan, frying pan or wok, fry one chopped onion in a small amount of dripping or oil.
Then add in some mushrooms and a good amount of fresh beans and asparagus.
I don't measure the amounts of veges I use.
When nearly cooked add in a can of baked beans and 1/2 cup of water.
I used some frozen peas too.
Stir through and add parsley and some mixed herbs if you want.  I really like using sage.
Add Worchestershire Sauce and some HP Sauce if you like.
Bring to the boil and then simmer.
If the sauce is a bit watery add a little cornflour mixed in a little water and stir through until thickened.
Serve with rice, mashed potato or on toast.