Sunday, 27 February 2011


we are both safe and well and our family and lovely grandchildren are safe and well...
Our lovely home and it's contents... well at this stage I can't say except the whole area is cordoned off due to the imminent danger posed by a neighbouring highrise apartment block which could fall at anytime.The Weston House has suffered extensive damage.
We managed to save a few treasures and I grabbed some wine as I ran past....hardly any clothes-no shoes but a few clean pairs of knickers....and a bottle of Chanel no5 that was on the floor!
We cannot go back into the house and were nearly arrested when we 'stole' Lens's T56 Formula Junior racing car from the undamaged garage!
The destruction in the heart of the city is horrendous and those poor families who have lost loved ones are the worst hit.
I never thought I would say this but I fear I have just converted to minimalism.
I will also post this message on my blog - accessible via the website
Our cell phone number is 027-283-9546.( if you text please sign your name -I may not be able to reply to you as for some reason my cell phone is deleting read messages!)
Keep emailing -your support is keeping us going but the volume of incoming emails has exceeded my ability to answer them all individually.
Thankyou all so much and please pray for those individuals less fortunate than ourselves - many many people cannot recover their lives as they have known them - they have nothing left.
Much love and many thanks,
Len and Stephanie
PS For those Formula Junior fanatics - the wife saved my new BMC  'A' series block and the carburettors - I have ordered a new crankshaft and  con rods but missing my head (or will be when Stephanie reads this!) and camshaft .If you have spares for sale please let me know.Engine was out - awaiting a rebuild following an air conditioning modification acquired when a  con rod broke and escaped through the block. address is of course

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


Ah...always type in a safe format to start - Windows Notepad...if only the rest of our lives were so predictable.....

I had hoped to send this Christmas email before Christmas - as you do ...then I revised that on the theory that everyone is too busy prior to Christmas with shopping , card writing (many thanks for all of those too) and in the case of our Northern Hemisphere guests - snow shovelling - so I decided that post Boxing Day would be good and just in time for New Year. After all you would be relaxed , having a bit of time out  - especially well deserved after all those Boxing Day sales (even on the net! - v.stressful).......but it didn't happen and over a month later I would like to put in a few good wishes for a Peaceful New Year and a Happy Easter. We live in hope for us all - it has not been a good start - with weather extremes disrupting thousands of lives worldwide and peace failing to break out in those most vulnerable of places
 - it saddens the heart and we have 11 months to go.

We had a great Kiwi Christmas Day - at the beach with our family. Okains Bay on Banks Penninsula - stunning day - hot and fun - no fuss, just a BBQ, salads and fresh mussels picked off the rocks, cooked in white wine, fresh herbs and garlic butter - served with Pascal's homebaked bread.Even played Rugby with a soccer ball - can you imagine that being fun???? Bet you can after all your dreadful snow and the tragic floods in Australia.

Our good wishes for Health and Happiness for you all for 2011 and beyond and  this time we are including our beloved home and on a lesser note ourselves.

As you know in September 2010, Christchurch suffered a 7.1 Magnitude Earthquake and from our website  and our blog  
you will have learned that we returned a month early from our holiday in Europe to repair and restore the damage - which in hindsite was not too bad - although it seemed bad then.
Everything went according to plan and most was repaired for re-opening on 1st November (except for the chimneys - but that is a whole bureaucratic nightmare and worthy of a 'black-comedy' blog of its own - which we will laugh about later I'm sure!
And so it happened - we had a great November /December businesswise and generally feeling pretty over it (earthquakewise I mean).We had had aftershocks ( they don't warn you about these) about 4,000 + of them - mostly not noticed to be honest as they were quite small and could have been the feeling of a truck or bus passing.We had a few 5.0M - which are definitely noticeable and damaging but not too frightening - lots of 3.0's and 4.0 +'s - but we were coping, a bit anxious but being quite positive- as our guests duing that period would tell you....

But by now you are realising I am leading up to something....yes - Boxing Day...just as the sales started we were hit by a series of aftershocks in the centre of the city. I was quite calm (relatively) for the first four of them - more whoops, that was close (we have had so many we can almost pinpoint the epicenter and magnitude )- when at 10.30 am we were simultaneously hit by two very shallow quakes less than 2Km away coming from different directions leaving The Weston House somewhat like the meat in the sandwich!

Calm and reason disappeared (well from me - Len was brilliant) Fortunately we had no guests at the time but from where I stood it looked as if the house was trying to tear itself apart. I can tell you now there is a difference between terror and fear - can't quite quantify it - but I wasn't in fear for my life ( may not have had time for that, of course) but truly put in my place as regards my part in the scheme of things and the sheer power of Mother Nature ( I'm sure that should be a neutral 'Person' Nature these PC days - can't really see why such forces should be feminized - Hurricanes can be blokes too now, you know!)

Damage ...oh yes ... 4th September was a pussycat by comparison.Breakages once again very few - that is the weird part and once again fortunately no injuries even though shopping was in full swing.

Result - we are out of action for the Summer Season - and will scrape in just in time for the Rugby World Cup - I am currently scouting around for a manufacturer of designer armour, steel boots and whips of varying sizes - might have to get a designer muzzel for Len - I bark - he bites ( like - here comes the heavy cavalry ! ).
You wouldn't believe what they are planning...and in fact we don't know the full extent ourselves - but we have suffered structurally this time and 
although we have no walls down - so to all intents and purposes we look ok - from the outside - stuff has happened that has the Architect and Engineer going - oh dear...this is no longer cosmetic and involves quite intensive remediation.

I will give you updates.... I am sure writing the blog will be like freebie counselling... if I can manage a giggle I may survive.

I am suffering from Guest Withdrawal - a new disease - and missing the social side and breakfast chat immensely.
We are still having Wine O'Clock - purely medicinal you realize - but we do toast you all and have caught up with quite a few repeat/returning guests for dinner whose bookings we have had to cancel. I'm sure you will be pleased to hear I have had no side effects whatsoever regarding lack of cleaning , cooking or laundry but am being diligent in the garden.The sunsets are still beautiful....

We have had the chance for a bit of a summer social life with friends which is great and we are having adventures with the 
Grandchildren - Jola at 5 months is a bit too young to appreciate it - but we are having such fun with Calix - Ice Creams just before dinner and healthy treats like chocolate muffins.We are going to see Fire Engines and Trains and Boats and Trams - kicking the ball in the park and playing on the swings - pure magic - they don't care if Grandad's hair falls out or Granny has double chins - we are collectively know as Grannygrandad (one word ) and greeted with huge hugs and kisses.Today Len and Calix caught the Orbiter Bus around the suburbs - hopping on and off for treats . Just before Christmas we had horse-drawn trams on the new inner city tram route - another adventure that included lunch at the Bangalore Polo Club for Len and Calix. When we went back a week ago this young attractive waitress came up and asked Len where the 'darling little boy' our son would say ' a chick-magnet ' !
I just smiled - well grimaced actually - haven't noticed the reverse with the good looking young blokes and me!!!!! But I am getting over it...

Not having guests is hitting our Trip Advisor ranking too - so if you enjoyed staying at The Weston House - we can do with a few kind words (just click on the Trip Advisor logo thingy below to write a review ) Even though Trip Advisor can be abused it is a valuable tool for the travelling public - I use it all the time but if you fallout of the top 5 you are lost.... we are currently at No.3....

Enough of the begging - really this is an update and a big thankyou to you all.Without you we realize just how much you have enriched our lives and have no intention of giving up The Weston House .... so when we are all healed and restored we will be back as usual - Len over-filling the glasses at Wine O'Clock and me talking too much at Breakfast - sound familiar....and please keep the jokes coming too - laughter is still one of the best medicines ( right up there with Family ,Guests, Friends - all taken with lashings of good NZ Sav.Blanc)

 Bless you all and hear from you soon.....

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