2014 – the year that was

It was a fun old year at our place. As always there seemed to be a lot happening but when I look back at the photos we’ve taken, our trip in August and those puppies – well Bella mainly – seem to dominate.

A cure for jetlag


This gallery contains 11 photos.

After 32 hours of travel, and a 12 hour time difference the perfect cure for jet lag was a dinner with friends, a decent sleep and, the following day, a walk through the English countryside. So that’s what we did … Continue reading

Today we turn 300


This gallery contains 191 photos.

Since April 2011 there have been 299 posts to this blog so this one is officially number 300. Over the last 2 and a bit years we’ve covered our trip to Europe – which was the reason for starting this … Continue reading

The year that was


This gallery contains 41 photos.

Everywhere I look the last 12 months are being reviewed – news, sports, politics – the best of, the worst of – clearly this is the time of year for reflection. Never being one to miss a trend, here’s our … Continue reading

In defence of photo albums

An early casualty of the digital photo revolution was the traditional photo album. During our stay in the UK and Italy last year I took 4,626 photos. Of that vast number exactly none have been printed out.

They are all stored on my iMac, and on two back up drives that sit humming away next to it. If we want to show people the photos we gather around  the television and run a slide show with commentary provided by Jean and I as our guest’s eyes slowly glaze over.

We have lost the tactile fun that is a photo album – and we were reminded of this when my brother and his wife visited last weekend. They had just returned from a trip to Texas and the East Coast of the USA. Upon returning, brother Geoff had taken the memory card from his camera to the local photo printing place and returned with 6×4 glossies. All of which are now in photo albums.

Going through them was a pleasure. All of us huddled around the albums as they were passed around. Fingers pointing at certain shots and describing the situation that went before or after. Turning pages to connect one shot with another. We spent an hour going through them and didn’t realise where the time went.

So here’s the thing. If you’ve got all your photographs sitting on hard drives or CDs of DVDs, go non-digital and print off an album or two. I intend to.

The book of the blog

I started writing this post as an endorsement of a fantastic service for turning your blog posts into a book – Feedfabrik.com. But I’ve just learnt that, due to problems between the partners, they have stopped taking orders, their website is offline, and it is unlikely to return anytime soon.

I first used Feedfabrik last year to produce a simple black and white book of the first 100 toscanakiwi posts which we had delivered to our cottage in Tuscany. We carefully carried it around Europe on our travels and it’s sitting, slightly battered and beaten up, in the bookcase next to me.

A month ago I ordered two volumes of blog posts (about 200 posts in all) hard bound on high quality paper and in full colour because they produce the pictures that go with blog posts as well as the writing. The books arrived last week and they look absolutely stunning.

It is a real shame that others won’t be able to make use of this excellent service in the foreseeable future.

Our thanks to the team at Feedfabrik.com. We love your work and hope that you’ll be back soon.

Heading home

After the best part of 11 months living la dolce vita, the Mowday family are moving on. That meant a tough decision between opportunities that have come up to spend another summer in Italy or a return to New Zealand. And, ultimately, the decision was made by the health of our girl Daisy.

At 15 years old and with her heart condition, we felt she only had one big trip left in her and after some soul searching we felt that trip should be home.

That’s meant fixing flights for Jean and I (the easy part) and booking the girls in for a return journey and a battery of tests and treatments to ensure they aren’t carrying anything nasty back into New Zealand.

We also had to find someone to freight back the bits and pieces we have collected on our travels including Jean’s famous Italian vacuum cleaner.

The big question-mark over any planning was Daisy’s health and her ability to make the trip. That came down to a health check a day or two before we flew. If the vet decided she wasn’t well enough to fly, we were staying in the UK. Like the trooper she is, Daisy passed the health check and the girls departed on the same flight as us from London via Los Angeles to Auckland.

Thankfully they arrived in New Zealand none the worse for wear after their 36 hour flight and are now in quarantine in Levin. For my non New Zealand readers that’s a small rural town about a one hour drive north of our home city of Wellington. We’ve moved into a nearby motel so we can make sure Daisy gets her twice daily medication and to be able to spend some time with the girls as we countdown to freedom in 10 days time.

Daisy asleep in a small girls room

Yesterday I was putting together a storage unit for wee Jordan. It was from Ikea (what a fantastic retail operation that is) so was flat-packed and required assembly. Daisy clearly got bored with watching me exercise my limited carpentry skills and decided that Jordan’s beanbag chair was an ideal place for a snooze. So in amongst the chaos that follows a house move Daisy became an oasis of peace and tranquility.

Also an excuse for another cute dog photo.