Illustrated Epistle Extract: Things That Will Kill You in New Zealand

Since we have been back in Lyttleton, we've had a few small tremors (3-ish on the Richter scale) and a larger jolt (4-ish) and I'm glad our house is timber and that the chimneys were taken down after the two big Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. We live on a hill and there are some large rocks above us, but there are also large trees and buildings in between us and those rocks, so having those rocks come tumbling down in an earthquake is less of a worry than in some other places. A 7.8 earthquake in Kaikoura in 2016 caused massive landslips that closed Highway 1 (Yes the major road connecting New Zealand's north to its south) for over a year, so being protected from slips and rockfalls is a something you have to consider.

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At least being on a hill there is less risk of tsunami. In 1868, a tsunami drained Lyttelton Harbour and then ran up 3 metres above sea level, causing damage to wharves, jetties and boats, inundating paddocks and drowning sheep. It was due to an 8.5-9.0 earthquake that happened in what was then Peru (see Te Ara entry). Our house is about 40 metres above sea level, which puts us at low risk of tsunami damage, unless we are down at the pub on London Street, though even there it would have to be massive.

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This is an extract of my Illustrated Epistle, which goes out in the middle of the month. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a cartoonist (specifically, mine). I'd love it if you signed up at the bottom of this page, or here:

http://eepurl.com/cCOOeD

Reasons to Be Cheerful - My New Work Space

When a landslip caved in the back of our house a couple of winters ago, It seems like a disaster. But out of that disaster came Terence's Terrace, the garden that was formed by the timber retaining wall that had to be put in. And after months and months of dealing with architects, engineers and the bloody council we got planning permission to repair the back room.

Duncan and the builder were working on that while I was away in Europe for 11 weeks. I came back just before it was finished. Last week all the remaining work was done and I was able to move into what is now my studio. It gets great light as it faces northwest. It also faces the garden, Which could be a bit of a distraction.

 My studio in Lyttelton, New Zealand

My studio in Lyttelton, New Zealand

It’s a lot messier in real life (and it’s only going to get worse!).

Alex Hallatt's studio

New Zealand Garden Diary: Planting an Olive Tree in Hope of Olives in the Not too Distant Future

I planted this leccino olive tree in a big hole filled with compost and leaf mould, backfilled with soil, watered and then mulched. It is supposed to be a variety suited to most of New Zealand and cold tolerant (we don’t get heavy frosts here in Lyttelton, but it can get below zero on a few nights in winter). It is often used to produce oil, but I’d be happy to get a few olives I could brine. Some day.

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New Zealand Garden Diary: Planting a Feijoa Tree

Feijoas are an iconic New Zealand fruit tree, even though they are native to South America. The fruit looks a little like a kiwi, but tastes more floral, perfumey even. I love to add one to an apple crumble, as they are quite potent. They are great to chop up and add to kombucha in the secondary fermentation. I’m also looking forward to using them in smoothies.

As for the fig tree, I dug a big hole, added compost and leaf mould, planted Fiona the feijoa, back filled with soil and watered. She shouldn’t get as big as a fig tree, so I didn’t line this hole with anything.

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New Zealand Garden Diary: Planting a Fig Tree So That it Won't Grow too Much

I dug a big hole, lined the bottom and sides with ceramic tile pieces (left over from the rebuild of the back of the house) and added compost and leaf mould. Then I planted Fred the fig, back filled with soil and watered. He is growing happily so far and we’ll see how big he gets.

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