I have not posted lately because I have been very busy moving out of our apartment and into our house in Heathcote. Now that we are all moved out of our apartment I thought I should post a few images of our almost 100 year old character New Zealand house in Heathcote Valley, about 15 minutes southeast from Cathedral Square – the center of Christchurch. Heathcote Valley is located in a peaceful setting where we are able to hear the occasional bleating of sheep as they graze on the hills around the valley.

The previous owners have lovingly planted many beautiful flowers all around the house. The front yard has a small courtyard with a grassy area.

One day I mentioned to Gaby I thought I heard a peacock in the neighborhood. I stopped at the local coffee roaster – Upshot Coffee – (located just around the corner 🙂 and the proprietor mentioned there were 4 or 5 peacocks living in the valley. Yesterday we spotted one of the “locals” across the street.

The house has three bedrooms and a lounge and was originally heated by four fireplaces. Two fireplaces were removed completely while one of the other two was replaced with a fireplace insert. Thankfully one of the original fireplace surrounds was left intact.

From the kitchen there is a great view of Castle Rock, a popular local climbing location. Castle Rock is located along the ridge line of the Port Hills, which divide the plains of Christchurch from Lyttleton Harbour to the south. The tree visible through the left side of the window (the one which looks like a yucca) is a native New Zealand plant called a Cabbage Tree. The Cabbage Tree is currently considered to be part of the lily family – the largest lily in the world – although the taxonomy of the Cabbage Tree is up for debate and may soon be reclassified.

The backyard has many flowers in all their Spring glory.

I ordered 6 cubic meters of wood to help heat the house. It reminded me of stacking many chords of wood with my brothers back home in Southern California (lots of work!)

At the back of the house, just off the kitchen is a partially covered patio and behind that is a two car garage.

Behind the garage and woodshed is the rest of the yard, a colorful collage of flowers all in bloom. One of my major gardening goals is to have a kitchen garden. I plan to restore the raised garden planters and lay pavers down around the beds. I hope to grow some jalapeno peppers. My first job is to plant the herb garden so we will have fresh herbs at the ready for cooking.

I mentioned to J, a friend of ours here in Christchurch, that we bought a character house. J explained to me the reason they are called character houses is because maintaining and renovating them builds character in the owners! We look forward to building quite a bit of character in the coming years.

07/11/2006 Update:

“We packed all of our possessions with care/
Hoping they would still be intact once there.”