Tomorrow it’s ANZAC day (25 April) where New Zealand and Australia remember those who fell at Gallipoli during World War 1.
A few years ago, Mr. Munro and I visited ANZAC Cove and Chunuk Bair in Turkey. We walked from ANZAC Cove up to Chunuk Bair. It was sweltering hot and we were exhausted by the time we reached the top. We didn’t have packs. We didn’t have people shooting at us. I don’t know how the soldiers managed during the heat of battle.
Every year they hold a special service at ANZAC Cove where Australians, New Zealanders and the Turkish people remember.
Here are a few photos. (They’re scanned so the quality isn’t as good as it could be)
This is taken from Chunuk Bair and is of the view out toward ANZAC Cove. You can see the trenches in the foreground.
This is the New Zealand memorial.
This is ANZAC Cove (click to enlarge photo)
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
From Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen, written in September 1914
Please take a moment to remember the fallen from past battles. Without their sacrifices our lives would be very different.
Last week I took a day off writing and went on a wine tasting tour with Barry’s Wine Tours. After managing to cause a little chaos, (I got lost and went to the wrong meeting point) we headed to Kumeu, a region I’d only driven through before. Twenty minutes after leaving Central Auckland, we were in the countryside.
Our first stop was Soljans Estate Winery. This is one of our oldest wineries, and it traces its roots back to 1927 when Bartul Soljan arrived from Croatia and started his vineyard.
Most of the vines are covered with nets at present to protect the grapes from marauding birds. The roses were traditionally planted at the end of rows because they show signs of disease first, before the grape vines. They’re sort of like canaries down in a mine. The red roses signify the red grape varieties and yellow roses were planted at the head of rows of white grapes.
The merlot grapes weren’t doing well, so the vineyard owner decided to graft pinot gris grapes onto the merlot vines. Experts were brought in from France to do the specialist work. Below the white tape, the grape is a merlot vine. A bud from a pinot gris (white grape) was grafted into the area and has grown into a new vine.
The business end of the vineyard. These are stainless steel casks that hold the wine.
This is one of the wine bottling machines. The labels come next.
Tasting is the fun part of the tour. We tried six different wines, white and red. There are crackers and water to cleanse the palate between varieties of wine. Some people can be snobby about wine. My opinion – if I like the wine then it’s a good one!
This is a photo of West Brook Winery, the second vineyard we visited. As you can see the grounds are gorgeous and perfect to take the family for a picnic on a Sunday afternoon.
The day was lots of fun and the perfect way to recharge my writing batteries.
Where would you go if you have a day off to recharge?
New Zealand is known for its green lipped mussels, so I decided mussels would make a great topic for a TT.
Thirteen Factoids about Green Lipped Mussels
1. Their scientific name is perna canalicula.
2. Mussels are native to New Zealand and are found all around the coast.
3. They are also farmed on a commercial basis.
4. Mussels live on rocks in the intertidal zone and feed on phytoplankton.
5. The shells are a brownish/green color and the outer edges are green, which is where their name comes from.
6. The commercial farming of mussels is highly regulated. The mussels and the water they grow in are tested for toxins on a regular basis.
7. It’s one of the largest mussel species.
8. They contain a unique brand of fatty acids, which are not found anywhere else.
9. New Zealand produces over 140,000 tonnes of mussels a year.
10. At present the mussels cost $1.50 for a pound (NZ$2.99 for a kilo) at the supermarket.
11. The omega acids in mussels are said to benefit those with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
12. They are also said to be good for those with asthma symptoms and stomach ailments.
13. My husband loves mussels and eats them on a regular basis. I think they’re repulsive. I don’t like the texture or the yucky bits of the actual mussel. I’m alone in my dislike though because even Bella likes them. My husband tosses the shells out on the lawn and she spends days chewing the hinge bit that is left on the shell when the mussel is removed.
Do you like mussels? Have you tried New Zealand Green Lipped mussels?
Do football or baseball butts drive you nuts? Do you love to see sweaty men chasing after each other? Tackling each other? Does the sight of a pair of sexy calves kicking a ball down field heat you up? Do NASCAR drivers rev your engine?
YES to all of the above for the GP Review Crew and the UTC Maidens. Even though it’s summer, nothing’s stopping us from HEATING up our days and nights with HOT JOCKS! Join Guilty Pleasures and Under The Covers for locker room talk about some of our favorite JOCK romances.
Hi and welcome! For those who are new to my blog, my name is Shelley Munro, and I live in New Zealand. As a New Zealander, I’m a huge rugby fan. Watching men run around in tight shorts and shirts…what’s not to like? It’s rugby season at present and every Friday and Saturday night my husband and I watch the latest games in the Super Fifteen tournament, which features teams from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
Since I’m also a writer it was inevitable that my love of rugby would find its way into some of my romances. I currently have five published romances featuring rugby.
On a Tuesday I normally participate in Teaser Tuesday, so here is a rugby teaser from Issy’s Infatuation.
“Oh man, have you seen the replacement coach?” Angela, the Jet’s star winger bounded into the changing rooms, dressed in sweats with her rugby boots dangling over her shoulder by their laces. She shook her umbrella, scattering raindrops over everyone in the vicinity and kissed her fingertips with loud moans of sexual appreciation. “An ass to die for and the rest of the package isn’t too shabby.”
Issy Deans has a secret—she’s always lusted after Tyler Jameson. Call it an unfortunate infatuation with her brothers’ best friend. A surprise meeting at rugby training brings a provocative proposition. One month of hot sex then they’ll both walk away. Issy isn’t a fool. She says yes. Let the month begin. Each touch sizzles. It’s pure magic between them. Passionate. Intense and even better than she imagined. Issy is riding high on Tyler and her hot prospects as a representative rugby player until reality steps in with a forward pass…
And finally, New Zealand are the current rugby world champions, beating France in a very tense final late last year. At the start of each international game our team, the All Blacks, perform the haka. This is a Maori war dance that was performed on the battle field prior to engagement with the enemy. The first pre rugby match haka was performed way back in 1888, and it remains a tradition to this day.
Check out this video of the pre-match haka. There are quite a few different versions available at YouTube. This one is older, but it has a mix of traditional Maori images with the haka.
I’m giving away three prizes today, all available internationally.
1. $10 Amazon Gift card.
2. Winner’s choice of an ebook download of one of my five rugby titles above.
3. Winner’s choice of an ebook download of one of my five rugby titles above.
Do you have a favorite sports themed book or series? Is there a real life athlete who you can see as your favorite hero from a sports themed romance? We would love to know your favorites! And a final question from me – do you own a Kindle? (make sure you answer this one because you never know – I might decide to gift a few titles)
Want to discover some more romances featuring different sports? Check out the links below and do the blog hop!
Today I’m playing hooky and going on a wine tasting tour on Waiheke Island. The island is a short ferry ride from Auckland city. Here are a few photos from a day trip my husband and I did around this time last year.
Waiheke has a slightly warmer climate than Auckland and is excellent for grape growing. I’ve never tried Waiheke wines before, so I’m looking forward to my tour. Have a fun day – I intend to!
New Zealanders and Australians celebrated ANZAC day today – the day where we remember our fallen soldiers, and in particular, the soldiers who lost their lives at Gallipoli during World War One.
At this time of the year I like to bake a batch of ANZAC biscuits. It’s said that mothers and wives baked these biscuits and sent them overseas to soldiers during the war.
1 cup rolled oats (oatmeal)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut
1/4 1b /4 oz/1 stick butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon baking soda
Place all dry ingredients in a bowl. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to the dry ingredients. Melt the butter and golden syrup together and add to the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix well. Roll into small balls, flatten with hand and place on a tray. Bake until golden in a medium oven. About 10 – 15 minutes at 180C / 350 F
1. I added a new dried cranberries and some sunflower seeds to my biscuits for a modern twist.
2. The biscuits will be quite soft when they come out of the oven. Let them cool a little on the tray before removing them.
This year I’m trying to do some of the things I’ve thought about doing for years but haven’t got around to for one reason or another. Last week I took time out from writing to do some bushwalking with author friend Tessa Radley. We joined a group walk that left from Cascade Kauri in the Waitakere. I haven’t really visited this area in the west of Auckland before, but managed to do a creditable job of map reading to the meet area.
We were a small group of seven with varying levels of fitness. Once we left the car park—we were informed three bus loads of kids were due to arrive at any moment for a camp—the bush surrounded us, and it became quiet and peaceful.
This area is known for its kauri trees. Although I’ve seen kauri trees before and have visited the largest one in New Zealand, Tane Mahuta, I haven’t seen a forest of them before. The kauri were prized by settlers for their timber and also the gum they produce. Large forested areas were cleared, but luckily this area was turned into a reserve.
The walking tracks come in various levels. Some are easy and suitable for pushchairs while others have huge steps that challenged my long legs and paths full of treacherous roots and mud. We took our time, watching birds and identifying various trees, plants and seeds.
After about two hours walking, we reached the Waitakere Reservoir where we took a break for lunch. The view was gorgeous from the bottom of the dam—trees and green as far as the eye could see.
Our return walk was via a different route. We were almost back and walking on a flat gravel path when I saw a fantail flitting above our heads. “Look at the fantail,” I said to Tessa. I opened my mouth about to tell her she was really close to the edge of the bank when over she went. I grabbed her daypack and stopped her from rolling further down the bank and hitting her head on the trees, but she sprained her ankle and pulled muscles. A terrible end to a great day, but she assures me she’s all right now and is ready to go on another walk next month.
For years I’ve thought about going on a dolphin watching trip on the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland. I mean, it’s my own backyard and I should explore. I first took the trip in January. Unfortunately, we didn’t see a single dolphin, but I received another trip as compensation.
This time, the weather was a little overcast with rain. Hubby dropped me off at Z pier, and I boarded the MV Dreamweaver.
The staff on board the Dreamweaver were brilliant. They were hospitable and knowledgeable about the different dolphins, whales and birds we might see during our trip.
The weather cleared and yachts and fishermen came out in force, ready to spend a day out on the water. We motored past Rangitoto Island, Auckland’s youngest dormant volcano at around 600 years old, and past several of the other Gulf islands including Rakino.
My fellow passengers ranged in age from about three-years-old to grandparents. The kids were well-behaved—much to my relief—and they were the ones who spotted the pod of dolphins first. It was the bottlenose dolphins we saw. This species aren’t as friendly as the common dolphin but they hung around our boat as we travelled slowly along. It was a thrilling experience, looking over the bow of the boat to see the sleek bodies of four or five dolphins surfing along with us.
There were about 40 dolphins in the pod with several youngsters, almost hugging the bodies of their mothers as they swam along. We saw splashes of water when fins and tails broke the surface, and the water is so clear we could see the flashes of white bellies and their long pointy noses when the dolphins went under water. Since dolphins are mammals, they come up for air, and it was easy to hear the gasp-like sounds they made each time they surfaced.
Cameras clicked frantically, and both children and adults alike exclaimed with sounds of loud excitement. Yes, me too!
Some of the trips see orcas and Bryde’s Whales. This was the only dolphin pod we saw, but we did see several Little Blue Penguins and watched gannets fishing too. The Australasian gannets plunge into the water at great speed, making a huge splash. Over time, the gannets go blind and die of starvation. The blindness is caused by the continual diving, which damages their eyes.
It was a rewarding day, and once again, I was impressed by the beauty of the Gulf. It’s so handy and is easily accessible to all with many ferries operating in the region.
We sailed back into central Auckland, extremely satisfied customers. If you’re ever visiting Auckland I highly recommend a trip out on the harbor with Dolphin Planet. They go out of their way to make your day memorable. I certainly enjoyed my day trip.
Is there any type of animal that you’d like to watch in their natural habitat?