David Minifie & Deborah Williams                     Phone +64 3 359 3478

31 (b) Highsted Road                                         Fax (Minifies Makeup) +64 3 351 9224

Christchurch 8053                                          email: dmw14@ext.canterbury.ac.nz

NEW ZEALAND                                                  david@minifie.co.nz

                                                           SKYPE: DebWNZ

5 January 2007                              MSN MESSENGER: davidanddeb@xtra.co.nz



Dear Friends


We hope you had a great Christmas and wish you all the best in the New Year! Please note that we have a new zone number for Christchurch (8053) and change it in your address book. If you are going to contact us through Skype or Messenger using your webcam it might be a good idea to email us first so that we recognize your name. The camera is only on Deborah’s PC which is on all day.


We started the year at Quaker Summer Gathering in Central Otago followed by a trip to Stewart Island.


In March we were thrilled to see our SERVAS hosts and friends Sho and Kurosawa from Japan. We last saw them in 1994 and now they have two children. They also came with Kurosawa’s parents and sister so we met the whole family. Unfortunately they barely had time to spend a day with us.


We were invited in May to speak at the WEA (Workers Educational Association) about our trip to Tibet so we did a joint presentation. That inspired Deborah to go to a series of lectures on Islamic themes. She has since been reading an informative book on the hidden world of Islamic women called Nine parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks.


Wine is a part of our daily lives. We are members of the University of Canterbury wine club. This year we have not had the time to go to many tastings. Deborah particularly enjoyed a recent tasting of 2 lots of 4 wines: the first three were made from one grape only and the fourth was a blend of all three. It was quite clear that blends bring a new dimension to the wines.

We decided to go to South Australia for a two week holiday in September, particularly for the wine. So many wineries. We followed recommendations from friends and relatives and locals and did some of the big ones, some of the small ones and sometimes just followed our noses. We found the reds best – Deb likes shiraz, so was in wine heaven. Some really good cabernets, but usually around $A40 – but they were tasting these good wines – not like some of the miserly wineries in NZ.


We spent some days in the Barossa Valley, one day in the Clare Valley, drove down through Adelaide Hills to McLaren Vale where we stayed with SERVAS hosts, then 4 days at the Youth Hostel on Kangaroo Island. KI is great for wild life - has its own (smaller) kangaroos – and spectacularly rugged southern coast. 


David’s shop was broken into in August one night by a drunken young woman and friend. We were invited to take part in a Restorative Justice meeting with two other victims – the shop next to David’s and a young man who was assaulted in broad daylight  and had his wallet stolen. This was an interesting experience. The young woman was sentenced to monetary reparation and community service even though David had indicated at that meeting that he was not asking for money compensation for the cost of the repairs. Deborah had done further investigation in between the meeting and sentencing and found that the police were not very accurate in their information and the judge gave a very muddled summary.


We have enjoyed meeting our friends Wendy and Russell, and Marian at the South of the Border restaurant once a month to enjoy a $10 dinner and our BYO (Bring Your Own) wines of varying prices and qualities! We have been lucky enough to be invited to Wendy and Russell’s bach at Little Akaloa several times with good times had by all. Russell is one of NZ’s top potato breeders so in March we had a potato tasting weekend there. We tried a large number, from purplish maori to varieties that were still experimental. We also tested vodka varieties. In June we went to their Governors Bay house for a 1930s weekend and cocktails. At one stage we were driving along the road in our 1930s gear, sitting on the tray of Russell’s 1930 Ford truck and waving to all! We have just seen in the New Year with all three friends at Little Akaloa.


Our beloved cat, Possum is getting somewhat older being about 17 years old. She has thyroid problems and has to have pills twice a day. Her readings have varied from 5 to 74 whereas normal is between 20 and 40. She also has a lump the size of a small golf ball on her back but the vet tells us it is benign and it would be too dangerous to operate. We have a chair for her to get into her bed on top of the washing machine as she is also arthritic. However she is a great joy to us.




This year I have mostly taught from home. Apart from my after school classes, mostly for children who are beginners in French and one small class of German, I have had private students from England, China, Iceland and Japan. In Term 3 I was asked at the last moment to teach French for Travellers at an evening class at Papanui High School which was enjoyed by all. In July I went to the New Zealand Association of Language Teachers conference in Auckland which was very stimulating. I spent quite a lot of money on more teaching resources – posters and song tapes!


During International Languages Week I had no classes so that I could go into local libraries and read stories in French and German to small children. That week I also SERVAS hosted Catherine Pujol and sons from Paris who had hosted us during our honeymoon 9 years ago. They came and spoke at the Wednesday Permanence at the Alliance Française. I taught a couple of private students for the Alliance Française from home. I have enjoyed many talks and activities with the AF including monthly French breakfasts, a wine tasting (my suggestion), Peta Matthias –NZ cooking Diva and the launching of the Nouveau Beaujolais.


In August Imagination TV invited me to take part in a television “health” programme which I later found out was called Honey, we’re killing the kids. Learning French was a leisure activity which Monique, the solo mother, had always wanted to do. The filming was directed by Veronica, who herself had been to my classes for parents and small children with her husband and son. One hours filming yielded about 20 seconds TV time! You can see Monique and me on my language website page.


I only got to about three of the meetings of the German and Language Culture Society. They are really only a social get together at a pub. However I have been doing a weekly language exchange with a German student, Corinna who is here for a year studying international law. She joined us for Christmas dinner.


As per last year I was involved in the drama course for Harlequin Players and produced a short playlet as part of the post course production.


I continue to visit the man in prison who is now in the low security villas where the men share a house with three others and cook and budget for themselves. He spends a lot of time working in the vegetable garden he has created.


I also continue to give blood plasma usually every 6 to 8 weeks. I have to drink copious amounts of water the night before in order to swell up my tiny veins!


This year I took on the treasurership of Quakers, a job which I have found incredibly hard to do. I only managed to get to Meeting once or twice a month as I take Mum to St Barnabas church once a month and I like to go the Alliance Française breakfast on the last Sunday of the month. I organized a small group to publicise the stand of the Peace Tax Seven (http://www.peacetaxseven.com) in England in Cathedral Square earlier in the year. It is crazy the amount of money spent on armaments to the detriment of everyone except those making money out of the misery of others. That money could be better spent on helping the poor help themselves. Christchurch now has a Peace Bell made from the coins from many countries melted down to produce the bell.


My mother, now aged 93, moved into a retirement home in April. This was an exhausting and emotional process for us all – particularly dividing up the things she could not take and selling off things which no-one could use. I was lucky enough to get an oil painting of the tussocks and hills of Canterbury which I have always loved. Mum has a lovely studio room and has all her meals cooked for her. She enjoys going on the weekly minibus drives and continues to read a variety of books. My sister Caroline recently had a hip replacement and David is having hip problems too so he may be next in line for an op!


Mr Peter Skellerup, who was our neighbour for many years in Jacksons Road passed away this year so that was a sad farewell mixed with very happy childhood memories. Mum’s dear friend, Betty Baxter, died in London, at the age of 93. Her father was a painter and I have a water colour painting of fishing boats in Concarneau, Brittany, in France by Alfred Baxter which I treasure.


My niece, Nicola Olsson (née Fairbrass), and husband gave birth to a second, son, Oscar, this year in Sweden. They are moving back to Melbourne, Australia so we are very pleased as we will see them more often. Nicola’s brother, Guy Fairbrass, and his Hungarian wife, Dori, are expecting a second daughter in January. They live in London at present but own a house in Duvauchelle Bay, near Akaroa.


I hit the big 60 on October. I decided to have two parties: one for family and very close friends over Labour Weekend and a second on my birthday. I enjoyed both parties, the first of which was a “wake”. I requested that guests bring either a photo of themselves with me or write down two things I am good at and one thing I need to improve on. All these things were presented with great humour and we all had a great laugh! My old friend, Lindy, brought along some wonderful photos, especially one of the two of us with our walkie-talkie dolls which little girls treasured in the 1950s.


Irène Eidenweil, a friend whom I met in Strasbourg and who has just retired from teaching at 55, came out for my 60th and stayed for 2 ½ months in New Zealand. She is a good cook and made various guiches and Alsatian Bredele or Christmas biscuits. Irène and I went on an Alliance Française French immersion weekend to the Le Bons Bay Backpackers on Bank’s Peninsula which I can highly recommend for its accommodation, meals, garden and general atmosphere.



 Both makeup shops are getting busier – Koa is doing very well managing Victoria St. There are never enough hours in the day to implement all the ideas my staff and I have. Exciting really. I have a new PA (my old one resigned when we were on our S Australian holiday, which dampened things a bit) and two new staff members, so eventually I should have some spare time.



Went to Auckland for Martha’s birthday, end of May. While there I was a judge for the first NZ Body Art Competition. Was a great evening, held in the Bruce Mason Centre. Took Martha and her flatmate Tracey along as my guests. A fellow judge was Richard Taylor (Oscar winner for Lord of the Rings makeup) – I have been supplying him for about 15 years but we had never met. It was great to finally meet and he remarked on how well both our businesses had done over those years. He was very generous – gave a lot of encouragement to the artists and was genuinely interested in their work.


 David with the winner of the hand-painted section.





Was great to have my three daughters down for Deborah’s 60th. Hope to see a bit more of Janine next year – she is very busy with her Massage Therapy business in Wellington.


Had a wine tasting for my birthday this year. Tried matched selections of top wines – a NZ Gewürtztraminer with one from Alsace, a NZ Riesling with a German, NZ chardonnays, Pinots, etc then walked to the local Chinese restaurant for a meal then back home for dessert and dessert wines.


I managed to get a weeks skiing including several days with Martha. I still play the flute fairly regularly with Alison Edgar’s small group and occasionally with the Cashmere Wind Ensemble.


I am now a trustee for QIET – Quaker Investment Ethical Trust. I am finding it challenging and enjoyable, with great fellow trustees. You can find out more at http://www.quaker.org.nz/groups/quaker-investment-ethical-trust-qiet 


Many thanks to those who have sent us cards and letters.


This is your invitation to our Garden Party on the 11th February at 31(b) Highsted Road from 2pm to 6pm, rain or shine. Since it is our 10th wedding anniversary, the theme this year is “TEN” – you can interpret that however you wish!


Love from                                                                                      


Deborah Williams , David Minifie  and Possum