Wednesday, December 27, 2006


So this morning I was a healthy human being. At lunch time I was a healthy human being. Around 3pm I started to 4pm I couldn't breathe, move around the house without the constant companionship of tissues, swallow, taste anything, think without cotton wool impeding my braing...etc etc. Normally, I find that I get some warning at the start of a cold. A sense of fuzziness, a bit of bunged up-ness, a tickly throat. Breaking me in slowly over a 12-24 hour period. Not a thirty minutes heads up you're going to be incapacitated... I took antihistamines in case it was hayfever which would be more reasonable for the rapid onset but no. I can only hope that this means it will disappear as rapidly as it started.
I have however been enjoying making use of the old wives remedy of "feed a cold, starve a fever".
As I haven't any brain, I shall stop there and not yet tell you about the lovely Christmas we had but it was grand and everyone was great and I managed to actually not be homesick at all once Christmas day got underway. Hope you all had likewise lovely Christmas times.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Parcels, presents, product placement...

I've been attempting to write a post for a few days now but failing miserably. Not wholly because of lack of time, mostly because of lack of time when I've also been in posession of my brain!
So just a quick one then to say thank you to all of you who have sent us cards and so on. Has been lovely to have that flurry of both post that isn't bills/junk and of communication with home! And what is even better is that we know of at least three things that haven't made it in time for Christmas so the flurry will continue for a little while yet. :)
And to wish you all a lovely Christmas and hope you have a marvellous time with whoever you spend it with. We are looking forward to speaking to various family members during the course of the day (and friends during the course of the your skype time now!) and spending the evening with some friends and their family here. We've been more than a little busy of late (in a work-related way) and Christmas day/Boxing day is probably the best chance at some down time we've got.
The best thing about a southern hemisphere Christmas is that all our traditions are gone; we have no sense of feeling Christmassy so we can actually focus on the reason Christmas exists a little more easily. :)
Lots and lots of love to you

Sunday, December 17, 2006


At the moment, there are two songs that I listen to a reasonable amount to which I cannot force the correct words to stay in my head. If I really, really think about it I can make myself sing the right words but if I'm just merrily driving along with the CD playing, I cannot, cannot sing the right words!
The first song is Valerie by the Zutons. The problem comes with the line "Well since I've come on home, my bodies been a mess. And I miss your ginger hair and the way you like to dress". Left to my own devices, I would sing "Well since I've come on home, my bodies been a mess. And I miss your ginger hair and the way you like to kiss". Why?! It doesn't rhyme! It doesn't make more sense! The strange thing is, Husbink also, entirely separately had this problem when he first came across the song. Anyone else?
The second song is Say Hello to the Pope by James Dean Bradfield. The title is in fact the line I have the problem with. See, I bought the album only knowing one song on it and just listened to the album a number of times through without reading the back and getting to grips with song titles. So I was getting quite confused as to put this particular song was about as the only words I thought I could pick out were "Say, who ordered the punch?" I thought it must be a song about the dangers of date rape drugs or something. Ahem.
There have been and will continue to be a great number of songs that I have similar problems with I imagine. Somehow, it makes me feel rather old and uncool...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

How old am I?

Yesterday I was driving to the costume shop to organise the wise men, Mary, Joseph, the angel's wings and Herod's crown for the Christmas production at church. As I reached the end of the high street I became aware of the thud thud thud that accompanies boy racers with extra bass and giant speakers... It kept coming with me but I couldn't spy an appropriate car at all. It eventually was hurting my head so much that I shut the windows but it just got louder. By this point it was so loud that my car was shaking! As we've been having some car problems recently I was a little alarmed and thought perhaps it wasn't a barry-boy but instead was something very peculiarly wrong with my car. I was just approaching a big roundabout and feeling really quite scared cos the car was shaking and I didn't know what was going on and it was the kind of sound that was so inside your head that I was feeling disoriented and sick...when the culprit drove past me. (It was a really stupid looking car and not particularly racery at all but that is by the by). The car said on the back "If its to loud u r to old" (sic). I actually sat at the roundabout a few seconds longer than necessary letting it get away. And deciding that I quite liked my eardrums so was quite happy to be too old...
On the way home from said costume shop, I went to Pak 'n' Save to grab a few bits. And saw some outrageously cheap wine so thought I'd grab it while I was there. I reached the checkout and the girl was quite young so when she picked up the phone after putting the alcohol through I wasn't surprised. She then asked me to step to the side so that her supervisor could see me. I did. The supervisor looked skeptical. The checkout girl asked for ID. I gave her my UK photo driving licence. She said into the phone what ID I'd given her and the supervisor decided she had to come over. She looked at my licence and asked if I had my passport on me. Which I didn't. They looked back and forth between me, the ID and each other, clearly getting a little anxious. So I put them out of their misery and said I'd just take the chocolate and in-shower Veet (which is another story, very impressed, very smooth legs!) and not worry about the wine as it was a whim anyway.
And that was all fine. Until I was driving away and realised that they were attempting to claim that I looked 17. Or younger. Which just isn't believable really. Really.
The obvious conclusion to draw from this being that 17 is now too old...ahem.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Me. Apparently!

Quite handy this having been tagged thing (so actually I am grateful Welsherella!) as I was fancying a little burble but I'm way to shattered to actually think of anything. I gather it is meant to be one word answers. I'll try my best but no promises...

1. Yourself: loopy
2. Your girlfriend/boyfriend: Husbink
3. Your hair?: ridiculously soft these days
4. Your mother?: organised
5. Your Father?: funny
6. Your Favorite Item: new jeans
7. Your dream last night: no idea...
8. Your Favorite drink: gewurztraminer
9. Your Dream Car: I no longer know...but little and cute
10. The Room You Are In: bedroom
12. Your fear: vomit
13. What you want to be in 10 years: happy
14. Who you hung out with last night?: Husbink...and half of church
15. What You're Not?: relaxed
16. Muffins: mincemeat (so that needs explaining...after church yesterday they had made muffins with mincemeat stirred in to the mixture. SOOOOOO yummy!)
17: One of Your Wish List Items: a purpose
18: Time: 16:17
19. The Last Thing You Did: lost very badly at uno
20. What You Are Wearing: denim skirt, pink tshirt
21. Your Favorite Weather: proper weather (i.e. beautiful or a proper storm or snow or thunder & lightening or...)
22. Your Favorite Book: Too hard (LotR was there for so long would have to be a comfort book - LotR, Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons, Cold Comfort Farm, Winter Holiday, The Lion, The With & The Wardrobe, HP 1-3 (the later ones aren't comforting!!!), the Thursday Next series or the Fourth Bear - The Big Over-easy less so... ok, too much!)
23. The Last Thing You Ate: Orange & Passionfruit cereal bar (pretty gross)
24. Your Life: improving
25. Your Mood: too tired to be sure
26. Your body: peculiar
27. Who are you thinking about right now? people
29. What are you doing at the moment?: this...and considering what form of laziness my afternoon will take
30. Your summer: just starting
31. Best part of your life: adventures!

So to tag...I pick Mad Medea and Jenny

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Yesterday, I was gifted a half day all to myself that I wasn't really expecting. I was due to be at my temp job yesterday and today but when I got there yesterday morning it became apparent that I only had half a day's worth of work and that no more would appear until today when various people were back in the office. So I left at midday and came home.
I read my book. I spent some time with God. I did some Pilates. I watched some bad telly. I sorted more pics to email to everyone (let me know if you didn't get them and want them). I did some "gentle" tidying so I could feel noble without really having done anything at all. It was fantabulous. I almost felt relaxed for a while!
Things have been a little insane here the last few weeks and I have been slightly told off by a few people in the kind of "I thought this was meant to be a year out" sort of way... I think by having plunged into a few too many things in the last few weeks it has indicated to me that I still need some time out to take care of me. But I still coped with the last few weeks much better than I would have done previously. Which is exciting!
Today was another semi-gifted afternoon but I felt I should make a bit more use of this one so have been trying to write a sermon for Sunday. I had been all prepared to say "I do really short sermons, allow less time for me than the average person" but I'm not so sure that is going to be true this time! I'm quite nervous about it (no kidding...) because I've only ever spoken at St Matthias before now. I did a testimony on Sunday morning so along with having led two services I've at least got an idea what it is like to stand up in front of this church (though I'm speaking at the evening service and all previous experience has been of the morning services). Eek. Generally. Yes. :)
So anyway, cos I got to be all relaxed yesterday and looked at lots of photos, I thought I'd just put up a couple of pics that I like from the last four months or so. So that's what the decoration is. :) (Husbink does not understand why I found Trees of Mystery quite so funny...hey ho, I guess it is like the Cardigan Arms. Or "Britney Spears, says survery". Or I'm just odd.)

Friday, December 01, 2006

It's Over

Movember is over! Thank goodness!
"What is Movember?" I hear you cry!
Well, the Pom may have heard about it (I hope the Boy doesn't get involved in it...) as it started in Australia but I had never heard about it before this year...
Movember is a charity that raises awareness of men's health issues, mostly prostate cancer. And it works by a group of men (colleagues, friends, whatever) all agreeing to not shave their moustaches for the entire of November. They have to keep their chins shaved (so that it is definitely a moustache) but they can then do whatever they like...They can be sponsored but much of the point is just that they look awful so that people ask them what they think they're doing.
Husbink's work decided they would participate in Movember this year and much as I am supportive of the cause, I am so relieved it is over! I have asked his permission so here is a picture...

This was following a late shift on November 30th and the longest the Mo' managed to get. It was like Christmas come early to arrive home on Friday lunch time following my last supervision session to find the moustache gone! Ah, the relief...I am no longer considering divorce...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

(The pictures are from a little cycle ride that we took last Tuesday and I haven't had the chance to show you yet. It was a grand day out.)
Well, it seems to have been a while... Things have been exceedingly manic. Doing three jobs virtually killed me last week but is going much better this week and by this time tomorrow I will have finished one of them. Halleluiah!
Also by this time tomorrow it will be December. Which is right weird. Not that the weather is good here, oh no, don't get me wrong! But it is light. Until almost 9pm. And that just isn't December. I think I shall be exceedingly confused when Christmas arrives. As it is part of my job to plan for Christmas services at church, I can't be taken wholly by surprise but I think that is about the only thing that will stop me from entirely not noticing.
The job that I lose tomorrow is supervising exams. This has been really quite a strange experience. For three hours you are in this room (be it a classroom where you are on your own with up to 25 boys or a gym where you have the support of 2-3 other supervisors but up to 130 boys) and you can't do anything except watch. And let people go to the toilet or leave the exam early. You just have to wait. Which has actually been really good for me just forcing me to have a bit or brain space for a while. Yes, I can think about things or pray but not that indepthly or lengthily. It has actually been incredibly calming. I can now also tell you many interesting facts. Since I've been counting, 7/47 boys have been left handed. Around about 1/5 of the boys is of a non-white background (mostly polynesian, some oriental, few asian, no african). About 1/6 of the boys has curly hair. And so it goes on. I've also played the "if I were fifteen, would you be my friend or would I despise you?" game. This is based purely on haircuts as they are all in uniform so there is no give away in terms of music related clothing etc as to what they might like...
Despite all this, I'm not sure I would recognise a single one of them if I passed them in the street. Or even in the school. One final thought on the oddness of supervising exams. All I want is for the three hours to be up, me to still be awake and vaguely sane. All they want is for the three hours to be up, the exam to be completed and to be vaguely sane. Despite the fact that two out of three wishes are the same, the experience of those three hours is massively different...

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I was intending to post a comedy story today about my supreme geek-ness and how I invigilated a GCSE-level maths exam yesterday and got my knickers in a twist not being able to remember the Quadratic Formula (I was doing the exam over their shoulders...)...
But it has been such a naff few hours that I'm no longer in a position to do that. Naff is definitely the word. Nothing drastic has happened but a whole range of stupid little things that are leading to a lot of swearing in my inner monologue (and occasionally external monologue too). Ok, so the car appears to be buggered, I've lost $100 somewhere (that I got out the other day and is now not in my wallet, only the gloating little receipt with my signature there saying yes I did take it), I couldn't find anything decent for the twins birthday (what do you buy 9 year olds?) so have bought them tat and Husbink will tell me off, Husbink is at work, the bag with the tat then split and with the wind the way it is today I had to chase round the garden to retrieve said tat, the peg pot blew off the washing line as I was taking the washing down so I then had to chase round the garden for the pegs...
So like I said, nothing drastic. Nothing at all really. But it has made me miserable. I have to go out again in two hours and I'm not 100% sure I will have pulled myself together again by then.
If only I could blame it on the hormones. But I've been doing that for about six weeks now and someone might notice soon...
Hey ho

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yay Snoo!

In hommage to Snoo's achievement of 50000 words in quite a bit less than a month! She'll be a famous novelist before we know it. Yay Snoo, yay!
So here's a list of Yay things for the Yay Snoo post (though not related to Snoo...)
1) The weather is good today and has been for all of three days
2) We went on a fantastico bike ride today (there was basically no up and down) and played on the beach
3) I've finished reading my first kiwi novel. It was ok. I have also been to the library to pick my second (they handily put little stickers of kiwis on the spine so you know which authors are home grown)
4) I led the church service on Sunday and it was fine
5) We've paddled in the sea for the first time this year (this should have been with point 2...)
6) We had a comedy day yesterday visiting local sites used in Lord of the Rings.
7) We have seen our first pukekos (but didn't have the camera so no more bird pictures for you at present)
8) I laughed a lot last night. It was good.
9) I'm quite healthy at the moment
I think I'll stop there cos otherwise it'll become a mission to achieve 50 yay things to go with the 50000 words...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Children in Need

Because we still have the BBC website as our homepage (and because my parents are quite comical about things like this) it has been impossible for us not to notice that it is Children in Need this weekend. Which brings on a strange feeling - not really of homesickness but more of nostalgia - nostalgia for being somewhere we'd actually recognise the people on a programme like that! Where we'd know all the names of the news readers doing their Bond tribute (sounds a little less terrifying than some of the previous offerings!). And where we'd get to see Terry and Kaplinkyplonky and understand. A few weeks ago we had an event at church of the week-long-guest-speaker variety. We had never heard of the guy but apparently he's quite famous in a Trevor McDonald sort of way. He was great and really easy to listen to and had amazing stories about people's lives and so on. So we were glad to be there but I think it was a totally different thing for us than for other people. We couldn't even pick him out of the audience before he stood up to speak. When there is so much shared "culture" (like American junk TV and soaps (with regard to Pomgirl's latest post, we don't get Eastenders here either - which surprised me considering we do get Corrie (though they refer to it as Corro...) and Emerdale. Odd)) it feels really noticeable how much isn't shared and how that is actually the more important stuff when it comes to feeling at home. What this has been developing in me is a strange attachment to the adverts on telly here. On the whole, I hate them. Loathe them. Despise the regularity of them (we watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban last lasted three hours. It had 11 advert breaks.). But some of them, some of them, are hysterical. Blooming genius advertising! I won't try to explain any here, it just wouldn't work. The point is though, these more genius moments seem to have become my link (in my mind) to local culture. To being able to understand. Which is just a little strange, don't you think?


Success! There was an earthquake and we felt it and survived!
Well. Sort of. (Sort of felt it, not sort of survived...)
We were in the cinema watching The Departed (at 10am. Kinda weird.) It was a slightly random film and rather longer than it needed to be but probably a good film. So anyway, it was in quite an actiony section so I didn't quite register that the cinema was shaking cos it fitted so well with that bit of the film. But Husbink looked at me in an inquisitive "did you feel that" way and I realised I had indeed just stopped shaking. However, following our "was that an earthquake?" "no, it was just gale force wind..." moment a few weeks ago, I was loathe to believe it. Until at work (this being the original work through the agency that I'm back at now for a few hours a week until Christmas) someone said "oh, there was an earthquake this morning" and the time was about right and I've since googled recent earthquakes and yes! It was there! And we were there! And we weren't asleep...
Well, it is one New Zealand experience we can tick off now any way...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Two for the price of one!

A second wee post for you today...this is because the Taupo post should have happened yesterday but blogger was mean and wouldn't put the pics on.
Anyway, more importantly is the reason for the second post. A Very Exciting Reason. The Reason being that Scouse Dangermouse and her husband Have Booked Flights! We shall have visitors! Very lovely visitors! And I'm very excited and Husbink is at work so I can't tell him so I've told you instead! Yay!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Taupo and around

Well, we are back from our latest adventure. It was indeed rather more adventuresome than the Napier trip as it involved doing several things we hadn't done before. It all started a bit randomly with me being unsure if I'd got over the mystery illness properly (seems I have done...we have theories but that's all) and Husbink being post-nights (in that he finished at 7am on Friday). But considering that, the journey was good. We are still hugely enjoying driving round this country and are amazed by what is round every corner. The journey from here to Taupo includes a section called The Desert Road which was just fantastic - on Friday we drove it in low cold and rain and great atmosphoeric conditions. Today we drove it under clear blue skies and could see all the hills and mountains surrounding us as well as more fully appreciate the bleakness of the scrub land around us.
This was our first stop on the shores of Lake Taupo (note the bird!! Hmm. Maybe you can't see it actually. Ahem.):

On Saturday we did the first of two things that we've not done before and hired a sailing boat for an hour. We got a lesson from the guy running the place for about ten minutes and then we were away. It was good fun and Husbink has visions of cocktails on our yacht in the future but I'm not so sure now...I'm still in complete agony and haven't been able to walk normally since we did it! So very sore in my legs... But here is our little boat:

Saturday afternoon included a walk to the Huka Falls. Kinda more like rapids than falls but very cool and a very enjoyable walk. Near the beginning it crosses a natural hot stream that feeds the Waikato River and there were a number of people sitting in the mouth of the stream - it seemed to only take a matter of inches to move from roasty-toasty thermal spring to bloomin' freezin' Waikato River...a precarious balancing act necessary! The river itself was phenomenally clear, very beautiful. So here's a shot of the falls. It's not necessarily the most exciting picture but I think gives the best idea of what it is actually like:

We walked back via a different route which was rather harder and longer but a good walk (would have been a better cycle!) and it afforded us the only new bird spot of the weekend, a fantail. It posed for us extremely well but hidden behind a few branches so this is the best shot we have:

Sunday morning was the Craters of the Moon. Having been somewhere called Craters of the Moon previously, I was a little surprised at the un-bleakness of this place. But it was much fun anyway wandering through all the steaming craters.

Fortunately, the thermal activity around Taupo is not blessed with an abundance of sulpher so this steam was relatively fresh smelling! From one of the lookout stations, we spied Mount Doom. It wasn't actually the place used for filming Lord of the Rings but...

Mount Doom and much of Mordor was filmed in the area (yes, we have a book from last time we were here...) of the Desert Road.

Sunday afternoon was time for second not-previously-done activity and this one was much more relaxing! We went to Taupo Hot Springs and used hot pools of various temperatures and generally eased our aching legs! Very relaxing. Sadly we had seen the bank balance and didn't splash out on a massage to complete the experience. We then decided to prove to ourselves that we really can't draw by going to a scenic lookout and attempting to sketch...hmm. Can't do everything... And that was our weekend. Lovely.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Funny sort of day...

Today I have been mostly lying on the sofa watching DVDs (with a startling lack of eye candy following all the discussions here of late!). This wasn't my intended way to spend the day but a ridiculous amount of belly pain dictated otherwise. (As did Husbink and for once I listened to his doctorly advice.) We have now ruled out appendicitis (I was nearly dragged to hospital this morning) but not a lot else. It could be the usual monster of IBS but if it is it has changed shape. It could be something to do with having parted companies with the pill (no, this is not a subtle way of hinting about babies - the parting company was due to the IBS and there are no babies planned!). It could just be one of those things. We don't know. I just know it is a weird pain and I don't like it! And I know I want to go away for the weekend tomorrow as we have a four day weekend all sorted. And Husbink has decided that as it isn't appendicitis, it won't kill me so we might as well go away. Hey ho. Well, I guess it is time to go back to the sofa as it is starting to stab again. After Shrek, three episodes of Randall & Hopkirk, two episodes of Home & Away, one episode of Neighbours and starting to make my acquitance with my first Kiwi author courtesy of the library during the day, I'm not sure what I'm going to find to fill my evening!

Monday, November 06, 2006


After a skype chat with Snoo and The Hub this morning, one of The Hub's questions (What's on the front page of the newspaper there?) prompted me to think this might be an interesting might not be...mostly, it will only be if you all join in!
So today, on the front page of the Dominion Post, Wellington's newspaper is: A banner across the top telling you to go to Sports Extra for "Is this the Kiwi cup hope? They're calling Efficient a champion" with a pic of a horse - I somehow feel Efficient is rather an insulting name for a horse. A kind of "gets the job done, nothing special" sort of name. Then there is another banner to go to World News for "Saddam Death by hanging" - I'm guessing this will be front page news most places...
We then get to the articles..."Fireworks madness: Attacks, robbery, drunken revelry" - main gist of article is all the trouble caused over the weekend by fireworks and people apparently going loopy because of the fireworks. Thus should the sale of fireworks to the public be banned before Guy Fawkes next year (yes, they have Guy Fawkes night here. Which maybe isn't soooo bizarre...) Generally it seems that fireworks get majorly out of control here and cause generally insane behaviour.
"NZ cops branded mercenaries in Fiji" around the whole Fiji threatened coup and why NZ has sent four extra policemen to support the NZ high commission in Suva.
There are then ads for various other parts of the paper with headlines such as "100 days of hell"; "Brethren's blackmail"; "The Royalist and the UFO"; "Fun with Pumpkins". Oh and there is a weather summary. For eight different cities regions it goes: rain; cloudy; rain; showers; rain; rain; rain; showers. Oh goody!
So that's my front page today. You? (Internet versions are allowed if they are what you read)

Thursday, November 02, 2006


There are many things I could write about is good; I feel healthy today after thinking I was coming down with a lurgy yesterday; after much deliberation, I think I have finally come up with my "3" (see Pom's post here) and discovered Husbink's at the same time; the sun is shining and it feels like spring here; fluff is everywhere...but all these possible topics for your entertainment pale into insignificance compared to one: slippers. Oh yes, marvellous, wonderful, multi-coloured (though they don't have to be), comfy, cosy slippers.
Today when I got home from work, the long awaited posted-by-sea parcel from my mum was on the doorstep. This means that I have two more pairs of trousers, an extra skirt, an extra top, a book and...slippers!
These are the slippers that I bought in Thailand following a number of sleepless nights... We (myself and Kathleen) had been in Thailand for four nights I believe at this point. We'd arrived from Sydney and my last few nights there had involved very bad sleep for one reason or another (the snoring person in the hostel room, the accidental leaving of wallet at brother's house the night before we were due to fly...). So following a long flight that made it some ridiculous time in the morning and arriving to a proper hotel in Bangkok with air conditioning and no one in the room other than us to disturb our sleep I thought great! Sleep ahoy! But no. And this trend continued for the next few nights in the next hotel (on a wee island, was lovely!) with me getting more and more tired and less and less coherent... We moved on and arrived in Pattaya, a strange place of tourist nature and weirdness (but we had a lot of fun there). We were staying in a lovely hotel and across from it was a mall. A big shiny air conditioned mall (with the lack of sleep, the heat was also not going so well for me). And in that mall they sold, amongst many other things, lovely, lovely slippers. As soon as I saw them I knew they were what I needed to give me a good night full of sleep. And indeed that night, with the slippers on the floor next to my bed, I did indeed have a marvellous sleep for the first time in days! And today, I have been reunited with said slippers and feel almost the same sense of joy. I know many of you will be distressed to hear that it is not my giant pink slippers that I have arrived but I want to reassure you that it is ok! These slippers will do just fine for now!
Time to go and try one of Mad Medea's ginger nuts that I've just made for the first time (thank you thank you)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

We Have a Date. Which is Weird.

Just realised when responding to Mad Medea's last comment that I haven't actually mentioned that we have sorted our flights out and actually have a return date to the UK now. I don't 100% promise quite that it will turn out as it is now but just for your info, our current plan involves arriving back at Heathrow at 5.30am on July 15th. We expect to see you all there! ;) Does feel kind of weird to have an "end" date now. Which is why I don't promise it will remain such!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Success & Failure

Success first: I have started working at church! I am very excited about this, even if it is technically only for 10 hours a week. I will be coordinating the 10.30am service from now until April 30th by which point the aim is that I will have given it direction and the job will no longer be needed. Kinda crazy cos it is the first time since uni (for definite, possibly longer) where I've actually been doing something that I care about, want to do and think is important! There were points in PCT-land when I thought what I was doing needed to be done but that didn't necessarily mean I wanted to do it! There were other points when I cared about it (usually individual patients) but didn't necessarily think it important! So. There we are. I'm not sure I could really explain what the job involves yet as it seems to differ with every person I speak to as to what they feel it involves. However, I have put out a request for EVERYONE to come and talk to me and tell me what they think of the service so after that it should become apparent what needs doing.
Failure then: For the first time ever yesterday I felt moved enough to send a comment to the BBC website after reading an article. There were already many, many comments and I read them all and still felt I had something to write. So write I did. But to no avail! My comment has not appeared and the story has gone from the front pages. *Sigh* There have been many times in the past, on many different subjects, that I have almost written to the BBC website but never before have I been tipped over the edge and compelled to write. So what was the topic? War? Religion? Education? Health? Oh no, far more important than any of those things...Dirty Dancing! The article was about the West End stage show of Dirty Dancing that opens next week and what is so wonderful about the story anyway? The article cited lines such as "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" and "I carried a watermelon" as reasons for the greatness of the film. Lots of people had written comments from both sides of the argument. But no one, it seems, had my experience of Dirty Dancing as a child. You see, it came out when I was 7 and was first on telly around a year later. And we were *desperate* to see it! We couldn't possibly wait any longer or be any older before we saw it! So the mums in the neighbourhood got together and agreed a censored version of the film for us all. So there they sat the night it was first on TV with all of us banished to our bedrooms for the evening and cut out every bit of abortion story line and most hints of sex leaving us with a film that was basically pretty songs and dances. And we loved it! I watched it sooooo much (though not quite as much as The Sound of Music). I knew it had been censored (not all my friends did) and there were bits that didn't make sense but it really didn't matter. And then we left America and returned to the UK and my video didn't work anymore. I was bereft for five years until it next came on TV when I was 14. This time I was allowed to record it uncensored. I was shocked! I had had NO IDEA what the rest of the film was about! It made a whole lot more sense now but was no longer the purely happy go lucky song and dance fest I'd watched for two years. It didn't take long to get over it and I remember clearly in the weeks that followed walking round and round Parkside at lunch time (as we did) reciting various scenes with people I no longer know..."I scared of who I am, of what I saw, of what I did...but most of all, I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you!"

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Work, Walks, Waffle

I thought as well as the hair update, you might care for a little more news. I finished the boring job on Wednesday but with the possibility of going back for a few days at various points in the future. Despite the not-so-exciting nature of the job I'm quite keen on this idea as it will be reasonably easy to go back again and they would, seemingly, be quite happy for me to be there a bit more on my terms (i.e. less hours a week) and so I think I could hack the boredom to assist in the funding of exciting trips round the country. I have also this week had an interview for a far more interesting, ten hours a week job at church. Very excited about this but things are not 100% definite yet so I will write in more detail when they are.
So, with the finishing of the job (in a slightly random fashion - I worked Monday, knew there was about 4 hours more work to do but that they needed time to reach the point where I could work, said I'd go in again on Wednesday afternoon (when Husbink was at work). So I suddenly had Tuesday, Thursday and Friday to do as I wish. Which was great. :) But a little disorientating at first! So the week included furniture shopping (so we now use more than two rooms in our house!), a walk on the beach with lovely people, lots of time on the sofa with a hot water bottle (oh yes, twas the time of the agonies...) and book, and a grand walk on Friday afternoon that was rather more adventurous than we'd been expecting and a lot of fun. And gave way to some more pics for you!
The walk went rather like this:
It involved LOTS of expeditions back and forth across a stream (I was going to say a wee stream but there were points when it wasn't so wee!). Many of the crossings were straightforward (though not as straightforward as the stepping stones at Dovedale in Derbyshire for those that know it!!) but a few involved careful planning and leaping! We've decided the best way to do this walk is probably in summer with flip flops and shorts and just walk up the stream rather than all this pretence at crossing it again and again! It was mightily good fun though. Unfortunately, Hubink took one leap a bit too cavalierly and has dinked his knee quite badly. He sat and did the doctory thing of giving himself a full knee exam there and then and established there were no real problems, it was just owy. At the top of the walk was the little waterfall that you can see at the top of this picture. And indeed we did get closer to it than this by climbing all the rocks in the way. Great stuff! Of course, no outing would be complete for me without the compulsory bird pics so here you go:
The mum was rather distressed by any human presence so it was a few quick snaps and then out of the way - before we were deafened by her honking (she wanted to be a goose!). They were extremely cute - especially when travelling down stream on one of the mini water falls along the stream - looked so much fun slipping down the rocks into the next pool! Hurrah!
So, to summarise for you...things are pretty good at the moment! As well as getting a few more bits of furniture, we have printed out various pictures and so have decorated our walls a bit, some big pictures and then a notice board covered in pictures people, places, silliness. While it has made the house a bit more homely, that last bit, the photo board, did cause a bit of homesickness...when we printed out pictures of the pigs...!

Tis Done

Well, I have been and had the overly-fretted chop. I did not, as Welshy rightly commanded, say "do whatever you think" but neither did I have the lengthy discussion that might have been useful. However, I think I'm happy with the outcome though not 100% sure about the styling currently - she was slightly more in Louise-who-wants-it-to-be-the-80s-still's camp (my last Leeds hairdresser) than the Naomi-who-can-make-my-hair-beautiful-and-sleek camp (the lovely Harrogate hairdresser who did my hair for Mad Medea's hen night & wedding). Thus I exited the salon a teeny weeny bit more puffy than I might have liked but it is settling down happily. However, I don't think I'll be returning to that salon as it HURT. Really. Not as much as getting my hair put up for my brother's wedding (for those that don't know that story, I actually couldn't speak she was pulling my hair so hard!) but still more pain than I want from a meant-to-be-relaxing hair cut. Hey ho. So. Here it is.

Apologies for the quality...Husbink is at work so it involved setting the camera to timer...waving my knee about where I thought I'd be sitting to give it something to focus on...and speedily scooching across the floor, hoping to be in the right spot...The things I do for you!

Monday, October 16, 2006

I am highly contented this evening despite the storm outside. (I don't think Husbink will be contented if it is still like this when he has to cycle home at midnight...) I've almost finished my temp job; on the way home from work I met up with a chap from church about the possible job there (all very exciting and no doubt blog-worthy in its own right soon); I get tomorrow and Wednesday morning off due to almost having finished job (so get to see Husbink despite unpleasant 2pm-midnight shifts); best of all, I found a present in the kitchen when I got home...a brand new mug...a brand new New Zealand mug...a brand new New Zealand mug with sheep on! And my teapot sitting next to it all ready to help in the christening ceremony. So I'm sitting here happily with a lovely mug of darjeeling (as the "champagne of teas" it seemed the most appropriate) ready to attempt a picture-ful post as requested. (I also had lengthy problems with which biscuits to celebrate new mug with...ultimately the caramel tim tams won...)
So pictures.
This weekend, we went to Napier. It was lovely. Very windy on Friday night and Saturday morning but actually warm! And Sunday we would have become very sunburnt very quickly if we had not maintained some semblance of sanity!!

This was our first evening in Napier (you can almost tell it is me in the pink t-shirt can't you?!!) and we'd just had a cheeky pint in an Irish pub (the closest thing to a proper pub we've found here) so all was well with the world.

On Saturday morning (in slightly less delightful weather) we made our way to an estuary/wildlife reserve and watched many a birdy (birds are just so cool here, maybe it is just because they are different but they seem so much more interesting!) Many of you have been subjected to my wildlife pictures in the past (like the infamous "seal colony" picture...) but here's perhaps a slightly better one for you. We have bought a bird book and think we know what this is...but the bird book is in the car and Husbink has the garage keys at work...

Well, at least you can tell it is a bird! Telephoto lens here we come!

Saturday afternoon was spent in a very friendly winery where we tasted about eight wines on the house and purchased five of them. Fortunately there are no pictures of how very much my cheeks matched the pink t-shirt...

Sunday was glorious weather and we spent a while on the beach taking pics, skimming stones and "running away" (very flat good stones for skimming and really quite a flat sea but I'm USELESS at the whole thang... excellent beach for running away though...the seagulls were even joining in) So a couple more mine, one Husbink's. I'm SURE you can guess whose is whose...

And then it was time to head on home. A beautiful drive with just one picture to give you a tiny idea (really couldn't believe it when we were driving up on Friday. Amazing)

So there we have it. A picture-tastic blog for you that I hope has kept the need for pictures at bay for a little while!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ten Things I Miss About Britain

1. Ginger Nuts
2. Squash. Apple & Blackcurrant particularly.
3. Surly People (especially behind supermarket check outs)
4. Having a "local"
5. People thinking the way I do things is "normal" (like what I want to buy from supermarkets)
6. Understanding the weather...
7. Our Friends (clearly this should really be number one)
8. Radio 2
9. Music (though the counter to that is that there are some AMAZING 90s classics stations...we've been enjoying Ace of Base...)
10. Reasonably priced books (no really, in comparison to here...)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Outdoorsy Types

On Wednesday, we bought a car. It is green and has a CD player. It is also almost as old as the 16 year old Bluebird which Welshy is currently taking care of for us. It means that now we can go places and do exciting things without them taking four hours longer than they should due to public transport.
So yesterday we went to Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. Was great! So many birds (guess who forgot binoculars AND camera...) and so much loveliness. Trees and reservoirs and geckos and tuatara (they're dinosaurs. No, really!) Oh and for those of you, Snoo, who don't believe, please look at Tuis on the website! ;) (Don't worry, we are getting evidence together for you...) So yes, was grand.
We then drove on to Porirua just to find out what it was and went shopping. After much wailing in one shop about how I clearly wasn't Kiwi shaped, I finally found a pair of jeans that fit perfectly (but were way too boring to buy) and a lovely pair of brown trousers with a blue pin-stripy-ness going on that *almost* fit. Close enough anyway! So I'm happy. :) Husbink is a little unconvinced that they go with the *new shoes*...but he will see!
Today has been the first proper nice weather in about ten days, maybe longer so we had to continue our oudoorsy thang and get on them there mountain bikes. Which was all well and good in theory but we really are lunatics when it comes to these things. Somehow, we seem to have this belief that we are not, in fact, beginners. Yes, I have spent most of my life commuting to school or work on a bike but that was in Cambridge. And the defining feature of Cambridge? That's right, ONE hill... (No, the cycle bridge and Hills Road/Mill Road bridges DO NOT count!) And Husbink apparently spent his life cycling up and down wee hills as a child but he hasn't done any since I've known him. And that's seven years. We did, three years ago, when last in the southern hemisphere, have three little adventures on mountain bikes. But really, nothing to fully take us out of the beginner category. So today when faced with a range of options, why did we decide "Medium" was the way to go? I at least had the sanity to not allow Husbink to be aware of the medium/hard tracks...but really. We need "Easy". Little climbs where you then have the satisfaction of a long gentle down. NOT six kilometres of basically uphill with a couple of terrifying downs to give you a break followed by three kilometres of DOWN. (ok, so actually, that last bit of down was mostly fun, my kind of mountain biking until the scree at the end when I panicked and nearly died...ahem). Besides the stupidity of doing far too hard a track for our first outing, we also nearly lost our marriage over it too. You see, my chain fell off. After I'd followed Husbink's advice on how to deal with ups and downs and the best way to change gears. Now I'm tempted to go into all the details but perhaps having both forgiven each other it would be unfair of me to rake over the details here, however comical they might be. Suffice to say, there was much male bravado on one side and much untrusting, whingey wiffle on the other. (Ultimately Husbink did fix chain and I did swoon at his wonderfullness)
So I'm hoping it rains for a couple of days now...Any more of this outdoorsy stuff may well kill either me or my marriage!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hair Issues

I don't know what to do...I had a plan to grow my hair again but it is at the yucjy stage now and I'm not so sure (Welshy I'm sure can empathise! ;) ). So I have for your enjoyment some pictures...
Long Hair... (about two and a half years ago)

Short Hair... (last December, the red fluff is Mad Medea's feather was her hen night...)

And Now hair (well, it was May but it is pretty similar...)
So...not the best pics in the world ever but the best I can find to demonstrate the hair options...silly me not to take more "hair shots" on a more frequent basis...
So help!
I have about ten days til Husbink next works the weekend and my intention to so have whatever form of chop I'm having then...your challenge is set!

Mwah, mwah!

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Well, I've had a lousy day trying on clothes here in the Hutt. It appears I'm either a size 9 or a size 11 here...which means nothing fits! EXCEPT in one shop where they actually do mid sizes...but I didn't like any of their stuff. I have also come to the conclusion that actually jeans don't suit me... Will have to drag poor Husbink back with me next week and see if we can get somewhere!
So because of that and because the lovely Pomgirl demanded, here is a picture of the *new shoes*.
I hope you like... :) and please don't tell me if you don't! I'm not up to rejection today! ;)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Some good, some bad...

What ho me hearties! (Having accidentally missed mentioning International Talk Like a Pirate day at the right time...)
It's the weekend, hurrah, huzzah!
It has been a mightily manic week with a few nights in Queenstown seeing my bro, sister-in-law, her best friend and the best friend's boyfriend. Was a great time with even a day of skiing thrown in! (I still can...and didn't fall at all, was mightiliy chuffed at that! Husbink did fall but none too bad and one extremely hysterical! It happened to be on a rather steep, rather icy section which meant although the fall was quite small, he was about 100m further down the slope before he was able to stand up! My brother was watching from the bottom and said it looked rather elegant and that he appeared to be swimming through the snow...Husbink did say he was thinking of Bananaman at the time!) However, getting to Queenstown was not such a bundle of laughs. The last section, from Christchurch to Queenstown, was on a propeller plane. On a day when several of the ski fields were closed due to high winds. To land in Queenstown, you have to come in over a ring of mountains (some of which were used for the Dimrill Dale in LotR, The Two Towers) and then get down pretty fast to be able to land. It was the most turbulence I've ever experienced (admittedly, I've been lucky) and the angle the plane was pointing was rather alarming! I know I'm sounding a bit of a wimp here - Husbink enjoyed it - but my main problem was the afore-mentioned issues with vomit...the number of people turning green and starting to hack was not so good for me! Fortunately we all made it down intact and the efficiency of the ground crew made up for everything - we were at our hotel in less than half an hour from landing!
The return journey was less eventful but sadly the flight from Christchurch to Wellington was delayed by an hour and a half. Not much in the grand scheme of things I know but when the flight is only 30 minutes... So we got home at 9.30 after a shuttle bus, two planes and two buses to find that the power company had made a bit of a gaff. Somehow, when I rang them and registered for gas AND electricity, they decided to only do the electricity bit so while we were off sunning ourselves in Queenstown, our gas was disconnected. As the power company shuts at 9pm, there was nothing I could do about it until the next morning. I was not happy. (A brief aside: Things are really not 24hr here, even most restaurants shut around 9.30. On the whole, I approve of not 24hr-ness, not being able to internet shop, generally having to be more chilled out and have more contact with real people etc etc etc...but now that I can't have these things, I'm finding it a little! Say soothing things!!!)
So at 7am the next morning I was straight on the phone to said power co, all ready to read the riot act...and they sorted it and gave us a credit of $25 and generally made things good. And we have heat and hot water again and everything is well. Without me having to shout. Though I was a little sarcastic...
And now the working week is over again and I can sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful country.
My love of NZ has taken a little knock this week, mostly through the gas issue, but I'm sure it will be back again soon.
Got to go, time for Home and Away (has totally stolen my affection away from any other soap!)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A distinct lack of earthquakes

Last Friday night, there was an earthquake here. A pretty decent one. Not proper big, not scary, but could definitely feel it, know what it was etc. And what did we do? We slept through it! I was so utterly wiped out from the end of the first week of work and Husbink was recovering from a wee gastro bug he'd acquired at work and we were dead to the world. And I'm not sure we are going to live it down! A number of people on feeling the earthquake thought "Ooooh! It's their first one! I wonder what they thought?" And have asked us. And we've had to disappoint them all by telling them the truth. Hey ho...I'm sure we'll get another chance to experience one while we are here, just as long as it's not "The Big One" (apparently, it's overdue...)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

3 Things?

Well, as I'm feeling like typing but have had a rather uninteresting day for repeating (but actually work was quite good), I shall do this that Welshy tagged me to do a few days ago...
(But I'm returning to the Three Things rule...!)

1. Three things that scare me:
Places/spaces when I am not in control
Mice (especially near my head when I'm in bed...)
Husbink navigating

2. Three people that make me laugh:
Eddie Izzard
Philip...not many of you know him...Ruthie G does..."My wife went to Dorset..."

3. Three things I hate the most:
Wet toilet seats
People who try to take advantage of you (like the removal men...anyone who hasn't heard that story, do let me know, I'm dying to rant all over again!)

4. Three things I don't understand:
Mathematical Biology (not that this matters greatly in my life anymore, I just remember the complete confusion before dropping out of that course!)
Why I can't find the perfect thing to do with my life
Why Husbink puts up with me

5. Three things I'm doing right now:
Drinking peppermint tea (with aid of shiny new teapot :) )
Trying to stretch my back after a day of bad posture at work
Thinking I should really be getting ready to go to bible study at church

6. Three things I want to do before I die:
Find out what it is I want to do with my life and do it for a while!!!
Write something readable
Be a grandmother

7. Three things I can do
Acquire marriage proposals for my chocolate cake
Reformat forms in Word til the cows come home (current job)
Make Husbink laugh

8. Three ways to describe my personality:
Loopy (in a number of ways)
(Husbink's three were: Hearty, Comely and Wenchly. I'm not sure he was describing my personality!) (He's reading a book in medieval history...)

9. Three things I can't do:
Cope with ill people (that's why he's the doctor)
Shop for hours on end (the drop comes way too early for me these days)
Play the piano as well as I'd like (or used to)

10. Three things I think you should listen to:
Carmen (but maybe that's actually see)
Terry Wogan (as much as I tried to give different answers to Welshy, this one had to stay!)
Me! ;)

11. Three things you should never listen to:
That country song that radio 2 loved for a while...the "hell yeah and ya haaa" song
metal spoons on saucepans

12. Three things I'd like to learn:
to knit
to bake well enough that I could make up cake recipes
more bible

13. Three favourite foods:
Hummous and pitta

14. Three beverages I drink regularly:

15. Three shows I watched as a kid:
Cities of Gold
Why don't you

16. Three people I'm tagging (to do this):
Having such a wee blog community and knowing that two of you have already done has to be Snoo and Mad Medea. And Ruthie G. Who I don't think has a blog...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It all comes down to shoes...

I have a deep and growing suspicion that, at some time, every female blogger finds the need to write about either handbags or shoes or both. And so it has come to my turn! Because I have *new shoes*. They are mostly brown in a chocolatey way but they have pink toes and pink straps and a little bit of pink on the heel. I like them. They make me happy! Husbink suggested I put a picture of them on here to gain opinions but I just couldn't do it...what if you all hated them and felt candid enough to say so?! That would be no fun... But mostly what I wanted to say about my *new shoes* is that they come from a stretch of the High Street here in Lower Hutt that I think would make Welshy faint. We have Bay Shoes, Shoe Clinic, Number 1 Shoe Warehouse, High Street Shoes...and at least one other shoe a couple of clothes sops which I think have shoes that may not sound much compared to some stretches of say, Oxford Street, but for little Lower Hutt it is pretty intensive shoe joy!
Today was indeed all about retail therapy... We both had the day off and after a slow start we ventured into the Hutt and shopped. I am still in mourning actually because the lovely trousers I saw a week ago in a shop window are now nearly all gone with only a size 8 (I could get them on but they did unpleasant stretchy things around the crotch) or a size 16 (if I wanted to look like a clown, I'd buy a red nose...) so no trousers (and they would have been so good with the *new shoes* But instead I got a teapot. Just plain white with a satisfying structure and some "healthy harmony" loose tea - may take the place of "tranquility", we shall see! And Husbink got a plunger (of the coffee making variety, not the unblocking drains sort) and some "java" and we came home and made afternoon beverages (I can't really call it tea when he's drinking coffee can I?) And it was good. But maybe not as good as tea with a girly...sigh!
We also invested in Edmonds, THE New Zealand cook book. So Saturday will now be a day of baking while Husbink sleeps between nights...(and maybe a day for hunting further for some almost-as-good trousers...)
Work tomorrow...we shall see how the body responds!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What to do?

Am I meant to not work? I don't mean am I meant to be a lazy arse but really, why does a bog standard job have such a bad impact on me?
To give a bit of background to this sudden "wargh". Ever since we left the UK, the good doctor has been commenting on how much I'm back to how I was before ... well, before the IBS, the phobias and the OCD. How I'm more relaxed. More fun. Have more sense of humour. And indeed how very much healthier I am. I have been amazed by the behaviour of my bowel and the almost complete lack of IBS despite house moving stresses and a new country and all the rest of it. And I was winning huge ground on the OCD in particular. And then I went back to work. And I feel dreadful. My stomach is tight and ughy, my digestive system doesn't know whether it is coming or going (one of my major problems with IBS for me is that I feel dreadful, dreadful, dreadful, starving with no warning to get in there before I'm ridiculously overhungry) and I'm not doing sooooo well on the OCD. (Apologies that I am not explaining either the OCD or the phobia if you don't already know about them - I'm just not really in the zone for lengthy explanations at the moment, maybe later.) So anyway, back to the point in hand. I feel naff! More than naff really... I'm completely exhausted at the end of a days work. And the work isn't that hard. And I'm not getting wound up by it. And I am leaving it behind when I leave. But still, I am shattered with no proper appetite and a sudden lack of enjoyment of life that comes with the return of the IBS. Am I being too hard on myself? Is it just that actually I've not gone to work for about seven weeks and suddenly I expect myself to be able to do full days of work no problem? Or what? Hum. No fun!
I'm not helped by the fact that I keep getting contradictory advise from someone close to me (not the doctor). One minute it is "don't you think you need some full time work?" followed moments later by "at the first sign of IBS, quit!" So I do not know what to do. Which is fine really cos I never do but thought I would get it out of my system here. :) Thank you!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Well, work has worked out why they want me a little more and I'm starting to be able to get things done. I'm hoping to be able to do the project in less time than they desire. As several people will (and have) pointed out, this would be diddling myself out of extra money but there is such a thing as diddling yourself out of extra sanity too and I rather prefer to keep the latter in line rather than gain more of the former! Call me a loon...
On Saturday we ventured into Wellington...but if I started the story there, I would deprive you all of some good pointing and laughing opportunities so I shall rewind a little...
Saturday morning I woke up far earlier than I wanted to and a combination of hunger and too many thoughts whizzing round my mind prevented me from getting back to sleep and it seemed it was time to get up and do something about the hunger and the brain rush. Several hours later I ventured back into the bedroom to see if the husband was anywhere near surfacing. I was met with a slightly pitiful "Is there something wrong with my eye?" I turned the light on and good grief there was something wrong! You know normally people ask you that question (or variations thereon) and the answer is usually something along the lines of "in your mind" so I was a little surprised to see a distinctly red and starting to be swollen eye. In his best doctorly fashion he had a good prod around the eye in front of the mirror and eventually decided that we needed to go to hospital and get a second opinion. So along we trotted and had the blessed bonus of being able to just wander into the back of A&E and ask a colleague to take a eight hour queues for us! (Well, there has to be a bonus somewhere for working in a public health service?!) And yes, they concluded that it was a trauma injury. A scratch on his eye and a very puffy eyelid...looking rather like someone had punched him. But the question we will never be able to answer is who? Was it me? Was I so irritated in the middle of the night by one of his hip/back/bum kneeings (there were at least four last poor bottom!) that I rolled over and socked him one? Was he so deeply asleep that he neither noticed his flailing arm or the impact it made with his eye? We will never know. We favour the "him" option as being both more likely (I'm way too light a sleeper to manage to whack someone that hard in the night and know nothing about it!) and better for marital that's the end of that! Let's just hope my posterior gets a break from the kickings tonight...
So back to our day out. We mooched in Wellington (trying to find me a teapot, the treat I had decided I was allowed but as yet have failed to purchase) and then met some family friends for coffee which was just lovely though sad to hear some of the things that have happened with them since I last saw them a number of years ago. But there was cake! Let's focus on the positive for now...
We then met a couple from church for dinner and a film (could it be we might make friends here?) which was lovely. And the film fantabulous - "Lady in the Water". Not to be confused with some form of gore fest as we first did when we heard the title it is instead a fantasy/comedy/jumpy-tense film of greatness. Those of you out there who enjoy Jasper Fforde I think would like it. It had some of the same comedy on the subject of plot devices and character types in particular. The cinematography was also very good. I'm not usually one for getting excited by camera angles and fuzzy edges and the like but this was really very well done and added so much to the film. Hurrah!
There was more and it was good but I'm aware I'm reaching the state of tiredness that allows no further conversation just lists to tumble out of your mouth..which isn't so much fun for reading! So very speedily - good church on Sunday, good rugby game on Sunday, tolerable work today, possibility of VERY exciting work to come (but I'm trying to not be giddy until I know more so shall not elaborate just yet), generally good stuff!
More happens! ciao xxx

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Online, Online, Rah, Rah, Rah!

How good does it feel to have broadband at home and available for my every whim again? Ah, hurrah!
And indeed, how good does it feel to have a home!?
We have been here since last Friday and while we rattle rather a bit due to lack of furniture, totally unable to fill the place, it is still starting to feel like home.
Moving in was a catalogue of traumas (not getting keys until 2pm, Andy starting work at 4pm, the rentals company trying to give us a smaller truck than we'd booked that wouldn't fit the bed, the new fridge freezer falling over in the back of said truck almost killing our mountain bikes...) but when it came down to it, everything actually worked out fine. Which seems to be the way things are going for us here. Every once in a while (like every couple of hours...) something has come along that makes us panic and think "this is it! The point at which everything goes wrong/we lose everything/get deported/end up penniless for the rest of our days stuck in an airport lounge, endlessly being transfered from one country to another..." or something like that... And then it all works out! Normally a long way before the deported fears kick in! And so it was with the house moving day. I did spend a little while in tears in a big warehouse type shop (cunningly called The Warehouse) but actually, everything was fine.
Today I started work. Which was a bit of a surprise. I'm not going to say too much about it today as I'd like to leave it another day to see if they can work out why they employed me!
So other than moving house, we have been continuing this whole settling in thing. And one big part of that has been our mountain bikes. Ahem. Yeah, right! We are making use of them but so far, have only achieved one vaguely proper bike ride. We have not become sudden amazing, invincible people with overly-toned legs, no indeed! But on our one proper bike ride, we did come across something bizarre that I wanted to share with y'all. As we were cycling up the Hutt River, we saw a car coming towards us really slowly, coming to a standstill every once in a while. As we got closer, we realised a dog was running along side the car. The reason for the car's pauses was whenever the dog found something interesting to sniffle. It wasn't a little old lady who wouldn't be able to exercise her dog any other way but a young healthy looking woman. Random we thought but ok. Until we saw four more people doing this! They would lean over, slowing to a crawl, open the passenger door and out would jump a dog. Or two! And the owner would slam the door and crawl along behind them...does anyone else think this a little strange?! I mean, it wasn't raining! The wind wasn't even too bad for the Hutt! The sun was shining and the river was looking beautiful! Why would you not get out and walk?!
I'm clearly not a kiwi yet...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Continued Hair Care, the All New Thermometer and the Best in New Zealand Cuisine

As mentioned in the last post, hair care is an interesting concept here. And my hair has definitely developed a mind of its own since arriving here, not solely due to the wind. The front has returned almost to the teenage years of waviness BUT without any real signs of frizz! Something in the water is gooooood! My hair is exceedingly soft and fluffy and generally lovely. Now, I have seen pomgirl's post on her blog about a belief that her hair got too soft...I am of the camp that say "this cannot possibly be so!" My only problem is it does tend to lead to an excessive amount of fiddling and playing with my hair due to the unbelief that this can really be true! I shall have to do some hideous form of peroxiding to make it harsh and brittle and take away this confusing state of wavy non-frizz! Perplexing...
Perhaps not as distressing though as my new thermometer...Since the ridiculous weight loss that came about last year, I have been in fairly constant danger of losing my wedding and engagement rings, so much so that they had been spending a lot of time on a necklace rather than on my finger (Why did I not get the adjusted? Well, because clearly one day I'm going to put all that weight back on, much to many people's relief!). So the weight gain did pretty well in the good old USA and I was no longer in constant danger of losing the lovelies. Until the temperature drops. Last night as I was going to bed, I knew it was getting colder and colder as my rings became overly loose. This morning when I got up, I knew it to be colder than it had been for over a week as my rings continued to threaten to evade me. So I have a lovely little way of telling just how cold I'm going to be, but what use can this be to humanity as a whole? Can I market my loose-ringedness? It seems unlikely, and this seems like a rather long winded way of telling you all that after the last week, spring seems to have decided to take a break for a while!
And finally, the best of New Zealand cuisine (I suspect this will be a recurring post title!). Thus far, my favourite addition to any cafe menu, is the BLAT. That's bacon, lettuce, AVOCADO and tomato. So good. Such a simple addition and yet one that works miracles, turning the humble BLT into a gourmet dish, fit for, well, the masses! I'm generally very happy with this whole cafe culture thing they've got going on. Such good cafes. Such good food. Still so cheap! Today, I had poached eggs, bacon and portobella mushrooms on toast in a lovely little cafe at the end of the road. It was so incredibly tasty (the bacon is significantly better too) and it cost me all of three pounds and fifty pence! Yum! We are also being spoilt every evening by the lovely food in the conference centre. It has been absolutely amazing. While I can't wait to move into our own place on Friday (have I mentioned that yet?!), I will miss being waited on by the wonderful Dennis who cooks us amazing meals and then has the time to answer all our bizarre questions on New Zealand culture, from the intricacies of Maori culture to the growing season and uses for the fejoia. It has been delicious and educational!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Perhaps because I have been a little bit poorly, perhaps because the good doctor has gone out to work and left me alone again, perhaps because we have been in NZ long enough for it to start to be normal...but whatever the reason I have been having a thoughtful afternoon, much of which has been while semi-dozing so whether it will translate into anything readable I do not know!
The first train of thinking has been about Snoo's first comment to the last post (the bit about thoughts on her blog). It is so very true. Perhaps it is true for me in a different way to how Snoo meant but this is what it made me think about: Today, I have been a little bit less good. A little more loopy than I like to be, generally a little stressed. And I thought "wouldn't it be good to write this all down? I shall go to my blog and purge my system" but then I thought not. I wondered for a while about setting up a new blog in an obscure name and getting it all out my system there. So why not here? I'm not sure that it is anything to do with not wanting to tell people the stresses and strains of the last few hours or days but it is that, knowing the diversity of the audience, I would not know how to tell it. Were I telling innermost thunklings to a group of strangers I could just away and do it but once you know people you have modes of communication and not all would work for all. In my mind! I suspect this ramble is likewise not making sense!
Observation many people do you know that you really respect? I've just started reading a novel that I've picked up in the conference centre about a jewish community in north London. It starts with the death of a very respected teacher. He's sufficiently respected that he has earned the title Rav rather than just Rabbi (a term I did not know before, if you want a definition I can find a description from the book). It's been known that he was dying and each Saturday, the synagogue has been more full than the last as people are desperate to be sure they are there for his final service. I thought that was quite amazing. Someone who had that kind of influence over their community. As yet there is no indication that there was any abuse of that privilege or anything like that, the impression is just of a good, well respected man. Can that kind of community closeness be real in our society?
And finally, as I appear to be in a spate of posting in threes...Observation three. It's really incredibly windy here!!! I couldn't keep up the serious observations any longer! According to the BBC website (I have not yet found my NZ version, oh source of all knowledge, oh beloved BBC!) the wind in the city today is 32knots. It drops tomorrow to a mere 19 before getting back up to 27... This is no good for hair. If any of you should happen to visit me or indeed Wellington any time in the future, especially from September to December, do not expect hair styles to work. Choose in advance to go for windswept, do not bring straighteners, do not bring holding products (they won't), do not pass go... As I was being persuaded by the hair dresser a few days before leaving England that a fuller, curlier look would work for me, I shall be investing in a range of products to pretend the outcome of the wind was intentional...wish me luck!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sunburn, the demise of the BOGOF and sanitary education

Well. Where to start? We almost entirely have a place to live sorted now, including offers of a bed and table and chairs to get us started on the furniture front. I have quotes for insurance, phone, broadband and, umm, something else... I have been a productive little bunny!
So now time for some oddments from the last few days, a few bits to tickle you...
Oddment 1: On Saturday it rained like I've rarely seen rain before. Yesterday (Wednesday), I managed to get sunburnt...lying on my bed, through glass, through my jeans, in under an hour! As Andy keeps pointing out, the sun is as strong here as Spain - if only the wind would stop long enough to let you feel it! (Being fair, we have had several days of glorious weather now which has been mightily helpful on the settling in front.)
Oddment 2: It's strange what you take for granted about the way "home" is. And strange what you miss! But one of the most striking things I've found so far in supermarkets is the almost entire lack of the BOGOF. Yes, it is true, I have not been able to buy my shampoo and get my conditioner free. Nor have I been able to get two bottles of wine for the price of one. And worst of all (though a slight detour from the BOGOF), book shops do not appear to have cottoned on to the all powerful, all splendid 3 for 2! (And books are really rather expensive here. However, a second hand book shop or two and the library will be doing well out of me!) Returning to the point, perhaps it is just that Morrisons has been our "local" for too long but I am rather startled by the prospect of having to do most of my shopping at full price!
Oddment 3: I'm afraid we have to briefly plumb the depths of what is acceptable for public consumption here to be able to tell you some peculiar facts I have gathered these last few days... The brand of sanitary towel that I am currently experimenting with in NZ (always has been one of the most distressing things about changing locale...if anyone wants to post me some Always...) have lots of little facts on the pull of strip. Todays facts included: An average woman's skin is an area of 17 cubic metres, expanding to 18.5 when pregnant; Termites go through wood at double the rate when listening to heavy metal music; When a glass breaks, the cracks spread at a rate faster than 5000kmph; A woman says an average of 7000 words a day, men weigh in at just over 2000!!! And that my dears was why you had to listen to the waffle about sanitary equipment. What would be more interesting was how many of the 7000 words were aimed at men and how many were aimed at women!! Answers on a postcard...
There endeth the oddments. I shall attempt to be a little more illuminating soon with tales of houses and churches and house groups and maybe even jobs. (I *might* get bored if I never did any work...)
Kiss kiss

Sunday, August 27, 2006


So you know when things go really, really right but it makes everything really, really complicated?!
Today has been a Good Day. We went to the local church near the hospital...we'd read their website and thought they seemed Sound and had also had them recommended to us by the woman in the Christian bookshop following my description of St Matthias ("Well, it is technically Anglican. But it's not."). So we arrived at 9am and went to the morning worship service. Which was good but a wee bit formal. But afterwards so many people talked to us that by the time we made it to the hall for coffee (as in latte! And five types of tea! And freshly baked muffins!) we were greeted with " Ah! You must be our new couple!". So we stayed for coffee and then stayed for the 10.30 family service. The children's ministry is amazing. Well over 100 kids all in this huge hall with different stands doing different things. So then the band taught the church "In Christ Alone", the final hymn was "Be Thou My Vision" (in 3/4 with original words no less!!) and a guy called Nigel Pollack that some of you may have heard of (I've heard him a couple of times at Word Alive - scottish student ministry guy) did the sermon. We were then invited to a couple's house for lunch, had a lovely time, went on a big walk with them (360 views over Wellington, the Hutt and even to South Island!).
So, the argh part. We want this to be our church, we are pretty sure it is right that it is our church. But we don't know what to do about where to live. The place mentioned yesterday is not close to the church. If we lived there we'd always have to "travel" to church. We wouldn't be able to just be there. Which would mean travelling to housegroup. Travelling to all the activities it has on that I want to be involved in. Travelling to any friends houses. Which doesn't seem a good plan.
I've also been reminded today that part of the plan for this year was for me to be able to take some time out, not feel compelled to work, be able to volunteer, be able to spend time with God, have some space. If we go with the first place, I'm going to have to work to afford. But if we don't go with the first place, well, we don't know what we'll end up with. And I'm going to have to make this decision tomorrow kind of single handedly while Andy is at work. I think I know the decision we will make but argh none the less.
Apologies all that this is perhaps not as jolly and uplifting as yesterday in terms of a post. But actually, I probably am more jolly and uplifted than I was yesterday. Although this increases our stress for a while as we don't know whether we have somewhere to live sorted or what will happen, it feels much more like the right decision to me. I am much more at peace with it.
And we might still get sea views.
And the coffee in Petone (our current favourite suburb of the Hutt - pronouced pe-toe-knee) (ish)) is as good as any in Wellington.
And it has ferries and trains and buses galore.
And Andy will be able to cycle to work.
So we just need to see what Monday morning brings now.
Hopefully there will be a silly post for you sometime tomorrow!
Mwah, mwah!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Adventures Begin...

Mostly the adventures begin with attempting to create a blog that a) others like using (apologies to those who have been distressed by the badness of the previous blogging landscape - let's hope this is happier) b) I like using c) is suitably reflective of the mood/nature of the times... And this is where I really hit my first problem. By having started out with a bold title involving adventures, I then baulked at whether I could really set up a pink blog. Adventure. Pink. Adventure. Pink. I decided no. For now!
You see, I discovered a month or so ago (and have been adding to this discovery ever since by means of telling people this story) that not everyone realises that I have a pink kitsch (sp?) side. And indeed, not everyone, once this has been pointed out to them, appreciates pink in the same way as I do. I'm not a girly girl. But pink kitsch. It's so good! Which is why, in San Francisco last week, I HAD to purchase the baby-pink hoodie with the baby-blue "San Francisco" across the chest. HAD to.
So now that the preliminaries are done, some of you might want to know what is going on in the world of Jen (and perhaps also the world of Andy) now...
We've arrived in the lovely area of New Zealand known as the Hutt. (MANY people have enjoyed all the various Jabba-related jokes/oneliners/brief asides that this can lead to...) We have had a week of exploring (there has been a lot of exploring of cafes and we have almost learnt that portions here are as big as the US and so we really don't need wedges and sour cream with a salad...) which may have led to a place to live. But may not. The paperwork isn't going to go through until Tuesday now and the flat can be stolen from under our nose at any time we gather. Which maybe it should be. It isn't the cheapest place in the world but it is perhaps the most beautiful flat I've ever seen. And if you crane your neck just right, there IS a sea view from the bedroom window! The flat is actually across the bay from the Hutt in Wellington (oh capital city, half the size of Leeds!) and the life looks good over there. But the public transport is not so good so Andy is definitely needing a car for work. Grr!
There does seem to be one thing after another that needs sorting with no sign of relief but I'm sure we will get there soon and start to properly enjoy this green and pleasant land to which we have escaped. (Major bonuses so far: lack of bureaucracy (except in rental market); hills, right there!; clear blue water in the it's freezing at the moment but it still looks good!; wine. wine. wine. wine. Lindauer for all of $10. Montana for all of $12. And then there are all the rest that we don't know yet. We've been introduced to Squawking Magpie wine which was very tasty and look forward to further forays!)
Which probably brings me to the end of the burbles for now. Apologies that for a while this is going to look a little stark. Until we've got our laptop hooked up again, getting pics on isn't giong to be the most straightforward thing...
Tally ho...