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!