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!