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)