Monday, January 29, 2007

Happy Things

Today I have done lots of achieving (washing, cleaning, shopping, sorting, list writing...) and so am allowing myself a play with photos for your enjoyment. (Well, for my enjoyment really, but I hope you enjoy too!)

So. On Saturday, after a slow morning pottering in the garden (and the skip being taken away, hurrah! Though I may have failed to blog about the roof men and the skip so that won't mean much necessarily, but be assured it caused great joy! We also saw this weta on our wall, quite impressive.)), we got ourselves all dressed up and headed round to Eastbourne (about a 25 minute drive from our house, on the harbour opposite Wellington) for our friends' wedding. It was lovely. The service was really warm and inclusive and lovely. Then we spent about an hour and a half in the church grounds sipping wine (or orange juice), eating canapes and cake, listening to the speeches and generally having a marvellous time. (Included in this time was trying to stay out of the sun as no one wanted to wear sun screen at a wedding!)

Following that time, the bride, groom and their families headed off for a family meal and a group of us made our way to the beach at Days Bay. As it had been cloudy and miserable in the morning, Husbink and I had not taken our togs but several others had and they were soon in the water despite its general freezing-ness and the rather large jellyfish that was coasting about the place.

Having remained fully clothed in our pretty dresses and shirts and ties, a few of us went to play frisbee. The wind was pretty strong (as usual) but I was getting the hang of aiming the frisbee about three feet to the left the person I was aiming at and it seemed to go pretty well! Unfortunately, one chap got a bit carried away and forgot about the wind. Next thing we knew, Husbink was trying to get the frisbee out of the tree like this:
Once everyone was dried off and warmed up and so on, we headed back to Eastbourne to a lovely little pub called the Lifeboat for tea. This was followed by a quick stroll on Eastbourne beach to watch the sunset before making our way to a restaurant called The Beach for the evening's entertainment. There was quite a comedy band so we had much fun dancing. The bridge & groom had taken lessons and impressed us all with their first dance - the groom had learnt how to shimmy very impressively! (I was glad Husbink noticed this too, I did not want to be accused of watching the groom's bottom!)

We made it home just after midnight, highly contented despite our car's complete failure to start without a jump all day!

Sunday, January 28, 2007


So. Some of you will already know about this as it affects you personally. Some of you will already have heard others talk about it. Some of you will have no idea. I'll try to make this understandable to all!

So. We currently have a week (or just under) to make applications for Husbink's job next year back in the grand old UK. These applications can't be made to specific jobs but just to areas of the country in which there may be a number of jobs, some of which will appeal, some of which won't. The majority of jobs do not take into account that you may want a life outside work or indeed have a family who equally need lives. You are expected to move over really quite large areas every year or so, basically never allowing for you to buy a house, settle into a most of these posts run for seven years, chances are we need to consider our children in this decision too. Husbink can only apply to four areas.

Today, I am sad because we have pretty much had to count Yorkshire out of being one of those areas. The actual jobs there just look so much like not what we are looking for that we don't think we can apply there. We may still because it is quite hard to say we won't.

The East of England jobs, i.e. near my parents, require a lot of moving about and so don't appeal.

The Northern jobs, near Husbink's parents, look like they could well be in with a chance. They *seem* to be fundamentally based in one centre with short forays to other hospitals for specific reasons. Should we even be as lucky as to get a job in the same city as Husbink's parents, I would have family to look after me when he went on these forays.

The South Yorkshire jobs are pretty good. All centred on one place (and that being a place that already has a good friend living there - we shall call her Anne (with an "e") and see if anyone can work out why :) ). South Yorkshire is the only definite so far.

The Severn jobs appeal. And there are other good friends in that region, we shall call them Mad Medea and Husband for fairly obvious reasons. But we start to be a long way from my parents.

And so it goes on. There is no "ideal" out there. There are also very few "goods" and rather a lot of "bads".

We at least have the confidence that God brought us to New Zealand for a reason and so He can take us somewhere else for a reason to. But we have to make the applications for Him to be able to act on them!

Apologies, this is perhaps the most boring post you've ever sat through but I needed to get it out of my system. So I shall leave you with a pretty picture from my garden to make up for it and a promise that tomorrow or the next day I shall write about the lovely weekend we have had with a wedding, frisbee on the beach and generally good times.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Today I had an email from a friend, let's call her Cherry, who I went to secondary and sixth form with to tell me that our head of year from secondary days, Ms Webster, died earlier this week.
I haven't seen Ms Webster for at least six years, probably seven and so in some ways it feels kind of wrong to be sad about her death. Ms Webster lived round the corner from my parents for a number of years and so I did know her slightly more than the average teacher - she used to drive my saxophone to school for me having seen just how alarming it looked in a bike basket! Cherry and I also had an evening drinking champagne with Ms Webster to celebrate our A Level results (two years after she had ceased to be our teacher and about six months after we had reached legal drinking age - never fear!). She was an incredibly encouraging woman, keen to ensure everyone did their best. I think probably the time I valued her most was during one of my spells of unofficial agony aunt/counsellor to a number of people...normally, these agony aunt times were teenage angst and love life, but in one particular instance I was ending up rather out of my depth with half-tales of abuse and so on. Ms Webster found out about it all and helped us through as much as was in her power, arranging proper counselling and so on.
I've just spent some time googling her to see what I could find out - she had become a deputy head of the school and was still teaching geography & humanities. (I also then had a bit of a browse through which teachers were still there in general - which provided me with a few smiles and a few sighs.)
My mum is going to go to the funeral on my behalf along with Cherry, her mum and another friend on Saturday.
As I understand it, she was not known to have been ill prior to collapsing on Tuesday so it must be a huge shock to those in her classes currently.
Another instance that reminds me how very blessed I have been - as yet, the only really close encounter with death I've had has been my dog. And that was pretty harrowing. People have died at this sort of removed state - someone who was my adopted grandmother while we were in the states died when we'd been back in England about five years; a guy I went to youth group with died when I'd not seen him for four years; and so on. Having a hope in heaven, I am not scared of death but I am scard of missing people. And of not having said all the things I should have said, appreciated people enough, scared of regret.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


During January, the evening services at our church start with cricket and a BBQ (except that now building work has started on the cafe at church and that means no more BBQ. So just cricket then). Yesterday, I got there quite late and not much in the mood for cricket. But somehow, I was sucked in and very soon found myself chasing a ball with more "commitment" than usually display. Sadly this commitment was shown on rather slippy grass in pretty old, smooth soled trainers. I did a strange sort of splits and landed on my bottom. And twisted my knee. I wasn't immediately able to stand up but fortunately Husbink was there and did the doctor thing and all was well (apparently my cruciate ligaments felt a bit loose but nothing to worry about). By the end of the service I wasn't really aware that my knee hurt anymore. It twinged a little cycling home and I think I'll need to take care of it for a few days (which will be a bit tricky as it is a bank holiday here today and I'm going to the beach in a few hours for lots of sports...I think I'll stick to frisbee so I just knacker my shoulder instead!) but it will be fine.
On my way to bed last night I became aware of general stiffness over most of my body but specifically when I sat down. I put this down to the large number of hours spent sitting on the floor yesterday afternoon working on the embroidery of the pigs. When I woke up this morning and it had become continuous dull ache occasionally escalating to lots of pain all focussed on my right buttock, I realised otherwise. The initial concern was all for my left knee but really where the damage has been done is in the form of a large bruise on my behind. Fortunately, I don't think I have to sit down in public for a few days at least!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Some of you may remember one of my early posts and my great distress at the lack of the BOGOF (or the buy one get one free) here in NZ. Well, today, I achieved it! I found a BOGOF and I made use of it AND it was on shoes. Oh yes! And they were very cheap shoes so I got two pairs of shoes for the princely sum of $10 (around about £3.50). It may turn out that they aren't the best quality in the world (ahem) but I really don't think that is the point now is it?!
You know how shoe shops give names to shoes that can appear rather peculiar (or make absolute sense depending on the day and the shoe)? Well, one of the pairs I bought today is called "Wapy Boo". Which I think is great. There was a whole series of "Boos"...Rappan Boo, Jivan Boo, Crumble Boo, Petit Boo, Gotit Boo...The list goes on and on. Although I did buy the shoes I wanted, I have to confess I was at least a little influenced by the name Wapy Boo!
I'm generally chipper today because I have been ACHIEVING. As well as the shoes, I've bought all the embroidery silks I need to finish off (when I say "finish" I really mean get beyond having only just started) the picture of the pigs (sigh, how I miss my beepling boopling guinea pigs), been to the library and acquired two new books (one that is the second in a series I read the first of a few years ago and have been very keen to read, t'other is the first in a series that has recently been recommended to me), bought a wedding present (for the wedding we are going to next weekend), bought apples (so I can make apple cake this afternoon), run the dishwasher (because it needed doing) and washed some clothes (ditto). So now I think it must be lunch time! Yum!

Summer is here at last! Quick, get inside!!

So yes, the sun is back out again today and I'm almost getting used to it being here. It hid yesterday and Sunday but we've had more days of sun than not in the last week. Which means now I'm studiously hiding indoors (as the forecast told me I should) until it gets to at least 4pm and it is safe to venture out again...
Today and yesterday have been a little peculiar. I don't feel quite at liberty to go to great lengths here as some of what I would need to say to fully explain perhaps shouldn't be in such a public realm (no, that doesn't mean it was really interesting and you'd really want to me. Dull as.). But the point is that it has left me feeling rather tiz-wozzy. All het up over nothing. This morning I got myself all in a tangle over some bagpipes (Rather a long story, best not to ask). Fortunately this particular incident was resolved for me. Phew. The distressing thing in this though is that I seem to have picked up my big bag of stress again. Which wasn't in the plan at all. The trouble is that there are rather a lot of things that aren't in the plan currently. Like where we will be living in 6 months time. What jobs we will be doing. How we will have made it from this point to that point (particularly around the 5 month point). Ugh. And thus the other things not in the plan like "picking up big bag of stress" and "fretting day and night over each possible option" seem to be squeezing themselves in through a back door.
Yesterday Husbink decided it was time to find me some challenges. An educational one, a sporty one, a crafty one, a spiritual one and a miscellaneous one. For the educational one, I am considering a night class in Maori culture and language. For the crafty one...hmm...I'm maybe going to borrow a sewing machine and attempt to make some covers for our sofas....MAYBE! The sporty one was languishing a bit as Husbink realised that actually he just had lots of sporty goals for himself and hadn't really thought of one for me...And we didn't get as far as the spiritual or miscellaneous goals. And then there is always the question of THE GOAL. What is my main aim? Snoo asked me this today too. And I kind of wonder if all these little goals (not these ones necessarily but similar sized goals) might be my big goal. For whatever reason, I don't seem to be able to beat the stress monster, at least not yet and so perhaps my goal needs to be always maintaining reasonable, achieveable goals. Not allowing the cultural need for careers and money-making and so on to over ride health needs.
I strongly suspect I'm not making any sense but it has been helpful to me to do the writing. Cheers!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggidy jig...

I'm feeling a little un-waffly at the moment which is unusual I this may just be a bit of news for you and some pics as I've been remiss on them for a while...
We got back yesterday from a few nights away in Martinborough - just an hour away from here but over the hills so quite different landscape and weather. And a boutique wine growing region. We were in need of a bit of a break for a number of reasons and so grabbed the chance and it was very refreshing. Wednesday was lousy weather here but it got a bit better, or at least a bit warmer as we went over the hill (once we'd come down from being in the clouds again...) and we were quickly settled into our little cottage.
We had a pootle round town and spent some time in the tourist information place trying to work out what to do the next day. Then we ate cake. :) Before a snooze. Before more eating. It was a good day!
On Thursday, we were unable to believe how nice the day was and so set off for a long walk between various vineyards with too warm clothing on and not enough water. But the vineyards supplied us with bottles of water and we stayed in the shade as much as we could and mostly survived. We tasted I think 11 different wines. All very interesting, really quite a different texture and so on to northern hemisphere wines. But I'll keep my wine waffle to myself and just say it was yummy and we were happy. We had lunch at one vineyard which was very tasty and whiled away the afternoon at another, sitting under the shady rose-covered gazebo.
Generally a very good break. Until we were just about to fall asleep on the second night at which point I suddenly became allergic to something. No amount of antihistamines or nose blowing could relieve me and it wasn't until we'd been home again for about six hours that I returned to feeling normal. That wouldn't stop me going back though.
We stopped for a brief walk on the way home on Friday but with my lack of being able to breathe, I wasn't really in the zone. Pretty flowers though.

Once home, Husbink had to go to sleep cos he's on nights this weekend (starting last night) so I had to attempt to make our costumes for a fancy dress party in the evening. We had to go as something beginning with F. We went as flies. This was Husbink's idea. I was initially unimpressed but ultimately got into it...we had six legs, wings, goggles for eyes and antenna. We accept this may not have been entirely accurate but felt we needed something on our heads...sadly, there are currently no pictures of me. So one of Husbink will have to do (we gave up on having the goggles on our eyes very quickly!)

Hmm, you can't really see much of the costume can you? Hey ho...I've uploaded it now and that has sapped half my life away so I'm not going to delete it!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Catching the sun...

It is officially the worst summer in New Zealand since...well, there are various different statistics being thrown around like "coldest December since 1946", "worst summer since records began", "average December temperature 2006: 12.9C; average December temperature 2005 17.9C", "Boxing Day 2006: 14C; Boxing Day 2005: 25C". You get the idea.
Apparently it is all El Nino's fault. In an El Nino year, Australia gets extra specially dry. There are more forest fires (particularly in Victoria) that mean that we end up getting south-westerly winds straight off the antarctic rather than the balmy northerlies that should be coming off Brisbane and the like for us at this time of year. Hey ho. (Note: I can't entirely remember where I heard this. It may not be FACT. But it makes me feel better that at least there is a reason.)
So I've been in big jumpers, the heating has been on...grump! (For those in the northern hemisphere, you have to remember, this ought to be our July...)
Anyway, yesterday, the sun did come out. If had been threatening for a few days and not quite making it but yesterday turned out glorious. So glorious that, when combined with the lifted weight of a sermon out of the way following Sunday morning, I suggested to Husbink that we cycle down the river path to Petone and go to the Screaming Turtle cafe for lunch and then play on the beach.
As we were still in the grip of a southerly, the cycle there was reasonably like work but not too hard. Lunch was yummy. And then we tried to go to the beach. But it was so cold on the front that there ended up instead being some hasty re-texting of friends to arrange meeting back at our house for garden cricket instead of on the beach for sand castles and "running away".
The cycle home was fantabulous. Wind behind us we flew along the river track. Much fun. And just my kind of cycle - mostly flat but with little ups and downs so you have to work very occasionally and then get a "reward". Ah.
Unfortunately, I'm slightly paying the price today. My ankles and toes have been thoroughly eaten by some local wildlife and while I was very good and wore my hat and factor 30'd my arms, legs, neck...I forgot the little gap you get on your back between t-shirt and shorts when cycling or sitting on the front step chin wagging. So I have a little semi-circle across my back that just looks lovely...It isn't too painful as long as I continue to wear clothes that allow the area air. And the risk of getting re-burnt!
Fortunately, it isn't summer again today so I should be safe...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

new year, new you?

I'm not really one for the resolutions thang. I can't normally come up with anything precise enough to make it a resolution. But I do like to take the opportunity to take stock and see what might be a good thing to change, much as I do during Lent and around summer holidays.
This time last year, I was very glad to see the back of 2005. It had been a not very pleasant year with the onset of the IBS and the general sinking further into OCD/phobia-ridden life was at its deepest. My resolution for 2006, were I to have called it a resolution, was to have more fun. Not in a self obsessed, pleasure seeking way but in a stopping worrying, starting appreciating the good things in life (especially Husbink), generally getting my perspective right way. And see where that has taken me!
This year, I'm not so keen to scramble out of the previous year. I did manage to "have more fun" in 2006. I've made leaps and bounds with the IBS and the phobias/OCD (to prove this point, I stuffed and roasted a chicken on New Years Eve without anything close to a meltdown. That won't mean much to some of you but others will appreciate the milestone nature of this!) But there is still ground to be made. It is still a cause for celebration when I manage to do normal people things without washing my hands. I still worry and stress more than is healthy. And thus I still have times of IBS. I still don't appreciate Husbink for all he is worth (will I ever manage that? He's worth so much!).
So I think my non-resolution for the next bit of time, be it the year or just until Lent or coming home when something else replaces it, will be to keep on the same track.
I also had some new home resolutions and hopes which have been coming together. I hoped that leaving a lot of possessions in the UK would help me lose some of the materialistic nature I'd acquired of late. (Brought on in part by the IBS: if I can't feel nice, I want nice things.) I have achieved some of that change of mindset but I have no idea whether it is a permanent change or a situational change: once I'm back with all my stuff, will I just want more?
I hoped I would find something to be passionate about again. I've certainly found a job I care about and enjoy for the first time. I think it is slowly forming what I will be passionate about but I don't know the answer yet.
I hoped I would work out what was really important to me and my life. Again, some progress but nothing really concrete yet.
And one final thing that wasn't in that original thinking but is becoming so again (thanks in part to Mad Medea's recent post) (it was something I was working on pre-IBS monster) is to work on my ethical standards once more. Be it recycling, not getting frightened by the checkout assistants who think I'm mad for bringing back my own carrier bags, buying more fair trade, buying more locally sourced produce, driving less, growing vegetables, writing letters about things that matter...
I'll keep you informed. Most likely more informed than you want to be!