Thursday, February 28, 2008

Keeping On With Whatever

I've tried to blog a few times in the last week. I have one half written post that I hope I'll finish one day but I know that now is really not the time I am, attempting to fill you in, keep you amused, something like that.

Life is a big long waiting game at the moment and I am not good at doing nothing. However, once I start doing nothing the lethargy sets in very fast and I find it hard to do anything...

There have been some good times in the past week or so. Husbink's birthday was good (except that going out by ourselves did allow me to vent more than I can around here and so there was a half hour interlude of floods of tears in a pub...). We saw "Be Kind, Rewind" which was no where near as funny as all reviews had led us to believe but still a pleasant way to pass some time. We also ate a good meal in vaguely comedy circumstances - we moved table three times in the restaurant for one reason and another...

We have seen friends. Two friends from Leeds who are now in Carlisle allowed us to watch the rugby with them (despite them not liking rugby at all, bless them). They also took us to their church the next morning which was good - very interesting use of building (used to be a shop).

We have seen Husbink's best man (in the pub, where else would we see him?). It was very good to chatter with him and Husbink assures me I only cramped their style a little bit. Hopefully he is taking us climbing on Friday which will be very good. As long as we don't disappoint him with our badness. He does caving and the like all over Europe so is a bit good...

Yesterday we spent the day with le welsh and le tart in Manchester (we had to go to Manchester to visit the GMC...they wouldn't believe that Husbink was who he said he was without a visit...but at least it means he can work again). We had a very lovely day wandering and eating and mooching and drinking.

Today we are back to the waiting game. Husbink has an interview on Monday for all of Scotland. That is the only interview so all chance of a job rides on this. We swing from optimism to pessimism to who-gives-an-ism with regular abandon.

Ah well, what can you do?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Home is Where?

When I last returned from an overseas expedition in November 2003, I struggled for some months to establish where home was. Not that I pined for any of the countries specifically that I had spent time in as they had been such brief visits, but having no particular home (and Husbink at that time staying in hospital accom wherever he was based) left me feeling baseless. It was too long since I had lived at my parents for Cambridge to feel like home. Husbink was technically not yet Husbink (in that it was still 7 months until our wedding) so his parents home was definitely not yet a home. Leeds had friends in it but neither of us had an abode there.

After about two weeks, I had a brief time when I suddenly left at home - sitting on the sofa of Mr & Mrs Scouse Dangermouse drinking tea. The next few months were drifty but with an upcoming wedding and the like, it was pretty easy to put roots down and get settled back into the Leeds life.


My natural instinct is to refer to Hutt as home. Cambridge remains not home, Carlisle (where we currently are) remains not home. And there are no other homes. Again, a visit to the home of Mr & Mrs SD last week and a day with them on Saturday aided the feeling of homeliness, they're good like that. If home is where the heart is, then home is very fragmented indeed. If home is where the Husbink is then I'm doing ok. If home is having a roof over your head, then I know I am blessed to have this, provided by friends and family even if I cannot currently provide my own.

I think though that home is less tangible than any of these things (even being where the heart is, when the heart is so torn) and it will be some time before I find it a comfortable word to use.

Monday, February 18, 2008


It is strange what is hard when moving countries and the like...

While we were in NZ we had a cell phone. We used it to text our friends and to call people. There is nothing very unusual in this I realise. However, we didn't use it anywhere near as much as I, at least, used to use my mobile in the UK. In NZ, we'd go for days without using the phone and sometimes I'd forget where it was or leave it on silent for days on end an fail to notice messages. In the UK, that would not have happened. And so, in a very strange way, texting people with my new number has been one of the hardest things I've had to do since returning to the UK. Somehow that act of sending out my new number has been the thing that has made this move feel most final.
As neither of us have jobs or any certainty about the future, it is very easy to pretend that we are currently on holiday, seeing our family, catching up with friends, enjoying the novelty of very frosty mornings in the beautiful Lake District. There are few things that ground us in reality. Even buying a car, being something rather alien to us as we have previously done quite well at inheriting, has been rather unreal and certainly ungrounding. Yet the act of texting, of having a number, makes it somehow much more solid, much more like this is really what is happening.
So I've found myself picking up my phone and putting it down again numerous times before managing to text anyone. I've still only made it perhaps a third of the way through my phone book. If that. Weird, huh?
So, yeah, still in denial about leaving New Zealand. Ho hum.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Photo Journalism

At long last, here is the holiday post. My brain is still somewhere else (mostly through having a cold rather than jetlag now but...hmm....yuck...) so this will be a LOT of photos and a few words. Hope you enjoy. :)

Our first campsite was not too many hours from home but just far enough to know we were on holiday. And it came with a swing and a lake view. Good-o.

The journey the next day took us past Mt Ruapehu. Always good to see.

We made our way to Waitomo where we saw caves, gloworms and giant angora bunnies. Good times.

Raglan is a chilled out surfing town with artsy fartsy bits on the side. And beautiful sunsets.

We made our way to Northland and set up camp in Paihia for five nights. We had beautiful weather for a few days in which we swanned about and didn't manage much. Then just as we felt like really exploring, the weather turned against us. We made it out to Urupukapuka island for a day trip and walked pretty much the coastline of the island. sandy beaches one side, big cliffs t'other. Oyster catchers too. We also managed to visit Treaty House at Waitangi, the site of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi - the starting point for modern New Zealand and Maori/Pakeha relations. The butterfly kept me entertained while Husbink spent double the time in the museum as I did. This is normal.

We moved on from Paihia and went further north staying in Kaitaia for a few days so that we could do a tour of the far north, taking in Cape Reinga with its lighthouse, the meeting of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean, sand dune tobogganing, and Ninety Mile Beach (really it is more like 90km but who is complaining? It's a beach that is also a state highway, what more do you want?)

We made our way down the west coast of Northland. It was beautiful. Hokianga Harbour and around was gorgeous. We also saw the giant Kauri trees. Not as tall as Californian redwoods but they go straight up, no tapering so they are just this huge, huge mass. You can just see me at the bottom of the picture to give perspective.

Heading down the country again, we stopped at Parachute festival for a day to meet up with lots of friends and see our friend Kez perform. He was great.

We made our way further south and visited the site of Hobbiton from the Lord of the Rings. We didn't do the tours, just stopped for a coffee and a few photos. Driving round the whole area looked so much like The Shire. Which led to a lot of "ssssssshhhhhiiiiiiire" and "bagginsssssssssssss" mutterings from both of us.

And that was that. Our final jaunt done and dusted. It was a good one. More relaxed than sometimes. As beautiful as ever.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


That's about as far as my brain can get at the moment. I have many things I'd like to post about (not least the holiday photos that haven't made it up yet) but they will have to wait one more day at least...
Journeys were all as good as they could be really and I did get some sleep on the last flight but having brought home a cold from Singapore to add to the jetlag I feel rather rotten. But ok too. It was rather a shock to arrive. With all that was going on leaving a country and getting everything home and all the rest of it I had rather failed to understand that we were actually going to arrive. I realise this makes little sense, not many of the things I have thought or felt over the last week or so have really made sense but I have reached the point of just accepting all that I feel and not attempting to analyse or process - at least not yet. I suspect (being me) that analysis will flow very readily once the time comes...
(A quick aside for those who might be tempted to make contact now we are back - both our mobiles are deceased having not been topped up for over a year. I'm sure we'll come up with a solution but it won't be for a while.)