Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy is the man with a dead car in his garage

and happy is the man (who I - of necessity since he owns half my house - spend a bit of time with) who has his garage space back.

Sold our van - the one purchased in the long and different trip to the top of the north island - now without a motor, to a bloke that wants to build his own campervan. Feel myself that it is a triumph in saleswomanship on my part - the sell was so good he thinks he's got the bargain of the decade (and I managed to mention every single negative factor I know about this box on wheels so he hasn't been misled).

Just goes to show - one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


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I was working (well actually it's morning tea time and I was checking out what Caroline was up to. Check her out and vote for her in the bloggies) and the yellow git decided to help me. So far he's turned the printer off - a favourite trick of his he seems to know where the off button is - and parked himself in front of the monitor about 35 times. He's currently doing time out in the corner - that should last about 30 seconds more.

Actually I kind of admire the way he matches the wall. Almost looks as though we took him down and got the paint matched.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Well that was a waste of time

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Every kid that lays eyes on him loves Calypso. Something about the fat spotty little urchin appeals to them. And a lot of the time he is sweet.

The day before yesterday I thought I would give him a tidy up. So I gave him a
bath. I found his yellow tail was really white, and his paler
patches were white too. That was interesting. So I conditioned his mane and tail with two different conditioners (horses
cost more to keep than wives you know), trimmed the hairy bits round
his heels, dried him off, took him for a walk, and covered him
before I put him back in the paddock. He looked gorgeous, clean
and pretty and nothing like his street urchin self.

Half an hour later he was uniformly mud coloured all over. He had managed to get rid of the cover (not sure how) he'd had a paddle in the watertrough and a big roll in the dust. He'd also given his tail a good rub on a fencepost.

Yeah he's real cute.... I'll consider selling him if anyone wants to make an offer.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Book Review - sort of.

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I have just finished reading The Denniston Rose by Jenny Patrick.
And about to start the sequel Heart of Coal. I'm not sure what
took me so long to get round to these two books. Not that it was
anything like I expected. It was a good story though and you
could just about taste the fog and coal dust and visualise life as it
was in what must have been a hellhole - Denniston in the 1880s.

The photos were taken on a bright and sunny day in 2000. But it is an eerie sort of place, perched up on the plateau, an area of abandoned machinery, chimneys to indicate where the houses once stood, and coal underfoot. You can stand at the top and look down the incline, scarily steep, and imagine people riding in coal wagons when it was the only way in and out of Denniston.

I don't have photos of the first visit I had to Denniston. In the early 80s a friend bought a house there - for peanuts - and a group of us spent the weekend there. It was winter, the house - an old villa in need of a heap of work - was drafty, cold, and creaked ominously. A fog settled in and you could taste the coaldust (a memory of the feel of it on my tongue emerged while I was reading the book) I had a feeling that it wasn't safe to go out into it, that 'something' might be lurking to grab hapless and unwary explorers.

Anyway it's not a bad book, I enjoyed it. It's sort of added to that guarded affection I have for Denniston, and the respect I have for people that lived and worked there.

Something I found out today that surprised me

If I wanted to fly from Venice to London in June this year and I booked it right now the flight costs 13 pounds 50p (sorry don't know how to make my keyboard do pounds signs). Just thought I would share that with you as I am a little amazed at how cheap it was. You probably already know that.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Who are you people?

I've been checking my stats again. And I'm glad you dropped in.... I do wish you would say something occasionally though... It feels a bit perverted that you are there saying nothing. Voyeuristic maybe.

To the person who Yahoo searched on noisy neighbours and revenge (if you ever come back) I hope you achieve whatever you are hoping to achieve - and I soooo wish I had thought of that! Planned coldblooded revenge. I like it.

Actually our neighbours have been very neighbourly lately. They had a bit of a party on New Years Eve but we can live with that - hey we might even get upset if there wasn't a New Years Eve party. Otherwise it's been quiet. That in itself is sort of scary.

Same goes for whoever looked in after searching for state of the art car alarms in Google... sorry guess this wasn't what you were looking for. Hope you found what you were looking for too. But I wonder since you got to page 9 of the search before dropping in. Best of luck with that.

Those people who searched for Kismet Farm, I would love to know if you were looking for the appaloosas in Pennsylvania, the B & B in Canada or me. No, never mind, don't tell me, you make me feel important.

At least no one is searching for kinky things like sex with cows this week. Or if they are they aren't ending up here.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Thoughts on the dedication of a person who chooses to be a Vet

So the vet came last week. He brought with him a twenty thousand dollar ultrasound machine, and a whole heap of other stuff. He was here about an hour, scanned Ears and gave her an internal, watched her trot up and gave an opinion about the state of her hindquarters (she appears to me to be a little stiff, but I don't know her well enough to be sure), discussed foaling complications and how soon he could get to our place at 2 in the morning should that be required, checked the littlest mini's nose as he keeps getting a snotty one (hayfever probably) and looked at the cats sunburnt ears. The account arrived this morning (he even extends credit which is trusting IMO)-$110.

In comparison the farrier came this morning, he did bring a mobile forge and bits and pieces but all he used was a rasp and a hoof knife. 4 horses, 4 trims, discussed the crack in Kiwi's hoof (coming right), all over in half an hour - $120 (cash thanks! though in his defence I guess I have never asked for credit as I wouldn't expect it)

Somehow I think the vet is getting a raw deal.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sometimes we are just insane

Husband has a thing about all things mechanical while I prefer animals. We are in complete agreement about the horsetruck since it has an animal use but being of a mechanical nature allows husband to play with it whenever the inclination strikes. And it's a good wee truck, very reliable but a bit underpowered so painfully sslllloooowww uphill.

With that in mind husband consulted local truck expert bloke who told him what bigger motor would fit into little truck without major alterations. The motor in question is relatively common in vans. So they worked through all the incidentals and decided the best way forward was to repower the truck.

Then the local wrecking yard advised that they wanted $3000 for a motor (no fitting for that, and a very limited warranty). Seemed a bit pricey. In fact if you are in the right place at the right time you can get a registered and warranted van of the correct model for that sort of money.

So it occured to us that in Auckland where rust never sleeps in cars there must be somewhere a van that had failed a warrant of fitness with rust issues but still had a perfectly good motor. And if we could just find it someone would sell it to us for not very much (if they didn't realise the local wrecker wanted so much for motors). So before Christmas we put an ad in the Auckland Trade and Exchange newspaper along the lines of van wanted - must be the turbo diesel model and have a good motor, all else irrelevant.

We didn't expect a lot of response really but you never know and it is an ongoing project so there was no rush. Interestingly we got two calls, one from a chauvanist character that when getting me on the phone demanded to speak to a man about it. I advised him that he could talk to me and he promptly tried to sell me a non turbo motor for $1000 on the grounds that it was a better motor anyway (not true according to experts consulted) and we could add a turbo to it (also not true). I said no thanks and he rang back later and tried the same sell on husband - and got the same answer though he added along the way that he wasn't sure if the motor was any good anyway! Yeah right - best he wait until the next idiot comes along... Then on Christmas Eve we got another call - this was a tidy van with a good motor but the van wasn't going as the transmission had died and there was also a small issue with some diesel milage being owed and no rego for quite some time so it was no longer economical to put it back on the road. Sounded perfect. And he wanted $750 for the whole van. The only small hitch was it was parked up in Northland - Manganui in fact.

So we did some blase calculations based on the last time we went north for a look. And we decided - it isn't far from home to Auckland, and Whangarei isn't far after Auckland and Manganui isn't far after that. So we decided to go and have a look. This we did yesterday, arriving at 1.30pm after an early start. And it was a very good van with a very good motor. Though it took a bit of time to get it going since it was out of diesel after sitting so long. So we bought it. And here's where the insane bit comes in - we thought we would tow it home. Not a biggie, we thought, we had the big tough Safari, if it can tow horsefloats and caravans a van would be a piece of cake. Yeah right.

Do you know how many hills there are in Northland? Neither do I but I do know there are a lot. Not only are there hills you notice as you travel over them there are hills that you would never notice unless you are trying to haul a dead van up them. Or that while we might be travelling quite well at 90 to 100 km an hour when not struggling uphill but when you pull down to let the traffic through you can lose 10 minutes. We got back to Orewa at 6.30 pm and the van brakes (which luckily worked) were smoking from the last downhill which was starting to get scary. There were also a lot of policecars on the road and when you are doing something slightly illegal (towing an unregistered unwarranted van) you get a bit nervous and I was losing fingernails at a fast rate.

Anyway we made it down the motorway, over the bridge and into the BP garage on the way south without too many dramas. At least we could stop worrying about letting the traffic past. But by the time we got there it was getting dark and the remainder of the trip didn't look like much fun in the dark.

Went to Mackers to contemplate. And had a rather weird experience. Ordered and paid for some deli rolls. Girl on the till fluffs around getting drinks and fries and comes back and says the deli roll machine is broken and we can't have any. OK (but darn) we'll have some chicken royales with that instead. Okay she says, That will be (however much it was for the Chicken Royales - full price) do you want a refund on the deli rolls then? Umm heellllo! I paid for them you aren't going to give them to me would you think I would want my money back? No of course not - perhaps you would like to keep it... I must be really tired... am I supposed to wait until tomorrow and hope your deli roll machine works again then? My coffee will be cold... "Yes I would like a refund," This seemed to utterly disconcert her so she managed to mess the whole order up badly and had to fix it. (what is so hard about two chicken burgers one small and one large fries, a coke and a coffee ffs).

It was all a bit much. So we abandoned the van and went home. Actually the nice BP supervisor let us park it in clear view of the service station, as he said if we left it out the back someone might steal it (good luck to them is all I can say!). Husband has got a car trailer and gone back this morning to get it. I haven't got the energy. And I am sick of the sight of that road.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Secretive mare

Ears is keeping us in suspense, she was scanned this afternoon and vet thinks she is in foal but not 100% certain. Guess she is keeping the information to herself.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The finished new years project

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The finished yard and shelter which also has a gate on the front. 
Completed a small modification this afternoon (not in the photo) which allows us to use the gate as a quick and ugly crush.

Apart from that we have been in holiday mode, have been luging in Rotorua (which is much more fun than the luge in Queenstown - even given the time we tried that was freezing and frosty and really quite dangerous) and had an afternoon at Ohope beach. The rest of the week is sort of sorted with the vet coming tomorrow and a trip to Auckland and further north on Friday.

Back to work on Monday. Just when I was really getting the hang of this leisure thing.