Saturday, December 31, 2005

The dangers of having a Paypal account

include being able to spend money for stuff from all over the world. I bought some things before Christmas off a Canadian seller on a local auction site and so had to set up a Paypal account to get the funds to the right place. And that was all well and good. But the exchange rate is good at the moment so things in US dollars can be quite cheap (or actually VERY cheap) So browsing on Ebay is looking lucrative. Here you have to pay at least $150 for a decent miniature horse show halter (the pretty ones with beads and things) I just bought four on Ebay for very little more than that for all of them including postage. Do I need four... NO. But I couldn't decide which ones would look best....

Am not looking too hard at the clothes on Ebay. I could spend a fortune if I had a decent browse.

The New Years Project

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Some more post and rail fencing to match the half a fence we already
had, and a horse yard complete with what will be an enclosed shelter so the minis can go on a strict diet when necessary

Here's Ears

I've been a little remiss - I should have introduced you to Ears a couple of weeks ago when she first came to live with us.

Anyway here she is.

She is hopefully still in foal to Loopy Lou's mostly arab stallion
Hamish.   The scan showed she had twins so one was
removed.  The vet is coming on Thursday next week to make sure the
other foal has hung in there.

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She's a sweet old girl, and is settling in well.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Two of my boys

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Matt riding Kiwi

Herbie the cat

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Opening his Christmas pressie

The worst thing about Christmas

Is the leftovers.

The chickens can hardly walk they have eaten so well, the fridge is still packed tight (and there's no room for alcohol still which is pretty drastic) so it just seems ridiculous at this point to eat anything except cold turkey, salad, and trifle. That still leaves the ham, vegies, pavlova and strawberries uneaten....

Too much!

It was a good day though.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas trees

Every year I seem to stumble into one of those Christmas shops and admire the colour co-ordinated, perfect Christmas trees. Have you noticed that this Christmas the trendy colour seems to be violet? Pink is quite big too. With silver. All very lovely.

And we have a rather nice tree this year. Which we have festooned with all the things we always festoon it with, the bits of our history. There are decorations the kids made at kindergarten, battered now, and squashed from being put away in a box for 11 months out of twelve for years on end, the two sets of lights that must be 20 years old, and cost a fortune at the time, the decorations that have a story behind them - there is the angel without a face because number one son took her off the tree and ate it when he was a year old - can't have been poisonous as he is still with us, the angel for the top of the tree that I got at half price on boxing day and couldn't bear to put her away for a year so she lived on top of a bookcase until Christmas rolled round again. There is tinsel of varying colours, icicles in strings, silver sleighs, pink and green beads and little wooden ornaments with cat teeth marks in them.

There are also a lot of candy canes. It's a Christmas tradition to hang canes in obscure places so the volunteers to take the tree down are rewarded with the previously undiscovered canes.

It's not up to Better Homes and Gardens standard, but it looks damn fine to me.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

So what's your significant other getting for Christmas

Mine's getting a new cordless drill. And a few other bits and pieces that I saw along the way and decided he would like. But I'm not discussing those cos he has been known to read this in passing.

He knows I've got him something else and the what is driving him mad....

I've just been doing a little bit of present wrapping and pondering that this is a major difference between men and women. He REALLY wants a new cordless drill as the other one is broken and so no longer cordless. He advised what voltage it should be and had a brand preference. He wants nothing else.

Now if he should contemplate buying me something of a utilitarian nature he had better add something utterly frivolous to that parcel cos girls don't want presents of things they have to have anyway.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Family feuds - not over yet, but the way forward has become clearer

My gracious invitation to have Christmas at our place has been accepted. I think that is 20....

I'd better start making lists.

Hope it doesn't rain or we will have no room, then there will be arguments.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Dressing appropriately

I think - but please please correct me if I am wrong - that it is not appropriate to take the cat to the vet wearing trackpants with a hole in the seat of them, a teeshirt with some stains of dubious origin, and redband gumboots. Actually I am not sure that this is appropriate attire for going to the mailbox, though I often do (I just wait until I am sure no one is looking).

So I got changed to take the cats to the vet. I wore black which was a really stupid idea as one cat is cream and the other cat is tabby and white. And both are shedding hair in large amounts.

The black top and navy pants I wore were also straight out of the wash, freshly ironed and pristine. This was also not a good idea as nervous cats develop leaks...

Really I should have pulled that teeshirt down over the hole in the bum of the trackies, and gone as I was.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I still want catfood without the third degree

You may recall - but it probably wasn't interesting enough to recall - that I changed petshops Post about buying catfood. So I had to buy more cat food again today, and I find this insidious curiousity about the number, type, age and habits of my animals is spreading all over the town. I'm standing in the aisle with a bag of cat food under my arm, reading the instructions on a bottle of algae killer for the aquarium trying to figure out if the plants will keel over as well, when up comes the assistant and proceeds to 'help' me by asking what sort of fish I keep, whether my cat would like some canned food to go with the dried food, and what my pets are getting for Christmas!

Consequently I have no idea whether the algae killer will also kill plants but there is no risk of it killing mine because I put it back on the shelf. Still obviously in need of an online petshop. If I don't find one soon I may start my own.

The tiles I went into town to get haven't shown up either - so I have only a vague recollection and husband has never seen what colours the kitchen tiles are going to be. Hope they show up tomorrow we will be ready to put them up in the weekend.

Compared to other peoples thought processes

my own must be very suburban...

One of the searches recorded in the site stats is for "husband sex farm" This blog turned up sixth on that list... it was the bit about the cows getting a dirty weekend that did it.

But it would have never have occurred to me to go into Google and search on those three words - whatever I was looking for.

It's a day where things have not gone quite right

but not quite wrong either...

Yesterday I booked the cats into the vet for vaccinations and check ups for later this afternoon. Then I had to ring back and change that this morning as that isn't going to work in with the rest of my life. I always feel like such a complete idiot when I have to change appointments like that - like I don't know what I am doing from one day to the next.

Then the farrier didn't show this morning. Neither did he ring, nor did he answer his cellphone. This isn't like him at all. I hope he hasn't been kicked in the head by a horse and is lying unconscious somewhere... (after all it's darn hard finding a decent farrier - and apart from that I quite like the guy).

After having horses tied up and waiting for their manicure for over an hour and a half (they got a good grooming and even had their faces and tails washed while waiting) I was late starting the christmas cake I was intending to bake this morning. For some stupid reason I thought I would double the mixture - probably because I had enough ingredients to double the mixture. Which went very well until I broke the electric beater as the struggle with a whole pack of butter, half a kilo of sugar and ten eggs proved too much for it. Finishing off the mixing with a wooden spoon almost proved too much for my shoulders but I eventually got it done. It is all very well when you have an enormous bowl of fruit cake mixture (wafting brandy fumes everywhere - I was tempting just to have it for lunch) and after turning out every cupboard in the kitchen I find the big cake tin has done a runner. I then remembered I loaned that cake tin to someone last year and it was never returned, so it's two small Christmas cakes not one big one, and I only have about 20cm of baking paper left, so had to use my grandmothers trick and line the cake tins with brown paper. And I forgot that Christmas cake takes at least three hours to bake so I am stuck here watching it, when I should be out getting the tiles I ordered yesterday.... or maybe I should just be out on the tiles.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Unable to resist a competition

especially one with a largish prize...

One of our neighbours has started an auction site. Yeah I know online auction sites aren't as easy as they look or else everyone would be doing it. And there are several about but only one in NZ could call itself successful.

I had a bit of input into the initial testing - unfortunately I didn't get a go at the site and feature design (cos I reckon I could set up a brilliant site - as long as the programming was possible for what I would set up - I've been skulking round other auction sites for long enough to know exactly what people want). I think they found this themselves, the further they got into it the more ideas they had and they are now planning on a complete site redesign somewhere down the track should it survive the first months.

They went live yesterday at 12 noon check it out Not a lot is happening on there yet, but have a look at that prize - 10 grand for the first person that gets 1000 positive individual feedbacks. There are some more prizes along the way, half price fees and bits and pieces if you are the first to get to various levels. As with all new things it has some undiscovered technical hitches but bear with them and they will fix these as they arrive.

So watch out - I'm clearing out, I'm listing everything! Actually if we do sell this place in the next few months we will need to have a clear out since the plan is to live like gypsies for a month or three while we build. (still looking for the perfect piece of land, guess we'll know it when we see it)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Big softie husband

It's pouring down with rain, husband can't bear that the horses might get wet and went down to cover them.

The neighbours graze a horse for someone else, she's a neglected horse who's owner shows up once a month, rides her and clears off again (usually avoiding the neighbours as she's a bit behind in her grazing) The farrier is overlooked too as apparently the owner owes him money as well. Her feet are going to be an issue soon and I guess that is when something is going to boil over. Lucky for the horse the neighbours look her over every day and make sure she has enough grass etc. They are a bit concerned about what would happen if she injured herself or something as the owner is not easy to contact (probably due to the unpaid grazing thing) and as they don't have a halter or anything should they need to catch and restrain her - though they know where to come for horse gear should they need it.

Anyway husband looked over at this horse standing dripping wet in a paddock with no shelter and felt sorry for her. So he got a cover out and went over to the neighbours to see if he could cover her. They personally didn't care if he stole her. So he was going to catch her, take her into the neighbours garage to towel her off, put a lightweight cover on her and put her back out. He reckoned without the horse. No way is she coming to him when he's holding a halter. He's a bit offended - he thinks she should be more grateful that he cares.

Friday, November 25, 2005

It's a month until Christmas

and I have the shopping well in hand, but already the family feuds are rearing their ugly little heads again.

That complicated tangle of inlaws and their relations (etc) is twisting itself into a tighter knot with A not going to B's place under any circumstances (and I can understand that having heard the reason), so B doesn't see why the suggestion is that everyone go somewhere else and it might get ugly if someone explained this to B (who is married to C who would probably get very unhappy and refuse to go anywhere, which would be a shame as their children J, K, L, and M enjoy a family Christmas). In addition D is unhappy with E again for something else... and you know S and R have never got on so you have to be careful that one doesn't feel the other is being favoured...and you have to invite G but he's such a pain. Though at least Uncle H isn't around anymore because he was shocking with a bit of drink in him and poor Aunt Z used to get so embarrassed.

A whole month to get through before it's over...

Take a moment to say hi...

*sob* no one is commenting. I know you are visiting cos the stats counter says so. Would love to know who you are, so feel free to introduce yourself.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Taking back my life

A quick health entry then I see no need to talk about it until March - so I won't be.

After a 9 months of being cut open, systematically poisoned with various nasty drugs and shuffled round the health system the outcome is..... (this isn't worth a drum roll)... no change. That tumour is exactly the same size as it was in February. Apart from one scan that showed it smaller it has been the same size in all other scans right the way through.

Which leaves two conclusions really - the oncologist favours the various drugs are holding it in check theory. I subscribe to the nothing is actually working and it isn't a fast growing tumour anyway theory.

Actually there is a third conclusion which my mother feels has merit - she goes with the maybe it isn't actually cancer anyway theory. (and since the slackarse surgeons were late for afternoon tea or something and didn't actually biopsy it there is slight potential that Mums theory is the correct one - but I don't place a large amount of belief in the possibility - my family and personal history would suggest that if I believed that I would probably need the counselling they are falling over themselves to give me)

Anyway the upshot, after a careful discussion, is that I am going to ignore the whole thing until March.

I will take no more drugs that make me feel sick and subnormal, I am not going to be mucked around by the health system that attempts to ignore me and when it can't ignore me treats me like a number, (so unimportant that they can actually cancel an appointment and forget to tell me) until March. And then if things are going well I am going to bury my head in the sand for another three or four or maybe six months. The oncologist does not actually approve of this approach - in fact he didn't quite go as far as suggesting I needed mood enhancing drugs but he came close - but does agree that I am unlikely to change greatly for the worse in that time. And though I don't blame him at all I do feel that everything he has come up with to date hasn't been exactly a roaring success, so my plan has (to me anyway) as much chance of a positive outcome as any of his do.

I used to wonder why on earth anyone would refuse treatment. Now if I had the chance to live this year again with the knowledge I have now I would refuse treatment too.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

That darn cat

Yesterday husband cleared out the cats dead animal stash at the back of the walk in wardrobe. At that point it had one dead sparrow in it.

Just about asleep at around midnight and there was rustling and meowing from the wardrobe. Investigation revealed a dead rabbit that the cat was attempting to make play with him. That disposed of the next find was a live rabbit in the bathroom. Having finished off the bunny - a grisly task at that time of night we were further interrupted throughout the night by rustlings and the rushing round of said cat. Last live bunny was removed from under the dressing table this morning....

He's out hunting again now. I guess he feels a bit insecure with his pantry empty.

Friday, November 18, 2005


After a last minute mini crisis at lunchtime today the crisis is now officially over. So I went to help sort the new mini crisis out, sorted it, and it was drinks time. "What do you want to drink?" they asked me. Guess what I said...

So we sent one of the guys down to the bottle store and he came back with lotsa beers and no wine. Thanks. (I suspect that is payback for me losing my cool in the last week or so) So I had two beers and went home. But it wasn't right, so I had two wines when I got home. And I think I was a bit generous when it came to glass selection (ie I picked a big one)

Somewhat more relaxed I recalled that there is a family lunch tomorrow at our place so I weaved my way out to the kitchen to do something about it. That involved tipping a couple of kilos of potatoes into a pot for boiling to make potato salad in the morning. Lucky they were washed potatoes because I couldn't be bothered washing them... And I mashed a couple of avocados with a couple of cloves of garlic. It's interesting how far a ripe avocado can spread itself round the place when it wants to.

Then it seemed a likely moment for a wander down the paddocks. That's when I realised that the wine had really gone to my head - I seemed to be seeing two of one of the cows - I could count three black ones not our usual two. But I could only count one black and white one, so that was okay... Most odd though, squinting and peering out of one eye didn't seem to fix it. Come to think of it (squinting a bit harder) one of those cows didn't seem to be a cow. In fact we appear to be offering free lodging, and probably sex on demand, to the neighbours bull.

Some time later with the bulls return to his rightful place organised for tomorrow I found the potatoes had boiled dry.

I guess the next dilemma is guessing which cow is possibly in calf and attempting not to put her in the freezer when the home kill man comes out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Nice weekend?

I worked. As in work work. Due to a crisis of major proportions occuring last Tuesday I have just finished a very long week - as in Monday to the following Tuesday, at least 12 hours a day. I am absolutely shattered. But if the crisis isn't over it is definitely not my fault.

Lack of anything resembling a life has made me downright bitchy. Last night was definitely the lowest moment - I was sitting in the office - alone because everyone else had decided they would go home for an hour or two - feeling absolutely furious. This wasn't my fault, someone else had made the mess, I wasn't in charge of the project, why was I working longer than anyone else to fix something that I didn't even have any responsibility for, and when it is fixed probably won't get any credit for. Being alone in a building has some advantages though, I kicked a couple of filing cabinets, threw a bit of stuff round the room and swore loudly and it got a bit better.

Tomorrow I am getting up whenever I feel like it - and not a minute before.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Is it significant

that my 100th post was the one about falling in love with another property?

I'm fickle

I'm over the love affair with the small farm this morning. Logically it is in a price range we haven't looked in and there might be all sorts of nice stuff out there if we decided to spend that much.

Gone back to believing in Kismet, what is meant to be will be and we will know it when it happens. Noisy neighbours had a party last night and wandered down the road at 11.30 to trash a neighbours letterbox. I still love the original Kismet Farm but we really do need some pest eradication.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Same collegue as yesterday

showed me a property not too far from where he lives that is on the market. I'm in love (with the property not the collegue - just in case you have any grubby little thoughts in that direction - the collegue is really not my type, but the property is exactly what attracts me in a small farm).

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I soooo want to live there. The trouble is I think it is within the realms of possibility that we could afford it, but we would have to desist from our laid back consumer lifestyle for the rest of our lives, and I'm not sure we would like that. Which is quite irritating, if we couldn't afford it it wouldn't be an issue and I wouldn't be agonising over it and raving on to very patient husband about lovely house and gorgeous land and views and... (you get the picture). And if we could easily afford it I probably would have put an offer in already (and been grateful very patient husband is very patient)

Hoping, but scared to check, that that lotto ticket I haven't checked yet is actually a good one. I think I'll wait and dream for another day or two.


Was telling a collegue this morning about the noisy neighbour wondering about the reasons I do the things I do. (lets face it it's just insanity)
He said "Huh you've got a ride on - what a yuppy" Coming from a man with three times as much land and a house twice the size of ours I had to giggle.

I do however have the later model car... though his is a turbo

Monday, November 07, 2005

Mowing the lawn and things

Took two small trailerloads of horse manure off the paddocks this morning and dumped it on the shelter belts to help them grow (hopefully) use the ride one with it's little trailer - very handy the ride on. On the way back to the shelterbelts I mowed a few weed patches too. Husband reckons it is a bit silly to mow when towing the trailer but hey what does he know. I either mow with the trailer or I get off, detach trailer, get back on, mow patches of weeds, get off, reattach trailer, get back on. Nope, sounds like too much exercise for someone just finished a heap of poo picking.

Anyway I had finished that when the noisy neighbour leans over the fence and asks why I pick up horse manure. The obvious answer is I put it on the shelter belts to make them grow. The fact that said shelter belts are situated between his place and ours doesn't really need pointing out. (Willing the trees to grow very fast - two or three metres in the next couple of months would suit me fine).

Anyway he accepted the explanation - maybe he thought I was mad, who knows - and then asked why I had cut that nice long grass, I should have let the cows eat it. So he can't tell grass from dock and buttercup, and I thought those pretty yellow flowers were a dead giveaway - obviously a townie. Wish he'd go back there.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

There is a certain repetitiveness about life

Saturday, weed glasshouse, wonder why the weeds are growing so well and the tomatoes aren't. Groom horses. Plaited up the little grey mini to see what she would look like as a leadrein pony. Pretty good actually. Unfortunately by the time I had gone to get the camera - leaving her in the yard - she had rubbed my half hour of hard work out again. Hmm maybe she lacks aptitude for being a toddlers pony. Lunged her for a while and that definitely confirmed she has attitude. Stupid me didn't wear gloves so she hauled the lungeline out of my hand and proceeded to trot perfect circles round me running free. Tartlet.

I think, sometime in the last 48 hours we decided we are selling here, as soon as we have finished painting a couple more rooms and stained the deck. Thoughts are turning to building. We have long known what we want to build, the right piece of land has just never turned up. Fingers crossed it does now.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

And lastly

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Awww I can drive - hand over the keys...

We've started the beginning of jumping training

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but he hasn't figured out yet how to get out from behind those miniature horse sized electric fences (stepping would do it)


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Showing how to canter and buck at the same time. New grass has that effect on him.

are we cute or what... now hand over the food

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Brandy and Calypso.

That collection of abandoned looking cars and caravans is not ours BTW

Friday, October 28, 2005

From you I have been absent....

Work got a bit over the top. I have the dubious pleasure of having a teammate who will be late for his own funeral - probably by several days. So a project that was supposed to be finished early this week finally went out the door at 7.35 last night. Possibly not helped by the tanty I threw at 6.05 at which point I said some things I mildly regret but in retrospect people have been using positive affirmation on this guy for years with no success so perhaps it was time someone gave some honest feedback. (in the company of his peers and at the end of my tether was not a good look though and I am ashamed of myself)

Anyway I have a day to regroup now. Roughly translated that is do nothing... well tidy my desk, give ten minutes thought to what I might do next week and that is it for the day. Might go shopping. It's a great looking day too. Have been down to hug my equine critters, pondered over the vegie garden and given about three and a half seconds consideration to the housework - nah, it is too nice a day to slave over a vacuum cleaner....

Friday, October 14, 2005

A small revenge

I shouldn't be such a bitch and score points against fairly harmless people.

We lost a contract at work a month or two ago. For a variety of reasons which had no bearing on price or service quality apparently. (confused? if we weren't too expensive and they were happy with the service why change? Anyway you learn to live with failures when you didn't actually fail) . Appears we had a little spy in the camp, badmouthing us to the client and passing on info to the opposition. She was top of the list for redundancy and shrugged and said she was going to work for the opposition.

Just crossed paths with her today, and she hasn't got a job with the opposition. But told me she was just going to talk to them and thought they were very busy so would probably hire her soon. (I suspect not, it is a bit like taking on someone elses husband, you would need to keep a very good eye on him now he's got the habit of straying)

'They would be busy' I said 'They are being audited next week'
'Are they?... how did you know?'
'Because I'm having dinner with the auditors the night they are here'

Left her to go and pass that news on.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

House browsing

Further to yesterdays post on BAD neighbours I was driven to peruse websites having properties for sale. Even enquired after a couple of POA ones. Both had more land than we had but houses not as good. Both had asking prices well over the million mark! (have adjusted my opinion of what our place is worth) Guess that is why they were Price on Application - too embarrassed to let everyone know the asking price.

Monday, October 03, 2005

More on neighbours - retaliation

They did not take to the permenant noise abatement notice too kindly - I wasn't home to see but they turned the stereo up very loud and yelled abuse at some other neighbours for some time. They lost their stereo....

It was however a quiet enough weekend.

Today I have come home to find all our internal gates open and a milling of stock on the best grass. It's pouring with rain too. Those gates do not open themselves.... I hope they enjoyed the electric fence on the way over it, it should have given off a fairly good zap in this weather.

Happily no permanent harm done. Though the minis did not need access to that much grass I don't think they will come to any harm after half a day.

I love this place, but we are getting close to thinking about selling it.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I just want some cat food damnit!

Our felines have refined tastes. The stray girl is particularly fussy about what she eats. I think she can read how expensive it is, so anything that might have been on special at the supermarket really isn't edible thank you... in fact she would rather starve. You can tell by the expression on her fastidious little face that she is extremely insulted that you presumed to feed her such junk food, it's enough to make a grown woman (me) cringe under her supercilious gaze.

So our cats eat things that come in small packets or tins, and Iams. (actually they supplement this with the odd freshly dead thing and sometimes something that has been dead for some time, but that doesn't count according to them) Iams is in fact the only dried food they will deign to eat, every thing else is much too suburban for cats of their calibre (over the years the chooks have got to eat a variety of cat food). I've heard the occasional nasty thing about the manufacture of Iams too, and I have told the cats but they don't care.

Anyway we were buying the Iams at one of the petshops in town. Until today. Now I am so irritated that I am never going back there. They have been training their staff. In fact they have been training their staff to be downright nosy. I think I have been into this particular shop five or six times in the last eight months. While I am peacefully browsing round I have, each time, been accosted by a young sales assistant who earnestly offers to help me find whatever I am looking for. When the offer is declined, on the grounds that I am not entirely sure what I am looking for but will know it if I see it, she (as it is invariably a female sales assistant) hangs round asking what sort of animals I have, what are their names, are they any particular breed, how old are they, etc etc. After five minutes of conversation during which I have indicated by my reluctance to answer and my expression that I don't want to relate the entire history of my pets to her I am obliged to give up browsing, grab whatever I went in for, pay for it and leave because I can not concentrate on what I was looking at anyway.

I always wondered if I fitted their profile of a likely shoplifter. I think they have a store policy of asking these things on the grounds that it makes the customer feel important to be able to talk about their animals. It doesn't have that effect on me.

After today I give up. I was in a moderate sort of hurry, so into the shop grab the bag of Iams and am heading towards the counter when ohoh here she comes, standing in my way so I can't get to the counter..
Her: "Hello can I help"
Me: thinks wouldn't have thought it looked as though I was having any problems here with a bag of cat food. "No thanks"
Her: "You must have a cat. What is it's name."
Me: Right if I am vaguely polite for 30 seconds she might get out of my way. "Yes I do have a cat thanks. Actually I have two."
Her: "That's nice, they like having friends don't they."
Me: God what is this playschool? How inane is this.. "no they don't actually, they would both prefer to be only cats if they had a choice."
Her: giggling. "Oh that's sad. Have you got any other pets?"
Me: Trying to sidle past her but she won't move over. "Ummm yes" Immediately think You fool why did you say yes!
Her: " Oh that's nice, what other pets have you got?"
Me: Listen young lady I am old enough to be your mother don't talk down to me... "Oh all sorts, look I'm in a bit of a hurry."
Her: "Oh busy day with all your pets is it." Scarily enough I don't think she is being sarcastic here I think she is dead serious. Obviously she has perceived me to be retarded or something, or perhaps she is...
Me: "Something like that. Excuse me."
Her: following me now "Have your cats been wormed lately..."
Me: "Yes"
Her: "Have they got enough toys."
Me: "Yes" Phew I've got to the counter, maybe she'll go away and annoy someone else.
Her: "Which vet do you take them to?"
As there is a shop assistant on the other side of the counter I hand over the Iams and my credit card and ignore the persistant person at my elbow, who continues...
Her: "Do your other animals need anything? What sort of animals did you say you had again."
Me: " No they don't need anything. " What is it about this girl that she can't get the message?
Her: "are you sure"
Me: "very sure thank you."
She finally gets the idea, spots another hapless customer and leaves with a "nice talking to you."
Me: That's what you think.

That's the end, I am not going back there. I have had enough of playing inane games with silly shop assistants. What is it about me that gives them all the impression I want to tell them all!

Anyone know of a pet shop that doesn't have shop assistants? Maybe I should buy online.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I'm whispering - not wishing to jinx it

But there has been no noisy parties from our noisy neighbours since last Wednesday. A whole week without any noise. This is a record of some sort.... long may it last.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Blog Spam

To those anonymous people who put comments with links to their sites...

1 I usually delete them
2 I NEVER look at the links
3 If you bothered to say something that actually referred to the post you commented on I might be inclined to leave them...
4 If you aren't a real person you won't be able to comment any more since I have enabled word verification.

Not that I suppose you even read the blog in question before posting so you won't read this...

I'd show you a photo

of the guest bedroom stacked to the ceiling (almost) with the contents of my study. But somewhere in there are all three digital cameras I currently have in my possession.

Husband tried to move my favourite bookcase without emptying it and it collapsed into a heap of wood and books (but he feels guilty enough to let me buy a bigger one so it isn't TOO tragic, and actually it was only my third favourite bookcase as the two favourite rimu ones grace the living area - I just said it was my favourite when it collapsed to ensure he fully comprehended the enormity of his error.)

So the study is now empty and half ready for painting.

I'm not sure I will ever get it sorted out again....

Yesterday we took 11 trailerloads of firewood from round the property and stacked it in the woodshed which now has about three square feet of spare room. I'm guessing that there is about 5 cords of wood in there, and still a fair few uncut logs lying round the property. I think we will give the rest of it away to anyone who wishes to cut and carry it. With a couple of dozen large eucalypts around the place and about 50 more planted over winter I doubt we will have a firewood shortage in the near future. My legs ache from all that exercise yesterday. Strangely enough my arms and shoulders don't.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The cheek of some people!

Further to our fall out with the neighbours...

We've had some guys with chainsaws and logsplitters in yesterday and today cutting and splitting some of the wood that is lying round the place for next winter.

One of them came in to report that he had cut and split a large log over in our back paddock when the neighbour... the noisy one... came up to say that it was his log!

Don't think so!

Guess we should pick up that wood asap...

And now I have broadband in the garden

and the garage, and halfway down the paddocks, and maybe (given that the cordless works) even at the neighbours.

Wireless rocks!

Just off to set up my security and see if I can get the laptop connected to the printers...

I surf so fast...

Ha! I have broadband. Now I'm not sitting for hours waiting for pages to load I will be able to:

1 Watch more TV
2 Do the housework
3 Write more on my blog
4 Get more exercise
5 Talk to my husband...

And I can ring my mother and check my email at the same time!

How awesome is that!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's war!

We have, on the whole, awesome neighbours. It's a caring tight knit community without anyone getting in your face. Tools and trailers are borrowed and returned, stock are rotated round the neighbourhood so the poorest doers get the best grazing, drenches and other items best bought in bulk are shared, and every now and then we have a drink together.

Except (and there is always an except isn't there) for one lot. Who have mates with gang patches, and a different perspective on life. They don't have any stock, instead they have a great collection of weeds - probably sheltering plantings of things it is illegal to grow. And a collection of abandoned vehicles, and some dogs that they don't necessarily control. The house is in a state of advanced lack of maintenance. In fact it lacks doors and windows because they have been broken and not replaced. All of which would be fine (except maybe the dogs) if they didn't otherwise bother us.

When we first moved in they didn't bother us a lot. They had the occasional party, but not too frequently, and they came over and borrowed the phone every now and then, but only made local calls.

In the last month or so they have been living a lot harder, the parties have increased in duration and frequency - now up to two or three a week - and the stereo has got so loud that we can't sleep through it with all the windows shut (they must be extremely deaf over there as they are a reasonable distance away). On top of the music the occasional fight breaks out and there is more noise as they smash the house up some more and scream abuse at each other or just scream. We stopped letting them borrow the phone after the toll bill came in so they go up the road and make toll calls on another neighbours phone, a woman on her own who is too scared to tell them they can't use the phone until they pay the toll bill plus some more for next time, which is what we did.

The scary bit is there are children in that house... who are absent when the school bus does its run on the mornings after a party...

One of the neighbours called the dog ranger as she watched five dogs as a pack wander through everyones property snapping at the heels of every animal they found on the way while their owner watched them and made no attempt to call them back. The dog ranger came out, unfortunately found only two dogs present but removed one unregistered one.

So I got stroppy and told them I would shoot any dog I found on my property. It probably wasn't a good move... (especially as I don't have a gun so can't follow that through) as I was treated with a fair amount of disdain for my efforts.

Now we are taking turns round the neighbourhood ringing noise control on party nights. Sometimes we don't get it right and noise control is inundated with complaints every ten minutes. The first time we did it they went out and rang back to say they would not be going back without the police. We replied that they should call the police then as the stereo was still going. They didn't that night. The next party they did turn up with the police. Which was effective and silence descended. But obviously they had some beer left over because they had another one two nights later. And when the cops and noise control showed up there was too many of them to enforce the peace and the cops retreated. (we suggested to them when they reported this to us that they should not tolerate threats of violence to police and tear gas or the armed defenders was a good solution...) at three in the morning, in need of sleep, and due to get up to go to work again in three and a half hours, they were lucky I didn't have access to a firearm because if I had had I would have used it. The next day I picked a couple of dozen bottles, half a dozen hard boiled eggs, three or four plates, an onion and a TV remote out of the horse paddock. I took great pleasure at hurling the remote into their watertrough, luckily none of the bottles were broken and the horses tend to stick to the other side of the paddock... but I was not amused and told the police about it among our other chats. They have suggested to the council that the state of the house makes it uninhabitable and they should be issued with an order to repair or vacate it but the council isn't that interested.

Last night they had another party. "It's only Wednesday" said the girl at noise control as husband took the cordless phone outside so she could hear the noise. He explained that he didn't think the day of the week mattered a lot to people who didn't work anyway.... so eventually a lot of cops and the noise control turned up and the music stopped for half an hour before it restarted. The police have a few more thoughts on the matter but I was too tired this morning to take in what they were planning to do next.

Went outside shortly after this discussion to find someone has rammed our mailbox and flattened it during the night. Must have been an accident.... yeah right! As it was attached to a 4 by 4 post I hope the vehicle used sustained some good damage.

Not sure who is going to win this one...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I'm glad my children have grown up

We have had a two year old (and his parents) staying for a couple of days.

I am so pleased I no longer have a two year old... and that I am never going to have another two year old.

This one was generally pretty good natured but not overly disciplined. Actually I think I became somewhat unpopular when I told him sharply not to argue the other night... maybe I was less intolerant when my kids were little, or maybe mine didn't argue with me, I can't remember. Anyway I am too old to put up with repeated "No"s to a perfectly reasonable request.

Nice to see them come, nice to see them go...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

There is no loss without some small gain....

I was facing two more doses of chemo, nasty nausea creating stuff that takes a looong time (6 hours) to drip into you. Boring all round.

But I won't be getting them now, because the latest scan indicates they aren't working any more (the first two doses had a good result, the second two didn't halt the tumour at all).
So it's time to try something else and I don't have to have the last two doses. Which is a relief in a way because I wasn't looking forward to them.

It appears I gained 14kg and lost all my hair for nothing... the new drugs have only minor hair thinning and loss of appetite possible side effects, so maybe we'll reverse that.

It isn't over yet, not by a long shot.

Just right now it feels very bad...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Yesterday I was going to write an "I hate Telecom" post

And it would have been here now had I not fallen off my dial up internet connection and lost it.

And things have moved along - today I feel far more charitable about them.

Yesterday I rang the "Xtra get broadband" phone number. I was put through to Brian. Now I can only advise that if you ring Xtra and get Brian that you hang up and call back later. If you are inclined to high blood pressure, heart problems, hyperventilating or similar I suggest you have your medication on hand before you attempt any conversation with Brian. In short Brian is a bumped up little smartarse.

Anyway I got Brian. I explained with reasonable civility that whenever Xtra ran a line check on my phone line they found I could not have Broadband because I was too far from the exchange, but my neighbour had it so obviously I wasn't too far from the exchange.

"Is this a near neighbour or are you talking about someone a couple of kilometres down the road?" asks Brian with just a hint of sarcasm.

"I am talking about 5o metres away, close enough to use our cordless phone at their place."
"Well you must have a good cordless phone!"
Still feeling reasonably civil I tell him that since it cost $99 three years ago and is still working fine I do consider our cordless phone a good one, but I wouldn't call it a state of the art appliance.
"hmm" says Brian. "They probably have satelitte, what's their phone number?"
I tell him their phone number.. I wait while he looks it up. "Yes they MIGHT have Jetstream" he says in due course. "But that doesn't mean you can have it as the tests say it won't work on your phone line, so you can't"

"Well could you explain to me what the difference is, between them and me, because I cannot see why it should work at their place and not ours, if there is a fault in our line perhaps someone would be good enough to fix it for me. I don't understand this. "

"No, it's just the way it is, you can't have it, we aren't obliged to supply you with anything, or fix anything. This happens all the time next door neighbours often can't get what their neighbours get. You should go and live in town then you can have Jetstream. Otherwise you can have satellite, every single person in the whole country can have that. I spend all day talking to people like you."

Something snaps at about this point. "Do not tell me where I should and shouldn't live thank you, I am not prepared to pay for satellite installation, and I want to talk to your supervisor."

"Why? She'll tell you exactly the same thing. We don't have to provide you with anything, I don't even have to keep talking to you. Anyway you can't talk to her she's not available"

"Right well give me her name and email address. And your name"
"Why? It won't do you any good, you won't get broadband."
"At this point I don't care, I am going to complain to someone."
"Well it is a waste of time."
"As I said I don't care, I am going to complain. Can I have her name and e-mail address and your name?"
So he gives me his supervisors name and e-mail, but won't give me his surname. In the end he gives me his employee number. In between every detail he tells me that I am wasting my time, I will not achieve anything, and I am not entitled to anything anyway so I have no right to suggest that they should be providing me with anything. I thank him somewhat abruptly and hang up.

I e-mail his supervisor. This is made a little difficult by the fact that he appears to have given me an e-mail address that doesn't work. Mind you I could have written it down incorrectly between being told I am wasting my time and everyone else will tell me exactly the same thing. I play with the spelling a little and get the right e-mail the third time. Supervisor must have only been out for a short time because she replies immediately advising she will refer my case to the technicians to see if anything can be done, and she just so happened to have my conversation with Brian recorded as part of the random recording for training they do, so she would listen to it later and look into my complaint that he was rude and unhelpful. There is some small satisfaction in just complaining about Brian, even if I never get broadband.

Get home this evening and there is a phone call from the supervisor asking me to ring her so they can organise a installation of Jetstream to see if it will work at my place. I'm still taking this in when the phone rings and it is the evening shift supervisor who had inherited the problem when the morning supervisor went home and thought she would just ring me on the off chance she could catch me. She is very very sorry about Brian. Lots of people with more authority than Brian have now listened to the tape of our conversation and they are all somewhat amazed and quite appalled that he spoke to me like that. Further training will be applied to Brian immediately as he cannot treat people like this. I smirk but am extremely gracious in accepting the apology.

Now lets sort my broadband installation out.

They are coming next week to install Jetstream to see if it will work. The line is marginal but it could well work fine. We may need a special modem, but will try the standard one first.


(And Brian..... up yours)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Now I am furious

Remember Telecom - who couldn't supply me with any form of fast internet access unless I coughed up $3000.

Have just had the neighbour over to borrow my PC to send piccies of their new baby to her grandparents as their 'puter hard drive has died.

"Slow internet connection" he says "I've got really used to broadband"

"Have you got broadband?" I'm stunned and stuttering. We are so close our cordless phone works at their place....

"Yeah, had it for about a month" he says.

"At your house... did it cost you $3000?"

"Yep at our house" now he's looking at me as if he has just decided I'm a bit simple. "No, didn't cost anything, Xtra are offering a deal at the moment, free modem and connection."

Telecom - just you wait... it was a month ago that you told me I couldn't have it. Boy are you going to hear from me!

I hate those meeces to pieces

The first ever pet I had - at three years old - was a little white mouse. About two weeks after I was given her she produced 11 little pink (but turned white) babies. So mice don't particularly bother me, in that I don't jump when I see one, and will quite happily hold one.

But there are limits.

It's raining again and avoiding the housework I went to carry out some rearrangement of the shed that holds horse gear and feed. Well overdue rearrangement I might add.

When I was a pony mad child /teenager I had a miserly father who refused to buy me any horse gear. Now that is not STRICTLY true, I had more than adequate and often indulgent parenting, but I ended up with a complex, brought on by sheer jealousy of those uppity little girls at ponyclub who had every single piece of horsegear ever invented, and a horse float, while my horse had the basics and we had to hitch rides if we wanted to go anywhere that wasn't within hacking distance.

The result of this is I have been buying horse stuff ever since, and the collection is now rather large. In fact there are 27 horse covers for three horses - two of which would probably never notice if they never wore a cover at all. So this is the level of indulgence I have reached now I am in possession of a reasonable amount of disposable income. This is probably not good when I contemplate it.

So I've been down in the shed sifting through covers, and saddles, and bridles, and halters, and the 20 lead ropes there appears to be, and grooming gear and .... well most things really. From the mess there are a large number of mice living in there. I only saw two - or maybe three - live ones though. One that was living in the lining of a cover in a carefully chewed hole lined with bits of hay, I flicked him or her outside, and the one that was living in a saddle blanket that ran up my arm, over my shoulder and down my back to escape - which sort of produced the eeeekkkk factor I don't normally have.

Mission accomplished and some order emerging from the mess I went to get some lunch leaving the burmese on guard in the shed. He turned up about five minutes later with a live mouse (not sure if this is one of my originals or a new one he found) which he promptly let go beside the freezer. So that's where it is - under the freezer.

I found a couple of dead ones too. Husband suggested they died from shock at finding so much food in one place.

My next mission - to find and set some mouse traps.

Friday, September 02, 2005

On a (redecorating) roll

We now have the freezer in the dining room, the washing machine in the middle of the floor, the shelving that used to be on the laundry wall out on the verandah, the cleaning products in several new places....

And plaster and dust everywhere in the laundry.

After that I'm told it's the guest bedroom and then my study (nooooo... I'll never find anything again)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Forget spring cleaning - redecorate.

Husband woke up on Saturday morning with a vision of tidying up the bathroom. His memory is short, it was only a few months ago we repainted the previously lime green ensuite and he spent hours moaning about painting round the vanity unit and the toilet... So we went and got lost in one of those horrendously big hardware stores (where I got so bamboozled by the range of items for sale that I never picked up the thing I have been intending to buy for ages - a garden seat) and came out with some paint, a range of towel rails, a shower door (to replace the mouldy shower curtain), a new shower fitting, and considerably less money.

We then went home and put plaster in the holes in the walls and sanded the whole thing down. The first coat of paint went on at about 10 pm last night.

Work continued this morning but I opted for marital harmony and left him to it. In a small space with paint involved we are guaranteed to have a domestic.

Instead I dug over the glasshouse, carted a couple of wheelbarrows of horse manure into it and forked it over again, got the horses in and gave them a thorough brushing and was contemplating a ride but it rained so I skipped that. (This is quite sad, 25 years ago rain wouldn't have stopped me, I would have just gone bareback to save getting the saddle wet.... these days I don't ride at all without a saddle and I definitely don't ride in the rain.)

Went back inside and husband had finished the bathroom and also painted the hall which previously bore the marks of someones children running amuck with coloured pencils.

I did of course make all the appropriate noises before he got down to fitting all those shiny new accessories to the bathroom. It looks amazingly different, uncluttered, clean, modern. Needs new towels...

Then I demanded he go and admire my weedfree, manured glasshouse. He did say the right things - before he suggested it would have been easier just to put the chooks in there for a day or two.

I needed the exercise... I must have, I'm exhausted.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

And still more on pest eradication

Chatting to the neighbours over the fence last night at horse feeding time. They have a new cat who is currently sorting out with our cats where he might be permitted to wander. They are doing the territory divide up fairly amiably with more glaring than fighting so will no doubt sort it out soon.

New neighbourhood cat is apparently a hunter extrodinaire who spent a great deal of yesterday guarding a rabbit hole and pouncing on anything that emerged from it. Neighbour said puddy had had four rabbits yesterday.... or it might have only been two as it is possible he caught the same one three times....
Being unwilling to kill a poor defenseless rabbit he spent the afternoon rescuing the bunny from the clutches of the cat and returning it to the rabbit hole.....

Friday, August 12, 2005

Less nice things about rural living

There was a possum in the live trap yesterday morning so husband dispatched it before going to work and left it (actually a her) in the cage until he came home. I wandered out later to find a bald baby possum scrabbling round the cage trying to escape.

Yuukkkk, they have to die but sometimes you feel so nasty....

Dumped the whole lot in the rainwater barrel which was full enough to completely cover the cage. Hopefully it was quick...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Blah - but it's all good

WORST dose of chemo ever yesterday and today I am just about at the point where I wonder if dying isn't preferable to feeling like this. Not good - but it will pass.

The good news is it is working, the scan shows the tumours are definitely smaller, so I just have to hang in there. Half way through, three doses down and three to go.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Hmmm - famous in my own mind?

Was over at Sunny O seeing if Llew had been up to anything in the last 24 hours and found a new link on his sidebar Generation Blog - New Zealand Bloggers Aggregator (well a previously unexplored link anyway, not sure how long it has been there) and there I am... along with some interesting other people (far more interesting than me).

Not sure what to say really - doubt I'm worthy. Good site for avid blog readers.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Big horse can't jump

Given the fact that I am dead lazy I avoid walking down the farm twice a day to feed anyone with a complex arrangement of electric fencing that gives the horses a track up to the yard and their dinner while keeping them off the paddocks that are regrowing grass (it is to be hoped they are growing anyway) . One day we might get the fencing all sorted and a raceway down the property so we can drive or whatever. The cows are currently on holiday at the neighbours which saves a bale of hay a day.

This morning we moved the horses into about an eighth of the very back paddock. Offer them new grass and they all go 'Wahoo' and canter round kicking their heels up for at least half an hour. This annoys me somewhat as they tear up all this good grass but can't think of a way to stop them so I just enjoy watching them being happy horses.

Today they were playing games round a log that is lying on the ground in their new bit. The minis jump it, but Kiwi can't jump... it has obviously never occurred to him that he can go over things rather than round. So here they are in a line, with Calypso the smallest leading... pops over the log, kicks his heels in the air and carries on, followed by Brandy who also jumps it and clears off after him. Kiwi bringing up the rear canters up to the log, goes "Eek that is at least a foot and a half high" jams on the brakes, trots round the log and charges down the paddock with his tail in the air. Clueless animal... at least it means he stays behind baby sized electric fences.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Man I know a little who works for a rival company turned up on my doorstep yesterday and after enquiring after my health (which he had heard about because this town is full of gossip) said I should see him if I ever wanted to discuss a change of employment. I said thanks I would - see him if I ever wanted to...

Flattering, and I've been sidled up to before and offered jobs, but sort of weird... I didn't think I under-rated my talents but perhaps I'm even better than I thought.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Thinking about the last post

I suspect Telecom secretly hates anyone who lives in town too - it's only the money that they like.

Have emailed them pointing out their obligations - with a cut and paste out of their own website extolling the virtues of their wonderful fast internet for country people, which nearly everyone can get!

They have advised me that I am not apparently nearly everyone and they are sorry about that but I am a special case.
Funny, I was a special case in Nelson too. In fact we were so special up our valley 10 minutes out of Nelson that people couldn't even get a phone line for six months because despite being paid by the subdivider to provide a phone line to every LSB Telecom hadn't provided sufficient lines.

And fast internet in Nelson? In ya dreams...

I HATE monopolies

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Telecom secretly hates anyone who lives in the country

Or perhaps not so secretly.

Yeah I know we live 5km down a gravel road. But honestly that doesn't mean we live in the middle of no where... in fact we are conveniently positioned with good (if a little muddy) access to most places. And it isn't as though the nearest neighbour is miles away.

I am sick of slow dial up internet access. And as work will probably make a contribution to faster access I have been trying to get some.

Broadband - no, the exchange is too old, and they have no plans to upgrade it, but they will note my interest in broadband. I might be able to get wireless...

Wireless - no, the nearest wireless access is in Pyes Pa, that's about 15km away. Now come on we can get cell phone reception here (admittedly not great but we can get it) wireless works through cellphone towers why can't I have wireless? Just can't, but they'll note my interest. Satellite is the only option.

Satellite - maybe, that will be $3000. Oh right. I'll think about this a little more.

Wasn't there some agreement, in fact Telecom have a contract, to supply broadband to the rural community?

I am SO not impressed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Just in case you were confused

I've been having a wee tiki tour round the central north island today, Been to T places - Tirau, Tokaroa, Taupo... missed Turangi, might go Friday... I enjoy those sort of days, admiring the countryside, other peoples stock and the idiocycrises of small towns.

I followed the truck in the photo for about 20km, and in the end had to get a photo of it. The small print on the sign says "Anything else could be" A timely reminder since I am not that good at sticking to the speed limit. I blame cars for this - if they weren't meant to go faster than 100kph they shouldn't be able to. (Note too for all my lawlessness the four accidents I have had in my driving life were all at speeds of less than 50kph)

The reason this sign amused me is that he spent most of the time travelling about 20km above the speed limit - must have got an exemption when he got the sign.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Lost my work ethic

The morning has gone like this:

6:30 Get up, shower, dress, get first coffee, feed horses and chooks, I'm gonna start work early today
7:25 Just check my private email before I start work
7:29 Might just have a quick look on the web, after all official work time is 8am
8:16 Oops, check work emails
8:18 Better start with something simple... think about what I will start with for a minute.
8:20 Get a cup of coffee and a piece of toast
8:27 Wipe butter from the keyboard, feed the fish.
8:31 Open appropriate files, gaze at them.
8:36 Check pedometer and do four lengths of the verandah
8:42 Now I'm going to do some work
8:44 Drink coffee brush teeth and take a vitamin
8:46 Look for new batteries for the electric toothbrush
8:51 Replace batteries, brush teeth again, growl at cat who is scratching sofa
8:55 Back to work
8:58 Make more coffee
9:01 Back to work
9:15 That went well... drink coffee, do four more lengths of the verandah, growl at cat again.
9:28 Remember I was going to ring someone. look for their phone number. Clean out my handbag
9:48 Make phone call.
10:00 Morning tea time, have had enough coffee get a cup of orange tea instead.
10:16 Right now I need to do something now
10:32 check the internet for something I need to find out (work related) drop in to see who's blogged today
10:50 Do some more work
11:13 Do six lengths of the house and two of the verandah
11:24 Check the mailbox
11:36 Wonder what I'll have for lunch
11:45 decide to blog about this straight after I've had lunch, checked the emails, read the mail and growled at the cat again

Friday, July 22, 2005

Just daily dramas.

I had a craving for smoked salmon yesterday. With cream cheese on french bread. I could taste it on my tongue. Nothing else looked edible in comparison. There was nothing for it but to go shopping.

Also needed horse food. So I decided to go to Te Puke rather than Tauranga, pretty much the same distance but less traffic in Te Puke - well that was the theory anyway.

Have never been to the farm stores in Te Puke so I was a bit perplexed when the first two did not stock sugarbeet of any description - bit of a problem as this is Kiwi's staple diet, he loves the stuff. So had to go to the farmstore I never shop at cos I don't like them. They must have noted I don't like them, and I kept my facial expressions carefully neutral too, as two blokes (as in shop 'assistants') watched me heave three 25kg bags of feed into a trolley while offering advise on what brand I should be selecting. Now I know I'm a big strapping girl quite capable of hauling a few feed sacks round.... but... downright rude really. Had to put it in the car myself too. So I still don't like them.

Proceeded out of farm store carpark and to the first roundabout (Te Puke is full of roundabouts) where some idiot who is obviously confused about the new roundabout rules proceeds to go right round the roundabout without indicating at all and then has the cheek to offer me an obscene gesture when I have to brake to avoid him - since I was under the mistaken impression he was going straight ahead. Refrain from road rage... refrain from road rage... breath in, out....

Quick detour round the supermarket to grab that salmon and I find a checkout where the last customers are down to the final five items, and join the queue. This is looking to be going well until the checkout operator rings up the total - 'that will be $165' and they reveal that they have a budget of $90 and start putting things back. So it was a wee wait and I was intrigued at the grocery items that came out of the bags compared to the ones that stayed in. Pizza stays, rice is put back, potato chips remain, frozen vegies taken off the total, I refrain from offering nutritional and budget advice as the bags are half emptied and eventually the total is $88 and some cents. Checkout operator offers her opinion as soon as they have vanished out the door - 'you must know you have spent about twice what you've got - even without a calculator! Did you see all the junk food they kept!'

Someone else tries to navigate the roundabout without indicating as I drive out of Te Puke again. This time I'm ready for it. No gestures either which makes it easier to put up with.

I was only gone a bit over an hour - and they are grading the road again as I get home! Have these guys with the grader got nothing better to do? Surely there is another road in the area that could do with grading more than ours can?

Sometimes it just isn't safe to go out.

Smoked salmon was divine, (the cat thought so too).

Saturday, July 16, 2005

How good is my baby?

The spotty little git on the right there (looking shaggier these days)

The farrier came out yesterday and trimmed him while I was still bringing in the other two, in the paddock, without a halter, with no one holding him, and he didn't move a muscle except to pick up the next foot when the last one was put down. Not bad for a 20 month old colt I thought

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


As previously mentioned we live about 5km down a gravel road. But there is actually very little gravel on it, it's mostly dirt. The council has plans to seal it sometime, in fact it is the second highest priority road in the district apparently. That means they will probably do it in about ten years... (okay I'm a cynic).

Most of the time it isn't too bad, as dirt roads go. It gets a few potholes but mostly it's pretty easy driving.

Except the council has taken it into their heads to grade it every three weeks at the moment. So it goes from being a fairly easy road that you can comfortably travel at 80kph on to a slippery, muddy mess that you need to navigate at about 30kph to avoid sliding off it. After they have graded it it takes about a week to settle down again so we get two weeks of good road and then they come along and mess it up again. They have just outdone themselves though, it was graded on Friday, now they have just come back and graded it again.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Just something I was going to mention earlier but forgot

Prompted by reading the wonderfully irreverant Karl's blog... I'm quite addicted to Karl, she's one very amusing lady. I like the horse photos too so if you follow the link make sure you scroll down and have a look at those.

What prompted this was the second paragraph mention of Winston Peters (and I agree with her opinion of him).

We were wandering through Fieldays this year in a crush of far too many people and Winston had a stand. So there he was standing, smiling, immaculate in his navy suit (at least pretty sure it was navy, I actually only glanced at him) with a handful of party supporters, kissing the babies and no doubt discussing immigration. The woman in front of us in the crush went "Oh it's Winston" deserted her husband (well I'm assuming they were married, they looked married) to gravitate towards the stand. Her husband headed in the general direction after her. We moved on about two stands and paused to look at something there that was a little more interesting than your average political candidate and the same couple came back past us a few minutes later. As they passed us the wife was gushing, starry eyed from the meeting.

I caught what she was saying as we went past and had difficulty not laughing out loud. "Hasn't he got the loveliest handshake." she was saying...

The mind boggles at how people may make voting decisions.... and how would you describe a lovely handshake?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

On car alarms

A few years ago we knew a bloke that had a fair amount of money - and probably a complex about the size of his genitals - who bought a brand new, top of the line, overpowered, gasguzzling, big boys toy type car. When he bought it he was also in the throes of moving from somewhere to somewhere and was renting a house without a garage so he parked it in the driveway. This suited him fine as the neighbours could all admire this hunk of metal that looked mean enough to make you pause before walking in front of it when it was parked. Of course vehicles of this calibre are highly coveted and often converted so he got a state of the art car alarm fitted. He stopped short of having GPS and an immobilizer fitted but it was a pretty good alarm never the less, the sort you talk about straight after you've finished talking about engine size and horsepower and all that other bloke stuff.

About a month after he got the car the car alarm developed a fault. It kept going off, three or four times a night, every night for four nights. Every time he got up to check there was no sign of any disturbance round the car or anywhere on the property. It was a bit peculiar really because it only did this at night never in his work carpark. He took it in to the alarm speciallists twice over the next four days and they tested the whole lot and insisted that the alarm was fine. On the fifth night the car alarm went off about midnight, he went out, looked round, there was no one there... so he turned the alarm off and went back to bed.

In the morning the car was gone, and it was never seen again. The insurance company got a little bit huffy about the alarm being turned off too - though they paid up eventually.

Husband woke up in a less than cheerful mood due to the neighbours having a loud party until the early hours of the morning. They do this with a little too frequent regularity, but this one went particularly late.

Must be karma (tongue firmly in cheek here) cos about two minutes after husband got up this morning his car alarm developed a fault so was going off every five minutes for half an hour. Darn I hate it when that happens... must be particularly irritating when you've been partying loudly until about three hours before.

Monday, July 04, 2005

A takeover coup?

Back to work this morning. Actually I only lasted till lunchtime then I packed up the laptop and went home, it was too darn cold in there. However I have an eight week project to amuse myself with so will carry on with that, either at work or at home as the mood takes me.

Was a little perturbed to find my office had been taken over in the last few weeks (it was vacant as it should have been three weeks ago when I went in). The takeover bidder had not gone as far as emptying the drawers of my desk but had rearranged computer, left stuff all over my desk, added items to the bookshelf etc. He was not present when I showed up (yes he's one of my staff, and yes it was commonly known I would be back today). So general enquiry eliciting that there was no reason given for this move I packed the whole lot up and dumped it back on HIS desk and got to work. First thing was phonecalls to various people to assure them I was back and working and check what was going on. And the gossip starts "[desk thief] rang me and demanded a pay increase since he was doing your job" said my manager "I told him to go take a running jump as I know who was doing your job and it wasn't him, he went to [GM]"

[GM] said something similar (along the lines of I told him No).

Said individual turned up eventually. "Sorry I didn't tidy up your desk..."

Eyed him up and down and said "you should be." in a reasonably amiable tone of voice. (receptionist who heard this through the door snorted quite loudly)

He found he needed to be out again reasonably urgently.

I'm vastly amused. I was only gone six weeks!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Rants and raves

There are a trail of 'health professionals' on my trail, and some of them are starting to get right up my nose.

I have no trouble with the trial nurse who needs to check up on me fairly regularly, she's bright and breezy, asks sensible questions like how do I feel, what are my symptoms etc.

I can cope with the woman who feels I need to join a support group or two.... no thanks. But they are such fun people she says - still no thanks but I'll think about it. (I have come across a couple of people who belong to all the support groups and they are unable to talk about anyone other than themselves and anything other than their illness and whether they will be alive next year. I cannot stand the thought of being stuck in a room full of people like that - I don't know that they are all like that but not sure I want to take the risk)

The ones that ring me up and tell me that I need to grieve for my loss of health and should get counselling are getting close to being hung up on. They seem to prod at it until they know they have upset me and use this to confirm I need help. Yes I am still upset that I would be in the UK next week if this hadn't happened. Talking it over with someone is not going to make it better, in fact it is going to make it worse - it is best it simmers in the back of my mind until I find some acceptance (and we'll go next year). I am coping perfectly well with a lot of other aspects of life at the moment, and I am trying to get back to the adjusted type of normal - the best I can get it. They don't see this. I may have to get caller display so I can avoid them.

Okay rant over - I'll go and do something less irritating to me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

About time for an update

I'm not actually depressed at the moment but aware often that what is happening in my life is depressing so I feel doubtful about blogging for fear of sounding miserable.

Anyway I had the first dose of chemotheraphy yesterday.
I was given three choices:
1 Not too nasty chemo with about a 60% chance it would work
2 Nastier chemo with a slightly better chance it would work
3 The option to go on a clinical trial where I would get nastier chemo or nastier chemo in conjunction with a new drug which looks good in mice but initial results in humans are only moderately successful.

No one quite believes I did this but I narrowed it down to options 1 or 3 and I tossed a coin. Option 3 came up. Then over the other side of the world they reviewed my scans and bloodtests, decided I was an acceptable guinea pig and tossed another coin to randomise me onto the trial and I came up as part of the control group so I am just getting the nastier chemo cocktail not the new drug. A couple of people have asked cautiously if I am disappointed about this but I am actually not... if that is what happened that is the way it is meant to be for me. A minor bit of good news is the tumour they can measure at the moment on scans (there are a lot of bits that aren't showing up in scans) has not grown since the last scan in early May, (and fingers crossed it starts getting smaller soon) .

I'm starting back at work next week, once I get over the three or four days of yuk that goes with chemo, but think I will work mostly from home for a while. Home is a good place to work, home is just a good place to be!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Mingling with the farming community


We went yesterday. The weather more or less held together, there wasn't too much mud, there were a whole heap of people... We wandered round for hours and then had to do a circuit again to buy all the things we had noted on the way but didn't want to carry.

I am in love with miniature cattle. However the price tag is too scary to contemplate. These were the size of a large dog, looked like tiny highland cattle. Soooo cute!

Got waylaid at serveral saddlery places - can't resist a special... so stocked up on lead ropes, halters, hay nets, worming pastes, covers and ummmm a saddle - a tiny wee mini horse sized saddle that was soooo cheap (and I am having some small regrets that I didn't buy another one as well which was a third of it's normal price).

Also got some plants to thicken out the shelter belts some more. And some other stuff of a minor nature.

Looked at tractors of all sizes, quadbikes, farm buildings, stock underpasses, fencing, watertroughs, clothing, tools, watertanks, trailers, horsefloats, and machinery with obscure uses.

Exhausting but fun

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The nomad bus

The nomad bus. Husband built this...(well he did the conversion from bus to motorhome) however he can't claim any credit for the paint job which was done by a very talented man in Christchurch and is amazing. Bus owner tells us that the attention is a bit boring at times - people always ask if they can get a photo of it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

This 'n' that

No intentional neglect here, just stuff has kept happening lately. Coupled with the diminished mobility/ energy as I work on getting back to normal my brain has turned to mush and I haven't been able to think of a single thing (either intelligent or stupid) to say.

So here is a brief catchup.

For starters we've had some nomads in a bus parked in the back yard for a week. Lovely to see them but glad they have gone... not that they were any trouble, they even weeded some garden and did some housework, I'm just an antisocial cuss. I might post a photo of the nomad bus later - it's very impressive and a work of art in its own right.

Close friend's father died last week too in Christchurch. Not unexpected but sad nonetheless. This was a man who treated us as part of his family, loaned us his holiday home and boat, taught my children to fish, waterski and drive the boat, told us off for our dissolute habits and gave out sage advice. Husband has gone to the funeral today. I contemplated being there but am not sure I have the energy to see it through at the moment. It's also the second anniversary of my father's death this week so I'm a bit contemplative about life and death at the moment.

I am working on getting round more as I want to go to Fieldays on Friday. Not sure if I am up to that much walking yet or not but guess I can sit myself down at a stand if it gets tiring. I am okay wandering round for an hour or two at a time.

Chooks have finally gone off the lay for the winter and we have no eggs (darn it). One of the cows got under the hotwire in one paddock and trimmed the recently planted shelter belt in that paddock (double darn it) and the littlest horse trimmed his girlfriends tail very short so she is going to look a bit silly in the show ring this summer.

Life's like that I guess.

Friday, June 10, 2005


I like being by myself... I don't get scared alone in the dark (much anyway) I like solitary and bordering on antisocial pursuits - reading, writing, scrapbooking, gardening, solitary horse grooming sessions. I like riding alone, walking alone, I used to jog with only a dog for company. A package tour holiday with the same 30 people for 10 days would drive me demented. I choose to live where the neighbours can't see into my windows, I work best in an enclosed office rather than an open plan one.

Most of the time I am moderately happy to have some human interaction in my day, but if I go a day or two without seeing anyone it doesn't upset me. Happily I have a husband with a similar outlook so we can be antisocial together.

The 'people people' I know find this disconcerting, as if contentment with aloneness is some sign of psychological disturbance. It is good for me to go out apparently. It is equally good for people I know only vaguely to come and keep me company....

They mean well - they just don't understand that I am quite comfortable with solitude.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Let me live up to my name - Wino that is...

Had someone else tell me today I should get counseling to help me deal with the stuff in my life that I have difficulty dealing with....

Hic.... bugger that. Two (big) glasses of wine, a chat on the phone to a friend that always makes me laugh and my problems aren't that important. Let me go and get another glass, and spend a little more time on that post I have been formulating for a while 'Why counseling can make you feel worse than you already did'

I'll get back to you with that.

Sunday, May 29, 2005


In the last week I have been having weird (as in not nice) and frequent dreams. I'm guessing it's the drugs...

So three or four times a night I wake up having dreamt of being in a car accident, opening my credit card statement to find big charges I haven't made, of one of my children dead, the stock attacked by dogs, a bulldozer running amok through the house and others. Now I am not of a nervous disposition normally, anything that is not an immediate threat is really not worth worrying about in my mind (and all insurance premium payments are up to date).

I've just spent a while looking up a couple of dream analysis sites. And all these dreams indicate that I have a feeling of having lost control, and have real and deepseated fears that I am having trouble addressing.

Maybe that is the standard reply to all bad dreams. Or remarkable accuracy.

Roll on better dreams.

Friday, May 27, 2005

A room with a view

Have just got back from a five day stay in a ninth floor Auckland room with amazing views of the harbour and the skytower. I even had this fabulous room to myself and it had an ensuite. I only wish I had thought to take the camera.

The room service sucked though and the cost of staying included feeling like I had been run over by a truck, and some interesting staple effects in my stomach.

They didn't manage to kill me while under anaesthetic, but I don't think they did a lot of good either, they didn't remove a great deal of the cancer which has now spread.

So it's on to chemo. It's not over by a long shot.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Nominated as the best short joke of the year....

A three-year-old little boy was examining his testicles while taking a bath.

"Mama," he asked, "Are these my brains?"

Mama answered, "Not yet."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

It never rains but it pours

ISSUED BY MetService AT 5:52 pm 18-May-2005

FURTHER HEAVY DOWNPOURS LIKELY FOR COROMANDEL PENINSULA, BAY OF PLENTY AND ABOUT MT TARANAKI A moist northeasterly flow covers the North Island with a trough expected to cross northern areas overnight. The trough is likely to bring further heavy downpours and thunderstorms to Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty through to late Thursday morning, with another 60 to 100mm possible, especially west of Kawerau. The heavy rain about Mt Taranaki should ease overnight, however another 100mm is possible about higher slopes through to the early hours of Thursday morning. People in these areas are advised to be on the alert for rapidly rising rivers and the potential for further flooding. More rain is likely about the parts of Gisborne and Hawkes Bay through to Thursday afternoon, but amounts are not expected to reach warning criteria, with only 30 to 40mm possible about the ranges.

It definitely rained. It poured down at home last night but had settled into a steady rain when I went to work. Got into town and it was bucketting down. Checked the building for leaks but it appears that the last lot of repairs are holding up. And it continued raining - rather a lot. Wasn't particularly unpleasant, not cold and little wind, just torrential straight down rain.

Didn't think too much about it until I went out about 11am. Rivers down the roads and some pretty big puddles, rather deep too. Collegue went home for lunch and reported he couldn't drive into his place - had to park up the road and paddle - and he came back with photos on his cellphone of his local pub sitting in the middle of a deep looking pond with water half way up to the windows (guess they won't be doing their usual smorgasbord tonight) and the nearby retirement home had been evacuated. Then we heard they had closed the harbour bridge and some houses had fallen off the hill at Otomoetai, cars had been abandoned in Welcome Bay, sister-in-law had to wade through waist deep water to collect the children from school. 309 mm of rain fell in the last 24 hours apparently and they expect another 120mm tonight. They have announced a 24 hour state of emergency.

Left my car in town and went home with husband in the 4WD as we weren't sure how bad our gravel road would be (actually gravel is a misnomer there isn't any gravel on it only mud) but it wasn't that bad. Suspect we didn't have that much rain at our place.

Nature is tough when you least expect it.

Monday, May 16, 2005


It's one of those days....

It's raining. I wish I hadn't bothered going to work, it was more trouble than it was worth....

You'll be pleased to know I ate well though - I had a muesli bar and an anzac biscuit for lunch, another muesli bar for afternoon tea and dinner was popcorn, toast and icecream.

I wonder why it is okay for me to eat this way, I wouldn't allow my children to do so (at least not in front of me).

Seeking positive forward moving things I changed the template on my blog. Not sure if I like it or not - may change it again later.

After I have rounded out my diet with some chocolate - as long as I can find some. And a glass of vino....

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Update on the broken cat

Herbie the roadkill escapee is pretty much as good as new. After two weeks in a cage so his hip could settle back into place he was allowed out in the house. He's now allowed outside again - something he is very pleased about. The impatience was not helped by Mitzi the other cat bringing her catches (mice, rabbits, lizards) up to the outside of the door to show him and proceeding to play with the live ones just inches from him through the glass.

Not sure his intelligence has improved at all - the catdoor is fitted in the fixed side of the ranchsliders so when the door is open the catdoor doesn't work. Have just watched him run full tilt into the catdoor and find it extremely unyielding since the door next to it was wide open.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Why I blog

No this isn't an essay on how many people I know in Cyberspace or how much satisfaction this gives me....

It's more a conversation with myself (I do that - have chats to myself)

I have a stats counter on this blog, but I hardly ever look at it - it makes me nervous because I really don't know if I want thousands of readers or none. But I guess I don't want none, otherwise I would be writing this in a Word document and keeping it on my C: drive. And I don't think I want thousands - big parties make me feel shy and I drink too much.

So I can't decide if I should be happy or sad if no one drops in to see what I am doing. Usually someone or two or ten does so I know I'm not talking to myself, and then I start wondering just who I am talking to.... I know who some of you are, but I get some unidentified extras....not that that matters much (I mean if they decide I'm an idiot they can just go away again, not really a problem, or if they want to come back occasionally that's fine by me too)

So probably I should just give the stats counter a miss, then I wouldn't have to worry about it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Teambuilding the return

I've just got back from a two day training session.

The sort of thing that raises more questions than it answers like:
If we -the chosen few - are so valued why do they put us two to a small room in a cheap motel and offer us food that looks suspiciously reheated.
Why isn't the bar tab bigger.
Where was the cooked breakfast (the reason for getting up in time to go to breakfast on these occasions)
Why is aircon and heating in conference rooms always so inefficient
Why did everyone spend hours on a preparation exercise that was hardly touched on over the course
And... how much do they pay that guy to stay enthusiastic for two whole days.

Actually I got a lot out of it. I learnt there are more productive ways of making staff behave than yelling and screaming. (I knew that really but it amused me to say I was kicking the staff into shape, now I have training I will have to use PC speak, I'll give them some feedback in a non threatening manner). And I learnt to write shorter sentences - not something I have put into practice immediately - because apparently brackets and colons and semi-colons make things hard to understand. (Note that I hardly ever use colons or semicolons - they are in the wrong place on the keyboard I find)

But there was a significant leaning towards teambuilding in this one. Not as bad as the 90s when being part of the team was the most important thing in the world and you could just go home without your bat and ball if you didn't want to play, but none the less that T word kept coming up.

If they want to blindfold anyone I'm going home.

Friday, May 06, 2005

And more autumn

Central Otago colour - again from last year.

Terribly chocolate boxy - but rather gorgeous.


Every autumn I wish for more deciduous trees. This is one of last years photos, autumn in Nelson.

Think positive thoughts for me

They ('they' being some unidentified number of surgeons who consult each other and make decisions - I only got to meet one of them but I am assured I was the subject of serious discussion) have decided to cut me open on May 23rd.

It doesn't sound like much fun.... but they didn't suggest any other options that sounded any more entertaining so guess this is what I have to do.

My mother is just about eight weeks behind me in the process with a probable recurrance of her cancer.

Fatally flawed as a family.... (mutant DNA)

No need for a reason for being

It was raining cats and dogs the other night (strange saying I've always thought, it was raining large amounts of H2O to be more precise) and I was standing out in the paddock supervising horse dinners because if I don't supervise the horse equivilent of sibling rivalry will break out and they'll all start biting and kicking each other in an attempt to get the 'best' feedbin. It was just getting dark and the rain was dripping steadily down my neck... and suddenly it became one of those moments of perfect contentment that happen every now and then, where there was no place I would rather be than standing in the rain and the dark with one large and two small horses.

Life isn't all bad and I should take the time to enjoy it more often.

Friday, April 29, 2005

It was so much fun working for the Government

I mentioned a word that got me thinking. TEAMBUILDING.

It's gone out of fashion now and we are back to every man for himself but it was THE training choice for a while.

And I was mulling this over and I can honestly say

I loved working for the Government in the 90s.

That is probably a bit insensitive as many people found it a very threatening time - but it was great!

First there was all this training. And training could involve so much drinking that some people were too sick the next day to get more training. And there is nothing like watching your previously superior workmates get all messy and uncouth. so good! Often I laughed so much I cried. Sometimes I laughed till I cried about things that weren't even funny.

And I learnt to be Culturally Sensitive. See I never realised that it wasn't enough to not care what colour or religion or whatever people were, you have to be sensitive to these differences as well. So I took that on board. And I am grateful I learned that, even if there are some gaps in the training - I learnt cultural sensitivity towards all things Maori but never got the equivilent training in Chinese or French for instance. Still it was a start.

Then there was the teambuilding. Now quite early in the piece I realised that teambuilding was actually invented by trainers so they could have a great laugh at the expense of some poor (hungover) bastards that had been sent on a training course. They invented games like blindfolding everyone, telling them a number and then expecting them to line up in order without speaking to each other. Now stumbling round blind until you walk into someone who then thumps you three times is probably really funny if you are standing back watching but is not at all amusing when you are number 10 looking for 9 and 11 to stand between. Trust me I've tried it. And I didn't feel part of number 3s team at all... Then there was the catching people when they let themselves fall, and being led round an obstacle course blindfolded and in a line. Really lucky departments got to try rockclimbing and white water rafting and bungy jumping. WINZ staff got to try a private plane (that would have been a bonding experience)

Anyway it was all over when the restructuring came - cos the first to go were the trainers.

I survived three or four restructurings. It was honestly a whole heap of fun (serious). I know some people found the whole thing threatening but the redundancy payouts were big enough to be similar to a small lotto win so what the hell - either way you won. And I do have some sympathy for people round me who lost sleep over it, but I never did. It was just so crazy it was great.

First they would announce they were restructuring and X many people were to go. Then the Union would bowl in, promise not to take this lying down, and vanish again until the next restructuring. After that there would be some Counsellor employed, usually some dizzy female who would wander round one day a week stroking everyones egos and telling them it would be really good for them in the long run if they were redundant. After a bit she would realise some people weren't actually on any hit list and would ignore them, even if they wanted to talk about something (which would have been a foolish move anyway if you were looking for good advice - but I will keep my opinion on counselling until some later date)

Eventually they would devise some sort of test or interview and make a decision about who could stay and who could go. Usually the decision seemed to make no particular sense, the person who had been taking it easy for years got to stay and the efficient person got to go. Possibly they just drew names out of a hat and all the testing and stress was just for fun.

Some of the time they asked if anyone would like voluntary redundancy. Then they refused to give it to them. (probably in the hope that they intended to leave anyway so would resign and save the redundancy payout)

Someone who got made redundant in one of the early rounds ended up staying because someone else resigned. In the next round they applied for voluntary redundancy and were turned down as they were deemed essential.... amazing they could go from dispensible to indispensible in six months...

Someone who had a part time job scored a full time one while someone else had to go....

It made no sense whatsoever so you couldn't take it personally (not after all the counselling anyway)

Then there were heaps of leaving parties and more drunken debaucery and everything would settle down for a while until they decided it needed to be done again.

Sadly once there was only half as many staff there wasn't time to spend on training any more.