Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wot I did in my holidays - part 6 - the final you will be pleased to hear

My nine year old niece offered an opinion about tourism in France based on her visit last year. "The trouble with France" she advised us "Is that they speak French there"

She's so right. We pottered round Italy with no problems with our four words of Italian. So I've got schoolgirl french so we should be able to communicate, right? I do okay getting the train into town "Bonjour, deux Paris sil vous plait" "merci beaucoup". Then I find the next time I try it, and the next six times, that the French are having a joke at my expense. I have no expectation that I speak correct french, in fact I am sure it is appalling. I would guess that my grammer is equivilent to that of a toddler. It must be blatantly obvious to all native french speakers that I am groping for the correct phrase or word fairly regularly. So of course they go off into paragraphs of rapid fire french and roll their eyes when I look blankly back having understood about three words of the explanation. I gain a new sympathy for migrants at home trying to grasp Kiwiese (one of husbands workmates who speaks English as a second language once went to the doctor as he thought he had broken one of his "leg fingers" when he dropped something on it. An xray confirmed a broken toe). It somewhat offends me that where the Vatican museum can put signs on exhibits in four or five languages in the Louvre it is all in French and only french. Okay I can paraphrase that into English fairly reasonably for husband who picks up his regulation four words and sticks to them but what's so hard about another couple of languages? (Italian translations are delightful at times - I particularly liked the one in the hotel lift that began "Respectful guest, please do be visiting the bar").

Anyway - we find the hotel. Nice to have a decent sized bed again. This one is two singles pushed together so somewhat more spacious than the little room in Rome. There is room to park the suitcase too, the heater is on and it isn't half bad.

The Louvre is pretty amazing anyway. We do of course see the Mona Lisa though you have to sharpen your elbows to hold your own in crowds like that. Some of my favourites were the less notorious paintings though - standing back across the room you suddenly notice how amazing a painting is when viewed from a distance. So we worked our way down the hallways with an eye on the opposite wall.

We couldn't go to the top of the Eiffel tower due to high winds. I don't mind, the view was good anyway. Happily too we went early as when we came down a couple of hours later the queues to go up were stretched out for miles. We had another look after dark.

In Champes Elysees they were painting trees white for Christmas. So pretty. I am a bit worried about the passing pedestrians when the people applying the stuff are wearing respirator type masks and full protective suits though! And what about the poor trees?
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So it was allright.... bits of it were even good. But it isn't too bad getting on the Eurostar to London.

It takes me 24 hours in London to realise that I am still formulating sentences in my head in French before I converse with anyone except husband. I get over it.

The shops are packed solid, and the underground is sardine like. We go do touristy things - The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, several museums (and surely there is a museum for everything in London - my favourite is the Britain at War one, though the stories of the evacuee children made me cry. Catch a Westend show - Guys and Dolls. I chose that as Patrick Swayze was in it, except he wasn't by the time we got there. Not to worry it was great anyway. It is darn chilly in London.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Am sort of happy and sad when it is time to go home. If we had known how bad the flight was going to be we would have refused to get on it and stayed where we were. The Air New Zealand flight from hell, 4 and a half hours to get a glass of water! Food choices run out by the time they get to us, horrible smelling overcooked food that I couldn't bear the smell of anyway - and believe me I am not that fussy. At 7 am New Zealand time we are watching the second sunrise of the flight when a flight attendant demands extremely rudely that we shut the blind on the window. The reason - they are not serving breakfast for another three hours and they do not want everyone woken up.
Dear whoever you are:
1 Learn to ask politely
2 I paid for this trip in a tiny seat in this cramped tin can so I can be at the mercy of idiots like you for 24 hours. I will f'ing well watch the sunrise if I want to.
3. What the hell do you think you are doing serving BREAKFAST at 10am New Zealand time? (anyway reheated noodles have never been my idea of a reasonable breakfast, though your reheated eggs are only marginally better I would not have minded having a choice instead of having the noodles dumped in front of me with a "that's all that's left")
4 Will you all get over the obsession with the blinds FFS. I am tired of hearing the blinds must be up or must be down.

So we're home. We had a good time. The Visa bill looks rather large. Next time we'll fly with another airline.

Wot I did in my holidays - part 5

We arrive in Rome in the middle of a bus strike. We didn't want to use a bus anyway but it means taxis are at a premium. We escape an unauthorised taxi who said 80 Euros to our hotel and after half an hour wait get a genuine taxi who takes us there for 17 Euros (but we tipped him the rest of the 20 in gratitude for not being ripped off).

Discover we have the smallest hotel room in captivity. It has a three quarter size bed and about a foot of space round it. Have to keep the suitcase in the bathroom. They are also a little miserly about the heat and only turn the radiators on for an hour twice a day so it is a bit chilly. Still there is a wee balcony with a view of the street, and is only a two minute walk to the metro. We get them back by making sure we eat a heap of the free breakfast and pocket ham croissants and bits and pieces for lunch. Husband who has never been near a metro before isn't sure he wants to travel by that method but I persuade him and he is a convert.

Half of Rome appears to be hiding behind scaffolding and "under restoration" but it is all good, the weather is fine, the coffee at bars is cheap (avoiding sitting at the tables) and there is a heap of things to see. Too much history really. We see the touristy things - throw our coins in the Trevi Fountain, climb the Spanish Steps, see the Colossium, the Roman Forum and the Sistine Chapel (etc). Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Not being Catholic I never gave much thought to the wealth of the Catholic Church. The Vatican Museum and St Peter's is mind boggling, along with other churches round the place that casually have million dollar paintings on display with barely a railing to stop you touching them. We visit the Catacombs too and wander along the Via Appia, Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI remember the Via Appia from Latin lessons at school so think I need to see it. And probably worth the visit too. Along the way we visit Keats grave in the pretty little cemetery for foreigners of non Catholic faith. I have no more or no less time for Keats than any other of the poets of that era but it is peaceful sitting by his grave so we sit for an hour.

After five days of emersion in history we manage an interesting metro and bus ride and catch a plane to Paris.

Just venting - can we just take a moment here to reflect please!

Husbands brother saw fit to end his own life in the weekend. They found the body last night. Husband and brother weren't particularly close as brother has always had some issues and many of the things he has done over the years distanced him from many people. But still losing a sibling is tough, and sad.

His mother was within an hour of hearing the news asking for money for the funeral. My mother is extremely concerned that attending the funeral may interfere with my ability to cook the turkey for Christmas day.

Can we please have a moment to reflect on the man! I am not ready to discuss money (but I don't think so!) or turkeys right now, husband even less so.

Vent over.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wot I did in my holidays - part 4

Seaside interlude over we head back to the Cotswolds and an explore of the area. Love Oxford, Stow on the Wold, Moreton on the Marsh, Stratford on Avon... as the inhabitant of a relatively newly settled country the age and history of these places bowls me over at times. We head out to dinner one night at a local pub where Sis and BIL went to lunch one Sunday to find they were dining with Paul McCartney (or perhaps more properly in the same restaurant as Paul). We get Paul's table this time. "where was he sitting?" I ask. "In your seat" Sis replies. Wonder what he ate - the sea bass was very good but he may have gone for one of the vegetarian options...

After a week of the Cotswolds we return the rental car and take ourselves to Gatwick for an Easyjet flight to Venice. Like getting on a bus (and a bit cheaper than a long bustrip too, as a comparison the off peak fare from London to the Cotswolds on the train is 20 pounds and Gatwick to Venice is 17 pounds.) Captain informs us as we take off that some people haven't turned up on time and that is their bad luck. Watch out for them on the TV programme. Actually the flights are so cheap and are non refundable so if you decided you didn't want to go you would just not show.

Arrive in Venice airport where we are promptly passed through Immigration and let out into Italy. Catch a waterbus to Piazzo San Marco and with extremely limited Italian (two words) get directions to our hotel and walk off trailing luggage. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Hotel is close to the Rialto Bridge tucked away down a narrow (one person wide narrow) sidestreet. The decor is perhaps a little dated but it is comfortable and charming. We dump the luggage and head out to explore Venice. And to fall in love with the place. Touristy yes but with a character all of it's own. I love narrow streets and unexpected squares, little bridges over canals with barges laden with beer and the drivers holding a glass of the product. I love the unexpected cafes with tables out on the street and we discover that to sit at those tables invites them to charge what they like for whatever you order - coffee at the bar is the cheapest, followed by inside tables, then sit outside and you may pay another five euros to hire that space so to speak. Love the street stalls with Murano glass, carnival masks and postcards. Gobsmacked by the ceiling in San Marco Basilica and the worn floor where centuries of feet have walked. We eat pizza of course in a little bar with extremely expensive drinks, we drink anyway. We learn a couple more words of Italian. The waiter tells us he is a rugby fan - "All Blacks, kamate, kamate." It is well past dark and we wander some more stopping for a last coffee about 11.30pm. The only danger appears to be the wandering rose seller who is determined we need a bunch.

In the morning we take a waterbus to another part of the city and explore some more. We take a gondola ride - highly expensive but you can't go to Venice and not ride in a gondola. Our gondola man does not sing but he whistles, and points out the items of interest.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Having looked at most of the options I buy some Murano glass for Xmas presents (with the odd piece in there for us of course) Foolish move as I spend the next two weeks worrying about the glass in my suitcase (cocooned in my clothes as well as the packaging the shops put on it) but it was an unfounded fear, all survived. And I buy an Italian leather handbag of course....

Another dinner - this one by the Grand Canal - several more bars where we alternate between coffee and wine and another wander round the narrow little streets and it is time to go. In the morning we are booked on the train to Rome.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Wot I did in my holidays - part 3

Are you bored yet??? If not I'll show you the pictures - there are a couple of thousand (digital cameras are mighty fine things) so there should be something in there to interest you... Remind me later to get the slide show going for you :-).

After Edinburgh we headed up to Inverness (with a look at Stirling Castle on the way) and quite by accident we found one of those magical places. We had booked to stay in a house in Strathconan, about 25 miles out of Inverness. So we drove about 12 miles down a single lane road in the growing dark. At the end of our hesitant drive was a cottage, one of a group of four. It was too dark to see more than a general shape of the outside but inside was great with the fire going, cozy and with everything you could imagine you might need. We settled in for the night.

Got up in the morning and find there is a waterfall across the road. Wow what a view! And out the kitchen window is a meadow across to a river with a stag standing in the distance. It is stunning and I could stay here for ever. Instead we go and look at Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness. I saw the monster five times.... I'm sure I did. Then we check out Culloden Moor. Brr it is cold. Round the road from Culloden is Clava Cairns, ancient burial chambers. Amazing that something four thousand years old is still there. Back to the magical Strathconan, wishing we could stay another day or so. More deer on the road. Very nice 6 or 7 pointer at one point. Any hunter would be fairly pleased at getting that. Could have shot him from the car. Actually I did but only with the camera.

Back down through Glen Coe where the Campbell's slaughtered the McDonald's. Let that be a lesson to all tenants who pay their rent late! Anyway the McDonalds were cattle thieves and generally ruffians. Did I ever mention my maiden name was Campbell? No? Sordid little piece of history actually and Glen Coe is an eerie sort of place. Loch Lomand is pretty and had a good feed of real English (or maybe that is Scottish) fish and chips along the way.

To cut a tedious story a bit shorter we headed to Norfolk over several days where we stayed in an apartment above the stables in a stately home - Felbrigg Hall. Very cool. Recently fitted out apartment, lovely place surrounded by acres of parkland and gardens. Explored Norfolk. It was here that I discovered husband has no map reading skills at all - he got very perturbed when expected town didn't turn up where he expected. I found out he thought we were travelling in the opposite direction to the way we were actually going. Hmm - he can go back to driving and I will be navigator, otherwise we may end up back in Scotland.

Meandered along the south coast (parking very expensive in Brighton BTW) and to Cornwall where we stayed another couple of days in an old Schoolhouse. Another interesting place.

In the Eden Project we were somewhat interested to find they collect the rain water, filter it UV treat it and then (drum roll) use it to flush the toilets. So here is this water that is in far better condition than anything that might come out of the taps but they don't even use it to wash hands! UK seems quite backward to me in conservation matters, they are apparently lagging with recycling and supermarket goods appear over packaged to my eyes. The water collection and treatment to flush the toilets makes me laugh, we use rainwater with less treatment for everything at home (we do filter it before we drink it) I guess we do not have the air pollution problems they may have. I like the Eden Project. I like Cornwall, old mines, the Minarck theatre on the side of a cliff, art galleries and cornish pasties.

Wot I did in my holidays - part 2

Seem to have sorted the jet lag by the morning. Collected rental car and got a guided tour of Cheltenham with BIL. Sis has gone to work and nieces to school. We take a walk around the village in the afternoon. They've all been expecting us so it is a friendly occasion, though slightly disconcerting when total strangers come up to say "you must be J's sister". Must have been in the city too long...

The church (12th century)is open so we wander in to inspect it. Nice. The carving has worn off the older headstones they have been there so long.

The whole lot of us go to the pub for a curry and a pint in the evening. I admire the Grand National winner on the wall - he was trained in the village so they are proud of him. Nieces roll their eyes when told we have had their fathers Cheltenham tour. "I bet you saw the house Dad had in...." Yes I think we did (but we liked it - it was our first tour of Cheltenham). When we go home B from the local guesthouse rings up and offers to take us out to see her horse train in the morning. Yes please! She rings back five minutes later to say she has cleared it with the head lad at the stables and all is fine.

Out in the misty dawn at the training gallops. We hear about B's horse, he's only a youngster, ran once on the flat and won, ran once over hurdles and was leading but faded at the end, they found later he was injured. Then the horses come down. It is like something out of a Dick Francis book, stable lads chatting and call good morning to us as they walk their horses down to the end of the sand track and come back at a half speed gallop. They appear out of the mist in ones and twos and thunder past us. B's horse is looking in great condition, they are planning on running him late the next week and he looks as though he will be ready. Behind me a horse in a paddock comes up and starts windsucking on the fence. I turn round and tell him to stop that, he gives me a startled look and thinks about it before grabbing the fence again. "He's not sure about your accent" B says.

We pack the car up and head off about lunch time, giving the girls their room back for a few weeks. Rental car is a gutless wonder. I am not too happy about the sticker the company have slapped on it proclaiming it is their rental as I am sure it must increase the chance of it being broken into. However it is probably better that people realise that we wouldn't actually own this pathetic excuse for a motor vehicle ourselves as it would be embarrassing to admit our taste in cars was so bad. It appears economical which is good given the price of petrol in the UK.

We get as far as the Lake District before stopping for the night.

Have a quick explore of the Lake District in the morning. Frosty morning but clear skies as you would expect. I used to love the Arthur Ransome books when I was a kid so Coniston Water where many of them were set is on the agenda. Saw a stone circle too. Autumn colours in full force and the area is beautiful.

Headed on to Edinburgh and eventually found our apartment. The actual location was very straight forward. Go down the road, turn left and it is in a street on the right. Looked dead simple on the map. Except the town is full of one way streets, bus lanes and no left turns. We drive round in circles for half an hour. Eventually we get there but it is a mission. Funny little apartment on the first floor of a building. Initial inspection shows a kitchen living room, a bedroom and a toilet with a handbasin. Where's the shower!!!! I'm prepared to get irritated until we find it - in the wardrobe. Interesting. Okay I can live with that.

Spent the next day doing Edinburgh Castle, walking down the Royal Mile admiring the wonderfully tacky souvenirs and the wonderfully expensive kilt shops, having an extremely expensive lunch, checking out a couple of museums and Hollyroodhouse where the Queen stays when in Edinburgh. Wonder if the Queen ever wishes for a nice hotel room, it is a cold and drafty place, even with the heaters going. Quite pretty though. Worked out later we walked about eight miles.

Wot I did in my holidays - part 1

Okay so some time ago, (so much has happened in between that I have to refer to my diary to remember what happened) we went to Auckland and got on a big plane. One medium sized book, a viewing of Finding Nemo and a snooze and we arrived in Hong Kong where the sun was rising. That - and a view from the plane - was all we saw of Hong Kong but the departure lounge was okay (if you like that sort of thing) as two hours later we got back on the plane and being blessed with a blissful lack of many other passengers had a row of seats each to stretch out on and stewards and stewardesses on demand to deliver hot and cold drinks and small snacks as requested. Another movie (The Worlds Fastest Indian) some crappy airline food and another sleep and we touched down at Heathrow.

I am told that the queues for non EU passport holders at Heathrow are horrendous and you get the third degree about the possibility you might be intending to work. But when we got there there was no one in the queue. Immigration man had a short chat to me about my occupation, commented that my boss was very nice to me giving me such a long holiday and slapped a stamp on my passport. He didn't think husbands occupation even worth discussing and stamped his too (though we were advised later that there is quite a shortage of tradesmen of husbands profession so perhaps they didn't mind if he worked). So we strolled through the nothing to declare lane and there we were in England. We had in fact disembarked and completed the formalities so fast that there was no one there to meet us. So we went and got a coffee. And discovered a language barrier - "long black" means nothing to coffee shop staff. After some debate about precisely what I wanted I was told I wanted an Americano. Okay so give me one....

Half an hour later spotted sister and brother in law standing at the arrivals entrance scanning the crowds coming through. Snuck up behind them and scared the hell out of them. Ha!

We piled our luggage in the car and set off with brother in law and sister to the village they reside in (for part of the year) in the Cotswolds. Along the way we catch up with gossip from both sides of the world and have landmarks pointed out to us. I am a little perturbed at the speed brother in law travels in tiny little lanes but avert my eyes - he's lived round here for most of his life (apart from the time he's spent in New Zealand which isn't inconsiderable) so he must know what he is doing. Love the dry stone walls.

BIL and Sis inhabit a delightful 16th century Cotswold stone cottage in a village with three hundred inhabitants, two pubs, a bakery and a post office. It is gorgeous. We are given a welcoming reception from my nieces which is very generous of them since they have been relegated to airbeds in the tiny little study for the duration of our stay.

Gossiped, ate, drank a bottle or two of wine and fell asleep.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Anyway a recap

I've been busy.

I always get busy at this time of year so I shouldn't be surprised should I.

There's a lot going on.

Finished my radiation yesterday. Apart from driving to Hamilton every day I love radiation - it's far more fun than chemo, quick, painless and appears effective. Lovely staff too. All good.

In between the radiation thing I finished a heap of work off and got audited. Hopefully get the final tick for that tomorrow. Sold my horsetruck (bit sad) and will buy a float in due course. Husband sold the spare Subaru Ute he had - far too cheaply as it turned out (I thought it was too dear so there you go, I know nothing) so the garage and yard is looking relatively tidy without spare vehicles parked round the place.

All this is culminating in our trip to the UK - we leave on Sunday. Yeeeehhaaaa!

waiting in trembling anticipation

Is it 5.30 yet?

Last week I was audited... for work (not *fingers crossed* by those tax people) I get audited with reasonable regularity for bits of work I have done - all part of the system and normally they are pretty cruisey.

This one went a bit wrong when the auditor got stuck at an airport so ended up doing the interview by phone. It was okay I guess but I was left with follow up work of all sorts of things that I could have shown at a face to face interview.

Last night at 5 past 5 I was told I needed to do some more work - took until about midnight and today I have been sitting answering minor queries on the email (not a problem unless my fax decides it doesn't like my broadband which it does sometimes)

So waiting for the last sting - if I get another four or five hours work tonight I am going to be most unhappy...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I got a tattoo this week

My sister in law has a butterfly on her bum I am told. I think she offered to show me once but I declined. I can't quite remember.

I worry a little about the tailend of the baby boomers and their willingness to permenantly mark themselves. I mean when you are 85 and in a rest home the sexy little tattoo on your whatever is not going to be that pretty. But I suppose anyone that is looking when you get to that age either won't care or won't have that great eyesight...

But I got three small blue tats this week - I asked for a more appealing design if they were going to permenantly mark me but they declined to do a rose or a running horse. Not fair really.

It was actually called a 'mark up' to make sure the radiation I am getting next week will be delivered to the correct area. 10 medium doses they reckon should zap the tumour back into submission. Not that it is rampaging, just sneaking in a little growth here and there.

"where have you been?" someone at work asked when I came back.
"getting a tattoo"
Don't think he quite knew what to answer...

Friday, October 06, 2006

What is it with automatic denial?

Have been in occasional ongoing argument with the power lines supplier for some months now. Nothing major, I maintain we should not have power cuts as often as we do, they deny we have power cuts, they deny it is their fault if we do (one excuse is that cars knock over powerpoles and that causes a lot of powercuts - that happened ONCE) or maybe it is the weather.. (hello... we have weather all the time, I don't think that is a good reason for twice a week power cuts)

So after this too-ing and fro-ing by email and emphatic statements that it is not their fault in any way they announce yesterday on the radio that they are going to install a new substation and this will help the problems with powercuts to Te Puke and surrounding areas (guessing that is us).

Had they said back when this started that yes they knew they had a problem and they were looking into solutions I would have gone away happy. So why persist in saying I was imagining things or it wasn't their fault.

Feel like sending them back their emails with a request for further comment in light of recent announcements. (but I don't think I can be bothered)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

New Baby

Without a lot of fuss - she managed to calve sometime yesterday morning after 8.30am and had baby cleaned up and fed by 12 when we got home - the heifer produced a black bull calf.

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I get there eventually

Trouble is she doesn't much like having her photo taken...
But here is Ali, the new girl on the block.

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Monday, July 31, 2006

I'm a sucker

(pictures to follow)

There was a little thoroughbred mare going to go to the dogfood place through no fault of her own. She's now residing at our place. Or actually at the neighbours since we appear to be short on grass. She's a sweet wee girl - very timid as she has had very little handling over the last few years. I wasn't sure what to do with her but I think she might have to stay... One thing that I am keeping an eye on is that she appears a little round in the belly department when viewed from front or back on. Time will tell I suppose.

Also round is the preggie Ears, and the No 12 cow who is due at the end of next month and just about as round as she is tall. This does not stop No 12 from having bucking sessions round the paddock - though perhaps it isn't bucking it is cow kicking.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Arghh - it gets too difficult sometimes

A week or so ago the bank wrote me a nice letter and offered me a pretty platinum credit card with a credit limit about the size of half the mortgage to replace my boring old ordinary credit card with it's piddly little credit limit only the size of quarter of the mortgage. (my parents nearly went bankrupt in the 70s for less money than my old credit card limit - but that's another story) There was a small annual fee for this lovely card of course but as it includes free travel insurance it was actually a good deal. Anyway I felt really special to be offered this pretty shiny card that suggested I was a rich person and since you never know when you might want a brand new car or something on a whim I thought I had better take it.

It arrived the other day - and it is pretty and shiny - but I had to take it to the bank to get a PIN put on it. I decided to do this today when I was in Hamilton working. So I stood in the queue in the bank for 14 minutes (I kid you not - they were extremely slow). I got to the counter and said I needed a PIN on my credit card and handed the card and my drivers licence over. The teller looked at my drivers licence, sneered, and tossed the two cards back at me "Your licence has expired" Oh god - has it... I check, yes it has, and I've been driving round for two months with no drivers licence. Hmm. She refuses to accept an expired licence as ID. She isn't that polite (in fact she makes a comment about hoping I remember when my credit card is due for payment). I collect my dignity, sneer back and walk out contemplating the letter I will write to the manager.

Anyway now I don't have a drivers licence I am due to be stopped at any minute for some driving indiscretion and then I will get a big fat ticket for having an expired licence won't I. I'm too nervous to drive home, I go to the AA and enquire about renewing my licence. The lady in there is lovely. She gives me the form. My expired licence is okay for ID I just need something with my name and address on it to prove where I live and we can go ahead. Oh darn. I turn out my handbag. I have a lot of receipts for all sorts of things -but I have nothing to prove where I live. Double darn. Nice lady commiserates with me. I have a thought, there is a receipt and guarantee for the tyres on the car in the glovebox. I run out to the car and get it after shovelling dozens of receipts back into my handbag. It has our address on it BUT it has husbands name not mine. Triple and quadruple darn - and worse words than that.

There is nothing for it I will have to do it another day. I get back into the car I am not supposed to be driving and head down the road. Where I find a branch of our insurance company. Brainwave. Quick braking (probably very bad driving brought on by being an unlicenced driver) and swing into the carpark. I go in "I want to pay some insurance" I'm directed to another nice lady and explain the story - I want to pay whatever policy is due next and get a receipt with my address on it please. She congratulates me on my initiative and has a look - there is one due for renewal next month, would I like to pay that. I don't need to pay she could print me out the account if I would prefer. In the face of such pleasantness I opt to pay - it will save me forgetting to later anyway.

Armed with my receipt with name and address on it I proceed back to where I was and renew my drivers licence. All done with good cheer and efficiency. The new licence will arrive in due course and in the meantime I have a temporary one. I am now safe to drive again.

Still don't have a PIN on my pretty new credit card. Guess I'll just have to sign.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A month ago we had a power cut remember

We still haven't got anything fixed yet, but the computer might be back next week and some replacement things are coming in the next week or so.

I have so had enough of appliance repairers, power companies and just about the insurance company (though they have actually been trying quite hard to be helpful). I even unwittingly started a ministerial enquiry into our power cut (unbelievable really) Not that it was anything but an Act of God of course.... (bloody God I wish he/she would stop playing round with these things) and no one has any record of my letter in February detailing how often we have power cuts or of my frequent phone calls reporting power cuts. In fact they were totally unaware we have so many outages. Yeah right - pass me a Tuis will ya, I need a drink after all this mucking around.

One thing I have discovered is really we are a bit stupid. I mean we have an electric jug that cost $120. I went to the Warehouse and got a cordless, automatic shutoff electric jug for $10.99. Realistically I don't expect the expensive one to last more than about five years so for that money I could get Warehouse ones and chuck them out when they get dirty or stop working (whichever happens first). It's a very throw away society.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The mistress story

Reading over the last post and the reference to the mistress I think I had better tell you the mistress story now rather than later, least your fertile minds imagine something less innoculous than it is.

Well I think it is innoculous - who really knows.

At Dad's funeral we were standing in a family group outside the chapel, as you do, before the service. This attractive blond woman showed up, my brother went over to meet her, they hugged, she gave him a kiss on the cheek and went inside.

Brother's wife watched the greeting with a bit of interest and said "who is that?"
Now I was hoping she could tell us that cos I had never seen this woman before.
As quick as a flash, and with a perfectly straight face, my sister - who is known for her dry sense of humour replied "That's (brothers) mistress"
Some of us burst out laughing straight away, Mum took 20 seconds to realise it was a joke, sister in law looked vaguely confused (as well you could - after all the wife is supposedly always the last to know...)

I believe she goes to the gym with him and they had struck up a friendship through that.

It's a family joke now.

After the funeral one of Dad's old workmates told me a story about after hours drinking in the pub with Dad missing being arrested because he was out in the kitchen making himself a sandwich when the cops charged in, rolling a company car into a bull paddock an hour or so after that and walking/staggering miles to organise a ride home. Huh they reckon todays youth is bad!

On death and dreams...

Last week it was three years since my father died. Mum remembered the date at 2.30pm, I thought about it about 4pm and my brother remembered at 4.30. Not sure what time my sister remembered but she rang Mum from the other side of the world that evening so probably earlier in the morning than the rest of us.

In my mind the grieving for Dad is tied in with the Rainbow Bridge poem - you know the one about animals waiting at the rainbow bridge for their special human to take them into heaven. We were all reasonably brave when Dad died, he was 7 weeks in Intensive Care and it was in the end a family decision to turn off the life support on him (on the doctors recommendations). After that long I think we were as a family fairly braced for the inevitable. So we coped with only minor outbreaks of tears. (remind me to tell you the mistress story sometime too...). Some months before Dad died we lost our 18 year old cat, (that's got bugger all to do with it you say :-)) and a few weeks after Dad died I was emailing an old friend and when she enquired after Sasha and I replied she had died she sent me the Rainbow Bridge poem. I had read it before but I was reading it again and I had a vision of Dad going to heaven and at the Rainbow Bridge collecting the pony he'd had as a kid, his working dog, and the cat that he always professed to hate but used to fuss over when he thought no one was looking. So I'm sitting at work bawling my eyes out, luckily it was just about knock off time, and I cried all the way home, and most of the evening - to the consternation of my nearest and dearest. And after that of course it got better.

Anyway - Mum was saying last week that when she dreams Dad is always in the dreams alive and well. And my sister had a dream that she was at some event, garden party type thing and Dad was there. She said to him "But I thought you were dead" and he replied "Yes everyone thought that but I wasn't".

So my dream last week was a bit different. I went into this cafe - it bore a fairly close resemblence to one in town - and Dad was sitting at a table. I wasn't at all surprised to see him there. He said "I've been waiting for you - your coffee is nearly cold and I've eaten most of your banana cake" and I said "that's okay because I wanted carrot cake anyway" so I sat down and drank lukewarm coffee. Then he said "It's about time you showed up Dixie is waiting for you." Dixie was the horse I owned as a teenager. I said "But Dixie must be dead by now" and he said "Yes of course she is otherwise she wouldn't be waiting for you" and I said "am I dead then? I didn't think it would look like this" and he said "yes it is quite ordinary isn't it, but it isn't too bad"

Then I woke up - wondering if I was alive or dead... Strange how your subconscious weaves these things into your dreams.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

South Islanders got to play with snowballs

It didn't snow up our way. Actually a decent frost is cause for a mini celebration and dance round the lawn on the crunchy grass, not quite the winterless north but not a particularly chilly place.

So the south island vanished under a layer of snow on Monday. But of more newsworthiness apparently was the fact that Auckland had a power cut - for somewhere between four and six hours I gather. At least I hear it had more coverage on the TV news. I didn't get to witness this because we had a power cut too.

At about the same point Auckland lost power so did we. I waited for an hour or so and rang the power company. They started by telling me I wasn't a customer of theirs. I don't know why I fail to exist for so many companies, it must be because I cause so little trouble, pay the bills on time and never complain so when I do they tell me they have never heard of me. Anyway a terse wee comment about the money they could repay me since I didn't exist led to some locating of our account. And the news that they had no idea when the power would be back on. So I waited another four hours (eventually finding the little camp gas stove and having a coffee) and rang again. No they still didn't know when the power would be on - they were busy did I not know. Okay.

Husband came home and I tried the power company again. Except they must have got sick of my ringing them and had a word to the phone company cos they made the phone break too.

A bit later we got part power but no phone. The house wiring is sort of interesting in that there are two lines in - each to different parts of the house. So if it half goes you can run huge amounts of power cords through the house and make most appliances work. And found that the computer, the fish tank heater and a variety of other household appliances had ceased working. What is particularly upsetting about that is that I had a week and a halfs work on that computer. The repair shop are currently assessing whether this can be rescued. This would appear to be a lesson about backing up. It seems to be a hard one.

Finally got full power and phone back on 36 hours after it went off. Not entirely unheard of in our neck of the woods. We are usually without electricity for an hour or two a week. We had an 18 hour power cut between Christmas and New Year. No one seems to care much and no one ever apologises for it.

The biggest issue is no power means no water as the water pump doesn't work. I'm not that keen on climbing to the top of the water tank to dip a bucket in the inspection hatch and anyway that would need a rope attached to the bucket if it hasn't rained for a week or so. Otherwise it probably isn't too bad - we have a fire with a wetback. The fish get a bit chilly and the freezers get a bit warm but the rest is just about bearable. If we just had water and maybe could watch the tele it would be okay.

So yesterday we bought a generator.

I just feel highly ripped off that we couldn't have snow to go with this.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Faith in the medical profession?

I'm pretty cynical I know. This cynicism has grown over the last 10 years or so as I question the things I was taught were correct and sometimes find them not as correct as originally assumed. The last year or so has reinforced my feelings of unease, if I did what they told me to do I would not be as healthy as I am now (which admittedly is probably not that healthy but passable).

The other week I gave my mother some vitamin and mineral supplements that I thought might be useful to her. Now mother has also been fairly well done over by the medical profession. She spent years with a tranquiliser addiction which she struggled to conquer and eventually beat because a GP failed to realise she had post natal depression and gave her the pretty pills when she really needed something else. Then there was the surgeon who took off her whole breast when every other surgeon in the country was doing lumpectomies for breast cancers the size of mothers (caught very early and miniscule) - he also told her reconstructive surgery was likely to fail with her (why I don't know, neither does she) so she got one boob removed when it really wasn't necessary. Along the way were the other surgeons who reported they had removed her ovaries when they hadn't. This caused untold grief when the ovaries that didn't exist grew cancer too. She struggles with bone density problems and they feed her drugs that make her sick so she won't break a hip. When she reports the current meds make her sick they give her other drugs that do the same thing. So one of the things I got her was a calcium supplement that is supposed to be extremely natural and very digestable.

She gave them all back the other day. Why? Because she asked her doctor who said she didn't need any vitamin or mineral supplements so she won't take them. Whatever... I'm not insulted that she doesn't want to take them.

But I don't know why she still trusts the conventional medical people so implicitly.

Or maybe it is that she doesn't trust me.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bloody vodaphone!

Communications companies and I just cannot get on. I try. I am reasonable. Sometimes I try to be funny. But we just can't be friends.

Yesterday I had to make a call on my mobile. Now the little phone has been sitting there on the car charger for a while, not doing anything much. I can live with the fact that no one wants to talk to me so I wasn't that worried. So I punch in the number and hit ring and nothing happens. This is because the display now tells me "SIM disabled". I'm guessing that means it doesn't work.

After not making the call I eventually get home. Husband greets me with "I tried to ring you but your phone has been disabled" Grrr yes I know.

I ring Vodaphone. The recorded message tells me to ring from my mobile and I will get faster service but to push 0 to speak to an operator. Thanks... then it hangs up on me! I redial and this time it puts me on hold with some particularly ugly music for five minutes before I am disconnected. Third time a person picks up after a minute or two. English is her second language (or if it is her first language she has an unusual accent and a great deal of difficulty constructing a sentence. Though I did wonder after a minute or two if her IQ was a little below average...) She looks up my phone number. Well actually first she looks up someone elses phone number and tells me it is working fine. Then she looks up my phone number and tells me I asked for it to be disabled because it was stolen. I tell her I didn't. She tells me I did. I ask if I put this request in writing or if it was done over the phone. She doesn't know. I give up on that argument and ask for it to be reactivated. She tells me that is impossible, I will need to buy another SIM card. I tell her that the last thing I will do after this is buy a Vodaphone SIM card again. She tells me my phone will never work again unless I do. I thank her - admittedly not very politely, and hang up - possibly rather abruptly.

This morning I ordered a little Telecom phone with all sorts of features I will probably never use. I'm sure it will be very pretty. And I sent Vodaphone a nice email thanking them - if this hadn't happened I would never have known about some of the good deals Telecom have now. In fact I would probably have stuck to the old SIM card for another five years because I could remember the phone number.

Small perfectly healthy little Vodaphone phone for sale cheap. You will need to bring your own SIM card to test it.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The joy of shopping with your spouse

It started when Karl got a heat transfer system. I like the idea so much that I wanted one too. This is because the living room is so hot with the fire on that you just about faint when you stand up and get your head in the hot air zone under the roof. But when you open the door to let some of this extra heat head down the hallway to the rest of the house peculiar drafts start niggling at your feet.

So feeling slightly more alive on Sunday I went with husband to Bunnings. Bunnings is always an interesting place to go and you tend to get sidetracked before you get anywhere near what you were looking for. This time it was the outdoor pizza oven and smoker that distracted me first. Very trendy and not that expensive for what it was. Not that we ever cook pizza outdoors or smoke anything but it looked cool (didn't buy it though). Then husband remembered a piece of wood he needed to make his life complete so we looked at that. Eventually we found the aisle with the heat transfer systems. So husband opened the box, sat down on the floor and read all the enclosed info while examining the contents of the box. Then he got a thermostat and had a close look at that. This took some time and I disassociated myself from the man on the floor unpacking the merchandise by scanning the goods on the shelves opposite. I was quite tempted by the remote security camera setup, that wasn't that expensive either, though the colour one would be better... and the mirror demister was hardly any money "can we have one of those?" I asked husband. He looked it over "yes but we need a new fuse on the fusebox and another wire down the length of the house before there is enough power down that end to run it. Though if we do that we could get another heated towel rail as well. Isn't the powerbill high enough though?" Okay, sounds complicated, and more expensive than I thought, it was just an idea, so I won't get one of those right now...

Some time later he is completely conversant with the workings and wiring of the heat transfer system. He packs it all back up and puts it back on the shelf.
"What's wrong with it?" I ask.
"Nothing. I think we should have a look at Mitre 10."
"Oh okay"

For some reason we go to a pet shop on the way to Mitre 10. The cats need new collars but we don't get any. We look at the overpriced puppies and express shock to the hard selling assistant that an unpapered puppy could be so expensive. Assistant wisely makes herself scarce before we launch into the sins of impulse buying animals. From there it is just across the road to the electrical appliance shop to check out DVD recorders. We don't buy any of those either, but we comparison shop round the corner in two more electrical shops.

After that there is a handy cafe so we get something to eat. It was a somewhat expensive cafe and lunch was almost the price of a DVD player (but not as expensive as a DVD recorder or a puppy). We ponder this over the meal - which was very good.

Have now lost all interest in heat transfer systems but go to Mitre 10 who doesn't have the cheap one anyway. Instead we buy a piece of timber.

So five hours away from home, and we have a nice piece of wood.

Friday, May 26, 2006


I'm dying I tell you - but the doctor says it is a perfectly normal, maybe slightly more severe than usual, dose of gastroenteritis. I'm not sure I believe him but he assures me I will be fine again by Tuesday at the latest. (If not I may return to see him then, which was generous of him I thought). Drink a couple of litres of water at least a day he said. Yes I'm doing that - just none of it gets past my stomach before it leaves again.

Things are actually on the moderate improve today, so I guess I might admit he could be right and it really isn't something more sinister. My father died of pancreatitis which was caused by a gallstone that he was on a waiting list to have dealt to. (just something I throw at the hospital occasionally - along the lines of "well for the sake of day surgery my father got 54 days in intensive care at whatever that cost and then he died"). I also have a friend who had the same thing (but survived). So I tend to imagine the worst. I actually have no idea how a gallstone feels, or pancreatitis, but I can't imagine it is much more painful than the constant stomach cramps I've had.

The starvation diet has done well though...

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Friday, May 19, 2006

I suppose

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The scales are at least heading in the right direction.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Now carsalespersons

have cleaned up their act (well sort of) and about 50% of Real Estate salespeople are probably okay I have found a new industry with a tendency towards incompetence - travel agents.

Last time I dealt with one (or it was two in the end, both not much good) I swore I would book any trip in the South Pacific online in future (and I have). But the UK and Europe seemed to have better deals with a travel agent. So I got hold of a few - four in fact. Four weeks later I still don't have an itinery that in any way resembles what I asked for. Actually from half them I don't have anything at all...

It's a bit immaterial though cos I told my boss I thought I might take August off and she made funny panicky noises. She recovered and said yes of course I should go and that would be fine... but now I feel guilty. (husbands boss is a prat and if he doesn't give him time off a resignation will be tendered - which would probably be a good thing - but my boss is great and I don't want to upset her)

Maybe we'll go in November instead. Will probably need thermals but the touristy spots should be quieter.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A weighty matter

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I've been mucking round with it for too long making excuses.  But
at the beginning of May I decided the least I need to do is get rid of
the 14kg of  weight I gained while I was having chemo.  
So here it is - a ticker to show you how much I have lost since 1
May.   After that there is the weight I gained when I had the
chemo in 2001.... 

One of the sad things about taking weight loss seriously was that I really did need to get new scales. The old ones were digital but they had some interesting behaviours. Some days I weighed 37kg. That was really quite inspiring, but when I stepped back on them two minutes later I would find I suddenly weighed 112kg which wasn't quite as exciting. Some days they did come up with numbers that looked logical but due to this shifty behaviour I decided to get some new ones. As can be expected I was two kg heavier than I thought (grrr it's worse than I imagined!) But not to worry - that's gone.

Hopefully my determination lasts.
I'll keep you updated.

I just don't get it

I am completely bewildered.

Someone I know has been living with a no hoper of a man for 7 years. She is an attractive intelligent woman in her thirties with a lovely personality. She used to go out with lawyers and investment advisers. Now she has this man. There is only one thing you can say about this guy - he is pretty. That is the only thing about him though that is in any way attractive. He has an IQ below average. A normal conversation often goes completely over his head, he has trouble understanding the plots of movies, the guy is just darn stupid! He works intermittantly, most of the 7 years she has supported him. When he does work he only does labouring type jobs (as he is just not capable of anything else) so his income is limited.

So I could probably understand that if he was a pretty but sweet natured idiot. But he's not. He's violent when angry, though he has never hit her he throws things at her (including large potplants and bits of furniture) when they have an argument. He has been caught being unfaithful to her several times (once with a 15 year old girl which really just makes my skin crawl...) He has systematically alienated her from her friends and family over the last 7 years - most are now waiting for her to kick him out before they contact her again. I have seen her in tears several times over things this man has done (mostly the infidelity), she knows he is a bastard. He has written off her car - and since he didn't have a drivers licence there was no insurance.

I can only assume it was her biological clock ticking.

So help me, she is having his baby. And they planned it...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A quick note

The cattle now residing in our freezer(s) are absolutely delicious. Just as well as there is a heck of a lot of it....

The left over cow is having an identity crisis though. She has decided she is a horse. So she joins the lineup and wants carrots and you can see her thinking "where's my cover". She was meant to get a friend of the bovine variety but we're still looking for the right type sex and age at the right price. Could be we are getting a little fussy...

Now if the bloody rain would stop...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

we've been away

but we are back now. And it is nice to be home and find everything and everyone present and correct.

We've been on a wee road trip to Christchurch.

We had an exciting time. In fact one afternoon we were so energised, enthused and motivated by our surroundings we went and bought tyres for the car.

Actually we did do some good things, we had dinner with Loopy Lou and Nick (and the adorable and very chatty Amy) in Masterton. We took my mother in law out to dinner (okay so I had more fun with Lou and Nick but it was alright). We took the kids and their girlfriends out to dinner, luckily to a cheaper resturant than the one we took the mother in law too as we paid for that too. We had dinner with friends with a new baby so got in lots of cuddles (and pleased to hand her back) and played games with their three year old too, so we reinforced the fact that small children are for suckers LOL. And we bowled in and surprised our old neighbours in Nelson yesterday afternoon.

My husband who is a confirmed non shopper finally got some new clothes, but the cost of the first foray into a shop scared him too much to get shoes or the jacket he needs still. I pointed out that it was cheaper than the tyres.

We went to the Antarctic Centre which we had been meaning to see for years but never got round to. We shouldn't have bothered with that.

So with the credit cards groaning under the expenditure I think we could have had a week in Cairns for less.

But it was alright.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Blood and gore and the insides of cows

Not for the squeemish. The homekill man came and dispatched two cows this morning. Now as a meat eater I actually don't get too wound up about animal killing as long as it is done humanely. When they drop like a stone with a bullet in the head I reckon it is humane enough for me. And having held lambs down while they have had their throats cut I can cope with the bullet between the eyes for the cow. And once dead she is no longer the silly moo that tried to kiss you when you gave her hay - she's just a carcass.

(any readers run heaving and screaming from the thread at this stage...)

Okay so I'm a farmers daughter, and grand-daughter. I'm maybe a bit more pragmatic about the whole deal. I eat meat so something has to die. If it had a good life and shuffled off the mortal coil with a full belly and no idea that it was going I am happy enough. Neighbour wasn't so blase about it. He left home - leaving his wife to organise the slaughter of the sheep they wanted done - cos he didn't want to know what they did to the cows (or the sheep).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Actually dying isn't on the agenda

barring falling under buses.

Scanned again earlier in the month. "Have you had a CT before" they always ask. Yes thanks - I've had so many that I actually know your name even if you don't remember me...

And the results are (drum roll) opens envelope.

That tumour they've been watching is possibly even a bit smaller, certainly not bigger. The no-treatment treatment is working as well as the treatment treatment. And the side effects have been minimal.

Everyone is so impressed they don't want to see me for six months. If there was any potential for death over the next week or two they would have told me they'd see me in three months.

I'd like to thank my mother and father for having me, my darling husband of course, my children who were so patient, the cats for purrs when needed and the hens for providing organic eggs. Hugs to my siblings who have been so supportive. I wouldn't have got this far without all those medical people (Without them I would never have suffered as much as I have), and special thanks to all those in blogland for your caring. I would also like to thank blogger for providing this platform for my efforts... *is dragged muttering from stage clutching photocopies of scans triumphantly*

Resorting to gypsies and crystal balls

I had a tarot reading (with some clairvoyance thrown in) done earlier this week. Now do I believe in this stuff? Not particularly, maybe a little, most of the time the analysing side of my brain says this stuff is not necessarily true - it was sort of an interesting test, I told her very little. She seemed to know quite a lot. I'd like to believe this reading. In fact I am going to believe this reading - if nothing else faith and a positive outlook is good for me.

Here's what it came up with
I am about to receive back all that I have given and must allow others to give. I am overcoming difficulty, possibly health or emotional, and learning to control my life. I am building material wealth and security.

I need to chill out, take stock, step back to see what I have achieved and celebrate it.

I am about to gain material success, but must be prepared to learn something to help this along the way. I may be moving on from work in the next few months. I will have decisions to make.

Long term my health will be good, times have been tough recently but it will improve. I need to explore alternative remedies and look at combining them with the medical ones.

I probably won't travel this year but will be making the plans this year. I will probably stay longer overseas than originally intended.

I will be embarking on a medium term project in the next few months that probably has something to do with housing and land. She suggested buying a few acres (I didn't obviously tell her that we already had a few)

I'm left wondering how much of this is going the cards and how much was mind reading... hey just spit out everything I happen to want at the moment (but put the travel off just to stop it being too perfect)

You all needn't bother buying lotto tickets for a month or so cos I'm going to win it soon. Actually that might be big Wednesday (must buy a ticket)

Naturally with several million spare I won't bother going to work I will be concentrating on investing the dosh carefully. We will buy a stunning block of land and build a stunning house. There won't be time with all that going on to head off to Europe for a month this year so we'll go next year.

I've been racking my brains to figure out what I have given lately, and I'm not really sure I want my old magazines, the old clothes and the sheep drench back. And I don't think I need my charity donations back if I am going to win Lotto - in fact I'll add some more to them.

Maybe I'm going to die and go to heaven....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I went out and missed all the fun

Had to go do some work the other day darn it.

While I was gone the neighbourhood had a helicopter visit. Apparently this rather large machine checked over the whole neighbourhood fairly thoroughly and at a low level and it sprayed some purple dye on three patches of greenery over at the scruffy neighbours. Shortly after that all the scruffy neighbours found they were running late for appointments as they all got in cars and drove off quite fast.

About twenty minutes after that the police arrived and pulled all the purple plants up by the roots.

Why did they have to choose the day I went out?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sorry meant to be back sooner but got busy

Husbands shed full of tools arrived. Was a little bit of a disappointment - though we really shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth (actually I had a look in the gift horses mouth the other day, Ears that is, and she really has good teeth for her age) - but other peoples sheds must be smaller than ours. There was no shed with the prize. There was a battery drill (which is what I bought to enter the competition) and an electric chainsaw - not much use to us as we have 300 metre boundaries and our extension cords aren't that long. There was a battery operated tape measure which is a strange implement, I have tried it but I can't quite drive it right, a laser level, a circular saw and a drop saw. There was some more stuff - I think there were ten tools all together - but none of them were on our "I wish I had one of those" lists.. Never mind, it was all very nice.

Since then I have been scrambling round having Real Estate salespeople visit. I hate this, it means I have to do housework, and I think I didn't inherit the housework gene (a glance at the ironing pile would confirm my domestic goddess non status) . My mother no doubt still despairs - but she has learnt not to say so anymore.

I also hate about 50% of Real Estate salespeople. Only the ones that tell you big stories, say dismissive things about your property, don't know how important water is when you live in the country, can't be bothered walking down to the back paddock, and feed you incorrect information. The rest are alright, and about one in ten I like so much that I want to give them a beer and invite them to chat some more. (though we have only had seven in to date so perhaps that is one in seven that I like)

But anyway we might get ourselves round to putting the place on the market in the next week or so. Or we might not worry and take ourselves off to Europe for a month instead.

Anyone want to house sit? Would have to warn you that the neighbours, while generally harmless, are irritating...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What a generous wife I am

Remember the battery drill husband wanted for Christmas?

It came with an entry form for a competition which I also filled in for him.

They've just rung to advise that he has won a shed full of tools! (Hope there is a shed with it) .

How's that for a nice Chrissy pressie.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Horse mad woman loses grip on reality

Husband has to remove horse from bedroom

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Second small horse found attempting to graze carpet

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Wife claims horse wanted to see the fish tank

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

small horse in a big sulk

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But I don't want to wear the sissy beaded halter. I'm just so hungry I want to eat the camera

Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy is the man with a dead car in his garage

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


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

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

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Well that was a waste of time

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Book Review - sort of.

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

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

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

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

Something I found out today that surprised me

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Who are you people?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 09, 2006

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

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

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

Somehow I think the vet is getting a raw deal.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sometimes we are just insane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Secretive mare

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

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The finished new years project

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

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

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