Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Post No. 73 - Holy Moly! Look at the size of this beast

Okay so the regular readers amongst you may have heard me mention weta's before. Ugly beasties that apparently can do you no harm. Look like giant cockroach scorpian demons.
Are you with me yet?
If not have a look at this....this was waiting for me when I stepped out of the bedroom to go into the bathroom this morning...

Eeeeek! Well I ran back in the bedroom and executed a dive that would have won me medals to get me back on the bed and my feet safely off the floor (you know - in case it chased me!).

Luckily I had a gallant Scotsman to help me out. He trapped the beastie in a pot so I could get ready for work knowing it wasn't free to nibble on my toes (I have the heebee geebee shivers as I type those ones you get when you see tarantulas on the telly). And then he did the ole sliding the paper under the pot and taking Mr Weta out for a nice trip in the garden trick.
Of course, I was a little miffed that he endangered the safety of my toes by lifting the lid on the pot, placing the ruler beside evil demon creature and taking picture.

See what we suffer to give you people entertainment!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Post No. 72 - We're back! Did you miss us?

So the mysteriousness of our absentness over the weekend is about to be explained! We went away for the weekend to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city! It was great, we enjoyed ourselves.

Wellington is a lovely city. We arrived on Friday night, checked into our hotel and headed out for a wander and some dinner (found a Mexican fast food place - spicy BBQ ribs, yum!)
It was very strange being back in such a busy and bustling city. I hadn't realised how different Palmy is! It felt like there were way too many people and lots of noise!
Wellington looks an absolutely amazing place for shopping. It seemed there were more shops than Auckland although the positioning of our hotel may have caused that. We were staying in the Cuban quarter.
We didn't get much sleep on Friday due to all the noise! But we dragged oursleves out of bed on Saturday and out for a late lunch before heading to Te Papa which is the museum of New Zealand. A bit like the Science Museum, Museum of Natural History and the V&A all rolled into one but with NZ related exhibits! It was fabulous - well worth a visit and we ended up spending 5 and a half hours in there!
On Saturday night we had a pub dinner and a few drinks before heading back to the hotel.

Then this morning (Sunday) we checked out of the hotel and took a stroll through the city to Lamberton Quay where the Wellington Cable Car can be found. This is pretty famous in relation to Wellington and here is a picture for you:

At the top there is a small Cable Car Museum, the Botanic Gardens (beautiful!) and the Carter Observatory and Planeterium. We headed into the Observatory and were just in time for 'the show'. The show being a presentation on the Southern Hemisphere sky at night. It was fascinating - we found out how you find South by looking at the stars (not as easy as looking for the North Star to find North let me tell you!) and found out what zodiac signs and planets are viewable at the moment.

Then we headed back down in the Cable Car using our return ticket and had a wander around the shops (where I managed to buy a pair of Brazilian trainers - they are the comfy-est things I have ever had on my feet) and persuaded Graeme to buy me a birthday present (although its getting put away and I am not allowed it until my birthday!)

We caught the coach home late this afternoon and were back home before it got dark.
Now I am posting on here to let you all know what we have been up to! I am also just uploading the photos from our trip onto Kodak Galleries so if you would like to see them just holler and I will send you an invite.

Heres another taster for you...okay, or not! Blogger is playing up so no more pics for you tonight I am afraid....maybe later!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Post No. 71 - Pansies

Not much to say really so thought I would post a picture of our tubs and pansies as requested by 'the old git'!

Going to be a quiet couple of days from us I am afraid as we have a busy weekend ahead of us. We will be in touch again next week though and hopefully have lots of news for you!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Post No. 70 - Hey! Where'd the sun go?

No really - are you hiding it? Cos it disappeared and we can't find it anywhere!

Horrible, cold, wet, windy, frosty, yuck! The pansies are now in the living room as opposed to on the balcony cos Palmy (why do I always type Plamy and then have to correct it?!) is expected to go as low as minus 1 tonight!

The heaters are back on in full force and the hot water bottle was warming my toes again last night. And most definetly will be tonight.

So it seems that its not just Scotland with the ever changing seasons and weather. Maybe it really is global warming like they tell us. But my question is - why it is called Global warming when its so darn cold?!

So there goes even the mildest chance I might have any colour on my legs before the big trip next month (and lets face it - even with sun the only colour I would go would be red!). I can't believe we are going to Australia - 'citing stuff! And I can't wait to see everyone - its going to be fabulous.

And let's not forget - people - that its my birthday too! And what with the long distance you best all start posting the cards and gifts just now (hee hee!).
Strange how I don't have that sense of dread about birthdays yet. I am happy to celebrate having lasted another year without accidently slitting a major artery with a post-it note or having a pigeon kill me (I think thats probably the way I will eventually go - those pigeons, they hate me! Hey - thats just started off a whole other thought process....are there pigeons in NZ? Hmmmm, can't say I have seen one. There are lots of ducks though. But I like ducks. And they don't seem to have such an evil glint in their eyes compared to the pigeons.)

And on that cheerful note, answers on a postcard about what this picture is actually of?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Post No. 69 - Handbags and Trampettes

Yes people, you really are reading that title correctly! Today we went on a little shopping spree and I am extremely happy with the results!


First off we headed to Whitcoulls and got some NZ writing paper/note paper so next time I send stuff to people I have some authentic NZ merchandise to write a note on!

Next was Strand Bags where I purchased a new bag for work. As I wandered over to the checkout I spyed an amazing box set of a purse/wallet, coin purse and key ring - in a beautiful plum purple colour...yum! Graeme reminded me that I had a lovely purse already, still fairly new, one I bought when we arrived in Auckland (at Auckland Zoo to be precise, and no, it doesn't have a picture of a monkey on it!) but I was taken with this purple set. And my current purse is too small for notes (cash) and all my cards (library membership card, VideoEzy membership card etc...please don't get the wrong idea and think I have a purse full of credit cards!) don't fit. Plus the car key is too bulky to go on the keyring with my other keys so I really needed a new key-ring for that. I had persuaded myself...Graeme was still looking dubious but resigned! SO here they are people, my new bag and my new wallet, purse and keyring set.

Okay - then we went in a trillion more shops and looked at loads of stuff! I got some tops for work (the exact same top in 2 different colours!), a tall clear glass vase (for the shells I collected at the beach last weekend), a new terracotta pot (for the pansies we had left from planting the other pots we bought - pictures coming soon of our new multi-coloured balcony!) and finally a trampette - woo hoo!
I can't exactly get a normal size trampoline as the garden isn't big enough and there isn't enough head-clearance to put it in the spare room! So a trampette it is....

Now if only I can think of a way to post to the blog while bouncing...?!

Okay - so I know a lot of you want to see more pictures on here but I'm figuring you wern't expecting pictures of my (sorry I meant 'our'!) purchases....the way I see it is - I am giving you an insight into the NZ shops and what they have to there you go!

Maybe if you are lucky you will get some pictures of New Zealand next post...we will see!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Post No. 68 - Freak Storm


So its been raining on and off all day. Horrible big loud rain! So I stayed at work all day and didn't come home to hang the washing out at lunchtime like I sometimes do.

Luckily it wasn't raining when I left work at 5pm. By the time I got indoors though it was coming down heavy. We waited it out a little before heading back out in the car to VideoEzy to get some DVDs to watch this weekend. It was only about 20metres from the car to the sheltered wall leading up to the VideoEzy door - yet we still got soaked.

We were perusing the shelves deciding what to get with our BOGOF voucher (!) - I definetly wanted to see Harry Potter 3 cos we hadn't seen that yet and we were debating whether Van Helsing would be too scary for me (and if the fact its Hugh Jackman would help me overcome my fear) when there was this flash.

My first thought....'what silly buggar is taking pictures in the video store?' but when I looked out the door and saw the rain bouncing off the ground I realised it was lightening. Eeeek! Then there was the loudest crash I have ever heard! It was so loud that the whole building we were in shook and a car alarm outside was actually activated! I looked about me to discover everyone was as spooked as we obviously not a huge occurence here in Palmy.

We paid for the DVDs and waited by the door for a break in the rain which didn't come so eventually had to sprint out to the car getting absolutely soaked! Our jumpers are hanging up to dry because they were too wet to wear or put away!

It carried on thundering and lightening for about an hour after we got back home. It seems to have calmed down a lot now so I am keeping my fingers crossed I don't wake up screaming in the night due to a loud clap of thunder. (And let me tell you people that was no clap we heard - that was the whole world applauding all together!)

Scary stuff.....and its reminded me I really do need to get an evacuation kit put together!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Post No. 67 - Drumroll Please....

And the winners of our amazing contest are....

First out the hat (or should that be first name on a folded up post-it picked by Graeme out of Kate's cupped hands!) was Michelle.

Second was Yogi

And third was Anne

Please email us your preferences to prizes in number order....i.e. 1st choice - all black beanie bear, 2nd choice - ?, 3rd choice - ? (Michelle being 1st chosen gets first choice!)

Thanks to the others that entered (and yes, we did have more than 3 entries) we really appreciate you all taking the time to let us know what you think of the blog. Yogi, in particular, had some interesting ideas for future features so watch this space!

And for those that didn't win - here is a picture for you!

Another one from the beach taken yesterday

Monday, September 12, 2005

Post No. 66 - Incentives

An incentive for those of you who haven't yet entered our amazing contest! Here is a picture of the prizes (my terrible photography skills just don't do the prizes justice!)

You could win
a) an All-Blacks beanie bear
b) a Memo pad with pen
c) a pukeko bird keyring

Some wonderful NZ merchandise! So if you haven't entered yet - get yourselves along to Post No. 59 to find out the questions you need to answer to be in with a chance of winning! Closing date, as previously stated, is Monday 12 September at 9pm NZ time. To work out what time it will be wherever you are in the world then click here.

So onto other matters, we went on a mini-tour of the local beaches today. Okay, so we only went to 2! Foxton beach and Himitangi beach. The beaches are very different here compared to the UK. For starters - considering it is only the start of Spring it was very warm. Also dogs, cars and horses are allowed on the beach. You definetly see some interesting sights!

It was a lovely way to spend a few hours. Its pretty amazing to stand on the edge of the water and just see water for miles. I think the next piece of land is probably Australia. Wow! And I think I have managed to catch the sun - soon my freckles will merge and I will become one giant freckle....freaky! Speaking of freaky, we saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night. We enjoyed it, Johnny Depp was great. Definetly just as weird as the first version though, if not more!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Post No. 65 - Saturdays

Wallabies - aren't they the cutest! We got to hand-feed them!

I love Saturdays. I love that feeling you get when you wake up early and realise you don't have to get up to go to work. So you get to snuggle back in for more sleep! Its great! Of course the problem arises when I wake up on Wednesday thinking its Saturday and then do the same thing on Thursday and Friday. So come Saturday I really do deserve the lay-in!

And then I got up and we had waffles, bacon and maple syrup for breakfast - how healthy is that?! Then I sat and read a book- until I finshed it! Wonderful! It was an assignment for my writing course. Okay so I didn't have to read the whole thing before I commented on it but I figured my comments would be fairer if I had read the whole book!

And then we took a drive into The Square so Mr G could get his hair cut - looks delish! And then we had cakes and juice in the library cafe. So far a wonderful Saturday!

Last night we dolled ourselves up (who am I kidding - I brushed my hair and Graeme changed his t-shirt - the extent of our dolling up!) and went off the cinema to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...I was looking forward to it....we got in the queue for tickets and when we got to the front and asked for 2 adult tickets we were told it was sold out! How disappointed was I?! Okay so I am not expecting Johnny Depp to be in anyway sexy in this role but I was looking forward to it none-the-less. I even watched the original version last Saturday when it was on in preparedness (is that a word...if it is I am sure the Scouts and Guides must use it!). So we ended up buying tickets for tonights showing and are going to head out after tea.

Oh and I forgot - we also bought a bookcase today! How exciting! Okay not so much exciting for you lot but the prospect of Graeme being able to walk through our house without tripping over 1 of my many books (yeah terrible I know, been here like 2 months and already have more books than I have time to read!) has him eagerly ripping open the box, finding his hammer and getting building! Maybe I will take a picture of it for you all to see!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Post No. 64 - Fly By Post

A Hill near Manawatu Gorge! And thats the train track running through/over it!

So we got you all excited last week with so many posts, so much news and a few surprise posts from Mr G. And then this week - we just let you all down! Sorry peeps!

Been a hectic week. We have been sleep deprived due to a certain rodent who I have been referring to (in my head) as Elvis. Well folks, Elvis has now left the building
(I apologise for my bad bad humour!). And he went in a trap I am afraid to say. I have been having very guilty thoughts about this.

But we did give him a choice - one trap and 5 buckets (all situated next to places he could climb and get in for the bait). The buckets and trap all contained the same bait - peanut butter on bread! He made his choice.

As well as that I have started my writing course this week so have been busy with that. I am enjoying it very much so far. I love a challenge, me!
We have also been investigating the visa situation and trying to work out what forms need filled in, when and how much the whole thing costs! Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Thanks to everyone that has responded to our giveaway so far. We really appreciate the feedback. For those of you who haven't entered please have a quick read of Post 59 and give us some answers to be in with a chance of winning. Closing date is Monday 12 September at 9pm NZ time (thats 10am UK). Good Luck!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Post No. 63 - Scary Drive!

Manawatu Lookout

So we had another go at finding the windfarm today. Still haven't found it! We saw a lot of turbines and sometimes we seemed really close but still haven't worked out how you get into the Wind Farm carpark to get your picture taken right underneath one! Our mission continues....

We did find a sign that said Wind Farm so headed down that road. It was a single dirt track that wound its way around mountains and gorges and I was hyperventalating at certain points. We ended up finding a safe place to turn and heading back. We probably should have realised what we had let ourselves in for when a sign at the start of the road said EXTREME CAUTION and another said 25kmph for next 11 km! Thats like 10mph or something. And you really did have to drive at that speed.

Scary stuff - let me tell you - thank goodness there were no other cars on this road because there were hardly any passing places and I would have turned blue from lack of oxygen had Graeme had to reverse back to a passing place!

The roads are scary here! Manawatu Gorge is 5 minutes out of town. I can appreciate the amazing view but the signs at the beginning of the Gorge say its an Accident area for 8km....yet the speed limit if still 100km - the national speed limit. How daft is that? There is no way you can do 100 round most of the gorge - you would have to be on a death wish!

And views like the one above are all around you as you drive these roads. It must be so hard to keep your eyes on the road with all these rivers/streams/hills/mountains/gorges/lambs all about you. And the best bit - chickens! - on the side of the road! I kid you not!

We did find a horse riding place and quad biking place so will be heading back there soon in the near future. I get Graeme on a horse and he gets me on a Quad bike - should be fun! And we also found a beautiful little cafe place where they do the best potato wedges and instead of being given a number when you order food you get an ornament. We got a big rubber goldfish to put on our table!

Sweet as!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Post No. 62 - Hey peeps. Hows things?

Todays photo - a duck at Lake Taupo - quack!

So whats been happening with us? No more mouse stories - not sure if thats a good thing or a bad thing. We have not heard it, caught it, seen any evidence that it is still in the building. I'm almost tempted to leave a Milkyway bar at the foot of my bed tonight and see if we can tempt it back in! But I won't!

Graeme neglected to tell me there is a hole in our bedroom that leads to the spare room. Supposedly this fact was hidden from me for my 'own good', hmmmm, not too sure about that! But I did freak out a bit when I found out. I have calmed down for now but I am sure I will be in a high state of agitation by bedtime again!

I'm normally a jumpy person anyway as many of you may know. Most of my friends/family take great delight in hiding behind things and jumping out shouting 'boo!' as they know I will always be good for a girly scream! The mouse thing has taken my jumpy paranoia to a whole new level! And of course, when I told the people at work they told me I also need to watch out for white-tail spiders as they like to hide in bedding and bite you when you are tucked in and cosy.
Nice - This wasn't quite the adventure I was hoping for!

COMPETITION/GIVEAWAY UPDATE - We have now had a few entries to our contest - thanks to everyone that has entered already. The feedback is proving very useful!
If you haven't entered please take a couple of minutes to answer a couple of questions for us about this blog by email/comment. See Post No. 59 for more info (apologies people - I would like to link to the post here but I can't work out how to do it!) - and you could win a prize!
We think the closing date will probably be Monday 12 September 2005 so get your entries in ASAP!

The All Blacks/Australia game is on tonight. Should be interesting. We went to the pub to watch the All Blacks/Springboks game last weekend and it was great! I won a t-shirt thanks to some player whose name I cannot spell or pronounce scoring a try! Was considering offering the t-shirt as one of the prizes but - unlucky! - its all mine!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Post No. 61 - Our First Houseguest!

This might surprise you all, but we actually have someone staying with us at the moment! To be honest, we were a bit surprised as well, but hey, everyone is welcome! or not….

Turns out this guest is a distant relative of someone we knew well in the UK, anyone remember Dave the hamster? Yip that’s right, we’ve got a mouse running about the house!
We were woken up at about 5am this morning by a weird gnawing and rustling noise. After lifting up Katie’s bag, something small, brown and furry darted under the bed, then I found a Snickers bar with the corner nibbled off, wrapper included! I was amazed how fast these little guys can move as it dashed out the bedroom door, they certainly don’t look that fast in all the cartoons! Nobody seems to be surprised when we tell them about it, and they sell mouse traps in the supermarket, so I guess it’s just another one of those things we need to get used to down here.
Katie’s Dad wants us to keep the mouse and look after it till he gets here so that he’s got some company during the days we are at work, but, no doubt to his disappointment, that’s not going to happen!

Of course you can all learn a lesson from this. If you are staying with us, don’t nibble our chocolate bars in the middle of the night or you might end up in a trap the next day!!!