Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tourists

I was hoping to get some posts up here more regularly while Mum is here and as I was off work but it wasn't to be - too busy shopping and being tourists.

We spent a lovely few days in Rotorua where we went to the sheep show,took a farm tour, zorbed(!), went to the thermal spa pools, rode the gondola and luged!
It was heaps of fun! Mum also got the opportunity to see some amazing NZ scenery on the drive there.

Oh and how can I forget - we saw some geezers, or should that be geysers(!) too.

I was hoping to give you more pictures but blogger seems awfy slow this evening and I keep getting error messages.
Will get some more photos on soon. In the meantime, Mum's time here is flying by and she flies back to Aussie Thursday so am going to spend some time with her rather than on t'internet!

Oh and Tawny Owl - if you're reading this - hope you having/had a fab time in Vegas!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Constant Rain

Well Mum arrived for her big trip to NZ on Friday around midnight. She saw a little bit of sun on Saturday morning and since then it has been raining - constantly! There is a crazy amount of rain happening here!
Our garden is no longer a garden - it's a series of lakes, the dog hates wet grass and refuses to step out on it and anytime we go anywhere we get soaked!
Lovely! Welcome to Beutiful New Zealand Mum!

Here is a picture of once of our new lakes:


We have still got out and about though and it's been fun. We did some serious shopping yesterday which was great and managed to find all sorts of bargains - including a free pair of shoes when we bought 2 pairs!

We had a BBQ on Sunday for my birthday and of course it was raining! So Graeme BBQ'd in the garage and we set all the food up inside. It was a great evening and Helen baked me a huge chocolate cake - it's yummy!

Not too sure what we will get up to today - I am hoping for a little strip of sun to come streaming from the clouds at some point to warm us up and dry out the lakes!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sunburnt? In October?

Looking at the title of this blog, I will forgive you all for thinking that it's me that is suffering from lobster coloured, burning, stinging skin.
I imagine you will be surprised to know that it was actually Graeme that got sunburnt last Sunday! I was a little pink but relatively unscathed whereas Graeme had a very attractive red neck line come Sunday night.
He did spend a little longer outside then I did as he was cutting the grass on Saturday but it was Sunday after we went for a walk with some friends and Rhett that we noticed he 'had caught the sun' (what a euthanism!)

Here is some evidence of how we spent last Sunday afternoon:

We took a stroll beside the Manawatu River and then went into Victoria Esplanade and flaked out on the grass with some cool icey refreshments. As you can probably tell from the photo, the dog is rather partial to a raspberry flavoured ice lolly (or ice block as they are called here) and especially enjoys getting splinters on his tongue from chewing on the wooden stick once he has finished!

Here's hoping for more of the same weather over the next few weeks as Mum is due to arrive next Friday for her first stay in New Zealand, first look at our new(ish) home and first meeting with the mutt himself!
I am really looking forward to her visit - it will be great to see her again (after a year - the longest I have ever gone without seeing her!) and it means I get to play tourist again as we show her the sights of NZ. We have plans for a trip up to Rotorua and plan to go here, here (although I won't be wearing a lime green swimsuit thank you very much!) and here. Graeme is especially looking forward to the luge and I am wondering if we will be able to convince Mum to have a go at zorbing. What do you think?!
So hopefully I will have plenty of photos and news to show off over the next month so you might hear from me a little more often!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Post No 115 - Fire!


With summer just around the corner we went mad in the DIY/home stores at the weekend!

First of all we bought a lawn-mower - thank goodness cos the lawn really was in good need of a trim!

Then we bought a table and chairs set for the garden. One that folds up and can get put away in the garage so it doesn't get puppy chewed whilst we are out!

And finally, we bought a metal basket thing which you put stuff in to burn it! (I don't know what they are called!)

So on Sunday we got the basket full of garden trimmings and after a few attemps managed to get it alight! Then I ran inside to dig out the bag of marshamallows we had and we set light to some - hmmm, tasty!
Then we text some friends, another UK couple, to come round so we could show off our fire and break in the new alfresco dining set!
Once the fire had burnt itself out we all headed over to Ashhurst Domain for a Sunday evening walk with the pooch. A lovely end to a quiet and relaxing weekend!

This weekend is when daylight savings kicks in here in NZ. We will be 'springing forward' in the early hours of Sunday morning which means we will temporarily be 12 hours ahead of the UK until the clocks over there 'fall back'.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Post No 114 - Spring is sprung...or at least springing

I won't even start with all that "sorry I haven't done an update in so long" nonsense - I am sure you are all fed up hearing it!

Instead I want to show you some photos of stuff in the garden. I hear the UK is starting to get a little chillier now and Autumn is just around the corner. Meanwhile, we are coming in to spring and everything is green and growing!

Here are the gorgeous daffodils from our front garden - they look very unusual to me!



And from the back garden, our lemon tree, which is absolutely laden with fruit!
We have been making lemon flavoured muffins, lemon meringue pie and traditional lemonade and still they keep growing!



We also bought some strawberry plants yesterday and put them in a strawberry planter - photos to come when they start growing fruit. And we are growing cucumbers and lettuces - how very domestic/organic/the good life of us!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Post No 113 - Where are you?

Anne McAllister and Kate Hardy (both authors whose books I enjoy reading) both have cluster maps on their blogs which I think are quite cool. So now there is one on here too! It shows where people are that look at your blog.
Please note: I am not planning to stalk any of you and other than the little dot on the map I won't get anymore information about you so your secrets are safe!

I'm enjoying a clear sunny winter's Saturday. Graeme is over at the army base playing soccer, the dog is lazing on the back doorstep and the neighbours are cutting their grass! I am contemplating my latest assignment for the journalism course and have decided to limber up by writing a post here! Then I might dilly-dally a little longer and make some scones - how housewifely of me!

We are hoping to get down to Wellington tomorrow to go to Te Papa as the Lord of the Rings exhibition ends on the 20th of this month. There is also a John Constable exhibit on so going to see if I recognise any of the views! We might try and squeeze a quick zoo visit in too seeing how we have annual passes.

I'm getting into scrapbooking and have a couple of classes and get togethers coming up with friends that are starting out too. It's going to be so great to have all of our New Zealand travel photos nicely presented with a story on each page as well. I might try scanning one of the pages I do and show it on here - the scanners a bit too small though so will probably end up chopping some of it off!

One of the pictures on my Auckland scrapbook page

Have a fun weekend!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Post No 112 - Look what we made....


....tattie scones! And they are lovely - just like the one's you buy in Asda!

Next weekends new recipe: Lorne (Square) Sausage
We will be a Scottish food catering business before you know it!

Anyone got a recipe for Haggis?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Post No 111 - My, what long legs you have



I will try harder not to make this too much of a dog blog! But at the moment, he's the only thing we seem to be taking photo's of! Plus he is just too cute. Every day he has us in hysterics, he gets up to so much mischief and it's hard to remember what it was like with him not around (although I fondly remember NOT being woken up at 5.30am to let him out!)

We had our second dog obedience class on Tuesday - this was the first one we actually took the dog to! He did well, didn't get too fussed about the other dogs and seems to be picking things up fast. The only problem we have is getting him in the car - he is terrified! But he seemed alot better in the car coming home from the class and we now have some tips to help him realise the car is a good place!

So what else is new?
Graeme is playing soccer today so look out for the match report on his site later. The weather here has been extremely wet and the grounds he trains on were closed this Thursday and last. The game last Saturday was called off also due to the pitches being flooded.

This worked out quite well actually because he came with me on a wine trail with the social club from where I work. It was a good day, we bought a few bottles of wine (one a Boysenberry wine which I am looking forward to sharing with Mum as Graeme hates it!) and the weather was good to us. I was chief photographer with the work camera and managed to get some good shots of the floor and fields (there was supposed to be NZ birds there but the bus was going too fast!)

I've taken up scrapbooking and went to a class with some friends last night. It was an introduction where the teacher talked through the lingo and how to lay things out as well as showing us how to use the cutting tools. Then we got to go mad and make our own pages! This is all part of the masterplan for "Our First Year in NZ" scrapbook. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and will be going back in about a month to learn some more techniques. Then we might try and meet up once a month and share equipment and ideas to get lots of pages made!

Winter has definetly got milder. There were a few really cold days in June and even a few frosts but July hasn't been nearly as bad. The only problem has been the constant rain which has left the garden saturated and it keeps flooding. So we end up with a very muddy dog and very muddy floors!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Post No 110 - True Kiwi's Now?

To celebrate our first anniversary of being in New Zealand, we treated ourselves...not to mention all the people that are going to come and visit.

We bought what epitomises (and yes, I did look that one in the dictionary to check I had the right word!) the true New Zealander, the best thing to ever happen to burgers and steaks...yes, you're on the right track - we purchased a Bar-be-que!

And here it is....what a beast!


So hopefully we have whetted a few appetites out there and may get a few more bookings into Chateaux Stalham-McCrae! We even bought BBQ utensils and a gas bottle to go with it...of course, we both had a daft hour trying to work out why the BBQ wouldn't light when the gas bottle was connected up - d'oh! You buy them empty then have to get them filled at the petrol station.

Once we have out first cook-up on there, we will get some pictures for you!

Also, I didn't realise how many people were still visiting the blog...and now feel extremely bad for the lack of posts over the last 6 months - I will definetly try harder! Thanks for all the comments and emails our faithful readers....and you'll all get an extra burger when you come to stay!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Post 109 - One year on...

...on the 24th June 2005 we boarded a plan at London Heathrow headed for Auckland New Zealand via LA. We had no idea what was ahead of us, we were extremely excited and sad that we were leaving everyone behind.

And here we are, 1 year later...the time has flown by! I can't quite believe its been a full year since we left. We have managed to do so much this last year and we have seen some lovely sights here in New Zealand.




And we haven't even been to South Island yet!...thats the plan for the coming year and also to have lots of people come visit and stay with us and also to plan a wedding and trip back to the UK in July 2008! So book that month out in your diary everyone - it'll be a ball!

And here's a link to a cool blog - all about NZ mailboxes! Enjoy!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Post 108 - In Hibernation

So it's been a while and I really have no excuse. The weather here is cold and wet and I find myself sleeping a lot. And walking the dog in the rain. And watching re-runs of Friends to get some laughs.

I have been hugely neglectant on all fronts and would like to apologise. Homesickness has kicked in over the last couple of weeks, its almost a year to the day when we left the UK (24 June) and I have had a rotten flu bug and can't get rid of the cough that came with it.
So now you all feel sorry for me and hopefully forget I have been lax with phone calls, emails and being online to chat!

Seriously though, I miss you all very much and hope you are all taking good care of yourselves. I hear that summer finally arrived in the UK and hope you are all enjoying the long, warm days.

Its very strange with a reverse in seasons. Its Graeme's birthday on Tuesday (the 20th) and since he has been born his birthday has fallen on the day before the longest day of the year. Now we are in reverse and Wednesday is the shortest day. We are coming home in the dark and its dark when we get up. And its still hard to believe that there will never be snow at Christmas (while we stay here!). Methinks it will take a good few years until it all starts to make sense!

And here's a photo for you:

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Post 107 - Rhett

Meet Rhett, our new dog. In fact, he is the best dog in the world!

Here he is:



He was part of a litter abandoned when they were only 6 weeks old. They went to an animal shelter in the district they were found (not Palmerston North) and most of the litter were re-homed. Unfortunately, Rhett and his brother Raffles were not homed and ended up with foster parents. The foster parents have given him some basic training - he sits when told, seems to understand 'no' when told and so far no 'accidents' in the house (although its early days yet!).
Rhett and his brother were brought to Palmerston North SPCA about a week ago as there are more people looking for dogs. We loved him and his brother and after a week of ooming and ahhing decided it was about time we got a dog! Raffles had been homed earlier this week but we were lucky Rhett was ready to come home with us! Apparently he has been around a 2 year old child and livestock without problems but had a scary encounter with a horse so is now afraid of them.

More photos later...if you're lucky!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Post 106 - No monkeys allowed

Turtles - it seemed appropriate!

I went down to Wellington this week for a work thing. It was a talk by the Immigration Service on how recruiters can use people from overseas and how they can get them here. It was fairly interesting and I feel I learnt a few things.

Being an 'imported pom' myself (which my boss decided to declare to the room of 40 or so people, cue Kate's rosy red cheeks!) I knew a fair bit about the visa process. I was fascinated by a booklet we got in our info packs - aimed at those wanting to immigrate to New Zealand, lots of useful facts and interesting statistics. And a booklet I hadn't yet seen. (Hard to believe with the moutain of literature I had on NZ prior to coming...it must be new!)

The one thing that has fascinated me the most is that if you immigrate to New Zealand you cannot bring your monkey with you. Or your turtles or birds come to that. What a tough decision that must be - the monkey or the new life in New Zealand....what would you choose?

It was an early morning...in my opinion - I got up in the middle of the night! We had to leave Palmy at 6.30am to ensure we got through the traffic to Wellington in time. The drive to Wellington (and back) is a gorgeous one though. For part of the journey you drive right alongside the sea. And we could see South Island as it was quite a clear day.

We stopped in Otaki on the way for a Hot Chocolate (lovely and comforting at 7.30am) and I got my lunch in a nice cafe place before we headed back so all-in-all not a bad day. I have no idea how people travel with work on a regular basis though. I was a zombie on Friday!

Luckily they have monkeys at Wellington Zoo so if you did have to give yours up, all is not lost

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Post 105 - a couple of pictures for you

For those of you who have been eagerly awating more pics here are a couple for you:

This is the front of the house


And here is one of the back garden


We will get some more up on the Kodak galleries once the broadband connection is back on (hopefully tomorrow). For now we are using slow and expensive dial up so 2 will need to do!

Post No 104 – We’re In!

Well, I am writing this on Easter Friday at 2.30pm into Word so we can upload it once the internet connection is on in the new place.

We are here! And so is all of our stuff!

We got the call to say we could pick up the keys at 12.30 yesterday, whilst standing at the kebab van in the centre of town would you believe! So we grabbed the kebabs, drove over to the agents to pick up the keys and then headed back to the flat to eat and pack up the car.

We headed over with the first car load, managed to disarm the burglar alarm without to0 much bother and took it all in! Finally, almost 7 weeks after seeing the house for the first time, we were in!

We managed to unpack most of the kitchen stuff and Graeme headed back to load up the car once again while I carried on with emptying the boxes. We made sure we were both here after 3pm as there were 3 deliveries due: the sofa’s, the white goods and the bedroom furniture.

At 5.30pm we were feeling very tired and starting to wonder where everyone had got to. Graeme decided to head back over for the TV so at least we could sit on the floor and watch some telly. A few minutes after he arrived back, the guy arrived to deliver the bedroom stuff. Then as that guy was making up the bed, the sofa’s arrived…we were on a roll! We had somewhere to sleep, drawers for our clothes, couches to sit on and a telly….what more could we need? Oh yeah, a fridge freezer, microwave and washing machine might be nice!

We were getting hungry at this point so I headed up the road to the local takeaway for a couple of sausage suppers – yum! We gave up on the white goods around half 8 and lounged all over the new couches!

Went to bed about 9.30 bone tired but so happy that we were in!

Today, so far, we hired a van and brought the rest of the stuff over from the flat, unloaded it and spoke to a lovely lady about the white goods. She was very apologetic and the goods came at midday. We have them all installed and have done some more unpacking. Had MaccyD’s for lunch and browsed through the many photos we have taken so far. And now, we are about to head back to the flat to do a final clean and hoover before handing the keys in tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Post No. 103 - Happy Birthday Blog

Well, on the 11th April 2005, I posted the first of many posts on this blog....here is a refresher for you all:

Monday, April 11, 2005

The journey has started....
....and so it has begun.
Here we are less then 11 weeks before take off.
Life is somewhat chaotic but exciting!

So - 24 June - the big day, we fly from Heathrow to Auckland via LA.
We have our working holiday visa's, we have our flights booked and we are halfway there to having our accommodation on arrival booked.
What else is there to do other then put our feet up?

Oh yeah....pack all our stuff, empty our flat and vacate it by this Friday, move to a room temporarily, sell the car, ditch the sofas, buy some travel insurance, say goodbye and go.....
*****

How excited we were then....and how stressful the move ended up being!
The good news is we learnt our lesson and this move seems to have been a lot less stressful. We have almost finished packing and are due to get the keys on Thursday - 2 MORE SLEEPS TO GO!!!

We will be offline over Easter as we can't get the broadband connection activated until Tuesday in the new place. We will be taking hundreds of pictures of the new place once we were in and may post 1 or 2 here once we are back online.

Sorry - no photo's today as Blogger isn't loading them!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Post No. 102 - Big Days Ahead!

Wow, this time next week we should have most of our stuff in the new house. No doubt it will still be chaos with boxes piled up everywhere, but we should be in! Most things are sorted out now, just need to go through for a 'pre-settlement inspection' on Monday then drop off the cheque at the lawyers then we'll be ready to roll. Oh yeah, suppose we need to pack too!

Here's a picture of our new lounge to keep you going till we get in and take a few more photos for you all.


But before all of that happens, the Manawatu football (of the round ball variety) leagues kick off this weekend. I've got myself into the RedSox Manawatu (RSM) Thrashers squad and hopefully will play in this weekends season opener. I've set up a really basic website for those of you who are interested to keep a track of how my season is going. You should be able to get on it here, there is also a link under the 'other links' section of the blog which you should also be able to use. If you check the website on Monday our result should be up there at the least.

Have a good weekend!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Post 101 (I think!)

Gorgeous evening sky

Hi everyone, sorry its been a while.

There has been quite a lot happening lately.

We are still on track for moving house over the Easter weekend and are both bouncing around in excitment! We have bought and ordered everything we possibly can before moving in and are now concentrating on packing and cleaning (yuck!)

Graeme has been busy with soccer training and his team had a second friendly today - they won 8-4 (go the RSM Thrashers!)

I have started an extramural course in Journalism and have been working hard to get through the tutorials and assignments. I am thoroughly enjoying it!

We had some sad news from back home and the distance between NZ and the UK seemed to quadruple overnight. One of the worst feelings I have ever experienced is wanting to give someone a hug to let them know you care and not being able to. This all triggered the home sickness but due to how busy we have both been I think we have got through it.

On a happier note, we have heard from several people that are hoping to get out to visit in the next 12 months which is great news! Can't wait to see you all.

And one last thing - now the clocks have gone back here and forward in the UK, NZ is 11 hours ahead of UK time.

Monday, March 13, 2006

New House! Bad Bloggers!

Well, it's been a while and we have no other excuse other than the fact we have been trying to get our heads around the NZ house buying system and managed to buy ourselves a house in the process!

Here's a picture of the front....
...it's pretty cool how there are enough trees that you can't see much of it from the road. The lounge (at the front of the house) has floor to ceiling windows so it will lovely, light and airy!

We are so chuffed with it. It has 3 bedrooms, a garage and fairly big front and back gardens. It's already fully fenced (which means no worries before I can get a dog!) and at the end of a cul-de-sac so should be fairly quiet.

So we move in on the Thursday before Easter (13th of April) and will get some more photos up once we are in.

Now we have the momentous task of furnishing the place - eeeek! This is where we start to wonder how good an idea it was to sell all our furniture when we sold up in Glasgow! Oh well, it's too bad, we did and now we have to shop for everything. We already got some couches and bedroom furniture on order and have spent some time this weekend pricing fridge/freezers, washing machines and tumble dryers. Another bonus of the house is the stove and hob are fitted and it also comes with a dishwasher!

Wow, no more dishes! How many times do you think I will end up washing up before I remember we have one? !

So now we have to get the belongings we do have here in NZ packed up. And hire ourselves a van to shift the 2 bookcases and beanbag we own!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Post No. 98 - No getting rid of us!

We went along to the local immigration office on Monday to pay our migrant levy and are now the proud holders of new stickers in our passports.
These stickers prove we are allowed to reside in New Zealand indefinetly. Pretty cool!

It's been a strange week. We feel a certain amount of pressure is gone now because we don't have to cram in everything we wanted to see before June! But a whole lot of other pressure has increased....like the need to get a mortgage, find a decent house, get permanent work. Although, as a wise man has said to me (unfortunately he did not bear the gift of gold!), we have all the time in the world now, there is no need to rush, we should enjoy getting there!

We have a few social things lined up. We were out with the people I am currently working with (and that Graeme got his job through) on Friday for a drink. And yesterday, we met up with some people I previosuly worked with for a BBQ which was fun! Coming up this week, we are going Bowling with Graeme's work and next week we have a Housewarming/Engagement party to go to.

It's amazing how cool everyone is being. We have had lots of responses to the email we sent out saying we got residency and everyone that we have told here so far has congratulated us.

We are able to leave New Zealand now we are resident, for holidays etc, which we wern't sure we were able to. But at this point in time, we have no plans to venture further then Oz as there is still so much we want to see here!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Permanent Residents of New Zealand!

So we submitted the final stage of our application for residency on Tuesday 24th January and were told we should have a decision within 2 months.

You can imagine our surprise when a letter arrived yesterday (not even 3 weeks after the forms were put into the office) saying we had been approved!!!!

We are so excited! We still have to go along and pay the 'migrant levy' and get a new stamp in our passports but once that is done, it is all official, we will be Permanent Residents of New Zealand!

Wow!

It is definetly a strange feeling....its so great to have an answer but we have realised how much stuff we have to do now!

There has been so many things where we have said 'We will do that IF we get residency'. Now we do have it and we have to arrange a mortgage, get money over from the UK, get our stuff from dads loft, buy a house, get our NZ drivers licenses....phew! We will be very busy I think!

So I hope you are all looking forward to a holiday in New Zealand because we are planning to be here for a while and it would be so great having you all over for a holiday! We will let you know when we get a house and most importantly, a BBQ so that you can come over to see us!

Kate and Graeme's new house perhaps?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Post No. 97 - Galloping towards post 100...

..okay, maybe not so much galloping and more of a stroll at a slow pace being nosy at everything as I walk past!

Tirau, famous for corrugated iron

So it's Friday evening and we have cracked open a bottle of wine to celebrate (as if we need a reason!) another public holiday here in NZ. Meaning another 3 day weekend - only 2 weeks after the last one - woo-hoo! Monday is Waitangi Day which celebrates the day that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed founding New Zealand. Sometimes also known as "New Zealand Day" which is an easier mouthful for us 'poms' that haven't gotten used to the lingo yet!

The nights are starting to draw in and while February is supposed to be quite warm and summery, the temperatures are more bearable now then they were last weekend (it was too hot!).

We don't have anything particularly special planned for the weekend, just some relaxing and enjoying being here!

Please note: I did write this post on Friday night and intended to post it then but had a slight glitch with Blogger and only able to post now

Friday, January 27, 2006

Post No. 96 - I forgot to mention....


...whoops, fairly big thing and yet I forgot to mention it yesterday

....our application for residency was submitted on Tuesday.

It is now in the hands of immigration.

Only they can decide if a Glaswegian and an Essex girl are worthy of residency.

Keep thinking good thoughts for us!

Manawatu Gorge

And we will keep showering you with tales of life in New Zealand and interesting (okay thats a matter of opinion!) photos!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Post No. 95 - Goodbye guest, Hello old friend

Isn't life funny?

Now don't all run off scared at the thought I am about to get philiosophical..it won't last long, I promise!



We said goodbye to our guest today, he's heading back to the UK - at the ready with a jumper, fleece and closed in shoes (and socks!). He hardly felt like a guest anymore because he had intergrated into our lives and routines in the two months here and it worked (which was a little surprising). But home he had to go.
So now we are back to two. Strange!

So we left the airport having watched the tiny little plane (think it seated 24) take off and went to the shopping mall in town for some bits.
We were sat in the food court enjoying an early dinner when G started to stare very intently at the point beyond my shoulder and then started calling someones name.
I was a little surprised because we don't know all that many people just yet!

It turned out to be someone he knew from Glasgow who had come to NZ before us.
How strange, when this person hadn't been headed to Palmy when he left and we just so happened to spot him on a day when we had returned to living just with the kiwis and no-one from the 'home land'!

I'm sure you all think I am slightly mad but it made me think!
You can live on the other side of the world to where you grew up and lived yet still see someone from 'home' walking through the mall (sorry, should that be shopping centre!)

So there you have it. My reason for thinking life is strange....also it was 30 degrees at 3pm this afternoon and now we have a torrential storm...more strangeness!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Post No. 94 - Action Weekend!

Sorry its been a while since the last post. Its been a little busy round here.

'Stormy Point Lookout' - you can see why it is so named!

We survived the medical tests and got all our immigration stuff together. We were planning to take it to the Immigration office last week but there has been a slight delay and we are hoping to submit this week instead. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Today is a public holiday in Palmy - it's Wellington anniversary so myself and Graeme got the day off. Its been lovely to have a long weekend, especially as our guest leaves this Wednesday. We have spent some quality time with him before he leaves. I can't believe its been 2 months - where did that 2 months go?

The weather has been pretty great this weekend - it was almost up to 30 today - hot, hot, hot! Yesterday we headed an hour North of Palmy to Mangaweka where we went White Water Rafting! I had never done it before and it was so much fun! Only a Grade 2 but a great place to start. Unfortunately there are no pictures of us on raft but here is a picture of the Rangitikei River where we were rafting:


And today we went to the Manawatu Gorge and did about an hours walking into the track (plus the hour back to the car). It was absolutely spectacular and very steep a lot of the way.



So there you have it - what we have been up to this weekend. Nothing quite as exciting planned in the near future...except submitting our application for residency of course!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Post No. 93 - Back to work tomorrow


We have enjoyed a lovely 2 week break from work, lots of relaxing and chilling out!
This week we have stayed fairly close to home. We were hoping to get across to Hawkes Bay but the weather forecast hasn't been that great - some very strong winds and rain storms.
We still managed to get out and about on a few local walks, to the shops to buy a few things in the sales and today we went to Owlcatraz which is about 30 minutes from Palmy.

We were expecting to see lots of owls due to the name and were quite disappointed as we only saw about 5 (and there were only 2 different types). They did have some fabulous names though such as Owlvis Presely and Owl McPherson!

Deer

The whole park kept us amused for a couple of hours. We were taken on a tour where we saw some wekas, some ducks, some large cattle, an alpaca, some deer, the owls (of course) and we also did the glow-worm caves (scary! pitch black and you have to be quiet!)

Alpaca (looks like a llama to me!)

And so, its a quiet evening and then back to work tomorrow. Going to be tough getting back into the routine - up early and out the door by 7.45, home at 5.30ish. Will be very tired by the end of the week methinks!

Also, the big thing this week is that our medicals for immigration are booked - eeeeeeek! Those of you who know how well I do with needles and blood will realise that I am already in a high state of panic and will probably faint come Wednesday when they try and prick me with the darn thing! I will try my hardest to be brave and will update you after the deed!



Oh and on a final note, Elvis - if you are out there - Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Post No. 92 - Looking Forward to 2006

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!



Wishing you all a very happy 2006!
Here's hoping it's a great one!


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Post No. 91 - Looking back on 2005

So it's here, the end of the year!

2005 has been a rollercoaster ride for us, a very exciting year where we don't seem to have sat still for more than 2 seconds at a time!

What we did this year:
  • redecorated our flat in preperation for selling
  • sold our flat
  • moved half of our belongings to my Dad's loft
  • moved out of our flat to a room in the city centre
  • sat ACCA exams (Graeme)
  • left work
  • had a great leaving party
  • left Scotland
  • moved more of our belongings to my Dad's loft
  • had a leaving gathering in Essex
  • left England
  • arrived New Zealand
  • spent a month travelling around North Island
  • (during which Graeme had job interviews and secured a job in Palmy)
  • found a house to rent
  • started work
  • saw more of New Zealand (but only North Island)
  • submitted our expression of interest for NZ residency
  • learnt to play Squash and took part in a tournament (Graeme)
  • went to Australia to the Gold Coast to catch up with family
  • invited to apply for NZ residency
  • start new job (Kate)
  • receive our first visitor
  • enjoyed our first NZ xmas with a BBQ!

Wow! What a list - and I am sure I have missed heaps of stuff off it!

And I can honestly say that whatever happens I am so glad that we got this far and did what we did!
Coming to New Zealand has been an amazing experience, it's a beautiful country with a lot to offer.
It's not been an easy ride and there are some days when I have come close to booking a ticket back to the UK but I haven't done it and don't plan to in the near future.

We have a lot more hurdles to jump and bridges to cross (what other well-used sayings can I use here?!) but tomorrow is a new year and I look forward to a new set of challenges and even more adventures!

Wishing you all a safe and prosperous 2006,
Kate

Post No 90 - A couple of days in Wellington

We went down to Wellington on Thursday morning.
Checked in at a motel, walked up to catch the cable car then walked back down through the Botanic Gardens.

Had a bite to eat at the bottom and then strolled back to the city centre, past the parliament buildings and to the waterfront where we visited Wellington Museum - City & Sea - which was really good, quite a small museum but an interesting one. From there we headed to Te Papa - the museum of New Zealand before stopping off for a pub dinner on the stroll back to the motel!

We woke up on Thursday, checked out, headed out for some breakfast and then drove to Wellington Zoo. We had a great time and saw lots of interesting animals:
the monkeys were very laid back...

while the meercats were on full alert at all times...


The zoo is fairly small so we had some lunch before we left and took a slow drive home via a shopping outlet (that wasn't very good) and a garden centre. We were back home at tea time and exhausted so it was an early night!

All in all, another great couple of days in Wellington.