Thursday, December 23, 2010
Claire, Scott, and I are catching a flight up to Auckland tomorrow morning and are hoping to hit Warkworth just after lunch - providing the traffic isn't too horrendous.
Mum and Dad are looking forward to having all of us home for Christmas this year, along with 1 & 1/2 grandchildren.
It will be great.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
I was looking through a Property Press the other day (I like to keep up with house prices) and came across a house that looked very familiar. 2 Bath Street, in Hanmer Springs is up for sale for a whopping $455,000. It was listed as having been a holiday home and I wonder if the new owners will keep it that way. Otherwise we may have to look for other suitable accommodation on our stints up in Hanmer Springs.
My bestie, Kristine, from Warkworth came down to Christchurch last weekend which was fabulous. I happened to be house sitting in Halswell for the week which worked out beautifully. We had a nice balance of relaxation and doing stuff. On Friday night we met Claire, Scott, and Renee at the Dux De Lux for a yummy dinner and a couple of wines before heading to the Court Theatre for Scared Scriptless. For those who don't know, Scared Scriptless is an impromptu comedy show. There is a lot of audience participation and heckling and it was hilarious. I've been 3 times over the past few years and it is always a very good night out with lots of laughs.
On Saturday Kristine and I went out to Ruapuna Speedway to see her husband Derek who was down in Chch for the weekend with a group of friends who are all part of a racing car team. Simon Sceats (who is originally from Warkworth) drives the car and has been the winner for the past two years but this year they have a new Audi and it doesn't seem to be doing so well for them. On their race Simon's car clapped out and he left the track after the race had finished in the car on the back of a tow truck, not looking very pleased.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
We got back to Roxburgh Street around 6pm and my flatmate Belinda, and friend Renee came and joined us before heading into town. It was extremely busy due to the races and there were a lot of very young, very drunk people. Jenni and I (the nanas that we are) were home by midnight after our long, exhausting day.
The following morning we had about 50 cups of tea before heading to Denny's (again!) for lunch. Then it was out to the airport by 3pm for Jenni's flight back to Hamilton. It was over so quickly but she is hoping to get some cheap flights to come back at the end of January. Yay!
So, as mentioned, Scott went up to Warkworth last weekend for the 'Big Reveal'. Claire had been up there since the Wednesday as she had bridesmaid duties to do for her friend, Jess who is getting married in Raratonga next year. We had briefed Scott on key topics of importance -ie, appreciating Dad's garden, no swears in front of Mum, that sort of thing, and it seems he passed with flying colours. Phew! Not that we really doubted he would. It will make Christmas time that much more comfortable for him having already met most of the family. Perhaps a little less overwhelming.
I got a letter back from Broadcasting School about a month ago to say that unfortunately I wasn't accepted. There was a number to call at the bottom of the letter to discuss my application if I felt inclined. I decided to call just to see what I could have done better and what I could do in the future should I wish to apply again - for that, or any course.
So, I rang and talked to the course co-ordinator and he explained that because I've had no experience in the field that would have counted against me. Now, throughout the whole application form it clearly stated in BOLD that they were NOT looking for ready made broadcasters. If I were applying for a job I would agree that having no experience would be a major downfall BUT I was applying for a course to learn all that. I just found it odd. Nevermind, I wasn't angry or upset that I didn't get in, just confused by his explaination.
So then I moved on to Plan B. I found the MOST beautiful little cottage for sale in St Albans and decided to see what (if any) my chances were to purchase it. I went to an open home just the week before the auction and totally and completely fell in love with it. Even the letterbox was cute with 'Love Letters Only' above the slot. Ooohhh sweetums!
So I had to move fast with only 5 days until it would definately sell.
I rang my bank and had a good old chat with one of the lenders and everything was looking particularly good UNTIL I gave her my last 3 months wages. Because I had gone on holiday for 5 weeks in July and had only been paid for 3 of those weeks with holiday pay, the rest was leave without pay it made a considerable difference to that months wage. Because they had to take the lowest amount for the calculation I didn't meet the criteria. I explained that it was a one off and she was so lovely about it but there was nothing she could do. She said if I tried back next month after that payment would have slipped off to be replaced by the next months wage it would have been no problem. But the auction was that week so it was no use to me. It was very frustrating but there was nothing either of us could do so I had to say a tearful goodbye to Plan B. I did, however, go along to the auction mainly to be nosey. As I was walking in I found $10 on the footpath - a good omen? The house did end up selling for $341,000 which was $61,000 over my budget AND it went to a young family which I was very pleased about.
Any other plans are currently on hold until after the festive season. I'm having a plan siesta.
I know you're probably sick of hearing about the earthquake but we are still getting aftershocks. Most of them I don't feel but apparently there has been over 3000 now. Amazing. A lot of older buildings in and around the CBD have now been pulled down. And there is still fencing and cordans around a lot of buildings, especially through Sydenham township. It is very sad. The Earthquake Commission have had 108,243 claims as at 2 Nov and I have heard that in the 3 months since the quake they have settled 5000 of these. Obviously they are trying to sort out the worst affected first, but it is a long wait for those unsure of whether their houses are staying or are to be pulled down. With every aftershock comes a new worry that the damage is worsening.
Apparently Claire's neighbours, (the not-so-nice ones) have problems with their pilings which may result in the house having to be pulled down. Result! Ooh that isn't nice, but the house is an eyesore. I wonder if they have tried to claim peeling paint, rusty roof, and rotting wood as an effect of the earthquake??
Unfortunately our favourite pub Sullivans, in Manchester Street in the city is closed and possibly won't be reopening which is sad. We've had many a good night in there.
I had another mini break up North at the beginning of the month. I flew up to Auckland on the Friday night (at a reasonable time this time) and Mum and Dad were at the airport to pick me up. Bless them. In their new car which is pretty flash! I stayed in Warkworth for the night and then my friend Krissy and I borrowed Mum's 'spare' car and drove up to Whangarei for a dress fitting and to stay with Swayze and see Rachael (the bride). Rachael has her wedding dress and put it on so we could see it - she looked beautiful! She's going to make such a beautiful bride. I can't wait!! We went shoe shopping but didn't buy anything yet. And then went back to Swayze's for wine and belly laughing. It was a great evening.
Krissy and I left Whangarei around 9.30am Sunday morning to head back to WW.
Cousin Heather came down to Mum and Dad's for a cup of tea at 11am and a catch up which was really nice. Unfortunately A Mary was out on the yacht that day so couldn't make it which was a shame but a nice day for her I am sure.
After lunch we headed back to Auckland and stopped in for afternoon tea with Kathryn and Moos which was lovely before heading to the airport. It was over all too quickly.... again.
I'm looking forward to being up there for 2 weeks over Christmas. It might give me a little more time to relax and catch up with some others I haven't seen for a while.
On Friday night I went out (shock horror! Friday nights are usually my stay-in-watch-tv nights!) and met up with some cool ex Cherry Tree-ers - Brianna and Julia. I invited Renee along too thinking we would go out, have a few drinks, and be home in time for 'School Reunion' which started last week and is total crap but totally watchable. I was wrong.
After drinking a couple of very yummy, very expensive Cosmopolitans at Minx bar in His Lordships Lane we ventured to Yellow Cross. We were up dancing - by ourselves, having a great old time with what seemed like a semi circle of people around us watching us dance like frogs in a blender. It was reminiscent of a Form 2 social! I haven't laughed so much in ages! It was a fun and funny night. Julia and Brianna left about.... actually, I don't even know what time they left, but Renee and I stayed out and didn't get home until 8.30am!! I know! If Nana Bartlett were still here she would call me a dirty stopout! We met 3 Australian guys and after the bar closed at 3am we went back to the hostel they were staying at for drinks (because we hadn't had enough already) and then ended up staying in their room in bunks. All above board, can I just say... honestly Mum. They were nice guys and we had a lot of laughs. They were catching the bus to Queenstown yesterday morning. I told them to look out for the most beautiful girl in the world and if they saw her, that was my niece. They said they'd keep their eyes peeled but didn't think she would be hanging out in bars, which is more than likely where they would be.
So suffice to say, I slept most of yesterday morning away, which was fine because it was raining anyway. I feel like a young 20-something year old!!
So today is Sunday and the sun seems to be trying to shine through the clouds. The rain has stopped. I am meeting up with Gail who I worked with at CherryTree this afternoon for a coffee (cup of tea for me) and her gorgeous 3 year old grandson James. I've only met James about 3 times now and he LOVES me. He always tries to sit as close as possible to me. Bless. He is a cutie. So this young'un had better go and get up and atom seeing as yesterday was such a write off.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I had taken a break from my daily routine and blamed everything on the earthquake - not exercising, not going out, not living life. So I decided last week it was high time to draw a line in the sand and move on.
This week has been BUSY! I went to speed dating last Monday which was actually a lot more fun and a lot less embarassing than I thought it would be.
I went with a friend of my flatmate which was nice to have some support. There were 12 guys and 11 girls there (one girl had pulled out at the last minute so on every round 1 guy had to sit it out). The rounds lasted for 4 minutes and 19 seconds before the bell rang to move on.
All the guys were nice enough. The co-ordinator, Jane, gave a spiel at the beginning explaining what to do and told us to tick the people we think we would like to go out for coffee with - not to sit there imagining what our wedding days would be like or how our kids would look. It was more like a networking evening to meet new people and hopefully make some new friends.
Of the 12 guys, I ticked 5. 4 of the 5 ticked me which gave me access to their phone number. Jane sent this information in an email the following day and also said that out of the 12 guys, 10 of them were keen to meet me again. Whoopah!! A bit of a boost for my ego!
So, this week has been a dating frenzy. Lucky I have the night off dating tonight for netball otherwise I don't know when I find the time to update the blog!
Monday night was actually a date with a guy I met at the Yaldhurst Tavern when I was there for a night out a few weeks ago with Claire and Scott. It was nice and he seems like a nice guy.
On Tuesday night I met up with Scott who is Taiwanese and has lived in NZ for 14 years studying and now working as a physio therapist. He was nice and when he told me his favourite movie is The Notebook, I knew I had a friend for life.
Wednesday night's date was Neill (yes, with 2 L's) who is a counsellor. He is nice and very easy to chat to. We are meeting up again next week also.
Possibly meeting up with Marten, the horse dentist (laugh out loud if you like, I did) for a coffee after work tomorrow but that has yet to be confirmed.
So as you can see I have been VERY busy and important.
Last Tuesday our cousin Patrice, her husband Vawn, and their kids Dylan and Krystle were in Christchurch for one night only and invited me out for dinner. I enjoy meeting up with them when they are up from Balclutha. We went out for dinner and I played Hang Man with the kids.... and lost..... again. I told them I was going to think up some really good words and win next time. Vawn said I say that every time. Unfortunately Claire couldn't make it this time as she already had plans. It was a really nice evening catching up. They were in Christchurch to pick up a year old Bassett Hound puppy and take back home as a new pet.
On Saturday I flew to Queenstown for the night. The flight was very turbulant and I wasn't sure if we were actually going to land. The plane was lowering to the runway and then we started climbing again. It seemed like ages before we again started our descent and finally landed in Qtown. It was nice to be there and to see the Southern Barts and their new house.
This just in: We won our game tonight which means we play in the finals on Sunday. Yipee! Blonde tart did not show.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
We have, however, been blessed with beautiful sunny days and warmer weather for the past few weeks while the rest of the country has had to contend with pouring rain, flooding, and snow.
I managed to get away for the weekend and flew up to Auckland on Friday night for a shake free weekend. Kathryn picked me up from the airport and very kindly took me up to Warkworth. We didn't get up there until after 11pm but Mum and Dad were still up so we had a cup of tea and a catch up before getting some much needed sleep. Kathryn and I shared a bed in the pink room and, because she is a bit of a wriggler, I woke up a few times thinking I was feeling another aftershock. Ha!
On Saturday morning my friend Kristine and I headed up to Whangarei to spend the night with Rachael (aka Muriel) and Swayze for bridesmaid duties. We got our measurements taken for the dresses, got the material (which is a beautiful gun metal grey satin), and made invitations so it was a very productive afternoon/evening. Oh, and drank quite a bit of wine. It was good to see the girls again and have big belly laughs. Rachael's 7 year old daughter Alexis helped as well, sticking the address labels on the envelopes and drawing pictures for Swayze to put on her fridge.
Before heading back to Warkworth on Sunday we went down to the waterfront in Whangarei for brunch which kept me full all day!
Mum and Dad had Sheena (Catkin's Aunty) staying so it was nice to meet her. She is a lovely lady. Sheena, Mum, and I went for a drive over to Matakana to see Uncle Bryan and Aunty Bev and have a nosy at the new house that Dad has built for them. It is VERY large and VERY nice. I gave it my seal of approval. The kitchen is MASSIVE with a little Butler's Kitchen to the side. Very impressive. It already has Uncle Bryan's chair in it and the tv so he can wander over and watch rugby when it's on. They aren't sure when they will fully move in but said there is no hurry.
Just inside the front door are two lead light doors opening to the formal lounge with pictures of roses in them. Uncle Bryan told me that these are in memory of Aunty Bev's Mum who passed away and loved roses. A very nice touch I thought.
And a big welcome to Rachael Easterbrook - my friend in Auckland and my 11th follower! The Roxy Review is becoming quite world famous now!
The best news I've had lately is that Averil and Eru are heading home in December. For good. I am so excited!! Not sure on a date yet as last time I heard from Averil they were looking at flights. I know Mum is VERY happy that all her babies and grandbabies are going to be in the same country again. Looking SO forward to seeing you guys again, Apes & Eds. Hopefully they will be able to join us in Warkworth for Christmas this year.
Our good friend Renee McInnes also came home recently after 3 years away in the UK and Canada. I am off to see her tonight for the first time since she arrived on Saturday so am looking forward to squidgy hugs and maybe a glass of wine. That's how we roll.
And I have completed phase 1 of Operation SOUL (sort out ur life) by filling out and sending in an application for Broadcasting School. If I get in it will be full time study for 2 1/2 years. That will be completely different but I'm excited about trying something new. Fingers crossed.....
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Dear sweet Kathryn was at the Auckland airport to meet me early early on Sunday morning. Bless her. I had originally been flying back to Chch that morning but had changed it so that I could spend the day in Auckland and surprise Mum for her birthday. Kathryn and I (mostly Kathryn) worked on a cunning plan to get Mum to Auckland for the day - not so hard really as she was looking forward to lunch with Dad, Kathryn, and Moos (Alan) in Auckland. And I gatecrashed it!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
We had organised for the hostel shuttle to pick us up from the airport and just as well as it was a fair drive. I don't even know what it would have cost in a taxi. The hostel (which was more like a camping ground with little bungalows and cabins as well as space for tents and campervans) was only 7km from another airport, Marco Polo. It felt more like 7 meters though and we briefly wondered if we were actually ON the runway. It didn't take long to get used to it. The camp was really well set up with swimming pool, supermarket, restaurant, bar, laundry, internet, and wifi. Perfect for our three nights there.
The following morning we caught the camp shuttle bus into Venice which took about 25 minutes. The weather was hot. Venice was beautiful and there were LOTS of tourists. We spent most of the day walking around the city.
After a lunch of pizza we went on a gondola ride. It was perfecto! It was expensive but we had decided what we would pay up to beforehand and, well, it's just something you HAVE to do in Venice. The Gondolier gave us a little bit of history during the ride including showing us where Mozart had lived for a time, and also where Napoleon had lived. It was interesting and really surreal.
We did manage to get lost while trying to get back to the bus stop. It seemed we were walking in circles for close to an hour, crossing the same bridge again and again. But we finally asked some directions and got back to the bus stop in time to catch the bus back to the camp and rest our weary feet.
The following day we went back into Venice to organise train tickets to Florence. We happened to be there at a good time - no queues! Hurrah!! And managed to book tickets to Florence and then on to Rome so that was a good result.
We had another wee look about Venice before heading back to the camp and relaxing by the pool for the rest of the afternoon. Bliss.
On Thursday we headed for Florence. There were massive thunder storms with heavy rain which cooled the air down considerably. Still t-shirt weather though. I made good use of the rain jacket Paula had lent me. Brilliant!
By the time we made it to Florence the rain seemed to have stopped... for a while anyway. We had to ask directions to the hostel and were told in Italian the way.. which seemed to work. Lucky Italians speak a lot with hand gestures. We made it there just as the heavens opened and it poured again and continued through the night. We had booked in to a girls room with 4 beds and received a welcome pack with shower gel, cotton buds, nail file, soap and moisteriser AND the use of a white fluffy towel while staying. And Jenni and I had the room to ourselves too.
Friday was a beautiful day and we booked on a Taste Of Tuscany tour through the hostel which was brilliant and cemented my love for Italy. Our first stop was at a small family owned cafe to sample their wine, cheese, meat, and jam (pickles). We sat with an Australian couple and two American girls who were all really nice.
After brunch our next stop was a vineyard for a tour and then wine and oil tasting. It was interesting tasting the different types of olive oil. And of course it goes without saying that the wine tasting was great.
Next we were taken to the medieval town of Monterry Giannini that is still home to 42 people. It still has a wall completely surrounding it and was beautiful.
By the time we arrived back to the hostel we had two room mates. American girl who stayed out late and slept in, and Japanese girl who slept all the time and got up at 6am. We would be up around 8am so would try to be quiet while getting ready but you know when you try to be quiet you tend to make more noise. Poor American girl.
Saturday was our day of sightseeing. We went on the open topped bus tour of Florence hopping off at the Accadamia Galleria where the Statue of David is housed. There were massive queues again (what a surprise) all wanting a glimpse of David's *insert whistle here*. But, after an hour and a half trying to stay in the shaded spots, we made it inside. I was surprised how big the statue actually is. I thought he would be life size but he is massive. I felt like a hobbit.
After sightseeing we caught the afternoon train to Pisa for a look at the Leaning Tower. It was a nice little town and the tower was really nice. Reminded me of a wedding cake. And was so white! We didn't go inside because - everybody now 'there were massive queues'.
On Sunday we caught the train to Rome which took under 2 hours. Italy seems small and easy to get around in. Jenni had booked us into the Martini Hotel which was nice and central on Via Nationale and a quaint little boutique hotel. The room we shared looked like something we would expect to see in 1920's Paris. And the best thing is that it had AIR CONDITIONING!
After dinner we stayed in and watched Laguna Blu (the Blue Lagoon) in Italian on the telly.
Total formaggio (cheese) fest.
On Monday we hopped on another sightseeing bus and saw the sites of the beautiful city of Roma. It's amazing just how old parts of Rome are. Coming from such a young country it is almost unbelieveable. We stopped off at the Spanish Steps and walked around to the Trevi Fountain. And then stopped off quickly (another hour of queueing) at the Vatican so I could find out the mass times for Wednesday. The lovely nun who I spoke to said there was something happening on Wednesday morning at the Vatican but it sounded unfamiliar to this heathen. But she also said that the Vatican would be closed until 1pm.
On the way home we got a little lost again.... but asked some nice policemen who pointed us in the right direction. The street signs in Rome seem to be few and far between which made it hard to pin point where exactly we were. Jenni's quote of the day while trying to work out where we were by the buildings that looked familiar was 'Isn't our street near that big old brown thing?' referring to one of the beautiful old domed buildings. Hilarious.
Tuesday was Jenni's last day as there were no flights out of Rome on Thursday, so we decided to have a day at the beach. We caught the train - buying the tickets from a machine all by ourselves! - out to Fondi which was a beautiful but very busy beach.
It was a beautiful day and the water was so warm. I have never been swimming in sea water as warm as that.
On the return train trip the conductor gave us a 10 minute lecture, intirely in Italian, for not validating our train tickets. He pointed to a sign which stated a 50 Euro fine for failing to validate and throughout his lecture every sentence had 'slep slep' in it which, from his gestures, I gathered was his rendition of the noise the machine makes when validating the ticket. LUCKILY he took pity on us and never fined us. Phew. Not quite as travel savvy as we thought then.
My day by myself in Rome was good. I went shopping in the morning. Then I went along to the Vatican City in the afternoon (with about 10 thousand other people). I went up to the Cuppola and saw some awesome views of the city. I even posted a postcard off to Mum from there. It truly was amazing. I never got to see the Sistene Chapel though. Oh well, I'll just have to come back.
It is safe to say I have fallen in love with gelato (Italian Ice cream). Their chocolate flavour is SO chocolatey. I also tried the Pistachio and it was yummy.
I am totally over pizza - for a while at least. Although it is very yummy and not ladened with all those toppings we would get at home it is very tasty but I have eaten my quota for a year at least.
I find the Italian people very abrupt and not always the friendliest. Like when Jenni and I stopped for some lunch the other day the waitress told us to 'Sit down please' very abruptly we did what she asked and quickly.
Jenni has learnt that Tuscany is NOT in France but in fact in Italy.
I have learnt that Tuscany is not a town but a region. Apparently the staff at the hostel in Florence get asked all the time how to get to Tuscany when Florence is actually in Tuscany.
We obviously pass as Italian as Jenni was asked twice for directions and I was stopped 5 times! I thought it may have been my trendy fashion sense but Jenni said it's more likely to be my glasses. Apparently they make me look Italian.
My advice to others wishing to visit Italy is DO IT but don't travel in July or August due to the heat and the school holidays.