Archive for » December, 2009 «

Well, so much for Unichem pharmacy!! Louise had another sleepless night! As it turns out, I checked out the cream given to me by the pharmacist on the Internet and eventually found that it DID contain paraffin! There were no contents listed on the label, so the pharmacist had obviously done her homework – NOT! So poor Louise had the allergic swelling to contend with on top of the bites……………..not nice. I think we’ll stick with the pharmacy in Coastlands from now on!

Louise did manage a couple of hours sleep after putting the rubbish out at about 6.45am. Just a shame she didn’t tell me she’d already done it before I got up and got dressed to take it out about 30 mins later! (I missed the night before because we had the tail end of some nasty rain showers descend upon us and I didn’t fancy a 150m dash down and back up the drive). She was also pleased as punch, because she had cat hairs all over her lap. The NZ life-form “”Cat”” has been fineagling its way into Louise’s affections for a couple of days now, but this is the first time it has willingly leapt up to get one of us humans to scratch it. Lazy sod! Mind you, it is very very good at catching the aerial NZ life-forms called “”meuths”” – the larger and juicier the better by the look of it. Shame that “”Cat”” can’t be bothered to catch the mozzies too! I’d willingly hand over some human food for it to test its none-too-delicate digestive system on……………….

Caught up with the clothes washing first thing and then we popped into the Coastlands pharmacy and ended up with the same anti-mozzie gel we remembered having last year on South Island. 15-Love to the Radius Pharmacy!!

We popped into a couple of other shops too, to sample the post Christmas sales. They were about the same as those before Christmas, just moved the labels around a bit , took some items off and put others on………… we’ll just wait for what we want to come up in a sale from now on, seems like there’s always a different sale on in every shop! Briscoes housewares shop seems to be turning out to be a favourite Louise haunt though. We did pick up a mozzie net for the bed though, which now has pride of place in the bedroom, for a bargain price so maybe she has a point………….

I found four jobs to apply for, and a software company that welcomed e-mails, so not a complete holiday after all……………..

We were going to the pictures last night to see the new Sherlock Holmes film, but didn’t think it was a good idea with swelling feet (Louise’s that is) and for the same reason we didn’t go tonight either. We’ll probably try to get the Friday morning show (cut price) or a weekend show. We’re now members of the Reading Cimemas Reel Club. For every $50 you spend, you get $5 off the price of a ticket, or free choccies etc. Not too bad really, as it has been costing us $10.50 each to see a film so far (about £4.75 – £5), so only 2 more films before the card kicks in and starts giving us the discounts.

Something I forgot for yesterday. We popped in to PaknSave to get some petrol before going to Wellington, we also had a 6cents per litre fuel voucher to use. As the funds were running low in the bank account (rent was due out today), Louise had mentioned that there was a “”use cash for fuel”” machine at one end of the petrol station – no helpful PaknSaver people on duty at any time of the day, just the fuel pumps. Anyway, we pulled up to the garage and the “”use cash for fuel”” machine at the head of all the pumps, where you’d expect the shop to be normally. There was only 1 other car in the garage, and he was getting air in his tyres at the other end. The machine appeared to give you a credit to use on one of the pumps, and you slipped in the cash (and voucher code) to get the credit. I turned around, checked the garage again and put in the pump number furthest away from either entrance and turned around to get in the car and drive the 10-15ft to the pump. Well, b****r me if a car hadn’t just pulled in, taken the most circuitous route of all to get to the pump I’d chosen and the guy was pressing all sorts of buttons on the pump!! Aarrgghh!!

I rushed over and in my best Kiwi accent, questioned the elderly pakeha (Maori term for a New Zealand White Man) as to his state of mind………..well, ok, inside my head I wasn’t quite so polite! He had done things so fast that he’d cancelled the credit for the pump and even got a receipt. It could have been worse I suppose, he could just have used it as a freebie! I thanked him for the receipt which stated that no fuel had been taken and popped into the store to try to get a refund – it was only $40, but it was MY $40!

Luckily, the girls behind the counter were more than happy to help a dashing, tanned man with a cute smile – or more likely, took pity on the stupid Pom who obviously didn’t know how to use their simple fuel pumps and the dashing, tanned man with a cute smile could wait a bit longer! And I got my $40 back and even the 6cents per litre voucher!!

Note to self and a lesson learned that Louise didn’t have to go through! Park in front of the pump first next time ……… DOH!!

Ok, back to today………….

Louise had a bad night last night. She’s come to the conclusion that the box jellyfish recently stalking our Deck were out in force in Wellington too. Either that or the South Island sandflies have hitched a lift on the Cook Strait ferries and migrated in the heat! There were only about half a dozen bites, but they were doozies! Kept her awake most of the night. I trotted off to the pharmacy and bought some insect repellant for her, and making sure that the pharmacist knew that Louise was allergic to paraffin some itch removal cream.

I also bought some chocs, Cadburys Roses and a bottle of wine to help take the edge of the itching. Margaret, you’ll be saddened to know that they don’t do the big purple ones in NZ! Here’s a photo of the assortment they do have though.

Roses selection

When I got back, I had a quick look at the job market sites. It looks like someone was working over Christmas! There were quite a few vacancies advertised on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day…… I’ll have a look at them tomorrow.

We had a chat with Kez and Soph this morning. Really great to catch up and find out how their Christmas had gone! Congrats to the two of you on your engagement!!

After hearing that Soph had quite a few bits of Galaxy chocolate for Christmas though, Louise was missing a little something – that’ll be Galaxy chocolate!! Cadburys has got a good hold on the market over here, albeit with some really tasty flavours – no just Milk, Whole Nut or Fruit n Nut here!! There is also a lovely tasting Kiwi chocolate from a company called Whittakers. However, there is NO Galaxy. Well, that’s not quite true, there’s a shop in Wellington called Cool Britannia which evidently sells it – we hadn’t been back to Wellington since we’d moved in to the cottage, so we never had found out just what they stocked.

Unfortunately, Bank Holiday had hit the Cool Britannia staff bigtime too – it was closed for the day! However, no worries, we’d gone to Wellington for some window shopping anyway……

After a cup of coffee and some cake at Mr Buns – dead cheap and gorgeous! – we headed off to the shops. We also ended up down the harbour front and bumped into a meeting of world unicyclists, mixed in with some Maori dancing and singing. Brilliant fun!! By the way, the brightly coloured spots on the front of Wellington library are nothing to do with any alcoholic intake, the had all been painted on!!


One of the people we’d met at the Christmas champagne breakfast worked in the Selfridges equivalent in Wellington, Kirkcaldie & Staines, and she’d mentioned that they had a christmas decs sale on. Guess what? Yep, “”we”” spent about an hour looking around there! I’m pretty sure Louise went around the shop at least 5 times. Mind you, I did miss out on a couple as I’d lost the will to live and gone outside for a not-so-quick smoke and window shop around the lower half of Wellington before returning and trying to look interested in the same decs I’d seen before I’d left. I could have sworn she hadn’t moved!!! LOL, they were nice decs though Margaret…………..

After a quick stop in Starbucks – and the feeling that they really do seem the same the world over – we stopped by Wellington Motorcycles to have a look what they had in store (from outside the windows anyway!). Nothing jumped out at us (lots of Harleys mind you), but worth having a look.

Just to prove that the vagaries of the UK weather aren’t just common to all parts of the UK, it was raining (albeit warm rain!) most of the day today. Even the NZ life-form “”Cat”” came in to visit rather than stay outside!

On the bright side, the torn stitches on my chest wound have now healed up pretty well, so we spent the day curled up watching TV and looking for a motorbike for the New Year. Huzzah!

Quiet day in with picky food and oodles of alcohol and watching Disney films……………………


Margaret & John, I can’t believe you let Louise grow up without seeing “”Snow White””, “”Cinderella! and “”Sleeping Beauty””!! It was lovely to see her face brighten up as they unveiled themselves………….

Merry Christmas everybody!

Santa has definitely been here, although I’m fairly sure the scratching noises on the roof last night were possum related……………..So, that means he’s on his way to you now!

We went next door at 9.30am this morning for a champagne breakfast. We were both a little apprehensive, but as it turned out for no reason whatsoever! Lots of people turned up, many of them from the local bowling club! We had a really great time, champagne, BBQ food and fruit and lovely company – Alex, Liz, Amanda, Cam, Marty, Nanna and Gramps (who weren’t actually, but that’s a whole other story), Bob, Mick and Gay to name a few, and all the others for whom the mists of champagne had their names instantly misplaced or forgotten……. We stayed until just after 1pm, when we left so that we didn’t disturb the rest of their family Christmas day. However, we were also fairly blottoed by then!!

The NZ life-form known as “”Cat”” came to see us shortly after we got back home – we had to walk all the way, must have been at least 25m! This time we found out that Cat has got vocal chords too – either it was trying to communicate it’s distaste at us being drunk so early in the day, or, more likely, it might have been upset at not being invited along! Luckily, we had bought in a little treat. Needless to say, the treat (Turkey lumps in gravy) almost disappeared faster off the plate faster than I put it on!

Having said previously that NZ is ahead of the UK in a lot of ways, and in others thankfully 20-30 years in what a lot of people consider to be the past, Christmas Day TV (albeit seen through the bottom of a glass) was great and very similar in feeling to the UK. We watched “”Sound of Music””, “”Mary Poppins”” and then “”Happy Feet”” and “”Phantom of the Opera””- a bit different to the girlie DVD-fest we watched last year like “”Predator””, “”Terminator”” and such (although we did also watch “”Wall-ee”” to be fair).

One thing that a lot of ex-pats over here seem to complain about missing is the BBC and it’s lack of adverts. Personally, we don’t think it’s that bad. However, today we have watched 4 films on two or three channels and apart from the odd break to advertise programmes/films being shown later on, not ONE advert!! TV channels around the world take note!! What a refreshing Christmas Day’s viewing!

We both wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and hope that your day is a wonderful one too!!

Welcome to Christmas Eve!

We had a visitor at breakfast this morning……………… we’ve had a bit of a breakthrough with the NZ life-form called “”Cat””

cat1 cat2 cat3

We thought we’d pop out this morning after feeding the visitor some milk. We hadn’t really got the Christmas food shopping done, so off to PaknSave! We thought we’d take a quick picture to show the mad rush of Kiwis doing their Christmas Eve shopping, all dressed for December.


Food all packed away and it’s out to the deck for an afternoon reading in the sun with a glass or two of wine…………..

It might have been the alcohol, but come about 5pm we decided it would be lovely to have a stroll along the beach. So off we went, armed with a drink and a camera – on Christmas Eve!!

beachaccess beach1 beach2
Xmas Eve Beach

We both hope you have a lovely Christmas Eve, wherever you are!

Category: Emigrating  One Comment

Louise didn’t sleep very well last night. She was bitten the day before yesterday (we think) on her ankle, and it swelled up quite a bit. She thinks it was a jellyfish, or quite possibly a vampire/werewolf bite – although quite what they were doing out on the deck I don’t know!! Anyway, it was looking very angry and she kept waking up in the night to find herself scratching away at her leg which had gotten all prickly in the night. I think she said she was up at about 5.30am as she couldn’t sleep.

She rushed, well…..hobbled/hopped into the bedroom just gone 8am this morning to tell me that we were having another earthquake, although this one felt bigger. I sort of already knew that, as I was trying to figure out when we’d had the bed converted into a vibrating one when I realised that it was the earthquake too! Although the same size as the last one, this was about 30km southwest of here, off the coast of Porirua and about 50km down again. For those that are interested in that sort of thing, here’s a link to the GeoNet NZ site for that reported quake. Strangely, we’ve become an awful lot more interested of late………….

I was looking forward to a day in the sun again, or rather looking after Louise while she put her foot up to rest it………..but found that the job market had been busy this morning and there were about 10 job possibilities lining up. More work then! The job mails have started coming back too now, unfortunately I didn’t get the girls school one – phew! A couple more have thanked me but turned me down, I suspect that the 6 1/2% unemployment rate still has something to do with it. However, we keep going!!

I decided not to pop out to the shops in case Louise had a relapse and her leg took over her body and forced her to shut down – at least that’s what she thought it was going to do. personally, I think it was just an excuse to lie down and be fed chocolate, crisps and ice cream!


Lots of chats and Skype calls this evening. It’s lovely to catch up, even if its to hear about the snow, ice and wind back in the UK!

PS. Our tabby visitor, got cuddles today from Louise – he’s still not sure about me, unless I have food in my hand! He also came in and had a good nose around this afternoon. I was going to shut the back door and force him into the Stockholm Syndrome so that he’d like me. However, Louise told me that it was cruel and that I couldn’t do it! Ah, well, back to the old tuna in my fingers trick for a while longer…..

I decided to give the job front a miss today as the weather was so lovely! The landlords (Liz and Alex) had popped over yesterday to invite us to a champagne breakfast on Christmas morning, evidently a bit of a tradition for them! Champagne at 9.30 am, haven’t been drinking that time in the morning since I visited a French base many moons ago while I was in the RAF! I’m sure the sun will be over the yardarm somewhere in the world though, so we’ll be fine. We will probably carry on with a bottle of wine down on the beach afterwards for a stroll anyway!

While Liz was here, she mentioned that the Otaki shops were quite good to visit as they’re mostly Factory Outlet style shops on the main street. So, off we went shopping! I wasn’t holding out too much hope, as we’d driven through the town centre when we tried to find Otaki Beach – where the houses were not exactly top notch……….

When we arrived about 20-30 mins later at Otaki, we thought we’d grab a bite to eat and a coffee before having a wander. I did take my camera with us, but I’d forgotten to take the SD card out of the laptop…….DOH! However, good old Google saves the day! I did take a picture of the cafe on the camera, but can I work out how to get it from the camera memory to the SD card – Nope! Some geek I am! Beaten by a camera……………….so far, anyway!

Otaki Capture

Despite any earlier misgivings, the shops were great and there were quite a few bargains too! We had a wander for a while, as you do, but when Louise went into an underwear shop, I decided to beat a retreat for a sit down by the I-Site (tourist information centres – but usually a lot more friendly than the UK ones!), having picked up a few leaflets. When Louise joined me about 10-15 mins later, we both remarked at how nice everybody in the shops in NZ were. It always feels like a pleasure going shopping here (as long as it doesn’t last too long fro me!), people say hello when you walk in, and mean it. We did find one furniture shop where we were pounced on like you get in the UK, back when we were looking for a bed a couple of weeks ago, but even he backed off and left us alone once he realised we were investigating only – and did it with a smile and a joke!

We’d visited one gift/curio shop on the main street and they were offering out “”truffles”” to customers. They looked and smelled lovely, so Louise and I both had a rum truffle, and VERY Rum it was too. Note to self, don’t drive for a while!

Otaki Capture2

We decided to leave Otaki about 5pm and head back home after a lovely afternoon out. We must come back sometime soon too, but with walking shoes, as we found that the Otaki gorge was a film spot for the hobbits leaving the Shire in the LOTR films. Seems a shame not to go see – even if it does involve a couple of kliks worth of unsealed roads!

We’d both been looking forward to seeing the film Avatar when it was released, and Tuesdays are bargain days – a bit like Orange Wednesdays in the UK………..except there’s no Orange………….and it’s a Tuesday! So, we popped into Coastlands on the way back, picked up some tickets for the 7.45pm show knowing that we now couldn’t change our minds and have a night in. We grabbed some chips from Raumati Beach on the way home (had some bread for chip butties), dropped the shopping off and made our way back out again.

Reading cinema Coastlands

Well, what an awesome film!! We both agreed it would be brill to see it again in the 3D version (I’ve looked it up since, and the nearest 3D showing is in Wellington, so we can go have a look at the Christmas “”tree”” lights at the same time!), it was that good! This time there was almost a full house for the film, each one of the four screens seems to sit about 120 people, and there must have been about 100 there.

When we got back home, we found a police car flashing its lights brightly right next to our drive. By the looks of it, some youngster had been pulled over for speeding – Haha!

Louise put the kettle on while I did the weekly night-before trip down the 75m drive to beat the bin-men at their own game.

So much for things slowing down at Christmas. Quite a few jobs advertised this morning – of which there were three promising ones. I also had a promising reply from an agency about an IT Service Desk job, although I suspect that one won’t come to anything either as it is likely to be a popular one!

I popped out this afternoon to do some Christmas shopping. Obviously, being a couple of days to Christmas, the masses were out. If I passed one person in the mall I must have passed… least two Wink!!

It still seems a little weird to be going around the Christmas decorated shops listening to Christmas music and then going out of the shops to the car and having to put on sunglasses and the air conditioning! I’m sure it will wear off after a little while……….