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Archive for June, 2010

This post is really aimed at those of you who may be thinking about moving from the UK to NZ and you’re looking for helpful tidbits of information to smooth the way.

Well today is a story of frustration.  And it’s about banks.

What’s the problem?  Visa is accepted everywhere right? You can manage your account online right?

Firstly – some banks will not allow you to operate a UK based sterling account if you live abroad.  End of discussion.

Most don’t really mind but they haven’t given you any consideration as a customer.  This is evident in the address details collection screen of their internet banking site.  Many will enforce a UK format address.  So you have no choice but to nominate a care of address of a helpful and friendly person in the UK.  Some allow a foreign address but not a foreign phone number.  You can see how this can get tired really quickly…  and this stuff need sto be accurate, because you may not have noticed before but you have to enter your billing address accurately to pay for stuff on line.

Sometimes the billing address and the delivery address must be the same.  You cannot use these sites if you want someone else to pack the item for you.

Some banks only offer 0845 helpline numbers, that you can’t call from abroad!  The ones that do have an international number just supply a bog standard number that costs a fortune to call.  Sometimes you can only change a bank card pin by using an ATM of the issuing bank – ALL IN THE UK!

Activating new credit cards can suffer from this issue as well.

It’s so painful I can’t begin to describe it.  So if you’re coming out we have found that Nationwide don’t mind you living abroad and let you enter a foreign address.  You do have to suffer their utterly ridiculous PIN calculator device to do anything and everything on the internet banking.  So incredibly frustrating and massively over the top.

PayPal insists on a UK billing address (due to postcode validation).

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A New Era!

I’ve discovered that I can embed youtube videos without paying the ridiculous amount of money that WordPress want.  Below is my first attempt and I love it.  Lucy learns to say Grandpa but isn’t quite getting it right yet… or is she?  😉

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Mental

My lovely friend Sasha had Lucy this morning to give me a bit of a break. They went off to playgroup as I went off for a run. I had decided that I would go out and see if I could do a long run – 23km – but would be happy enough to come back after about 10km if I felt particularly tired.

After about 6km I decided that I’d just go for it and conquer the full distance. I did it and the pace was a jolly acceptable 5:46min/km over my 2 hrs and 13mins run. The trouble is, for the first time I found myself really questioning what on earth I had committed to. Why a full marathon? At my age? With my reputation?

Tonight, as I sit here aching and nodding off, I am trying to figure out why these doubts have suddenly appeared.

Getting Closer

I am now just 19 weeks and 2 days away from the event itself. The official marathon training build up begins on 9th August. But I’ve been training using my Hosie Patented Marathon Plan for 10 weeks already. I’m well on target. I need to get a grip. I also need to commit fully to these long runs and not give myself a get out clause.

Poor Planning

Because I hadn’t properly committed to do my long run today I didn’t do the fundamentals yesterday. I didn’t concentrate on hydration and I didn’t munch on carbs all day. That was daft.

A dehydration level of just 3% results in an 8% loss of endurance and a 10% loss of strength. I owe it to myself to always keep on top of my hydration. I did though take more sports energy drink with me on the run – I learned that last time I did a big run.

As for food. I am battling to find food tactics that delivers the right energy levels. My breakfast this morning was two slices of toast with peanut butter and jam on, plus 2 large glasses of water. This is a favourite combo for many runners but didn’t cut the mustard for me. I felt empty really quickly. The best breakfast I have had so far for energy was a banana, a handful of raisins with 5 homemade wholemeal pikelets and a drizzle of honey. I should always have a banana in.

As for last nights’ meal – well it was scrummy. I made a vegetable casserole with dumplings. It was a feast of colour and goodness but of little use to my carb hungry muscles. Healthy food isn’t always enough for mums on the run.

All Things to All People

We had two families over to play at ours after school today. So I decided to get up at 540am and make fairycakes, as well as a banana cake (hence no bananas for my breakfast). By the time I took Em to school and dropped off Lucy at Sasha’s I had hoovered the house and tidied the bedrooms as well. I was not at all calm and collected for a 23km assault on my mind and body. I need to remember that long runs need some me time before the stopwatch is on and I’m running down the street. I could have bought some cakes and cut myself some slack with an extra hour in bed.

I read tonight that running a marathon is 25% training and 75%mental discipline. After today I can see I simply need to be much more mental….

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Code Green

Just had an Emergency Management email declaring a code green. This means that very heavy rain is forecast for the next 24 hours. We need to take care driving; listen to the weather forecasts; and, generally exercise caution. So out come the buckets to cope with our leaky roof. And I must get Stevie out with his woodwork tools to get that Ark finished…..

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Actually the envelope isn’t gold and there isn’t an award in it, instead it was white with a power bill in it.  The first one since we’ve had the heat pump and ventilation installed.  Gulp.

What would it hold?  How much have we spent?  Exactly what is this new found level of heating and comfort costing us.

Drum roll………….

It’s quite a pleasant surprise actually.  It seems that compared to immediately before we had the heating put in it costs us about $3 a day to run the heat pump and the ventilation.  Given that we’ll only need the heating on at this level maybe a third of the year we’re looking at around $300 to $400 which is well within the predicted costs.  We’ve had it on for about 2 to 3 hours in the mornings and 5 to 6 hours most evenings.  The outside temp has varied from as low as 2 degrees up to the low tens.

So pretty happy with that.  In case you are interested it’s a Fujitsu Plasma 6.5kw and it’s pretty good.

The other exciting thing to report is that the registration for the upcoming Ocean Swim series has opened.  This is the 2010/11 version of the series that I swam in back in February.  The first event is in November and it’s a 2.8km swim across the Waitemata Harbour here in Auckland.  The start is from the Bayswater area of the North Shore to the Viaduct on the city side.  I’m very excited about it.  I’m pretty sure I could actually do the swim now, but I’m going to train to avoid being scooped up by the rescue boats for going outside the time limits.

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Over the Hump!

So, Midwinter’s Day is coming to an end here. That means 162 days until the official start of summer on 1 December. We had just 9 hrs and 41mins of daylight today but tomorrow it will start to creep up which is unbelievably exciting for me as an early morning runner, and for Steve as an early evening commuter. Today also marks the start of Matariki which is the Maori New Year. Unfortunately, it also means that we are officially in the chilly zone. Apparently it is about to get a spot colder. Still, not to worry, I was walking around in a tshirt today in beautiful winter sunshine. Smasheroony 🙂

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Running Flash

No further info about the actual distance ran on Sunday but I came 4th in the women’s field with an official time of 22mins and 48secs. I was third in my age group so 30-39 is obviously the top age bracket for speedy runners!!

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Oh the agony of it all

I had a bad fall this week whilst out running. I tripped on an uneven pavement opposite our beach whilst accelerating off a corner and splatted on the concrete. I cut both hands; grazed my left shoulder; bruised my left hip; and, got a selection of small cuts and bruises on my outer left calf. It is quite a strange sensation going so rapidly from a rather enjoyable run to skidding along the pavement looking up at the stars. It hurt. My whole body ached. I was very uncomfortable for a couple of days and therefore very grumpy. My heart goes out to the lovely early-morning dog walkers who helped me home.

So this morning, after hanging up my running shoes in favour of Arnica Cream and ice packs for a couple of days, I dragged the family out of bed with some trepidation so I could take part in a 5km race. The weather was pretty foul. Murky showers wrapped themselves around the Auckland skyline as we drove to Western Springs for the run, which is next to the zoo. In fact it was so bad the kids and Steve spent most of my run tucked up in the car.

As it turned out, I had quite a good run……or so I think. After a very slow first km, trying to stay upright in the mud, I spent the next 4km trying to get up to a decent pace. It was a little bizarre as we ran past the back of the zoo whilst hearing the baboons, but the pavements were nice and wide and a major improvement on the muddy field where the race started. It was a good course which I completed (according to my watch, official times aren’t out yet) in 22mins and 47secs!!!!!!!!! Trouble is, I now gather from Facebook that it was a short course due to roadworks. So I don’t know if it was anywhere near that fast  as it looks like it was about 400m short of a 5km. I will find out tomorrow. Until then I am rather weighed down by the sad feeling of having come so very close to doing something utterly amazing. So until tomorrow morning when the results are in, my 5km record remains 24mins, 56secs.

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Once again I have found TED Talks to be utterly captivating.  If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, I urge you to explore further.  Every so often a talk comes up that just strikes a chord.  Ken Robinson has done two extremely interesting talks about schools and the future of the planet.  I have no idea how yo plan a talk like this.  It is paced beautifully.  There is no waste, every word, every sentence carries you to the conclusions at the end.  I’ve linked to both of the talks he’s done.  The original and a follow-up posted recently.  They only last 18 minutes each.  I think 18 minutes well spent.

Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the Learning Revolution

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Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!! Batten down the hatches.

After what feels like months of rain, the clouds emptied their loads this morning and then sun came out for the rest of the day. And, rumour has it, we will experience some good drying weather for the rest of this week 🙂 Clean bed linen all round!

But, I have just had a peek at the weather forecast (which most of the time is utterly wrong) and it mentions the word frost!!!!!!!!! Auckland very rarely gets frost, especially here on the North Shore. The daytime temperatures have slipped down to between 14 and 17 degrees but it looks like the lovely, clear sunny days will leave us with very chilly, clear nights. Tonight’s low should be 3 degrees – crikey, and all this without radiators. I feel so sorry for all those people without a heatpump, insulation and an HRV because they will probably be putting on damp clothes in the morning – yes, apparently it gets so cold in these unheated sheds they call houses that the clothes never really dry properly. That is why one in four kids has asthma I gather. I am jolly pleased we got ourselves sorted before the winter set in.

Anyway, I found an interesting spot of info on Auckland’s weather which I thought I’d share below 🙂

********
Auckland, located in the north of New Zealand’s North Island, enjoys a temperate climate.
This means warm summers and cool damp winters. Rainfall is moderate, with the wettest season being winter (Jun, Jul, Aug) and the driest season bring summer (Dec, Jan, Feb). Moderate sunshine hours are experienced (around 2100 hours per year). Due to Auckland being located on an isthmus (a narrow piece of land with sea on either side) the weather is highly variable across the region. The Tasman Sea lies to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Variable topography also adds to the climate variability.
Temperature
Daytime temperatures in summer usually range from 20-28°C, sometimes higher, although 30°C or higher is unusual in most parts of the region. The record high was set in Henderson (west Auckland) in 1998, and is 33.1°C. Night time temperatures in summer average around 15-16°C, although humid lows of up to 19-22°C can occur. In winter, unsettled weather prevails. Daytime highs average about 14°C. A daytime high under 10°C is fairly uncommon. On clear winter nights, some areas of the region experience frosts, but never severe frosts. Other parts are almost frost-free. The lowest air temperature recorded was -2.5°C at Owairaka.
Rainfall
The average annual rainfall is about 1200mm, but varies between 1000-1500mm across the region, and up to 2000mm in the highest parts of the Waitakere Ranges in the west. Dry spells are to be expected in summer, but drought conditions are unusual. Heavy rainfall is common, although it is often localised and does not last long.
However there are times when torrential rain can be sustained over small areas, usually the cause of this is sea breezes converging over the isthmus. The Auckland region holds the 1 hour record in NZ for rainfall accumulation – 107mm in 1 hour at Whenuapai (west Auckland) on 16 Feb 1966, which was broken at Leigh (north Auckland) on 30 May 2001, when 109mm was recorded in 1 hour.
Thunder and severe weather
Severe weather events are not common; a deep depression may bring rain and high winds a couple of times per year but usually there is little damage. Occasionally ex-cyclones affect the country which often do cause some damage. Snow is extremely rare – the only recorded widespread fall to sea level was in July 1939. Thunder is heard on about 15 days per year. Most of the thunderstorms tend to occur in the west during unsettled conditions moving in from the Tasman Sea. Severe thunderstorms are not common. Auckland is considered one of the hotspots for tornadoes in New Zealand although these are often weak isolated incidents. Any hail which occurs is usually very small, although on the rare occasion there are isolated incidents of large hail.
Effects of the SOI
The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) often affects the weather patterns. An El Nino pattern often results in drier weather, more SW winds, and average to below average temperatures. A La Nina pattern usually results in wetter conditions, more NE winds, and average to above average temperatures.

Auckland, located in the north of New Zealand’s North Island, enjoys a temperate climate.
This means warm summers and cool damp winters. Rainfall is moderate, with the wettest season being winter (Jun, Jul, Aug) and the driest season bring summer (Dec, Jan, Feb). Moderate sunshine hours are experienced (around 2100 hours per year). Due to Auckland being located on an isthmus (a narrow piece of land with sea on either side) the weather is highly variable across the region. The Tasman Sea lies to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Variable topography also adds to the climate variability.
Temperature
Daytime temperatures in summer usually range from 20-28°C, sometimes higher, although 30°C or higher is unusual in most parts of the region. The record high was set in Henderson (west Auckland) in 1998, and is 33.1°C. Night time temperatures in summer average around 15-16°C, although humid lows of up to 19-22°C can occur. In winter, unsettled weather prevails. Daytime highs average about 14°C. A daytime high under 10°C is fairly uncommon. On clear winter nights, some areas of the region experience frosts, but never severe frosts. Other parts are almost frost-free. The lowest air temperature recorded was -2.5°C at Owairaka.
Rainfall
The average annual rainfall is about 1200mm, but varies between 1000-1500mm across the region, and up to 2000mm in the highest parts of the Waitakere Ranges in the west. Dry spells are to be expected in summer, but drought conditions are unusual. Heavy rainfall is common, although it is often localised and does not last long.

However there are times when torrential rain can be sustained over small areas, usually the cause of this is sea breezes converging over the isthmus. The Auckland region holds the 1 hour record in NZ for rainfall accumulation – 107mm in 1 hour at Whenuapai (west Auckland) on 16 Feb 1966, which was broken at Leigh (north Auckland) on 30 May 2001, when 109mm was recorded in 1 hour.
Thunder and severe weather
Severe weather events are not common; a deep depression may bring rain and high winds a couple of times per year but usually there is little damage. Occasionally ex-cyclones affect the country which often do cause some damage. Snow is extremely rare – the only recorded widespread fall to sea level was in July 1939. Thunder is heard on about 15 days per year. Most of the thunderstorms tend to occur in the west during unsettled conditions moving in from the Tasman Sea. Severe thunderstorms are not common. Auckland is considered one of the hotspots for tornadoes in New Zealand although these are often weak isolated incidents. Any hail which occurs is usually very small, although on the rare occasion there are isolated incidents of large hail.
Effects of the SOI
The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) often affects the weather patterns. An El Nino pattern often results in drier weather, more SW winds, and average to below average temperatures. A La Nina pattern usually results in wetter conditions, more NE winds, and average to above average temperatures.

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