Archive for September, 2010

Back on the Beach

We’ve had a visitor!  One of Josie’s colleagues from a while back called Malcolm was over here on business so we had him over to stay for a day and a night this weekend.

It was really nice for Josie to catch up on old times and for me to chat about… well, anything and everything!  Emily took a real shine to Malcolm (who has got a fair bit of fathering under his belt) and demanded his attention constantly, which he very kindly gave.  She also took a shine to his iPad and spent ages drawing on it on Sunday morning.

After all the rubbish weather from the big storm, we were blessed today with a magnificent day so we bundled out of Auckland and headed up the coast.  We revisited an old spot that we’d been to before – Tawharanui.  It’s a lovely spot about an hour away, in a marine reserve and a Kiwi reserve.  The day was just lovely.  We all played on the beach and had an explore, finding crabs stuck in deep crevices in a cave and Emily had a real laugh mucking around with Malcolm.

Bizarrely we turned up and there on the beach (one of four sets of people) were our neighbours.  They’d thought it looked like a nice day and decided to pop up there to.  Having got over that weirdness, we then saw another family from our road.  It’s not the biggest road in the world.  Maybe fifty houses?  And three lots all turned up at the same beach at the same time over an hour away from home.

I also took advantage of the cleaner waters of the sea away from the city and had my first swim of the season.  I hasten to add that it was a wetsuit swim, because the water was chuffing cold.  It made it difficult to draw breath and swim with your face in the water at first.  After  while I got the hang of it and will try lots more practice before the Harbour Crossing in about two months time.

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Keep your wig on!

We have been seriously battered by the weather for the last week. There has been a storm over us the size of Australia – everyday we have had a bizarre mix of very strong gales, squally showers, sunshine and cold winds. It is getting everyone down a bit although I am pleased that we had our new roof on before it all kicked off and don’t wear a hairpiece. I distinctly remember this time last year (Em had just started Kindy and Steve was about to start work)  and the weather was much more settled – I was walking to Kindy in a tshirt and clothes were drying outside. Hopefully we are coming into a phase of more pleasant weather.

Talking of coming out of phases, my never-ending battle to get my body back continues and I have just about had enough now. Yesterday I had a really uncomfortable day but today the physio discovered my pelvis and sacrum had moved a lot. They were completely out and it took over 15 mins and lots of twisting, traction and squeezing to get things back in the right place. I am starting to feel like a car that is nearing the end of its life when its owner starts to spend some serious cash on its up keep. I think Steve still wants to keep me road-worthy…..no one washes socks as well as me!

Yet more grumpiness kicked in with a bought of homesickness today. It is Uncle Charles’ birthday tomorrow (Happy Birthday to one of the loveliest chaps I know) and it occurred to me that I really would like to see quite a few people again. We also heard today that one of our close friends in the UK is going to have another baby. Having been pregnant with our first children at the same time, we became very close as our lives changed forever. I feel like we really should be there to see them all through the excitement of number three’s arrival.

Anyway, I am sure I’ll settle again once I get back to running, sort all my aches and pains out, and the storm finally passes by. It is the end of term tomorrow and I think we all need a bit of a break. We’re going to try and get a few days away before Christmas if we can find some pennies and some decent weather. We’d really like to stay here for a night – have a look at the accommodation – I can’t decide between the plane or the ship! I think I should phone them and see which is most Lucy-proof first!

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Joyous Rapture!!!!

I’m so excited.  My big sister and her lovely husband and their lovely little girl are coming to visit!  Hooorah, I’m jubilant.  It’s so exciting!!!  I think I might pop  >BOOM<

Sharing your life via blog is one thing and it’s helped bridge the gap, but being able to show people where you live and what you do and where you go and everything is so nice!

I am now going to sleep a happy chappy 🙂

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Crashed and burned

In spectacular Hosie fashion, I have crashed out of the marathon. The training was back on track. Optimism had returned. Then Lucy decides she’d like to play with traffic and in a move similar to the speed and grace of Pele, I saved her from being squashed only to end up on crutches.

Lucy is absolutely fine – just had a few tears when her screaming mother scooped her from the road – she hadn’t been hit or anything, she was just off on a wander. I had a terrible 24 hrs racked with guilt over poor mothering skills but have not decided that I should move away from what could have happened and just buy some reins and 5 rolls of gaffa tape. In fact it was seen by most of my friends as a good opportunity to own up to all their slightly imperfect mothering experiences. I can now sleep at night knowing I have offered cathartic counselling to half the school.

So, crutches. Only me. Because I changed direction suddenly and thought I could sprint like Mr Bolt, I strained a few muscles in my groin and popped my pelvis out again. The crutches are to reduce the weight I am putting on my leg. They are incredibly annoying and I am mostly grumpy. Lucy keeps stealing them and running round with them wedged between her legs shouting horsey. Either that or she is pulling them when I am trying to walk. She’ll be that mean kid who will be kicking sand in people’s faces on the beach if we don’t sort her out! I’m on them until Monday, as well as lots of rest, ice and Ibuprofen.

Thankfully Steve is being a true star. Not only is he taking time off or working from home, but he’s also trying his best to keep on top of the chores and the house descends into chaos around us. Of course what he’s been really good at it coping with an over-emotional, grumpy invalid of a wife who is trying very hard not to do anything but sometimes forgets. Because I am resting, my back is seizing up making things worse. Having said that I am getting quite good at poking at things with my crutches and it is quite amusing fitting Lucy’s shoes onto them as well – she keeps wanting to wear my slippers so I thought I’d get her back 😉

So there we go. What a sorry old mum. Still, onwards and upwards (with the aid of crutches)

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I’ve got the horn

So we’re watching TV and there is an almighty sound outside. Sort of like a train horn, but REALLY loud.  Intermittent, kept going for a while.  There are no trains anywhere near us so we’re wondering what the chuff it is.  Given the seismic activity recently further south, our first thought is Tsunami warning but we really are just guessing.   So we decide to check the Civil Defence website – nothing.  There is a number for the council labelled as ‘Information Line’ so I ring it thinking it’s an automated message service that will be updated if there is anything we should know.  I’m a bit surprised to get through to a person!  It turns out this is the councils 24/7 call centre.  So I’m completely off guard and stumble over my words as I try to explain the case of the curious horn and why I’m calling without sounding like a dick.

The good news is that it’s not any kind of official warning – but that doesn’t explain what it is…  after a round the houses type conversation she shares with me the fact that someone else has rung up and made a complaint about the noise.  The theory is that it’s some kids who have stolen/borrowed ‘something’.  I offer my opinion that they must have swiped it from an ocean liner because it’s so incredibly loud.  The lady quite likes this and has a hearty chuckle – I imagine that she doesn’t get the most engaging conversations, manning… sorry personning a council helpline into the small hours of Saturday night.  I wish her good night and hang up, reflecting that maybe a bumbling English man with a mystery horn might feature in a 30 second summary of her work day when she gets home.

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Num yum chomp

I am still here, thought it was about time I penned a few words.

Firstly, medical news. The misaligned hip is getting better. Keeps popping out a bit but we now have a list of tried and tested actions to get it back in place. Still at physio twice a week but I’m running comfortably again. Last week I managed 53km plus two swim sessions. This week I’ve done 9km each day and hit the pool on Tuesday for swimming / pool running. I’ll get another swim in on Friday afternoon and run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday all being well. I’m hoping to pip past 60km this week with a good long run on Saturday – last week I managed one of 15.6km, this week I’m hoping to get closer to 20km. I still have no idea what sort of run I’ll have at the marathon but at the moment it is just about getting out and running as much as possible, testing the hip and sorting out my very stiff lower back.

The result of all this exercise is a phenomenal increase in my appetite. You should have seen the amount of spag bol I have just munched through! I ate half a huge bag of cashews on the way home from the pool yesterday – I was like a possessed pregnant women hell-bent on satisfying a craving when I went searching for them in a couple of cafes! I am wondering where Lucy gets her appetite from…?

Other than running and fixing myself I haven’t really got much time at the moment to do anything else. Emily is very busy at school. She is doing a little musical performance tomorrow in assembly – they are dressing as cowboys 🙂 Then on Friday it is bring a plate lunch in her class with the theme of the letter P. Someone has already nabbed popcorn……maybe some little pies? Who knows. I think they are also having a mufti day and gold coin donation to help Christchurch quake victims.

It has been very interesting living here with the quakes going on. Such a practical, supportive outlook. There are students down in Christchurch helping out in their holidays. School kids have written songs. Lots of fund raising is happening. One shop owner has been giving away milk, carrots etc. It isn’t even being treated as the only news story, despite its enormity. Now this particular site is totally mind-blowing.

Lucy is teething badly at the moment and is liberally smearing her grumpiness around. But we’ve had a few lovely plays at playgrounds this week – we’ve had a bit more dry weather and the temperature is definitely up. But the rain is never far away – should have seen me after my morning run on Tuesday!

Stevie is out tonight for a boys night. It is his first night out with these guys although we socialise regularly with one of them. Rather nice to think of him getting out and about.

So that’s us. All happy drifting along in our little gang of four, quietly enjoying all that New Zealand offers.

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Who’s the daddy?

Last Sunday was Father’s Day over here. On Saturday we decided to start the celebrations early and went out for lunch at the local French cafe. Steve had a huge omelette and I had a jolly authentic croque monsieur. So authentic in fact that it took three days for my arteries to clear from all the cheese!

On Saturday night I baked a chocolate cake for Stevie and took it with me to decorate whilst I was baby sitting for a friend. I had asked Emily to draw me her very best picture of Steve and I iced a version of it onto the cake with the words We Love Stevie Daddy. It looked smashing and Steve was very chuffed. We also gave him a BBQ tool set and a little gadget for his green tea, as well as some artwork from the girls. All very personal and lovely. He looked like a very happy chap, especially as I cooked up bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast. He deserves it – he is the best daddy in the world.

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How Small We Are

Well it was something we read about before moving over here and although the earthquake in Christchurch was nowhere near us it has served as a reminder that this area of the world is slightly less stable than the UK.  The overwhelming emotion is one of concern for those affected.

There are some incredible pictures of the area.  I’ve linked to a site with quite a big collection.  Christchurch is not known for quakes, but apparently it may have a new fault line opened up right underneath it.  The fantastic thing about this earthquake is that even though it was 7.1 which is pretty big, there were no fatalities.  Two serious injuries, and a whole bunch of minor stuff, but in a city of 340,000 people that’s incredible.  This is being put down to two factors.  Consideration of earth quakes being integral part of the building code and the time it struck (4.30am) which meant people were mostly at home in bed.  So as long as houses stayed up people were ok.

Some stuff happened which I’ve never heard of before.  Liquefaction makes the ground turn to liquid and buildings sink, whilst stuff with air in it (sewers, petrol tanks, water tanks etc.) floats out of the ground.  Also the quake has made mini “volcanoes” of mud and silt come up out of the ground all over the place.

Of course no-one ever expects an earthquake, but the country certainly seems to be prepared for them.  Civil defence is a really good organisation and there is a big provision in the government earthquake commission for rebuilding after a quake.It’s reassuring to see a measured professional response as opposed to panic.

So please don’t worry about us.  We weren’t affected at all.  The few people we know down that way are absolutely fine.

Earthquake pictures

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Pricing Oddities

There’s been a bit of hoo-haa in the press recently about NZ being a rip-off.  It was sort of linked to the rugby world cup where rumour has it many traders are going to massively inflate prices during the tournament – especially hotels and motels etc.

That remains to be seen, but it’s certainly true that there are some oddities when it comes to how much stuff costs.  Take DIY stuff.  In the UK buying rawl plugs i task that is so trivial it is not worthy of consideration from a monetary point of view.  I think a pack of a hundred costs a couple of pounds.  This maybe equates to $4 ish over here.  The basic rawl plug in Mitre10 costs $60 each!  It’s going to cost me $2.40 to put up a four screw coat hook…   Nurofen is another weird one.  Painkillers in the UK – pennies.  Over here $20 for 24 tablets.  Then you get the opposite like today.  I went out to buy some new work trousers.  My current set of three pairs have each suffered from shrinkage, bust zip and failed seams.  They’ve been going since I started at Asda which was about four years ago, so I’m not too bothered that they broke.  Anyway, time to replace so I found a nice pair of flat-fronted, black work trousers, right size, nice cut, bum looks good(the most important point) and they cost just under $30.  i.e. less than £15.  So I bought three pairs so I don’t need to go shopping for another four years.

In season fruit and veg is virtually given away.  Parking is almost always free etc. so there’s a real divide between the great value and the appalling value.

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