Thursday, 11 December 2014

Starting to get a bit like Christmas

Well it's been a while since I found time to get to this again. Things didn't work out work-wise so I can't even use that as an excuse. 

The training phase went well, but then once everything was set to "go live" there actually didn't seem to be much work at all. After 2 1/2 days of pretty much twiddling my thumbs and trying to organise my desk and look busy I decided enough was enough. Since then I've been looking for something new. Sometimes I think I should have stayed, got paid for being bored out of my mind and just kept looking for a new opportunity. Oh well. I've been getting interviews, phone ones and in person so fingers crossed things will fall into place soon.

It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here. We both LOVE this time of year normally, this time we've had a bit of trouble getting in the spirit. But we found the box with a tree in it, and I found some of others marked Christmas. We're keeping it simple.

There has been a bit of baking going on - not me though - I just want to make gingerbread....and I have no idea where my cookie cutters are, and it has taken me many trips to many different stores to be able to find some replacements. Seems everyone else is making gingerbread too ! At least I don't need cookie cutters to make white Christmas which is also on my list of things to do.

We've been for a couple of night time drives all over the city, getting totally lost at times as it is difficult to read maps and directions in the dark. Nevertheless, we have found some great Christmas light displays. This has been one of our regular Christmas traditions and it has been great to be able to do it here as well.

It has been very un-summery weather - winter clothes are getting well aired after having been packed away since June. I'm almost expecting snow on the actual day. There have been plenty of late snowfalls with the recent frequent cold snaps, so who knows.

Meanwhile things in the garden are trying their best to get on with what they should be doing this season. Currants are turning red, strawberries are growing in abundance, raspberries and grapes are beginning to appear, lettuce is growing, apples are swelling, feijoas are flowering....

and some things have just gotten away on me...

maybe I should put some pretty lights on it.

Friday, 14 November 2014

A Chance to Go on a Roadie !!

Well, week one at work seems to have gone okay. Hopefully I will remember all I have learnt in training and be able to contribute to my new team when I start for real on Monday.

It was a short week because of a public holiday on Friday for Show Day. It has been a busy sporting week in Christchurch with the NZ Trotting Cup on Tuesday, the A&P show and cricket and more racing to come on Saturday. The weather has been a bit odd for this time of year, cold wind and hail - even snow on the alps. In November.

So, we planned to go for a drive since we both had the day off as part of our weekend. People thought I was mad when I said at work we might go to Greymouth and back. Pfft, they don't know how far we drove when we were on the other side of the world !

I haven't been to the West Coast since we were about this big...

...and Lauren had had one fleeting visit to go to a funeral which doesn't really count. 

The drive there was more interesting than what we found once there. But we will probably go back with some better plans sometime in the future. Great scenery, and some really cheeky wildlife. 

Where to next ?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The long weekend is almost over

Well, it seems it is time for me to return to the workforce. My chopped up finger is almost recovered and looking fine too. 

I took advantage of the rainy day last week and contacted agencies and made an appointment with one to go in and register. Next morning I got a call to go along to an interview...and I start Monday. It is a temp role - technical admin - part of the rebuild and sounds interesting. The pay isn't as great as I would generally want, but it all helps. Plus it will be something slightly different to add on to my CV for the next role. This week is training, and it is a short week too with Canterbury Anniversary Day/Cup Day on Friday. Perfect to help ease back into the routine.

We've been discovering all sorts in our garden, peonies, strawberries, currants, rhubarb, silverbeet, apples, feijoas, potatoes, raspberries, lily of the valley, alstromeria - love it !!

Mum and Dad came for a visit at the end of last week and bought the things we hadn't been able to fit in the car when we left Blenheim. Now we have to decide where we are going to put it all here. While they were here we went out for lunch in Prebbleton - Thyme Cafe, go there if you are down this way.

After they set off home, we went for a drive to Akaroa, New Zealand's own little piece of France. It is a nice drive, and filled in the afternoon nicely. The pain au chocolat helped too.

So, now it is the night before I have to get up early and wear clothes that have been hiding in drawers, the bottom of my suitcase or storage for the last wee while and make a contribution to society and the tax man. Kind of mixed feelings about that, especially since the winning Lotto ticket was sold at our supermarket, and we didn't even buy one ! Missed opportunity.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Boxes and Boxes

Well, we loaded the car up and set off from Blenheim last weekend to make camp for a night in our new home. Our furniture and belongings arrived on Tuesday so only one night of roughing it was required.

What was an empty, quiet house on Monday night has since transformed into one filled with life - and many piles of unpacked, stacked up boxes and packing paper. We're still looking for a pillow and have discovered that we may have "donated" some things we thought we had kept. Like coat hangers particularly. a quick trip to the Warewhare has resolved that though. Slowly things are finding their new homes.

We are also finding our way around the city and even had a "peak hour" trip to the Emergency After Hours Clinic the other night when my fingers happened to get in the way of the knife when chopping pumpkin for dinner. OUCH.

We have plans (or I do) to get some veges planted in our amazing garden and to sort out the extra belongings that have also come out of storage. if you are in Christchurch and looking to buy some secondhand furniture - I may have what you are looking for watch this space. It will have to wait 'til my hand is working a bit better than it is now though.

Next task is to get registered with some agencies and get a job.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Another Adventure Begins - No Regrets

So, It's been a while. Mostly for the last month I have been alternating between wallowing in misery about making such a snap decision to end the dream, enjoying being home and seeing family and contemplating the fact that actually we are in almost the same state here as we were in the UK.

Still, we have made progress. I have accepted that I made a stupid decision. I am working on accepting that we had a great three months. I have set a goal to return and give it another go - once I have replenished my savings.

We decided to give Christchurch a go on our return. It is a city rebuilding after monumental upheaval, so it seemed a fitting place for us to begin to rebuild our lives too. It is almost four weeks since we arrived back into spring with blossoms on trees and new leaves and cute baby lambs frolicking in fields. I am missing autumn, and not really looking forward to summer, but spring is helping with the transition. The occasional wintery day breaks the monotony of blue sky and sunshine days and reminds us again that we have to wait six more long months to get to wear warm snuggly clothes. 

We have a car - a Rover which has been named "the moon buggy" to get us around the place. It will do for now, it doesn't have a CD player or an AUX outlet so that will have to be remedied soon and it has no drink holders which we didn't discover until we visited the US Embassy for Food the other day. Hmmm. 

The rental market in Christchurch is pretty fierce but we're a pretty determined couple of ladies and we have found a wonderful house to rent. It has an amazing garden with lemons, black currants, apples, strawberries, cherries, feijoas and veges so we won't be starving. It is also only 5 minutes from Lauren's new job. So just me to organise now. We move in this weekend and the truck will arrive from Wellington with boxes of belongings and furniture to unpack at the beginning of the week.

Apple Blossoms down the street

 Matai River Nelson

 Reject export peonies from the peony farm where Anne works

 A rose and an azalea in Mum and Dad's garden

Monday, 22 September 2014

Haere ra Ingarangi, ka hoki tatou

Farewell England, we will be back

It all got too much for me, the money, the waiting, the uncertainty - even the wretched decision making. But the decision has been made and with a real heavy heart we're sticking with the choice we made.

We left Suffolk yesterday after having been to Ipswich the day before to send some boxes of extra bits and pieces home ahead of us (hopefully). It was a long sad drive full of regret and indecision. We paid one last visit to Framlingham to donate some more clothes and books to the East Anglia Children's Hospice shop and get something to eat from the market. Then off to Shipston we went (the looong way).

We stopped on the motorway to take some photos of the glorious colours that the leaves are turning, and then headed first for Leamington to have afternoon tea with some cousins we just kept missing other times we had stayed there. it was great to meet them and share some of our experiences, tinged with sadness that it had happened so close to the end. Then out for dinner and back to Shipston for the night.

Today, we left our hosts to head south to Heathrow. It has been fun unravelling some family tree mysteries and identifying faces from old photos together. It had been suggested that we go to Harry Potter World on our way, but we decided against it since the tickets had to be bought in advance and were for timed entry...what if we got lost and didn't get there in time ?

So instead, after a quick trip back to Leamington for some shopping (only lip balm it turned out) we headed south through the Cotswolds....and made a detour to Chedworth to see the Roman Villa. That National Trust membership we bought at our visit to Montacute House back in July has been well worth it. Parking is pretty minimal at Chedworth, and a lot of what you see is just remaining walls. But the heritage centre is truly amazing. Walking on metal and wooden platforms suspended above the most amazing mosaic floors. There are a few glimpses of mosaic floors as well in the bath house, but most exciting is the area - now re-hidden under the grass where an incredible find of intact mosaic floor was just discovered in August 2014 - last month.

Then before we turned east to come back to London we went to hunt down a spot that was on our bucket list.

Who knew we were this close to home !

But soon we'll be closer. We're leaving tomorrow, it's time to rebuild...and I am already planning how and when I am going to get back here. We've done so much, but there is still so much left to do and explore, it can't truly actually be the end.