Friday, 30 September 2011

Friday, I'm in love with...

My new home!!!

The solicitors finally finished their soliciting and at 11.00am we received the keys from Nicki, our estate agent.

I had taken an annual leave day, so spent the afternoon happily ripping down horrid curtains, removing doors and walking around the house like some kind of lunatic, saying “Hi bedroom/bathroom/laundry, it's nice to meet you. I'm your new owner”.

Tonight, in the time-honoured tradition of Kiwi homeowners, we enjoyed fish and chips and a bottle of red in the back garden as the sun sank. Sadly, we can't move in until November 10 because our furniture has to stay in our rental property till then so we will still be in the apartment found for us by the Animator's employers. However, it's just around the corner from the new whare so guess where we'll be spending every evening and weekend working our fingers to the bone for the foreseeable future?

But we finally made it and I'd defy you to find anyone happier than me today....

Thursday, 29 September 2011


It seems like only yesterday you arrived but today I turned around and you were putting on your coat...

You passed by in a flurry of house offers and counter offers; of buying appliances, booking electricians, borer guys and glaziers; of measurements and conjuring up dream spaces; of juggling a crazy busy contract with freelance deadlines; of smiling through meetings with banks, insurance companies and solicitors.

But here we are, dancing on the cusp of October, and it finally feels like it's all coming together.

Tonight after work I went for a run around the waterfront and ended up sweating like a pig (more information than you need) but, thank God, someone has finally turned on the sun and it truly feels like spring.

October, welcome. I look forward to working on the house, to getting our personal effects from the UK and starting another phase of our lives....

(Pic: Google Images)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Cookbooks from afar

Less than five days after I ordered them, these beauties plopped onto my desk at work...

Thank you Amazon UK - and for waiving the postage. I am rubbing my hands in glee at the thought of all those yummy things I am going to cook...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Cardiff After Dark

I once worked with a girl from Cardiff who was pretty much the Rafael Nadal of stupidity (she was also a complete slapper and a nasty piece of work, but that's a whole other story).

Anyway, I was reminded of her when I came across the brilliant work of Polish photographer Maciej Dakowicz who spent five years photographing the nightlife of the Welsh capital. The project, entitled Cardiff After Dark, recently went on display at the prestigious International Festival of Photojournalism 2011 in Perpignan, France. Amazing what a bit of darkness, too much alcohol and hot chips can produce...

Monday, 26 September 2011

Four more sleeps...

The next keys on my key ring will be for this palace...

And no, it's not a palace in terms of turrets and other inappropriate ornamentation, but it's going to be my home and, as such, will be my palace.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

You could study for years and still not be as stupid as these dudes

Overheard at the hairdressers this morning: two hip, but dim, young things doing a show and tell of their tattoos:

You have to be, like, really careful who you go to because they can, you know, get it really wrong. Like my mate who thought he was getting the word 'peace' in Indian up his arm and then he went to Goa and someone told him his tattoo said 'penis'.”

I didn't like to tell him he probably meant Hindi; best to leave them to it.

Now we are off to drink several hundred litres of wine and watch the All Blacks beat the French in what promises to be the best game of the Rugby World Cup so far. Apologies in advance to my darling mates Frenchie and Pierre in Bristol....

(Pic: Google Images)

Friday, 23 September 2011

Crappy Friday

Today I have been bashed over the head with the 'Have a Shite Day' stick.

Too long and far, far too tedious to go into here but no-one will be happier than me when the small hand reaches the 5.

Subsequently I am missing my Bristol drinking buddies so badly it aches. How I wish I could see them again, have too many drinks and talk about things like travel and adventures rather than babies, work or mortgages. And laugh like drains.

Thankfully I am meeting my lovely friend Michael for a drink tonight after work; he may not be in the Bristol binge drinking vein but he comes close...

(Pic: Google Images)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Where is my stuff???

With the possible exception of war, natural disaster, fatal disease, hunger, loneliness, income tax, politicians, polar fleece and over familiarity with botox, there is nothing worse than waiting.

That’s a strong statement, I know, but you try and do without your beloved clothing and personal effects for THREE frickin months and tell me how bad you feel. Waiting for our ship to, quite literally, come in is excruciatingly painful.

Today, however, the door of my despair cracked open slightly to cast a tiny chink of light on the whole sorry situation: the Maersk vessel carrying our stuff has apparently left Singapore. It docks in Auckland on October 6 and the container is then loaded onto a smaller ship that is supposed to arrive in Welly on the 15th.

Expect days and days of shagging about by Customs and Ag & Fish operatives…and then, if I’m lucky, I may get to take possession of my possessions by the end of October (touching every bit of wood I can find that this happens, because I may combust with frustration if I have to wait any longer).

God of Making Things Happen, are you listening??

(Pic: Google Images)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

An afternoon course

What I learned from a PR course I attended today:

  • Corporate afternoon teas ain't what they used to be
  • It's sheer stupidity to use a boardroom with one of the finest views in Wellington. On a warm Wednesday afternoon, attendees WILL spend huge chunks of time gazing out the window
  • Pick at a hang nail long enough and it will bleed all over the carpet
  • Time can feel like it's going backwards
  • I am rarely truthful in feedback surveys; I'd hate to make the presenter feel bad. Must be a Catholic guilt thing
  • Some interesting stuff about the literacy of stakeholders, how to reflect their language and relevant comprehension strategies.
(Pic: Google Images)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

You've been drifting for a long, long time...

Nothing like a blast of Travis on an after-work run...

Weirdly, while my favourite Scottish band was seeping into my headphones, I ran past an Oriental Bay hotel where the Scottish rugby team was boarding a bus - and got a smile from the coach, Andy Robinson.


Everything is open
Nothing is set in stone
Rivers turn to ocean
Oceans tide you home
Home is where the heart is
But your heart had to roam
Drifting over bridges
Never to return
Watching bridges burn

You’re driftwood floating underwater
Breaking into pieces pieces pieces
Just driftwood hollow and of no use
Waterfalls will find you bind you grind you

Nobody is an island
Everyone has to go
Pillars turn to butter
Butterflying low
Low is where your heart is
But your heart has to grow
Drifting under bridges
Never with the flow

And you really didn’t think it would happen
But it really is the end of the line
So I’m sorry that you turned to driftwood
But you’ve been drifting for a long long time

Everywhere there’s trouble
Nowhere’s safe to go
Pushes turn to shovel’s
Shovelling the snow
Frozen you have chosen
The path you wish to go
Drifting now forever
And forever more
Until you reach your shore

You’re driftwood floating underwater
Breaking into pieces pieces pieces
Just driftwood hollow and of no use
Waterfalls will find you bind you grind you

And you really didn’t think it would happen
But it really is the end of the line
So I’m sorry that you turned to driftwood
But you’ve been drifting for a long long time
You’ve been drifting for a long long time
You’ve been drifting for a long long
Drifting for a long long time...

Monday, 19 September 2011

Sucky Mondays

I would take any day over Monday. Any day.

The shittiest day of the week did not disappoint today: my work phone suddenly and inextricably died (and without the good grace of passing on my contacts list, which meant a wasteful hour keying in numbers), I encountered a shop assistant and a colleague both in serious training for the Grumpy Olympics, my dinner date cancelled and I got rained on whilst walking home.

If life has presented you with a crappy Monday there's nothing for it but to hoover down dark chocolate. Preferably studded with hunks of crystallised ginger.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Scenes from a misspent youth

A Sunday made up of delightful bits of random:

- a late start, following last night's Tin Tin wrap party on a boat (yes, that means the movie is almost done);
- finishing a travel article on Dubai I've been dragging the chain on for ages. Nice to finally hit the 'send' button;
- calorific pancakes on Courtenay Place for lunch. I feel smugly justified though, because yesterday I went for a long run;

- Cold Chisel on high rotation. These Aussie rockers formed the soundtrack to much of my teenage years and when I was in the UK I scored their CD on Amazon. Used to revel in the delicious pleasure of walking up Bristol's inappropriately named Whiteladies Road rocking out to music from another time and place. In a previous life in London I also recall serenading total strangers on the Tube to Khe Sanh after a Sunday session at the Church (the drinking, not the religious one).

For some odd reason, my iPod's shuffle function is currently addicted to Cold Chisel - so while slaving over my travel piece, I've heard this song about six times. Is there such a thing as too much Cold Chisel?

Friday, 16 September 2011

An expensive week

On Wednesday we bought a car.

Today we bought a house!

Well, we went unconditional on the fourth house we've ever bought.

Anyone who knows me knows how utterly useless I am at keeping a secret; for the past two weeks I have been ACHING to tell you about the two-storey, four bedroom, two bathroom 1890 villa in the inner city suburb of Mt Victoria. But I didn't want to jinx it.

Today, however, I was able to ring our real estate agent and solicitor and tell them that the Animator was happy with the property reports and we were good to go.

Below are some images of the exterior of our new whare; there's a good reason for not showing pics of the interior and that's because it is, in real estate parlance, in need of work. Lots of work. Let's just say it won't be gracing the pages of Home & Garden Magazine anytime soon, unlike our last home.

But therein lies the challenge; and it's a challenge we both cannot wait to get stuck into. After 18 months of living in a shitty flat (Bristol), a ritzy hotel and now a rented apartment, I am desperate to get into my own space.

Dear God, will you just make 30 September hurry up and get here...

Thursday, 15 September 2011

New wheels

The gratis vehicle from the Animator's employers has had to be returned, so yesterday we bought a car.

My formative years may have been spent in the Hutt but I was obviously having a loo break when they were handing out the petrol head chromosome. That means I cannot tell you a thing about its torque, fuel to oil ratio or any other topic that vile creatures like Jeremy Clarkson like to bang on about.

What I do know is that it's a silver Fiat, is three years old and features a tiny Italian flag near its rump. It may not be as cool as the Mini we had in Bristol, but it will do nicely.

I have yet to grace it with my presence because yesterday I was besieged by a virus that has left me shivering, headachy and ingesting so many pills the pharmaceutical industry should give me a loyalty card. There's a bug going around the office and it's obviously my turn to carry the baton.

Am sure a few hours of day-time telly will send me running back to work...

(Pic: Google Images)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

How cold is it?

Spring came crashing out of the stable door a few weeks ago, bringing with her fluffy lambs, big fat daffs and the promise of long, achingly sunny days.

Today, however, Maman Nature seems to be suffering from collective amnesia: we have backpedalled into the age of hail, thunder and lightening. Last night it was so cold I wanted to set my clothes on fire just to keep warm.

Please come back Spring. We won't ask where you've been or scold you for your absence. Promise.

(The above pics were taken by the Animator during today's freak hail storm - a "once in a decade event" according to the nice chap on the news).

Monday, 12 September 2011

Bride of the year

Here she is, my beautiful friend Anita, on her wedding day.

Neat, you looked amazing, and am so glad the sun shone on your special day. Looked like one helluva party too! Can't wait to toast you in person very, very soon.

Welcome to the married club.... we're honoured to have you as a member. xx

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A decade

In my career as a journo, I've bumped up against some pretty terrible scenes: the gas ovens in Auschwitz and Dachau, a graphic torture museum in Budapest, any number of murder and accident scenes and Ground Zero, the 16 acres of lower Manhattan that once housed the Twin Towers.

Not long after we met in a grimy London pub, the Animator took me to New York for my birthday. A trip up the North Tower was one of the highlights of that magical long weekend. The next time we visited New York, we spent a solemn hour walking around the perimeter of Ground Zero, reading the names of those who died in that terrible tragedy one bright fall morning.

Hard to believe it's been 10 years; for those who lost loved ones, it probably feels like yesterday. I can no longer watch the footage of planes flying into those beautiful structures, of people flinging themselves out of windows, of the wholesale death, destruction and carnage.

A friend of mine recently moved from Bristol to New York and I keep threatening to visit him; it would be wonderful to see how much the city has healed since our last visit. Joe, get that spare bed ready...

PS The New York Magazine has provided this outstanding tribute...check it out here

(Pics: Google Images)

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Moose on the loose

Wonder if her head hurts as much as mine today?

Spare a thought - and a paracetamol - for this poor Swedish moose who ended up being stuck in an apple tree in a drunken stupor.

Turns out she had scoffed one too many fermented apples and stumbled into the tree.

Bless...nothing a lie-down and a fry-up won't cure...

Friday, 9 September 2011

Bring it on....

And so it begins.

After 2122 days of waiting, the world's biggest rugby party is about to begin.

Tonight, the long wait will be over and what promises to be New Zealand's biggest ever party will kick off the Rugby World Cup.

I’m glad I missed the last two years of in-fighting and finger-pointing, as well as the interminable column inches and hours of tedious media coverage. For once, timing has been on our side and we have arrived just in time for the party.

And you know what, I don’t give a toss about who wins – as long as we beat the English (and the Aussies, the Saffers and the French!)

Thursday, 8 September 2011


In a few short hours, my darling friend Anita and her handsome beau Gary (below) will walk down the aisle.

It wouldn't be right for me not to tell you about Anita: not only is she the funniest, loveliest and most fashion conscious woman on the planet, she's also the high priestess of bargains and my shopping patron saint.

Anita, you will make such a beautiful bride and I can only imagine how perfect everything will be. You will not just be the centre of attention, but the master of it.

I hope your special day is everything you hope for and I wish you and Gary even more joy than you already have in your lives.

God how I wish I could teleport myself to the Cotswolds right now...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Cleaning up

Swiss artist Ursus Wehrli's new book is called The Art of Clean Up and, as far as I can make out, pretty much involves taking everyday scenes of 'disorder' and rearranging them into neat rows, sorted by attributes such as colour, size, shape, etc.

Obviously appeals to my OCD tendencies, but thought it was kinda cool..

Monday, 5 September 2011

Room 506

Things I've learnt living in a hotel for the past six weeks:

  • Coming home to find the bed neatly made, the loo cleaned and the dishes done is beyond bliss

  • Ditto the bottle of good wine and the choccies delivered by the hotel angels each Monday

  • No matter how much fabric softner I use, I will never get my towels as fluffy or as white

  • Air conditioning is no friend to the epidermis

  • Those silly wooden hangers are the least user friendly device ever invented. And there are never enough.

  • Having to fight though a sea of conference attendees or art lovers in the foyer just to get to the lift can be a little tiresome after a long day

  • Very few people use hotel gyms

  • All sorts of useless facts about Justin Bieber and the Kardashians, having been too lazy to get off the treadmill and change the channel

  • Being able to say you're living in the Museum Hotel is pretty cool (if a little smug)

  • Not having to pay for the experience is even better. Sometimes I cannot believe our luck.

Room 506, thank you. I miss you already and it's only been half a day....

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Moving from one side of the world to the other is about more than just upholstering the airmile account.

There's the tiresome issue of growing new roots, of getting jiggy with the discomfort, the alienation and yes, sometimes the sadness, of reinventing yourself yet again.

Last night, the Animator's sister Theresa (Tess) hosted a birthday dinner for her younger bro. The food was beautiful, the company entertaining and the evening one of the most fun I've had since being back.

Thanks so much for your gracious hospitality Tess - it went a long way to making this wee girl feel a little more comfortable in her skin.


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