We’re getting sick of waiting now…

Posted in House on August 30th, 2010 by Coffee
  • May 2006: Jeff and Dad etc. visited a block of land that they thought we might be interested in eventually settling on.
  • Jun 2006: I flew to NZ and back to the UK within a week to have look at it a couple of times, and start the process of buying it. I end up with a massive sinus infection for my troubles.
  • Apr 2007: Title issues, after all the bits have been done like roads, fences, bores etc. Not that we were in a hurry. We liked getting the interest on the cash. Back in the day when you actually managed to get some decent interest. We start thinking about the house we want to put on it.
  • Mar 2009: We start talking to the first building company/designers about the house. Slightly difficult to keep communications clear over email and Skype, but we pretty much manage.
  • Sep 2009: We ditch them on the basis we felt they were useless, and the building company appears to go bust.
  • Sep 2009 (still): We start talking to a new building company/designer.
  • Aug 2010 (we think): The plans are finally submitted to the council for planning permission.

And now we’re just waiting, waiting, waiting, and for the first time in that time we’re feeling like we’ve got nothing we’re really able to do except wait. And we’re suddenly not liking it much. After all this time we’d just like some concrete (if you’ll excuse the pun) action finally! PLEASE!

I just can’t stop twitching!!

Posted in New Zealand, Plants and Gardens on August 27th, 2010 by Coffee

One of the nice things about a visit to mum’s is all the bird-life in the bush around the place. At least it’s a nice thing at this time of year when the sun doesn’t rise too early, and the dawn chorus still starts at a reasonable hour!

This time for some reason there seemed to be a few more varieties of birds around, or maybe I just had more time to stare out the window or to go out and track them down. I can state definitively that while we were there I managed to spot:

Apparently I missed out on at least the Brown Creeper, Grey Warbler and the Song Thrush, but that only gives me something to track down next time! And there’s still a large number of other birds to track down elsewhere too. Who needs a job!

Would Sir prefer the chicken?… Or the fish?…

Posted in New Zealand, Rants And Rambles on August 25th, 2010 by Coffee

Help in the kitchen is normally appreciated, but in this case…

Home sweet home, that is where the heart is.

Posted in New Zealand, Rants And Rambles on August 19th, 2010 by Bec

Well, we have finally arrived home after a long stint in London. Why? Because the grass is always greener….. Isn’t it? (Or should that be ‘Innit’?) I guess time will tell on that one! So here is a little rant, comparison, run down on what I think so far.

We’ve been home for just over a month now and we are still just trying to find our feet and settle in. We definitely didn’t time it right arriving in winter and especially after leaving 30 degree plus heat on our travels home. But we are making the most of the sunny winter days and filling it with walking (OK not so much now we have succumb to the NZ way and own a car – that’s another post). Oh and we’ve been keeping ourselves busy enough with doing those chores that could not be done remotely from London for the new build. Now we are just waiting for building to start!

And then there’s eating all the NZ food you miss, like pies, lolly cake, chocolate bickies and cakes and fish n chips and more pies. And making some of the old favs which I never seemed to bother in the UK (mainly cause they didn’t have some of the ingredients).

One thing we have noticed is just how helpful people are in NZ. Things just seem so much faster when you want to arrange for someone to do something for you and you don’t get passed from person to person, and people actually appear to be happy to help you. And then there is the down side of lack of produce or ingredients of what we were used to being available in the UK. And not to mention the sheer shock of the cost of some of it. But some of that might be easily fixed – we’ll just have to try and grow it ourselves!

After living away for so long and when visiting I had developed a perception that things in NZ are expensive and that your money did not appear to go as far. Perhaps that might still be right. I’m still undecided on some things. But I can say we have found some real bargains, which might have to do with winter sales at the moment. But then there is the cost of dairy and meat which to me is ridiculous as pretty much all of it is made here. So I guess like any country if you shop around you can find some great deals and all in all it always depends on how much you are willing to spend!

But the other greatest thing is just how friendly or trusting people are. The one that amazed both of us the most in the first couple of days when we were taking the odd bus ride, is the bus drivers. On not one but two ocassions the bus driver has left the bus running on the side of the street with passengers in it and said “I’ll be back in a minute”. And off he or she has toddled for probably 3-5 minutes and then back on they have got. What’s that about!! My first thought was no one is bothering to steal the bus. Could definitely see that happening in London! But the other thing bus drivers do here is say “hello” and sometimes, “how are you today”. Now I know that doesn’t happen in London. Oh and pretty much everyone here thanks the bus driver when they get off, whether they exit at the front or just shout when they exit from the rear.

So there you have it, my first thoughts on being back.

Bye, Bye London

Posted in London, Rants And Rambles on August 8th, 2010 by Bec

Mike went for one year and I went for two, and over 11 and 10 years respectively later we finally made the break and set sail for NZ. It was odd to be leaving and for months up to the leaving day, I kept saying to Mike, “are we sure we want to go? Are we doing the right thing?” I guess once all our flat and stuff was packed and taken away it really sunk in. So then all that was left was to enjoy our last month in the UK and go about saying bye to the city, and all our friends and workmates. Now that was the hard part.

And leaving London when summer is starting made it hard too (but I blame Mike for the timing of that). London is great in the summer. And we made the most of our final month at work by walking through Green Park to and from Victoria on lovely summer mornings and evenings. As a bonus to keep things interesting there were a number elephants displayed in the park too. There were 250 of them around the city, which were to be auctioned for charity to raise money for the elephants in Malaysia. Luckily we had already packed all our stuff otherwise I may have been tempted to go to the auction myself. They really were quite cool!

And our final weekend before we left we managed a trip to Great Dixter with Rach and Ru. It’s always a nice place to visit and this time we saw it with a number of flowers out (last time we went was in the middle of winter). Although that did mean the tourist riff-raff was allowed to share the space with us too!

So we could finally stop saying “I wonder if this is the last time we’ll….” as it finally definitely was, at least for now!

Bye bye London! We’re going to miss you!