Showing off New Plymouth – Fri/Sat/Sun 27/28/29 June

Friday 27th June

It being the last Friday of the month it was time for the Singer/Songwriters evening at the Little Theatre in town. It was their 9th birthday, amazing music and there were speeches and cake!

Was a lovely night with Grant, Julia, Evelyn, Ana and Conal. Love that everyone does one song and then they change over, you get to listen and then chat, so makes for a very sociable evening.

I left early so I could meet Rhys and the girls. Got back in time to re-light the fire, it was almost ticking over from when I left.

They arrived in a bundle of excitement, but soon all was calm, the girls in bed, Rhys and I with a glass of wine, chilling and getting ready for the weekend ahead.

Saturday 28th June

Sunny but windy and no sign of Mt Taranaki

After breakfast we headed into town to explore the delights of New Plymouth. First up, obviously, was the famous Wind Wand by Len Lye.

image

The girls were suitably impressed, but they were also impressed by the massive waves the sea was throwing up into the walkway. We may have accidently got soaked once or twice. Had a lovely walk along the Coastal Walkway to East End beach for a play on the playground and the beach with its black sand.

For lunch we walked back into town and headed to The Bach for lunch – had my favourite of the brunch stack with hallumi(?) and an earl grey tea.

In the afternoon we headed to Pukekura Park to see the Golden Bearing (or tree as most people call it) and then to Brooklands Zoo for monkeys, meerkats and a couple of dead mice in the sea otter enclosure!

To walk to the zoo you go past Brooklands Bowl a big amphitheatre where lots of world famous people/bands have played – and that’s world famous in the world, not just world famous in New Zealand……. The amphitheatre has a large grassed section and is amazing fun to roll down. Having seen people doing it on the way to the zoo we had to do it on our way back. 3 very dizzy girls arrived at the bottom giggling away and unable to stand for quite a while!

We got home and cooked up a load of veggies and a cheese sauce to go with the frankfurters that Nita was cooking up. The girls went over to the house for dinner and a movie while Rhys and I went off and had a date – curry at India Today – was my first time there, we had a massive wait for food, but sat and nattered away quite happily until the food came

Sunday 29th June

We were all up pretty early to go walk around Lake Mangamahoe and then for a swim at the meeting of the waters – the girls were desperate to go for a swim outdoors and I was foolish enough previously to mention there’s a rope swing there.

We took G along with us too as they’d all made friends last night. Was a massive walk. Have done it lots of time with friends but never with children and it certainly is a different experience with them!! We managed to get a view of Mt Taranaki though, not a great one, but enough to prove it’s there.

image

image

Love how easily children make friends

There’s loads of bird life on the water, flamingo swans according to G, but not convinced!

image

The girls were all still determined to go for a swim of next we went to the Meeting of the Waters. G got in deepest, but no swimming from any one! So went back for lunch closely followed by scones – cheese and sweet with cream and jam with the neighbours – Nita and Aaron

Soon enough it was time for Rhys and the girls to leave, but their car wouldn’t start. We went and got petrol in the hope that’s what it was missing, bit still no luck. The AA man came and said it was probably the fuel pump/filter, tale it to the garage tomorrow. We jump started mine, petrol in at garage, needed another jump start, then it died, so left mine at the garage and decided they’d all stay another night!!

Was nice as took them to the Wind Wand to see it lit up in the dark – looked awesome as it was a stormy night

Monday – Friday 23-27th June

Monday 23rd June

Could see the snowy top of Mt Taranaki this morning, but as the weather tends to be, it had disappeared behind the clouds by the time we walked to school.
Had a fun day with T in the garden playing rugby (or rug/kick as T calls it) cricket and swingball, or more T demanding I hit while he sits and watches!
I was brave and called immigration to finally see if it was worth my time submitting an expression of interest – it’s not, annoying set of little rules means it won’t happen…..
I did make the decision that I was going to leave New Plymouth and move to Wellington for the remainder of my time in NZ (still trying to stay though!). Told the family, they weren’t surprised, but at least it meant they have 4 weeks to find someone new – leaving at the end of the school term.

Tuesday 24th June

Super cute T moment today – had a little snooze all snuggled up to me.

image

Started cat sitting for the neighbours today, means my commute to work has increased exponentially, but think I’ll cope. There’s a wood fire, managed to get it going once I’d gone back next door and ‘borrowed’ some matches.
In the evening went to the cinema with Grant and co to see What We do in the Shadows – brilliantly funny film

image

Wednesday 25th June

Crackerjacks day!!!! Also mean coffee with Grant day and our 2 month aversary! Seems like we’ve known each other for ages not just since ANZAC day

Went to the gym in the evening, massive leg work out, not sure I’ll be able to walk tomorrow

Had some really sad news about a friend of mine, again reminding me how far away from home I am.

https://emmarossruns.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/happy-memories-on-a-sad-day/

Thursday 26th June

It was Vogeltown School’s mid-winter swim today. I said I’d do it with G, we check with her teacher and I was allowed to be the junior schools official representative, ie the only adult stupid enough to get in the water.
It was COLD, they put ‘icebergs’ in the water – blocks of ice made in ice cream tubs, but I think the water was cold enough without it!
Got home to discover id managed to lose my phone. Shouldn’t be a trauma, but everything is on there……
Bigger things to worry about though – was cooking for Grant. Wanted to do Jamie’s 5 hour lamb, but couldn’t find the cut I wanted, so had to go for lamb chops and roast veg instead – all v yummy. Rounded it off with a Mhairi-style dessert, a perfect excuse to try lots of new NZ chocolate – yum

image

image

We watched another movie that I can’t remember and then (maybe after a bit too much wine) went for a jump on the trampoline

Friday 27th June

Walked to school and reported my missing phone to the school office not been handed in.
In the afternoon I went and got a $9 phone from Warehouse – it texts, makes calls, has an FM radio and a torch!!!
Just before I went to the gym I was showing off my wonder of modern technology to Nita and she remembered she’d had a call about my phone just after 9am, must have been handed in just after we left the office!
I got given heavy boxing gloves today, beasted my arms, always a good way to start the weekend

Happy memories on a sad day

Happy memories on a sad day

Those of you who know me or have followed my blog for a while will know that a few years ago I was lucky enough to take part in an amazing adventure holiday in the jungles and rivers of Borneo – The Kinabalu Challenge – organised by an awesome guy by the name of Crispin.

image

Crispin and me

A trip where I met so many incredible people and made some life long friends – it’s how Nikki and I became buddies – I bugged her for an entire BMF session to come to Borneo with Peter and I and be part of our team – it worked!

Our team consisted of me, Nikki and Peter, all friends from Finsbury Park, then Mhairi and Michaela. Mhairi is from Birmingham and soon discovered that we were friends of friends. Michaela was working out in Vietnam and was invited to join our team with a weeks notice.

We were a great team and although not being the all round fittest we were determined and surprised ourselves with how well we did in the challenge – we came 3rd!!!

image

Our first day together - Michaela was so last minute we had to make her bib!

image

Shopping challenge - Peter and Nikki

image

More shopping - Mhairi and Michaela

image

Off to climb the mountain

Sadly we lost Michaela a couple of years ago and on Saturday we lost Peter too.

A massive shock and terribly sad, but as before when we received the news from Michaela’s family, the Borneo family has come together for each other.

I’ve been away from home for 7 months now and it’s the 3rd death that’s affected me. It always reminds me how far from home I am but at the same time what amazing friends I have however far apart we are.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday 20/21/22 June – shortest but exciting weekend

Friday 20th July

Tonight the plan was to go roller skating. This plan got messed up as when Grant came over we had a beer, that turned into two as I got a message from the lady at the Kiwi Trust asking if I’d like to help go and release one on Sunday. OMG yes I would!!!! Only hitch was that I’d be in Hamilton…… But turned out to be even better – could go and collect the kiwi from Rotorua and bring it back to release!!

Much excitement all round, and jealousy from my kiwi (as in NZ) friends that they were letting a Brit do it, but all you have to do is volunteer and they hadn’t!!!

Finally we left and went into town for dinner – Turkish yumminess at Turquoise, a relatively new place in town

On the way to the car we wandered past a random gallery opening so crept up the stairs to investigate. It was essentially closed, but there was still wine and we had a good natter with the owner.

image

The exhibition was pretty cool, but the owners pics were awesome and he’s exhibiting in Wellington in a few weeks.
http://www.jdreid.co.nz/index.html

In an evening of getting sidetracked we then went back and watched A Winters Tale

Saturday 21st July

Time to watch the All Blacks!! Had a road trip with John to Hamilton (mini-breakdown in Mokau), stayed in the Central Backpackers (who moved us from 2 singles to a twin – had to pull the “I’ve worked in a hostel” card on them). No alcohol allowed, so as rebellion for the room change a sneaky vodka in the red bull can was consumed.

Were super close to rugby stadium, followed the crowds via a pub, got my bottom pinched when I was tying my shoelaces, more sneaky alcohol was placed in my jeans, chips were eaten, found a spot to stand and high excitement continued – traitor that I am I was in an All Blacks shirt (for immigration purposes, obviously)

image

image

Guys from the Sunflower Lodge were there too, so close judging by our photos but never found each other (my phone dying didn’t help)

Hit the town after for a few beers and some awesome gin and tonics – first ones since leaving the UK (not counting the ones drunk on planes!)

Got back at a reasonable hour, I brushed my teeth and went to bed. Woke up in the night to find a snoring John fully clothed on top of his bed!!

Sunday 22nd July

Up before 8am to get ready to leave and find our kiwi. First had to drive to Rotorua to collect it. You can’t tell if a kiwi is male or female until they send feathers away for DNA testing. Turns our ours was a girl, but we’d already named her Kevin, so it turned into a homage to ‘Up’. She had to be weighed and generally health checked before we could take her – they have to be over 1000g before they’re released.
After we’d seatbelted Kevin into the back seat of the car we had a quiet drive back to Taranaki – had to keep the car cool and no blaring radio.
We met the kiwi lady at Uruni, an informal arrangement, we pulled up and there was a lady looking like she was waiting for someone, and she was!
John had to leave at this point, he had cows to feed. So after saying goodbye I hopped into their car for our 30 minute drive to the start of the walk to find Kevin’s new home.
Off down a dirt track we drove and then a lovely walk along a river. Eventually a good spot was located and we worked to make it all homely for the night. Apparently generally you go to all this effort and they abandon what you create for them and make their own home but they need somewhere safe until nightfall.
I was lucky enough to be the one who popped Kevin into her new temporary home. They go in nose first and you encourage the rest of the body to follow then quickly cover the entrance with ferns, make sure she doesn’t immediately try to escape then quietly walk away……. Kevin doesn’t have a tracker, only a microchip, so we’ll probably never find out what happens to her, but I have high hopes.

Sadly, yet again, I can’t get my photos off my camera, so no kiwis for now……

Monday 16th – Friday 20th June – a week of rain and coughing

Monday

Walked to school – an unknown highlight as the rest of the week was wet wet wet
Not sure if it was the impending weather but T super grumpy and grizzly
Rain rain rain
Massive Skype day – 4 calls, love having unlimited WiFi now!

Tuesday

After a day and over 2 weeks of coughing I finally gave in to peer pressure and went to the doctors. I shouldn’t have bothered. It cost me $99 (£50ish) just to see him. Basically he threw antibiotics at me….. He did not appreciate me questioning if it was a bacterial infection. Left really angry, prescription in hand, determined to wait it out and see if I got better.
Recovered my humour enough to laugh when I was stopped for a breathalyser test and nearly caught with an expired warrant on the way to meet Grant at the cinema for cheap Tuesdays and Fault in our Stars – brilliant film, many tears shed, not a film to watch on a plane or a first date!!

Wednesday

Had a terrible night of coughing and not much sleep, so bad in fact that I gave in and got my prescription from the pharmacy (Vogeltown Pharmacy like on the radio!!)
Stopped off and got the correct WOF sticker put in the car, safe from the police for another 6 months.
T and I stopped at the photo shop to get more printed while we went to Crackerjacks which this week had the theme of stars for Matariki.
http://www.korero.maori.nz/news/matariki/background.html

We met with Grant for a coffee afterwards, then picked up photos and T fell asleep on the way home.
In the afternoon we stuck lots of the photos up on my wardrobe doors – T found some very funny – me in Melbourne with a cushion on my head, disturbing – me in Cambodia with wet hair – he doesn’t like wet hair, and curious – me running at Angkor Wat

Thursday

Nothing to report other than the spotting of a double rainbow – we do get a lot of rainbows here

image

A rainbow, missed the double

Friday

Walked to school!!
Another rainy day, but could see the top of the mountain in the afternoon.
Went to the gym for the first time this week – been trying to take it easy with no exercise and early nights – Brent asked how I was and soon gathered I’m not well. We went for weights, lots of heavy weights, not sure what my arms were made to do, but they were in pain and shaking. Did the leg press with 80kg on, that much I do know. Left after an hour feeling broken. I texted John to tell him, he told me I wasn’t broken, just weak…..
Stopped to get beer on the way home. Couldn’t carry it in the supermarket, had to hug them instead!

Monday 16th – Friday 20th June another wet week

Monday

Walk to school – an unknown highlight as the rest of the week was wet wet wet
Not sure if it was the impending weather but T super grumpy and grizzly
Rain rain rain
Massive Skype day – 4 calls, love having unlimited WiFi now!

Tuesday

After a day and over 2 weeks of coughing I finally gave in to peer pressure and went to the doctors. I shouldn’t have bothered. It cost me $99 (£50ish) just to see him. Basically threw antibiotics at me….. He did not appreciate me questioning if it was a bacterial infection. Left really angry, prescription in hand, determined to wait it out and see if I got better.
Recovered my humour enough to laugh when I was stopped for a breathalyser test and nearly caught with an expired warrant. Then on to meet Grant at the cinema for cheap Tuesdays and Fault of the Stars – brilliant film, many tears shed, not a film to watch on a plane or a first date!!

Wednesday

Had a terrible night of coughing and not much sleep, so terrible that I gave in and got my prescription from the pharmacy (Vogeltown Pharmacy like on the radio!!)
Stopped off and got the correct WOF sticker put in the car, safe from the police for another 6 months.
T and I stopped at the photo shop to get more printed while we went to Crackerjacks which this week had the theme of stars for Matariki.
http://www.korero.maori.nz/news/matariki/background.html

We met with Grant for a coffee afterwards, then picked up photos and T fell asleep on the way home.
In the afternoon we stuck lots of the photos up on my wardrobe doors – T found some very funny – me in Melbourne with a cushion on my head

image

Or disturbing – me in Cambodia with wet hair – he doesn’t like wet hair, and curious – me running at Angkor Wat

Thursday

Nothing to report other than the spotting of a double rainbow

image

Hmm, cant see the second one, above the one you can see!

Friday
Walked to school!!
Another rainy day, but could see the top of the mountain in the afternoon
Went to the gym for the first time this week – been trying to take it easy with no exercise and early nights – Brent asked how I was and soon gathered I’m not well. We went for weights, lots of heavy weights, not sure what my arms were made to do, but they were in pain and shaking. Did the leg press with 80kg on, that much I do know. Left after an hour feeling broken. I texted John to tell him, he told me I wasn’t broken, just weak…..
Stopped to get beer on the way home. Couldn’t carry it in the supermarket, had to hug them instead!

Friday 13th – Sunday 15th June – weekend in Wellington

Friday

Grant came over for afternoon tea – raspberry buns and coffee – perfect preparation for our drive to Wellington.
It was a lovely drive, great music, company and a massive full moon.
We stopped in Bulls for dinner – guilty pleasure of a big mac!!
We arrived in Wellington at around 8:30 – perfectly on time, but my lift was fashionably late – the excuse? There was a vanilla sponge being made for me!!

image

Saturday

Up and into town to go ice skating only to discover it’s not there anymore – oops!
Not the end of the world though, instead we hungout on the waterfront, got coffee, enjoyed the sunshine and found starfish.

image

image

Next up, Te Papa, we took it in turns to show each other our favourite spots before heading to Lyall Bay for fish and chips which then turned into fish and chips and playing in the sea, trousers rolled up over our knees – how deep into the sea could we get before getting wet? Closely followed by not worrying about being wet and just playing in the waves – perfect on such a sunny day.

image

image

After our impromptu soaking we headed home to change before going to the pet shop for a quick play with 2 adorable puppies, a trip to Countdown for dinner ingredients – quince (quorn mince), Mexican wraps, taro with coconut milk and salad.
Three dishes and a mac and cheese (but with no cheese – for lunch tomorrow) later it was time for pjs and movie night – The Princess Diaries!

Sunday

Another early start as we were up to go sailing or play Monopoly while the others sailed in Tithai Bay – I was thoroughly beaten by a 6 year old……
The mac and no cheese was devoured for lunch, boat hosed down and we headed for home.
When we got back to the house, the one across the road had an open house so we popped over for a nose!!
Then it was time to head into town to meet Grant and head back to Taranaki.
After a sad farewell, but with promises to visit New Plymouth in 2 weeks off we went.
I was super sleepy, terrible company, but we stopped again at Bulls and after a coffee and a caramel slice I was wide awake again!! Chatting and singing along to some awesome tunes.
Got back just after 7 in time for left over steak and veg!!

Monday 9th to Friday 13th June – a rainy week

Monday
Rain!! Rain!! Rain!!
Sums it up really…..

image

Highlight of the day would be drawing a house

image

Tuesday
Bootcamp
Rain
Added animals to the house drawing!

image

Movie night with John – Fruitvale Station – really good movie, but did have to leave the room at one point, oh and he brought me an ice cream!

Wednesday
More rain and wind caused a fallen branch at school

image

Looks like a fun guy

image

Crackerjacks at the library – we got to make a snail

image

Coffee with Grant, he read us Mucky Ducky
T helped me pick out new winter PJs – he has excellent style
Kickboxing in the evening – changed days for an early getaway on Friday

Thursday
More rain – the ducks are loving it!

image

Bootcamp
G and I organised a sweepstake for the soccer world cup – I’ve got Brazil and Bosnia Herzegovina – a mixed bag!

Friday 13th and a full moon
According to the paper there should be no housework, travel or share trading……. I managed no to do one out of the three……

It was a sunny day!! Mount Taranaki looked amazing

image

Had to panic create a Fathers Day card – it’s on Sunday in the UK but not until later in the year here in NZ. Nikki came to my rescue with the website Touchnote – brilliant, can turn your photos into postcards and greetings cards cheaply – cost about £2.50/$5 NZD for the card and postage and it arrived the following day!!

image

T and I had a fun morning in town. We bought a map of the world for soccer world cup knowledge, did colouring in smiggle, played on the zoo truck and the fire engine, had a lovely talk with a lady in the art shop – did animal spotting with the paintings. Next up was the ducks, a little girl gave T some food for them – was very sweet. Finally we had to get raspberry buns ready for afternoon tea

Last Friday day excitement was Nikki having her first training session back with Jel in Finsbury Park. Super jealous, they tell me they worked hard, but they look far too happy and relaxed in this ‘after’ photo – miss you guys x

image

Sunday 8th June – a picnic in June

Nikki’s heading home!! My best buddy has done sailing and is heading back to the UK – so excited for her and her mum (who’s kept us all up to date with her travels) Can’t wait as once she’s back we can Skype and catch up, it’s been so long!

I had a really lazy day, feeling worn out by my cough.

Managed to struggle into the garden at lunch time for a picnic – crazy as its the equivalent season to December in the UK!

Spent the afternoon chilling out with Nugget (the cat – currently sleeping on my lap as a type) while I read The Busy Busy World of Richard Scarry – awesome book by a great writer/illustrator

image