Saturday, 29 December 2007

Christmas Day in the sun...

is very odd! Okay, so it wasn't as warm as Christmas Eve but still very different to at home!
I flew down to Christchurch on Christmas Eve to spend a few days with some friends. I arrived to a beautiful afternoon where as soon as we got the house (after buying some beautiful fresh veggies) I was out in the garden in the sun with my book. So lovely. Christmas Day dawned bright but not as warm. To be honest I'm not sure that I feel like I've had Christmas as yet but that's okay! We ate Christmas dinner in the sun in the sun in the back garden (very odd that one!) and late afternoon we went down to the beach for an hour or so. Karen, Kaye, Karen's Dad and the kids went in to the water... I didn't :) It wasn't that warm so I actually just wandered down the beach snapping some pics and just trying to get my around the fact that I was on a beach on the 25th Dec.

Stephens Day was definitely cold... and wet! But wonderfully, it brightened up in the afternoon so there was a bit of a Texas Hold 'Em competition with Kaye and her Dad against Karen and her Dad with the losers having to cook dinner. Karen lost... badly. Sorry Karen but you did! In fairness we all ended up prepping the dinner - Kaye was on the barbie with Karen, Connor and myself in the kitchen. We had Robbie Williams - Sing when you're Winning, on and what I didn't realise was that as Karen and myself were bopping about the kitchen while preparing dinner, Connor had the video camera going! Oh well... :)

Friday was a scorcher so lots of lazing and reading in the garden before I flew back to Wellington last night. After a week of less than great weather in Wellington (or so I've been told) today was/is beautiful! I guess tomorrow i iron and pack before early start off to Cook Islands on Mon morning :)

Wednesday, 19 December 2007


For those of you who think that I'm currently enjoying lovely sumer weather think again! Last weekend was indeed lovely; as was Monday. Tuesday started off warm but dull. By lunchtime it was bucketing down and it sort of continued to rain for the rest of the day. Today it's just cold. I believe the met service site said something about it being 13 degrees but the wind chill meant that 4pm this afternoon it felt like 8 degrees and by 6pm it was down to 7 degrees. That might explain why when I came home I immediately changed into merino wool top and then fleece on top of that! It was said to me this avo that it was a "refreshing" change from the clammy weather we had been having. I agree that it's change, but a "refreshing" change it is not! Here's hoping forecast for weekend doesn't change from the high teens that are currently predicted. Having said that, forecast is more than welcome to change from the cold southerlies that are forecast for tomorrow :)

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

How Apt!

This is, I believe, one of the most apt birthday cards that I've received in recent years. Definitely made me smile :)
... not that I could ever wear a shoe with a heel that high!!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Route map from Tramp few Weekends Back...

This is the route that we took for our tramp in the Tararuas a few weekends back (yes I am now fully recovered - physically at least :-) )

Route photo is taken from a book that does tramp in 3 days so ignore day markings a we did it in 2. Afternoon 1 was from Holdsworth car park to Powell Hut (6km) and Day 2 was Powell Hut back via Jumbo Hut and Atiwhakatu (16km & 1200m descent)

Monday, 3 December 2007

Postage dates for Christmas...

Ooops... turns out that the date for posting stuff to Ireland to ensure guaranteed delivery for Ireland was Sat 1st December. What's worse is that I knew this for about a week before the last post date. But, well, I was busy and tired and just, well, lazy.

So Saturday it dawned on me that i had no cards and worse, no presents sorted! Both my sisters have been away for Christmas before and managed to get presents home for Christmas so it would pretty bad if I let the side down (and my God would I get grief over it). So, I headed out and about Wellington searching for presents. Well, here's the thing, New Zealand just isn't a shoppers haven. To make it worse one of the sisters lives in Philadelpha which is only about an hour south of any shoppers dream location, New York, and the other lives in Dublin which is pretty damn good in comparison to here! At least my brother, reliable as ever, sent on link to exactly what he wanted but these two decided to go for a "surprise" this year. In fairness, this years "what do you want for birthday/christmas present" email went along the same lines as every other year -
"Hi, how you? Any thoughts on what you want for Christmas/birthday? If you want a surprise that's cool".
The problem is I'm not sure I expected both of them to say "surprise is good". I guess my brother's response would be along the lines of "you reap what you sew" (which was his response when I told him I was ditching the Dell for a MacBook :-) )

So after a couple of hours shopping on Sat I'd bought one part of one present for one of the sisters and

  • Two ice breaker tops

  • One pair of shorts

  • One string top

  • One natural cotton tunic top

  • Not bad, except that everything in the list above there was for myself. Well I did finish purchasing a birthday present as well but that wasn't for anybody at home so doesn't count. Ooops.

    Sun evening (pre dinner cooking) contained some desperate Amazon browsing and brain racking. Discovered some non book site so purchase there as well. As I type one christmas card has been posted and beside me on the table I have big padded christmas envelope with santa and sleigh (like you'd need a sleigh here in summer.. but then Santa is in the sky so maybe that's why it's okay...) containing the one present (wrapped) and some kiwi tack (also wrapped) for the beloveds to fight over (the fight being who'll have to take the stuff :-) ) on Christmas Day. Oh, and the cards. Well, decided it would be better if everything is late or everything is early. No dribs and drabs.

    Tuesday, 27 November 2007

    The Tramp...

    Well I survived but not sure my legs have. I haven't walked properly since oh, about midday on Sunday (when there was still nearly another 4 hrs of walking!) Surprisingly my legs were totally fine on Sunday. It did only take 3.25 hrs to reach Powell Hut from Holdsworth car park on Sat but I found it tough going with a 1000m climb carrying a pack and being as unfit as I currently am. The weather was glorious so were very lucky there. It was pretty hot but as we were in the bush for most of it it was never too bad.

    There was a bit of drama on the way up as we saw a rescue helicopter hovering above us. We weren't sure if it was a training exercise or a real rescue but before long we passed a woman all wrapped up and shivering like mad. It turns out that she'd broken her ankle but luckily she was with friends who were taking care of her. She was in great spirits however which was good to see. Unfortunatley she was surrounded by trees so helicopter just couldn't see her. In the end they found her by dropping a paramedic off about 100metres away and another bloke brought him back to the patient. The difficulty then was how to get her out! I didn't see the whole thing but based on what Dave saw (he walked back once we got to the hut to see if he could help... my body was in state of shock so couldn't move anywhere!) they had to move her down a bit and then winch her out through the trees! Apparently it was pretty cool to observe just because of the lack of accesabilty and stuff.

    The hut was pretty good; it sleeps over 30 but there were only 8 of us there that night. We got a lovely sunset that evening with some beautiful colours in the sky. I took a bunch of photos but only a few even begin to capture how nice it was. Apparently the sunrise is fantastic there too but I wasn't getting up at 5:30am (awake or not!) to watch it :-)

    There were of couple of passing visitors to the hut while we were there. One was an Eastern European guy whom we'd passed earlier. Very odd... he didn't acknowledge us when we passed him yet when he arrived we were looking at map for next days route and he walks over and starts asking about other routes! His planned route for the evening was to carry on and down to another hut. Apparently that particular route is a bit tricky and much less travelled but he wasn't listening to anyone... he had a compass so would be fine. It was pointed out that a compass wouldn't be much good if visibility dropped but he wasn't having any of that. To me the weirdest was when Dave asked if he had an emergency beacon. He went quiet for a bit and then asks the hut if anybody has an emergency beacon! I mean if someone was carrying an emergency then they have it for a reason and aren't going to hand it over to somebody else! Odd. Was quite relieved when he left! Our next pair of visitors were much more fun.. Squeezy and Jessie :-) The former was a really interesting and friendly bloke and Jessie was his tramping partner... his 3 year old dog with the bestest parts of all dogs in her. She was beautiful and so friendly. The funniest thing is that after she's got used to the hut she then becomes quite protective of it and doesn't like it when new folk arrive :-) They didn't stay the night as they were going to proceed in the moonlight across to Jumbo Hut!

    On Sunday we set out at 8am and set off up towards Mt Holdsworth. From there it was a long and very very windy walk across to Jumbo and Jumbo Hut.

    The above picture is our route along ridge from Holdsworth across to Jumbo.

    Some beautiful and amzing views but as the wind got stronger and stronger I became less and less interested in the views. Probably fair to say that I wasn't the happiest that I've ever been. I also offloaded some of the stuff in my pack in to Daves (cheating I know but probably was the sensible thing to do considering). After a few hours it was quite a relief to sit in Jumbo Hut for a short break; just getting out of that horrible wind was all I wanted. I mean I know that if I did fall over I wasn't going to drop to my death but I guess it was just a lack of confidence thing. After leaving the hut we headed in to wooded area from which we started our descent. I was v happy initiallly here; no wind just balmy breeze with nice temperature. A few hours later my legs were no longer functioning properly. I kid you not... a continuous 700m drop took it's toll. My leg muscles haven't had such a workout in, well, I don't know how long! And I'm still feeling it! On finally reaching the bottom we arrived at Atiwhakatu Hut beside a lovely river. From here it was about a 2 hr walk walk out and it shouldn't have been hard but I struggled. Honestly, I didn't know if I could make it out but as alternative was to stay put and go nowhere I did. The biggest smile of the day was when I saw the jeep at the end of the walk nearly 8 hrs after leaving hut that morning :-) But the weather was beautiful on Sunday so that certainly helped. I mean how yucky would I have felt if it had been raining as well?!

    The leg muscles are thinking about starting to recover (I hope) but otherwise no injuries or aches and pains which is fantastic! The conclusion is that I did enjoy the weekend without really having enjoyed the Sunday. Not sure that that makes any sense at all but I feel good (mentally at least :-) ) that I did it, and yes I think I might do another... though definitely one with a shorter and less difficult descent!

    Friday, 23 November 2007

    sorta packed...

    All packed... or at least sort of. I'm heading off on my first tramp tomorrow morning. We're just doing a 1 nighter in the Tararuas staying at a hut overnight. I did an inital pack of the rucksack earlier on but as we haven't done dinner food shop yet I'll almost definitely be unpacking and repacking once we divvy up food and whatever other shared stuff we have to bring. Not even sure what other stuff we have to bring if we're in a hut. Not too much hopefully!

    Looking forward to this but slightly nervous as well I guess! Not sure what weather will be like but no really bad weather forecast. Could be a bit windy. Oh, and I haven't been on a hike since May so could be interesting to see how much my fitness has been affected! Wondering how my back will behave.. it's been consistently sore today and on Weds. Went to a pilates class last night and got some relief for rest of yesterday evening. This has been going on for over 4 weeks now and I'm not sure if it's getting any better. Well, I know that it's not but not sure what to do about that. Unfortunately the physio doesn't know why either. I don't, or at least rarely, sit on a couch these days either! Well, I've been told that tramping will help my back... here's hoping :-)

    Will update you next week...

    Tuesday, 20 November 2007

    Be a kid...

    lie on your stomach on the floor while watching a dvd with a mate... you may not intend to be childish but trust me, it's hard not to be...
    Try it :-)

    Saturday, 17 November 2007

    Burnt feet!

    Well, maybe it does get warm in Wellington after all! My feet got sunburnt today... bit surprising. I have two friends up visiting from Christchurch so I took them to one of my favourite breakfast cafes here in Welly in the Aro Valley this morning. Nice and sunny out though I was impressed with them putting on their suncream for their walk... it wasn't that warm! After that we walked out to Hataiti through the horrible Victoria tunnel (lots of cars - yuck) to where the guys were taking part (still are as I type) their 12 hr mountain biking event. I did put on some cream on my face for that walk but it didn't even dawn on me to put some on the bit of my feet that were exposed to the sun. Had an enjoyable hour in the sun there as it was lovely atmosphere there actually.

    I spoke, for the first time since I got to NZ to my sister in PHiladephila this morning. It was great to see her again. Of course at the time it was 8:30am Sat morning here so I wouldn't say I was looking my best. For Ciara on the other hand it wasn't even 3pm Fri and she'd just been to the airport to pick up her friend who's come to visit for the week. Quite disgusting really as even Carolyn, just off long flight looked better than I did. Well, I hadn't had my coffee yet!

    Off out for a meal with the girls to Cambodian restaurant I was in a few weeks back. Looking forward to that though unbelievably sleepy now and it's only 6:30pm! OH well, I'm sure the food wil perk me up :-)

    Tuesday, 13 November 2007

    So... Sydney....

    I arrived home a little after 1:30am on Tues morning after a great weekend in Sydney. It was my first visit back after I moved away on October 2001 and it was lovely to see it again! It really is a fantastic city and the weather, well, what can I say? For the first time in months I was warm for more than a few minutes at a time AND it didn't require me wearing layers to be so. There were blue skies with beautiful shining sun and I reckon it was at least 21 degrees on the Sat it must have been about 24 on the Mon. It was great.

    The flight over was uneventful and on arrival we jumped on train to Circular Quay so from airport to 5 min walk from our hotel in 20 mins. Brilliant stuff. Interestingly, the first thing we noticed on leavin the train station was the quality of the air. After the lovely clean air here in Wellington, you could taste the bad air in Sydney. But needless to say, we got used to that pretty quick. Our hotel, was as you might expect, quite luxurious. The room was small but to be honest we were hardly in it and we were on the 24th floor so did get a view of the opera house as we'd hoped for (well it was an Opera View Room).

    I know this may seem odd to anybody in Dublin but I was quite taken aback by the price of eating out (and the bad coffee) in Sydney. I guess this is compared to Wellington prices but it did take a bit of getting used to alright! However, the breakfast at least was included in our room and it was beautiful. It was a buffet breakfast but in true Four Seasons style it was fantastic. Fresh fruit (not all mixed together, eg strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, melon etc), bagels, pastries, muffins, about 7 different types of bread, natural yoghurts, smoked salmon, and all the hot food as well. And the scrambled egg wasn't at all bad for buffet eggs! I ate big breakfasts :-)

    On the Saturday, after a humungous breakfast, we got the bus up to Paddington to where I used to live and we headed in to the Paddington Markets (which again I used to frequent). It was great to be back there and then wander the boutiques (yeah, I did that one alone). Needless to say I did manage to make a few purchases along the way - a really cute green bag, shoes, shorts, t-shirt... eh, I think that's it! At the Sydney Opera House that evening I was sitting beside this older woman who I heard say, "I can't believe it" a number of times. I actually thought that she was pissed off at me for taking a photo of hte organ and stage (obviously before the concert started!) but it turns out that she literally just couldn't believe she was there and was just a bit excited :-) And just look at that organ... I play the organ but only in a little church. It was really very sweet as she was so genuine. The performances were lovely (all Rachmaninov - conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy) but I particularly enjoyed the last composition though I was so so exhausted that I couldn't wait for it to be over so I could go to sleep! But I still enjoyed it.

    Sunday we did the Bondi-Coogee coastal walk. A little crowded (that's an understatment btw) due to the coastal sculpture exhiition that was going on. But it was a great stroll anyway, and exhibition finished by Tamarama Beach so wasn't too bad.

    And after that... well we headed back to Paddington for Arthurs Pizza! Yum. Arthur's Pizza has been somewhat refurbished since I was there last but pizza's still as good! I would have loved a meal in Mickey's just up the road but we didn't get back - well not quite next door to where we were staying. That evening we hooked up with Colleen and some other work folk. V enjoyable evening hearing about new life in Sydney. And after my fab sleep the night before I was awake and alert for it and all :-)

    Our last day was Mon and we had until about 4pm before we had to collect luggage and head to the airport. So, ferry across to Manly, where in fairness there isn't all that much to do! But wandered down to the beach at the other side of hte peninulsa which is a well known surf beach (apparently) but no good surfers there! Had a lovely lunch of mezza and turkish bread with a rather nice glass of riesling back at the Opera Bar at Opera Quays on our return. Well I had mezze, the rather good fish & chips were had by Dave. I got the "you'll never eat all that" when it arrived to which I retorted "watch me!". Eh... well, I didn't. I couldn't! We spent the rest of hte afternoon in The Domain and Botanical Gardens before heading off to the airport. I could list all we saw in there (including the tree with loads of flying foxes (bats) hanging from trees sleeping! Don't know where I heard/thought that they liked the dark... this was in bright sun light on the hottest day yet! Pretty funky though.

    Em... I'm sure there's lots more I could say and of course in a more interesting way but eh, well, I won't! Pictures will be up on flickr on

    At last!

    I have my internet connection set up at home! Unfortunately I'm too tired to write anything this evening (plane only landed at midnight last night so it was late to bed!). But soon hopefully :-)

    Thursday, 8 November 2007


    When we were booking flights for Sydney it seemed like ages away, and yet, suddenly it's not. Flight this afternoon (nearly a 4 hr flight mind you!) and while Australia may be just across "the ditch" it's still a 3hrs 40mins flight! V much looking forward to it however and hopefully not too much rain while there :-)

    I'll update next week.. maybe on Tues evening once I successfully connect my new funky little MacBook to my new broadband set up at home!


    Wednesday, 31 October 2007

    Moving Away from the Dark Side...

    I'm still here. And now that I've just gone and ordered my new MacBook I have a major driver to get my arse in gear and get a broadband connection set up at home.

    For those of you who know some of the folk down here in the NZ office I would like to point out that the decision to buy a MacBook is mine. And mine alone. I have not been influenced by the fact that I am surrounded by a serious number of Apple fans. I am not, and will not become one of those people who has to buy the latest Apple iPod Nano or iPod Touch just because, well just because it's new and looks good... although the iPod Touch does have some funky new features admittedly. Honest. I promise! The fact that there a serious number of Apple fans here (at least one of whom should probably be earning commission from Apple for converting the others) may have been the reason why I was in an Apple reseller store on Sat.. and how I ended up playing with a MacBook and thinking that it was really quite beautiful and fun. I would have gone down to store today to purchase (I've been informed that walking out of that store with your purchase is a great feeling) but they're out of stock. So I've ordered online.

    I headed out to Dick Smith at lunch time to try to decide whether I would be happy with the white or if I wanted to pay the Black Tax to get the black one. But to be honest, I prefer the white... so I guess I've saved myself the cost of my, as yet to be purchased, thermarest. Anyway, all the apples are off on their 5 year lunch so there's nobody here to get all excited over my order. Then again I think that suits me fine as I almost, but not quite, feel bad that I can't muster up the same excitement over Apple products that these guys do. Then again... I am looking forward to the arrival of my new MacBook :-)

    Thursday, 25 October 2007

    Packs and things

    No, still no internet at home so scribbling this at work. Had lovely 3 day long weekend for the weekend just past. I was pretty whacked by Fri so I had a lovely early night on Fri evening after a dose of Morse. Saturday I headed off my long planned day in the spa where I thoroughly enjoyed my massage followed by facial followed by body exfoliation followed by Vichy shower. Lunch after that and then manicure and pedicure. I could live without the latter two treatments. I mean I go to these things not to come out looking good but for the pure relaxation of it all and that was obtained from the pre-lunch treatments. The back massage was much needed but I believe that I really need some more serious treatment on neck/back. I'm really missing my regular visits to Carolyn my physical therapist back in Dublin :-( Probably doesn't help that I haven't found a decent pilates class to attend yet either.

    Sunday was a really glorious day. Got lots done like buying apartment stuff (basic things like a lighter so I could light candles!), nice bedroom stuff, a vase (so flowers no longer in hiking flask etc :-) ). I even got a bit red in the face just from my walk in the morning and pottering about outside in the afternoon. A work colleague invited a bunch of us over for dinner on Sun evening where we had some wonderful Indian vegetarian food. I left there quite full :-)

    Mon was just lazy. Read lots. Bought some lamps bla bla. Nothing exciting. Oh, what I did do though was finally buy a rucksack so I can't put off going tramping any longer! Jeez I had no idea that these things were quie so technical! I had been advised to do at least two things:
    • Buy a Macpac brand
    • Make sure it's got a good harness
    So, in I go in to one of the numerous outdoor shops here in Wellington. I explain that I haven't owned a proper rucksack for tramping before (i.e. I've no idea what i'm doing or how to use the harness properly) but I need to get one. Mac (well after 45 mins I knew his name) shows me the Esprit which is designed specifically for women. Macpac have just updated their range of packs so new materials, harnesses etc so new prices too. So where as I? Oh yes, Mac shows me pack and then goes but this is a bit expensive (at $575 I didn't disagree) but look there's one of the old range and it's a size 2 and it's 70L. Yes, apparently I'm a size 2 in rucksacks. Spend about 15 mins adjusting, putting weights in walking about etc an dcome to the conclusion that it's not for me. Shoulders hurting within mins of weights going in yet apparently it's correctly adjusted. Mac then says that he thinks I'd be better off with a smaller pack because of my petite frame (I'm not sure that at 173cm I can be described as petite but hey I wasn't complaining), say something like 60L. The problem is that on tramps you have to carry your own gear and some shared gear so that just wouldn't be big enough. End up trying on the one he initially pointed out (that's 65L) - just to compare, and well, the difference was phenomenal! Seriously! Even with the weights in it was so much more comfortable. So, to cut a much longer story a bit shorter, I ended up getting that but I did get a 10% discount so happy enough. As I said to him, I wasn't going to buy the first one no matter what as it wasn't comfortable and if my shoulder was hurting with 7kg in after 10 mins how would I feel after a day with 15-20kg! We both had a good laugh at the fact that the new harness can carry a load of up to 40kg before comfort is affected... as if I'd even get it off the ground - almost as heavy as me for God's sake!! So at the end of the day the newbie has one of the latest packs on the market. Hoping to put it to good use on non club tramp with Dave weekend after next. Apparently I'll have to carry my "fair share" which I don't dispute but it's good to know that should it all get too much for me...

    Second tango class this evening....
    End of ramble!

    Friday, 19 October 2007

    Abridged version of my week (in no particular order)

    • Work.
    • Kristen Hirsh gig with some of the guys after work. The warm up band (two-thirds of duo) were pretty good actually though I was informed that by liking them I was only one step away from liking auth country! Kristen Hirsh in a totally different game though. Angry/harsh but great guitar playing!
    • Work.
    • Booked Four Seasons for Sydney visit in a few weeks. Then cancelled and rebooked on hotel site itself as cheaper than intermediary site.
    • Worked on making friends jealous by sending on link to accommodation on Aitutaki (Cook Islands) for Dec/Jan holiday.
    • Some more work.
    • Watched Pride & Prejudice the movie (again). No, Keira Knightly is not a more spirited Lizzie than Jennifer Ehle in my view though Jane is definitely less insipid!
    • Meeting.
    • Went to first tango lesson... apparently the bloke's job is to totally take over the woman's space and her job is to move her feet fast enough. Eh... right!
    • Another meeting.
    • Got bit stressed at work. See above.
    • Got sent on article that says that swearing at work can help reduce stress... Personally, all I can is that I've been trying it for years and it *doesn't* work!
    • Skipped moutaineering club as needed night off to do my ironing (exciting stuff I know!)
    • Booked return flight from Christchurch after Christmas to allow enough time back in Wellington for washing and sorting of summer clothing before heading off to The Cook Islands.
    • Didn't bother with second pilates class as first was pretty rubbish.

    Friday, 5 October 2007

    Some music

    Off to a performance off French choral music this evening to be performed by The Tudor Consort. I recently bought one of their CDs where they performed some early music pieces and it's quite beautiful. Details on this CD at

    Concert this evening will of course be quite different but if nothing else it should be beautifully sung... lovely way to start the weekend :-)

    Tuesday, 2 October 2007

    Still alive!

    Just a quick one to reassure people that I am in fact alive and have not yet frozen to death! A number of people have dropped me emails/txts in the last day or two commenting on quietness of the blog so thought I'd better put a quick post here. As yet I still have no internet at home and kinda busy at work so not been writing much. All is good with me; generally having lazy fun weekends that involve yummy coffee, brunches, food, and friends. Hoping to start pilates next Tues as well which I'm looking forward to. It is introductory course but as i've been away from it for so long now I don't think that will be a problem.

    I'm off to Sydney in November for a long weekend and can't wait. Fly Fri afternoon and not leaving there until the Mon evening so that's 3 full days there :-) I've lived there so not a new city to me but looking forward to visiting again, and going to a concert in the Sydney Opera House on the Sat evening which should be fab! Hope it's warmer there than it is here at the moment!

    Right folks have to go and get on with some work!!! Keep me updated with your news :-)

    Wednesday, 26 September 2007

    Roll on 7pm...

    So looking forward to 7pm this evening. Because at that point I'm off for the first treatment listed on this page...
    New place still going okay. Will go better once my body realises that it is okay to sleep longer than 4 hrs a night! Well I am sleeping longer than that but I wake up after 4 hrs and then doze for rest of the time. Pillows too big so need to get some decent ones this weekend.

    Been very cold the last few days - there's a southerly. Holding out for improvement in next day or two :-)

    Tuesday, 25 September 2007


    Okay that's it... no more chocolate brownies (scrumptious or otherwise) before 10:30am. Just gone midday and feel awful... too much. God, my diet has gone to the dogs since I got here (and it was never good to start with!). A salad for lunch I think... or at least something with some vitamins and maybe the odd mineral or two :-)

    Sunday, 23 September 2007

    And quickly...

    not a peep from downstairs yest afternoon or last night. 'twas great :-)
    it's raining again... unlike Ireland we get lovely weekend and rain during work day, how cool is that?!

    The Stock Market and Renting Down Under

    Some of you may be aware of the fact that the only advice that I would ever give to anybody considering investing money in the stock market is something along the lines of "If it's something that I've invested in or am considering investing in then my advice would be to steer clear!". It would now appear that I may be about to start giving similar advice to anybody considering renting a flat by themselves in Australia or New Zealand… if I'd consider taking lease on it then, it's probably not going to be a good move. I think the proviso here is only if you're going to rent it by yourself - housesharing is fine. In 2000 & 2001 I lived in Sydney in 3 different houses/flats. The first two I shared with others and it was all fine. The third time I decided to get my own place and it was not good. It was very bad. I'll not repeat the story here as many of you already know but it in short I developed a less than healthy nervous reaction to hearing music late at night and after 3 months of minimal sleep I left. It's now 2007 and I'm back in the Antipodes and I started moving my stuff in to flat on Friday though Sat was my first night here. I chose this slightly over priced building as apparently it has the better "well-heeled" resident so I figured that it should be a relatively quiet kind of building (I also really just needed to find somewhere to live of course). I checked with agent on phone that the reason current tenant was breaking their lease was nothing to do with noisy residents or problems with building etc. No no all fine. Now, there is a pub beside the front of the building that I'm in but I reckoned that at worst I might get a bit of noise from people leaving at closing time. On Fri morning when my air freighted belongings were being delivered we used the side entrance to the building and lo and behold it turns out that the back of the bar has an outdoor area at the back. And this outdoor area is directly, literally, underneath my flat. There's apartment with little balcony and underneath we have back of pub. I decided not to think about this further (well lease is already signed for 11 months).

    Yesterday I arrived down here just after 9am, do a bit of unpacking and head out. Arrive back for a short while sometime after 1pm, walk into apartment and immediately wrinkle up nose. What is that smell… smells like, well, bacon. Did I mention the gas BBQ underneath my balcony/apartment yet? For a vegetarian (even if I do cheat with some fish sometimes), walking into your new home and smelling cooking meat is not pleasant :-( But decided not to worry about it and I headed out again. Back later in afternoon and turned up music to drown out sound of very noisy drinkers downstairs. That went on for a few hours, then disappeared for a few hours and then reappeared. Probably about 11:30am or 11:45am they all headed home (I'm really hoping it won't be like this every night or even every weekend and that it was just down to fact that there was some match on!). Oh and the pubs big bin of empty bottles gets collected at 7am… even on a Sun morning! Of course it's probably bloody earlier during the week :-\

    So, I'm a little anxious about how this is going to progress if I'm stuck here for 11 months. But I'm also a bit pissed off with agent - I specifically asked about noise. And even when I was signing the lease she mentioned about residents and no parties and I actually said that I chose this building because I like quiet and don't want any noise. I mean, maybe she genuinely hasn't had anybody say anything to her about downstairs but I don't know. I'm not despairing/desperate yet but I am on orange alert - I can not and will not go through, albeit in a different manner, what I went through in Sydney again. Guess this could be great incentive to start doing those weekend tramps asap!

    Mad Dogs and well, Italian Women...

    {I wrote this last night but no broadband yet so posting now on Sun morning... oh and no dogs in this post, but the phrase "Mad Dogs and English Men" came to me thinking about this :-) }

    Well, guess this will be my first evening/night in new place. Have to admit I hate first nights anywhere, especially when I'm committed to it for 11 months! I've no phone or internet set up and only basic TV so best I can do is write this now but not post until tomorrow or Mon :-) It was a beautiful day here today as was yesterday so I spent most of yesterday walking up and down The Terrace with my stuff. What I did discover (had suspected but this was confirmed) was that this apartment doesn't get sun coming in at any point in the day which is a pity. Sun never even hits the balcony… always in shadow. I guess the advantage is that it shouldn't get too hot in summer but will be a bit nippy in the winter! Even this evening… But don't think it will bother me too much.

    Not sure that I've had a Sat night in since my first Sat here in Wellington… feel a bit at a loss! Then again, I have just opened a rather nice bottle of Pinot Noir so one can't help feeling that I'll be ok. First guests arrive in the middle of Nov so really looking forward to that though will need to get my hands on a air mattress before that. Must get a DVD player tomorrow too as well actually… Get back to working my way trough my Morse DVD box set… which will be all the more enjoyable as there's a fellow fan here in Wellington too :-) And re-watching Pride & Prejudice as well… it's great!!

    Was out for dinner on Thurs night at this lovely little Italian restaurant and while the wine not necessarily the best (put that down to subjective taste rather than wine quality) the food was fantastic. I had the most amazing starter of snapper and tuna with bread. It was in this seriously tasty sauce.. I was mopping up the sauce with the bread! And the pasta, well, it was just beautiful. Obviously freshly made on the premises. Gorgeous stuff. When we were leaving this Italian woman who I think is the owner was asking us how our meal was. We said lovely and she then proceeded to confirm that we were Irish before launching in to some bizarre monologue (well she did pause for us to say something every now and then but was seriously struggling to follow what she was on about) about the English. I think she worked in a restaurant (in Italy) at one point where they would spit in food if ordered by English?! And there was some rant about the English buying up land from the Italians after the war… apparently the Italians did too but don't think they spit in food ordered by Americans. And then there was talk about the mafia… oh that preceeded the spitting in food story. Was all very very very weird… albeit a bit amusing! Have to be honest though and say that I didn't tell tell her that not only do I not feel the need to spit in food ordered by English people but that I have a quite a few English friends!

    Well, that's it for now then. Guess I'll be updating at some point on how I'm getting on here (hoping that the fact that the outdoor section of my new local is, well, literally underneath the apartment :-(

    Tuesday, 18 September 2007

    Catch up!

    Ye Gads, many apologies for the quietness of late... this is literally the first chance that I've had to post since my last posting! Everything is great here but have just been so busy with work and I was up in Taupo for the weekend (long drive Fri night) getting back Sun night at which point I put a wash on and crashed. And out last night and will be out tomorrow and Thurs night so using my night "off" to catch up on, well, as much as I can!

    So, eh, where did I leave off? Apartment... Well I'll be collecting the keys on Thurs at 4pm but can't move in until on Fri. Which is fine and I'm taking Fri off to do just that; though admittedly it took me a while to get over the "I just don't have time to take the day off" feeling. I am very busy at work and delivering my first doc to customer last Thurs, was like being back at university! Totally ridiculous.

    So Taupo. A number of the FINEOS guys and two ACC guys were taking part in what is apparently the biggest mountain biking event in the world. It's a 12 hr event and you can enter in teams and so ride relay or you can do the whole thing solo (which one of the ACC guys did!). Myself and another Fineos girl and then the partners of some of the other riders all went along to support... from the confines of a beauty salon of course :-) Actually I think we did all make it up to the event at some point during the day to show some support! In fact, I stood outside the motel in my pyjamas at 8:30 that morning to see them off. And of course to bring some class to the place. What you should understand is that there was NO traffic outside motel and that it's actually very common to wander around in your pyjamas (not that I have ANY intention of making it common practice on my part) so I didn't really stand out. And I wanted to get some photos! I found a CD shop that had a huge selection of CDs on sale for $10 each!! So I bought 4. Currently listening to one of them which is Nina Simone - released. It does contain songs when she was at her more militant stage in life but still great. On the Sun we all went for brunch in this fantastic cafe just outside Taupo. It's also an art/jewellery gallery so it had a really funky feel to it.. the tables were mosaic and really beautiful. And the food... well I can honestly say that I had the best salmon eggs florentine/??? (whatever is name for poached eggs with salmon and hollandaise sauce) ever. The eggs and salmon were served on a really tasty home made potato cake and the hollandaise sauce was advertised as "wasabi hollandaise" which did make me slightly wary but oh my god, it was to die for! And I did buy some art... but only $350 as opposed to my previous purchases so I'm quite chuffed. Haven't unwrapped it as I'm moving on Fri so no point. Anyway, this is a picture of Cathal's moccachino, just to try and give you an idea of cool this place was.

    Thursday, 13 September 2007

    An abode... at last!

    It seems that I may, finally, have got somewhere to live! I decided on Tues morning that I'd put in a tenancy application for a 1 bedroom apartment that I'd seen the previous Wednesday. As it's only 1 bedroom and not quite as central as I wanted (then again in Wellington that just means it's maybe 10 min longer walk in to centre of town) I decided to go for a short lease. I rang Tues morning and amazingly it was still available. I was told 6 months was shortest lease duration so I put that on my app. Got call on Weds and was told that as they were looking for someone to take over an existing fixed term lease, I'd have to take it until at least June 15th. Wasn't sure about that so said I'd think about it. Decided that they might be chancing their arm so called back and said no, I was only interested in 6 month lease. But no budging. Left it at that. The stress mounted. Hummed and hawed a bit more and then realised, you know what, I just need somewhere to live. I need to be able to remove the pressure of flat hunting as there's enough pressure in work thank you very much. So phoned them back and have taken it until next August (didn't see point in having a lease that finished 2 months before my contract here finishes up). So, I get keys next Fri! It's about a 3 mins walk to the office (literally!) with a coffee and wine shop downstairs. Very coool! It is a lovely building; I refer to it as the Suffragette Building but it is in fact known as the Kate Sheppard Building. Balcony looks across to the Beehive (Kiwi parliament) which is a nice feature and all. And a great kitchen (for all those gourmet meals I'll be whipping up :-) )

    Have had a somewhat busy week. Had to produce my first doc for customer today which needs to be sent to the team an hour before going to the customer (eh, like anybody is going to read a 20 page doc and get comments back to me and have me make changes in 60 mins!). In fairness I've started early most mornings this week and worked last night but I was getting wary at myself this morning as not feeling as pressured as I felt I should! Needless to say by lunchtime that was gone and I just had to shut everything out for the afternoon. Honest to God, I felt like I was back in Uni trying to meet an assignment deadline. Head pounding at the end of it all. Do not like leaving things to last minute like this (not that I left work to last minute!) at all. Could soooo do with a glass of wine tonight but no point opening bottle as off to Taupo tomorrow evening for the weekend. I'm sure I can wait :-)

    Tuesday, 11 September 2007

    Rugby, TV and stuff

    For a non-rugby fan like I am, I have still haven't figured out why it is that I stayed out until 2am watching the All Blacks tramp over Italy on Sat night (well it was night time down here NZ), especially as I was absolutely exhausted! Well I guess I do know... it was a social event and it was great fun and I actually never intended to stay to the start of the match let alone the end of it :-) I found out the next morning that the night went on until 4:30am or so and I missed out on champagne! Damn... but I'll get over it.

    Very busy week this week at work this (and probably the next few) so I'm not even viewing properties at the moment... I just don't have the time. I have submitted a tenancy application for a 1 bedroom place that I saw last Wednesday and I guess I'd hoped that I'd hear something today (seeing as I faxed application at 9am!) but nothing by end of day. Hopefully tomorrow. It would be so great to have something sorted before I go away for the weekend.

    Just realised that tonight is my first night in front of box since last Fri! Pity there's f*** all on (sorry 'bout the language folks :-) ) Kiwi TV is totally dire... rubbish. Have a DVD that a friend lent me but not feeling in mood to watch a movie now. I could do with an early night so I guess I'll find some rubbish to watch!

    It's got really quite nippy here now (it was the cold that woke me up at 6am this morning!) but at lunch time it was lovely and sunny so I got my falafel wrap from Daniels (there's a whole other other around the lovely Asian staff in there who try to speak Irish when you come in :-) ) and went and sat in a beautiful old graveyard behind the office in the sun. It was lovely.

    Saturday, 8 September 2007

    What not to do...

    when searching for somewhere to live in Wellington... Don't be me. It's very simple really.
    If you're me then that probably means that you're a little bit fussy. You probably have certain standards, expect a certain level of quietness, cleaness, have expectations over location and quality of furniture and fittings etc. This is not a good thing when looking for a furnished 2 bedroom place to live in Wellington :-(
    After a chaotic week of seeing places and still having nowhere to live I'm taking a weekend off from all this. Well I did go to look at a semi-furnished place early this afternoon. Now I know that one should never judge a book by its cover but picture the scene...
    I'm walking up a hill noticing the somewhat drab houses on way up. But I think to myself that hey, over here you can have a lovely house next to drab house.
    I get to house I'm looking at - well I'm looking at the upstairs flat.
    I admire the "curtains" of the flat underneath the one I'm going to look at; I've always found that a draped sheet with a bit piece of cardboard is a very classy look... NOT!! But not being one to judge a book a by its covers I go upstairs for a look. I look. I leave.

    On a more positive note had yet another lovely breakfast (same location as well week, though eggs not quite as good as last week) followed by half a chocolate brownie. I know I know, a brownie after breakfast is all wrong, but it was gone midday so... Introduced to cool little music shop that has second hand and new CDs all mixed in together. Two purchases :-) I have another CD that I have to get but that store is close to office so that purchase can wait until Monday. Remainder of afternoon spent chilling in sun chatting and soaking up sun rays. All very relaxing. Oh and I now have 13 bagels i must go slice before freezing... oh joy...

    Wednesday, 5 September 2007

    Spring is in the air...

    or so I've been told. You wouldn't actually know it by the weather itself. It's wet. Windy. Dark (okay it is nearly 10pm but...) and cold. Some southerlies. But I've been told that a southerly is normally followed by a high pressure band which would of course mean some relatively calm weather for the weekend :-)

    More viewings today. More tomorrow. Optmistically hopeful about second viewing tomorrow... fingers crossed!

    Tuesday, 4 September 2007

    Yes Yes I know....

    I know I haven't written much the last few days (well haven't written anything actually!) but well, having a bit of motivation trouble! Not with general stuff just with writing! I find unless I write about something immediately afterwards then not best suited for writing at a later point. So I'll try for a brief synopsis!
    • Had a great weekend.
    • Work on Monday.
    • It's Tuesday evening now.

    Sorry, let me try again...
    I did have a lovely weekend. Met a friend and went to this lovely cafe in the Aro valley which I hadn't ventured as far as before and had a really great brekkie. Fab scrambled eggs (they definitely tasted too tasty to be have been healthy!) with basil roasted tomatoes and gorgeous toasted sourdough bread with the biggest triangle of butter you've ever seen :-) Then headed up to Mt Kao Kao (which was a short walk once off train) and then along the Skyline Ridge. It was windy up there. Very windy. I don't mean a gentle breeze. I mean leaning in to and not falling over wind. It was great... gave new meaning to the phrase "windswept look" :-) Afternoon and evening consisted of more food, roibos tea and wine... and talk. All very relaxed.
    Sunday was more brunch (nowhere near as tasty), visit to library (am now reading one of the books I took out and not The Windup Bird Chronicle... mention that for the benefit of those people who have asked me how I'm getting on with that particular book), movie in afternoon (Sky Movies, not cinema) and then relaxing evening of chat, a tentative taste of blue cheese and a hilarious episode of Blackadder.

    Went to see the Bourne Supremacy (or whichever one it is thats in cinema at the moment) last night. Quite ridiculous but as a result really very enjoyable. At least it's enjoyable so long as you go in expecting ridiculous! The cinema here is one I haven't been to before and it's absalutely beautiful. Wonderful tiled walls, one big auditorium with fabulous ceiling. Bar area with big comfy couches and armchairs outside for lounging in before the movie... a very chilled and relaxing evening :-)

    On the flat hunting front... well I'm not having much joy. Have looked at 4 places but only 2 seriously really and of those only 1 had me wondering if I'd take it. But can't get my head around the fact that the big house next door looks seriously seedy and I can imagine lots of noisy student parties there. Flat itself is own door with three studio units underneath it. They have Asian students in them which apparently means there'd be no noise. But well, flat itself is fine but something not sitting quite right for me. Will try to view a few more places (which is difficult when there's v littled listed) before making any decisions.

    And this evening I have nothing planned. The sort of day where I could have really done with a glass of wine at the end of it all but the weather is so seriously pissy out there that there was no way I was taking any diversions on the route home! Herbal tea will have to do instead :-)

    Friday, 31 August 2007

    That's me told!

    Okay, so apparently there's no charge for connecting to NTL (unlike with the phone companies) in which case there will be no money withheld from aforementioned tenant. I guess my annoyance is that is that she didn't even mention it in advance, she just went ahead and disconnected. Well, I'm not going to think about it anymore... what's done is done!

    Angry face

    Just spoke to my mother (happy face) and was informed that my tenant has taken it upon herself to cancel BT contract (I gave her permission to do that even though I would incur reconnection charge) and NTL (angry face). I did not, nor would I have, given permission for that.
    Grr... no more being Miss Nice for me. Will be making sure that reconnection fee is withheld from her deposit in 12 months time!!! Now... where's that bottle of wine??

    The end of my first full week...

    and it's fair to say that I'm not hating it yet :-) So so different to my previous role and I haven't actually produced anything for the customer yet but soon I hope! Anyway, I felt sure that ye'd be interested in tonights tipple...

    Out for a walk tomorrow (walk, not hike) providing the weather continues to behave. Really looking forward to that... I've been told that if the weather is clear that there are great views. So, should the weather behave then I'll post a few piccies!

    Thursday, 30 August 2007


    biscuits are just the best! I believe these are a unique to NZ and nobody knows why they're called Afghans. But having just munched one (they're more than a biscuit) I felt obliged to share my fondness of them with you! Did a search to try and find a photo and came across the following blog entry which might give you an idea of their yumminess :-)

    That lunar eclipse photo...

    Photo is courtesy of Madhav Gangakhedkar

    Wednesday, 29 August 2007

    Well, so much for that!

    I have no will power, that's all there is to it.
    Books are expensive in New Zealand so before leaving Ireland I bought some books to ship down and didn't I go and join the library first thing last weekend?
    And what did I do today at lunchtime? Visited Borders. Not just visited I purchased.
    I can't pretend that it was a spur of the moment thing... I went in to that shop with intent. The intent to buy a book. And I did.
    Well, I haven't actually taken anything out of the library yet, and no, it's not like I've finished my current book, but well, what if I did finish it before I got to the library?! I mean that would be terrible. I like to plan ahead (for the important things anyway :-) ) so I felt that it would be irresponsible if I didn't have a book at hand for when I finish this one.
    I mean it's not like I intend to make a habit of this or anything. I absalutely have no intention of using the voucher I got which gives me 15% off next week. Honest. I swear.. Really....

    Mountaineering club this evening... off to sign up for a 1 day walk in September. Thought I'd better get a few 1 day walks in before I kill myself with a weekend tramp carrying 20kg on my back.

    And for anyone interested, the wine last night with dinner was really rather delish. Can't remember winery but it was 2005 Pinot Noir from Central Otago.
    And my downfall from today.... The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (Haruki Murakami)

    There was an eclipse here last night. I didn't actually see but one of the guys took some photos... one of which I was going to attach here but taking too long to upload. Will try again later!

    Tuesday, 28 August 2007

    Music and Wine

    Longest afternoon ever today... at one point when I looked at clock and saw that it was 3pm I was genuinely taken aback that it was still so early. Not necessarily a bad day but definitely a long one. I guess that's what happens when you get hunger attack in the morning and have to go for lunch at 12:20 (I haven't succumbed to snack machine yet)!! Of course then eating that lunch (rather good falafel wrap for those of you interested) at desk while filling out numerous customs forms for my shipped goods probably didn't help.

    I managed to do a mini-raid on a friend's CD collection yesterday evening (after a couple of glasses of rather nice Kim Crawford Pinot Noir in bar with work folk) which was much needed as I only managed to fit 3 CDs in to my suitcases... the other 97 or so are in shipped goods. While I wait to meet others before heading out to dinner I'm taking advantage of the time to listen to some of this music now; have very beautiful "Pilgrimate to Santiago" playing at the moment. For anybody interested it's John Eliot Gardiner conducting the Monterverdi Choir...

    Well I must head off now... I'll be sure to let you know if wine with dinner is good :-)

    Sunday, 26 August 2007

    Not too exciting I'm afraid!

    I guess I should apologise to any of you who are expecting to read here about the exciting activities that I got up to on my first weekend in Wellington (on this visit!)... not this weekend I'm afraid! Once I'm over the jetlag I'm sure, or at least I hope(!), I'll have something a little more of interest to report :-)

    Yesterday was enjoyable enough with brunch with and then walking between different furniture stores. She needs to get herself some furniture for her new place so it was decided that either bed or sofabed needs to be one of her first essential purchases. It's great; the gir's as fussy as me when it comes to choosing a mattress! I shouldn't laugh of course as if I am lucky enough to find a bright, furnished, 2 br apartment in central wellington within my budget, the chances are I'll probably have to buy my own mattress as well... I mean the chances of getting a decent mattress in a rental property are slim (unless you're renting my home in Bray of course!). But I found a furniture shop with great bookshelves so I'm hopeful that maybe, 5 years after purchsing my own home, I may buy a bookshelf.. pity it's in Wellington and not Bray :-)

    Before we finished up at the end of the evening I introduced the Ms. Furniture Shopper to a rather nice little patisserie on Cuba St where we purchased a little cake each for munching on at a later stage. I got a rather scrumptious citron tarte that was enjoyed with a nice glass of One Tree pinot noir... I did plan to put a piccie in of said citron tarte but to be honest it didn't look particularly appetizing... so I decided not to. You'll just have to use your imaginations!

    Oh I joined the library here yesterday. You can take out as many books as you'd like for up to 4 weeks! Unfortunately "bestsellers" can be only taken out for a week and have a fee associated with them! Weird...

    Today has been less than eventful. Charging through my book (Die Trying by Lee Child), supermarket shop (bran muffin purchase required!), natter with Eamonn, listen to last episode of The Tao of Bergerac while dozing and now I think I'll go back to my book...

    Friday, 24 August 2007


    You see this is the problem with the weather here in New Zealand. When I left for work yesterday morning I was layered up as you do down here. This involved long sleeved top, fleecey top and my nice brown puffa jacket. Last night when I got back here I realised that I'd forgotten to bring my dry cleaning (can't blame that on the weather). However, just now I've realised that I also forgot my jacket! You see it's cold in the mornings and evenings but during the day with the sun you normally need one layer less than you did setting out at the start of the day (unless there's a nice southerly blowing). And so I forgot to take jacket out of office. In Ireland that would result me in me going "holy shit" the minute I walked out in to the cold and so runnning back upstairs for jacket. Over here, it's only noticed when I think to myself, oh bit windy out there today... I'll wear my nice warm jacket. Ah yes, that would be the jacket hanging up with my dry cleaning in the office wouldn't it?!

    Wind, view and instant coffee

    Bit windy out there today. I can tell this without having gone out at this point based on the tree across the road from my window. While I'm in the same place as my last two visits here I'm on the other side of the building. Whereas before I had this view

    on this visit I'm getting

    That's the Radio New Zealand building across the road from me there; not a particularly interesting building I admit but just thought I'd mention it as I'm currently listening to a performance of Karl Jenkins' Requiem on Radio New Zealand.

    I'm actally writing this as I'm waiting to meet up with a colleague who's also relocated here. She's found herself an apartment so I said I'd tag along as she does some furniture shopping. We were meant to meet at 11am but she had a bit of a late night so it's 11:30 now :-) I didn't make it along last night - couldn't be doing with that talking to people thing when I was so tired! Anyway the bit of a delay does make me grateful that I had my less than tasty instant coffee this morning... I really must buy a coffee pot today!

    So now you know....

    So, in an effort to keep myself distracted and awake I came across a Jane Austen characters quiz. I love Jane Austen novels and I'm certainly not going to admit to the number of times that I've read Pride & Prejudice other than saying that we're in to double digits :-) Anyway, for one of the questions I was torn between two answers so I went for quiz outcome using the two different answers that I wanted to suggest but keeping all other answers the same and, drum roll...., here are the results:

    I am Elinor Dashwood!

    You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.


    I am Elizabeth Bennet!

    You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of silliness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

    All rubbish of course but so much fun. Anyway, I'll leave it to you, the discerning read to decide which if either of these characters I in anyway resemble :-)

    Take the Quiz here!

    Thursday, 23 August 2007


    Just a short one.. my brain is just way too fried for anything else. Trying to figure out how it's possible that if last Sat was my last full nights sleep, and I only managed abouat 5-6 hrs in total on journey over, how is it that it was gone 5am before I could go to sleep this morning?! Not impressed. Not impressed at all!!

    Got up at 9, headed in to office. Had a natter with some folk, went for lunch with the mountain biking trio, went back to work (work constituted figuring out which of the 500 emails in my Inbox I needed to keep and which I could delete!) and when at 2pm my keyboad connection stopped working it all got too much for me and I left. Tried to snooze this avo but no joy :-( So, instead opened bank account, bought mobile and collected my pictures from my cousins wedding last Thurs :-)

    Now trying to figure out how to make myself stay awake until 9pm and after that, how to make sure I stay asleep!!! Thoughts and suggestions on a postcard please...

    Wednesday, 22 August 2007

    20th Aug...Been and gone...

    After what seems like months of "yeah, I'm leaving on the 20th Aug" the 20th Aug has been and gone. For so long that date seemed like some unreachable point in the future while all the time it was slowly creeping up on me and well now, here I am, back in Wellington again.

    I had a somewhat blutterflys in stomach Sunday and Sunday night before leaving house at 8am to get the new Pattonflyer coach to the airport from Blackrock. Don't know if anybody has used this yet but it's fab... I was at the airport in under 30 mins! It uses port tunnel which I guess accounts for speed of journey but it costs the same as the AirCoach so seems like a bargain to me!

    The journey was long but uneventful. I mean, uneventful if you ignore the fact that I wanted to belt the child beside me in the lounge in Heathrow who spent 30 mins spinning a coin on a glass top table. You know when you get that slowly building up feeling where you feel like you slowly need to scream? Well that was me. The only reason I didn't move was that there were v. few couches (as opposed to armchairs) in the lounge and i was sprawled out on my couch and wanted to stay that way. Luckily his brother decided to inform him that it the noise was indeed a little irritating :-)

    I haven't flown business class with Air New Zealand before and I have to admit that the seat setup is quite nice! They're more like pods that are angled in to the aisle so that every seat/pod has direct aisle access - no stepping over anybody. When you sit right back nobody can see you either which is kinda nice. There's the armchair seat part and the ottoman/mini seat across from you that you can put your feet on. When you need to go for a kip the armchair part folds out to meet the ottoman so you get a flat bed. Very nice... and also a little hard! But it was lovely and the food was really good too. As flight stopped for a couple of hours in LAX for refueling we all had to disembark and go through passport control with our US visa waiver forms (!!!) to spend duration waiting in a transit lounge. Not fun but it was grand. The fun part of the journey was saved for the end....

    My flight was due to arrive in Auckland at 5:15am and I was booked on to the 7am flight to Wellington. I was thinking to myself that this wasn't alot of time to go through passport control, collect luggage, go through bio control where of course I'd have to dig out my hiking boots to show they were clean, and get to transit check in before 6am. Obviously you can check in after 6am but in that case you have to get your luggage over to the domestic terminal yourself. Anyway, my flight had been an hour late leaving Heathrow and so delayed out of LAX but we did make up time in air later and plane was on ground by 5:20am. Off I get and I promptly set into "walking with a purpose" mode. Through passport control no problems (apart from dodgy irish imitation accent of friendly passport control officer). Now to luggage. After a while the belt starts. I'm thinking, great, my luggage will be off first as I was business class. Belt goes around. People start taking luggage off. More luggage. Belt stops. Little delay. Belt restarts. More luggage... tum te tum... oh look it's 5:55am... more luggage. Oh, my bag suitcase, great. Grab that. Wait for my other case. Eventually it turns up. Next bio security queue... open two suitcases trying to find hiking boots - "they're clean honest" doesn't cut it, they have to be viewed. X-ray luggage. Get around to transit checkin at 6:10am. Get to desk. She goes through tickets bla bla bla and then comes up with "you'll have to take your luggage over to the domestic terminal yourself" to which I respond "am I going to catch the flight?" to which she responds "hmm... you'll need to hurry". No shit sherlock! There is a transit bus but only runs every 10 mins. So we now have the fantatsic site of somebody who has spent 2 days sitting on their arse on a plane suddenly running while pushing a trolley with two rather full suitcases between terminals... in the dark! I'm not a fit person at the best of times so let's just say that I made it but it wasn't a pretty site :-)

    And that's about it really. Lift from airport in Wellington which was great, checked in to my favourite Welly accommodation (that's irony for those of you who don't know of the history of my first stay here) as before, and well that's it for now!

    The Siblings...

    I think I took more photos of myself and my siblings over last weekend than I would ordinarily take in a year! Definitely a combination of playing with my new camera ( :-) ) and the fact that I'm going away. The latter is probably what allowed me to do the first.
    My brother, and Dad in I think, seemed a little put out (well not really but...) that they weren't invited along to lunch with my two sisters, myself and Mum last Sat. Don't know about anybody else but notice anything there... Mum, sisters, me...? Like maybe it was a girls lunch?! Ye gads, the poor boys are hard done by sometimes aren't they? :-) Anyway, scrumtious lunch in Avoca and picture of me with the sisters here...

    I always feel relatively when standing next to the other women in my family but that isn't the case when I'm standing next to my brother... he makes me feel decidedly, well, short!

    Saturday, 11 August 2007

    Published... or sort of...

    Well seems that Schmap used my photo for their Wellington City Guide. Lots of photos were used but it's nice nonetheless. What is it that they say? Ah yes, it's the simple things in life...

    Friday, 10 August 2007

    Food, food and more food!

    Hit another "preparing to leave for NZ" milestone today; it was my last day in the office here in Dublin. I'm off next week though I can't believe how busy the week already is. All I'd really like is a few days of having to do nothing - no packing, no sorting, no nothing!

    On the upside I had two very enjoyable evenings this week where I was out with different groups of friends for going away dinners. Last night I was out with 5 friends from work for a very filling and equally very tasty meal in Montys. And it was such a lovely novelty to be sitting opposite another vegetarian... I got to taste some of her main course as well as my own. Yum!!

    And earlier in the week it was Milanos where we ate in a rather chilly Milanos... they sat us under the air conditioning vent. I believe I was halfway through my pizza (Fiorentina if you're interested) before I took my coat off! I was presented with a really beautiful silver torc style bracelet. The artist/jeweller is, I think, John Mckenna (apologies if I have that wrong!). Whenever I wear it I have people asking to try it on and asking where I go it. Had I working camera I would take picture to post... but I don't so you'll have to trust me.

    And I'm afraid I'm actually too tired now to make this anymore interesting to read so that's it for now :-)

    Sunday, 5 August 2007


    Originally uploaded by eefajk
    I've just received email informing me that one of my photos taken in the Botanical Gardens in Wellington last year has been short-listed for inclusion in the third edition of the Schmapp Wellington Guide (no I didn't submit it)! Obviously I'm well chuffed but it's odd as I don't think much of my photos from Welly 2006 but one was marked as flickr users favorite and now this. I mean even if it doesn't get chosen it's nice to have been considered :-)


    How is it possible that today has been, well, so dreary? Rained consistently all day up until about an hour ago (16:30). And have felt yuckily sleepy all day. Possibly recovering from the trauma of doing a trial pack this morning to see what I would (and more likely, wouldn't) be able to fit in my suitcases and hence would need to ship. Then I had to unpack it all again. Oh but first I had to inventory (God I'm sick of doing inventories!) what I was going to ship for insurance purposes. Sigh... do I really need to bring those two pasta bowls? Or that lasagne dish? Do I care right now? Nope, didn't think so...

    Update on the digital camera thing is that I decided to take plunge for the more expensive (i.e. moer expensive that I'd intended spending) camera after last post. Not available on pixmania. Found it on and great price. They won't ship to Ireland. Something to do with the Irish recycling charge for electronics goods. Have seen it in shops but it's another €30 dearer again so that's not happening. Of course if the camera on my phone would just decide to start working again all would be fine. Might be time to give it a gentle tap off a solid surface to see if that helps... :-)

    Saturday, 4 August 2007

    No more apartment...

    So today I said goodbye to my home of 5 years for at least the next 12 months. I have to admit that it was very odd doing that; I'm not sure that it's dawned on me that it's not my home anymore and that I'll have to get used to not sitting on my big comfy (very bad for your back) armchair and looking out glass doors at trees across the way. Thurs and Fri were a frenzy of cleaning and packing, moving, sorting. Mum came out on Thurs and did the bathroom and kitchen (incl cupboards... but not the oven!!!), windows, ledges etc and then on Fri my friend Va who's home on her holidays did all the vacuuming. Without their help I'd probably be still at it trying to get everything ready before tomorrow morning! So folks if you're reading this, a BIG thanks. And of course I'd also like to tahnk my agent and my....

    Va and myself headed down to Avoca in Kilmacanogue for a late lunch yesterday afternoon and after stuffing ourselves with their scrumprious salads I was reminded that Va is a bit of a shopping fiend (well fiend might be a bit strong but she does like to have a nosey around). I don't like the clothes from Avoca actually. Honest. No, that beautiful brown skirt purchased there was not really purchased there. I'm sure of it. So what this means is that I'm really quite annoyed with Valerie as she made me break the "no more clothes shopping" embargo that I'd imposed on myself after my reckless last few weeks... did you know that Reiss had a sale on? :-)

    I'm back with the folks for my remaining two weeks and I'm starting to think that it's going to be difficult for me to not pick up some of their quirkiness while I'm here... at least if what I've observed so far is anything to go by. If, Mum or Dad you are reading this, please note that I think a little bit of quirkiness is a good thing :-) And the dog is not happy with my presence. I walked in to TV room yesterday evening and there's Mum on her chair with her magazine and Dad with paper on his chair and the dog... well the dog (and she ain't bit) is spread out over the little 2 seater sofa. And she wasn't looking happy when I sat down. Not at all happy. Oh no. Oh yes, I'll be watching my back while I'm here!

    No pictures yet as while I would still like a small digital camera there's so much choice out there but to get something inexpensive but that also takes decent pictures is tough :-( And one recommendation I did get is prob a bit more than i want to spend.. Then again as I write this... I mean I've already broken my no more clothes shopping embargo so...

    Thursday, 26 July 2007

    Now that's consideration!

    One wonders if my new team colleagues in ACC will be able to show me the same consideration that I've grown accustomed to getting here in Dublin. See two emails here... {we'll ignore the fact that I don't own a single pink possession other than a hot water bottle and a pair of slippers!}

    From: ...
    Sent: 24 July 2007 17:39
    To: TA
    Subject: RE: Blackle

    Pink version for aoife!

    From: ....
    Sent: 24 July 2007 17:30
    To: TA
    Subject: FW: Blackle

    For those worried with energy consumption and all its downsides.

    When your screen is white, be it an empty word page, or the Google
    your computer consumes 74 watts, and when its black it consumes only 59
    watts. Mark Ontkush wrote an article about the energy saving that
    would be achieved if Google had a black screen, taking in account the
    huge number of page views, according to his calculations, 750 mega
    watts/hour per year would be saved.

    In a response to this article Google created a black version of its
    engine, called Blackle, with the exact same functions as the white
    but with a lower energy consumption,

    check it out:

    Sunday, 22 July 2007

    Suitcases and cleaning...

    I had sudden realisation on walk to Dart station on Thurs evening that 4 weeks from that day I'd be at my cousins wedding and 5 weeks from that time I'd actually be getting up soon to head in to work... in Wellington. I'm flying tomorrow 4 weeks, though unfortunately I'm flying through Los Angeles :-( From what I've been told, the US stringent (I'm refraining from use of harsher words here) security laws are that even in-transit passengers have to go through their security checks. I mean I know that I was in NY in March on holidays but I don't like the idea that they have my finger prints on record or that they take iris scan. I don't subscribe to any conspiracy theories or anything like that but, well, I guess I'd be more comfortable if they didn't stuff about me on record!

    There is an advantage to flying with Air New Zealand though... I get to use my business class weight allowance through to Wellington instead of it stopping at Auckland which is what has happened the other times I've flown over. So of course those times I had to limit my luggage to 20kg. And, it gets better... the business class weight allowance with Air NZ is two pieces of luggage of up to 32kg... each! Of course I have no intention of going anywhere near that - I'm just pleased with the two pieces of luggage, though neither will be over 20kg let along 32 kg!

    So, I have to move out of my home in 2 weeks. We have a bank holiday in Ireland the weekend of the 4th/5th August and I have a tenant moving in on the 5th. I'll be taking the previous Thurs and Fri off work as not only do I have to move my personal belongings out but I also of course have to clean the place! I'm not an overly dirty person but let's just say that I don't spend every weekend scrubbing the place from top to bottom either so I expect to be spending some time on this cleaning. Luckily Mum is going to help out here ("you Dublin girls" was a friend reaction when I mentioned this!)

    Diary is fast filling up with dinners, lunches, packing days, moving days... it's weird! What's weirder is the thought that in five weeks I won't be here at all. And that it'll be over a year from now before I'm living in my own apartment with my own stuff again. But I'm excited about my impending move nonetheless... all I need now is for my visa to arrive!

    Sunday, 8 July 2007

    Remind me again..

    It is July isn't it? And being in Ireland I am being back in the Northern Hemisphere? And, unless I'm very much mistaken, isn't that meant to be the Summer for this hemisphere?
    Hmm... I thought so.
    It's rained (and I don't mean piddly little showers) EVERY day since I arrived back in this country last Sunday!
    Every day!
    I've got wet.
    Very wet.
    But I refuse to give in... yet. I'm still going with opened toed sandals and skirts.
    Just not sure how long I can keep this optimistic belief that rain will stop and glorious sunshine and warmth will appear :-)

    Monday, 2 July 2007

    The journey back...

    • Up at 7am kiwi time Sat morning for taxi to Welly airport.
    • Flight departs 5-10 mins late at 09:10am.
    • In lounge in Auckland by 10:30pm.
    • Board flight to KL about 11:30am.
    • Chat to girl beside me for while - she had hangover and I was just exhausted :-)
    • Arrive KL about 11.5 hrs later I believe around 8pm KL time which would be about midnight Kiwi time.
    • Get to lounge. Shower. Doze. Leg it to plane after dozing off in lounge... amazing how all those boarding announcements all start to sound the same!
    • Take off from KL at about midnight KL time (4am sun morning kiwi time)
    • Sleep for while. Doze for while.
    • Arrive in Frankfurt a little under 13 hrs later, disembarking at 6:45am Sun German time (which is 4:45pm Sun afternoon kiwi time, which is, eh, 2:45pm sun afternoon, and em... oh God, to hard to do all the times everywhere!).
      • Frankfurt very very very boring airport.
      • Frankfurt airport minimal direction signs.
      • Frankfurt airport... don't like.
    • 10:50am departure from Frankfurt becomes 13:20 departure (12:20 Irish time) as that normally *very* reliable little propeller engine thingie is not behaving.
    • Arrive in Ireland at about 14:05 Sunday Irish time (01:05am Mon morning kiwi time).
    • Disembark 14:15 as that normally *very* reliable little propeller engine thingie is still not behaving very well. But hey I'm home and technical fault isn't anybody's problem so what the hell.
    • Go to wait for luggage. As time progresses compose less than friendly letters in head to Aer Lingus. Time passes. Put on iPod to try and refrain from losing temper. Think to myself, how can i travel for nearly 40 hrs and stay relatively relaxed and then I get back to Ireland where I'm hit with super efficiency of baggage handlers.
    • Wait approximately 40 minutes before any Frankfurt luggage appears on belt.
    • 5-10 mins later collect luggage and walk out to arrivals.
    • Spend prob nearly 20 mins as Dad tries to get us out of airport as traffic is nuts.

    Get home, unpack and potter in effort to stay awake
    Asleep by 8:30pm.
    Suspect parents won't offer to collect me from airport again!!

    Thursday, 28 June 2007

    Shopping eefa style...

    Walk in to store (outdoor gear) with big SALE signs all over window and instore.
    See lovely brown down jacket of one make. Not in sale. Surrounded by down jackets of another make. In sale.
    Want brown jacket not in sale jacket.
    Walk around store waiting for fellow shopper who at least knew that their purchase would not be in sale.
    Plead at till asking them if they can not put jacket in sale.
    Get 10% off.
    Buy down jacket not in sale but at least get 10% off.
    The end.

    I must become a tramp...

    er if I want to join Wellington Mountaineering club. It seems that they have this rule that as a non member I can go along on day hikes and tramps (these are the overnight hikes) but I can only become a member if I do at least 3 tramps. Will that make me a tramp?

    Monday, 25 June 2007

    What d'you think?

    Your Brain is Green

    Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance.
    You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.
    You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns.

    You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

    What do you think? I'm not sure if it's a good description of how I appear rather than how I am :-)

    Ugh... I'm being punished

    Yeah yeah yeah - I know i was crowing yesterday about how great the weather was. Not warm, but lovely and sunny out. Well, believe you me, it ain't like that today. It rained. Alot. It was heavy (I know I had to go to post office twice in it!). Oh, and it's cold. Very.
    Snippet of email sent around in office today -

    Go Home Now If You Live Over The Rimutakas - Police Agency Story at 2:42 pm, 25 Jun 2007

    People intending to travel over the Rimutaka Hill Road between Wellington and Wairarapa are being warned that they should start their journey as soon as possible.

    Snow is predicted on the road on Monday evening, and police say it is likely to be closed.

    Snow down to 200m in Wellington is also forecast for Monday night as part of the cold front moving up the country.

    The front has sent temperatures plummeting in Canterbury, where the windchill factor this afternoon is expected to be minus 10 degrees.

    Sunday, 24 June 2007


    I don't like that it's dark by 5pm :-(
    I mean it's June for God's sake!!!

    Not bad for winter...

    Another beautiful day here. I mean it may have been a bit cold (but not that cold though it could be freezing tomorrow - you can never tell in this place!) out but the sun was shining and it was really quite lovely. Bit like yesterday. Photo is courtesy of Marko; taken early yesterday afternoon - Wave, Lighthouse and Boat . Yes it was windy but the sun was shining and it was really quite spectacular. From what I've heard of weather back in Ireland this is much nicer! If this is winter I'll take it...

    Saturday, 23 June 2007

    Of Flights and Afros

    What a fun morning I had yesterday. Got confirmation from Dublin that the waitlist for my flight had come through so I would now fly back to Ireland on Sat 30th rather Weds 27th. I just needed to phone airline here to confirm change. So off I go to phone. Conversation goes something like this...
    Me: "Hi yeah, I've just been told that the I've got to top of waitlist and my ticket has been changed to Sat 30th June. Was told I just need to ring to confirm"
    Other End: Yes that's right. Auckland to KL and then to Frankfurt and on to Dublin.
    Me: Oh. No. Well, I was Auckland to KL and then KL to Heathrow and then on to Dublin.
    Other End:Well it's showing Frankfurt here.
    Me: Oh. Well I guess that's okay, doesn't really matter.
    Other End: It does matter. Your ticket will have to be reissued.
    Me: Oh. Will there be charges for that?
    Other End:
    Other End: Where was your ticket issued?
    Me: Ireland.
    Other End: I can't get all the information that I require here to know if your ticket is allowed to be re-routed. Can you fax me a copy and we'll telex it to Dublin and they'll get back to us on Monday or Tues telling us if it can be re-routed.
    Me: Oh. I see.
    Other End: Yes and then you'll have to get it to our Auckland office so it can be re-issued.
    Me: Oh. I'm in Wellington.
    Other End: Your itinerary shows you're flying to Auckland on 27th. You can come in then.
    Me: No, I'll be changing that part myself and will fly to Auckland on morning of 30th.
    Other End: Oh right. Well if your ticket can be re-routed then if you courier it to us and we'll re-issue it and you can pick it up at airport.
    Me: Oh, okay. I'll fax that to you then. So, I should ring you Monday to find out if it can be re-routed through Frankfurt.
    Other End: Yes.
    Me: OKay, thanks.

    I go off and photocopy ticket and fax through. No confirmation receipt from fax machine but I have to rush to meeting... {based on stuff I did last year!}

    After meeting still no fax receipt so I phone airline again to confirm that they got fax.

    Me: Hi. Here's my booking number. I just want to confirm that you got fax that I sent through.
    Other End: Yes here it is. We don't confirm receipt of these.
    Me: That's fine, I just wasn't sure if it sent as no fax confirmation my end.
    Other End: Oh that's fine then. Let me just see if I can get answer as to whether ticket can be re-routed for you. Can you hold?
    Me: Yes.
    Other End: No, I can't answer that for you. So you'll be in Auckland on 27th and you need to change route on ticket to Frankfurt instead of London.
    Me: Em, well no I'll arrive in Auckland on 30th. My ticket was originally 27th. I didn't know that it was going to be re-routed through Frankfurt until I spoke to you earlier.
    Other End: Oh! So it's a date change as well a route change?
    Me: Eh, yes.
    Other End: Well, you'll have to come in to Auckland office to pick up ticket
    Me: Em, no.... I believe it can be arranged for me to pick up at airport?
    Other End: Oh yes. But of course I can't be sure that your ticket can be routed through Frankfurt. Will need DUblin to answer that. That will be Mon evening or Tues.
    Me: Oh! But.... Well, am I still on the flight for the 27th as well?
    Other End: No. Your seat on that flight is gone.
    Me: Oh! You mean that I could theoretically end up with no flight out?
    Other End: Well, yes. But as it's a business class ticket I'm sure it will be okay. But we just have to wait for reply from Dublin before we re-issue.
    Me: Oh. Well, okay then.

    All a bit farcial really. Anyway, I was pretty sure Irish agent wouldn't have canceled without being sure that my ticket could be re-routed so I emailed and it can of course be for a €100 fee. So on Monday I post ticket up to Auckland (another "you'll have to come in to Auckland office ", "no, can you send it to airport for me to collect" conversation this morning!) and get it re-issued. Phew!

    Went along to an "S and S" party last night. Kiwis in to dressing up. We'll ignore fact that one of the hosts is Irish :-) Some great costumes there - a smurf, sixties, seventies, SAS. We stayed for a few hours then headed back to anothers house for some wine and natter eventually leaving there just before 1am. Tucked up in bed by 1:30am. By 5:30am still waiting for sleep to arrive! Went out and bought some valarian tablets this avo!! And hit the Kathmandu sale :-))

    Tuesday, 19 June 2007

    The 8 Ball of Wisdom is Never Wrong..

    The project forecasting 8 ball of wisdom (in the hands of the project manager it has to be said!) has been asked if I will still be working on this project up to and at the start of 2009 and the answer was "It will be so". So there you go guys, apparently I'll be staying for longer than the 12 months that I'm agreeing to. I mean, who am I to argue with the 8 Ball!!

    Sunday, 17 June 2007

    Weekend snippets....

    On a 35 minute flight from Wellington to Christchurch on Fri evening every passenger got offered a glass of spring water and a biscuit. Coming from the land of flying on the cheap I found this so refreshing! That and the fact that I could get to the airport in less than 30 mins on a bus helped as well!

    Christchurch was freezing. Technically I may be incorrect on that but as far as I was concerned it was bloody cold. At one point on Fri evening I was wearing string top, merino wool icebreaker, fleece and wool cardigan over that! Thank God Karen and Kaye's house has log burner... I became attached :-)

    The Cairn terriors Maggie and Fergus are really cute, and have definitely landed on their paws in that household! Maggie is the older of the two more of a guard dog for sure than Fergus. She's rather fond of standing on window ledge in front room to see what's going on out in the street :-) Fergus just chills... why bother sussing out noises when Mags will take care of that for him! Walking them on the beach was great fun and watching Maggie race after her tennis ball was fantastic. She just bombed along. Fergus just kinda waited around, though if there was another dog about then he was off to say hi! Someone his size probably should learn a little wariness however :-) Oh, did you know that male pups don't cock their legs when they're weeing! It was so funny watching - he would squat like Maggie but he's at the stage where he now half lifts his leg while trying to squat!! Bless, I'm sure he'll get there in the end.

    On Sat afternoon we headed in to centre of Sth New Brighton for a glass of wine in a lovely place called H&H. I liked this place for 2 reasons - the wine wasn't bad, but even better, it was yummy and warm :-) We got table right in front of the fire and just sat and chilled while being snugly warm. Why, oh why, is the concept of housing insulation only hitting here NOW?!!

    Bit drizzly on my return to Welly but while it's not warm here it is warm*er* than Christchurch and now snuggled up against my plug in heater!