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... http://www.bodyscape.co.nz/body-treatments.html
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

Nutrition...

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 :-)