Wednesday, 31 December 2008

It's cold... and being tired of Dublin City Centre!

I'm not sure that I've been in to town so often in such a short period of time as I have been in the last few days (except of course when I'm working!). In a sense it's been interesting observing the crowds... and trying to decipher how people can shop in those crowds. I guess if I'd been in shopping mode I might have actually got some bargains but I'm afraid that I don't do crowds and post Christmas sale shopping is not me!

So, yesterday we decided that enough's enough with regards to town and we headed out to Glendalough for a short stroll and to see the old monastic ruins in the Monastic City there. It's been bitterly cold the last few days (I thought that I'd never warm up on Monday... not even in The Market Bar on Mon evening did I remove any additional outer layers other than my coat!) and Tuesday was freezing again (actually it was about 5 degrees). I've been out to Glendalough many times in the past but it's always been to park in the upper car park before heading off on a hike (that's a one day tramp to any kiwi readers) but I've never really taken the time to stroll up from the lower car park to the upper and to just just look at what's in between. There were plenty of photo opportunities but my hands got colder and colder each time I had to take my gloves off so by the end I was being very choosy on what I photographed :)

Below is a photo of the Monastic City from a distance...
Monasic City


The food plan didn't work quite as expected. We headed to Avoca in Kilmacanogue for lunch at around 3pm following Glendalough. Yup this place is always busy but at 3pm I reckoned we'd just be hitting the tea/coffee and dessert group. Actually if anything, what I was wondering about was whether or not there'd be much left in the way of tasty salads and scones! Instead we walked in and were hit by a huge queue... which didn't move. Turned out there were no tables and so they'd stopped serving at the counters! These two hungry people definitely couldn't wait so we headed to Bray (Cafe Bar Deli have opened there). Admittedly a bit of a hassle on the parking front but we got there in the end :) And below is a photo of Bray, or at least Bray Head (it's not necessarily that scenic when you're in Bray itself :) )
'
Bray Head

Saturday, 27 December 2008

The Many Faces of Megan

My Mum's dog, Megan, certainly likes her comfort. When in the house she likes to lounge in her basket...
Megan


or across my brothers lap.
Ah yes... lounging about!


She's also well capable of the haughty lady muck look as well when out on a walk (she loves walking on walls too!)


And even then she's still a bit of a twit! I'm sitting here watching The Chronicles of Narnia and I've had to put her back in to the kitchen because she keeps barking at the wolves (they work with the white witch) !!

Friday, 26 December 2008

Pre Christmas Shopping

On Tuesday I headed in to town with the purpose of, in no particular order, finishing off some shopping, experiencing Christmas feeling/atmosphere in town, buying some cheese from Sheridans, meeting up with Dave, saying hi to some friends in the Dublin office, and then meeting up with a couple of friends for dinner.

I arrived in at 1 and within an hour I was wondering if I really had the energy for this! I had had a great day, awakeness wise on Monday, but I certainly wasn't on Tuesday! After a quick bite to eat there was that panicky feeling building up in my stomach as I wandered the shops thinking "Oh God, what am I going to get Mum??!!!" However with arrangements to meet folk at 3pm I was forced to just make a decision on present, which was a good thing as otherwise I could have spent the rest of the afternoon dithering over it!

I wandered past Sheridans a couple of times and each time there was a queue inside tiny shop with about another 10 people queueing outside just to get in! The woman at the head of the queue on one of those occasions was not looking happy. I decided that I did not want to be her so I just kept on walking both times :)

It was actually nearly 5pm by the time that I got in to the office so while I saw some people it was only briefly and I had missed others as they had already left for the pub (I did end up in a pub but not everybody went to the same pub). Walking down/up Baggot St on the way to the office definitely felt a little weird but it did make realise that when I do work in Dublin I just love working in that part of town!

I met up with Maria and Veronica later and we headed to Carluccios Cafe for dinner. Interesting place... it was totally mobbed but we were only waiting 5 mins for a table. During that time we were told, somewhat abruptly (could have been interpreted as rudely), to move away from counter as we were blocking it. This resulted in us blocking the passageway that the wait staff were using. Luckily we got a table pretty quickly so we weren't blocking anybody for too long :) My Penne Giarinara was gorgeous though I couldn't eat it all. Desserts were definitely disappointing (at least mine was!) but that was okay as I guess I was pretty full anyway!

And then after all that I headed home as I was wrecked! It was lovely to meet up with folk again and being in town just before Christmas? Well it was very very very busy. I guess I expected this but when I told others they were surprised to hear this as apparently, with all the doom and gloom going on the lead up to Christmas has been pretty quiet this year. Well trust me, on Tuesday it was not quiet. At one point on Grafton St I could hardly move there were so many people! I look forward to heading back in maybe next week when it's, hopefully, still busy but not quite so grid locked!!

Monday, 22 December 2008

My Wardrobe...

Couple of weeks back it was cold in Dublin. Very cold. And it's December so I packed accordingly. Lots of icebreaker tops thrown in to the suitcase. Sure that'll keep me warm! And it would. The problem is that it's not actually that cold out there - sixteen degrees earlier! So I'm a little warm.

The other thing which I didn't think of enough when packing is that a couple of nice dresses for Christmas Eve/Day is fine but what about everything else? My choices are nice dress or jeans and icebreaker top. So for lunch today it's going to be the latter. Ideally it would just nicer trousers and nice top. I mean I could have brought lots more clothes but different clothes require different shoes and my suitcase was pretty full as it was. Men have it so easy. Not fair!!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

It's winter!

Well, it was a long but relatively hassle free journey back to Ireland... we left Wellington at 10am Sat morning (kiwi time) and I arrived at my parents house here in Dublin at about 11am Sunday (Irish time, so that would be midnight Sun night kiwi time). The first leg seemed longer than the second even though it was actually the other way around. I guess that was down to being awake for the whole of the first leg and being in economy for that leg and business class for the second leg. I'm not sure what I got fed on the first leg; the first meal was definitely some of pasta thing, maybe a wholemeal pumpkin ravioli or something (with small bit of dodgy loooking sauce) but the second meal? Haven' a clue. Possibly some sort of potato thing with porridge oats on top and rather alot of glutinous sauce around it. I wasn't even going to taste the brightly orange coloured dessert!

Was seriously tired by the time we got to KL... we wandered around airport for a bit - I just followed Dave and that way no brain effort was required before heading the shower to the lounge and freshening up. I did best to sleep/rest for the second leg which is possibly why that leg seemed quicker.

We were in Schipoll airport (Amsterdam) by 6am (Dutch time) this morning. I'm so used to flying through Frankfurt (boring!!!) that even though I know that Amsterdam is more interesting airport I still didn't expect anything to be open but by the time that we'd collected our luggage and checked in for the last leg everything was open. It was great; had yummy pastry but less than excellent coffee. Yes, as soon as we were ordering I realised that I would just have to make the mental adjustment to the fact that I will not get another decent coffee until I land at Auckland airport on the 6th Jan. And I'll need to be back in Wellington before I get the really good stuff :) Did you know that the Rijks Museum have a small exhibition on at the airport? and that it opens at 7am? It was a great way to pass 15 or 20 minutes and just so different to the normal airport experience!

So my aim for today is to try to stay awake until 9:30pm tonight... I won't give you the odds on that!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Okay I'm ready!

Right I'm ready for my holidays now :)

I *think* I've left everything all organised in office for while I'm away. I managed to get out a little early today... just before 5pm and I left with, totally unexpectedly, 3 bottles of wine! I arrived in this morning to find a bottle (nice cellophane wrapping and silver ribbon) sitting on my desk from one of the PMs whose project I'm managing the configuration for. Then about an hour later I get a bottle from another PM whose project I'm also working on. And then afternoon I get a card and a bottle of wine from my manager! Now don't get me wrong, I'm not the only person to receive wine from these particular PMs/managers but that doesn't make me appreciate them any the less. So that'll be something to look forward to in the New Year.

So I came home, emptied rubbish and set about the packing. I didn't pack everything that I intended to but I think I should be okay - 2 dresses, one pair of jeans, the pair of trousers I'll be wearing, all my winter icebreaker tops, one pair of shoes and one pair boots (my nice Mia Piaci ones). Oh and my camera's in there :) Hand luggage will consist of trainers (for wearing once get to colder climes), book, tickets, and I can fit my Macbook so I think that I'll take it with me. Just hope they can set me up on the wireless at home!

So, like I said, let's go. I'm ready :)

Me


Happy Christmas (again)!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Been a while...

since I've posted. Not sure that this is going to be particularly long/interesting either.

Had a great birthday last weekend. I love opening birthday cards and each of the ones that i received from my sisters and parents were addressed slightly differently which amused me. Lovely presents too... I'm very much looking forward to my Deluxe Facial in my favourite beauty salon in Wellington (favourite but not most visited as they ain't cheap!) But what really made me laugh was the sound track to Mamma Mia. I laughed my whole way through that movie and the sound track is definitely something to listen to if you want a need cheering up and/or a laugh. I found myself singing along to it last night! I was a little surprised with myself but for someone with a voice as bad as me, it's maybe helpful that they're all far from brilliant singers :)

We headed up to Karori Wildlife Sanctuary to enjoy the sun and take a few photos. To be honest it was pretty disastrous for me on the photography front... as can be observed by the rather few piccies that i posted on flickr. Whether it was my struggling with new lens or just being too slow I don't know. Who knows, maybe I'll have better luck next time :)

This week, my last 5 working days, before flying back to Ireland have been unbelievably busy. So much for the pre-Christmas slow down. Monday was just horrible, Tues a bit better but not much, Weds I started to get things under control and today I'm v busy but *think* I have everything under control before I head away. Tomorrow morning is full of meetings though... week before Christmas? Sure it's great to be popular. Go figure...

Anyway, I have the suitcase out on the floor. I have some stuff sitting in it but won't pack properly until tomorrow evening. I have this weird thing where jeans need to go at bottom of case or near bottom and well, I'll be wearing them tomorrow so not starting. I'm looking at "hand luggage" pile spread across the table here and thinking that maybe I won't be bringing my Macbook with me after all. There's alot of stuff!

Okay, that's it. I'm tired (actually I'm exhausted) so think it'll be an hour of some CSI Miami (it's ridiculous; I love it :) ) and prob bed with book.

And in case I don't get to post before Christmas, Happy Christmas to anybody who I won't see before the 25th...

Sunday, 7 December 2008

The Weekend

What a weekend... I can't get over how hot it's been!
Leisurely coffee/brekkie on Sat morning. Then we headed off to On Yer Bike to hire me a mountain bike before we headed off to cycle the Rimutaka Rail Trail. This was an interesting experience for me considering that the last time that I was on a bike was in 1997! A tad wobbly at first but that didn't last for too long. I have to say that I did enjoy the feel of the wind on my arms (have I mentioned that it was hot out?) especially on the way down. I definitely prefer downhill to uphill :)

Watched a few episodes of Firefly over Fri and Sat evening. I've seen these before but I love them! If you haven't watched it then my recommendation is that you do so once you get your hands on the DVD set. Why they only made one series of it is beyond me! Witty, clever and thoroughly enjoyable to watch :)
I think that today was even hotter than yesterday! I met a friend to visit the Thorndon Fair which is an annual event. Bit disappointing for me on the present purchasing front but an enjoyable couple of hours nonetheless. The rest of the day was spent doing real Christmas shopping, browsing stores with Dave before heading off to complete shopping.

Feeling relatively relatively smug with myself having finally given the apartment a proper clean! Am now moving in a sunny warm leisurely Sun evening.

10 working days to holidays :)

Monday, 1 December 2008

the brown baron

center
the brown baron
Originally uploaded by edartr


I just love this! So so cute :)

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth...

The Kiwi dollar has been weakening over the last 6 months and I got quite excited when I was getting about $2.10 per euro on my credit card. The other day I got a rate of $2.34 to the euro and that prompted my brief lunch time clothes purchases. But... I have been talking about getting a 55m-200mm lens for my camera. They're cheaper here than back home and the shops match prices if you seem same item cheaper elsewhere. So today I decided to do something about it. I was buying the lens and a polarising filter and not only did they match Christchurch online site price but they bettered it. Of course I don't yet know how credit card rate but I'm expecting it to be good. Happy me :)

3 weeks to the day to heading home for Christmas... I'm excited!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Bits & Pieces

Well, I've managed to whittle down the large number of photos that I took on hols to the 27 that I've put up on flickr. Needless to say I have many more that I could put up but I'm trying to show some restraint :)

Week back at work is fine... been pretty busy. Just 16 working days to Christmas break :) Will be a long journey home but I'm looking forward to it!

No climbing or running at the moment... ankle has been misbehaving (i.e. swollen and sore) for over a week now. Hopefully it'll get bored and go back to normal soon.

Kiwi dollar is so weak at the moment... as a result I had a brief shopping visit at lunch time :) And no, it wasn't shoes!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Some holidays snaps

Sth Island was great. Don't even know where to start.
Visited Picton (dodgy motel - I slept on floor),
Christchurch (stayed with some friends),


the totally breathtaking Lake Tekapo,


Mt Cook National Park (2nd visit there and I still haven't seen Mt Cook - the mist at back of photo is Mt Cook),


Arthur's Pass (cold but so so beautiful),


Punakaiki,


Cape Foulwind (I love the irony of me staying in a place called that!) where we had beautiful meal and great time in local bar,


Motueka (beautiful bird sanctuary near beach),


Takaka (I LOVE the Wholemeal Cafe), Farewell Spit (stunning) and Pohara where we spent 2 nights in the wonderful Sans Souci Inn. Oh and photo is of when three grown men spent nearly 20 mins trying to get one tiny little bird out of the hut :)


And that'll have to do for the moment as there's no way I can blog everything that I saw and/or did. I have many many more photos (like nearly another 370) some of which will make it up on to flickr at some point :)
Oh my favourite new phrase from the holiday was "meadow muffins" to refer to sheep (or other) dung in fields :)
Oh and I realised this morning that I have one too many silver/grey hairs in my head. It would seem that age is catching up with my head.. maybe time for visit to hair colourist soon.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

And...

not only did I run the 5km run but I did it in 28 mins 36 seconds :)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

I did it.

I did the 5km.
I don't know my time as I was so focussed on getting over the line that I totally missed the rather huge big timer right in front of me! Hopefully I find out tomorrow.
Foot/leg is pretty sore but then again it was sore before I started so reckon it's fair to say that it isn't any better.
Calves feeling a little sore now... maybe time for some more stretching!
Pretty happy with myself.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Wonderful Music

Yesterday evening we went to see and listen to Hesperion XXI perform in Wellington town hall. Unfortunately both of the female vocalists were unable to perform as they were ill but... I need to just say that the music was wonderful. The instruments were wonderful... the oud had a beautiful sound from it. Jordi Savall's 360 year old viola de gamba was just beautiful with a fantastic performance of Musical Humours (Tobias Hume). I could go on about all of the performers but I'll stop as I'm not a musical critic. What I will do is finish by saying that, it was an evening of wonderful, beautiful music.

A leisurely Sunday

Last Sunday we had a wonderfully leisurely day which was needed by both of us though probably for different reasons! Dave had valid reason in that he had been involved in a 12 hr mountain bike team event the day before... I had been supporting :)

Kiwis really do these things properly... there were some serious tents set up with tables, chairs and BBQs. We weren't too bad either (thanks Ian!) with tent, 2 chairs and heater (which I needed later on in evening). Some of the teams take the event very seriously whereas others... well they're just doing it for fun (though having said that a 12 hr event is a 12 hr event!).



So, on Sunday lazy morning with a tasty brunch before heading out to go for a short walk along the Rimutaka Incline Trail. The sun, when I was in it, was lovely :) Not sure how far we got (probably not very) as there was lots of stopping to take photos... have I mentioned that I love my new camera??

Not looking good

So, tomorrow evening is the 5km corporate challenge run that I put my name down for about 4 weeks ago. I'm not a runner but I thought I'd try try running as a way of getting fit. I'd heard that the best way of starting running is to do intervals - walk, run, walk, run etc. So, I did a bit of a google and found the podrunner intervals podcast and decided that I'd start on the First Day to 5km podcast series which is meant to get you running 5km from scratch in 9 weeks. Now therein you may see the flaw... 9 weeks, yet I don't have 9 weeks. So, I've been giving it a go and wasn't finding it too hard until I hit week 4... and I'm finding it hard now. I was out on Saturday and I went out again this evening and my legs felt like lead! Not boding well for tomorrow is it? Oh well... at least the weather looks like it'll be good :) Wish me luck!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

A drink and food...

Been a very busy and somewhat stressful week. By last night I was exhausted by the time that I got back from my last camera class but at least I did get a good kip last night.

Today was busy like other days but after work it was out for a cocktail and some food at C3 in Chews Lane in Wellington. It's not somewhere I've been before but when I've walked past I can't say I've ever been thinking "I must go in there sometime". Just looks like one of those high ceilinged noisy places where the "good looking" people go. But we had a table to ourselves in the back upstairs, the food wasn't bad (well I only had a starter), the cocktail was different (Passion Fruit Cosmopolitan: a little on the boozy side for me but I did of course finish it) and the craic was great. Definitely lots of laughing and ughs and eeks during the course of the evening... A very enjoyable and fun evening :)



(There were more of us there than above but photos didn't turn out the best.. as can be seen by this one. Oh, and I'm only in one so reckoned if I was going to put one up it should be one containing a person people might recognize :) )

Sunday, 2 November 2008

From a cold wet gloomy Sat to a glorious Sunday...

that's been this weekend. Karen arrived up on Friday evening so after getting back from airport we went for a chilled walk along the sea front and then back here for some dinner... followed by some yummy banana cake :)

On Saturday morning I had my photography course field trip down in Civic Sq. This area is chosen as it's close to the water front, there's the library and there's normally loads of folk milling about. Not yesterday morning; it was wet, cold, windy (very) and generally gloomy! I took some photos, spent quite a while (about 15 photos worth) trying to figure out why all my photos were soooo blurry. I mean I knew it was windy but I wasn't shaking that much. Finally after much shaking of my hand I realised the problem - I had forgotten to switch back from manual focus to automatic!

The day was so so rotten that when I got back home we didn't venture out again until close to 7 when we headed off to the Matterhorn to meet Dave and to have some pre-dinner cocktails before heading to Le Metropolitain for a fairly tasty dinner! Later we ended up in Havana for a drink (not a direct route getting there but get there we did) and some music. We didn't stay long (that's probably down to me... I'm not a late night owl unfortunately) but it's a great little place with some cool music and some *very* interesting and eclectic outfits being worn by the patrons!

Today (Sunday) was just beautiful out! We met Dave for breakfast and then headed out to Makara Beach after a tasty brekkie in the Aro Cafe (who used to make the best Hollandaise Sauce in Wellington but took it off their menu!!!). It was just beautiful out there; wonderful blue sea, the Sth Island in the distance, lots of dogs, a mild breeze. So relaxing and nice and warm with it :)



This afternoon we introduced Karen to Moore Wilsons. Moore Wilsons is amazing - a huge kitchen ware department, lots of wines downstairs, a lovely fresh food section with lovely cheeses. It's a dangerous place for me, and I think others to go and a little while later we left with our respective purchases of kitchen bits and pieces, cheeses, wines, salads to name a few. After seeing Karen off on the airport bus I had a run down the very crowded waterfront and am now back here writing this! A great day and lovely weekend (even with the weather!)

Thursday, 30 October 2008

eeuughhh

A hectic busy day at work especially this afternoon. At points I was literally running from person A to person B to meeting C to meeting D. And weirdly I thoroughly enjoyed it... last time I had a day like this was in early-mid August. Luckily my climbing partner was unable to climb this evening (unfortunately she is not well) as I didn't get out of the office until well gone 6pm.

Then home to get ingredients for banana cake for "morning tea" in work tomorrow. This seems to be a Kiwi thing, or at least an ACC thing... we have two people leaving tomorrow - one for good, the other on extended maternity leave so we're having a morning tea where you bring in "home baked" stuff! Every other time I've bought something but I thought I'd try to make some banana cake tonight. Here's what I learnt...
1. Don't forget to add the eggs
2. A casserole dish will not do in place of a proper mixing bowl when you're using an electric whisk and there's flour involved.. and you forgot to add the eggs
3. Don't forget to add the sugar

So it's in the oven now but I'll be somewhat surprised if this is something that i can actually bring in to serve to other people tomorrow!!!

Looking forward to the weekend - my mate is up from Christchurch, I have my photography field class and hopefully we'll get some climbing in too.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Tum te tum

Climbing tonight. No foot cramps. I did pretty good. I got past that point on that wall - the green wall (see this post). I was well pleased. But what pleased me even more was that I not only got past that point but I made it to the top :-) It was hard; not one of those walls where there's just one difficult part and once you're past that it's a breeze, oh no, but I was half way there and if I could get past that point I was so going to get to the top. Feeling smugly pleased and happy with myself!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Names

Today in a meeting, one of the project managers that I am working with referred to me as "Ether". Not once, not twice, but every time that he mentioned my "name". Trust me, I fully understand the difficulty that the name "Aoife" can provide to anybody outside of Ireland, and I have indeed been called many things in my time but can somebody please please please explain to me how "Aoife" could possibly be pronounced "Ether"??

In this manager's defence I should add that this is not the first time that this has happened... at my Uni graduation uni ball I was informed that in first year my nickname was Gassie as a number of my friends thought that my name was "Ether" and not "Aoife". They at least realised before the first few months were up that this was not the case but I've been on site here for 14 months!

I'm not annoyed, I'm actually amused... and confused!

My annual rant...

I'll try to keep it brief and to the point but...
it's October and Kirkcaldi and Stains have Christmas trees up in their windows. October. Not even November (I'm not a fan of Christmas trees in November either mind you), but October. It's just wrong!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Oh dear...

well I didn't make it on my hike as indicated in my previous posting and well, I took it out on my credit card. Now in fairness I did go for a run this morning but it seems that pay back of some sort was still required.. so a number of hours later I've bought some cute shoes (can't get a photo I like so none - will try again later), a book, some running and trail socks, running shorts, running top, 2 Icebreaker t-shirts, and eh, oh, another book. Yeah. So, no more shopping for me at a week or two!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Not what I had in mind...

Not impressed at all. Had somewhat fretful sleepless night as bit worried about keeping up with hike today. Up at 7:35am. Packed. Big breakfast. Out door and boots on in plenty of time. Quite nice outside (nasty weather not due until after lunch). And before I get to exit of building left hurting with each step. Alot. On top of foot up to ankle. Get outside, flex it a bit. Hurts. Relace and think I'll walk to bus stop at least to see how it works. Don't make it as far as bus stop. Back to apartment. Phone Amanda. Eh, Amanda, my foot hurts. With each step. Whether it's still tender/bruised from last weekend I don't know but well, there you go, that's my Saturday day hike. I'm actually really disappointed because even though I was not looking forward to the weather this avo I've been looking forward to the hike itself since Sept when I found out about it. I thought it would be a good way for me to focus on NZ terrain which is little difficult to back home without having to worry about being off balance because of overnight gear on my back. Hmm... Well going to try out my new running shoes now... see if foot/shoes any better behaved.

Grumble grumble

Thinking positively...

I'm trying to do this honest. It's Friday evening and at 9am tomorrow I am due to be on a bus to Eastbourne where I will start on a day hike with some folk from the club (Medium, not Easy grade!). I suspect it'll be relatively long but hopefully I'll manage that fine as I'll only be carrying a day pack rather than a full pack. The downside is the weather... spring may be here but every now and then it sort of forgets. Tomorrow's weather (and the forecast for this hasn't changed since about Weds and current temperature implying this will indeed be the case) is for rain and a cold southerly with a high of 12 degrees. Oh dear is all I can think. I'm having images of being cold and wet and well, cold and wet. So I suspect that my pack may not be all that light after all as I carry lots of clothing! Don't hold your breath on the photos front either... I don't even intend on bringing my camera!

Speaking of photography I started my photography course on Weds evening. I really enjoyed and while my brain did go in to frazzle mode every now and then (might explain why I'm so exhausted today... still recovering) I'm looking forward to the next class!

Anyway, I've finished off the week nicely. Last night after climbing we went to Maria Pia's in Thorndon for dinner. Maria Pia's is a wonderful Italian restaurant with a fantastic amibance and wonderful home made pasta. Oddly I don't always love my food there but I always love the meal and whole dining experience there and the pasta itself is always superb. And the wine was pretty tasty too :)

This evening after work I met a friend in Old St. Pauls for some Fri evening jazz. I'm not a jazz afficionado but I really enjoyed it. And it was wonderful to see a female jazz pianist - not sure that happens too often. It's a wonderful building (historic) and I definitely want to head back there (there being about 5 mins up the road from me) with the camera.

And that's about it as I'm actually feeling pretty tired tonight.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A Weekend Update...

I seem to be recovering reasonably well from my tramp at the weekend even if ankles and hip bone a little tender :) We had a beautiful weekend weather wise and as it's the school holiers here there was a risk that the hut we were walking to would be fairly busy. Dave had been thinking about buying a 2 person tent so it was decided that this was a good opportunity to do that; he'd carry it up and if the weather was nice then we'd camp a little bit past the hut. We started walking about 11:15am on Saturday morning from Otaki Forks in beautiful weather. For about the first hour and a half or so we're on gorgeous track in the sun and I'm thinking, yeah, this could be good.

About 90 mins in there's a bit old slip that we have to climb around which I found fine. Then ground starts getting a little bit more difficult - lots of mud to avoid, tree roots, climbing up over big tree roots (most of the time this is fine as nature provided some wonderful foot holds). Then there's a climb (about 400 - 500 metres I think) up to the plateau where lunch was had. The pace isn't exactly fast but little did we know that I was going to get slower after lunch! I guess I was getting tired (carrying the pack.. I'm sure that's it :) ) but it was the constant criss cross (after descending from plateau) across tributary that took it from me. Initially yes I'm trying not to get feet wet but then that becomes less of an issue as i know boots are going to be flooded later when crossing the river to the hut, but what I find hard is just balance and trusting my feet between/on rocks in the river. At one point I'm so busy watching the ground (this is back on the dry ground - read muddy ground) that I walked head first in to a rather large and thick tree branch. That hurt :( Anyway after close to 6 hrs we get to the decision point to take detour up around river to hut or to walk down stream (in stream) to the river and then cross that twice to the hut. The former approach was going to add about 45 - 60 mins to the route. The latter is about 15 min walk to river and about 10-15 mins from there so while I was somewhat apprehensive of wading thigh/hip deep across a rather large river I decided to try it. Unfortunately we got down there and it was too deep/fast so with only two of us to form a chain we decided it prob was a little dangerous. So turned around and back up the detour route.

I was very relieved to see hut, which, it turned out, we had to ourselves! It was great. We had leisurely, relatively gourmet tramping dinner of pasta, pesto and asparagus before crashing for the night. For the first time in ages I wasn't freezing in my sleeping bag or in the hut.. it was great!
Preparing dinner
\
Walk out on Sunday was much more enjoyable. Whether this was because I knew what to expect or because I was in front setting the pace I don't know but much better. A portion of the track is totally blocked by some bad tree fall and whereas on the Saturday we somehow or other clambered over (a little on the dangerous side as never really knew if we had solid ground beneath us), on Sunday we just went in the river/stream. Trees are of course large so there was some interesting swinging under tree trunks even there to avoid the fall. But the difference on Sunday was that it was just more fun and much safer avoiding the tree fall in the river than on land! I did finally manage to grab a few photos once we got out of the bush and back in the sun on Sunday afternoon... so you'll see nice photos of this tramp only rather than "aoife finds difficult" track:)
The Swing Bridge
A thoroughly exhausted Aoife got back to Wellington about 5:45 on Sunday where I did not allow myself to get in to shower (which trust me, was greatly required) until pack emptied and washing on. I had had good intentions of also cleaning/waxing boots as well but that got postponed.

All in all, a challenging but enjoyable tramp with some fantastic New Zealand Spring weather :)

Sunday, 12 October 2008

I could..

I could write a blog entry about our tramp (good, long, great weather) this weekend... but that would require more energy than I currently possess. So I won't. No real reason for this particular entry then of course but not sure I'm awake enough to worry about that :)

Friday, 10 October 2008

The Ballad of Sarah Palin

I'm not actively following the leadup to the American elections but let's face it, it's hard to ignore. And we've heard so much about this Sarah Palin (anybody even know who Obama's running mate is??), not much of it good so I did a little youtube search to find something to make me smile :)

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Running out of Patience...

I honestly do not know how much more I can take of this "green" wall. Tonight was my fourth week attempting this and I'm tired of getting stuck at the same point every week. I think I could deal with this if I was getting a bit further on each attempt but getting stuck at the same point... well, trust me when I say that I was not "being too hard on myself" (Spencer's words not mine). I'm tired of this and it seems to me that I need a lesson on technical climbing if there's such a thing. I intend to speak to the people in Fergs and see if anybody there can help me with some technical moves that I don't have but need! Of course it could just be that it's a nerve/arm strength/leg strength thing too but at some point I'm going to need the technical stuff too... I ain't good with using the wall unless it's obvious bit of rock (1 inch) jut/ledge to use.

Last weekend I finally finished John Irving's "Until I Find You"... if you haven't read then my suggestion would be go, "read it". It's fantastic. It's a long novel (close to 1000 pages) but it's so well written with fantastic characters that I loved it from start (literally) to end! I started reading "The Italian Woman" by Iris Murdoch after that which I have to admit I'm finding much more readable than I expected! But I decided the other evening as it's such a lovely light thin book I should keep it for our tramp this weekend. We're going to walk up to Waitewaiwai (Y-te-Y-Y) Hut from Otaki Forks on Saturday and back out on Sunday... apparently about a 6 hrs walk. Well I need the exercise (hence finally buying some running shoes this weekend)!!

As for the runnng shoes... I feel I can trying something a little more than climbing, tramping and pilates. My aim is to do the Corporate Challenge 5km run on the 12th November. As I've never actually done any serious running (Bray to Greystones once does not count!) I don't really expect to be able to run the whole thing (but I'm still aiming for that) but sure I have no doubt that I could easily walk that bit that I can't run.

Enough waffle so that's it for now...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Menu... for anybody interested

Last Saturday evening's very tasty veggie degustation menu that I had at Citron...

Degustation Menu


Amuse Bouche
A small bite of food to amuse the mouth, invigorate the palate, whet the appetite

Eggplant mousseline w cocoa nib & micro greens

Cherry tomato w olive paint, avocado, purple potato crisps
& tomato oil

Parsnip dumplings on sweet corn puree w glazed baby onions,
truffled chestnut & cumin foam

Indian spiced split red lentil soup

Blue cod w cauliflower crumb, balsamic caviar, buttered turnip
& parsley couli

Portabello & crushed potato galette w edemame beans, Spring pesto
& aubergine ragout

Meyer vintage gouda w peach & almond paste

Nectarine & green tea refresher

Pain d’épices w dark chocolate mousse, cherry compote
& crème de cassis caramel

Petit fours

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Weekend bits and pieces...

Quick note to say hello again. All good here... spring is really trying to show it's face though yesterday and today I'm afraid that it got lost somewhere along the way. Definitely a little cold today and the October and November wind is starting to show it's face.

Saturday evening we went to Citron for what I can only describe as a wonderful meal. We arrived at 8pm and finished at 11:45pm... well I didn't know, I've never had a degustation menu before! It was by far one of the best meals (in a restaurant) I've had in a long long time and definitely the best since I got to NZ. I think what I was so impressed with was that out of all the courses I only got fish in one (so they didn't take the easy option), I got vegetarian cheese and I really felt that they had put as much effort and thought in to my courses as they had for a meat eaters. And not only that but my courses were not totally distinct from Dave's - they would share a sauce or idea. This place is not what you'd call cheap and cheerful but I'd have no hesitation in recommending Citron to anybody wanting something a little special. Wonderful :)

Saturday afternoon (why write in chronological order I ask you?) we visited the Botanic Gardens to see the tulips that I'd heard a number of people asking about. There were thousands of them about but I think what I really enjoyed was that we ended up just wandering photographing trees, wild flowers, and lots of other beautiful plants.


212 photos later I was feeling pretty tired.. and windswept :)
Feeling a little windswept...

Oh, we went to see Wall-E last night... it's a wonderfully cute and amusing, and sometimes sad movie. Clever (watch out for the "is it a fork or a spoon" bit), funny, and definitely moving. If you haven't seen it go see it!!! It's great :)

Okay that's it. Oh feeling very pleased as I had 56 views of my flickr photostream on the 28th.. and I've had two photos added as favourites in the last fortnight. As I've said plenty of times before, it's the little things in life...

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Look what I won... and other ramblings!

So a few days back Kathleen awarded me the following:

award-from_hootinanni.jpg

This is a Portugeuse aware meaning "This blog invests and believes in proximity". Kathleen and myself went to uni together in Scotland (she's Scottish and I ain't and neither of us currently live in Scotland). We didn't keep in touch much after we graduated but somehow or other (I'm not sure how) we got in touch a few years after I'd left. We exchanged maybe one or two emails a year and a Christmas card. But since I've discovered Kathleen's blog I've been able to use that to keep in touch much more as we now actively comment on each others activities and I get to hear about her husband Dave who we were both at uni with and the two kids. It's great :) I'll pass this aware on a little bit but I'm going to hang on to it for a week or two :)

I'm afraid I've been bad at keeping up to date recently; just haven't had the inclination I'm afraid. I had a superbly relaxing lazy weekend though not much in the way of photography (light wasn't great). Rewatched Sense & Sensibility on Mon evening and while nothing will ever beat P&P in my eyes, I do enjoy this movie a little bit more each time that I watch it :)

On Tues evening it was lovely and mild so I decided to drop some CDs and DVD back to the library (short walk) but took my camera with me. 1 hr and 50 photos later I got home! Taking photos at night is hard... I need to practice!
Bridge

I was climbing this evening - it never ceases to fascinate me that my warm up climb scares me the most. I always forget this but then am really quite nervous when I'm doing it. I reclimbed that "challenge" wall that you were getting weekly updates on a while back. It's the first time I've done it since I managed to complete and I didn't expect to complete it tonight... I nearly gave up at one point but decided to give it one more try and no hassle so pleased that I did. There's a wall I've been trying the last few weeks and I keep getting stuck on the same point... maybe I'll do better next week...

Work wise things are interesting if that's the word to use. I'll be taking on a new role in a few weeks (very different to what I've been doing - more varied, more autonomy, more responsibility etc etc etc) and have started attending a few meetings related to this. In some ways I'm looking forward to it and in others I'm worried... But I wanted to push myself and this is the perfect opportunity!!

Heading to Citron for dinner on Sat... really looking forward to this! We'll be having the 9 course degustation menu and when I was on the phone explaining that I was vegetarian I was blown away by their helpfulness... how do I feel about gelatine (ugh), free range -v- normal eggs, animal -v- plant rennet in cheeses... really fantastic. So stay tuned for the review :)

And on that merry little note I'm going to go get some food... getting peckish :)

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

So... the camera

So apart from cooking and eating tasty cupcakes from Tempt this weekend, we also headed out to Somes/Matui Island on Sunday for a few hours. We did spend a few hours out there last Jan or Feb I believe and have been intending to head back in ages. Our original plan was to bring a picnic out with us but I'm afraid that our lack of planning meant that we just grab some sambos in New World before getting the ferry across. But none of that mattered as it was a beautifully sunny day out there and I had my new camera to play with. But oh my Lord, there's so much to learn, understand and remember! There was much (and I mean ALOT) patient explaining of lighting, exposure, ISO sensitivity (set it myself or go with Auto), white balance etc etc etc but at the end of it all I think I managed to get one or two pics that I'm happy with. I've put up a few on flickr but here are a few as well...

I like this because with the compact I could do close up but I could never get it quite as sharp as it is here...


How could anybody not find this fuzzy little lamb adorable??
Hello?


Reflections

Back in Wellington I also couldn't resist playing with the shutter speed to freeze water... I'm easily amused :)
Water...

For those of you asked

Thanks to all of you (here and on LJ) who seemed so sure that dinner would turn out okay! It did. Well actually, it wasn't fantastic but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I think one has to have a little more energy than I possessed that day to this meal properly (quite a bit of prep) and it needs to be served with some nice to stop that empty plate thing happening. Next time maybe I'll remember the tomatoes and manage to get dried chick peas and remember to not pulverise the veggies in the blender and I'll serve the whole lot with some nice green beans baked in garlic butter in the oven... yummy :)

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Dinner.

I don't have a good feeling about tonights dinner. At all. I'm a little worried. I've made (it's in the oven as I type) a vegetarian shepherds pie with goats cheese creamy mash. I've made this a number of times in the past though admittedly only when cooking for friends as it's little time consuming to make and there's a bit of washing up involved afterwards. But it's yummy. Ordinarily.

However firstly, my local supermarket has no black eyed beans. Yeah I know they're such an uncommon bean that they couldn't possibly stock them. It's bad enough that they have a small range of dried pulses but it was somewhat annoying to see they didn't even have them in a tin. Then no celeriac but that can be down seasonal and/or geographic reasons etc so I just replaced that with another vegetable.

Then not long after I got home I realised I'd forgotten to buy fresh tomatoes. The tomatoes are meant to be skinned (by me) and then layered on top of the vegetable/pulse mixture before the mash goes on top. I had plenty of time to get them but I was just too tired so I thought I could probably get away with it.

Then I think I was a little overly enthusiastic with my new cool red Kenwood kitchen appliance which is meant to be used to cut the vegetables very small. I don't think it's meant to be used to make a watery mush (the water coming from the obliterated vegetables). So em... well... here's hoping it's at least edible!!

But... at least there's nice cup cakes for dessert :) Photos to follow...
And here's the cup cake (or one of them at least!)...
Chocolate Cup Cake

Friday, 12 September 2008

A new camera

Today I splashed out and bought a Nikon D40 camera. I'm signed up for photography course which starts in a few weeks and I had intended on borrowing an SLR for the course as compacts not suitable. In my head I reckoned that I'd buy an SLR after the course though I have to admit that I was/am reluctant to spend alot of money on a camera. Anyway, it was pointed out to me last night that Wellington Photographic Supplies have a special offer on that includes the Nikon D40 (body and lens), 1Gb memory and a Lowepro camera bag for what can only be called a pretty good price. So, I decided I almost definitely wouldn't get something as good for that price after the course so I hot footed in there today (day off). And as my credit card was put through its paces I found out that the same store offers a free 2 hr lesson (in their larger city store)! So I'll follow their recommendation of playing with the camera for a week or two and then make appointment for the lesson so hopefully by the time I get doing my course I'll be able to do more than just turn the camera on and off :)

I thought about attaching a review of the Nikon D40 but decided against it you actually have to understand about photography and cameras and stuff (see how I like to stick to the technical terminology here?) to understand these thing (which I don't yet) so instead here are some flickr photos taken using a D40 (not that I expect mine to get to quite that quality but...)

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Gorillas and Chocolate...

I guess many of you are probably already familiar with this but every time I see it I stop and watch.. it's great :)

The Dark Knight...

We finally got to see The Dark Knight in The Embassy cinema last night. This is a beautiful cinema that was totally refurbished for the premiere of The Lord of the Rings. This is only the second time that I've been to see a movie here and though the seats were lovely and comfy I have to say that the volume was just too loud. This is a long movie and for the last half hour I was covering my right ear as it was all just too loud!

So the movie... I have to say that I really enjoyed the first part of it but it was just too long! There were a number of scenes that I just didn't see the point of, for example, the SWAT/hostage scene. And what was the point of Two Face? He appeared for last while and then disappeared again but I'm not sure what he contributed to the story! But on the good side I loved the first part of the movie and Heath Ledger was just fantastic as The Joker!! Freaky and all as his character was, he was great to watch!!

So, for anybody who enjoyed Batman then I'd say go watch it but be warned... it is a little on the long side so make sure you visit the bathroom before the movie starts :)

The Ladies

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A day in the sun...

Well we had a fair bit of rain last week and we're having a fair bit of rain this week, but Sunday was a wonderful respite with no rain and lots of sun! As the sun had been forecast we decided on Fri evening that we'd get up early on Sunday and head out to Castlepoint.

Castlepoint is about 65km east of Masterton which itself is about, some bigger distance north of Wellington. Hey I'm no good with distance but I do know that we travelled about 400km on Sunday so... Have a look at this and you should be able to see Wellington bottom left with Masterton about three quarters way up in centre (follow Highway 2) and then Castlepoint out on the east coast.

On the way out there, not long after leaving Greytown we got some beautiful views of the snow topped Tararuas... I don't know if it took my breath away but I certainly thought it was quite stunning.

The Snowtopped Tararuas

Castlepoint has a lighthouse and beautiful craggy headlands where there was a lovely walk that we could do and once at the top it was totally isolated with no sound other than the sea and birds. I very much enjoyed just lying there basking in the sun... until I got cold :)

The Sky

So once I'd stopped looking at the sky we wandered over to the reef rock and then up to the lighthouse. All just lovely and definitely a much easier walk up to the lighthouse here than the one at Cape Palliser! And as ever, the wacky Kiwi need to hang something off fences or crosses or trees exists here as elsewhere...

Home of Lost Soles

Thursday, 4 September 2008

It'll be wet then...

"Wellington. Just rain all day and a high of 12"

This is literally what the radio broadcaster said earlier when giving the weather forecat for today. I think it's the use of the word "just" that I find so amusing :)

Ouch, ooh, eek...

That pretty much was the reaction that my feet got out of me this evening when I was attempting to climb and even when I was just belaying! The outcome was that I did one climb as my feet were totally misbehaving. We were wondering if it was because they had just got too cold with all the standing around in advance. The advance standing around was because it was the launch of the Wellington City Council Outdoor Festival for which which the tramping club is hosting a number of day walks. There were some nibbles (cheese, nuts, lots of dried fruit and fresh fruit... all quite yummy) and fruit juices, bit of a talk, nice canvas bag with some goodies and then free climbing. It would be great to see something like this in Dublin but I fear that the mentality is such that this would not work :( But I guess that just means I'll enjoy it as much as I can while I'm here :)

Sunday, 31 August 2008

It all went okay :)

Seems that I didn't pack too much (not clothes anyway) nor too little. I had a wonderful tramp with some of the best weather we've had in ages (i.e. it didn't rain!). Our weekend tramp started Camp Kaitoke where we took a track that let us join up with the Dobson Track. From there we walked along the Dobson Track before doing a relatively steep descent down to Smith Creek Shelter. Ordinarily when doing this walk you can go over Buffer Saddle and walk along Smith Creek to get to Smith Creek Shelter (shorter route) but due to all the tree fall DOC had closed that portion of the track. We ate a much enjoyed lunch by Smith Creek once we got to the bottom. The rest of walk consisted of a stream crossing (we ain't talking an Irish stream here... this was feet in water lark) which I thought had a relatively strong flow but I knew that by Kiwi standards it wasn't strong at all!
Marchant Stream Crossing

Once we'd crossed there we walked on a bit before I stopped to wring out my socks. Admittedly boots and feet still wet but the wringing out business does mean that you're not sloshing in boots and that makes a big difference! I had a near miss at one point where I stepped in to some seriously icky mood (there was lots of that but not all of it was deep) but luckily I managed to avoid falling over. It was close though! Lots more walking in water (but on for 2 or 3 steps) and I practised my long strides to try to completely avoid some some water where possible; not as easy as it sounds to do and keep balance when pack on back! We got to Tutuwai at 4:45pm yesterday afternoon which was about 6.5 hours after we set out so not bad.
Tutuwai Hut

I knew the return journey today was going to be harder as there would be the climb up to the Dobson track and of course because I was just a bit sorer (hip bones, ankle bones this morning though right now it's that plus right shoulder and my lower back is quite sore to the touch too). So, we had an early night last night. I listened to some Podcasts and Amanda read for a while. I have to admit the latter surprised me as she's so careful about weight in her pack but I can see how/why a book is important. But by about 8pm it was "torches out" for the night. Actually I wasn't nearly as sleepy as I expected to be but knew we'd be up early and I was getting cold. So I slept in two pairs of thermal long johns, two polyprop tops, a scarf and a had though the latter came off during the night! Fashion or appearances do not count on tramps, trust me :) Lots of waking up but at least i wasn't too cold (we reckon it hit about zero last night as there was lots of frost about this morning).

We were on the track by 7:45 though there was about a 10 min delay at our first stream crossing (Irish stream size) while we figured out how to get my camel pak bladder out of the container so I could dip it in stream to fill it up. It was a beautiful clear day but very cold; long johns on under shorts and gloves and I had my fleece on for about 45 minutes which surprised me. Again the views of the stream/river were just gorgeous. So many lovely trees, rocks... it's a beautiful area. The climb up to Dobson track (a number of hours later) took us about 1.25 hours with two 10 min breaks. I have to say that I did find this hard as I'm much slower going uphill and it's not just straight walk up it's lots of clambering over roots or using roots as steps to get up so it was relatively steep. I tried to look on positive side doing this which is that my long legs (don't think of them as that long!) allowed me to manage this easier than a shorter person. I also do believe that the climbing helped here (as it did at lots of other stages) as instead of just seeing a steep bank and going "how do I do this?" I look for places for my feet and trust myself to lever myself up.

Beautiful sun at the top; I actually went down to a t-shirt (actually I did that during the climb) and a sun hat. Funnily though I remembered the walk from here back to Camp Kaitoke (over 2 hours) from yesterday as being easy track... none of that at all! I guess I was in the first few hours of the tramp yesterday when doing this so I didn't find it hard whereas today it was just a little more difficult as I was definitely tired by now!
Me at Fan Stream

Anyway, it was a fantastic weekend and it was great to get outside and not be rained on. Amanda, after having me lead for the whole walk so the pace was one I would be comfortable with, can now ready herself for a proper fast fit tramp in a few weekends. I expect to be a little sore tomorrow morning!

I managed to get some photos yesterday but I guess I should have recharged my camera battery so none from today (when it was a much brighter day). And for those of you interested, there are more photos on flickr.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Too much, too little or just enough?

It's Fri evening and I'm definitely in the "have I got enough/too little clothes/food combined with will I really be able to keep walking with big pack for up to 7 hours? Have I enough warm clothes?" phase of packing for a tramp. I'm heading off in the morning with my climbing buddy Amanda to Tutuwai Hut from Ranch Rd end. As in the climbing she is significantly more advanced than me and would even say herself that she is currently very fit and very strong. I'm not. Fit or strong. But she knows that so I'm sure it'll be cool. Won't it?

Will update on Sun evening or some time next week. Wish me luck...

Thursday, 28 August 2008

It's looking good!

I did a good climb this evening and I'm happy :) It was one of those days where I didn't even know if I'd go as I hadn't been feeling the best but I reckoned I could do at least one climb and if nothing else I was fine for belaying for Amanda. My warm up climb was not good; ended up on the easy climb that i haven't done for ages and well I got nervous! I didn't quite know where to go or how to do the climb. It was awful! For my next climb I did that yellow grade 15 that I've only managed once before and I got it. It was hard but I got there so I felt much better when I got down. And the big news is that I completed my challenge wall this evening. For weeks and weeks I've been getting closer and closer and today I managed it. At one point my hand was about half a foot away from ceiling beam but I just couldn't reach it. I nearly cried 'cos I realised i was just going to have to get higher to touch it... but managed it in the end. So all good.

Planning to go tramping this weekend with Amanda and for my first weekend away in months the forecast is *not* rain. There's definitely a spring feeling in the air this week... it's all good :)

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Colours...

I'm struggling with colours these days:( Chances are nobody's noticed but I've changed the colours on my blog about 4 times in the last 2 or 3 days and I'm still not convinced with what I've got. But I do have to thank COLOURlovers for the different colour palates that I have been experimenting with. Current palate is Terra?. For anybody interested in colours then I recommend you go have a nose at this site :)

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Guess it had to happen

I went climbing last Thurs with Amanda. It turns out that what with me canceling a few weeks back after no sleep the night before and Amanda having to cancel the following after hurting her feet, it had been almost 3 weeks since we'd climbed. And my God did it show! The place was very busy so my warm up climb was on my challenge wall; admittedly I did get further than I've got before but it totally took it out out of my arms! From my elbows to tips of my fingers I felt like every little bit of strength which had been there (and that wasn't much to begin with :) ) had been sapped on that climb. For my second climb I got about 80% of the way up and couldn't get any further. I tried three times falling on each attempt so gave up at that point. For my third climb I started on that grade 15 I managed for the first time on my previous climb. I didn't get very far... on either attempt. So last Thursday I didn't manage to complete a single climb!!! Here's hoping I'm more successful next Thursday :)

You learn something new every day!

Okay, so I don't know if this is literally true but it certainly was true yesterday. What we learnt yesterday (actually we learnt a few things!) is that when your 4WD gets bogged down in sand and decides it ain't going anywhere, then letting the air out of your tyres should be enough to allow you get back in to car and drive it back to solid ground! Seriously! {well obviously a little digging of sand away from wheels helps too}

Yesterday we headed out to Owhiro Bay and did a little 4 wheel driving. On the way back there were a fair few pedestrians so we drove down on to sand (well there were plenty of other tyre marks there indicating other cars had done the same) and at one point I thought we were going to get stuck but then we started to make progress but unfortunatley not for long. Within a few minutes you could rev the engine all you wanted but the car sure as hell wasn't going anywhere! We got out of the car and I have to admit I was surprised to see how bogged down in the sand we were. We started to walk back in the hope of getting help. My biggest concern was that the car was only about 3 metres away from the water so we didn't really have much time. But totally no need to fret as as we stopped a red 4wd to ask them if they could help and it was this guy who came out with the tip about letting the air out of the tyres. We started to walk back to car and before I knew it this complete stranger was down helping us. Then I realised that other guys were walking towards us with tow ropes. There was no "hi, what's up?" (well that bit was obvious actually) or even asking if they could help, nope they just started hooking up the tow rope to tow us out. But we got air out of tyres first and then red jeep stranger jumps in and drives the Bighorn back up to hard ground. The other two take off their tow rope, jump in to their jeep and drive off... as does our helper. I couldn't get over how, within half an hour of us being stranded we were back on solid ground all thanks to three complete strangers who start helping us without actually being asked.

So there we were, safe from the water. With 4 flat tyres. Luckily there was a bicycle pump in back of jeep so, eh, well, that's how we got enough air back in the tyres to allow us to drive out and off to a service station. Certainly made for an interesting afternoon... the glass of wine with yummy mushroom gnocci in The Lido was much needed by time we got back to Wellington :)

Sunday, 17 August 2008

We could always walk...

Yesterday was a lovely day with lots of sunshine and a nice little bite in the air. We were planning on going to see 4 - Vivaldi Four Seasons at 3:30pm in the Penthouse in Brooklyn. I'm thinking that I'd love to get a bit of a walk in at some that day. About 1:30 it's suggested that we could maybe walk up to the cinema. My initial reaction something along the lines of, "Oh, right, isn't that quite a long walk?" I'm informed that it's probably 30-40 mins which I have no problem with but I'm reckoning it's actually closer to an hour. So after a bit of toing and froing we check timing for the walk on google. This indicates walk is about 32 minutes so I'm cool with that.

So, we head off at 2 to allow time for some food in the Cafe there. Before long I'm down to a t-shirt as the sun was so lovely. And turns out that I'm so so wrong with the timing... we were at the cinema within 25 minutes! So that left lots of time for our lunch. During lunch there's a bit of a joke made about "imagine if all the tickets were sold out when we went to buy ours". Ha ha, like that's going to happen with a 3:30pm showing of a non-mainstream movie. As we have some time to spare we fill it by eating some seriously rich chocolate brownie and then we head out to counter to buy our tickets. Unbelievably there are only four seats left... for the front row!! I hesitate as I really don't want to sit in the front row and while that's happening some guy goes up and buys three tickets. So, there you go, you never can tell what'll sell out, can you?!

Friday, 15 August 2008

We are not happy...

I like Lyric FM. I particularly like listening to Sunday's edition of Gloria at work on a Mon morning. Unfortunately I will not be doing this for the next few weeks (how long do these Olympics go on for??) http://www.rte.ie/lyricfm/pressreleases/1220688.html

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Em.. six unusual things...

Well I've been tagged by the circus controller to list six unusual facts about myself. So...

1. I find it really hard to this "write X things about me" stuff!
2. I find it quite difficult to make decisions...
3. I've been put on too much weight since moving to New Zealand
4. Most of the time I can only drink one coffee per day as any more makes my eyes sore... oh and I have to eat within hour or two if drinking caffeine (even diet coke)
5. I'm actually enjoying doing my indoor wall climbing :)
6. It's quite normal for me to be wearing 2 or 3 layers of clothing when everybody else in the room is only wearing 1.

Oh and I'll tag Sonya in the Sun now...

Monday, 11 August 2008

A Lazy Saturday...

So while the weekend started over somewhat, (read very) cold, I had a wonderful and much needed, lazy Saturday. There was a very slow start as it was bitterly cold outside and I wasn't getting out of bed until the surrounding air temperature was well past the 10 degrees that it was when I woke up!

So, a number of hours later it was up and out to brunch/lunch and some gentle browsing around town before we get the cable car up to the Botanic Gardens. Because, even though it was bitterly cold (and I was well cold) it was a lovely sunny day (at least when we headed up to gardens). At the top there was a lovely view out over the city.


After taking a few pics we wandered in to the Cable Car museum; I thought that this was going to be a quick 10 min wander around but I reckon we spent a good half hour in there! V interesting actually! They had a wonderful 100 year old cable car that you're able to not only touch but actually get in to. Brilliant :)




The aim after that had been to go for a stroll through the gardens but it was so so cold and then it started to rain so we ended up heading back to a warm flat where (in fairness about 4pm by this stage) where I spent the next few hours lazing stretched out on the couch inside a winter down feather sleeping with heat on full blast... and reading Dracula. Rest of the evening was well chilled will some wine, Indian take away and one of those Bourne movies (the second one) which I hadn't actually seen before... and really quite enjoyed :)

As this is possibly one of the coldest weekends I've experienced here, it was definitely a double duvet night!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Make it stop...

At the end of a relatively intense and very busy week at work I reckoned that the best way to start trying to wind down for the weekend would be to go see a silly movie, and I felt that Mamma Mia might just be the one that could achieve that.

I listen to Mark Kermode's weekly movie review podcast and I couldn't wait to hear his review of this film a while back. Needless to say he pointed out how badly directed it is, plot is non existent (my words not his), how Pierce Brosnan can't sing and Colin Firth can't dance. However, what sold this film for me was the fact that it is apparently so bad it's brilliant! So, on Fri evening we pottered along to the Penthouse to watch this. I was relatively sure that I'd end up enjoying it but I did have some concern for my movie viewing companion. So the film starts and the initial reunion scenes are excrutiatingly bad. I mean awful. Horrendous. But you know, some of the songs are amusing and after a while I'm starting to enjoy it. Then, during the song, Dancing Queen when Meryl Streep is dancing/singing across island and all the women drop their burdens and join in, I quietly hear the words "make it stop" whispered beside me. And what was my sympathetic response to this? I just started laughing uncontrollably! I tried once or twice to say something kindly to try to soothe battered ears but I couldn't get words out as I couldn't stop laughing. By the end of the scene I had tears rolling down my face!

Anyway, for anybody thinking of going to see this film, DO IT! It is truely awful and as a result very funny. It's the three blokes who make the film for me though... can't say I thought that any of the women seemed to relax in to their roles... or maybe it's just that the dialogue they had was so awful I don't know. But I highly recommend going to see Mamma Mia.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

The weekend

I was pretty exhausted by the time I got Friday evening. It was a fairly intense week at the office though not necessarily a bad week. Just busy. Our company has a new office in Wellington so we had our monthly meeting there seeing it furnished for the first time and having a little drink before I left by 5:30.


I viewed a couple more apartments on Fri but thinking that I might just stay where I am for another 6 months. It's a good location and I do like my kitchen here :) Fri evening after dinner (with some gorgeous French Comte cheese :) ) we watched Borat. Admittedly Borat is not a movie I've been jumping up and down with excitement to watch but I felt I should watch 10 or so mins before continuing to diss it. Sort of ended up watching it all (bar the last 10 mins or so) but it was more in a state of "is this for real?", "surely it gets better", before I realised that, well, I just don't get it. I smiled in one or two places but I can't say that I find it particularly funny but I know that it's because, as I said, I just don't get it!

Sat morning I checked out a 2 bed house but as I'd been warned, Aro Street just doesn't really get winter sun because of the hills (well it is in Aro Valley) and it was cold in there! It looked nice in the photos which is why I went for a nose but I guess after hearing from my climbing partner that mould grew on her clothes while she lived there as the house was so damp, that I was somewhat wary going to view! Watched another couple of episodes of the Long Wary Around (while enjoying a rather delicious bottle of Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir). It really is a fantastic series and the journey through Mongolia and along the Road of Bones in far Eastern Europe looks so so difficult! The bikes are holding up great as well!!

Nice chilled slow start to the day today which was lovely. Horrible forecast for the day so I made arrangements to go climbing at 4pm with Amanda in Fergs. We headed out to Jackson St in Petone and found a whole bunch of great looking cafes. Definitely heading back there. We drove out to the coast and it was lovely out there. Definitely picnic in spring/summer location. Don't get me wrong, this was not a sandy attractive beach at all (no golden sand or the likes) but the water is just beautiful there and we could see the Sth Island in the distance. Anyway the forecast was so wrong as it turned out to be a beautiful day! Not hot but relatively mild and very sunny. Could have headed off early for a walk this morning if we'd know that! But not to worry.. I headed down to Fergs a little early as I decided to buy my own climbing shoes. It's only $3 a time to rent them but as they're rented I always had to wear socks and they were a little wide. So I now own my own shoes... and didn't need to wear socks. Have to admit that they're bloody uncomfortable except for when I'm climbing. Walking between climbs not nice and I was well happy to take them off at the end of it all :)
Climbing Shoes.JPG
And with them I did 5 climbs (only completed 3 of them) but one of those was a grade 15... haven't done a 15 before! Had a go on my challenge wall but it was my last climb and while I got further than before my arms, me, was just too tired to manage it (remember I haven't completed this wall before).

And now I'm having a lazy chilled Sunday evening :)

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Is it the weekend yet?

Oh it's not. It's still only Wednesday. It's been a busy week and it's going to keep staying busy for a while yet I reckon.

On a good note my new macbook arrived on Monday and today I got a phone call from travel agent about my flight home at Christmas. I'm currently waitlisted for an upgrade on three of the four long haul legs there and back (I don't have enough air miles to upgrade for all four legs). Anyway turns out that I hit the top of the list for the Kuala Lumpur - Amsterdam leg which is good news indeed... especially as I didn't expect any of the upgrades to come through!

In the meantime I'm also looking for somewhere new to live as I'm not renewing the lease on this place. I want some sun. Have seen 3 places so far and none is runner. One was sort of a runner for a few hours but on further consideration it's not.

Unfortunately I don't really have anything of interest to say right now so I think I'll head off and read my book (Dracula if anyone's interested!)

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Briefly...

Whoops, it's been a few weeks since my last post. Mixture of being busy at work, busy outside of work and missing my Mac Book :( It's definitely winter here; cold today and it was very very very very wet last Saturday when I was tramping. Absalutely everything I was wearing was totally wet after 3 hours and there we were heading to a hut with no heat of any sort. Anyway, as someone hurt their knee we were actually back at the van a little after 4 hrs walking.

Climbing this evening. I'm quite disgusted to find out that my current "challenge" wall is only a grade 14! I mean it seems so much harder than the other grade 14 which I use as my warm up climb now. It was so busy in there this evening that i didn't even get a chance to get to my challenge. Anyway, it'll probably be Sun week before I get to climb again and I'm telling you, I'm gonna get to the top... no matter how many attempts it takes!! And by that time I should have got my act together and bought my own climbing shoes.

Still haven't found a tenant for my apartment in Ireland. Bit depressing really so I try not to think about it. Will have to start viewing some places here too as I'm moving out on 24th Aug so need to find somewhere new to live. On a positive note, the insurance company have placed a purchase order with one of their suppliers to replace my Macbook as it's totally kaput after that water spill.

So, after a week of running around non stop at work (which I'm enjoying in a way) I'm glad that tomorrow is Friday... I'm ready for the weekend!

Monday, 7 July 2008

The weekend...

was cold and wet but at least I spent it in the company of good friends in Christchurch.
There was lots of rain. There was lots of wind. There was in fact lots of snow... though that disappeared as fast as it appeared.
Generally chilled lazy weekend while inside and cold wet weekend while outside :)
It's Cold


Thursday, 3 July 2008

Oh Yeah!!!

I'm on such a high after climbing this evening! For anybody who's been climbing for any period of time what I did is no big thing but I'm sure nonetheless they'll remember that wonderful feeling when they did their first single colour climb... two of them. So tonight I climbed a grade 13 and a grade 14. And Amanda persuaded me to try this seriously hard looking climb - it's actually the wall overhangs, ledges, straight vertical, that makes this particular climb difficult. First attempt I get as far as the overhang (horizontal, no sloping here) and I just couldn't reach over. We did some other climbs and then she persuaded me to try again. This I thought was a total waste of time as this climb requires alot of strength in upper body (or at least alot more than i have) but I gave it a go and actually got further. I got over the horizontal overhang and carried on up to the ledge. And then I fell. But I feel so thrilled with tonight. Yup there were toe/foot cramps like last week but fewer and I just have to keep relaxing and try to avoid the really small footholds where I need to put all my body weight to move on until my feet are stronger. V pleased :)

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Windy out there...

Oh... maybe I won't be taking the camera out for a walk today. Admittedly listening to the wind howling outside at 4am this morning I did wonder what I should expect when I woke up again this morning. Well, not a lot of anything good it seems! Rain and lots of wind out there so I thought I'd check forecast to see if it was going to clear up later. Nope. In fact severe weather warnings have been issued:
SEVERE GALE SOUTHERLIES AND FURTHER HEAVY RAIN FOR WELLINGTON AND
WAIRARAPA UNTIL EVENING

STRONG WIND WARNING WELLINGTON AND COASTAL WAIRARAPA : Southerly gales are expected through to this evening, before easing. The winds are likely to reach severe gale between 8am and 6pm today, with gusts of 130 km/h, especially about exposed hill tops.

Nice he? Guess I'll watch some more Prime Suspect then! And combine that with some more lazing...

Weeks rundown....

I feel that I should post something just to say hello if nothing else but I'm not sure that I really have anything interesting to say! It's not that I've been sitting around on my arse doing nothing... that's not the case at all but just don't feel as motivated to post. I think actually that the problem might have been that I was back to using web interface for blogging until it was pointed out that as I'm using an Apple notebook I could just install Mars Edit on it (which is the application I use on my Mac Book for web posting). And then I noticed today that it's already on it :)

So update on the Mac Book is that I got an email last Monday from the insurance company saying I have to send it to XYZ company for inspection that will determine whether it can be repaired or needs to be replaced. I actually phoned this company to make sure that they have some experience with Apple products... not that I'm fussing or anything you understand :) So I haven't actually had opportunity to courier it off yet but will do so on Monday!

So my week consisted of:
Last Weekend: chilled brunch, enjoying the sun on the bridge in early afternoon, party on Sat evening. On Sun we drove out to Greytown and then to Waiarapa coast towards Cape Palliser. A long drive for some coffee and a walk on the beach but it was wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable :)
Monday: penultimate practical psychology course on Mon evening. Home about 9:20pm so some food, and then off to bed with my current read - The People of the Book.
Tuesday: Three, yes three, episodes of BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice (I think that DVD purchase 4 or 5 years ago may be the best purchase I've ever made... I have watched these soooo many times!!!) while munching on some yummy mushroom and spinach pizza from Pizza Pomodoro.
Wednesday: Finally confirm that I have place in pilates class starting next Weds evening (while my back is so much better than it was I have minimal core strength which is why I can't sit on a couch for any length of time without getting uncomfortable). Met a friend after work for some wine.. oh and food! Then headed down to tramping club to sign up for tramp in a few weekends time (I'm trying to avoid actually thinking about this until I have to :) ) and day walk in a fortnight.
Thursday: What did I do Thursday...? Em.. Oh yes. Booked on to Beginners Photography course starting at the end of July! Climbing after work. Dear God but my toes cramped on each of the three climbs that I did! It's the fear of cramping rather than anything else that gets to me with climbing at the moment. I seriously need to get some good foot exercises to get over this as it was horrific... though not as bad as it could have been I guess. I nearly managed a grade 13 (they don't really get any easier than that)... just twice I had to use non green hand hold. Then back for quick shower and change and off out for a quite tasty dinner in Floriditas. I even had dessert which I had not intended on having and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed my hazelnut and someothernut meringue with poached rhubarb. I rolled home :)
Friday: Out for dinner (nowhere near as fancy as Floriditas) for fineos 15th birthday dinner. Was pleasant and fun.
Saturday: Woke with a jump (literally) when alarm went off at 7:15am this morning! Out to airport to see Dave off back to Ireland and then I headed back home to have a shower and try to wake up! Out for some breakfast, cup cake (dark chocolate and raspberry) purchasing, Bivouac visit (a few purchases) and some veggies from organic store (not that impressed with the place and I think it was a tad pricey... farmers markets much better!). Oh and visit to library to rent copy of Prime Suspect 3 and part I of Prime Suspect 4 (don't like the way they split it over two separate DVDs!). So for afternoon I lazed and watch part 1 of series 3. Then fell asleep on floor for an hour. When I woke up I was totally disoriented having no idea what day or time of day it was or if I should actually be somewhere!! Then I ate cup cake. And made some soup with my expensive veggies. Later my mate Va from UK phoned and we had a good natter which was fantastic as we haven't spoken since the day she got married in March!!

And eh.. that's it! Tomorrow if weather holds up I'll head out with camera and see if I can get any nice photos :)

Monday, 16 June 2008

Still here...

Well just a quick note to indicate that I am still alive and kicking!  As you may have noticed I've got a little bit quieter on the posting front as I was sans Mac Book since the water spill... and in fact I still am.  I currently have, on loan, provided I let no water near it, a 4 year dinky little Mac laptop (I've given up trying to remember what it's official name is!) .  Needless to say I'm well confused as the keyboard is the Irish keyboard unlike my Mac Book which has the antipodean keyboard with some keys in the wrong place... but which I'd got used to  nonetheless!  

Nothing exciting to report really.  Last week was busy - bookcrossing, psychology class, Sex and the City movie (disappointing shoes to say the least!).  Weekend was a day of viewing Pride & Prejudice with  some of the girls.  Poor Deirdre, she has never read the book let alone seen the BBC adaptation so Jill and myself had to make special effort to stop reacting in anticipation on oncoming scenes and I had to stop myself quoting lines from it!!

Work is different.  I've moved on to a new project and hence have had to move floors.  Not overly excited by that as i've lost my desk with lovely view.  And this floor is what I call the overfloor... doesn't really have the same buzz or atmosphere that I've got used to over the last 10 months.  Hopefully it'll improve...

Hmm... I'm sure that I did have lots to say but eh, well, can't think of anything.  So I'll just go with hello and hope you're all keeping good :)