Thursday, 29 January 2009

Notes

1. Eat proper lunch (i.e. one with some carbohydrates in it) on those days where I'm climbing after work. Might help. That is, might actually have strength to do something!
2. It's day 12 and my basil plant is still alive (saying this will of course now most likely cause jinxing and hence death of basil plant)
3. I'm hungry.
4. Tasty home made pesto for dinner :)
5. 4 days until I become Aunt for the first time
6. Left knee still one big bruise
7. Feeling slightly wound up so a glass of wine may be in order.
8. Melbourne is having heat wave. When do we get summer back to Wellington?
9. Still hungry so going to stop writing pointless "notes" now.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Confused

I get varying views of my photos on Flickr every day; some days I get lots of views, other days I get one. What I'm discovering though is that the same photo is cropping alot more than it doesn't.

Ruapehu


This photo has had 23 views over the last 28 days. But bizarrely, the total number of views ever is 23. I can only assume that this has something to do with a tag that I added but I can't see anything out of the ordinary with the tags.

And what really confuses me is this, it's not that great a photo at all. I mean there are plenty worse photos out there but there is nothing spectacular or great about this. In fact the only reason I put it up on flickr is that the only time that I ever see Ruapehu it is covered in cloud.

So, yup, it's weird. I just wanted to share that. And hey, maybe one of these months I'll see Ruapehu when it's *not* covered in cloud!!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Random jottings

I realised earlier I haven't posted in about a week. Nothing overly exciting occurring which is probably part of the reason. Yesterday afternoon we were back a week; now it seems like an age since I was home! In fact last Tues afternoon when I walked back in the door here seems like something in the far distant past. It's odd.

Work has been busy but I've been trying to keep it under control. Today is probably the first day that I've left with tasks still on my to do list for the day but I was tired. I've started going in 30 mins earlier with the aim of getting out 30 mins earlier in the evening. Yesterday and today not been great examples of this working in practice but I'll try.

It wasn't particularly summery last weekend unfortunately this week has been lovely (I believe there's a bit of rain forecast for the weekend again!). I love going for a walk or something in the evenings after work and just enjoying the feel of the sun on me. Oriental Parade is lovely in the evenings with lots of folk out running, roller blading, swimming or just hanging out reading.

Oriental Parade


This evening I headed up to the Botanical Gardens - a bit of uphill work. The ABS summer concert series has started up; loads of folk there at 6 when I went past and concerts don't start until 8! We'll need to get along to one or two of those.

There's a long weekend coming up (Wellington Day on Monday). Not going away; sure just back from hols but hopefully we'll get a day walk in somewhere. I'm climbing tomorrow evening; nervous. It's been quite a while so wish me luck.

And well, guess that's it. For the Irish readers, one of the positive things about being here is that the media are not totally obsessed with the recession. They actually talk about other stuff... the morning news has a "surf watch" report (may not be a regularly slot but..) I love it :) Oh yes, and it's summer and yet not constantly raining. Such a bonus!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Back

I'm back in NZ. Guess I got back to apartment some time after 5pm yesterday afternoon. Not really sure of the time to be honest; the bright afternoon/evening confusing after the dark afternoons/evenings back in Ireland!

Oddly enough I'm not sure how I feel about being back. It's good on the one hand but on the other it just feels weird. It's as if it's been ages since I've been here and yet it's only a little over 2 weeks. I guess I shouldn't complain as I'm fairly certain that a day in the office (possibly the reason for my lack of chirpiness about being here!) will soon set me to rights and have me feeling as if I never left. I'm just v. glad that I'm no in work today even though of course it's normally the 2nd and 3rd days which are the hardest.

The journey back reminded me that flying to NZ from Ireland is actually a more difficult journey than the other way around and I can only assume that that is to do with the flight times. The end result was that I literally felt as if my bed was calling out to me when I got home yesterday afternoon. I couldn't even let myself sit on it as I was convinced I wouldn't get up again if I did! I used House which was on at 8:30 to try and keep me awake until about 10 last night. It worked until about 9:15 at which point I fell asleep. I wouldn't mind but I wasn't even curled up on couch but rather sitting on floor with my back to the couch! Anyway woke up about 20 mins later realising I've no idea how House finished! Needless to say I went to bed after that. Still trying to figure out why, when I'm so far behind on sleep I woke up twice during the night, the second time at 4am and in the latter case, it took me well over 30 mins to get back to sleep! Just doesn't seem fair/right to me!!

Well, the sun may not be blazing away out there but it is warmer than Dublin (high teens I believe) so I'm going to go out now and enjoy some of that warmth :)

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Dublin Check In

Ye Gads, would the powers that be please do something about Dublin Airport? Please? Pretty pretty please? What a palarva this afternoon it was getting in there. Fiona gave me a gratefully accepted lift to the airport this afternoon. We nipped out on the M50. When we came off the M50 things started to slow down. A lot of cars going in to the airport so it took a while (only about 5 mins I guess) to get in to airport entrance. It then took another 20 - 25 minutes for us to get to the departure drop off point! Things that might help reduce this delay in future are:
1) Taxi drivers not accepting fares on route up to the drop off point. News flash... car not moving does nothing to discourage build up of traffic behind static car
2) Drivers not stopping in middle of a lane while not actually at the drop off point to let people out of the car. Same news flash as above. If you wait to the actual drop off point there are plenty of places to stop.
3) Maybe the airport authorities could possibly organise things a little better so that the agony of Dublin Airport is spared those dropping passengers off. It's bad enough that passengers have to put up the pain of it, but let's spare the innocent please.

So, once inside we use the self serrvice check-in. After that it's just a case of dropping off baggage. AHA! It is just a case of that but... Fast Track? Fast it ain't! We joined a huge queue to get to a separate machine to print out luggage tag and place on belt. There are maybe 2 airline staff wandering about to help. With a couple of hundred people in the hall this is not sufficient. So, once we reached the front of the queue Dave goes through the process of this first. He gets to end and then machine says there's a problem with the luggage belt so he should speak to member of airline staff. He heads off to do this and I go through the same process. The only problem that I have is that I can't figure out how to get label off the sticky part of tag so I can stick the damn thing together but I manage. This time the belt works fine and in the meantime Dave has had his luggage checked in.

Amusingly, while we were in the queue I hear someone (continental accent) ask an airline staff member if this is the fast track queue. The answer is yes. The response is "but it's not fast!" Definitely brought a smile to my face that did! Anyway, in summary, maybe it's just me but I thought the whole self service thing was meant to speed up the check in process? Seems to me that all that's been achieved is that the check in queue has been replaced by the "baggage drop" queue.

However, at the end of all that there were no flight delays, we made it to London with plenty of time for a snack, some shopping (great bargains in Reiss here!) and time to write this :) I suspect that next blog entry will be from NZ... don't see myself being in any state to write anything from KL :)

Saturday, 3 January 2009

The Winter Sun and Water

Over the last couple of days I've noticed some lovely reflections of the winter sun on still water.

Yesterday I headed down to Birr in Offaly (or Awfully as my much teased younger sister referred to it; just the once mind you!) for the day. It was a very cold day but it was nice and bright out. In the morning we had a lovely walk around the gardens of Birr Castle Demesne. The grounds are beautiful even in winter so I definitely need to see them again in Spring or Summer (do we get summer in Ireland anymore??). I even crossed the border in to Tipperary on that walk! Had a great look at the great 72 inch reflecting telescope in the grounds which was designed and constructed in the 1840's. It's amazing and what I hadn't realised is, that at one time it was the best telescope in the world! Unfortunately I hadn't brought my camera with me so no piccies to show.

After a tasty lunch we headed out to Victoria Lock for a walk. Unfortunately it was closed off as the lock is being dredged. Having said that it was definitely still worth the drive out there as the afternoon winter sun reflecting off the water further out from the lock was beautiful! Needless to say I felt a little put out with myself for not having brought my camera but I borrowed Dave's to take a few. Once I've got the photos off it I'll update this entry with one of them (assuming they turn out okay!!)

By Victoria Lock


This morning I headed down to the West Pier in Dun Laoghaire to meet up with a friend who I hadn't seen yet since my return back. Again it was lovely to meet up and this time I brought my camera along. There was beautiful light in the harbour though I did have to restrain myself form taking too many photos as there were only the two of us; 'twouldn't have been fair. Anyway I think I managed to get one or two that I like.
Reflecting Water

Thursday, 1 January 2009

A bit of a girly giggle

This afternoon I headed in to town again to meet up with Eims and Liz for lunch at The Farm restaurant on Dawson St. I had eaten there once before when I was home in March and it was a less than a good meal, however this time the food was much better. In fact the menu was totally different as if it was a different place but having said that I know it was named The Farm in March too so I'm a bit confused to say the least.

I arrived at 1 to find the other two settling in. We started to peruse the menus but what with all the chatting it wasn't until the third time that they came over to take our order were we actually ready to give an order! I was pretty hungry by the time that the food did arrive as it must have been a good 20 mins after ordering before we saw any food.

I tried to resist dessert... honest! In fact when the waiter came over to hand out dessert menus I handed mine back. Unfortunately he wasn't back promptly enough to take the girls' orders so I had time to peruse the menu which resulted in me ordering rhubarb crumble. It wasn't bad but I guess rhubarb isn't in season at the moment and that showed in dessert.

It was 3:45pm before we got the bill... the 3 hrs, when we weren't eating, was filled with laughter discussing Mamma Mia (it's so bad it's brilliant), Liz's upcoming visit to NZ in April, cameras, Eim's cat Kamikaze (he's appropriately named I believe) to name just a few things. I'm afraid that we probably weren't the quietest people in the restaurant but hey, it was all in good fun :)

To Eims and Liz... thanks, I had a lovely lovely afternoon!