Friday, October 15, 2004

No-Go House in Diamond Harbour...

Well, we're walking, nay RUNNING, away from the house we fell in love with in Diamond Harbour!! We had the surveyor out today and it's basically got so much wrong with it that it would probably be best to knock it down!

Even us throwing $100k at it, which is what we planned, wouldn't reassure me that the underlying probs would be solved, so we're still on the lookout. Ohhh, what a shame... I have to spend days and days house shopping!!

The only downside is that we are inundated with estate agents calling between 7pm and 8pm (in fact Warren is on the phone to one now haha)

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

A Lovely Village and Giggling Nurses!

It's halfway through our third week and, to combat stress and anxiety, we went for a lovely drive on Saturday to Diamond Harbor. What a gorgeous, gorgeous place. Godley House is the village "centre" and it's a beautiful old house with amazing lawns with stunning views and fab food too! I want to keep going back each day as it feels like home. Plus, it appears to have great community spirit with loads and loads of clubs - photography, art, writing, book clubs, sports, gardening etc etc.

However, I was strangely drawn to the Open House signs (that means the house is for sale and an invite to view it!!) dotted around the village and, inevitably, we ended up viewing several places! Well.. it's relaxing!! Until..... .

... you fall in love with a house that needs total renovation. It was love at first sight! In fact, we have a buildings inspector meeting us there on Thursday we don't muck around!! We also have to learn, quickly, the buying process and how to make offers etc - we're slowly beginning to understand the jargon.

We have fallen in love with Diamond Harbor so much so that we are literally going to hang out for the perfect property there (if this one doesn't go through for whatever reason) it is going to need ALOT of work - will have to start a thread in the Real Estate area re renovations.

Warren went to Brannigans recruitment ageny yesterday for a meeting with a consultant. They advised him to contact companies direct (hmmmm not a good business plan Brannigans! ) as most companies weren't using agencies at the moment. So it seems the best way forward is to get his CV out to all the little companies and HR depts of the larger ones.

Whilst Woz was at his interview I enrolled at the local Health Centre. It was very easy. I literally had to give my address/name/DOB details and that was it - registered. No need for any info on residency status etc etc.

I also advised nurse of my recent cholesterol probs for which I need to go on statins - she said that I'd come to the right country for lowering chol levels with exercise, right diet etc etc - little did she know that I was standing with a plastic bag with two HUGE cream donuts from the bakery that I'd bought to celebrate Warrens first agency interview! So, I filled in the forms and went home........ leaving the donuts in the bag behind the counter! Warren was home when I arrived and when I realised what I'd done I sent HIM to recover them!!! (and register, of course!) - he said the nurses were giggling when he got there and taking bets on whether I'd be too embarrassed to return to pick up my goods!! Oooops...

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Friday, October 08, 2004

We've Been Here Two Weeks!

It's exactly 2 weeks since we started our life in NZ. I've just come in from a solitary walk along the beach here in Sumner and I'm feeling... well... content. At last. Can't say I won't get the wobbles from time to time, but all in all we do feel we have made the right decision.

We're settling into the house nicely too.

Work - luckily we are still working for a client in the UK and will resume work next week as we took a break to get our lives sorted. In that respect we are lucky as we aren't eating away at our reserves. Warren has also picked up two "cash jobs" (2/3 hr jobs as "favours" really) and is meeting with a guy from Brannigans Human Capital (recruitment agents here in Chch) on Monday to discuss permie positions.

I am going in to see a contact at Canterbury Museum next week, I've been discussing voluntary work with her via email from UK. I'm hoping to get in a couple of days a week - it's a way of meeting people and also learning about NZ. There are lots of opportunities to do voluntary work if you have the time - .

Oh, and we got ASDL sorted today - quite a few days earlier than they had quoted too (on Monday of this week they quoted 10 days!) so we happily wandering around the house clasping laptops with our wireless network sorted and the phone isn't constantly engaged!!

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Back to Normality for Now...

By Jove!! I think we've cracked it... today felt like a "normal" day.

We've been here 12 days now and, despite ongoing "wobbles", we have stopped rushing around like headless chucks and had a "normal" day - i.e. just got on with things, relaxed, etc! Was lovely that my good friend Nicky popped round with afternoon tea - made it feel even more "normal" and I made my first meal (lamb casserole ) in the new house and basically we both feel ALOT better about things.

It's warm in here now - the 2 oil heaters have done their job and BOY does it make it easier to function... and type! The only downside (if you can call it that) is that despite Warrens skills being in line with Chch requirements, we have been told that the job market (we're talking IT) is a bit "slack" at the moment. However, Warren has been speaking with a recruitment consultant and they are meeting next week. It's only his first day putting out feelers....... so watch this space!

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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Settling In....

Whew - back online after 2 more days of net isolation.

We are now in our rental house - needless to say I've been a right little scrubber all weekend!! The house ... what can I say... IT'S FREEEEEZING... Oh, it has "one poxy heater" to quote Warren and it's a 3 bed house! Oh, and the thermostat is directly above the heater - DOH!! Basically it turns itself off as soon as it's heated the thermostat up ....

We bought 2 oil-filled heaters for $99 (total!) on Sunday and they are on full blast and just about taking the chill off the place! I'm also washing and drying stuff at quite a pace as the dryer hasn't yet been mounted on the wall so I have it in the dining room to help heat the ground floor!!

Our landlords took us to the Chch casino on Saturday night! Was great fun - Warren and I love casino's and usually join the local one wherever we are.. you don't need to join the Chch one - just walk straight in (no blue jeans please!). Cheap food and lots of games - we are off there on the 12th Oct to play in a poker tournament.

Weather is still freezing... when the sun is out it's hot in the sun but wander into the shade and you'll be shivering! Locals keep telling us it's unusual (yeah yeah - we used to tell tourists in Scotland that it didn't rain all the time too haha )- the guy at the shop where we bought the heaters said he never usually sells them at this time of the year!!

We're putting out feelers for work this week so will keep you posted as usual!!

Oh, we got the tel connected today - v. painless. There's a queue for broadband connections here it seems, it will take 10 days, so we're stuck on dial up for a wee while longer! Argh...

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Saturday, October 02, 2004

Kaikoura - Our Seal of Approval!

Went for drive up to Kaikoura today - the main whale/marine animal watching spot in NZ - took about 2.5 hrs each way and weather wasn't good but we just wanted a long drive out.... was worth it even in the crappy weather... THE SEALS THE SEALS! Wow, was literally standing amongst them... unreal and what an experience.. just love the fact that nature is so "raw" here.

Were watching a man and 2 kids picking things out of the pools so we went over to ask them what they were doing... to cut a long story short Warren has a small cash job (a one off)!!!!!!!!! Unreal huh - the guy asked us about ourselves etc etc and when Warren said he was in IT his eyes lit up - he's got a bit of kit he needs programming so we're off to see him and his wife (who makes candles and sells them in Chch Art Market!) next week! Jeez, just TALK to people folks.... you just never know...

On the way back from Kaikoura I noticed a black mass above the sea near Goose Bay stop-off so we pulled over... it was totally amazing - a "swarm" of millions of birds over the water for as far as the eye could see - as we watched they formed what I can only describe as a "tornado" and then sank down again along the sea's surface... we asked a guy on the beach (hmm we have a thing about talking to guys on beaches!?!?!) what it was and he said it was a "once a year" occurance... whitebait were massing in the sea waiting to swim upriver to spawn and these birds were "herding" them and eating them... totally unreal.. and to be there at the right time and right place too...

Right place, right time seems to be our motto !!

We'll be revisiting Kaikoura late Spring/early Summer to do some whale-watching... watch this space!

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Friday, October 01, 2004

A Milestone - First Week

Well... we have survived our first week... we now have a car, a house, a bank account and today we bought a tv, a washing machine, a dryer, a king size duvet, 2 duck down pillows, 2 sets of double bed bedding and a sofa bed!!

Total price was $NZ 2500 and we got it down to $NZ 1850 with the duvets and bedding thrown in FREE.... just takes a bit of balls to barter and flashing some cash We move into our rental house on Saturday... I guess we should buy a BBQ too... Saw some great BBQ's (gas) in Farmers ... they don't cost much at ALL... large one for c. $NZ 400!!! But do we buy the BBQ or the mountains bikes first... hmmmmm

Exchange rate isn't being kind to us - it's down to NZ$2.59/£1 today... ouch!

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