Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Beer and cricket

Well, went to get a can of coke from the fridge at work at 11am. Opened the door took a can and went back to my desk. Opened the can and someone in the office said "have we got more coke in again?". I thought something didnt sound right when I opened the tin, yep it was a tin of beer. DOH, How to get dunce of the week award.

Today was week two of playing for the office indoor cricket team. Those that know me will know that cricket is not a sport you would normally associate me with. I got roped in last week because they were a man down and so off I went. We got stomped good and proper but it was good fun. This week I can now hit the ball more than I miss it and can now sort of bowl on target. At least we didn't get stomped this week. 150 vs 96. Last week it was 150 vs 20.

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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Warren Starts Work

Warren has been at work for a couple of days now and he loves his new job. Apart from the free beer in the fridge and lack of suits, he loves the team he's working with and the work is new and challenging. He's even been roped in to playing cricket on Tuesday evenings (Shane Warne watch out!). He drives in every morning and it takes about 30 mins, so the commute is pretty good considering where we are in Sumner.

We've also bought a couple of mountain bikes (!) so hopefully we can get out and about at weekends and enjoy the countryside.

Meanwhile, I've been "lunching" with the girls and working on a new website project.

My sister-in-law Karen arrives in a few weeks time with her boyfriend and 2 kids, so we're planning the itinerary and we shall get a BBQ soon and an outside table (weather is hotting up!).

Life is returning to some sort of normality now, thank goodness!

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Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Big BBQ at Pines Beach

This is a date we have had in the diary since June 2004 when we first met Nicky online on the ENZ Forum. She was organising a BBQ for ex-pats from all over the world and for locals. We were always hoping we would be here to go, but it was all a dream until we finally got here.

We stocked up on beers and sausages and arrived to find loads of people had turned up - there were approximately 160 there that day! The BBQ was packed, the sun was out and there were blankets on the ground full with happy families and dogs! We met with Tanya and Richard with their two kids Rebecca and Luke who had recently arrived from the UK, and with Veronica and Pete (the ones who run Snowmania - the ski/snowboard shop) and also met Tara's family (also from ENZ Forum!).

The clowns arrived with a huge parachute for the kids to play with and the show began. Warren and I retreated (ok, I DID have a play with the parachute with Rebecca and Luke!) for a beer.

We spent the afternoon chatting, eating and drinking and then joined in with the sweetie scramble (collecting for the kids, obviously!!).

All in all it was a lovely day and very well arranged by Nicky (clap, clap, clap).

Tara & Dan get to grips with the parachute:-

Nicky in "organise" mode:-

Nicky's husband Nigel guards the cake and biscuits!

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Warren's 37th Birthday

We celebrated Warren's birthday by going out into the centre of Christchurch for a meal in one of the Japanese Teppan Yaki restaurants.

It was great fun - teppan yaki is where they cook the food in front of you at the table (those who were on Warren's stag night will remember!). We were at a table with another Japanese family who put our chopstick technique to shame (and our Japanese!!).

I was driving but Warren managed to get sozzled on warm sake and after the meal we went for ice cream and coffee down a little side road where the Christchurch tram runs.

Was a lovely evening and the first of many birthdays in New Zealand, we hope.


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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Quick Jaunt to Arthur's Pass

We're packing in the sight-seeing before Warren starts work on Monday 15th November!

We decided to drive up to Arthur's Pass today. We could see the mountains from here in Sumner this morning which is, apparently, a good sign that the weather in the Pass will be fine.

So, 3 hours of stunning scenery later...

we arrived at Arthur's Pass.

The first thing we noticed when we arrived was a PARROT under the car next to where we parked! Strange, we thought, someone must have lost it... so off we went to tell the lady in the cafe that there was a damned PARROT in the car park.

She looked at us rather strangely and said.. "Err, they are wild alpine parrots called Kea." How stupid did we feel?

After watching out the window for a few mins, sure enough, there were LOADS of the little beggers everywhere! They are so funny to watch but you can't feed them or they WILL bite or harass you or both - and they are quite big birds. They are also known to strip anything rubber off your car and can undo zips and crisp packets with ease!!!

They are only found in the South Island mountain areas of New Zealand.

Found a lovely waterfall and went passed the area where they are currently filming Narnia - we'll go back when they have finished filming as the area was sealed off.

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Warren Lands TWO Jobs!

After a couple of weeks worrying about the job market here in Christchurch (especially in the run up to Christmas) Warren got not only ONE job offer, but TWO!! What a star, eh?

He's chosen NOT to work for the NZ Government (you all know his aversion to suits!) and he's decided to work with the smaller development company, Tourplan. He, and I, are so pleased and it takes alot off our chests. He will start on November 15th, no rest for the wicked.

So, not only do we have Warren's impending birthday to celebrate, we also have a big BBQ at the weekend that Nic's been planning for MONTHS!

*clink* CHEERS!

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Saturday, November 06, 2004

Christchurch Botanical Gardens

It was one of those days where we weren't quite sure if it was going to rain or shine, so we decided to go "local" and take a trip down to the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch. First stop, brekkie at the cafe in the gardens and then a study of the map to see where to go first. We decided to head down to the rhododendrons first as they were all out in flower.

The Botanical Gardens were opened in 1864 and many of the species were bought over from England. It's definitely worth a visit and takes a couple of hours to walk around. Warren was a bit disappointed with the bonsai collection(!) and the rose garden wasn't yet in bud so we'll go back in the summer.

However, there was still loads to see, take a peek at some of the pics we took:-


and finally

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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Six Weeks of NZ Life and All is Well..

We have now been here SIX weeks - it certainly doesn't feel that long.

Life is ticking along nicely and Warren has TWO interviews tomorrow - one found via Elan IT and one via an ad in The Press last Wednesday. I can honestly say there is nothing here that makes me even CONSIDER moving back to the UK. Even the homesickness hasn't reared its ugly head for a few weeks. The times when I do get emotional is when I see an amazing view and wish that my other family members could also see it.

Perhaps when we see what salary Warren receives we shall be complaining? I have read about what people perceive as a decent salary... that's a hard one.. we would like NZD60K to feel comfortable - we don't have kids and we won't have a big mortgage, but we do have a level of comfort that we are used to. I think that is why we kept one property in the UK (that we rent out).. it's our pension.

I've been trying to think of something negative to balance out our views on NZ life - i.e. "surely it can't be ALL good", but I really can't think of anything !! The only fly in the ointment right now is the exchange rate and the housing market which seems a little uncertain. However, we've decided that if we find the house we like and we can afford it we shall "go for it" despite the market as we anticpate the place we buy will be a long term home. We are still focussed on Diamond Harbour / Governors Bay. Went to a house auction the other day, just to see what it was like. Well, it wasn't very exciting - no bids and the auctioneer just kept bidding up the price to what we assume was the reserve!

Met the lovely Tara Sage and hubby last week when we were invited round for dinner... great to meet and chat with others in the same boat (well, not exactly the same boat - they're pretty much sorted with jobs). We all agreed that being here on the ground is soooo much different from anything you read in books / guides etc - you really do just need to GET here and you can make it work from there.

Joined the library.. now SURELY there must be something negative there... but NO - libraries here are FAB! And the online database of articles and magazines etc that you get access to via the internet (using your library card no. and PIN that they provide) is AMAZING!!!! You can get out up to 20 books at one time, you can order books in from other libraries around Christchurch and they arrive next day - you can drop off your books or borrow from any library in Chch! Oh... ok.. negative - 30 cents a day for late returns...

We've instructed New Zealand Immigration Services (NZIS) in the UK to pass over processing of our Expression Of Interest (EOI (for Residency)) to the Christchurch branch - it won't necessarily be quicker, it WILL be cheaper, and we'r'e hoping that a job offer will speed up the process.... so fingers crossed for Warrens Thursday interview-a-rama - he has TWO!

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