Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Freedom of New Zealand

So after just over three months of public transport last week we finally acquired our wheels.

Never have I felt so elated to have a vehicle!  The public transport here is very good, and we'd managed fine walking and on the buses, but there were becoming more and more times when a car would make things easier or possible.

Alan, who helped me collect the race car and Ducati, said he had a Toyota Ipsum for sale when we were en route home last week.  Turns out it was just about the smallest seven seater available and for $2k with 200k clicks on the odometer it was kinda just what we needed.

The first day of driving was more of an occasion than when I got my first set of wheels aged 17.  The sense of freedom was almost overwhelming.

And this was multiplied when the bike passed its entry examination, WoF test and brake test and was fully registered on Saturday. 

If having a car gave me a sense of freedom then riding a bike was pure elation.  Nothing beats having these roads to yourself!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Prep, Kiwi Style

We're a little late with the Christmas prep this year.  A lack of car and an overload of boxes is our excuse!

But last Thursday (Dec12) was day two of car ownership (more to come on that one) and so with Alfie at school me and the girls ventured over to The Warehouse to grab a last minute bargain.

We've always been a family which insisted on a real tree,  but seeing as how late we were, plus the fact it kinda felt like a fake Christmas, I opted to max out the fake.  So our free is not only plastic, but also white!

I grabbed Alfie from school (he has flexible hours which is great!) and we set about decorating our new tree with bargain sacrificial decs.  The whole lot cost less than $80, lights included.

What you see now is a tree missing about a third of its decs lol.  Come xmas eve I'll redecorate and add the candy canes and tree chocs. Oh yeah!

Then on Monday I took Alfie to a Christmas story time at the library. It was after dinner, and so everyone was invited to wear pyjamas.  It was a fantastic, the kiwi 12 days of Christmas is hilarious.

And after stories and songs all the kids mad a decoration for their tree.

And so with a lovely evening behind us, and now feeling very festive, we went to the Roxy for a choc dipped ice cream, followed by a Christmas shop at the supermarket.  

I actually cannot wait!  Largely cos I'm making Jamies Christmas Bombe for dessert!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Last Saturday (Dec 7) was the christmas parade in central Wellington.

We learnt two things that day.  Esme is a proper Batsford and gets MASS EXCITES about Christmas and Alfie is Kevin the teenager with numerous comments about being bored and wanting to go home.

After the parade everyone files over the bridge, alongside a group of lads tightrope (ok, ratchet strap) walking, to the park where they had a big stage and santa and songs and Christmas.

It was a lovely afternoon, even though doing it all in sunshine is very odd and hearing an antipodean santa singing just had me waiting for a rendition of Kevin Bloody Wilsons 'Hey, Santa Claus You C*nt'.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dream Garage

With the house full of boxes everything moved extremely fast and before I knew it I was due to collect the bike and racecar in Friday (December 6).

I had seen a tow truck opposite Alfie's school a number of times and when I spotted he had a custom ute with a V8 under the hood on a nice set of Cragars I figured he could be just the chap for the job of moving them.

A phone call was made, Tash got Friday off work, I spent Thursday night sorting the garage so everything could fit and before I knew it it was 1pm and I was hopping up into his truck.

His name's Alan.  Alan is awesome.  He helped me load the racecar, and having decided it would be better to make two trips offered to collect and deliver the bike on his own on Monday.  A wing mirror had been broken off the Ducati, but stopped at a bike shop to see if I could get a replacement bolt.

On the journey back we made phone calls to try and book it in for its assessment, and by the time we'd got back a plan was already in place for him to collect the bike again on Thursday and drop it off at the vtnz for its assessment.  I should then be able to ride it home. Happy Days!!

Until he collects it (tomorrow) I have what pretty much looks like my dream garage!

I was worried the two vehicles would fill the garage but there is loads of space.  Once the salvation army take a load of stuff out of it too it will be awesome.  Compressor is already connected, it should be an awesome place to tinker.

Did We Really Pack That Much!?!

Last week our container was emptied, checked, and after we paid our sum to customs and MAFF our boxes came to the house aboard a 20ft container.

It only took a few hours to unload but destroyed the nice spacious empty house we previously enjoyed.  Its nice to have our stuff though, even though I think there's a chunk we're still going to end up throwing away.  Nicest of all was the arrival of the sofa and proper kitchen knives.

Alfie was of course overjoyed to get his bin man bin and all his other bin man trucks back! 

Family Footy

Lots to catch up with at the moment!  Sundays ago (December 1) we had box seats for the Wellington Phoenix. 

The company Tash is contracting at have a box there as they are a sponsor,  and this game was chosen as their family day.

We'd spent the morning buying plants and seeds for our deck and veggie patch, enjoyed a beer on said deck, and to finish the day at the football was perfect.

They had entertainers for the kids, face painters, lovely food, and of course a free bar.  Even the team mascots came from that room!

As for the football, it was rubbish, and a very boring 0-0 was played out before us.   Both Alfie and Esme loved it though.

Tash has a new contract with a different company starting in January, I just hope they aren't a bunch of rugby freaks!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Cruise, Tattoos, And A Baby's Bruise

It's been a long time since Tash got tattooed.  In between being pregnant and breastfeeding any appointment she's had has always fallen through.

Last weekend (Nov 23/24) was the NZ Tattoo and Art Festival in New Plymouth.  An artist she wanted work from was coming over from the States so i proposed we go and she can get tattooed.  It was her birthday weekend too - perfect!  Yet shortly beforehand said artist pulls out and Javier Rodriguez, who I have been trying to get an appointment with for nearly two years, announces he is coming!  So once again its me getting the ink and Tash has to wait a little longer.

In an attempt to make the weekend about her and Esme's birthday I booked a people mover for Friday but had nothing else planned so we could make it up as the kids determined or people wanted.

It was about a 5 hour drive up to New Plymouth but such a lovely drive it really didn't matter.  We got within an hour of our destination and made a call to a few hotels.  Thinking we had found somewhere just to lay our heads we realised we'd pretty much lucked out and got a bargain price for a two bed family room with full facilities.  It was gorgeous.  And we even all got a swim in the pool in the morning.

We found an amazing Moroccan cafe for breakfast and I'm not exaggerating when I say I had the best cooked breakfast of my life!

I spent a few hours getting tattooed, we had a wander round, said hi to a few friends, then made for home with all three kids exhausted.  A little diversion took us around Mount Teranaki, it was just a shame that cloud cover obscured its highest point.

We stumbled across another hidden gem of a cafe on the way home and enjoyed a little more kiwi hospitality with a side of the biggest fucking burger of my life!

Sunday was Esme's birthday, and with both her and Alfie having birthday money from Auntie Michie we hit the toy shop.  Many hours later we left thoroughly exhausted, Alfie with a collection of bin man lorries and a collection of Trash Pack toys and Esme with a JCB digger in a pink buggy.  Love the way that girl works! Lol. Massive thanks Michie, they love their pressies!

Lunch was held at one of our favourites, the Chocolate Fish Cafe (which you really need the car to get to) and we then hit the beach for a little.  It was a stunning day, just tarnished somewhat when Olive back arched out of my arms when I was knealt down holding both her and Esme.  I'm pleased to say she bounces as well as the other two.  I say that now, at the time it was far less relaxed about the incident!

And so Monday rolled around which was Tash's birthday.  We woke bleary eyed after a night of continually prodding the baby to make sure she was still alive and responding correctly.  Tash worked,  Alfie and Esme bought her some flowers, and we met her after work for food at Sweet Mothers Kitchen.  Yes, eating is all that we do out here.  With so many gorgeous food places it's a guaranteed pleaser!  Even Olive agrees.  She's fast approaching 6 months and grabs at food whenever you let your guard down!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Moving to Maupuia

Its crazy to think back at how far we've come in just ten weeks.  We came here having never visited with the aim of setting up life and pretty much 'starting over' in the 10 weeks we had during our rental at Bruges Ave.

We've done well; Wellington very quickly felt like home, Tash has found work (actually quicker than maybe we wanted), Alfie is at kindy, and on Monday we moved into our 'permanent' home.

Its a very dated property, but it ticks all the right boxes.  Plus the landlord is good and doesn't mind the kids being kids (because it's dated).  It was a leading contender just cos it has a big garage and it was cheap.  But that view had us right from the start.  We can just about see the end of the runway so get to watch the planes still, and I can even see Miramar wharf where I'll fish from.  I cannot wait to be able to pop out for a few hours fishing with Alfie!  Tash can even watch us from the deck!  There is even a veggie patch in the garden!

So last weekend we rented a van and moved our few things across.  Slowly this week our new stuff has started arriving.   The gorgeous mangowood and reclaimed teak table, our new new bed, and the kids new (to them) beds.

We're floating around in a mass of space and sleeping in sleeping bags at the moment.  But its OK, the boat got in this week and so I'll have my Ducati soon!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday Alfie B!

Tuesday was Alfie's birthday.  With Tash at work we opted to do some cool stuff the weekend before, and had kinda purposely not visited Wellington zoo so that we'd have it as an option for this day.

Tash got to feed a giraffe so she was happy, Esme got to jump on a trampoline so she was happy, and Alfie got to see the monkeys so he was chuffed too.

We spent Sunday shopping. He needed a lunch box, Esme needed shoes, Tash needed a dining table, and (after all that) I needed a rest!

It's not often Alfie asks for much but he wanted this little wooden car to paint at the kids shop we go to.  So we got it for him for his birthday.  He was over the moon when he unwrapped it two days later, even more so than the totally awesome ballistic hot wheels thing Tash had bought.

So he spent his birthday morning (Tuesday 12 Nov) painting his car.  We hit 'Hey George' for his favourite pizza and chips on the way into town to visit Te Papa (the museum) where he and Esme played giant connect four.

After being out and about all day with the three I was wrecked by the time we met Tash for his birthday meal.  Clearly he was too as he was asleep before we got to dessert!!

Massive thanks to all the friends and family who sent him a message, he was very happy to reach four!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Big Rocks and Tying Knots.

Tash and I got married in 2007.  Due to one thing and another Tash ended up buying her own wedding ring.  So it was on my mind to put a proper ring on her finger to celebrate the start of our lives together in New Zealand.

I kept some money aside, and a week after arriving she selected her chosen band.  A few weeks ago she got the call to say it was ready for collection and so we wandered down Cuba St and finally put a proper ring on her finger a few Saturdays ago.  Looks great, especially with a croinut in hand!

In other rock and knot news I took Alfie rock climbing on Sunday.  It was the first time he'd done it with ropes and a harness, and once he had himself sorted he was flying up and down the wall.  By the end of the short time we were there he'd made it right to the top!  It was great to see him problem solving and working out how to get higher.  And when he got down after reaching the top he exclaimed to me 'Yes! Daddy, I did it!!'.  I was so pleased for him I couldn't say no when he asked for an ice cream as we wandered home along the waterfront.