Saturday, October 12, 2013

Moody Weather

We have actually been on holiday during the last two weeks. Well three of us have. Unfortunately the other half was unable to get more than a long weekend off with us. I also question whether I was exactly on holiday. Quite often being at home with the girls can be harder work than going to my official paid work!

We made the most of the opportunities we had together and tried to get out to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. The very unpredictable spring weather had other plans, and attempted to strongly encourage us to stay indoors for most of the holiday.

Us Brunts are a hardy lot though and we still managed to get out and attempt to wear the dog out as much as possible.

This is Korokoro Dam. It is a beautiful walk but my photos do not do this area justice. The colours are too muted and dull.

We took a day trip to Wanganui (or Whangnui no one seems to be able to decide how it should be spelt!). Having driven from Wellington for two hours hoping to find some sun we discovered that Wanganui was actually going to be the wettest part of New Zealand on that particular day.

I still love this town even in the pouring rain. We found a very odd hidden bamboo forest by the river with lots of mysterious paths leading to secret fishing spots. It was an oddly eerie place mainly due to the huge looming fallen trees partially hidden by the bamboo shoots which must have been brought down in the recent stormy weather.

The girls were very disappointed it was just too wet to have a go at this rather unique play area.

The threatening sky made Victoria Park look spookily pensive and dark.

On the last Sunday of the holiday the sun came out and we truly took advantage of living by the sea.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Almost there!

It has been a couple of weeks of feeling like we are constantly "almost there". Life is once again full on and the weeks have wizzed past in a blur of school runs, busy days at work and bouts of annoying illness. 

We are now, thankfully only a few days away from a much needed end of term holiday. Spring is beginning to arrive and we have seen glimpses of the summer sun and spent the odd sunny few hours in just t-shirts and sunglasses. We have all had the flu and it is still stubbenly refusing to leave us completely meaning that he girls are still slightly snuffly and pale looking when I pick them up from school.

However we have had one very good piece of news this term. We have finally had an offer on our house in the UK. Like many expats when we moved to NZ over four years ago we rented out our UK house. And like many people who bought when we did, our rent failed to cover our mortgage. So over the past few years we have had to send money back to the UK to cover the shortfall on our mortgage. As well as paying rent over here!

So six months ago when be brought our house in NZ, we very bravely decided to kick out our UK tennants and put the house on the market. We have then had months of worry whilst paying two mortgages. Well finally we have had an offer and accepted it! Yippee! Lets hope it all goes smoothly from now on.

I have spoken to many expats who have been in similar positions to us. I do not know what the best solution is. Some have been renting out their property for years and an unlucky few have had theirs on the market for years. With the recent change in mortgage rules over here it is very handy to be able to sell your UK property and come over with a decent deposit otherwise you will have trouble (as some of our friends have) even getting on the property ladder here at all.

I am just grateful that we secured our home when we did. It is so great to be in a house we own and can alter to our own somewhat individual taste. Hence the latest addition to our household. This is Bob the elephant.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Reaching the Pinnacles

It has been a gorgeous spring weekend and we made the most of the sunny weather by visiting the Wairarapa region. Its a great drive from Wellington, over the windy and towering Rimutaka mountains and down into the lush green carpeted farmlands of the Wairarapa.

One of the great things about living here is the ability to spend your weekends out in the great outdoors exploring new walks and landscapes. We found a particularly exciting place to visit this week and ended up exploring the Putangirua Pinnacles. These strange rock formations formed the back drop in Lord of the Rings when Aragon goes to find the army of the dead. 

Despite the bright sunshine the area does have an eerie feeling, and along with the many warning signs for possible falling rocks it doesn't make you want to hang around and eat your picnic near the towering rocky outcrops.

However, the hour long walk to reach the Pinnacles does have plenty of great sunny spots for picnics.

I believe the rock formations are made as the whole area is a raised estuary and the rock is constructed of clay and the rocks and loose stones from a river bed. The clay erodes quickly leaving the larger stones supporting the material above and forming the weird tower formations. We were lucky enough to find several semi fossilised shells.

The walk is also made all the more exciting by the couple of stream crossings you have to make. It is deeper than it looks!