Friday, June 21, 2013

Wild Wellington Weather

It has been a very odd couple of days. Wellington really lived up to its windy reputation in spectacular fashion. Thursday afternoon when picking the kids up from school I thought it was windy when I had difficulty shutting the car door, but it was nothing compared to what was coming later.

Once we got home about five o'clock we noticed the wind picking up and the lights began to flicker. So I dug out our emergency kit and found all the torches, candles and matches. It was a good job I did as about half eight the lights went out and I found myself sitting in the lounge in pitch black whilst bits of twigs and leaves were thrown against the windows. It was a surreal and slightly scary experience.

I should point out that we live in the middle of a reserve surround by native forest. So there are a lot of trees around the house and a lot of things that could potentially fall on the house. I was also alone with my two girls as my other half was on the other side of the region at an evening meeting.

So when the lights went out I went and got my girls and we all retreated to my room climbing into bed to keep warm with the dog as well! 

The noise was astounding, and looking at the debris in the garden I now understand why. There must have been twigs and branches whipping around in every direction. My other half arrived home at eleven having had to find a route home avoiding fallen trees and flooded roads. He had to walk the last bit as several trees were down in our road.

We thankfully got electricity back the following morning and our house came through it undamaged. We have lost quite a few trees in the back garden and have had to call the council about one particular tree that is now leaning rather dramatically towards the house. 

The local council have been amazing at clearing roads and helping people. They were out in our road at about 1.30am clearing falling trees.

I also think one of the greatest things about these extreme events is the way people pull together. Our lovely nieghbours popped round on the night of the storm just to check we were okay and came round the next day as well. Our nieghbour opposite has been clearing the road with her machete in hand and collecting wood for her fire.

It was not until the sun rose the next day that I realised how lucky we had been. Venturing into the back garden there were two very large branches (the size of small trees!) that had fallen very close to our house, how they didnt land on the roof is a miracle. So although the garden is a mess, compared to the poor people who have lost roofs or been flooded out, we are very lucky!

Friday, June 14, 2013


When we arrived in New Zealand over four years ago now, we had to leave behind our much loved Spaniel Pip. It was a very difficult thing to do, but a very easy decision. We felt we couldn't put her through the journey. Over 24 hours in a crate on her own in the cargo hold of a plane would have been a very dramatic experience. And one that I am not sure she would have ever recovered from. We could not do that to her.

There was also the cost of course. Thousands of pounds as opposed to hundreds. Not something we could have afforded. So Pip went to live on a farm in France. This sounds like something you tell the kids when a much loved dog has to be put down. In this case however it's true! My Mum and Dad lived in France at the time and re homed her for us.

So now four and a bit years later, as we have finally got our own home again, we have got a new member of the family. This is Ted, a Spoodle (cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Mini Poodle) who is only 3 months old and joined our family last Sunday. He was spotted in our local pet shop and was too cute to ignore.

He is just the right size for the girls.

Cold winter colours have returned to the Inlet.

A Saturday morning looks like late afternoon thanks to a low winter sun.

Wintry reflections.

I always think that dogs are great at making a house become a home. And not just because they have a tendancy to pee on the carpet :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cuba Street and Trips to Alternate Dimensions.

Weekends at the moment tend to start with a couple of hours standing in the cold on soccer fields cheering on one or other of the girls teams. So following a couple of wind swept hours this morning we headed into Wellington to explore one of our favourite spots for hunting out odd and unusual things to fill up our new home.

If you have not yet been to Cuba Street I thoroughly recommend a trip. Its full of weird and wonderful shops selling the useless items that you discover are vitally important when turning your house into a home. A nodding cat and bird coasters are examples of the must have items we came back with today.

The street reminds me of a cross between some of the shops found in The Lanes of Brighton and the charity shops in Oxford. A great mix of over priced vintage clothing, designer jewellery and imported Japanese goods.

It also has quite a number of really good second hand book shops. We always loose a couple of hours in these every time we visit. Books are oddly expensive over here and so second hand book shops are very popular with those of us that still like to have the real thing as opposed to electronic versions.

I can't remember which author it is that mentions second hand book shops being portals to other dimensions but I always think there is something unnerving about book shops. It all the thoughts and emotions contained within the pages and in such a confined space. You always seem to loose track of time in them and spend far longer there than you intended. Anyway, this photo taken in the shop today came out very strangely. Proof I think that there is something very odd about book shops!

After a good bit of retail therapy a bit of refueling was required and there is no place better than the Southern Cross. Great food, lovely atmosphere and entertainment for the kids. A good place to while away a few hours and people watch.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Handbags and Gladrags from Trade Me.

I have spent a large proportion of the last week obsessing over handbags.

Shoes and handbags are easy to get obsessive over. I use my handbag daily, it carries some of the most vital and important objects in my life. Plus it has many cool pockets and co-ordinates with my outfits!

However,  having just bought a house I have no money for frivolous things like handbags. So I have been looking on Trade Me all week to try and find a replacement for my current, rather knackered looking bag.

Trade Me is the New Zealand equivalent of Ebay. It might not have the vast choice and huge number of users that the UK Ebay does, but it is still pretty impressive for a nation of under 5 million. I believe that there is a NZ version of Ebay but I don't think many people use it as I have never heard anyone mention buying anything from there. Whereas the use of Trade Me is ubiquitous on these small Islands.

We have bought many things from Trade Me over the last four and a bit years. Our car was an early Trade Me buy, as was my sewing machine and a fair number of the kids toys.

Prompted by the fact we have moved within walking distance of a rather good charity shop (or Op Shop as they seem to be called over here) I have decided to see if I can get things second hand rather than buying new. This coupled with the fact that we have to watch the pennies at the moment (or should I say cents!) has led me to spend several hours scouring the listings on Trade Me for vintage, but gorgeous and cheap, handbags. I managed to win two auctions. Although these are not my "to die for" bag I still think I was pretty successful.