Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tough week, warm weather

It's been hot this week. So summer has definitely arrived, some would say, with a vengeance.

Its been so hot at work I resorted to taking in a small fan and directing it straight at my face in an effort to look slightly less hot and sweaty. I am not designed for temperatures above 18 degrees.

There are mutterings at the moment of moving the summer holidays into February rather than having them directly after Christmas. I have to say that I think there is something to this suggestion. Its very difficult to concentrate at work when the temperatures are more suitable to swimming in the sea than trying to sit at a desk shuffling papers.

It was way to hot for the dog this week so he has had to put up with early morning walks rather than trying to attempt the walk up and down our road in the searing heat of the day. He doesn't seem to mind as long as he still gets to sniff and pee up every lamp post in our little town at least once a day.

I have been getting very depressed and impotently angry at some of the events in the world at the moment (even in our seemingly remote and safe location). So having gone on a rather inspiring course at work this week, when I came across this quote I was reminded at just how important my job is.

I am lucky enough to be a teacher and this quote, by New Zealander of the year, reminded me just how important it is to teach people to question and empower them with ability to believe they can change the world. This is something New Zealand does rather well. The education system does produce a lot of deep thinkers and an idealistic population that still believe that they can go out and change things for the better. And long may they keep doing so! The dangers of not doing so seem to be glaringly obvious at the moment.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wellington by night.

I think you can really tell the character of a city by exploring it at night. When the stars come out the veneer or daylight disappears, then you can really begin exploring the bare bones of the city and the true character of the area is revealed.

When living in the UK I loved Bristol and Brighton. These cities felt quirky and interesting to me and when wondering around at night (as long as you kept to particular areas) I felt relatively safe and people were good natured and generally friendly.

Swansea is beautiful at night and I spent many nights wondering along the seafront gazing at stars and having philosophical and deep conversations as a slightly inebriated student. However my favourite city at night is now Wellington.

Thanks to our lovely local babysitter (make sure you find one if you move here, they are a vital resource!) the other half and I get to go out reasonably often in Wellington. Its always a lively but fun evening and we often end it with a stroll along the waterfront gazing at the lights of the city and the stars.

Despite the fact that sections of the city are still cordoned off following the large earthquake and subsequent decision to demolish particular buildings, the city is still alive and thriving. People are just working around the streets that are no longer accessible. It also makes for a rather good dramatic backdrop to a night out.

The city comes alive at night with people enjoying the huge number of restaurants, shows and entertainment on offer. For such a small city it packs a big punch entertainment wise. People of all ages wonder through the night markets and the streets packed with a huge variety of restaurants and eateries.

Having done this many times it always feels a safe and friendly place to wander.

We went to The Orpheus, a New Orleans themed restaurant. The food is rich, delicious and plentiful. We haven't yet managed to actually finish everything we've ordered. However the best bit is the live music. Traditional New Orleans jazz. It reminds me of the music from the original Disney Jungle Book. (clearly my knowledge of music is very sophisticated!). It has a lovely lively atmosphere and I could have sat there all evening listening to the trombone and drinking cocktails. Unfortunately I did have to make my way home eventually.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Arborists and washing machines

About two weeks ago my washing machine broke down quite catastrophically. It involved large crashes, bangs and the smell of melting rubber. There really was no coming back from that for my poor overworked washer.

So panicking somewhat at the thought of coping with the mountain of clothes my lot produce daily we went online and immediately ordered a new washer and separate dryer. Unfortunately we would have been better off going into a store as it took a good two and a half weeks for my, clearly in demand, machine to arrive.

Thankfully yesterday two lovely delivery men braved my noisy yappy dog and manoeuvred the new washer and dryer down our narrow staircases to the laundry room. I have never been so happy to see any white goods before! Lovely though the lady in our local laundromat is, I hate the idea of anybody but me washing my pants and socks. The weekly visit to wash the sacks of clothing we produce was getting me down as I was terrified that one of us would drop a bag and my undergarments would be displayed to the whole of the town!

The other drama that occurred this week was the discovery that one of the tallest trees in our garden had been toppled by the strong winds over last weekend. I only discovered it had fallen last Sunday when the dog started manically barking at something in the garden. I followed him out to see what was going on and found I could no longer go into the bottom of the garden as the way was now blocked by an enormous tree.

I don't really understand why we didn't hear it fall as it must have made quite a racket. It took a branch off a neighbouring tree as it went and is now resting on top of next doors pergola and our joining fence.

We have a lovely Arborist from Paekakariki coming on Tuesday to gradually take it down. He described how he is going to abseil down from the two tall trees still upright and slowly cut down the fallen tree from the top so that it doesn't do any further damage to next doors garden structures.

It should be really interesting to watch so I'm going to pop home from work and see if I can take some pictures of him in action.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Martinborough Fair

The sun is out woohoo!....

This summer has been a bit of a disappointment in Wellington. According to the news it has been the worst summer, in terms of hours of sunshine, in thirty years. We have had the lowest number of beach days (days with more than 8 hours of sunshine) since 1987.

Luckily we spent a lot of the summer on the South Island and managed to avoid all the bad weather. However at this time of year we would normally have managed to swim in the sea quite a few times, and so far we have only managed it once.

So following our first week back at work we decided we needed cheering up and so headed north over the Rimutaka's to check out Martinborough Fair in the Wairarapa. A colleague recommended it as she liked visiting all the craft stalls but she did warn us about the traffic. And she was right. Clearly a lot of other people from Wellington had the same idea.

We had to park some distance from the little town and walk in. It was packed!

It was a gorgeous day and we didn't mind the walk into town as we got to pass all the vineyards that surround the little urban area.

The little town square and surrounding streets were jam packed with stalls and stands selling crafts, second hand goods and delicious smelling chutneys, jams, cheese and sauces. We spent a good couple of hours exploring what was on offer.

They also had a section for fairground attractions and weird balls on water. I think their called Zorbs.

Unfortunately we only spotted the horse and carriage just before we left. If we had seen it earlier I would have loved a ride.

I can thoroughly recommend Martinborough Fair as an excellent day out. Even in the heat we had today the little town has plenty of shelter and the food trucks are plentiful and varied enough to suit everyones taste. 
The bit I loved the most though was the lady doing the announcements over the loud speakers. During the day as well as the normal announcements for lost children, she announced several lost husbands who had apparently been mislaid and were looking for their wives. Plus half an hour before the fair closed she advised everyone to check they had all they had come with and to make sure that their bags, keys and purses were not lost. It was like someone had handed the loud speaker to my Nan for the afternoon!