4 off

Well ….. in my 4 days off (I started back today Sunday 29th) I took the kids to the Plunket nurse. This is just the equivalent to the health visitor in the UK. She did all the usual stuff, weight and height, any concerns etc. All was fine which was good. Strangly the kids she sees only go up to three and a half years old and she had no dealings with Connor (four and a half). Everything else seems to go through the GP / practice nurse. Aidan and Liam are above the average height and weight by a little (UK average ….. she continued their original books) and they have all been far healthier than ever before. In the UK they lived on Calpol or one of the non-generic options, since they have been here they have had nothing, Liam has even been teething. It’s about time he have had four teeth top and bottom for ages,.more would definately help him.
Lisa had a job interview the same day. She said it was the worst interview ever …. they invited her back for a second ‘chat’ on Tuesday …… I recon she’ll get offered it. It’s in a dental surgery as a dental nurse. We’ll then need to sort child-care out. We made some enquiries but thay all want to know exact days and times. Until Lisa has a job we won’t know. They also need it to be the same each and every day and the same week on week. This is no good for us as my shifts change each week (4 on – 4 off ….. it’s like an eight day week). Something will sort out ….. it’s VERY expensive too and it will eat up most, if not all of Lisa wages. If we were PR (permanent Residents) then we would get help with childcare and housing. The next part of the saga should then be to look at applying for PR. To aid things I should get a NZ driving lisence and Lisa should too and then it’s back to forms and medicals with more police checks too ….. Hmmmm can’t wait. These things of course cost money, that’s the one thing that we do not have. I just ned to print a good few of these:
100 bucks
On a very serious note, my Aunt is sick. She’s going into QEQM (the local hospital) today for surgery tomorrow. Please pray for her. I hope that she will be as comfortable as possible and that the results come back as good, it doessn’t sound like that though. God bless you.

long time no write

Well it’s been a while …. too long since writing anything. We have been busy doing all-sorts and nothing.
Recently Lisa has had a little string of interviews. A veterinary nurse / receptionist, a sales assistant at a jewelers and at a plant lab. This coming week there is a dental nurse interview. So far the plant lab is the only yes but it’s a poorly paid and boring sounding job working in sterile conditions with very tiny plants. Hopefully something else will come up with more interest and more pay.
To assist with work and general life we have just bought another car (thanks Adrian for the amazing deal). It’s a Toyota Caldina (a station wagon that looks like this but with a bull bar on it). We went to Sullivans bay and the ‘look out’ over Mita bay up at Mahurangi yesterday (friday 20th April 2007). It was great to drive a car again (auto, air conditioning and stereo with a little clout) rather than the bus as the kids call the Estima. The weather was amazing with air quality so good that the Great Barrier Island was clearer that ever before. The Coromandel looked as if it had been moved 20 miles closer!
We have been off to the zoo in Auckland. It’s a great little zoo and well worth the $18. Lisa and the kids got in free with the playgroup that is at the end of our road. We saw all the usual suspects that you expect at a zoo. They are all quite close to you and no empty or hiding animals.
Easter Monday we spend at Mairangi beach (our local beach). Connor was body boarding as long as I launched him into the little waves. Aidan was collecting water and was up to ‘nut’ level but no deeper. Liam was wave ‘jumping’ with lots of help and smiles from me or Lisa. A dam was build across about 10′ of the beach to collect the warmer water from further up the beach. There were quite a few people there but nothing like a public holiday on the ‘Planet Thanet’.
I’ll be applying for the 2 roster positions at Silverdale station. They are both AP (advanced paramedic) positions but there have been no takers in the past so maybe they will allow a lowely paramedic to take one of them. It’s about 20 mins north of home but an easy motorway drive ….. it’s to the end of the motorway heading north which extends only about 30 mins from the north side of the harbour bridge! Silverdale is a town which is very small and the last regarded as ‘metro’ before going out to the rural stations (nearest is at Warkworth) which are single manned.
If I get a chance, I might try to do a block at Warkworth …. see what it’s like …. the town is nice.

Huia

New photos to the right …. click on ‘more photos’ for … er more photos I guess.
Well it’s been a little while since the last post and it’s my last night (2 days and 2 nights) so 4 days off after tonight. I thought that I should write before the next block of off days incase anything exciting happens.
We went off to the west again for a picnic. It’s all forrested hills, rivers and rugged coastline and I find it very easy to get lost. Initially we were heading out to some waterfalls at Karekare which are apparently the easiest to access with a buggy. En-route and with the kids screaming (literally) for food we headed off to Cornwallis (been there before, if you can’t remember do a search on the site for it). Being a Tuesday in school term time I thought that it would be all very quiet, maybe we’d even be the only ones there. The car park was packed …. full to overflowing??!!?? Some event was going on there. We went further up the road to another beach access by the wharf (jetty with nothing at the end except 2 fishermen …. I might try there sometime for some snapper). It was windy, warm but with the wind the kids would soon be too cold. A quick picnic and then we looked at the map ….. Huia was close and sheltered from the wind coming from the East.
Huia is a great little place but blink and you’ll miss it. There was a little reserve but with the found frisbee and boomerang, the little climbing frame and swings and the better shelter things were very nice. We bought ice lollies (ice blocks) and had those. We were propably the only people to venture into the little shop in Huia. It was all very nice, the kids loved it ….. Huia recommended as a place to visit as long as you’re aware that there is nothing there. A couple of 1st effort (poor) youtube videos form my point & shoot camera.

Stars, shooting stars and satellites

Well it’s another night shift and although we are suposed to be a Rosedale we are in fact at Silverdale (long complex and political reason). Silverdale is further north than Rosedale and the last station before becoming ‘rural’. Last night we headed out west to Helensville. This was un-charted ground for me and it would have been some serious map reading had it not been for Bruce (old hand at this game) guiding me. Some would say the blind leading the partially sighted but local knowledge is a wonderful thing to those without it.
Anyway back to stars. Out in the country (especially when there is a power cut {hypoglycaemic by torchlight}) there is very little light polution. I don’t know if it’s right but there are far more stars here than on the top part of the planet. They are bright and plentiful extending over the whole sky (not just the part above you but to the furthest points at the horizon. The quietness and clarity of being ‘out west’ was quite awe inspiring. The places we go to for work are sometimes bad, mostly at night but sometimes truly amazing areas (Millmead or Newington are in a different catergory though guys!)
meteor
A while ago at Mahurangi I was sat (having a beer) looking out at the cloudless night sky and I saw a shooting star (Wow!). Peter and Margaret said about having seen satellites (you know the NASA and SKY TV type and maybe some natural ones) in the sky but not recently. 10 minutes later I uttered something like, “You mean like that one?”. Yep it was, then a little while afterwards on a different track there was another and another after that (or was that that beer?). They do ‘fly’ like something totally un-natural. Straight lines don’t exist in nature (well with the exception of crystals and minerals and a heap of things that you’ll all email me about) and this stands out as being strange.
Maybe the heat over the summer, maybe the beer, maybe I shouldn’t look up so often but the night sky is amazing here. Like nothing I’ve experienced before.

Weather reminds me of the UK

Well last night I slept through some very bad weather, so Lisa told me. There was a mini tornado and it is a bit wet and windy at the moment (nights at Rosedale but covering at Silverdale). I think that a power-line came down tonight as I arrived at a powerless station. It all seems odd that the weather can be so lovely on one day and then so wet and windy the next. It’s still warm so maybe we’ll get an electrical storm. Some of the rain is heavy, I mean very heavy and it arrives quickly too. It was stinging as I brought the washing in off the line this morning. It does seem to have a nice way about it though ….. it’s bright ….. it rains ….. stops ….. becomes bright again.
rain
Lisa and I have been very busy un-packing boxes of ‘stuff’. Lisa has done the vast majority of it. Today I un-packed and set up the stereo. This is a separates system with some small but kick ass speakers. speakers This has made the house seem more like a home. Green Day now sounds like it should rather than being played through the 14″ TV.
We all went and met Fifi (Forget-Me-Not) today. She is not an exotic porn-star but a kids animated character. She was at the local shopping centre with her side-kick Bumble (who’s a bee that’s allergic to pollen!). It was good to see so many smiling faces and grimacing parents trying to hold up their kids so that they could see over the crowds.Fifi and Bumble
Lisa has made contact with a few other mums in the area including some POM’s / ex-POM’s at the playgroup and today she took the kids to Chipmunks Adventure Playground and met up with some of them. Maybe there is also a job for her …… she’s seen an advert, I’ll find out more about it tomorrow after my night shift.

Container & Boxes!

Well on Thursday the container arrived. Oh how we rejoiced until we remebered that it was 146 boxes! The 3 guys that came were great. Not only did they quickly and efficiently unload the boxes from the container and put them in the correct rooms but they un-wrapped the items that we wanted un-wrapped. We now have more stuff that we can shake a stick at and no room in our rental house. Imagine the contents of a 4 bedroom house, packed (with lots of packing) into a container, being shipped to the other side of the world and unpacked into a 3 bedroom single story house (bungalow to the POM’s out there). It’s like a round peg in a square hole.
For a very short time we became like 90% of the UK population. Our car was not in the garage, the contents of the container (that wqas not essential / wanted immediately) was. We have about 30 boxes of variour sizes, shapes and awkwardness in the garage that are unlikely to be un-packed until we get our very own piece of New Zealand (instead of helping someone else buy their bit …. that’s just what renting feels like to me).
The kids have so many boxes of toys (most un-opened) that they must have thought that Christmas had come again and this time it was on steroids!
We have a welsh dresser full of ‘homey’ bits, a dinning table and chairs to eat from and comfy chairs to sit on. we have a coffee grinder and espresso maker in the kitchen and a wealth of odds and sods to keep us as happy as pigs in brown smelly stuff. It has really made us think …. “Why did we ‘need’ all these things?”, “Do they make things better / easier or just a little more difficult?”.
I bought a load of plugs and I’ve started the process of de-plugging and re-plugging (if they are words) our appliances. They do have very poor quality (read flimsy …. is that ey?) plugs here. I bought some cheapies and got angry, then I bought some good quality plugs and the price made me angry. Still it’s working out well with no funny electrical burning smells (you know the sort …. how can you explain that smell?) or fuses blowing.
The kids seem to be loving it here. We have been to a playgroup …. very quiet compared to the one in the UK (Hi Sam & Lee) that we went to. Lisa took the kids today and made a couple of contacts so hopefully that will help everyone settle.
Peter & Margaret have been on babysitting duty a few times now and still talk to us so I can only imagine that the kids are either OK for them or P&M are hard nuts to crack (thanks, they love you loads). Just a pic of the England / Arsenal Hooligans.
Footie Hooligans
look on the right at the pics …. click on more photos to see all the ones that I have uploaded.

Out West

Well today was a usy but good one. We went out west. From the shore we went around the city and off to Cornwallis Bay. En-route we went past a couple of houses that looked interesting in the Property Press. It’s a publication that seems to be delivered around here every 30 seconds (probably weekly)! The properties were ok but in the ‘wrong part of town’. We haven’t considered being off the shore before and this seems to confirm it. It may be cheaper south of the bridge but there is a reason; it’s not as nice (gross generalisation!!!!!!). I heard a quote from a guy that only a fool would argue with (big guy with a BIG military history); “There are two types of people; those who live on the shore, and those who want to.”
Through Titirangi and off to Cornwallis. There was a major incident exercise there way back at the start of the induction couse. I was amazed then nd I was amazed today too. It’s beautiful.
We sat and ate lunch (cheese sandwiches) whilst someone in front of us used a BBQ (one that is electric and for everyones use). The smell was great. That’s when the Kiwi hospitality stepped in a we were presented with napkins, a good handful of ‘snarlers’ and a knife to cut them up for the little-uns. The people here never cease to amaze me.
After lunch we got our ‘togs’ (togs, undies, togs, undies, definately togs as we were at the beach ….. for those that know {all others lease think that I’m still mad}) on and went for a dip. Even Aidan was deep in the water. Up to now, he has been very hesitant. Connor has a good level of cofidence as long as both feet are planted on the bottom. Aidan even came in again later on, on his own! Lisa and Liam sat in the shade of a large Pohutakawa tree on the grass which edges the beach. It is a great family area. Lisa is addicted to reading at the moment. Peter is becoming her library but I fear that he will be unable to keep up with her. The book was being read the second we were back in the car.
Soon it was time to pack up, clean up and then play football (rugby passing etc) for a while. Connor is good at both catching and throwing (overhead like a soccer throw in). Aidan is playing catch-up and Liam laughs everytime he get’s it thrown to (or at) him.
We got home, lit the BBQ and had venison snarlers and salad. Am I still a POM?

They’re here

Well the family arrived in Singapore right on time. After I had waited for hours (and hours) there was a bit of a mad rush. Up the amp from the aircraft came Connor and he was proudly pulling his own ‘penguin’ hand luggage. Lisa was managing to carry Liam and guide Aidan and somehow lug the rest of the luggage too. Our buggies were nowhere to be seen. There was a very brief hello and hug before quickly going to find the customer service desk to ask for the buggies then dash off to the next gate for the next flight. With everything on a luggage trolley, as we were entering the next check-in those dredded words “No trolleys here” rang out. Bags and kids under each arm and seemingly over each shoulder I offered our passports to the clerk by waving them in my mouth. The connecting flight had been delayed by an hour which was a blessing realy. Poor Lisa had endured a long flight with just an hour break before the next. Changi
The kids were very good on the plane. Connor had a 40 min ‘hissy fit’ after being woken when the seat-belt sign came on. He was sound asleep on the floor, Lisa struggled to wake him. The rest of the flight was uneventful.
Immigration were kind to us and off we went to collect the luggage. It was all there except 1 buggy. That arrived by taxi the next day. Jet lag has effected most of us. The kids have been up late after being awake most of the night. Today will be our first time going to see things. The last few days have been about getting things sorted at home and shopping. Un-exciting but needed. We have been for a walk through Unsworth Reserve and we had a play on the slides and swings etc. but today we are off to the city. If there is time then we will go up to Mahurangi or if not today then tomorrow. I’ll keep you posted.
It’s good to be a family again.

Travelling Singapore and back in a day

Well I’m at Changi Airport in Singapore. I here to meet my lovely family and bring them back to their new home of New Zealand. I have not seen them for ages …… I mean ages …… since the 24th October 2006! They will have changed so much. Lisa will be on the plane with them at the moment, I pity her. The flight from Auckland to Changi was thankfully un-eventfull. The food and service was as usual exceptional (I fully recommend Singapore Airlines). I just hope that Lisa and the kids had all the help that was promised.

I can’t wait to see Lisa again, the kids will have to remember who I am. I will have to get used to being a Dad again! It’s going to be a re-learning experience for us all. It will be a great thing to show Lisa and the kids where things are in NZ, showing them some of the sights and discovering lots more.I have missed them all so much and the UK part of the family will miss them once they are in NZ. With the power of technology at least we can stay in touch quite easily. Roll on the internet getting connected at home.

A big thanks go to Agnes (our Au Pair) for being such a difference to the last one. You have been excellent. I spoke to Kirsty yesterday …… all the very best and keep in touch ….. I know that you’ve looked at this site from Hungary ….. spys everywhere.

The house is sorted thanks to my NZ ‘family’ ….. Without the begging, borrowing and well the ‘borrowing’ of some paint, there would be an empty(ish) house to welcome the family and a VERY PINK room. Thanks for everything guys and girls.

I have ages (12 hours until we take off again) to doss around the airport. At least there is loads of airport to walk around. For anyone who has not been here, it’s huge and has orchid gardens and koi carp lakes inside. Lots of ‘Gucci’ stuff too. I will probably get told off but the plan is; put bag on floor, put body on floor, put head on bag and push out some serious Zeds Z z z z z z. When I did this in Japan a little Hitler type told me off (3 times as I was weary and persistant).

I need to go …. there is a que.