Saturday, 17 June 2017

Let's go back to the start

What a couple of weeks it's been.  Busy.  Very busy.

All our things are here, and most are now in place.  We're pretty well settled in.  We have a huge amount to get rid of - the consequence of moving to a smaller house - but mostly everything has fit where we imagined it would.

Unbelievably, poor J got sick the very day our container arrived.  She had to spend the day snuggled on the couch at her Nan's, who was luckily available for last-minute nurse duty.  Then A came down with the same bug a couple of days later, and do you what's fun?  Trying to unpack dozens of boxes with two feverish and SERIOUSLY clingy kids underfoot.  Oh wait.  No.  That's not fun at all.

But we got through it and are (touch wood) all back to fine fettle now.

Speaking of, please excuse me this small boast.  I for some reason decided to try on a pair of pants that haven't been even close to fitting me since well before J's birth.  Up went that zip!  Snap went that button!  They were even on the loose side!

This is through absolutely zero concerted effort.  Needless to say with everything else that's been going on, I haven't kept up the 5:2 for some time.  Turns out though, that the magic combo of carting wood daily, stressing out, chronic sleep deprivation, and carrying around two heffalumps really burns the calories!  I'm not far off my pre-kids weight (aka the first time I thought I was really fat *eyeroll*).

So, look out for my book coming out later this year.  I might call it something catchy like Stress, Carry Wood, and Don't Sleep: How To Get Your Pre-baby Body Back By Moving Internationally.

Now, being reunited with all our things, I can finally share the photos I took back when we first arrived.  Looking at them now I can't believe this was only two months ago.  So many leaves on all the trees!  So much grass in the paddocks!  Not to mention all the jobs around the property that have already been done.  It's pretty gratifying to see how much has changed already.

So, here come the photos.  There's quite a few...

Oh look, this could be New Zealand all misty but it's actually one of our last mornings in Perth.  Aw.  Kinda makes me feel a little nostalgic for the place.

Ok now this is NZ.  Bucolic.

The rosemary bush, the small shed, the vine-infested tree behind - all gone.  The driveway has a new load of dirt on it and we've planted a hedge around the lawn.  Not to mention the post and rail fence that now divides the drive from the orchard.

I was, and still am, so enchanted by the mossy, licheny everything.


Feijoas! (but - don't tell anyone I said this - blergh)

Hydrangeas!  I walked around so thrilled to have bushes and bushes of my very own hydrangeas.

Yes, Prue, it's lichen.

The leaves were only just starting to turn.  That tank has gone from that spot as well, now I think of it.

Ol' curly top.

Ok this really is too many lichen photos, sorry you guys.

I was really excited.  I said to B, "This is like the soil we've been buying from Bunnings!  And here it is just on the ground!".  He was like, "Yeah".

Yup, very excited.  About everything.  Still am.  Just better able to mask it now.

Photogenic imperfect apple.  But also a sign of coddling moth issues.

Well, that was a very happy trip down memory lane for me.  It's fun being reminded how much of a dream come true this move has been.  I drive down our road and gaze at the rolling paddocks, and the big old mountain, and continue to feel almost disbelieving that we live here.

J calls, "Hi cows!  Hi sheepies!  Hi dee-are [deer]!  Hi fossies [horsies]!" as we drive past.  These are no longer animals she knows from books but ones that she sees every day in real life.  None of this will be a novelty to her, these are her childhood memories being made.

This is exactly what we wanted for our kids, and for ourselves.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Mists, sunrises and sunsets

I can excitedly report that our shipping container arrives THIS WEEK.  Very excited!  I can't even remember anything we own but I'm thrilled to re-discover it all.

Not much to report from these parts, B has been working all the hours of all the days which has been tough on all of us.  This weekend is the Queen's Birthday long weekend though so he's had yesterday and today off work.

It would be remiss of me not to catch you up on our weather.  Misty mornings!

The frosts and the mists haven't dampened the enthusiasm of the dahlias though, one of which actually burst forth with this one random flower?! 

I'm going to dig the dahlias out (that's if the cranky baby even lets me put her down for longer than 2.5 seconds) because they're choking the garden beds and are getting badly burned by the frost.

There's been more magnificent autumn colour.

There've been incredible golden sunsets.

And some stunning sunrises too!

Work around the place continues in a haphazard fashion.  One of B's relatives dropped off a cycad for our rock garden.  Luckily J was on hand with her trusty wheelbarrow to assist with the placement.

That little blue wheelbarrow used to be B's when he was J's age and I am LOVING the continuity.  It has been getting a major workout, carting wood to and fro, plus miscellaneous dirt, grass, bits of gravel, with associated huffing and sighing.

Exhibit A:
Monkey see monkey do

J starts kindy this week.  We've visited a few times and she loves, no LOVES, the place.  Last week I dropped her off there for a couple of hours and she didn't even cry as I left.  In fact I don't think she even looked up. 

She seems such a big girl all of a sudden, this kindy kid with her "wunchbox" and her little friends.  As she'll tell you, she's "fwee" next birthday and there's no slowing things down.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Fun facts about NZ

 Now that we've been in New Zealand for, what, about six weeks, I thought it was time to share some interesting (playing it fast and loose with the word interesting, you might say) trivia about the place.

I fell into the Aussie trap of thinking that it would be pretty much the same as Australia.  And, in a lot of ways, it is.  We talk pretty much the same, except they get their vowels all mixed up in a really endearing way.  For some time I was referring to my sister-in-law's cat as Pippa.  Turns out its name is actually Pepper.

There are also plenty of marked differences, albeit small, that keep reminding you that this is a whole 'nother country.  Can't get here by bus.
 There's no Kmart, Target, Big W... but the Warehouse is amazing
 In Australia you get so used to having so many shops to choose from.  If Target don't have it, check Big W.  If it's not at Big Dub, you'll probably find it at Kmart.  But here (or in New Plymouth anyway) the only big cheap discount department store is the Warehouse, and it sells pretty much everything.  I mean, everything: mobile phones, TVs, furniture, clothes, plants, milk, nappies.  And it's all decent quality and CHEAP. 
There's no eBay or Gumtree
 Now, this is a little annoying.  I don't know what everyone does with their secondhand goods here.  There's a site called Trade Me which sounds promising but it works like eBay so if you have an old couch or whatever to sell you have to list it with a reserve and wait for the auction to end.  You can't just stick it on Gumtree for $100 and have it gone the same afternoon.  And so when I'm looking for an old swing set or cubby house for J, there's nothing on Trade Me.  No bags of kids' clothes for cheap.  Where does it all go?  I am here and ready to buy, people. 

They sell booze at the supermarket  
Cue choirs of angels singing.  Take note, Australia.  A decent reason to move here if for nothing else. 

They don't know what cordial is 
No one drinks cordial.  They all drink this powdered stuff called Raro.  Most people don't even really know what cordial is.  I know. 

There's no Triple J, ABC or SBS 
I mean, well, obviously there's no Australian Broadcasting Corporation in New Zealand.  But I hadn't realised how much of the quality programming we take for granted comes from those channels.  Here there's commercial TV which is pretty dire (it's basically a never-ending loop of British game shows like The Chase and Tipping Point, with news in between), or the Maori Channel which shows a lot of great classic movies, or Al Jazeera.  I think we need to get Sky (the NZ version of Foxtel).
They use Americanisms 
Or what I consider to be Americanisms.  I guess NZ is kind of in between Australia and the US if you squint your eyes and tilt your head.  They say cell phone instead of mobile, sweatshirt for jumper, and if something's good, it's neat.  As an example: "Eh bru, look at the neat cell phone pocket on this sweatshirt I got at the Warehouse." 

Chemists are only open during business hours 
Again, this might only be because we're regional but I was very disquieted to learn that if I need over the counter meds outside of 9-5 Monday to Friday I am bang out of luck.  Combine this with the fact that there's no bulk-billed after hours locum, and it basically means that if you - or, worse, one of the kids - takes ill on a Saturday afternoon - or, worse, in the middle of the night - you have to go to hospital.  I MEAN COME ON.  Needless to say I'm stockpiling drugs in a slightly obsessive fashion. 

They have petrol station forecourt attendants 
Remember in the 80s, when there was someone to greet you and pump your petrol for you?  They still have that here!  I love it!  It's such a redundant service! 

On a side note, how good is the name of this suburb?  Snappy!

Petrol is $1.80/L 
Yup.  You read that correctly.  Frankly I would say let's forgo the forecourt attendants and give us the fuel a little cheaper. 

They call shopping trolleys "trundlers" 
Ok so this fact is a little dull.  But the word trundlers is vaguely amusing.  And they are the bane of my tiny life because the back wheels don't turn side to side so you have to steer them differently and for some reason it's taking me a long time to adjust.  I don't know.  Yeah.  Let's move on.

Trundler hahaha

Unfortunate placement of that pole there, hey

There are no fly screens
There are plenty of flies but for some reason no one has fly screens.  I quite like it for being able to lean out the window to pass B his beer or whatever, but it means you can't have airflow and security at the same time.  It feels weird and exposing.  If the door's open, it's open to anyone who wants to come in.
Well, that kind of abruptly concludes our little list.  I hope you learned something today.  I've been learning many things these past weeks and I'm sure there's many more to come.  I'm still having to hold up and examine each coin before I hand them over in the shop, for one thing.

Briefly in other news, our shipping container full of all our stuff arrives within the next two weeks.  We got a teaser today when B drove his car down from Auckland which had a few boxes packed in it.  Oh I love my things, you guys.  We have been lent a whole house worth of stuff by B's generous family and friends but ultimately there's nothing like your own stuff is there?

When that container arrives it's going to be CHRISTMAS in our house!

Monday, 22 May 2017


Well, a few days ago I wrote about the onset of the wintry weather, and yesterday we woke up to a light frost.  I was, of course, thrilled.

Then last night it was even colder and this morning we woke up to the full sparkling winter wonderland!  I can confirm that it was definitely quite crisp out there.

Poor cows!