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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Mosied on down to the Harbour Festival for a mooch around with Lex and our families on Saturday. Went for a nosey on The Spirit of Adventure which was somewhat overshadowed by the sighting of a couple of penguins swimming around the docks... ahem, sorry, harbour. Then we went for a drink as it was a blistering hot and sweaty day. Then we tried to board the N.Z.
Navy frigate but a big man with an even bigger gun told us they'd closed for the day. None of us saw fit to argue with him and so we found solice in another cafe and fed the children. After that we tested our guts on a huge(ish) Ferris Wheel... and then went to an Irish bar for a drink to calm our unsteady nerves. Would simply love to show you all the photos but *sigh* haven't had the film developed yet, and then what with having to scan them in and... yawn. Think yourselves lucky you've been spared that's all I can say.
Lex and I tried to have a drink in the hip and trendy Minus 5, a bar made entirely from ice. You had to donn these big, smelly coats, Russian-style fur hats and furry boots and pay a tenner for the privilege. Y'get a free vodka drink but we didn't get further than the front desk. We only went for nosey but you can't see anything of any interest from there, just a whole bunch of merchandising. How naff. But I fancy going now. Will probably leave it for one of those rainy day weekends when I can never think of anything fun to do. Remind me, won't you, when winter comes and I'm whinging about what to do.
Sunday was spent lozzing around but then we saw the amazing fireworks put on as part of the aforementioned Harbour Festival. Beautiful to watch and a fantastic atmosphere too. Kiwi's are far more family orientated than the Brits and it was a great family night out. It was a lovely, calm night too which made a pleasant change. As it is, the weather is absolutely unbearably humid. I guess it couldn't really be anything else living in Auckland! It isn't as bad as when we lived in the Middle East: that was so debilitating and tiresome. It was so hard to motivate yourself to do anything there. Thankfully Auckland isn't as bad but it's still sticky and night time is horrendous - none of us can sleep. Sproglet B gets the fan first as she's the youngest, then Sproglet A. Once he's asleep we bring it into the lounge then we can slob on the sofa and watch a bit of telly in relative comfort before bringing it to bed with us. If possible, we'd have a threesome.
Yesterday was Auckland's Anniversary Day so The Hubster was off work. We joined Lex and her family for a tanning session down at Bethells (think Xena: Warrior Princess). I'm not too bad, not too pink. Sproglet A had his rash vest and long shorts on so only his forearms went a bit pink... but they're a lovely chestnut shade today so we won't worry about him. Sproglet B has strap marks on her shoulders. Should be thankful that's all she got as she has pastey white skin like me and I too have strap marks. And a burnt outer thigh. WFT? The Hubster looks like a Ribena Berry! lol. He usually goes brown but his skin must be thinning or something... I tell yer, the sun down under is lethal. He got all chaffed whilst body surfing on his Dora the Explorer boogie board and spent last night, legs akimbo with nappy rash cream on his nether regions! Hehehe.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Got my photos back from my jollies. Trying to convince The Hubster that the cost of films and processing will soon mount up and that a new digicam will be worth the investment. Pleas falling on deaf ears up to now though. Hurrumph. Been scoffing my face with bloody Nutella after reading a new Blog I'd discovered whilst perusing last years finalists over at the Bloggies. Christ I must weigh a tonne or more these days.
Tall Ships have today arrived in Auckland for the Harbour Festival. Only just found out which is a bit of an arse because it would have been a lovely sight to see them breeze into the Waitemata Harbour, their sails flapping in the breeze. Last time I saw the Tall Ships was in the docks at Liverpool, UK. That too was a great day as I recall; bought four ice-creams for a tenner and received change in the sum of around 14 quid! Lovely day. None of the ships had their sails up though which makes Tall Ships look, well, a bit boring really; nothing but wooden poles sticking out at all angles with bits o'rope dangling off 'em. Anyhow, we'll trundle by tomorrow. Can't pass up the chance to be part of New Zealand's premiere event. Be nice to get some 'culcha'. Not a great deal of it in New Zealand. Gotta grab it whilst you can.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Didn't feel much like blogging last week and then we had a long weekend away to Lake Taupo, which was lovely. We went camping with Hev and her family... never again.
Hev suggested it for a week and we worked out dates and she spoke of a place on the lakeside itself. Then nothing. She did nothing. When I enquired as to what we were doing, she said she wasn't sure if her other half had enough holidays and that a week would be too long. I'd initially suggested a long w/e but she'd come back with setting up camp took too long and less than a week wouldn't be worth it! Alarm bells rang but stupidly I ignored them. In the end, I booked a site, told her and said come if you wish - this is where we're staying.
The camp site looked lovely. On the website. Turned out to be too near the road and noisy but next to some fantastic thermal baths which we could use for half price which made up for it. It wasn't as clean as I'd hoped but hey... this is camping. The Hubster had initially chosen a place with cold showers and drop toilets - this was pure luxury compared to that. We embraced it fully and got into the swing of things. We travel pretty light - just enough clothing, with typical camping clothes being de rigeur; no hairdryer, no make-up, tins of beans and sausages etc. lol.
It transpires that Hev hates camping! WTF??? Why ask us to go then???? They racked up with a mini fridge and top o'the range camping gear etc. and so much shite it was unbelieveable. No wonder it she says it takes them ages to set up. There's just no need for it - I mean, a camping table with chairs attached plus chairs to relax in for them and their kids, which their children never even used but were kept up under our gazebo, taking up space. At one point, I wanted to sit down but they'd put all their stuff on one of our chairs so I looked to sit on one of theirs. "Oh that one's ours I think," said her other half. "Well I didn't want to move your stuff off mine... I just want to sit down," I said, to which anyone else I know would just have laughed. He got up and moved his stuff off ours so I could sit. It was very much us and them to the point where he made a cuppa for him and Hev, but didn't ask if The Hubster wanted one. He had to ask if there was enough water in the kettle for him. It was like my kettle, my water; your kettle, your water.
They were just so rude... and her youngest child is so whingey. The little 'un doesn't like me and the feeling is mutual. Awful to say about your friend's child but it's true. He won't let me help him at all and she just panders to him. He won't even let me take the wrapper off his ice-cream when I'm stood next to him and Hev is at the other side of the camp. When I tell her, she just laughs and comes over to help him. Makes me feel so small. And he screams at her in a way that my kids would get a wallop. Even our children roll their eyes at him! lol. It was horrible.
The Hubster and I can't help thinking we'd have had a better time with just ourselves and the children. Total contrast to when we went with Lex and her family where we took just one of everything and shared. Thankfully we just went our own way during the day and we had the best time. My digi cam got sick and The Hubster took it apart to fix. Yup, you guessed it - it's now in bits all over the table and doesn't stand a cat in hell's chance of ever being put back together. I've seen another but I haven't to hint for Valentines Day.
However, Lake Taupo itself was wonderful. We rode a jet boat along the Waikato river to the Huka Falls; these aren't my photos obviously but it was the same view for us!
This is me!
Back row - me, sproglets one and two and The Hubster, clinging onto sproglet 2 who is almost hiding behind the Indian lady and her family. Her daughter was sobbing she was so scared. We all got absolutely soaked so we bathed in the Taupo Hot Springs thermal baths after to ease it - so hot! If you are planning - or know someone who is - to come to NZ, Lake Taupo would be a good place to visit and at just an hour out of Rotorua, it would make a welcome break from the smell of sulphur. Bungee jumps, jet boats along rapids, river cruises, jet skiing, water skiing, swimming... beautiful. We came back feeling like we were at long last seeing the New Zealand we wanted to rather than our Auckland burbs. Lovely.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Summer holidays. Lovely. Except having to go food shopping with children. I am ashamed to admit that my children had me so close to tears yesterday that I almost blubbed over in the bottle shop purchasing a much needed Aussie red. Wine, that is. Y'know, I get heaps of comments about my children's behaviour. Heaps, and it's all good. But what people don't seem to realise is that my children are well mannered and well behaved because I make them that way. That's my job as their mother. I give so much of myself to those children that at times it gets to be too much and yesterday was one of those times.
When we go food shopping they play, but they play like there is no-one else around, flailing their arms about and shooting imaginary aliens which always looks like they are shooting at the little auld woman wandering up and down the aisles. I had to discipline them both several times, resulting in slapped legs for baby sproglet - twice! Whilst in the bottle shop, the shop assistant asked me if the two children outside her shop were mine as she'd just had to give big sproglet the evils for hitting her glass window. It turns out that in my wisdom not to take them into a shop lined floor to ceiling with glass bottles full of expensive contents, they had decided to swing on the shopping trolley and bumped against the shop window by accident. Sproglet no. 1 apologised to the woman and I tried to explain that if I could leave them with someone for a couple of hours whilst I shopped, I would, but living in a foreign land with no relatives does make for a hard life when raising children. There is not a day goes by when my children are not with me and it can become so very, very tiring but she was very nice about the whole thing.
I was so appalled at my children's lack of self control that they were sent to bed as soon as we got home and given no dinner. The Hubster however, thought such draconian measures where a bit harsh and so treated them to a slice of buttered bread and a glass of water before sending them back to bed. Let's hope that it's a day they'll remember... and I should remember to try and shop at night time.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Hot today. Muggy. Severe case of cantbearseditus. Spent most of it munching biscuits and reading all my blogrolling blogs, including listening to a couple of podcasts. Pure induldgence. Cleaned both toilets, family bathroom and our shower room. Apart from the floors. White, tiled floors covered with brunette hairs. Requires me to get on my hands and knees to clean so not been done. *Sigh*. I can feel another few pounds piling onto my hips. Am I bovvered?
Granddad hasn't been well. *big sigh* I love my Granddad, the first father-figure I remember. Three children and none of them drive. One grandchild. She drives; lives half the world away mind. Literally. He usually does the shopping as my Gran can't see very well these days and hasn't been the same since she broke her hip two years ago. Mum spent the latter part of New Years Day in a taxi to the emergency pharmacist. £40 fare. He didn't charge her waiting time. How kind. *sneer* Still, the drugs she collected made Granddad feel better. He'd been taking whiskey up until that point - lol. He tripped up the step in the bakers. "Oh dear, are you alright? Can I get you a chair or anything?" enquired the lovely, buxom shop assistant. "Aye, a large brandy," quipped Granddad. I think he got a couple o'meat and potato pasties and a couple of cream buns free. He's 90 and still knows how to work the ladies!
Monday, January 09, 2006
"You made any yet then?" asked the Hubster, chomping his way through my piece of Lemon Meringue Pie. "Any what? Lemon Meringue Pies? No. That's the last piece and I think you'll find it's mine!" I retorted, all huffy because I have my period and it's allowed. "New Year's Resolutions," he says. Wonder which one I'll fail at first?!
I hadn't. Which got me thinking that I should. I once made the NYR that I would never make any NYR and never start health regimes on a Monday; Wednesday is far better as you still have the motivation to make through at least one weekend. There's a tip for you. So yes, I still need to get healthy and as I have my BF's wedding to fly to the UK for in August, I'd better start. Ah, but still on summer hols until early February so paddling in the sea and going for a tramp in the woods will have do for now. Not decreasing wine nor chocolate nor posh biscuit consumption until then. Nooo.
Went to a nice place just a short drive from our home, called Fairy Falls. Pretty eh?
Easy, forest walk there... all uphill and scrambling over rocks to get back. My legs are aching sooo much but it was lovely. So I suppose if I have to make any resolutions it's to get back into shape and walk more and keep up-to-date with all my friends via email, by setting aside one morning per month (tall order, I know) to reply to all the friends and family I like who go out of their way to keep in touch.
Wonder which one I'll fail at first?!
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
COO-EEEE... or should that read HI-DEE-HI. and this!
Back again. Happy New Year everyone! Sorry I was gone but we had a bit of a 'doo' after Christmas and the evening turned into a discussion about holidays, as this is our summer season after all. Ended up booking a last minute break to a campsite just outside of the Coromandel. Spent New Year's Eve eating pies on a beach. Northern folk eh... old habits die hard, I tell yer. Yes, New Years Eve - and Day - was spent doing this
and looking at this
Hot Water Beach (above) is just fan-bloody-tastic! Apparently some volcanos develop huge underground reservoirs of superheated water. Over time, this water escapes to the surface cooling on the way. There are two fissures at Hot Water Beach issuing water as hot as 64ºC (147ºF) at a rate as high as 15 litres/minute. This water contains large amounts of salt, calcium, magnesium, potassium, fluorine, bromine and silica. There are other hot water springs nearby but the location of these two springs on the beach make them unique.
When the tide gets low, you can dig yourself a little pit and sit in the hot water... but it is HOT! Lex and I wiggled our feet into the sand and felt the hot water burn our toes! It really does feel boiling hot so we had to go somewhere a bit further away to try again at a more comfortable temperature. The tide wasn't low enough to dig a pit but we all enjoyed body surfing on the kids new boogie boards. Was fun seeing The Hubster wander into the water with a Dora the Explorer board and his mate with a Polly Pocket one!
Anyway, my first tenting trip was fine. I think it was helped by the wonderful place we stayed at which had good, clean facilities and a beautiful, thermal swimming pool. Came home sunburnt but happy and are planning to go away this coming weekend too. It's my mission to help you find good places to visit if any of you are planning a break here and there's no point keeping good info to ourselves so here is the link to where we stayed - Miranda Holiday Park.
picture from Getty Images
edited using Adobe Photoshop CS2