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Archive for January, 2013

I’ve still been unsuccessful in finding a skirt and top. It’s all sleeveless dresses this summer. When I do find skirts, they’re either the wrong style for my body shape, too long, or in hideous colours. I’m worried that the second-hand dress I bought is unflattering. I’ll ask H when she returns. If she thinks so, I’ll have to find two more skirts or dresses, not just one. The past few days have been hot and I was too hot in pants on Monday, so I will definitely need to wear skirts and/or dresses.

If it were just a visit to see C in Melbourne, I wouldn’t worry about clothes, but because it’s a four-day conference, I would be expected to wear something different (and not too casual) every day. You can tell I’m not used to these things!

The $80 sandals I bought last week are not as comfortable as I first thought (you always discover the faults after properly wearing them). One of the sandals pushes my big toe over (and it’s not used to being squished over as I don’t wear pointed shoes). On the other pair of sandals, the top piece extends too far and digs into to my leg at the top of the foot. I also got a blister on my big toe from the same sandal yesterday. The other sandals on both pairs are fine! Just to add to the frustration, the last pair of old black sandals I had broke this morning. I had to throw out my favourite black sandals two weeks ago after they broke while walking to the car.

This Saturday I was intending to do some more clothes shopping and some grocery shopping. However, I got an email from bro to say he will have some lamb to pick up this weekend. Ideally, I could have picked it up on the way to Wellington on Sunday (stay overnight on Saturday), but I’d planned to go to the zoo and I don’t think lamb should be out of the fridge/freezer for more than 2 hours (which would have been the case regardless of the zoo visit). So, I’m going to bro’s place on Saturday, returning home with the lamb, and driving to Wellington on Sunday, as planned.

I had plans for evenings, but they’re running out as well. Last week I got a text from my belly dancing teacher to say dance would start again this week, but that if we were continuing at the venue, we’d have to change the day to Wednesday. I took this to mean that dance would start again this Tuesday but continue on Wednesday from then on. So I headed home, rushed around doing things and cooking and eating and just as I was about to drive off to dance, I received a text to say dance was on tomorrow (today). This buggered my plans a bit. I was at a loss. When I’m at a loss, I tend to sit and watch something, which was perhaps a bit of a waste of time. I did, however, alter the top of my new dress so it wasn’t so revealing. (Why are tops and dresses so low cut? I don’t want to wear anything underneath them as it defeats the purpose of light summer clothing (I hate layers).)

Tonight I have dance, so that time is out. Tomorrow night I am meeting a friend after work, who is passing through town. I then have a haircut. So t can’t do any clothes shopping on the late night. On Friday I can do some stuff at home I suppose. I’ve concentrated so much on inside the house, that outside is looking rather untidy.

There’s always next Thursday for clothes shopping or the Saturday before I fly out, but I hate leaving things to the last minute. The sandals will have to do, and with any luck there will be a bit of shopping time in Brisbane. I absolutely hate shopping and this is all just stressing me out!

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They come around so quickly.

On Friday night after work, I did another coat of the laundry walls, finally.  Some of it looked like it needed yet another coat, but I left it until the next day.

I started watching episodes of Series 5-7 of “Who do you think you are?” (recently received from amazon uk).  The episode on Boris Johnson was fascinating and so unexpected.

I tried on a second-hand dress I’d bought last year, seeing if it was ok for my upcoming Brisbane trip.  It was knee-length and my legs were white, while my arms are brown.  It looked decidedly odd and I wondered if I didn’t look rather frumpy in the dress.  I decided to try and tan my legs at every opportunity!

On Saturday morning I did a final coat on the laundry walls, then put everything back in its place.  Looks way better than it did – a room I hated going in because it was so awful.  Now it’s light, clean and neat – more airy feeling.

I headed down the road to the annual smallholders’ auction which is held on farmland.  If I had been more organised, I could have put a few things together to sell (you can buy or sell virtually anything there).  Last time I did that, however, two of my items didn’t sell but I still had to pay $10 (the event is a fundraiser after all) and bring the damned things home again.  I met friends (who had just got back from a month in India) with her daughter (who just got married in December).  I took a few photos but was disappointed with the results.  The light was too harsh, yet it was only about 11am.

I looked around the animals and birds and noted that a lot didn’t have water on such a hot day.

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Apparently it was expected that all animals up for auction would have water and shade.  Yeah right.

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It just shows how little regard so many people have for animals.  Then I heard over the loud speaker a plea for some idiot to give water to their dog left in a car.  People are so fucking stupid.  It was bloody hot.  They have no idea how hot it gets in a car.  Why take a dog along to such an event to leave it in a car?  I never ever left my dog in the car on a hot day.  There were plenty of people walking with dogs so there was no excuse not to bring the dog out.

I left and got home about lunch time.  After lunch I made a start on tiling the bathroom floor.  It wasn’t easy.  The full pieces were fine, but it was the fiddly edges that was tricky.  If I cut just half a millimetre out, it wouldn’t fit.  It was a pain in the arse.  I continued on it until evening, then gave up, made pizza for dinner and watched another couple of episodes of “Who do you think you are?”

This morning, I finished off the tricky bits of the flooring, and finally finished.  The result wasn’t perfect but it was a vast improvement on the grubby grey carpet tiles I’d ripped up, as well as the purple floral vinyl underneath.  The bathroom is finally complete!

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While cleaning out the laundry, I had found another box of books belonging to my father.  My brother didn’t want them, so  it was left to me go to through them to give away.  Many were paperbacks on Greek philosophy.  Others were hardbound sets of English literature.  There was a 10-volume set of Alfred Tennyson dated in the 1870s in very good condition.  They were small enough and quite attractive, that I thought I would keep them.  I also decided to keep an old small book on Rossetti’s poems and a book on plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries.  I wasn’t sure what to do with two stories by Dickens dated 1868, also part of a set.  The rest I decided to give away.  I have rather a lot of books to give away now.

After lunch, I headed to Mt Lees reserve, just a half hour drive away.  I hadn’t been there for 30 years – the last time with my father in spring, and I have a photo of him posing beside the daffodils under the trees at the front of the property.

It was a very pleasant drive through rolling countryside.  There were stunning views on such a glorious day.  The reserve consists of a house that offers accommodation, as well as a bush walk.  I was there for the bush walk.  There were three campervans at the front of the property so evidently you can camp there as well.  I saw only three other people during my walk.  It was very pleasant under the trees.  I basically had the place to myself.

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After about an hour there, I drove back home.

I mowed the lawn, had a beer, and sorted my photos.  It’s now nearly 7pm!

Time flies.

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Last week I remembered Mt Lees reserve, a place I hadn’t been to for close on 30 years. It was too late to go there by the time I thought of it, but I’m planning to go there this Sunday.

On 3 February, I’m due to pick up H from Wellington airport. Instead of just going straight there and back, I’ve decided to go to Wellington zoo, something I haven’t done for several years. They’ve changed things around so it will be interesting to see the changes. I always hated the small cages they used to have the big cats in and the poor old sun bear that looked quite insane.

Someone just told me about some attractive waterfalls towards the east coast. It’s quite some distance away by narrow windy roads, but it might be worth thinking about for a day trip. The weekends are filling up!

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I was kindly invited to dinner last night with one other person I knew.  We had a lovely vegetarian meal with wine, sitting outside in the warm evening.  We ate fresh fruit salad after it and the nectarine was the nicest I’ve tasted in many years.  We then headed inside to watch a pagan movie which had only been released last year.  Very quickly into the ‘musical’, I found I was saying to myself “Oh dear”.  I thought it was dreadful, but obviously my hosts (and other pagans on imdb) loved it.  I sat politely through it but couldn’t wait for it to finish so I could go home.  It was very theatrical with really awful ‘special effects’.  I thought it quite amateurish.  Nevertheless, I thanked my host for what was a pleasant evening (the company and food), with a lovely sunset to finish.

Today I took my DSLR to work with no real hope of taking any photos of birds. However, I did see two silvereyes, one feeding the younger one.  I managed to get a couple of photos.

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I took my time in the arboretum and sat and had lunch there.  Afterwards, I started walking back to work when I heard fantails.  I stopped and waited, and sure enough a little fantail came closer and flitted about.  They move so quickly, that it’s difficult to get good photos of them.

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I took several photos of this one young little fantail and managed to get a couple of good ones.

After work, I headed over to the pond, as I had some bread crusts.  I sat down, readied my camera, and started flinging bits of bread.  Among the ducks was a coot.

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Then I spotted the coot’s new baby.

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They both wandered off and I saw the coot feeding the baby.

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I then headed home very happy.  I’ve discovered that I absolutely love taking photos of birds.  I took 117 photos today, mostly of the fantail and water birds. I deleted 17 fantail ones and others, leaving me with 85 – some not so good, but I like them anyway.  I’ll put the better ones on my deviantart page.

I was supposed to come home and do some painting, but it took me a while to go through photos and then have dinner.  There is only about half an hour of daylight left and I need more than that.  I’ve found I can’t paint by artificial light – I just can’t see properly where I’ve painted.  It might now have to wait until tomorrow or Friday.  I want to get it done so I can do the bathroom flooring!

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Not much of a day really.

I had an ‘appointment’ to meet someone at the Esplanade cafe in the morning.  It was a guy off the dating site.  I wasn’t really interested but thought I’d be polite and say hello.  He put his photo up beforehand and he looked rather intimidating – big muscley upper body, tattoos and a bald head.  He looked better in person but I could tell others felt a bit scared of him as well.  He was quite pleasant.  He did talk a lot about himself, saying how good he was at this, that, and the other.  I had made it clear on the site that I was only after a ‘friend’ to share a beer with or go to the movies with.  He knew that, but did start brushing against me and wanted a kiss at the end of the meeting (after which I reiterated what I didn’t want).  It was a boost to my ego though.  He was a personal trainer but said I looked in good shape, was attractive, and suited long hair.  This was reassuring, after watching myself on a video H made last year (as well as various photos) in which I look dowdy and drack sack (look the word up here, if you’re unfamliar with the term).

I was starving, but had to get some groceries and buy some more paint.  Typically, after putting all my groceries on the checkout, the machine crashed and I had to wait five minutes for it to reboot.  I bought some more paint and headed home for a late lunch.

I tried doing a bit of painting with the remainder of the old paint, but it was too hot in the laundry and I gave it up.  I thought about going somewhere instead to take photos, but could think of nowhere in the time that was left of the afternoon.  I headed out to the back garden and sat around with Jasmine.  She sat on the other side of a tree trunk just where her old friend Ziggy was buried.  I felt quite miserable.

I had a smoked chicken salad for dinner (thank you, A).  I then went through some more books and ruthlessly got rid of a shelf and a half of books, putting some aside to give away and some aside to sell (hopefully).  What I need is a car boot sale or something, to get rid of all this unwanted stuff.

Back to work tomorrow for a short week.  I have no real plans for next weekend.  I will be picking up H the weekend after, and the weekend after that I’ll be heading to Brisbane.

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There was a vintage weekend event at a town about 50 minutes’ drive away.  The forecast was for morning rain and it did look pretty grey, but then the sun came out occasionally.  I wore a long-sleeved top, jeans and shoes, having read about the rain and a high of about 20deg celsius.

It was a pleasant drive.  The road is a nice one through rolling country.  (Where I live is boringly flat.)  There were scenic vistas deserving of photos but there was nowhere to stop.  When I got to the town, I quickly realised I was overdressed.  Luckily, I’d brought some sandals to replace shoes and socks.

The architecture in the town is lovely, far nicer with more character than my home town.

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I wandered around but it was early and nothing much was happening.  The people in the town seemed weird but friendly.  A long-haired old guy on a bike said “Oi! Hello.”  Later, another local stood up after stooping to kiss his girlfriend (who was lying down on an outdoor seat), to say “Good afternoon”.  So funny.

Men were gathered around little steam engines.  I looked in at the tram shed.

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The paddle steamer was due to sail at 11am.  I thought about going on it if it was reasonably priced.  Otherwise, I’d take a photo of it leaving.  It cost more than I had anticipated and I walked away.  But then I wondered, what was I going to do all day?  The vintage cars weren’t due on display until 2.30pm.  The boat trip was 3 hours long.  I thought ‘why not?’.  I’d been on a river cruise on the Seine and the Thames, but never in New Zealand.  So I paid and waited.

IMG_1382It was a very pleasant cruise, with a woman singing old popular songs (I wouldn’t call them vintage).  People on the river banks waved at us.

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After an hour’s cruise we stopped at a small place for lunch.  There wasn’t much to see apart from a cafe and an old church.

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A brass band boarded for the return trip.  They were supposed to play as we approached the town with a flotilla of boats.  There was one boat.

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One boat does not a flotilla make.  A couple of speed boats joined us but I wouldn’t call it a flotilla.  Crowds gathered to see the return of the only paddle steamer in the country.

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Once on shore, I had a wander to see what should have been a display of vintage cars.  There were about 10, with a few others dating from the 60s, with 2 I’d driven in the 80s – hardly vintage.  If the main purpose of my trip had been to see vintage cars, I would’ve been sadly disappointed.  There were a lot of people hanging around just to see those few cars (so difficult to get good pictures).

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Some more cars were due to arrive, so I went off and had something to eat and drink.  The organisers should have known to have more rubbish bins available.

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I wandered up to where bands were playing but one band just seemed to be warming up for 10 minutes.  I left, in disgust, to see if any more cars had arrived.  Three had.  I wasn’t prepared to wait any longer.  I headed up the road to the town’s large pond (called a lake) to commune with the ducks and swans.

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I heard a lot of bird noise I wasn’t familiar with.  There were heaps of shags (or cormorants – I’m never sure which is which) in a tree, some on nests.  I walked the circuit around the ‘lake’ then headed back to the car and drove back home.

On the way I took a turnoff to a small town, Marton, which I hadn’t been to since I was a kid.  It’s not on the way to anywhere.  You have to specifically go there to see the place.  It was quite a cute town and bigger than I had imagined.  On the way, there was a marvellous view of Mt Ruapehu (maybe one and a half hours’ drive away).

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A good day, although there wasn’t a great deal happening at the vintage event.  The day was a scorcher, without a cloud in the sky and I think I got a bit sunburned (even though I used sunblock).

I did learn one thing – always take a photo when you have the opportunity.  I had meant to go back and take a photo of a lovely old building, but didn’t get there.  I saw the view of Mr Ruapehu and thought there was nowhere to stop and that I might be able to stop further along.  I stopped anyway and took a quick snap.  I didn’t see it again.  Lesson learned.

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Starting with Friday after work…

I need new clothes, especially for a hot Australia: sandals, skirt, top and I also need new work pants.  With that in mind, I thought I’d head to KMart (it was open late) to see if there was anything at all there.  Nope.  The sandals on sale at these places either have a very high heel or look like jandals.  Either that or that just don’t fit me.  I was beginning to think there was something wrong with my feet.  Nothing fitted properly and heels slipped off court shoes.  Other shops were soon closing but I had a quick look in a clothing shop.  Nothing.  Headed down to the shoe shop to have a browse.  Saw nothing  and they were all well over $100 (on sale), until I got to the end of the shelves.  I saw a couple of likely sandals and tried them on.  They both fitted comfortably!  Hurray!  They were $79 each – the most I’ve ever spent on shoes, but I bought them.  One item ticked off my list.

This morning was cold.  It looked like being a grey day.  I headed into town with a list of things to do.  I dropped off some vinyl records.  There was nothing I liked at the second-hand clothing shop.  I was recommended another second-hand clothing store of ‘labelled’ clothing in town and had a look in there but there was nothing I liked.  I tried to drop off an electric typewriter at a charity shop, but they didn’t want it, bugger them.  Another piece of junk to add to the ever-growing pile in the garage.  I headed to another clothing store.  I didn’t like most of it – didn’t like the colours or the combinations, or it was too expensive or too long, etc etc.  It’s impossible to find a plain short black top that isn’t a shirt or a t-shirt, it seems.  I saw some colourful dresses on sale in the style that suits me.  I tried it on and it looked quite good.  It was reduced to $35 so a great buy.

Once home, I had lunch, and had intended to get started on the painting of the laundry.  However, while I was eating lunch I was browsing photos and admiring the beauty of the Friesian horse.  Gorgeous.  Suddenly, I wanted to take photos of horses and knew exactly where I’d find them – at the Bridge cafe where I’ve been the last two weeks.  I decided I’d go there via the wind turbine lookout and take some photos there as well.  I stopped on the way to take photos of the view.  It was very windy.  I stopped at the wind turbine lookout but the winds were so strong, I was afraid my car would be pushed over.  I didn’t get out of the car or bother taking any photos.  I continued down the other side of the hill to the cafe.

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When I pulled up beside the paddock where the horses have been the past few weeks, they weren’t there.  But I spotted them in a paddock further away.  A walking track passed by that side, so I got my camera and took the track to the other side.  But once I got there, I couldn’t see them because of a rise.  The bush part of the track passed close by so I continued, but had to go off the track to get close to the paddock.  Finally!  I felt quite mad – the things I do for a photograph lately!

I headed back to the car and was rewarded with yet more horses beside the horse trek shed.

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Bonus!  Horse-some!

Headed home and finally got to the painting.  I cleaned the other walls and behind the washing machine.  I had intended just repainting one wall and starting on another, but I ended up painting all the laundry walls.  I now need more paint.  The laundry looks way better.  Instead of a mixture of green, pink and orange paint as well as orange floral wallpaper, it’s now all white.

So a very successful day – shopping, a photographic outing, and painting!

Tomorrow another photography trip to another town for a vintage event.  I hope it doesn’t rain.

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