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Archive for November, 2015

Had dinner with friends on Friday night at an Indian restaurant.  Supposed to be South Indian but it tasted no different to any other Indian takeaway I’ve had here.  Anyway, nice to see them and as we only see each other normally about once a year, it won’t feel like I’ll miss them for some time.  Earlier in the day I applied for a job.  I’m not feeling too hopeful, as I don’t have the experience for everything they want.  Usual story.

On Saturday I headed off over the hills to bro’s place for the last time.  He had invited me to another 4WD event the following weekend, but I had lots to organise, including major items of furniture being picked up, etc.  I wouldn’t have enjoyed it or relaxed.

Packed some plastic drawers and odds in the car for bro.  The weather was foul.  I had had an irritating morning, mislaying things, forgetting stuff, etc.  I left the house and drove through the horrendous road works which have been in the village for over three months.  Got across the bridge and cursed – had forgotten the bottle of wine and that I was going to buy some beer.  Returned home, got the wine, bought some beer, and decided, this time, to avoid the road works and take the hill road.  Ha!  There were road works on that road too and it was quite slippery in the rain.  Barely any visibility near the top.

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Got to Eketahuna and it was bright and sunny and there was a detour in place to go round the Santa parade.  Cute.  I was offered sweets at an intersection but I don’t eat them.  The sun continued all the way to bro’s.

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G was out at a market selling her wares.  Bro was busy “hoovering” (to keep the wife happy).  I had a wander around the garden.  The roses were looking wonderful.

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Had some lunch.  Can’t recall what I did in the afternoon but we did play three games of Siedler in the evening (G winning two games, and I won one).  We watched a Danish movie, The Keeper of Lost Causes.  Quite good.  It would make a good pilot to a TV series.

On Sunday, G went off to her voluntary job in a village store which sold local creations (including her own).  Bro and I took the dogs for a walk over the neighbouring farm, a pleasant walk of undulating paddocks with trees – quite unlike the flat, treeless paddocks in the Manawatu.

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After a bit of lunch, we headed to the village store to see G and have a beer at the local pub.

Another couple of games of Siedler, of which bro won all three.  Some homemade pizza, then it was time to head home, farewelling them both.  I had no idea when I’d get to their house, or see them again – could be months, could be years.

Jasmine was glad to have me home again.  Back to an unreal reality.

Today I contacted people about more items which sold.  Two items had been picked up in my absence, but one of them hadn’t, even though she’s already paid.  Said she’d mostly likely drop by today, but no sign.  Frustrating.  Two more items didn’t sell so I relisted one and made an offer to some of the watchers.  If the three big items don’t sell I’ll have to donate to charity and hope they can pick up.  The computer desk has basically sold.   It’s all so time-consuming and frustrating.

I went into town to buy yet more packaging tape and get some more boxes from the movers.  When I said I wanted to buy some (as I’d been told), the woman at the counter said that it was included in the cost.  This was a huge surprise to me.  The first woman I’d contacted said I could buy boxes at the company office so I could pack everything.  Now I was being told that the movers do all the packing and that they would need to see anything I’d already packed (i.e. unseal all the boxes I’d sealed with expensive packaging tape).  She gave me four more brand new boxes (not secondhand which first woman had said).  I was astounded.  I would prefer to pack my own, but I had no idea that they were supposed to do it!  What the hell?  I felt ripped off.  Continued on to get more packaging tape anyway (which is effin’ expensive) and proceeded to get overcharged by a dollar.  I suspect I had been overcharged by the same amount last time.  Bastards.  Got my money back when I went back to check, but had been ripped off previously.

Next on my list was a mini grocery shop and a visit to the Post shop to get a form about electoral roll changes.  Huge bloody queue so gave up on that.  Headed home, still seething about the misinformation from the movers.  Packed some more boxes, including the rest of the books.  I’m going to have to unseal all the ones I’ve packed up until now so the movers can look in them.  What a feckin’ waste of expensive tape.  Not feckin’ happy.

Felt very tired in the afternoon.  If the birds don’t wake me at 5 am, Jasmine wakes me at 6 am.  Had had enough of packing and all the bloody things I have to think about.  Stressful.  Most people who move a houselot overseas have a partner to share everything with.  But it’s all just me.  If I don’t do it, no-one does.  Just feeling over it all at the moment.  Two people have said I must go to their house for dinner before I go, but I can’t very well just turn up, can I.  They need to invite me.   Will contact one of them, at least, but if the others can’t be bothered contacting me, I really don’t have the time to think about it.  I’ve got too much to think about and do.

On that note, I think I’ll have an early dinner and write the rest of the day off.  Had enough.

 

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Almost a week since I returned from Melbourne, and the realisation I have only two weeks left.

On Saturday an old stereo (and cabinet) were picked up.  Yay!  So good to be able to get rid of crap.

Sunday I had a last lunch near Foxton estuary with friends.  Very windy for bird watching and, of course, I’d left my big camera in Melbourne.  A got some great shots of the godwits with her new Canon.  J and I were jealous.  It didn’t seem real  that I wouldn’t be going on birdwatching trips with them again (certainly not in the near future).

Monday I photographed lots of stuff to either give away or sell and posted them on TradeMe and freestuff.  In the evening had a last dinner with the group I normally meet at Xmas.  One of them had to go to her mother-in-law’s funeral so wasn’t there.  Pleasant, if long, evening.  Host made me a small cake to take home.  Unfortunately, as I can’t bear sweet stuff, and I could smell the sugar wafting off it, I couldn’t eat it.  Nice meal of fish and veges, followed by mini Xmas puddings.  Host had her tree up early especially – she’d gone for silver and lime green decorations this year.  I won’t be putting a tree up this year, unless, by some miracle, I’ll be settled into a new place, with decorations having arrived with all the stuff and I buy a tree.  Unlikely, I think.

Tuesday I had my last dental appointment with the lovely Adam and arranged to have my dental records emailed to me.  (They had arrived by the time I got home.)  I notified Vodaphone and Genesis Energy about my last day for disconnection (yet to hear back from Vodaphone).  Lots of pots, old wooden bookshelf, etc, were picked up.  I got rid of heaps.  I realised more stuff needed to go and photographed and advertised.  I listed empty pots, buckets, breadbin, old chair etc, and they were gone within two hours.

Wednesday I went to town for a mini grocery shop.  I dropped off some crockery, etc, to Red Cross.  I rented a couple of DVDs (as there’s nothing on TV to watch).  I waited for more stuff to be picked up but no-one turned up.  Disappointing.  After some more packing, I watched “Mistress of Spices”.  What a dreadful movie.  Absolutely awful.  I’d give it a 3/10.  Had a break from packing as my back wasn’t happy.  In the evening I watched “My House in Umbria”, which was better but I suspect I saw it years ago and had forgotten.  Never mind.  Maggie Smith is always worth watching.

This morning I woke early and realised I still hadn’t heard from the pet movers and there was less than two weeks to go.  Checked email and finally saw one from them.  The crate will be dropped off next week for Jasmine to get used to.  Phew.  Also phoned vet to organise filling in paperwork.  Sigh.  It’s non-stop.  Now waiting for three more items to be picked up, and advertised yet more stuff that I’d forgotten about, including my computer desk!

Slight panic…

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Already well over a week since I went to Melbourne.

C picked me up from the airport and we arranged to meet H at her place.  From there we walked to Fairfield shopping area and walked down to a Thai restaurant.  So many good eating places along that street.  Nice food, then walked back, and saw a cute little ring-tailed possum looking down on us.

Saturday, arranged to meet bro at aunt’s place.  C drove us there.  At first I didn’t recognise aunt J, as she’d aged so much, and was with a grey-haired man I also didn’t recognise.  Then saw cousin R and got out to greet them.  The man was R’s husband, of course.  They were all in the garden tidying it up during their visit from Bairnsdale.  K and G arrived shortly after while we were about to have a cup of tea, then cousin H arrived, having flown down from Brisbane.  Walked to a Japanese restaurant nearby for lunch.  After we returned, decided to drive to one of the vineyards up the Yarra valley and did some wine tasting at Rochford.

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I found all the wine a bit dry for me.  Continued to Healesville and finally settled on another vineyard cafe for dinner.

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Very pleasant.  H couldn’t join us as she finished work at 7pm.  We headed off to our respective “homes”, C and I following K and G to their place up the valley.  We had a cuppa and heard kookaburras.  It always makes me smile to hear them.  C and I drove back, reaching home about 10ish.

H did meet us (C, K and G) the next day at the convent at Abbotsford.  R and G returned to Bairnsdale but H joined us as well.  We had lunch at Lentil as Anything (wonderful food and said to be closing because people weren’t giving enough money for the food – payment by donation).  Wandered around the grounds afterwards and then along the river.

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From there we made our way to IKEA and had a look around.  H and I liked the day bed so I think I’ll have to get one of those for the second bedroom.  Spotted potential candidates for the couch.  C was sick of driving so she took the car home while the rest of us caught the train into the CBD.  H had drinks with colleagues to go to, so the rest of us made our way to the Munich Brauhaus on the South bank.  It was extremely noisy and unpleasant (architects never seem to get the acoustics right for cafes and bars).  We waited for C and then continued onto the Belgian bar, where we ate dinner.  At Flinders Street station we all went our separate ways.  H would fly back to Brisbane the next day.

Monday, I took the train to Fairfield to meet H.  We had lunch at one of the Mediterranean cafes along the main street then went for a walk to Northcote.  Very pleasant neighbourhood.  She found me a pet shop where they sold a spray to calm cats.  Very useful for Jasmine’s upcoming trip to Wellington to catch the plane over.  It wasn’t cheap though, but worth it if it helps, and apparently it does.  It was quite hot, so we wandered past a pub which didn’t look very inviting on the outside but it was nice inside, if empty.  We were even offered a beer tasting before choosing one.  Then we took the beers out the back to the outside part and found lots of people there chilling and reading books, etc.  It was wonderful.  We returned to H’s place where she made dinner.  I caught the train back.

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Tuesday, H and I had arranged to meet K and G and caught the same train (great organisational skills there) for the one hour trip to where they were staying.  They picked us up from the station at Lilydale and we headed into the Dandenongs.  G wanted to go to the William Rickett’s sanctuary.  I’d never heard of it and didn’t know what to expect.  I thought sanctuary might involve animals but it was a path around the man’s sculptures.  They were a bit samey, I thought.  Pleasant walk though.  From there we stopped at Olinda and had a pie.  Well, we didn’t think much of them.  Bro and I ordered a steak and bacon pie and it was just like a normal mince pie.  Didn’t see any bacon.  We felt ripped off, and H even more so when we had to pay $3.20 for a small bottle of water.  G’s next desire was to go to the rhododendron gardens, even though I knew the season was pretty much over.  Lovely tall gum trees at the entrance though.

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As I suspected, there were few rhododendrons still in flower, but the gardens were nice to walk through, with many other different plants and trees to see and a lovely view from one spot.

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The gardens would be stunning at their peak.  We did the loop around the gardens and were heading back when bro spotted a snake on the path.  I had never seen one in the wild but was almost too late to see it as it turned and slithered into the bushes as soon as it sensed us.

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I figured out later (from bro’s superior photo) that it was a lowland copperhead snake.  From the gardens we headed to an area where we could walk through the gums on walking tracks (Ferntree gully?).  I kept a lookout for snakes in the undergrowth, while also trying to look up to find birds – tricky!  I did see some little black birds flitting around but couldn’t get a photo.  K didn’t hear his favourite whipbirds.  After the walk we looked for somewhere for a beer and something to eat.  We did have a beer at Coldstream but decided not to stay to eat.  It was still quite early.  We continued to Yarra Glen but places were either closing or were not serving food until 5.30 or 6pm, even if they sold beer (you’d think they’d offer snacks, but no).  After looking at the one-dish menu at the beer place we settled on the remaining Grand Hotel, avoiding the kids and the pop music.  The food was average.  We returned with K and G to their place and this time saw a kangaroo and its joey.  She wasn’t too concerned at our presence nearby.

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H and I missed a train so had to wait an hour for another at Wattle Glen.  H could get off at Fairfield, but I changed trains at Flinders and got another to Prahran, arriving about 10.30.

Wednesday was a right-off, as I woke with stomach pains.  C had left for work and I had to make do without pain meds (she’d run out).  Diarrhoea for most of the day and vomiting.  Not pleasant.  I couldn’t leave the apartment as W had the spare key and he was in China.  H said she’d head over with some panadol and food, although I wasn’t hungry.  I could only put it down to the chicken I’d eaten the evening before.  I napped while waiting for H but then as soon as I got up to let her in, I had to go to the bathroom again to vomit.  Not at all pleasant.  We’d arranged to meet K and G at a Burmese restaurant that night, so I was pissed off to miss out on it.  H left to meet them and C, and I stayed back, feeling rather sorry for myself.

Thursday was my last full day so I was determined to get out.  My stomach felt a little achey still, but I headed out, making my way to the zoo.  I chose the wrong time of day to go – when there were scores of school kids, and mothers with their screaming toddlers.   Some animals might have a little more room to move and had dirt and grass, but the enclosures were still too small and I was angered at the noise – not just from the kids, but from pop music playing and recordings which no-one listened to and even the constant clicking of an electric fence around the gorilla enclosure.  The poor animals.  I felt sorry for all of them.  Zoos like that are not about conservation – it’s all entertainment – for kids.  They breed simply to replace the inmates with younger ones to grow up in enclosed misery.  These kids should be taught about the diminishing environment of the animals’ native habitat and how their consumption is affecting them, not shown around cages with little extra play activities.  I was annoyed and saddened.

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My sandals had not been up to the task of walking all day, so I headed into the CBD and walked (slowly) to DFO and bought some flat, comfortable shoes.  Then I could comfortably walk along the South Bank to Fed Square, which I hadn’t yet been to on this trip.  I people-watched for a while, then met C at the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets.  We had a look at the Myer shop windows (a cute animated story about a lost dog at Xmas time) before walking further to eat ramen noodles at a Japanese restaurant.

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Friday was the day of flying back and I met H at Southern Cross station.  We had pho, watched by seagulls, then I caught the skybus to the airport.  It was now raining (but cleared up later).  The traffic meant the skybus took twice as long to get to the airport, which made me panic a bit, trying to find the check-in, not being able to get the automatic machine to work, trying to find somewhere to fill the departure card in, queueing up in the wrong place and being told off, then finally getting to the gate, only to be told the flight was delayed half an hour.  Oh, the joys of travelling.

Arrived in Wellington at 11.45 pm local time.  People took forever to retrieve bags and get off, ages to line up at the few smartgate queues, but even then it was another 15 minutes before the bags even started appearing at the baggage claim.  People were not amused, someone nearby comparing it to a third world country.  I then had to wait ages for the shuttle to take me back to the long-term carpark and he drove at about 30 kph.  One hour after landing, I was finally able to drive home, arriving at 2.45 am.  I never seem to have a pleasant experience returning to NZ.  Perhaps it’s just as well that next time I won’t be returning.

 

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My last day of work was yesterday. It felt weird – not real at all.  My brain is telling me that I’m just going on holiday, but saying farewell to several staff was strange.  Driving away from work, knowing I’d never return as an employee was equally weird.

There was a farewell  morning tea for me a couple of days ago over at one of the cafes.  People were dotted about at small tables.  Boss made nice speech, then an ex-co-worker made one.  Some bits of it were mildly amusing but I thought on the whole that he was quite mean.  Trying to be funny, but I just felt offended.  It was quite humiliating.  I think it was because of that that tears came to my eyes when I was trying to say something in response.  Total fail.  I was impressed with the turnout though.  Very touching.  I was given a copy of the speech but I threw it away as soon as I got home.  Then it was posted on the intranet, so some obviously thought it was funny.  Sorry, I didn’t.

Yesterday I said farewells to colleagues.  They said they’d be genuinely sad and will miss me.  Mostly, they’re a great team and we’ve had a lot of laughs.  I will miss that side of it.  The actual work and office environment I won’t.  I’ve arranged for drinks just before I leave for good, so will see some of them then.

I’ve dropped Jasmine off to the cattery, finally packed, and am just waiting for a suitable time to leave, to drive down to Wellington airport.  I’ve even done a couple of loads of washing.  The weather is changeable – sunny one minute, then rain the next.  (Washing is hanging in the sunroom.) It’s not warm.  Bro has already text saying they’re enjoying their accommodation and he was watching an echidna.  Immediate envy while looking up at my empty house.

I hope I can just forget some of the worries while I’m over there for the week.  When I return I’ll be trying to get rid of stuff in earnest.  One of the buyers didn’t turn up so I cancelled that sale as well.  It’s a lot of frustration and annoyance for the sake of a couple of dollars.  I may as well just give the stuff away and be done with it.

Another hour…

Next update in a week I imagine.

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The date of departure looms – just over four weeks away.  Slight panic…

On my return to work on Tuesday, after a physio appointment, I was met with everyone standing around staring at me, having waited for my return, food on the table for morning tea and my desk absolutely covered in Aussie-related items.  Everywhere I looked there were green and yellow things, pictures, gum leaves, gum bark, a banner of Australian animals and a sign to Melbourne.  It was so funny and so touching – they had gone to a lot of effort.

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Even our Mr Bean Mona Lisa picture had a cork hat on.

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They were having the morning tea that day because some people would be away the following (my last) week.

I spent the week going through email and letting outside contacts know that I was leaving.  I continued training others in some duties, then double-checked my instructions to make sure they were clear.  I actually had little else to do, it being a relatively quiet time of year and some of my duties already handed out.  I spent some time sorting out little worries, chasing up on little things that needed doing.

Yesterday I went into town to get a warrant of fitness for the car.  I was going to be away when it was actually due so got it done two weeks early.  Did some grocery shopping and returned a DVD to United Video.  Then tried to find a house in town to deliver an item I’d listed on TradeMe.  After a few days of silence the buyer said she couldn’t pick up, so I offered to drop it off.  I couldn’t find the address.  Where the number was supposed to be was a playing field.  Pissed off, I continued on to drop off the last home video to be converted to DVD.

Once home I emailed the buyer and she gave me another address to deliver the item to.  I was not going to waste any more time and petrol chasing her around town so applied to TradeMe to cancel the sale.  She had the gall to say she was leaving for Wanganui on placement.  If she had transport for that she would’ve had transport to pick up.  Not impressed.  Another person came to collect a bookshelf.

Spent the rest of the day packing more boxes.  The house is starting to look barren.  Bedding, photo albums, and stuff in my bedroom will take up most of the remainder.

Today two more items were picked up.  Two others are waiting for someone to pick up.  One buyer said Thursday evening and the other hasn’t come back with any pick up time at all.  The only feedback on her profile is negative, so I’m not hopeful.  It’s a very time-consuming and frustrating process selling and/or giving stuff away.  TradeMe got back to me and approved the cancellation.  I immediately sent an offer to previous bidders, got an immediate response and she picked up this afternoon!  Brilliant when it happens so quickly.

This morning, for some reason, I started editing scans of old slides and ended up spending most of the day doing so.  I had promised bro that I would give him a DVD of them all and have neglected to do so.  I got through quite a few, but some slides had a bit of mould on them, so lots of spots to edit out – time-consuming.

I’m due to fly to Melbourne for a week on Friday and haven’t even packed.  I can’t even think about it.  It’s weird.  I’ve been so pre-occupied with the house sale and packing and getting rid of stuff that I haven’t had a chance to look forward to it.

Mowed the lawn and enjoyed the peace and quiet afterwards at the back with the birdsong.  I will probably miss that.  Everyone in Melbourne I’ve spoken to (quite a few work contacts) have said I’ll enjoy living there and are excited for me.  I hope so, haha.  It will be so very different.

 

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So Saturday morning I tidied the place, dusted and vacuumed (hurrah!).  I also mowed the lawn but did feel a brief twinge in my lower back.  Damn.  Still not completely 100%.  I have one more physio session tomorrow.

I listed a few things on TradeMe.

In the afternoon, did some grocery shopping and headed to a friend’s place, who I hadn’t seen in nearly a year.  Was good to catch up with her and meet her new man.  He was very pleasant and easy to talk to.  We shared a beer and fish and chips.  And that was the day done.

Sunday was a much nicer day (no cold wind and heaps of warm sunshine).  Bro was coming over about lunchtime so I mucked around, read a bit in the sunshine and twiddled thumbs.  Thankfully, he didn’t want lunch (had eaten a couple of pies) because I didn’t have much food in the house despite having been to the supermarket the day before.   I only keep enough for one person for a couple of days, letting stocks run low.

We had a beer in the sunshine and chatted.  He packed the garden seat in the back of his SUV along with wheelbarrow, spade, fork, a couple of brooms, pruning saw and some hose fittings.  More chatting and looking at books on Australia (atlas and guide book).  He wants to retire to a small rental place in Europe.  Said he’s had enough of maintaining a large garden and house. He looked around the place, knowing it would be the last time he saw it.  I shed a tear as he left.  However will see him in Melbourne in two weeks’ time.

He gave me some Moët & Chandon for my birthday!  Who the hell do I drink it with?  I thought of keeping it until H comes over in early December so we can celebrate together.

After bro left I packed away DVDs and some family documents and diaries, etc, taking photos of my grandmother’s “autograph” book (which has little poems and quotes from friends and family) just in case something should happen to it.

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Belatedly remembered that I had planned to take a photo a day through November so just put up a random photo I’d taken of shadows – not a great start.

Unable to sleep overnight.  Worries galore.

Today I had a day off work for my birthday and have used the time to get Jasmine microchipped in preparation for the big trip.  It will be a massive upheaval for us both.  Will head back into town shortly.

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