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Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

So, today’s the day I have to get everything I’m not taking out of the house.  I’ve been through all kitchen cupboards and am about to head to a charity shop to get rid of excess pans, plastic, crockery, etc.

Yesterday morning I headed down to Tawa with Jasmine to meet the pet exporter.  She miaowed all the way.  Either the pheromone stuff didn’t work or it made her only slightly calmer.  Once there I asked if they gave her something to calm her.  During my initial inquiry I was told that yes they would give her Rescue Remedy.  The guy I met said he didn’t have any.  I was disappointed.  The main reason I chose this company was that she assured me they’d give her that to calm her for the trip.  The guy was going straight to the airport, so the poor girl would be stressed all the way.  I cried as I drove away.  I felt so cruel.  She didn’t know what was happening.

When I got to town I got a message that the flight was delayed three-and-a-half hours.  Poor Jasmine.  The flight would arrive 10.30 pm Melbourne time and C said that it took another hour and a half to process her, which meant that C wouldn’t get home until close to 1 am (3 am NZ time).  I was pissed off, but there was nothing I could do.  I wanted to cry again for Jasmine, but had an appointment with the solicitor.  Quick meeting to sign papers and see the final balance I’d receive.  Very easy money for the real estate agents for one week’s work.  I felt ripped off, but again, not much I could do about that.  I like how they quote a percentage for the sale but don’t really mention that it was plus GST.  Wankers.  Felt even less inclined to get rid of things like the garden hose or the metal shelving in the laundry.

I got back home and vacuumed the car, then, still feeling grumpy, headed out to dinner with friends.  They’re new parents in their 40s so everything revolves around the kid, now two years old.  I’m not a great fan of kids, even though I had two of my own (and they turned out beautifully, so don’t think I didn’t love them).  A pleasant enough evening when able to chat above the kid’s attention-seeking.  I still felt a little stressed, so maybe wasn’t as caring as I might have been.  (Who am I kidding?  I try to avoid other people’s young children where possible.)

Once finally home, I tried to watch TV, but missed Jasmine and went to bed.  I woke about 2am and just cried for her.

This morning C sent photos of her at her apartment.  She seemed ok.  Huge relief.

Right, get rid of this junk and this will probably be the last time I update this blog for a while.

Tomorrow the movers come, then I’ll head into town where I’ll be dropped off at an ex-colleague’s place to stay overnight and she will kindly drive me to the airport on Friday.  It’s actually happening, after so long.  I wonder what it will be like.

Thanks for reading.

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The girls arrived from Melbourne last week.  After some shopping and cafe and library visiting on Monday, we headed north (with girls’ boyfriends) to Tauranga, or Omokoroa to be exact.  It was a sunny day to begin with and we got a stunning view of Mt Ruapehu on the way, with more snow than is usual for this time of year.

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We stopped at the “Prawn park” near Taupo for lunch.  The prawns were unexciting – quite tasteless in fact, and expensive.  Never mind.  It filled a gap.  The sun continued until we were about to hit Tauranga and then the weather turned to shit – grey cloud and drizzle.

The accommodation was a house that the girls had found and booked online.  It would’ve had a nice view if it wasn’t for the shit weather.  The forecast wasn’t looking great for the following day, our visit to Hobbiton near Matamata.  In the evening we got fish and chips from a nearby takeaway and played Settlers of Catan.  We watched a DVD of “Elysium”.  Not bad.  H & C had chosen two DVDs for their boyfriends – “Elysium” for L and “Need for Speed” for W.  As it happens they’d both watched the respective movies.  Oh well.  Good choice for their interests – too good as they’d already seen them.

It rained all night and was still pretty miserable in the morning.  We used W’s car to head over the Kaimai ranges to Hobbiton.  The tour had already been booked and paid for so we went, rain or shine.  It wasn’t quite so miserable on the other side of the ranges and only rained or drizzled intermittently.  It was quite a set-up.  I had imagined some small scale operation but there were several buses which took tourists to the site and the obligatory, over-priced gift shop and cafe.  We were provided with umbrellas although I had my own.

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A wet entrance to Hobbiton (through which Gandalf is supposed to have entered in his cart)

The track led to a communal vegetable garden surrounded by various hobbit holes.

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One of the humbler abodes

The variety and detail of the different hobbit holes was incredible.

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A window detail

A window detail

We headed up the hill to Bag End, home of Bilbo and Frodo.  The layout and views of the whole place were just amazing.

dec17 045And there it was…

Bag End

Bag End

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Incidentally, the tree above Bag End is completely fake, each leaf attached individually.  Apparently, Peter Jackson believed it was the wrong shade of green and had all the leaves repainted.  What a task.  He’s such a perfectionist.

The view from Bag End

The view from Bag End

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Unfortunately, the weather made for a featureless white sky which didn’t make for stunning photos.  H complained but there was nothing we could do about it.  It didn’t detract from the experience in my opinion.

We then headed down to the party field (as seen in the above photo, the large pine tree being the “party tree”).  We passed more hobbit holes…

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and reached the party field.

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Great view of the tree above Bag End.  Sam’s house was nearby.

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All the gardens were lovely.  They have full-time gardeners.  The veges are real and they harvest and use them.

We then headed downhill past the lake to the Green Dragon Inn.

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The inside was wonderful – so atmospheric.  I wish it was a local – I’d go there often.

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The views from the lovely little windows were just wonderful.

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A specially-brewed beer was part of the tour and we enjoyed it with pork and beef pies.  It was a great end to an amazing tour, despite the weather.  We wanted to stay for longer, and H wanted to return for a night tour, when all the windows of each hobbit hole would be lit up and you have dinner at the Green Dragon.  Something to do another time, perhaps.  The tour was expensive but it was worth it to see such an amazing movie set.

dec17 140I wanted to live there!

We returned over the Kaimai ranges and bought Thai takeaways at Mt Maunganui.  Another game of Settlers of Catan, and the other movie, “Need for Speed”.  It was hard not to think of the actor as Jesse off “Breaking Bad”, crying again for losing someone he cared about.

The next day it looked quite a nice day.  A tranquil morning, which allowed for some photos of the views from the accommodation.

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While the others still slept (naturally) I watched the wildlife.

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We were leaving that day.  C and W were heading north to Coromandel.  L had to work the next day, so we headed back south.  Who lays tiles outside a front door of a house?  After all the rain, it was really slippery and I fell and bruised a shin.  ****ing stupid.  It still rained on and off all the way to Rotorua.  We decided to make a detour to see the redwood forest, which we hadn’t been to before.  The traffic in Rotorua was a nightmare.  I would hate to live there.

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H and L

H and L

What a stunning place.  I would love to see mature redwoods.  These were just young trees.

We stopped for lunch at Taupo.  The Desert Road was misty and wet but it cleared up south of there.  I felt tired so at Taihape H took over the driving.  We dropped L off back home and then returned to an empty house.  I couldn’t wait to get Jasmine back from the cattery the next morning.  (She miaowed a lot when she got back and constantly checked that we hadn’t left.  She needed lots of cuddles.)

It was great having had a holiday before most people had finished work for the year.  The traffic was mostly light and there weren’t that many people about.  We’ve done our ‘holiday’ and still have Xmas to come.  It didn’t feel like the year had ended so quickly as it usually does when you work up to Xmas eve.

Next week we’re all off to bro’s for Xmas – more food and drink and, naturally, Settlers of Catan.

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I was selling something cheaply online and was contacted by a woman who wanted it.  She wanted me to wait until Thursday (presumably when she got paid).  She didn’t have a car, so I dropped it off after work.  When I saw the address, I realised it was within sight of where I spent nine years of my life as a child.  It was a state housing area and these days that area is particularly rough.  I prepared myself.

It was almost funny.  When I drove along the road to the woman’s house, a couple of Maoris were standing in a front yard and stared at me as I drove past.  I was reminded of the ‘hood’ in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.  I parked, and walked past another couple of big Maori guys (one in quite a flash car).  Got to the house, walked past a kicked-in bit of house wall (patched) and to the front door.  I surveyed the fenced front yard – rubbish everywhere and empty bottles of Jägermeister, etc.  When the woman opened the door, I was hit by the smell of cigarette smoke.  The deal done, I walked back to the car, feeling highly conspicuous as the only white person in the neighbourhood.  I looked across to the house where I had lived and it had been revamped and made into a community centre.  The side garden was now a carpark.  One should never go back (although I couldn’t help it on this occasion).  I laughed as I drove away.  Man, what a place.

I was feeling extraordinarily tired (thanks daylight saving) and a bit achey the next day, so decided to “take a sickie”.  After all, two older women at work had not turned up because they were tired (one had a nightmare), so I thought, bugger it, why not.

Our washing machine had decided to break down, and as it was something that needed to be dealt with during the week when someone was home, I took the opportunity.  I rang a company that had been recommended to me.  Unfortunately, that company had been taken over by a bigger company and I just got a receptionist, and not a tradesman.  I wanted to ask if the machine was worth fixing (as it was fairly old).  She wouldn’t have known but the decision was made when she said it cost $80 just to have a look at the machine.  I decided to head in and look at new and used washing machines instead.

By chance, H had left her lunch behind, so I headed to her work place and gave it to her (she hadn’t even known she’d forgotten it).  While there, I had a look at the cheapest washing machines (of good brands).  They were more expensive than I’d hoped, even with H’s staff discount.  I headed to the second-hand place and saw a nice machine there for just $250.  I decided to buy it, willing to fork out extra for delivery.  Delivery was free and they could deliver that afternoon.  Brilliant.  One problem solved, just  by taking a day off work.

I tidied up the deck (blasted jasmine plant just takes over, no matter how many times I try to kill it), and mowed the lawn.  The delivery guy came exactly at the time they said he would (1.30pm).  I was impressed.  My cat, (coincidentally called Jasmine – she did take over but she’s not a nuisance), was sleeping in the sunroom.  As soon as the delivery guy saw her, he talked to her and I figured he was a cat man.  Later, after installing the machine and testing it, he called to Jasmine.  I called her over and he let her sniff his hand.  She must have known he was a cat person too, otherwise she wouldn’t have stuck around, let alone come over.  He told me he had a tortoiseshell cat as well.  There’s something magical about those cats – they’re very good at making humans they’ve owned go weak at the knees when that human sees another tortoiseshell.

Job done, I could catch up with some washing and still had the afternoon in sunshine.  After such a successful morning, I think I just relaxed.

Yesterday, I met a friend in Foxton.  Her teenage son is into horse-riding and they were down for a ‘show hunting’ event.  I’d never heard (or been aware) of show hunting before friend’s son got into it.  It’s like normal horse jumping but more precise.  Instead of doing the course as fast as possible and clearing all jumps, it’s more about style and a certain number of strides between each jump.  Friend’s son was the only male out of all the pony clubs there, I think.  He didn’t do too well in the results.  To me, it looked like he went over the jumps beautifully, but not according to the judges.  Friend thought the judge was biased against males (they ride differently), but he probably had too many strides, or something.

Whenever I’m at a horse event such as this (and at Horse of the Year earlier this year), I can’t help thinking of Thelwell’s Angels on Horseback and Riding Academy (if you don’t know of it, do look it up), and just want to snigger.  You get riders that are too big or too small for the pony they’re on.  You get arrogant riders from families made of money who have the flashiest horse floats, and poorer riders who have to borrow a pony.  Quite often I find the people more interesting (and amusing) than the horse event.  It’s always women who organise and run the pony events.  The husbands just tag along, turning up when there’s food on the table or it’s time for a beer.

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Dead tired (I think everyone was, including the horses) by 4.30 pm, I left shortly after and headed home, buying a burger and chips on the way.

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Last weekend was Queen’s birthday weekend so Monday was a holiday.  I took Friday off as well to make better use of it.  It enabled me to do a bit of everything: jobs around the house, getting out and about and a bit of relaxation.  On Friday, I made use of the shops being open.  So many shops are not  open at the weekends or for a very limited time, which pisses me off.  I don’t know why during the week shops don’t open a bit later in the day (just one or two days) so working people can shop after work at 5pm.  5.30pm is no good – it takes me 20 minutes to get to town after work.  Who can shop in 10 minutes?  Not all shops are open on late nights either.  Anyway, enough of my little moan.

I can’t actually recall now, what I did, but I did get to a clothes shop and bought a pair of black pants (seemingly so difficult to get elsewhere).  I saw one of H’s friends working on the gardens in the Square and we chatted for a bit.  After looking around the shops, and not finding what I wanted, I headed over to H’s workplace and we walked over to Halikarnas for a kebab.  I then dropped off some recycling on the way home.

For the rest of the weekend, I did some painting in the sunroom, and started on the trickier stripping of wallpaper in the spare room, something I’d put off since concentrating on other, easier, parts of the house that needed doing.  I sorted through stuff in my bedroom, read books in the sunshine, mowed the lawn, chopped up a fallen branch, and started watching “The Killing” again (the original Danish version).  I also did some belly dancing on Friday night.  I put on some music and just danced around.  I find that more enjoyable, just doing my own thing.  It is, ultimately, for me anyway.  I no longer want to go to class where they just practise choreographies.  It’s not worth the wait in town and I find that I want to do something different to a part of the music than what they’ve choreographed.

To this weekend.  I’m still watching “The Killing”.  It’s a long 20-part series.  There’s been nothing on TV so I’ve been watching one or two episodes a day.  It took me a while to get into it but it’s got me hooked and is quite a complex story.  Someone at work seemed surprised that I’d want to watch a programme in Danish with English subtitles.  I much prefer that to watching something that’s been dubbed.   Anyway, I’m enjoying it, which apparently not many Americans did, judging by the rating on imdb.

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I wonder why.  Evidently Americans don’t like watching foreign language films, since they’re always making their own, inferior, versions of foreign movies.

Yesterday I did some washing and hung it out, hoping it’ll be dry by Monday morning.  Then headed to Foxton for lunch at A’s.  I was full after the soup and scones, but had yummy potato and mushroom, followed by grapes, turkish delight and chocolates.  Talk about bloated!  Three of us went down to the estuary while the fourth went to pick up her new pup.  The royal spoonbills were there but huddled together in the distance, so I couldn’t get a good shot.  I took a few photos, but nothing outstanding and many of the photos I took of the heron came out a bit blurry.  We returned to meet the lovely German shepherd cross pup, a well-behaved female with a lovely deep bark.  I missed my Zara.

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Today, despite being invited to an afternoon tea gathering, I stayed home and did more washing, sorting of photos, and more wallpaper stripping.  I called a friend down the road but she was out.  I felt a bit guilty not going to the afternoon tea, but I’m just not in the mood and need to do stuff at home.  The days are short enough and it’s already dark and gloomy by mid-afternoon.

While stripping wallpaper to music, I felt I wanted to go for a walk with a dog.  I haven’t been walking at the park much since Zara died.  I don’t particularly want to go on my own, although I have done.  Seeing the pup yesterday reminded me what I missed.  However, I don’t want to get another dog.  It wouldn’t be fair on it, being alone all day for five days of the week.

I feel like the weekend’s already over and it’ll be another long week of tedium at work.  Ho hum.

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The weekend

It was cold Saturday morning – the continuation of a cold Friday. I got up at the usual time to get a warrant of fitness for the car. I realised, just before I left, that my registration had just expired on Thursday. Normally, I’m on top of all that, but it had obviously passed me by. By the time I got to the WOF testing station at about 8.20am there were already two lines of waiting cars. I took the opportunity to finish reading a book and shortly after I finished, it was time to drive the car up ready for the tester. The warrant passed no problem, and the tester guy even looked impressed. It was just an impression I had from his expression and body language. I then paid for a year’s registration and drove off, $300 poorer. Next stop, the supermarket (and another $100), then I dropped by the local library to get a book. I was ready for the next in the series of Phryne Fisher and it was on the shelf at the local library just down the road from my house, so all good. I also spotted a DVD which was on my list of movies to watch – Julia starring Tilda Swinton and got that out as well.

H later informed me that her friend A and his girlfriend, S, were coming over from Napier and staying overnight. Our planned dinner of drumsticks was put on hold (there wasn’t enough). It was freezing so I put the heater on and the visitors soon arrived. They all went out to watch roller derby (which I never knew existed here), while I watched my movie. Shortly after the movie finished, they returned with cooked chicken, salad and buns, and beer. We ate, and then played Yahtzee and Settlers of Catan. I then headed to bed (it was now midnight).

On Sunday morning, (“Mother’s Day”) Jasmine woke me early scratching the door to get out (of my bedroom, the door closed because of visitors). H had to go to work so she left at 9.30am. The visitors left at 10.40am. I hung up the new bamboo blinds in the sunroom, then filled a few gaps. I then turned up the hem of the sliding door curtains which were just a fraction too long and annoying. The sun was out and it was lovely and warm so I also sat outside in the sun and read my book. I cooked bacon, eggs and mushroom for lunch which I enjoyed while Jasmine sprawled on her back in the sunshine. C rang from Melbourne and we chatted for about an hour or so. H got home after 5pm. She later cooked the drumsticks with roast veges and a delicious spinach and mushroom ‘sauce’. Divine. Watched Masterchef and some other programme and headed to bed.

A mixed weekend of cold and sunshine, chores and laziness, grumpiness and contentment. Not a bad one and Monday came by too soon, as always.

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4-day weekend

The building work was finished in the sunroom on Wednesday. Jasmine will have to get used to the new cat flap. The previous cat door had lost its flap so she was used to a hole in the wall through which she could go at will. Now she has to learn to push against an apparent wall of plastic. Anyway, Thursday we propped open the flap so she could get the idea and I started filling in little nail holes, etc, in the new woodwork.  The weather was unsettled and started to drizzle even as I used gap filler on the outside. Not much hope of painting for the weekend.  I got some washing done and can remember little else for Thursday. I did try searching the ‘free’ access to military records on ancestry and on findmypast.com.  The latter’s claim of free was b.s.  As soon as I clicked on a potential result, it asked for my log-in or subscription.  Ancestry’s search engine is rubbish.  Even though I restricted searches to Australia or Australian, the first results were all American.  I didn’t find my paternal grandfather’s military records, even though I have a paper copy and know they exist.  There were no results for Second World War records either.  Absolute waste of time.

On Friday I sanded the new wood and started painting. I watched a little jumping spider who appeared to be watching me. They seem to enjoy watching me paint and this one just sat millimeters away from the brush, unconcerned. They’re the only spider I actually like. Later, I noticed, it caught a winged aphid thing. Jasmine was still rather hesitant going through the cat flap even when I held it open for her.

On Friday night, I drove around the corner to a monthly drumming circle. I started going last month and it’s only been going for two months. I took along my small African drum and used it while others used the flat framed drums made by the host. It was a good turn-out and went well. We all slept very well that night!

On Saturday H wanted to go the market to buy veges. She got up rather later than anticipated, but we had time to get there before it closed. We didn’t buy much. I then dropped H off at the Plaza. She was meeting her boss to discuss a couple of matters. I headed over to Warehouse and bought some net curtains, boots and a top. H was then finished so I picked her up and we went grocery shopping. On the way home, we headed to Bunnings to buy a couple of bamboo blinds for the sunroom.

On Sunday morning I did a final coat of paint on the inside of the sunroom. (The weather had been too changeable to attempt to paint the outside – sunny for 10 minutes then rain, then sun, then rain – hopeless.) There was a Samhuinn gathering down the road, so I headed down there with a bought fruit loaf. These gatherings are held by the local druids and I go along mainly just to socialise (a couple of them are friends or acquaintances from elsewhere). I’m not a fan of ritual and sometimes find it rather forced, especially when people are reading from a piece of paper. I was surprised to see that there were a lot of people there this time. One person told an interesting story of how they were in bed and their son had come home, put chips in the oven, and gone to bed. He (the father) dreamed he was on a river feeling the need to paddle to shore. On the opposite shore, his cat was miaowing loudly. His cat never miaows, he added. He then felt an urgency to turn and paddle towards the distressed cat. When he reached the shore, he woke up to find the house full of smoke. He went to the kitchen and his cat was sitting in front of the oven watching…. Pretty amazing.

I walked home after the ‘ceremony’ and lunch, and mucked around for a while. H and I were heading out to a play. Apart from Summer Shakespeare, which is held annually outdoors, I haven’t been to a play in years. A woman at work had been to this particular play and said it was very funny. I felt in need of a laugh so had asked H who had agreed to join me. She was the youngest there by far and even I felt young, surrounded by grey-haired elderly people, mostly women. The play was good, with elements of farce involving mistaken identity, confusion, doors and embarrassing positions. Another person at work has also seen the play and we agreed that the younger actor wasn’t that great – not convincing at all, and one of the women over-acted a bit. Otherwise very good, and it was nice to see Peter Hawes. H and I picked up pizza on the way home and ate it watching yet another David Attenborough doco – this time on King penguins.

A full week of work this week – the first one in ages for me. The weather is looking lousy for the next 9 days. I’m fed up with the grey clouds and rain already.

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Day ten

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