Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Christmas social life!

We've had a very busy few days - unusually for us!

Christmas Day dawned bright and sunny; we started the day with a Skype to my family (I love this technology!), and, after a leisurely morning of opening presents and having our lunch, we took advantage of the free rail services that we had in the Valley.

First was a trip down to Petone and the beach.

The beach was really quiet - just a couple of dog walkers and a few paddlers around:

The water wasn't too cold, either:

We took a trip along the pier - it's a lot barer than a UK seaside pier, and is mainly used for fishing off, and for the ferry across to central Wellington and the island in the bay.

Then, after a trip along Jackson Street so that John could get some interesting architecture pics, we headed up the train line to Upper Hutt, and had a wander round up there. It was absolutely deserted! The main high street was like a ghost town, and we saw very few cars on the roads. Whilst I know it was Christmas Day, it felt a lot emptier than UK Christmases, I think because with the dark winter, all the houses have lights on, so you can see that there are still people around. With the bright sun and the warmth, you had no indication of whether there was anyone in the houses at all.

The park was deserted...

We had been aiming for a nice regional park, however, between us and it, there was a dirty great highway and a water filled ditch, so we headed back to the station.

We did go and have a look at the other side of the train tracks, and it was a bit of a shame, because if we'd gone that way first off, there did seem to be a regional park on that side, too, but we didn't have time to explore that way before the train left.

We then headed back home for Christmas dinner. Whilst it was not quite the feast that we'd have had in the UK, it was still very nice (though I don't think I will buy the turkey again - something that is only 75% turkey doesn't really taste the same for some reason!). We did have a slew of roast veg, plus stuffing (rosemary, lemon and onion, as I was using up bits from the fridge, and whilst there is tons of rosemary in the garden, there isn't any sage!) And I did find some Christmas crackers, too...

Our Pohutakawa in the front garden has flowered just in time for Christmas:

and I am gloating over the two new additions to my plant family (thank you very much, John!):
an olive tree with little baby olives already growing:

and a feijoa tree

We'd never even heard of these before we saw them in the garden centre, but they apparently grow very well in NZ (our South African neighbours were telling us that their neighbour on the other side has a tree which is covered in them, and has a real autumnal glut), so I am really looking forward to trying these (the top appears to have a couple of flower buds, so it may flower this year...)

Boxing Day was a normal heading out to the market day (though there were depleted stalls - I was very surprised that it was open at all, to be honest), and a food shop, then we headed into Wellington itself (on the bus unfortunately, as there was line work on the tracks, and will be right up until the first week of January), in order to meet a friend of one of my university flat mates. It was a really interesting afternoon - we had a lot in common, and ended up nattering whilst sat above the sea wall, watching the children (young and old) play in the sea (I am really looking forward to getting my swimming costume back from the shippers!)

When we got back, I got to play with the new toy that my parents gave us - I am now the proud owner of a bread maker! I'd bought the ingredients during the food shop, and this was the result:

I'd slightly overdone the improver, so it tastes a bit citrussy, but absolutely fine when toasted with cheese on top! I'll be making the next one tomorrow :-)

Sunday, we were invited over to a friend's house; this is the lady who has been very generous and lent us a whole load of kitchen crockery, a duvet and a mattress whilst we are waiting for our own stuff to arrive. We had a brilliant day - playing games, both board and computer, and watching comedy DVDs. They rent the most gorgeous house up on the hills, overlooking the bay. It has fantastic views (when the cloud cover isn't down!) and, if it wasn't for the 10 mins or so of driving up hairpin bends to get there (didn't do my travel sickness any good!), it would be amazing!

Today has been incredibly lazy; we didn't get to bed till 1 on Sunday night, and were up reasonably early on the Monday morning (I don't like sleeping late when I'm in someone else's house), so we had a definite lie in this morning (well - we didn't set the alarm. We were both still awake by 9, and it was only by the dint of enormous effort that I stayed in bed until 9.40!) And it's back to filling out job application forms (I have to keep reminding myself that no-one is working at the moment, so I shouldn't be surprised that I'm not hearing anything back!!)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

And a Happy Christmas to all of you at home...

A New Zealand version of the partridge & pear - this is the Tui in the Pohutukawa Tree...

As our first Southern Hemisphere Christmas approaches, and we consider the slight surrealism of Christmas in 21 degree heat (and how come the UK waits until we have left before it has a white Christmas?), we'd like to wish everyone a very happy and peaceful Christmas / Yuletide / Mid-Winter Festival of your choice. May 2010 bring you everything you wish for, and may the season bring you love, laughter and good friendship.

Thank you to everyone who has got us Christmas cards, and who has sent us emails and letters - it means so much when we are this far from friends and family.

Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Job hunting is full time work...

In the last week or so, I've applied for thirteen jobs (well, nine advertised roles, and four calling for general "send us your CV and we may deign to acknowledge your presence..." applications). Today's marathon was three applications, which took me just about six hours (not counting an hour or so's break; half an hour at lunchtime and half an hour mid afternoon while my brain dribbled out of my ears!) Most of that was spent on two of the applications, both of which had forms to fill in as well as the CV and cover letter requirement.

But I am reasonably hopeful on both of the bigger applications - they are both more of the level of what I was doing in my previous role (meaning that I'm unlikely to have with them the phone call that I did this morning for the Administrative Assistant role where I had to explain to the recruiter why I was looking at basic admin roles when I had been in a managerial capacity - blunt answer, we need the money, and the application was in the right cash bracket! I did also talk about the ability to progress within the civil service and the benefits of them hiring someone who would be able to hit the ground running, and not have to have any handholding, but I'm not sure whether that would be enough to get me to interview stage over the top of the school leavers who can be moulded into the team shape...) Still, none of the three have a pre-January closing date, so I'm not likely to hear for a while (though January is next week, which is a little bit scary!)

I then spent the remainder of the "working day" playing with a new toy... Well, more of a new website - I sent some feedback in on a website I was browsing, and, after a little bit of an exchange with the contact, they asked me if I'd like to look over the new website that they will be launching in the New Year. So I had a little play on that and wrote a fairly major essay on areas for improvement - and I only got to look at one section - more playing tomorrow! (well, if they ask for open and honest feedback, that is what they will get!) I just wish that there was a way of doing this sort of thing professionally, as I really do enjoy it (I get to use my technical skills and my love of nit-picking in equal quantities!)

After spending pretty much all day indoors, aside from a little trip out to weed in the greenhouse and to see how my plants are doing (I still think I'm going to lose the battle between me and the leaf-eating pest, but the garlic is doing well...), I then went out for a short walk - I ended up half an hour and two train stations away (and discovered that the local TKD group is twenty minutes away) - an absolutely lovely walk in the sunshine.

And joy of joys, we have discovered that the local train service, and a couple of the buses are running limited, FREE services on Christmas Day. Absolutely no excuse not to get to the beach (even if it rains) and to do a bit of exploring! (maybe fitting in some presents and a little bit of turkey - we finally found something resembling turkey that won't break the bank...)

Sunday, 20 December 2009


As it is lovely and sunny in the garden today (despite the forecast rain...), I thought I'd share some photos of the flowers in the garden :-)

Our Tui is now visiting us pretty much every day (though I suspect that it is the Christmas Tree flowers that he is after rather than the glory of our company ;-) ).

We had a great time last night at the Phoenix Sci-fi group - this meeting was "Board", the board game interest group - these were tactical board games, rather than just the throw the dice ones or D&D - we played a round of Carcasson, where you draw tiles to build up cities and farming regions, and then a couple of games of Trans America, a game involving connecting American cities by rail - both great fun as there is opportunity for working together or to try and sabotage someone else's game depending on how mean you are feeling! It was a great way of getting to know more members of the group - there were a number of people here who we hadn't met at the quiz night. And we were very lucky in that we were very generously offered a lift home - the number of people who put themselves out quite considerably in order to help us is just amazing.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Bits 'n' Pieces week...

This week I have mostly been filling job application forms...

The good news is that there are still jobs being advertised, the bad news is that I expect to get most of them returned with the metaphorical "overqualified" stamp on them. Still - no harm in trying, and even if I only get a couple of interviews out of it, it's worth the time spent!

Other than that, I have completed my Christmas shopping (huzzah for Amazon!), and we have also taken a trip down to Ngauranga to meet the NZ side of our shippers, who are a lot more professional and courteous than the UK side!

It was a lovely day, so I took the opportunity to grab a few more pics:

These two are shots of the New Zealand Christmas Tree (also known as Pohutakawa) - they really are glorious, and even just a couple of blooms brightens up the whole tree. This is the view from Waterloo station (on the going into Wellington side of the tracks) - the first picture was taken from the station platform...

These are the shots from Ngauranga station - the station itself is pretty much a lump of concrete (with a rain shelter) in the middle of the tracks - but the views are incredible. We get to see this (though not always in the nice weather!) every time we head into Wellington. Because the trains are all powered by overhead lines, there isn't a live rail on the tracks, which means that, whilst it is still illegal, it isn't dangerous to cross the tracks (particularly with trains only every 20 mins or so, and a lovely long straight track to spot them on) - there was a group of teenage boys who had crossed the tracks and who were sat on the rocks fishing.

Yesterday, I had an interview with a volunteer agency - rather than just sit at home all day, I thought that it would be quite nice to be able to get out and do something even if it is only for a couple of hours a week. I've come away with a few contact details - a charity for refugees needs a committee secretary (which is only 5 times a year, and pretty much what I did for the FCDC, so I'll definitely give that a go), there is a tree planting project out in Eastbourne to try to save some of the sand dunes, again, that is only one off, and they weren't sure whether it was still ongoing, but I can call them. The most interesting one was for a museum down in Petone (a couple of minutes on the train / bus, or a half hour or so walk), but I'll need to pop down there as, again, they weren't sure whether the position was still open. So a few leads and something to get stuck into on Monday!

We've also had a couple of chats with our neighbour, Shirley. She's nearly 80, and a bit befuddled by technology, so as well as John helping her to change a kitchen lightbulb, I've also popped in to help her with her house alarm (so loud that it woke us up as well!) and also to fix her cooker after a power cut (she was having difficulty with the fact that the clock had reset itself and was flashing "auto" - she just wanted the cooker back on manual!). It's lovely to be able to have a chat with her (the 2 minutes to reset her clock then became about an hour of chatting) - she has done so much and seen so many changes in her life - moving from pre and post war Bradford ("A busy, modern industrial city - we did lots with the wool, you know...") to a laid back New Zealand, where phone calls home cost £1 a minute (and in the early 60s, that was ouchy!), and the pace of life was just so much slower.

It did mean, however, that we were a bit late in getting to the market today (which, given that we didn't have anything here for lunch, either, meant that my stomach was growling all the way round!). This was a mixed blessing - whilst we certainly lost some of the choice (I ended up paying nearly a dollar more for eggs...), we also got ourselves a couple of bargains - a nice cheap bag of fresh peas which will last us for three meals (they've gone in the freezer now), and a lovely conversation with our cake man - he tried to persuade us to buy a bigger cake (for double the price), but when I said that we were on a budget, and this was our weekly treat, he gave us a bag of his home-made sweets for free! Very touched by his generosity, and he has definitely ensured that we will remain customers of his!

I also got IDd at the supermarket today buying some beer for John - I took it as a compliment that I don't yet look 21!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


For those who are wondering about the Tui that I posted a photograph of a few posts ago, I have just come across this website:
It has some gorgeous photos on it of Tui, and also some embedded videos, which I have pinched and added below for your convenience (sound definitely needed!)

This is the Tui playing at being R2-D2:

and this one is being a bit more melodious:

This Tui is called Woof-Woof, and this is pinched directly from the website above:
Woof Woof has a permanent wing injury and lives at the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre. He started talking at about 18months and talks to everyone. Phrases include: "Come up here, quick". "How's your cold?", "Give us a kiss, mmm", "Where's the Karkariki? (parakeet in the aviary next door)" . He also whistles Pop Goes the Weasel.

Here is a longer YouTube of Woof Woof, but this one doesn't have an embed link so you will have to go and visit yourselves.

And on the subject of brilliant videos, I think you should also take a look at the coconut stealing octopi on the BBC News Website...

Monday, 14 December 2009

There's nothing like good news on a Monday...

And that was nothing like good news on a Monday...

Unfortunately, I took a call from James this afternoon (after chasing him again on the job front); you know a company needs a good administrator when they miss that they have been underbilled for $18,000 of goods. Unfortunately, they now need the money that would have been the administrator's salary to pay the outstanding invoice...

He hasn't said that the job is canned outright, but they now don't have the money to pay me until February (he is also using the money that would have taken him to the football world cup next year, where NZ have got through for the first time since 1982, so he is gutted on a personal level as well, particularly as if they had spotted that they hadn't been invoiced for the full amount when it happened about six months ago, then they wouldn't be in the situation they are now)

So we have left it that I will reapply for jobs (I've already contacted the GIS company!) and if I get offered anything, then I'll let him know, but if I have no luck, then they will talk to me when they can reopen the position again.

In better news, I did get a free knife today for going to a knife demonstration at our local Warehouse (a sort of all-purpose store that sells DIY stuff / garden centre / clothes / toys / craft stuff / kitchen goods - we like it!). Looking at the number of cuts that I have on my hands at the moment, I'm not sure that I should be allowed to take it out of the box though! (I do believe that I have a knife in the drawer that was deliberately designed to cut in a curve - perfect "C" shapes in the kumera, and in my finger...)

Friday, 11 December 2009

End of the week...

It has been a reasonably quiet week this week (and note that it is Friday for us - for some reason, Blogger (or, to be honest, all of Google!) doesn't seem to be able to cope with the time differences, and even though I have told it that I am in New Zealand, it is still putting my posts up as GMT) - I am still waiting to hear from James (I dropped him a polite email this afternoon asking whether he thought I'd be starting before the New Year!) I have also started applying for jobs again - whilst I know that I am probably just being the victim of the slightly more laid back Kiwi mentality, a small paranoid part of my is whispering "what happens if it all falls through?"

We have, however, taken advantage of the week to go out and buy ourselves a sofa-bed - this was a very cheap second hand one from the Salvation Army, and, including delivery, was about a third of the price that we had spotted on the sofa bed that we had found in another charity shop window. And it is slightly larger... We've therefore also gone out and bought a set of put together shelves (the pile of books was starting to be too big for the heater) and a nice little corner table.

We have also found ourselves a Sci-Fi Group. They meet up in the centre of Wellington on a monthly basis, and we were very lucky in that this month and next are their social events (this week was a quiz, and next month it is a "what did you do on your summer holidays" get together down the pub). I am pleased to say that they are as insane as they come, so we will fit right in :-) Part of the event was a bring a plate supper, so I dug out a cookie recipe that didn't involve too much measuring (my scales are still on the high seas...) and mixed up a batch of biscuits. We ended up with far too many left over, so we have given a box to our elderly neighbour, and are still munching our way through them. (if you are interested in the recipe, then it is at http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3773/chocolate-crinkle-cookies They are really easy to make, and incredibly more-ish!)

The only other news of the week is that there have apparently been two earthquakes that could actually be felt (anything under 4 on the Richter scale is not strong enough unless you are really sensitive). However, I didn't feel them at all (very disappointed), and John thinks he might have felt the slightly stronger one, but it might also just have been the sofa settling underneath him... Better luck next time!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Wait, What...?

We were in our local second hand book shop today, having a bit of a yarn with the owner, and he asked us how long we had been in New Zealand. A quick look at the date, and I was blindsided by the fact that we have now been here for over a month (a month yesterday, in fact...)

Time has absolutely flown by; it doesn't seem two minutes since we were in the UK, but on the other hand, it feels like we have been here forever. The idea that Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand is "home" now is really settling in, and, more importantly, feels *right*.

We know our way around now, we know the train and bus timetables pretty well, and know where the best shops are (though we are still discovering new ones (I found a print shop that will do scanning for less than $10 today!)). We know how much to budget for food, and where to go for the cheapest veg in the market (different stalls have different prices for the different types of veg, so it isn't a case of just going to one stall; we get our onions from one, potatoes from another, kumera and chinese radish from a third etc....), and we know how much we spend each week on veg, meat and other sundries.

I've been so heartened by the friendliness of everyone around; so many people are happy to stop for a chat, whether it is the driver on the bus, the owner of the shop, or the person serving us coffee (and we have found a *fantastic* coffee shop called Butlers - in fact, it is a choclatier that has a coffee part to it; every coffee you buy comes with a free chocolate (and it is an amazing chocolate!)); they are genuinely interested in us, but are also so proud of where they are (the bookshop owner has been in Lower Hutt for 60 years, the lady serving us coffee was telling us the best places to live when we were first looking round the area); it helps us realise that we have made the right choice!

I'm still waiting to find out when I'm starting work, which is a little bit frustrating, but as the reason behind the delay is that they are sorting out a contract for me, and I will be the first person in the company to *have* a contract, I can't complain too loudly! (also, the later I start work, the less time I have to spend on the Calendar Club stand - whilst I don't mind doing it, it is mindnumbingly boring!)

Friday, 4 December 2009

The bear went over the mountain...

Well, round the hilly-bay, actually. But the objective and the result were the same. Yesterday, as the sun was trying to shine, and it wasn't actually raining, we decided to finally get out and head to Eastbourne, where we had been recommended a decent walking track. Eastbourne itself is a town that is pretty much strung out along the bay, with a few interesting looking shops that we passed on the bus (Eastbourne's slogan is "It's worth the visit" which doesn't exactly inspire confidence...)

We got off the bus at the "Omnibus station" - the sign on the side of the old concrete building promised a refurbishment, and the project plan below stated that it had got to the scoping stage. I did wonder how long it would be before any work was actually done!

We headed along the shoreline to the path; whilst it was a track-road, there was a gate across it, and a sign saying that only authorised vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists were allowed. We were also reminded at frequent intervals that all dogs had to be kept on leads - this was because the land was being grazed by sheep, a number of whom were on or around the path:

The walk was absolutely gorgeous. We met a couple of walkers, a few cyclists and were passed by a few cars, but otherwise, it was just us and the birdsong, and the occasional InterIslander ferry on its way either to South Island or in to Wellington:

We were so lucky with the number of birds that we saw;
The Tui

who adored the flowers of the plant it was sitting on - it was getting the nectar out when we came along. When it heard us, it dived into the bush next to it, and tried very hard to convince us that it was actually R2-D2. But we stayed still and quiet long enough that it thought we had gone away and came out to restart its feast.

The Yellowhead

This one was a little less obliging with the photograph - if you look along the pointing branch of the dead tree towards the foxgloves, you might be able to see it hiding. There were loads of these finch-like birds in all of the gorse bushes and low hanging trees, but most of them flew away when they heard us coming.

The Variable Oystercatcher

also known to us as the "Squeaky Toy Bird" as it sounded just like a dog's chewy toy. There were a number of these along the shoreline, and all of them made the squeaky noise, but only while we were in the vicinity. As soon as we had got about twenty paces away, they stopped.

There were also innumerable chaffinches, blackbirds, at least one lark (heard not seen), a partridge-like bird that was very camera shy (size of a partridge, black head, grey and black feathers down the body, and it also flew, rather than being just ground dwelling), and one very noisy bird who was perched high above us on a bush sticking out of the cliff. There was no way I was going to get a picture of it, but it had a very dark red chest. I will learn the bird names - it will just take me a while!

There was also a lot of lovely scenery to look at and admire:

We felt certain that this could be a Captain James T Kirk vs Rubber Alien Monster Death-Match Arena...

The cliffs were high above us, covered in bush, gorse and foxgloves.

Whilst it was cloudy overhead, looking back towards Eastbourne and the Hutt Valley around the bay, there was glorious sunshine (typical!)

This was a waterfall that trickled down the rock face, and through a tunnel under the path.

When it came out the other side, the stream down to the sea was covered in these water-plants.

Some of the cliffs had definite looming tendencies...

and the mix of the grey clouds overhead and the sunlight on the water made it look like liquid metal.

We did get to see the lighthouses that are along the path, but didn't have time to actually get any closer to them than this; if we'd missed the bus that we did catch, they were then only hourly, which made it harder to get back.

We did get some blue sky and sunshine on the way back!

Today, we took part in our first political act - we joined in the Climate March (protesting against it, rather than for it) that went from the Civic Square to the Beehive (the Parliament buildings). It was all rather fun - a couple of climate change sceptics (one of whom was protesting for a World-wide dictatorship - I wonder who he had in mind as dictator?) were being very carefully ignored by everyone else. Possibly about 500 people, which wasn't bad for the first sunny Saturday in a month! There were a number of politicians there (mainly from the Green Party, as you would expect), plus a Nobel Peace prize winner (whose name I cannot now recall...) all giving speeches of varying degrees of interest. It was good to take part, but I am quite sceptical as to how much good it is likely to do (and the cynical part of me did wonder how many people had arrived by car, and why so many people there felt that they had to hand out paper leaflets!). But it was a nice stroll in the sunshine at the very least :-)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Money, Money, Money...

Now that I have the Abba song firmly embedded in your head...

For those who can see my Facebook status updates, you might have noticed a theme emerging - that of finances...

Working on the basis that I won't get paid till the end of the month (and I still don't have a start date yet - the only communication that I've had from James since he verbally offered me the job has been to confirm that he received my reference info ok), and looking at our mandatory outgoings (i.e. rent, electricity, insurance, phone and food), I worked out that we were likely to run out of money a week before payday...

This isn't as serious as it sounds - we have savings back in the UK, we have just been waiting for the exchange rate to pick up a bit before transferring it over (unfortunately, the amount that we lose in the dropped rate doesn't get beaten by the much higher interest rates over here...).

So, I got onto the HiFX website and set up a transfer transaction.

Which started off so well, but hit trouble fairly quickly. The one thing that I had forgotten to do before I left the UK was to notify HiFX that I had changed my bank address to my parents'. Unfortunately, due to money laundering laws, they can't accept a transfer from a DD card if the card is registered to a different address to the one they hold on file.

Fortunately, there was a second option, that of an electronic bank transfer. However, when I logged in to NatWest to start the process, I encountered another problem. In order to help cut fraud, NatWest sent out card readers which you need to use when performing an electronic transaction. Unfortunately, as I have never done anything more than transfer between accounts before, I have never needed to use it, and have left the card readers behind in the UK on the basis that they were taking up weight that could be put to better use.

So I contacted HiFX and explained that I had a problem. The response back from them was that if I sent over a bank statement with the new address on it, they could update their records for future transactions, but this one would have to be done electronically, and before noon GMT on Wednesday (this was Monday evening NZ time, Monday morning UK time).

In addition, I would also need to speak to them to confirm my NZ address, and they would have to do some identity checks (because, even though the money was coming from and going to the same bank accounts as previously, because I was now in NZ, I might magically become a different person...)

So Tuesday evening, I made an international call to NatWest and got through their security system and was able to get the money transferred, with the promise that it would be in the HiFx account by 2am GMT on Wednesday.

Wednesday evening, I got an email from HiFX. It seemed that, although NatWest had had my married name for two years, had all my accounts in my married name, someone made the decision not to change the name on the electronic transfer; therefore when it arrived at HiFX, it came from Jo Foster, not Jo Toon, and under money laundering laws, this was also not allowed! So, they needed to have some proof that Jo Foster and Jo Toon were the same person...

Fortunately, the NZ Immigration Services had also wanted similar proof, and I had sent them a copy of my marriage certificate with our visa application, and when I had copied everything for them, I had also scanned and emailed myself all of the documents (in case they wanted to discuss anything). So a rushed ten minutes later whilst I tried to remember *where* I had saved the email, I was able to get that across to HiFX, and then made the second international call in two evenings to them in order to go through the address/identity issues. Half an hour later (in the "5 to 10 minute" check...), I got confirmation that I was who I said I was, and also got an email to say that the marriage certificate had got through fine, and they could now release the funds to me...

The lady on the end of the phone was only a little put out when I said that she would have to wait till January at the earliest to get a scanned copy of any bills from our NZ address (as proof of our address here); when we investigated scanning costs earlier this week, all the shops charged a $9 or $10 flat fee just for the privilege of using their services, and then a cost for each scan. For that price, we can wait till the scanner arrives from the UK!

So, fortunately (as long as nothing now goes wrong between the HiFX account and our Westpac one...), we can now afford to pay the rent and eat as well :-)

In other news, it has rained. A lot. I discovered that not only is there a missing pane in the skylight in the greenhouse, but the guttering of the garage directly above it is broken. This might explain the almost pond-like plants that are growing in the soil on that side of the greenhouse - every time it rains more than a drizzle, I get a puddle of water - in about twenty minutes, I had filled a bucket twice with the water that fell through the roof, and still had a deep puddle underneath it. But on the bright side, I now have (in the dry end of the greenhouse, the one which has all the interesting bulbs in it (clover-like leaves, white flowers, grown from bulbs - if anyone has any idea of what the plant might be, then do let me know :-) )) broccoli, spinach and garlic planted, and in pots, waiting for them to come up, capsicums (salad peppers), chillis and basil (I've planted out some more capsicum and basil seeds, and will do more chillis when I get round to cooking the ones in the fridge - I think that after a week, the ones I've planted aren't going to sprout). So, hopefully in a few months, we will be able to eat what I've been growing!