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!

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