Sunday, 7 February 2010

Quiet week

Apologies for the lack of posting this week - we haven't really done a great deal since Monday - trying to save money!

I'm really looking forward to starting work tomorrow, not just because I know that it is going to be a fun job, with a good atmosphere and colleagues, but also because I am really needing the brain stimulation and the reason to get up in the mornings! Having said that, I have really enjoyed this last week, where I've let myself lie in as needed - the knowledge that the temp agency wasn't going to call to give me a last minute assignment helped in me ignoring the alarm clock...

We discovered our local Chinese supermarket on our walk to orchestra on Monday, and so we detoured there yesterday as part of our weekly shop - I think that John regretted offering to carry the things that I bought - I topped up on all the bottled stuff that I've been missing (dark soy, rice wine and rice wine vinegar, Thai green curry paste etc...), and it was really rather a heavy shop! Still, enough to keep me happy for a while.

Whilst we really didn't do anything yesterday to celebrate Waitangi Day, we did go over to one of our local parks to join in the celebrations for Te Ra o Te Raukura, which celebrates the Raukura, the white feather that people of Taranaki descent wear, and the passive peace resistance movement. In reality, though, it was more of a summer fete - we missed the traditional Maori singing and the haka, and just ended up wandering around the various stalls (mainly food, but a lot of health and community based ones, as well as a couple selling arts and crafts) and listening to a couple of local bands (mainly Reggae for some reason). We had mussel fritters for lunch - quite literally mussels mixed into an American pancake style batter, and then cooked in a griddle. They were really tasty, though they could have done with a bit of chilli sauce to liven them up a bit! Then an ice-cream for pudding - the sellers had a very clever machine which combined the Mr Whippy style ice-cream with frozen fruits - the fruits were placed in the tip of a metal cone, and then the ice-cream was squeezed through so that they mixed together - very tasty!

As we were over that side of town, I suggested that John came up into the Hayward Reserve, as he'd not actually been there. Sadly it was nowhere near as peaceful as normal, as the strains of the Reggae music floated up into the trees. I wondered what the birds and cicadas made of it!

We did get spotted by a Piwikawaka, though he did sit with the sun behind him, so the picture I got isn't brilliant:

We also spotted a cicada in full view - normally they hide away, but this one had probably only recently hatched:

The forest was full of mushrooms - I think that the heat after so much rain had really brought them out. Unfortunately, only one of the photos that I took came out - the camera was having much more fun focussing on the leaves behind...

We also heard a grey warbler, or Riroriro to give it its Maori name - we didn't see it though. This is the bird that I have heard every time I've been out there, and yet not been able to work out what it was (it is a lot harder to do a search when you don't know what the bird looks like, and the links don't all have the song on them). The song is amazing - whilst each one follows the same general theme, the individual songs are all unique.

We didn't spend very long in the reserve, as it was very hot, adn we didn't have any water with us. However, I'm glad that we came out when we did, as it let us get this photo of a Monarch butterfly

which I am very pleased with.

It has now been three months since we arrived in New Zealand - at times, it seems like we've only just arrived, and at others, it feels like we have been here forever. I think that we have really managed to settle in well, without hitting major culture-shock - there have been ups and downs, of course, but many more ups than down! It will be interesting to see what happens over the next three months (and beyond)!

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