Well - this week has had a few firsts in it:
We have had our first orchestra concert, with a lovely programme of suites and serenades. The audience wasn't large, but everyone seemed to enjoy listening to the music as much as we liked playing it. And the husband of one of the violinists is doing an audio recording qualification, so his class were practising with our concert - we might even get a CD out of it! We had a chat and social afterwards (Known as "bring a plate", which does include bringing something to go on that plate - an American supper), which was lovely and friendly. The next concert is going to be a Jazz one, so I'm looking forward to that, but I think that someone else is going to have to do my counting for me!
I had my first league hockey match. We lost 3-2, but didn't play too badly, given that we hadn't played together properly as a team (and the practice on Thursday seemed to mainly be spent playing 'getting to know you' games...). Only one of the goals shouldn't have gone in, and I did save far more than three, so I'm happy with the way that I played! It will be interesting to see how the team develops over the season.
I had my Introduction to the Ministry on Friday - this was actually really rather fun. Rather than just sit and be lectured to, part of the morning involved going round the Ministry main office (the IT Group is actually sat in a separate building, about 10 minutes' walk away) and talking to the people working there, and then feeding back in a presentation (involving posters, glue, coloured pens and glitter!) to the rest of the group. It was really interesting, and great fun. As well as the rest of the lecture (which included some info on gifts and ethics which I thought was self evident, mainly because I have to deal with it a lot in contracts, but other people hadn't heard about, and we ended up having quite a debate about!), we also got to go round the Parliamentary offices (also known as the Beehive). The Minister wasn't there, but we did get to meet four of her Privy Secretaries, and they explained about their role and how the Ministry and the Minister fitted together (and also the reason for them needing information as a top priority whenever there is a Parliamentary Question that needs to be answered - there are less than three hours from the question being asked to it needing to be given to the Minister to answer it in Parliament!) Sadly, we didn't get to go into the debating chamber, so I shall have to be a tourist at some point and do that for myself!
I also had a two day training course on Wednesday and Thursday, which has given me a better groundwork for the work that I need to do on contracts. Which is a good thing, as we also have a new member of the team (though I am still the new girl, as she has moved internally), and she is taking on the administrative part of my job (which wasn't very big to begin with!), and I will be concentrating more on the high level and strategic part. A definite shove outside of my
comfort zone, but I am now confident that I can do it!
Autumn is definitely on its way now - there is a definite nip in the air in the mornings (though, in general, the late morning and afternoon is still up in the high teens / low twenties C, so it isn't cold by any stretch of the imagination!). I'm learning the difference between a Northerly (wind coming down from the North end of the island - usually warmer, occasionally bringing a gentle rain and low cloud/fog) and a Southerly (wind coming from the South Island, usually come straight from Antarctica, and occasionally still carrying a penguin - it is *cold* and is the type of wind that goes through you without stopping to say 'please') It is also getting darker, very quickly. In the last week, I've gone from a half-light in the mornings to near blackness when I wake up. The light fades very quickly in the evening, too - it's not going to be fun when the clocks go back on Sunday.
But I'm still getting a chance to get out to the greenhouse on the odd occasion - I'm starting to fight a battle with caterpillars - at some point over the summer a butterfly got in, and my broccoli is covered with caterpillars of all sizes (all a lovely bright green that blends in with the leaves!). Fortunately, they aren't too difficult to pick off (some have fastened themselves down with silk, but it doesn't take much to get them to let go), and I now have some very satisfied birds in the garden! The broccoli does seem to be able to take the munching, but I'd rather not be bringing up the next generation of butterflies to eat next year's crop! I now have three capsicum growing on my pepper plant, too, with a few more flowers still in the process of opening. Very exciting, particularly as the capsicum in the market are showing a marked sign of being at the end of the season - the prices are starting to skyrocket, and the quality is going downhill very rapidly (it is now difficult to find ones that I could confidently say would last the week, even in the fridge, and as I cook with peppers on average 5 meals out of 7, I dread them disappearing completely!)
It's a short week coming up at work, and then Easter - I am really looking forward to the four days off. We haven't got anything definitely planned (tentative discussions from someone at sci-fi to be doing "something"), and I can't wait for the lie-in on Friday morning!