Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Wow! Crikey! It’s been a year since I landed here in New Zealand. A lot has happened in that time (see the previous 110 blogs for details), including moving into two houses, getting a job, buying a car and becoming an official New Zealand resident.

Freakin’ Freezing Up Here, Mr. Bigglesworth

Yesterday was the coldest day ever in Wellington (well, since records began) –snow fell in the centre of town (briefly) and on the hills surrounding. Traffic, air and rail systems have ground to a halt in large swathes of the country…it reminds me of somewhere!


Not much else to say at the moment – came first in the pub quiz again tonight, but that’s become such a commonplace these days that it’s hardly worth mentioning ;-) Hopefully by next week we’ll have finished all the immediate moving-in tasks and can then get on with being exciting again!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


We’d arranged for a company to come out and install a TV aerial today, as the previous owner/occupier of our house only had cable TV. Cable is all very well, but you have to pay for it, and the extra channels you get over and above Freeview don’t seem to be worth bothering with;  and you have to pay extra extra to get the Sky channels – films and sports. We really don’t watch enough TV to make this worthwhile. The company arranged for him to show up at 4pm which I thought was cutting things a bit fine, as it gets dark at around 5pm at the moment.

Just before noon, they called to see if the engineer could come round earlier as they had  a gap in their schedule. “How much earlier?” I asked.“ Straight away” came the reply. As we were “busy” in a café drinking coffee and doing the crossword at the time, I said “no, can they come later?”  “sure, we’ll be there in about 10 minutes.”

About an hour later, he showed up. So that’s “straight away”. He located the junction box from the cable company, installed the aerial, had a lot of trouble with the wall socket due to the previous installer’s incompetence (lots of sucking in through teeth, “what cowboy put this in?” etc, in the traditional tradesman style) as they’d assumed that all future people would only want cable, so hadn’t threaded the aerial cable through properly.

It took him around two hours to get everything sorted, which meant that it was nearly 3pm by the time we were able to sit down to lunch! We were pretty famished by then. But it was a good job he’d come early, otherwise he’d have been working in the dark.

Anyway, we now have working TV once more. In true NZ style, there wasn’t anything worth watching on a Saturday night, so we watched a DVD instead. Go figure.

Logan Brown

(early draft of a Stranglers song written after Hugh Cornwell  visited New Zealand)

Note: parts of the above paragraph may not be 100% accurate.

On Friday night we went for dinner to Logan Brown, as a birthday treat. Logan Brown is one of Wellington’s, indeed New Zealand's, top restaurants, located on Cuba Street. After we’d sat down and ordered, they brought out the traditional amuse bouche – in this case, a swordfish sashimi concoction with a radish salad and soy jelly. Very nice. I had paua (otherwise known as abalone) ravioli to start and then a fillet steak with fries, whilst Nicola had pappardelle followed by snapper. Both were done to perfection, good high-quality nosh. Puddings were crème brûlée and chocolate caramel tarte.

Logan Brown definitely hits the spot as one of the best places in Wellington. We were able to use our Entertainment card to defray part of the cost, too – so we’re well into the black with that now.

We are going to visit a few more places over the coming months – Cuisine magazine recently named 8 Wellington restaurants in its top 50 in New Zealand, including one in Miramar: The Larder. Logan Brown has consistently been named in previous years - but not this year, as the chef was on the judging panel, thus disqualifying himself. Probably be back next year though.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fridge Fable

So, as our newly-acquired fridge doesn’t fit into its allotted place in the kitchen, I got on to Bond & Bond again, to see what we could do about it. They were very helpful, and I’ve now selected a model that meets the height requirements. It was delivered at lunchtime today (I took the day off, as there are several other bits and pieces that I needed to do) and now sits in pride of place in our kitchen!

I know. It's a picture of a fridge. Life doesn't get any better than this!

Now all I’ve got to do is figure out how it works. You’d think “plug it in and fill it with food” but apparently there’s more to it than that…there’s a compartment marked “water” for one thing. I’ll have to go and read the instructions.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Moving On Up

Saturday was Move Day. The removal men showed up at 8:30 on the dot, with a van and 3 men. Nearly everything was already packed up, so all we needed to do was check that they took the right stuff, left what wasn’t ours, and load up the van. We were still busy with boxes and tape gun in hand as they were carrying stuff out, but eventually we were ready to roll, and drove over to our new house. Nicola had already got the key and garage-door widget on Friday, so we drove over and awaited the removal van.

We were just wondering whether we should go and stand at the corner of the road to direct them in (as it’s not immediately apparent from the road where our house is) when we saw the van go whizzing past. Eventually they managed to circle round and come back (presumably being directed by a Satnav) and we were able to direct them into our driveway. With a bit of skilful reversing they managed to back the van all the way up, and then unloaded everything into the house.

Just as they were finishing up, another lorry pulled up outside…the men with the sofa and other furniture that we’d bought a few weeks back. They waited whilst we sorted out paying the removal men (2 hours to load and unload – a pretty good job, we thought), then they brought their van up the driveway and brought our furniture indoors.

We took one look around the living room, and decided that it was time for a quick break before we tackled the opening of all the boxes. We headed out to a café we’d been to a couple of times which was just around the corner, the Strathmore Bakery & Café, for a restorative coffee and chocolate. Then we started on unpacking everything, with occasional breaks to head back to the old flat to pick up a few items which had been left behind (intentionally or otherwise), and to shop for a few bits and pieces that we hadn’t thought of immediately.

At lunchtime, the white goods arrived from Bond & Bond. This is where we hit the first glitch of the day – the fridge-freezer is 1” too tall for the space in the built-in kitchen. It’s currently standing in the corner of the dining area, awaiting a swap for a new, smaller fridge/freezer which will be delivered next weekend.

Sorry fridge, you're just too big

The final delivery of the day came at 1 o’clock – the bedroom furniture. This is where we hit the second glitch of the day – there isn’t space for our new bed and two bedside tables along the wall of the main bedroom. This is due to the fact that there is a door in each corner – one to the en-suite and one to the walk-in wardrobe. We’ve had to be a bit creative about arranging the bedroom furniture but I think we’re there now.

Let the unpacking begin!

We broke the back of the unpacking in the afternoon and early evening, then had dinner and settled down to watch TV on our new, wonderful entertainment unit…

I hadn’t brought the TV aerial cable. It was still in the old flat. Never mind, we watched a Blu-Ray instead.