Saturday, December 31, 2005

NYE

Congratulations! By now you have probably decided on one of life's most tricky quandries - what to do on New Year's Eve.

I am sure that more energy and animated discussion goes on prior to NYE, just trying to summon up the energy to organise something, than ever happens on the night.

We all fall into 2 categories on this subject:

a) those for whom hope remains
and
b) the rest of us

The A type people still have a hope that NYE is going to be an exciting, jolly time with kisses under the mistletoe (dangling from their own hat) and to this end they bend their considerable imaginative talents. They try and arrange parties. They find out about parties in exciting downtown locales. They pick out an outfit with care. They consider having one glass of champagne too many.

I admire these people. I even used to be one of them.

But the B type people have over time come to the conclusion that every year you get hopped up over some gigantic firework of an evening. And every year it is a damp squib. To counteract this, they decide not to get their hopes up and to plan a super low key time with no mistletoe and no champagne. Perhaps a pair of warm slippers and a cup of cocoa in front of the telly.

People of B, I embrace you heartily to my warm-woolly-clad self.

Having said all that, I am going to 2 parties this year.

Firstly to Dave's family get together which is a fancy dress party with a theme of 'Pop Stars'. Unfortunately for you, we are not dressing up. (Last time we did so Dave was Barry White and I was Baby Spice....what a combo!)
Then we are skipping off from that merry, game-playing dressed-up bunch....onto Lorraine and Vern's home where we will see the new year in with a few close friends.

This is assuming that I can stay awake till midnight.

So whether you're an A person or a B person, I wish you a very excellent NYE and a delightful start to 2006. It's going to be a good one!

xx

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Susannah & Trinny

How I wish I could meet these two gals.

For those who've never heard of them - they are the original hosts of 'What Not to Wear' a scandalously brutal TV program that takes women who dress like bag ladies and turns them (against their will, often) into glamorous chicks.

For those of you who THINK you know what I'm talking about because you've seen some knock-off of this show...you have been sorely misled. For example the Canadian version of WNTW is a travesty of the original. Now my dear Canadian readers please do not take this personally. But really, the Canadian people are not well known for their skills with sarcasm. The cutting comments on the Canadian WNTW were so blunt they could hardly get through melted butter. No, until you've experienced the true 'Trinny & Susannah'version...you have not seen what 2 women can do to the weaker of the species. And they are so charming with it.

First they go through the victim's wardrobe and ridicule it - scribbling with markers on nasty items (jogging trousers are a particular favourite)and even ripping up others. Then they interview the victim's friends and family to collect a video of just how awful everyone thinks they look. THEN they show the video to the unsuspecting frump (she always cries at this point).AND THEN they take the frump into a 360degree mirror and force her to undress down to her underwear. So now this poor woman is in her greying saggy undies in front of the UK viewing audience...and if that isn't indignity enough Trinny & Susannah start grabbing at her boobs and bum and manoeuvering these quivering jellies into positions they think would be more flattering. (18 inches higher than where they are.)

It's totally fabulous.

Then they go on to scold, ridicule and generally bully these weeping, haus fraus in various department stores....grab at them a bit more...and eventually present the quivering wreck back to her uncharitable friends and family. By now the QW (quivering wreck) looks a million dollars, is grinning like a loon and looking dangerously like she is considering leaving her stolid taxman husband.

I repeat. It's totally fabulous.

Anyway, in the spirit of Trinny & Susannah I gave myself a stern talking to for looking like a dowdy sack of spuds, looked unflinchingly at myself in the mirror, grappled myself about a bit...and took off down the shops.

But here is the clever bit. I took my friend Laura with me.

Now every girl needs a Shopping Genius - and I in fact have 2. Laura Taylor and Sarah Dalley. If these women are with me, I can make no mistake. They unerringly steer me towards the most fabulous purchases, coo wonderfully, tell me I look fabulous and get very excited as I part with money on my new sequinned watermelon-coloured boob tube.

So, ladies...and ladies (the male readers tuned out at about the second sentence)...I am now the proud owner of a designer, yes a DESIGNER jacket...by John Rocha. It was in the sales too! I tried it on and Laura nearly fainted. Without even looking in the mirror I was already going to buy it - what a reaction. Going shopping with a high influencer is the bomb! Anyway it is this totally fabulous chocolate faux-fur bomber jacket. Sounds hideous, but is so wonderful. Also it is so soft it is like having a pet slung around you.

I feel Trinny and Susannah would approve. And I didn't even need to stand around in my undies on national telly.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Catch-Up

Hello all - how's the turkey stupor? Can you still focus without seeing mince pies dancing before your eyes? Isn't it exciting how quickly it becomes normal to have chocolate for breakfast....elevenses...a pre-prandial snack and post-prandial munch....not to mention pre-sleep chocolate and even 'quick loo dash in the middle of the night' chocolate? As you can tell I will be hitting the gym hard when I get back to the opposite ends of the earth.

And yes, Krista, my mum has hit on the genius idea of just tying whole bars of chocolate to the Christmas tree with a bit of festive ribbon.....brilliant! It is a bit like living at Willy Wonka's. Yesterday I even tried licking the door handle to see if it was made of sugar. Strange how I now resemble an oompa loompa...

So aside from eating FAR too much, what have I been doing?

Well I have just about managed to leave behind my Little Miss Grumpy persona which I like to blame on the jet lag, but I'm not so sure....I am still recovering from being thrust into the warm bosom of the Dalley household...and then dis-thrusted...un-thrusted...de-thrusted or some such made-up word.

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Except without the sweet bit.
>sigh<
This is what comes of loving people - see I knew it was a bad idea.

Still, it was totally divine to see them and receive a backlog of hugs and harassment. Faith had even created a Christmas stocking each for me and Dave...to accompany Sarah's annual treat...it was very fab!

AND to try not to be a total 'down in the mouth-er' (which I seem to have become very gifted at)...I do get to see Sarah for 3 whole weeks in February....so that is pretty darn fantastic.

Anyway, back to some semblance of a narrative.
Christmas Day:
So we left the Dalleys with tears drizzling down our Christmas make-up (Dave included) and drove back to Bournemouth. It was a stunning drive across a misty England county scene, with little stone cottages, winding roads and big old fashioned country pubs. There's just something so distinctive and beautiful about the wintry English light...that made me feel like I was in some kind of Constable painting. (that has nothing to so with the police constabulary or an identity parade...I'm talking about John Constable, the artist).

We arrived back to find my parents excitable and skittish about Christmas Day - they were already opening presents! So we exchanged ours and I was delighted with my fabulous dramatic turquoise beady necklace, book, and sparkly gold shrug. Dave got a sooper dooper huge book of Sudoku which he is now working through like a Japanese master. I wouldn't be surprised if he ate his turkey today with chopsticks.

Our presents seemed to go over well and my Dad even put his Fleetwood Mac DVD on as we were leaving....high praise indeed. By the time we returned from lunch with Dave's fam, Dad had also fitted the webcam we gave him so he can see our sleepy faces in NZ when we talk on Skype. (He has to download the latest version of Skype which has Skype Video on it.....top tip there chaps!)

It was a big ol' family affair with Dave's crew with 12 of us around the table. You'll be pleased to know that I sat next to Mr Pants...I would like to be able to say that we behaved ourselves.

Food was fab, pressies were fab (first three series of Ally McBeal on DVD - felt like being reunited with old friends - oh Ally how I have missed thy self-absorbed, fantastical imaginings). Now normally we come back to Dave's fam for tea (enough food to feed a small continent)..and then have games. This year (horrors)there were rumours that we were going to be paired up for a 'Strictly Come Dancing' ballroom fest......but thankfully that did not come to pass. Instead we played a very civilised caption game where Mr Pants and I engaged in a battle of wits. I couldn't help feeling that it's not very fair to do that when the other party is not armed.

Boxing Day was quiet as my bro was still in Plymouth with his girlfriend Christa's dad....so we are kind of having it today. I can smell the turkey even as I type....yum!

And now although there is so much more I could say...I must just finish with a book recommendation.

The book my mum bought me for Christmas is what they call 'popular fiction' and generally I am too much of a book snob to read that particular genre. I usually go for anything 'distinctly unpopular' about blind Norwegian nuns caught on a tropical island and being given 3 days to knit the meaning of life into a scarf or else suffer existential angst for ever more...hey actually that's a good idea, how do I copyright that idea?

ANYWAY, this book is a lot of fun, truly unputdownable (I finished its 628 pages this morning, after starting it yesterday afternoon) and I must recommend it to AJ for holiday reading, if no-one else. It's by Marian Keyes and it's called. 'The other side of the story' Apparently her one 'Sushi for beginners' is really good too. It's one of those 'popular fiction' books that doesn't have lines in it like,
'she pressed up against his firm, muscular body and gazed into the deep azure pools of his eyes' and also doesn't leave you feeling like your brain just rotted away while you were reading it. (The feeling akin to watching 10 hours of rubbish TV)

So there you go. A top tip. You too can now not speak to anyone for hours on end in an anti-social read fest. Enjoy!

xx

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Christmas!

Hello all! I am writing from David Dalley's study while he and Faith prepare another sumptuous meal for us, Dave and Sarah are watching Carols from Kings in front of the roaring fire and I am anticipating watching 'Strictly Come Dancing'in an hour's time.

The jetlag has been evil so far on this trip, and the first 2 nights I was wide awake despite not having slept for the previous 3 nights...this left me a grumpy human being with no reserves of grace or humour. Mind you I did enjoy an episode of Morse at 2am and a bar of chocolate stolen from my mum's Christmas tree.

Fortunately I have now slept the last 2 nights and so hope to survive Christmas Day without shoving Christmas pudding up anyone's nose in an antisocial frenzy.

It has been fabulous to see the wonderful Dalleys although the time has flown by and I am already wracked with sadness that we have to say goodbye.

Rumour has it that Sarah is going to break the habit of a lifetime and arise early tomorrow so that we can exchange pressies before Dave and I drive the Popemobile back to Bournemouth in time to join the rest of his family for the manic celebrations.

(By the way the Popemobile is Dave's parents car which they have kindly lent to us. It has high seats and windows and resembles a vehicle from which the Pope would be glad to be seen waving and throwing incense about.)

So that's the news from us...

I wish you all a VERY Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Back in Blighty

Hello dear friends. Phew! We made it!

Yes, we set off from Taupo at 6.05pm on Monday and arrived in Los Angeles 10 hours before we left. We travelled 34 hours from door to door and arrived in Bournemouth 18 hours after we left Taupo.

I am sad to report that my film viewing quota was below par. I only watched:

Must Love Dogs - I could watch John Cusack reading out of a phone book for 3 hours and be quite happy, but what is the deal with Diane Lane?I just don't think she is very appealing on screen - snore-ama.....although I am sure she is very charming in person. (She says the same about me)

Red Eye - with that cute girl from 'The Notebook' and the guy with the creepy eyes - yes THAT guy. Hmmm....not bad. Enjoyed the part with the hockey stick.

The Island - with Scarlet O'I'm in every movie these days' and Ewan McGregor with the mole above his left eyebrow. Now this was pretty good I must say. One of those weird futuristic, thingys. Car chases too long but chemistry good between the two hotties (watch, Diane, and learn....it's called 'on-screen chemistry')...and lots of weird futurist moral crises....with Sean Bean being his fabulous self.

Wedding Crashers - I know, I know....why did I even pick it? I'm sorry but I have a weakness for that guy with the smashed in nose....he makes me laugh. Unfortunately the film was gross and had to be turned off. My advice, don't bother!

Meanwhile I read most of 'Angels and Demons' which I did prefer to the 'DV Code'...although the ending was pretty barking mad. Actually the whole thing is barking mad. I overheard a guy in the line-up to US Immigration (while we were in LAX for an hour) saying how Dan Brown is 'easy reading' in a rather patronising tone.....but, er, have to kindof agree with him. I love all those cheesy descriptions, 'Vittoria was lithe and sinuous like a bronzed tiger. She leapt from the helicopter as if from the abyss of loneliness into his heart. He felt a strong connection to her instantly.' Hmmmm...the length of her shorts have anything to do with that? Mind you it's pretty 'unputdownable' so Mr Brown knows what he's doing.

Our seats weren't right in front of the loos this time...AND we had the one between us blocked out (gold membership privileges...woohoo)...so that I didn't wake up drooling on some stranger's shoulder.

By the way do you think there is some kind of award for person who used the bathroom most regularly during the flight? If so, I think I may be in the running.

I read before I got on the flights that you should try to drink 2 litres of water during a long haul trip. I think I drank a small swimming pool's worth just to be on the safe side. Hence I would say that I went up aisle about 20 times. Seriously. Twenty. By the end I was getting embarrassed cos I was sure the people sitting by the loos recognised me and were wondering about my bladder.

Size of a pea. That's all I can say. Size of a pea.

Monday, December 19, 2005

24

Suspenseful drama.....shocking twists and turns.....intrigue and backstabbing....?

These things may accurately describe Jack Bauer's 24.

But probably not our next 24 hours on a plane.

Tedium, twisting and turning in our seats, food in trays......ahh these are the delights that we have in store.

Still we have checked and we have a newly fitted out Air New Zealand plane so that means we get our own teeny tiny little screens. Heh heh heh, let's see how many films I can watch on one flight. I think 6 is my record so far.

Just to keep you fully informed on all our travelling details, I have decided to go for the 'travelling light' as far as the hand luggage goes and I am just taking on one small handbag. Advantage - it will fit under the seat in front so that I don't have to leap up and down and display my midriff by reaching into an overhead bin every time I want a tissue or a mint. Disadvantage, I can't fit my Oprah magazine in it or the bottle of water. In fact I had to choose a book to read on the basis of whether it would fit in my bag.....tsk tsk. I plumped for a good ol' knicker gripper (I hope) "Angels & Demons". Well I seem to remember Cathy saying it was a good read....but I could be misquoting here there!

OF COURSE I have my ipod tucked in my bag which has all the Narnia books recorded on there....and the latest Podcasts from Chris Moyles and Chris Evans. Plus I have gum, ear plugs, eye patch, parrot, tissues, lip balm, headache tablets, comb, make-up, oh and my passport of course! Hmmmm....we'll see how it goes!

James is picking us up from our house at 5pm to take us to the sprawling Taupo airport (ha ha) and from there it's a 45 minute flight to Auckland. Then we wait around for a few hours (come on Dan Brown, entertain me with your ludicrous theories on the RC church) and board the flight to LA....for about 14 hours I think....and then hang about in LA airport for an hour or so. Get back on the same plane for 10 hours and Bob's your uncle. Easy peasy.

Mum & Dad are picking us up from Heathrow and it's just a few hours to Bournemouth.....

So now you know exactly where we will be and when - if you can work out the time difference!
We arrive in the UK 10am ish on Tuesday.

So my cherubs, if you think of us in the next 48 hours cast up a prayer for sleep, entertainment and no delays!

And of course I will blog again from the UK.

VERY excited.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

An Ode to Dried Fruit


Oh succulent black-hearted plumpness!

Your spicy dark looks glazed over with sweetness!

You brood in shadows, sucking goodness into your depths,

Revealing my fruits of passion.



(I ate my first mince pie of the season last night)

Friday, December 16, 2005

NEWS GLIMMER!

Well this would be a NEWS FLASH...but seeing as most of you for whom this is meaningful news, already know it.....it is more of a news glimmer....maybe a news spark at best!

Yes, Stuart & Lynley are having a baby! A seven week old baby whose face is being formed as we speak.
( I mean, it will be older than that when it is born, obviously.)

For those who don't know, here is a quick catch-up...

a) I first met Stuart & Lynley at the School of Ministry in Toronto
b) they were the glamorous and gorgeous Directors of the school
c) they made the mistake of befriending us
d) they are totally fab
e) they were not able to have children
f) neither of them
g) so they totally gave up on ever having kids about 12 years ago
h) hence it is a complete shocker that now Lynley is preggers

I could not stop grinning for about 2 weeks after I heard the news.....in fact it could be one of those eternal memories..."Where were you when you heard Lynley was pregnant?"

They are going to be such FANTASTIC parents, and the child is going to be STUNNING...

What a flipping marvellous miracle. Isn't God cool?

Although also rather intriguing.....

Still, as I have been thinking about this lovely miracle child I have been compiling some potential names for Stu & Lynley to consider. I think you will find them very contemporary and 'with it' in this age of the Blog.

Here they are:

For a boy:

Ubiygli
Egqsmdtr
Oorospjr

For a girl:
Ambsr
Moqiiw
Hikjlo

You'll never guess where I got my inspiration from.....unless you want to make a comment.

Seriously guys, we are THRILLED! Congratulations! Love you loads and loads xx

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas is coming... and the goose is getting fat

A little known fact.

I once took the starring role of the 'Partridge in the Pear Tree' in a school production of the Twelve Days of Christmas. This seemed like a coup (not a coop) until I realised I had to run on and off the stage 12 times (every time the partridge is mentioned) while dressed up as a tree with a partridge on my head.

Still, when it comes to dressing up in outlandish outfits, I should mention that another time I was the Mock Turtle in 'Alice in Wonderland'. I had a great big shell, a green hood and they covered me in so much green make-up that my eyebrows were green for 2 weeks. I also had to sing "Soup, Beautiful Soup" which was a bit nerve wracking as I can't really sing very well. But I figured that a mock turtle might not be able to sing either and so crooned away disharmoniously with equanimity. (and only one of those words is made up.)

Well the more perspicacious of you will probably have guessed that I don't have a lot to say about life at the moment by the fact that I am dragging up this old nonsense from the past. (I also once dressed up as a hippo and was paid to lie on a bed in a shop window and wave at people).

Also I seem to be using some very large words. In my defence, I haven't used them all year and if I don't get them out of the cupboard and dust them off occasionally they go mouldy.

Here are a few more: rumbunctious, postulate, syncopation and idiosyncracy.

There's a prize for the person who can make a sentence out of all those words. (Or make the best Partridge in a Pear Tree costume.)

And so back to the mundane. I, like many of you, have been spending a large amount of time and money fighting my way through the crowds to find the perfect Christmas present (or 23). Except in my case there are no crowds. And the parking is free. And I don't really have too much else to do, so it's not really that stressful.

I can only apologise.

Yes I have been scurrying about the stores of Taupo in search of items with the 'je ne sais quoi' requisite for friends and family. Every year I determine to simplify the present buying process. I try to get some perspective. I try to realise that I may not be able to get each person the absolute, perfect gift. I resolve to fret less, to stop trying to be a mind reader, and just buy some nice generic things....socks, chocolates, soaps...

BUT I JUST CAN'T DO IT!

No, instead I drive myself absolutely crazy trying to get the thing..THE VERY THING...they have been longing for all their lives....

And of course the whole process is incredibly complicated by the fact that I haven't seen most people for months on end and have no idea if they would like the DVD collection of 'Fascinating Facts about Phalanges'. If they already have the gold embossed version of it. If they hate phalanges with a passion. Or if they even have a TV any more.

>Deep sigh.<

I comb through the shops looking at every item...muttering a mantra..."Adrian, Adrian, Adrian...." so I am totally focused on all that person is and represents to me. I pick up every item....until I find something that I think is right. Second guess myself 16 times...and then go through the whole process again "James, James, James".

By the time I've bought 3 presents I feel like I've climbed Everest or something.
I sit down to peruse my hoard....with a feeling of satisfaction...that soon turns to panic when I realise I still have another 20 people to buy for.

But the thing is, and I think this is the real reason I can't ever give up on finding something just wonderful for each person, I totally LOVE buying gifts. It brings ME pleasure. I get a kick out of it. When I find that something that might just work, it's like I've just won a mini-lottery. I like to picture the enjoyment the person will get out of it. The way that they will feel upon opening it. In my idealised world they will feel "YES! I am known and loved and understood" and the gift will communicate how much I love them and how cool they are and how precious to me. That is the hope fluttering in my chest.

So I'm coming out of the closet.

Remember the 5 Love Languages?

Yes, I am a 'gifts' person and I just can't help myself.

Moreover I LOVE it.

So if you receive a gift from me (and Dave of course) this year and you don't like it, feel downright insulted by it, think it is the last thing on the earth you would ever want, feel deeply wounded that I know you so little and want to spit on it....

....just know that I tried, I really tried.

And maybe next year I'll get you chocs or socks."

Long time, no post

Well sorry for not updating you for so long but it's been absolutely crazy here.

We've had a whole bunch of people practically camping in our front room for the last 5 days or so. Every time we come into the lounge, here they are just waiting for us. It's kindof nice, but you know they demand a lot of attention and it takes up a lot of time.....hence not updating the blog for a while.

Yeah and turns out one of them is pregnant with this other guy's baby, but they're not together....even though he's been in love with her since the year dot. And she's a bit ditsy so that's been quite high maintenance. The blonde girl reminds me of my friend Laura from Bournemouth - she's really fun and quirky - oh and she also plays the guitar. But not well.

Then there's another guy who's trying to get into acting. Still, there's another girl who's really into cleaning and cooking of all things - so she's great to have around.

Yep, it's been great to hang out with friends

Sunday, December 11, 2005

New Water Feature

Ok, we are in the middle of the coolest thunderstorm. We saw a cloud encompassing the peak behind our house (Tauhara) and heading our way....and suddenly we are in the middle of a cloud. There is water POURING down the windows - deafeningly so! I dared Dave to go out for a run....but he went to the gym.

Meanwhile there is so much water we now have our very own waterfall!


Earlier this week I was wandering lonely as a cloud (in a thematic kind of way)...and took some pictures of our house from the other water feature - the river. You can just see it perching up at the top of the reserve.


I also found a little something to play with....


In other news...this past week has been rather a lonely one for me with not too much happening. But the rest of the Father Heart gang got back from Auckland on Thursday night. So on Friday I invited them round for a good old fashioned English evening - a curry and episodes of Black Adder.

On Saturday I snuck into James & Denise's house to get surprises lined up for their return....including an invite to The Chronicles of Narnia, complete with bars of Turkish Delight....

And today they finally returned from their trip...to be greeted at Taupo airport with much excitement from us all. It is SO great to have them here! James wants to talk to me about getting his book started asap....so I should have a great project to be working on soon.

Meanwhile some very exciting news - Sarah D. booked her ticket this week so she is arriving in NZ on 7th February! YEYYY!!!

Ok, Dave and I are watching an entire series of Friends (that arrived in our boxes)....so I must get back to it.

P.S. We leave for the UK on the 19th Dec....

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Just another day in paradise

Hey so just three and a half months later....our boxes arrived!

I tried not to look too closely when I saw that my boxes lovingly labelled 'Fragile' and 'This way up' had been thrown all of a quiver upside down into the back of a van....but so far I am glad to report that every box I packed has arrived with goods in tact! YEY

Unfortunately just about everything that the packing company sent their 'experts' to pack is smashed, broken or missing bits....groan! Including Dave's motorbike which was strapped into a crate for most of its journey. It's still driveable but missing a windscreen. Och well....we realised we weren't in the best of hands a long time ago!

The good news is that the insurance company rang up today and told Dave that the bike is worth almost double here! So we could always sell it to keep us in loobrushes.....(but we won't!)

By the way I never officially told y'all about what happened to get our shipment out of the USA. If you recall all our worldly possessions were being held by US customs who were demanding a document in order to allow the shipment to leave. Our shipping company was threatening to offload our stuff because we were querying the fee they were charging us (double their estimate). This was all kicking off the day before we were flying out to NZ - hence being on a plane for 24 hours and unable to do anything!

So you lot started to pray.

And the next thing we heard.....a strange mistake was made...by US Customs of all people. They 'accidentally' shipped our stuff without clearing customs.....yeyyy! God pulled a fast one!

Anyway, it's been a rollercoaster of a journey with no sizzling gypsies whatsoever.

But it's here! And I have been excitedly opening boxes. It was particularly fab to get my photos and see your lovely faces again. Me and Laura at Niagara Falls, Melissa and Danielle windswept and wonderful in San Francisco, little godson Cameron as a baby, Ruth & I on-stage as Petula and Caroline, Sarah and I dressed up to the nines at Krista & Jason's wedding, Jason & Elizabeth in Bournemouth before they even fell in love with each other....It made me realise I need more photos...Stu & Lynley, Cathy & Gordon and Alyn & AJ to name just a few.....I need your smiling faces on the dresser!

It's the things that special people gave me that mean the most....it was like greeting old friends. A little reminder of you, here on the other side of the world. The fabulous mugs my brother bought me for Christmas (and then had to carry all the way round London).....the lovely picture that Lorraine and Vern gave us as a thank you when they lived with us for a while (and which looks fab everywhere)....the lime green candle holders that Cathy brought all the way back from Denmark....the glass coasters that Lynley & Stuart bought for us in NZ.....the wise wooden owl that my mum bought me and which I love to have perched up high in a room....and the beautiful white box with Seinfeld and Friends DVDs - our leaving present from TO.

So today we have been hanging mirrors (does my bum look big in this hemisphere?) and pictures. And I have been moving ornaments and lamps from pillar to post trying to get the look 'just so'!

Meanwhile, the bush surgeons arrived this morning and absolutely hacked their way through the undergrowth. They took out a whole load of scrubby stuff and a couple of skinny trees so that the view from the deck is now totally fab.

In other news.....Dave has been out and about having meetings with lots of different people re. the development he is now project managing. It is going to be the largest hotel and conference facilities in Taupo once it's done.

I have been trying to motivate myself to do....something...anything. Largely failing, but have started to write some copy for the Fatherheart Ministries website. The rest of the Fatherheart bunch have been away in Auckland since Saturday so it's been a very quiet existence. It's not that there aren't things to do.....I could even edit my book which is what I planned to do during this time. But I seem to have temporarily lost my va va voom.

Meanwhile, James & Denise get back from their trip on Sunday and we're really looking forward to seeing them again.

xx

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A trip to the seaside

Hello beloveds! Today we wagged church and set off to the seaside. To Napier in particular.

Napier is about 2 hours drive from Taupo (1.5 for Dave) and is renown as the Art Deco town. It was massively destroyed by an earthquake and fire in 1931 and so was re-built, not in the 60s as most concrete jungles seem to be, but in the Art Deco period. It just so happens to be one of my favourite styles.

Anyway it was a tad cloudy in Taupo when we left for our winding drive through the hills and forests of the Waikato Region, but was an absolute clear-skied scorcher in Napier. (31 degrees c) I kept re-applying my factor 30 every 15 minutes or so in a slightly paranoid fashion. With my fair skin I could look more wrinkled than our leather couch by the end of the day.

Napier has a real holiday feel about it and the sea today was an amazing green colour. I went and paddled in it for a bit before retreating back to the shade.

The Art Deco buildings are pretty nice but not in particularly good condition.....still, we are saving ourselves for a proper tour until my parents arrive. My mum is an art expert (amongst other things) and we are looking forward to her educating us. There was a gorgeous building in great nick on the way out of town, but we were zooming too fast (towards the vineyard) for me to get a photo.











Anyway this is all very well, but let me tell you the MOST exciting news.
THEY HAVE A STARBUCKS IN NAPIER.

Holy Moly, were we excited or what? The first time we had seen our former home for several months.....so we rushed in and bought a couple of iced gingerbread lattes. I bet none of you in Canada have done that! They were pretty nice, but we missed our TO Starbucks pals all the more.....







Anyway now we are back home, Dave's BBQing again and of course I am blogging. Same old, same old.

Tomorrow our boxes arrive from Auckland so we will finally be re-united with our knick knacks. The knick knacks that ended up costing about 3 times more to ship than we anticipated.....ho hum.

I am excited to get back:

a) the Mac cleaner so I can clean my screen
b) our mirrors (none in this house)
c) my books
d) clothes!
e) all our knick knacks, lamps etc so we can make this place more homey....
f) our DVDs - esp. the Seinfeld and Friends ones

and everything else of course.

No doubt you will hear more from me on this subject.

Meanwhile, I know you have ALL done the colour test by now, so don't be shy....email me your results.
By the way, am I really meddlesome???

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I'm only 6 blogs away from Bill Gates...

I know, I know, I've already blogged today but so much has happened since then.

I have just been around the globe hopping from blog to blog....it all started when I clicked on Ash's blog...then I clicked on her list of links to other blogs and I found Bethany Critchley's hilarious blog...from hers I hopped to Sarah Dailey's very witty blog and the rest is history. Nathan Wright's barking mad site is a must. If I keep going hopping from blog to blog I can only be a few hops away from everyone in the world (who has a blog).

Ok, ok, so maybe that doesn't even count as 'something happening' but it was fun anyway!

Dave managed to drag me away from my Blog World to make some rice while he tried out our new bbq. He masterfully barbecued Snapper and some sausages with cheese. I know the sausages sound disgusting, but they taste really good. Meanwhile I grabbed a couple of lemons off our lemon tree in the garden (where else would we keep it, the airing cupboard?) and put some fresh lemon, fresh coriander and ginger chili sauce in the rice...yummy!

To me, this amount of culinary effort is definitely a happening.

And as if it's not exciting enough that I've posted twice today, you can also have an insight (?) into my psyche following a very meaningful test that I took thanks to a link on Bethany's site. Some of the results sound quite good to me....and others are barking mad. It's up to you to decide which is which!



ColorQuiz.comAdele+Richards took the free ColorQuiz.com personality test!

"Over-imaginative and given to fantasy or day-dream..."


Click here to read the rest of the results.


Oh dam!

Fear not friends, I have not transmogrified into a foul-mouthed fiend. I am referring to an actual dam.

It's Saturday and what do you do on a sunny Saturday in December? You go and watch them open the dam, obviously!

It was quite exciting and as the floodgates opened and the water poured forth, a delightful odour of rotten eggs filled the air...

DAVE?!?!

No, no, it was the water. It being a volcanic region here the water smells slightly sulphurous. This is a scratch n sniff posting. So if you scratch your armpit and sniff.....you should be able to tell if you remembered to put deodorant on this morning.

Here are some piccies (not of armpits...the armpit is not a very attractive part of the body generally is it? I've always thought it would be an advantage in life to have beautiful armpits. Could be worse. I could be French)

I couldn't resist taking a photo of the signpost.
a) because I can't pronounce or spell the name of the dam
b) because I still think it's so freaky to see the seasons reversed

In the last photo, the small specks on the right-hand side are people.

After this exciting episode we wandered into town for a latte at our favourite cafe Replete and then got caught up in a Christmas parade. It is quite bizarre to see the floats go past with small children dressed up as santa while standing in the midday sun worrying that you'll be burnt to a frazzle within minutes. One of the most common Christmas symbols here in Taupo...represented on the floats and also in the Christmas lights around town...is, wait for it, the trout. Yes, there are lots of very festive looking trout in lights around town. That's not trout in tights...that would be even weirder.



Friday, December 02, 2005

How does one buy drugs anyway? By the handbag?

Hopefully I won't get investigated by the FBI because of the title of the blog. It's all a bit dicey what with that Australian drug smuggler being executed in Singapore today. Coincidentally that is where Sarah's parents are at the moment.

Yes the news on BBC.com is rather exciting today. There's a fun little piece on Russian squirrels eating a dog due to the shortage of pine cones. I like to keep you informed. (the link wouldn't work directly to the article I'm afraid, but it's on the homepage under "Also in the news"..or at least it is at the moment)

Ok, so the reason for the title of the post. Today I was commissioned by my radio guru boss in the UK to write 2 adverts against Drug Driving. In fact his exact words were "a couple of crackers please". No pressure there then. The brief granted me a whole 60 seconds per commercial. Which in radio commercial terms is like being given the OK to make a film of the length of the Titanic. 'Oh let the creative juices flow...I'll call up Steven Spielberg and see if he wants to make a mini series out of them afterwards', I think to myself.

Now sadly you would be hard pressed to find anyone less clued up on the UK drugs scene. The radio exec suggested that I create a scenario which featured a "narcotic like den of drug hawkers talking the language". I didn't even know they called them drug hawkers. I was helping out a youthworker many years ago and he asked me to walk past one of the 'youth' and sniff surreptiously to see if I could smell weed. Of course being an obedient young pup, I did so. Only afterwards did it occur to me that I had no idea what weed even smells like. (unless it's where a cat has weed).

So a bit green? A bit wet behind the ears? Totally removed from youth culture? Yes, check all of those boxes.

Teehee, hilarious that I am being asked to create a hard hitting couple of commercials appealing to 17 to 25year olds to make it seem cool to not take drugs and drive.

Well I considered emailing AJ who for reasons we had better not go in to, has an exceptional drug vocabulary. But then I thought that actually I didn't want a den of drug hawking people talking the talk....cos it would sound cool and exciting. And that is hardly the point.

So I put in loads of car crash sfx (sound effects) screaming and statements like:

"Drink driving isn’t the only way to kill yourself, or your friends.

Drugs work too."

So we'll wait and see if they are a couple of crackers...

...or 2 damp squibs.