Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Scared over my winter swims

It's all very well being brave and full of adventure in the warmer months (yes, we swam at Hataitai Beach - swum?/swimmed? - six times in May) but as June, July and August are getting closer and the weather is getting colder, I'm getting cold feet in more ways than one. 
When I woke up yesterday which was the coldest day so far this year in Wellington, I thought "this is what it will be like in the winter months and I intend to go swimming??!!"    And (silly) J decided we would swim three times a month over June July and August.  It was bad enough doing one day a winter month two years ago, then J insisted on 2 days a month last year, and now it's three days a winter month (all because she vowed it in writing on the Letters Page in "That's Life!").... hellllp!  
And to make it worse, the other day J took off for two weeks in Toowoomba (dont think I can spell that but I adoooore saying it.... Too-WOOM-BAAAA.  I imagine booming the word out repeatedly as the Lion King holds his newborn triumphantly above his head).  She won't be back from Australia till mid June which means there will be an almighty rush to get in three swims done in two weeks.
And we have a 'rule' - we have lots of rules - that we're not allowed to swim alone until we've completed our monthly winter swims as a duo (another 'rule' is that we're not allowed to cheat at another beach,  example, Toowoomba - J, are you paying attention?).  So this means I can't go charging into the water by myself early on in June.  Oh dear ....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

View from the loo - PSA Holiday Home, Raumati

Last week I spent two nights at the PSA (Public Service Association) Holiday Homes in Raumati.  I was in Unit 1, almost on the beach (see 1st photo), with Kapiti Island straight ahead.  No, no, I didnt go for a swim because I'm not all that familiar with Raumati, it is all but winter, and I well remember the surf at Raumati brings in all manner of debris.  Because of all the twigs and sticks, I vowed never to go in it again.  I have since learnt that one has to swim out through the debris to further afield - shouldn't  that  be 'further awater'?.
Unit 1 was only $56 a night, and I just couldnt stop looking at the view.  Even 'the view from the loo' - see accompanying (middle) photo - was great!
I'm a member of the Government Superannuatants' Association so this allows me to stay at PSA holiday homes.
I went for several long walks along the beach - Walked to Paraparaumu shops.  Took 45 minutes getting there because I stopped to gawk at scenery, pat every dog I came across, talked to umpteen people, tried to decide which house I would own if I won Lotto.   Returning, it took 25 minutes because I didnt stop all that often.
The weather was absolutely perfect.  I went to Country Life (is it still called that?) in Waikanae for lunch one day.  Had the most fantastic pan-fried 'Fish of the Day'.  So succulent.  They have a nice $10 menu, too, but been there done that, decided to go for the bigger version this time.  I went to Cookies at Paraparaumu for a dinner w/ roast meal/apple crumble.  Hey, all you can eat for $17 ($10 for lunch),  Luverly.

Okay, let's see if I can get some photos into this blog.  I usually quiver with fear at this point ....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Am I a street walker?

Well, no, not actually a street walker because I stand in one place the whole time.  More like a street stander.  Oh, okay, I'm a street collector.  You can find me half a dozen times a year,  fingerless gloves clutching a charity collection box.  Last week, the charity was the Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington.  About eight years ago - and after the first time collecting for them - I wondered if I should do it again because of the sadness associated with the charity -  many dear little old ladies told me, in detail  about how Mary Potter had looked after their dying husbands.  Or men would talk about their departed wives.  I couldnt bear to see the pain in these peoples' eyes.  
When I collect for the SPCA it's totally different.  I get in animated conversation about pets.  When I collect for a specific illness, say, multiple sclerosis, sometimes I've had foreign students or tourists come up to me and ask what 'multiple sclerosis' means.  Try explaining that debilitating illness in just a few words!
It's usually (extremely) cold, my legs hurt after about an  hour, I get bored with the same view, and lots of people try to sidle behind me, rather than in front of me.  I've learnt there are places not to stand.  Standing outside Starbucks for instance equals not much money.  The patrons are usually on the run.  If I stand outside Cafe L'Affaire (dont know if I've spelt that right),  my collection box overflows.  The silly Mary Potter cardboard collection boxes are like a jug and as more and more money is tossed into it, the jug gets harder and harder to hold, especially when I've got my sticker box as well - and at the same time I'm trying to plaster the sticker on someone's jacket (tip: if the jacket is suede or leather put that sticker on the sweater or shirt instead).  The jug I got this year was minus the handle (see photo), and this made the collecting much more difficult - wish I'd had three hands.  Because of the early-morning cold, I had so many clothes on that I felt like a womble!
The Cafe L'Affaire patrons are truly wonderful, always with a smile and a cheery word.  I often see celebrities entering the premises.  I spoke to the Governor-General and his wife two years' ago.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

At last, I have a Blogging how-to Book!

Success could be, I think, around the corner re this blogging stuff.
My friend "A" set up this blog for me (she very cunningly put in links (is that the phrase?) to her poetry website. 
I have been like a skittish little colt writing my blogs because I have no idea what any of the icons mean.   For a few months there recently I couldn't see how to 'publish' and kept getting everything in draft form instead and I just couldnt get what I wanted.  So, in frusturation, I left the blogging.
As for seeing if anyone leaves me messages, I have no idea where to look.  Neither do I know how to judge if anyone is reading this - except 2 followers who I figure are my friends "J" and "A" .
When I thought I only had 2 people reading these blogs, I was happy, serene, but by accident I flicked into something else for a bare instant and I thought I read that 4,000 people had read a blog of mine sometime or other since I started writing them.  Heeeeeellllppp!  This scares me like crazy.  Especially as I truly only know how to type in the actual blog plus, if I'm lucky, place in a photo.
Today I got a book on blogging from the library.  Will I be able to understand it?  On quick flick through, there are parts that look distressing to me.  Honestly, computerese is a foreign language.
Anyway, we will see.  Maybe I'll eventually learn not to be frightened of touching any other button besides 'new post', 'publish' and 'image'?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

bird-spotting (but only cute birds)

Okay,I admit it; I like cute birds.  Lots of times when I'm on guided hikes and everyone stops to stare breathlessly for what seems like hours at some plain old bird sitting on a branch or another bird that's dawdling across the track, I do tend to get bored after, well, 10 seconds.
But give me a cutie-pie chick or duckling and I'm all agog and can watch for hours. 
J, my swimming pal, told me that she always keeps a camera on her car, so I thought "Why not?  I have an old digital camera.".
In February on my way to Whakatane, I found parent swans with their babes (cignets?) on the shores of Lake Rotoiti.  The mama and papa were a bit scary ("Get away from me!  Get away!") but, oh goodness, I wanted to scoop the babies up and cuddle them to my ample bosom.

Last Sunday, I'd parked my car at the bottom of the (horrific) zig-zag to the right side of Lyall Bay beach, and was prepared to stagger up the zig-zag to get to the main track over the hills.  As I gathered up my drink bottle, backpack, rain-jacket, rain-pants, phone, cardy, beanie, cap, sunblock (after all, the hike would take me all of, perhaps, two and a half hours! - I had a bigger bag than when I went to England for  6 weeks - my bag then weighed only 3kg).  I glanced out the front car window and saw there was a huge amount of water in the gutter that was about three metres long- and there were a dozen or so birds - blackbirds, thrushes, sparrows - bathing happily in the water.  They were splashing and squeaking, and having a fine old time.   I just managed to get off one photo before a car came in front of me and disturbed them.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 2012 swims, Hataitai Beach, Wellington

We've done 4 - four, count 'em, FOUR, FOUUUUUURRRRR!!  - swims for May 2012, at Hataitai Beach.  It was hardly worth mentioning that in April we did over a dozen.  But four - foooourrrrrrr! - during May is brilliant (in our opinion) considering that it's been quite cold this month, pertaining to both weather and water.
At the beginning of the year, J was all bravado and said, "let's do 3 swims a month during winter" and I never committed.  I just mumbled about how happy I was to stay with two.  But now that I've done 4 - repeat, four - in May, and it wasn't even by mid-May but the beginning of May, I am quite optimistic for June, July, and August.  When I think that three years ago, we were scared to do one a month (not in summer of course when we did dozens a month), then last year it was two a month and, now, 3.  This obviously means - as J is so fond of telling me - that, by the time we're aged one-hundred-and-something we'll be doing 30 or 31 a month in a Wellington winter.
This month we put our t-shirts on top of our bathing suits, our concession to winter.  Still, we're not in wetsuits.  How hardy are we?!!!
P.S.  I don't think that's a shark behind us.  It could be a sting-ray because they're known to be at Hataitai Beach (but usually in summer).  -  Nah, only kidding;  it's floating seaweed!

Yes, WeightWatchers, I'm looking at you!

Okay, yes, I'm on another 'cutting down'.  I hate to say 'dieting'.  I've now been on my .... okay, diet .... since end of Feb, and detest every second of it.  I dream of chocolate, cake, and oven chips, the things I have had to give up.  When I pass the bakery section at 'Countdown' I have to shade my eyes from the sight and mutter to myself, "no-no-no-no...".    However, I can't give up cheese or bread.  If I was going to be hanged tomorrow and was asked what my last meal would be, I would have to say 'a cheese sandwich please'. 
I don't weigh myself, instead I measure myself every few weeks.  Talking in old style language (because my tape measure is in inches), every inch overall lost (ie, waist hips, thighs in my case)  equals 5lbs lost. 
Anyway, every now and then I buy a WeightWatcher meal and add a salad to it.  Yesterday, I bought a Beef Hotpot.  Oh, my goodness, how sad it was compared to the picture on the box.  Wish I'd taken a photo before I wolfed the meal down (I won't say anything about taste, because when I'm ... dieting ... even cardboard would taste brilliant).  The writing on the box mentions mashed potato.  Mashed?  That's a joke.  It was puree-ed.  Most of the meal looked puree-ed (wish I knew how to spell that word; it doesn't look right).  There were two little strips of meat sticking out of the puree liquid.
WeightWatcher meals are passable, but the picture on the box never matches The Real Thing.  The None of the WeightWatcher meals that I've tried seem to equal the box photo.  I'm wondering if I should go to Fair Trades Act?  Sigh.