Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Our last swim for April at Hataitai Beach

Hi there

30 April (NZ time)       

Eleventh swim for April today ...  check!

A bit of an untidy number.  Twelve would have been better but it's the last day of the month and even if we came out of the water, and then ran back into it again, this wouldn't do.  According to the 'Official  Rules', only one swim a day can be counted .

Oh, I do hope that my five readers appreciate how difficult it is to do a  Hi-eleven?  My friend J suggested that as we clap out a Hi-Ten, we also raise one leg.  But, in the end, we nixed this suggestion.   We're old..... balance is a factor.


Oh, I am so sorry about the tornadoes in America.  So horrific. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Brrhhh....!!~ Hataitai Beach swim today

Hi there

J and I went for a swim today (Sunday 27 April NZ time) at Hataitai Beach.  Our tenth for April!  Ten-10-TEN!  We gave each other a hi-ten.

Today was very windy and cold but, surprisingly, the sea wasn't ultra-freezing.   Lots of people were walking past the beach in their winter woollies and there we were with bare shoulders in just our swimsuits. 

The cold always hits us when we get out.  Brrrrhhhh.   And, shhhh, don't tell J, but I'm a little bit scared about whether I have the push to go right through the winter this year.  J is so brave facing the cold temps, both in and out of the water.   And I get cold hands and feet.  I went into a swimming shop and asked if there were some kind of gloves that could stop the cold water getting through to my hands and was told there wasn't and why didn't I try kitchen-cleansing gloves with a rubber band around the wrist?

I tried it last year.  It didn't work.  My hands were like icicles.

Oh dear.  Am I going to be the wuzz to chicken out during winter 2014?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Always in a Hurry

Hi there

Why is it that when we're in a hurry, or in a panic, things seem to take longer to do? This morning, I was gassing on the phone to J when idly I picked up my watch and noticed the time-

"Yikes, I have to be on the bus to town in 15 minutes, and I'm in my nightie!"

I threw down the phone and rushed about the house like a scalded cat.

Nothing went right.   Yesterday, I'd toe-ed off my trainers (yes, yes, I'm still in protecting-my-heel mode, thus still wearing trainers) and today it took me far too long to untie the laces.  I was all fingers and thumbs.

I  couldn't find a flannel, there were no towels in the towel box, I turned the shower up too hot and leapt out of it, really and truly like that scalded cat.  My wallet disappeared for a time, then I had to hunt for my mobile phone.  After that,  I decided that I looked awful in my red sweater-

"Where's that brown sweater-?  The brown sweater-?"  I burrowed my head in the wardrobe, tossing clothes left, right, and centre onto the floor, the bed, into the hall, through to the lounge.  My shoulder sleeve got caught in the door handle as I hared into the bath-room, and I was sharply yanked backward like I'd been fished up by an angler. After I'd unhooked myself from the door,  I raced around the house looking under cushions, in bowls, on tables for my Super Gold bus pass (thanks, Winston Peters....).

"Ear-rings!"  I was naked without my ear-rings.  "Which ones?  Which ones!  Which Ones!!"  I  dropped one ear-ring into the sink but - pheww - rescued the thing just before it reached the plug-hole.  Then, in the bad bathroom lighting, I couldn't see the holes in my ears to push the ear-rings through.  Oh ... to heck with ear-rings; I'd go ear-naked.  -

I got to town, practically still puffing as I exited the bus, and thank goodness the bus driver had seen me sprinting toward him, and waited patiently for me.  I had just enough time for a quick bite of lunch before my appointment.  I looked at my watch.  I wondered why the cafe was empty at 12 noon. 

I looked at the clock on the cafe wall.  Uh oh.

11 o'clock.

I'd forgotten to change my watch after daylight saving time had finished.

Darn it.


Eighth swim down for April, at Hataitai Beach.  Yesterday, J and I swam in the rain.  The surface was calm, the water was quite nice.  We were nearly a half an hour in the water.  Not bad for practically the end of April.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Batteries and re-charging cords

Hi there
There's one thing that drives me mad....  Well, actually no, there are lots of things that do that but at the moment I'm sighing over one particular thing -

Ten or twenty years ago, I used to sigh every time I had to buy batteries.  I seemed to be buying them all the time.  In the house, there were, like, three portable radios, a cassette player or two,  a Walkman, a portable CD player, clocks, cameras.....  I wished there was a money tree in the backyard to pay for all the batteries.

Nowadays, not so many batteries, but I seem to be re-charging things all the time.  There's my Kindle, my second Kindle, two mobile phones, my MP3 player, three cameras, my mini-vac, several kitchen appliances.....  I have cords all over the place.   I trip over cords.  I get tangled up in cords.  I'm  so confused over which cord belongs to which implement that I have to label the cords.  There is a whole banana box of cords.  The box itself is clutter.  Soon, I think I will have to get a bigger box.   Then more boxes.  Eventually maybe a bigger house.  Oh dear.

Oh,  thanks Helen for your Comment- it's great to know that you've seen Bernadette Peters..  And on Broadway, too.   When I saw Peters' this month in Melbourne I was blown away by her vampy rendition of "There is Nothing Like a Dame" (from 'South Pacific) - see below link


Saturday, April 19, 2014

H & M Store, Melbourne, Australia

Hi there

Just one more little thing about Melbourne....

Melbourne was all a-buzz when I arrived there this month. 

An H & M Store had just opened!

H & M's stupid advertising that was plastered everywhere failed to actually mention where the store was located.  So, a traveller like myself who didn't know the geography of the streets had no hope of finding the place.

On my third day, I finally chanced upon the building.  It was hard to miss.  The queues were going through the building, weaving along a long verandah, down the steps, back along the footpath, and around the corner.

What some (a lot?  most?  all?) women will do for fashion....

Food in Melbourne

Hi there

My five readers are well aware that over the past year and a half I did nothing but mope around the house feeling sorry for myself, hating that I had a bad heel, and couldn't walk.  And I ate a lot.

Then last month I went to the dentist, had a crown put in,  and could only eat mush for a month.  So when I hit Melbourne a fortnight ago, I was rarin' to go.  Both footwise and foodwise.

I loved the Queen Victoria market.  It is so huge, both indoors and outdoors.  I purposely picked a hotel that was almost on the QV Market's doorstep just to be near the figs!  I love fresh figs.  They're sold in farmers' markets up the top of the north island but down here in Wellington, sigh, we never ever see them.

I shouted myself to a buffet lunch at the upmarket Observatory Restaurant at the Crown Casino Tower.  I was in the act of demolishing my twelfth oyster direct-from-the-shell when I bit down on a piece of shell.  I was petrified I might have destroyed my new $1650 tooth.  But, crisis avoided.

At one restaurant - Othellos -  I had to wait an hour and a half for my order.  If I hadn't been trudging around Melbourne for hours already, I would have walked out, like so many other diners did.  I was just pleased to rest my feet.  On that day, there had been a marathon-y sort of race  right through the heart of the city with thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people participating.  I guess Othello's hadn't figured on so many people thronging the restaurants.  The burger I finally got was nothing to write home about.  I feel my order shouldn't have been accepted in the first place.

Below dessert choices from the Conservatory Restaurant buffet.

Below the Conservatory Buffet, Crown Towers

Some of the inside space at Queen Victoria Market.

My meal at Othellos Restaurant Melbourne

Below:  a do-it-yourself pancake machine in restaurant at my hotel in Melbourne.

A pancake machine?  Really?  I pressed a button and a pancake came out!  This reminded me of the food replicators on the sf tv programmes "Red Dwarf" or "Star Trek".      Is it, perhaps, what classy chefs are really doing out back in their kitchens, and we pay through the nose for something called, maybe, "Pancake a la Posh".....?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Plumbers, guarantees, hot water cylinders, and me

Hi there

I got a new hot water cylinder installed two years ago.  Cost about $1,000.  A notice plastered proudly on the cylinder's side proclaimed that there was a five year guarantee.

The cylinder started to leak about a fortnight ago.  Oh,  well, not to worry.  There was that guarantee, wasn't there?

Ah hah.  No.....   To all intents and purposes, the guarantee is a bust.  The cylinder would not be replaced, only repaired.  This would necessitate sending the cylinder to Auckland, a temp one would have to be installed in my house, and I would have to pay for all labour and additions which would amount to about the same price as if I had bought a brand new one.  And without a further guarantee that the repaired cylinder wouldn't fail again.

I was all but forced to buy a new cylinder.   $1500.

Sigh.  So much for guarantees.    Oh, yes, it was a Rheem brand.   I have now another brand ceramic-lined hot water cylinder that my pet plumber says will outlast me.   Oops, does he know something that I don't?


PS:  It appeared the storage unit fire mentioned by me recently was caused by an arsonist.  He was arrested today.  Silly guy didn't realise he was being filmed.  So sad that two oscars were lost.

PPS:  J and I had a lovely swim at Hataitai Beach yesterday.  We couldn't get over how lovely it was in the water, this being mid-April.  As I got into my car afterwards, I heard via the radio, that the outside temperature was 21c.  That's summer for Wellington!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I'm back from Melbourne, Australia

Above is a lemur who was fascinated by me at Melbourne Zoo.  I am very rarely the object of another creature's fascination.  A lemur?  Doesn't matter... I'll take any type of fascination I can get.

Hi there
I've had five nights in Melbourne, yes I finally got there but my hotel bookings were all mucked up because of the fog at Wellington Airport and I ended up in a terrible apartment instead of the standard room I booked - and I had to pay triple the price.  It wasn't until my last morning I realised they'd stuck me in a 'disabled' apartment.  No wonder my feet dangled above the floor when I was sitting on the loo!  NB: in a such a bathroom, always clean your teeth before taking a shower.  I had to plough through water to get to the sink because the whole room had turned into a wading pool.  I should have brought my wellingtons (as the British call them ... or 'gumboots' as they are for kiwis).

I went to a show - Bernadette Peters in Concert.  Peters is a Broadway star and I loved almost every minute.  However, the minutes did get a fraction draggy after the first hour when all the songs seemed to have the same 'show-tune' pathos and torch-song beat associated with them.  I did love Peters acting out the 'vamp', especially when she sang 'Fever' lying on top of a grand piano

I went to see a Dreamworks animation exhibit highlighting many of Dreamworks movies, eg, Shrek, Madagaskar,  and "How to Train Your Dragon'.  I really enjoyed it, especially the big wrap-around screen where we were taken on a dragon ride above a village.  I hope this exhibit might come to Wellington one day, though I'm positive if Te Papa put on a Peter Jackson/Weta exhibit, it would be far better!  Biased, anyone?

I went to the zoo.  Got in staring matches with lemurs over territory   They didn't want to move-it-move-it...


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Prince William, Kate, baby George... and me, at Wellington Airport

Hi there
Today I was at Wellington Airport waiting.... and waiting ... and waiting.  No, not waiting for Prince William, Kate, and their baby George.  They did arrive, but I never saw them.  Their plane taxied to somewhere else away from prying eyes of ordinary people.  It got through the one hour window of opportunity when the fog and rain cleared.  Every airport type of transport - fire engines, ambulances, trucks, vans, luggage trains, shopping trolleys, folk on roller skates, hikers, cats and dogs -   Nah, I'm joking for a lot of that.  But it did seem to be a lot of vehicles trekking in convoy to greet the royals.

Now that I think about it, didn't I miss Prince Harry, too, by a mere whisker a couple of years' ago in Las Vegas?  I was staying at the MGM Grand on a certain Friday night.  He went to a pool party there the same night.  We were ..... that close !

Oh, my plane didn't get through that hour of opportunity to land at Wellington Airport to pick me up today.  I waited 9 hours to eventually be told that the flight was cancelled.  The three strangers who sat the entire time with me in the waiting area soon became true buddies.  In fact, we all hugged as we finally separated.   Ah, adversity does bring folk together....

Oh, but adversity certainly doesnt bring clients and cabbies together.  I hopped into a taxi to get home instead of walking the 20 minutes.  The Combined Taxi driver got really mad at me because he had to pay an airport tax and line up for ages at the airport waiting for a fare, and I only wanted to go down the road and around the corner.  I said I hadn't walked because it was raining.  And he yelled at me that I should have walked in the rain.

I reminded the guy that under the new rules he wasn't allowed to refuse me.  He yelled back, "No, I didn't have to take you".   I yelled back, "Yes, you did".  We were like children in a playground.  He was driving well over the speed limit.  He was in such a temper.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

How old do I feel? 16? 18? 20? Yep, I'll go for 20! ... plus Roxy Theatre, Miramar

Hi there

In my head, I feel about 20 years old.   My swimming friend J tells me that when she goes to her doctor - who is a woman of about 36 - J feels, in her head,about 36 as well.  And then it suddenly comes home to her that the doctor sees her as an old woman!

We both hate being called 'dear' by shop assistants or shepherded out-of-harm's-way-love by friendly strangers who fear all our bones will break when we accidentally get bumped into.

Last week, when I visited my friend in a lifecare facility that she'd recently moved into, I went to the kitchen to get her some water.   I was immediately mistaken for a resident and told off in no uncertain terms, by the cook, for setting foot into this hallowed sanctuary.  I slunk out of that kitchen, away from the bully, thoroughly mortified.  I had to stop and think that, by golly, the cook truly didn't see me as a twenty year old.

In future, I vow to bounce into that facility as if I own the place, with all the bounce I can muster,  and I'll dress up to the nines, drip with jewellery, look as young as I can possibly look, and glare down my snooty nose at the cook.   But, you see, as we grow older, we - as a geriatric bunch - do tend to let others walk all over us. 

I shall (try to) be strongerl.

*  The Roxy Theatre in Miramar is having it's 3rd birthday today (Sun 6th).  The celebrations were due to start at 11 am, and I wandered past at 10 am, so there wasnt much doing at that time.    You can see the Gandalf street sculpture on the right.  The theatre is owned by Weta Workshop's Richard Taylor, Tania Roger, and Jamie Selkirk.

**  J and I have done 5 swims so far this month.  It's been lovely at Hataitai Beach, with very warm water.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fire in the eastern suburbs

Hi there

There was a big fire down the road in the early hours of this morning (Fri) NZ time), one of the biggest fires in many years in Wellington.  It was Kiwi Storage which is at the foot of the airport runway and right next door to where a branch of Weta Workshop also had a fire a couple of years ago.  On the other side of the storage facility is .... Kilbirnie Fire Station.  Seventy-something fire-fighters fought the blaze that lasted for 6 hours,.  It started at 1.30 a.m. and when J and I were swimming way across the bay, we could still see the smoke at 3 pm in the afternoon.

There was quite a bit of stuff in the Storage sheds, put there by Weta folk.  Some collectible vintage cars and it's thought that two Oscar awards for "Lord of the Rings" also went up in the fire.   As well,  some stuff that had once belonged to Madonna.  I have a feeling the awards might have been Alex Funke's from the Weta Miniatures Department.

I took a photo from the bus window as I went past this morning, but the pic didnt turn out.  Curse you, bus driver for going so fast!  That's certainly a change.  Usually the buses go at a snail's pace.

Here's a pic from the New Zealand Herald website.

I was on my way in the bus to the hospital.  I was surprised to discover that there is a grand piano in the hospital foyer and volunteers play lovely soothing music.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hataitai Beach newsworthy

Hi there

J and I had another lovely swim today at Hataitai Beach.  The last two days have been beautiful in the water.

When J and I arrived at the beach, there was nowhere to park.  Lots of workers and vans full of equipment were all over the road.  There were Stop/Go signs being held up and everything looked extremely busy.  We had to park up the road and around the corner.  When we wandered down to where the road workers were, we noticed there was one small-ish hole in the ground.  All that equipment, manpower, signs for one little hole?

Today, there was a TV3 News van parked near the beach.  The camera guy kept asking this jogger woman to run up and down on the path beside the water whilst he filmed her.   I wonder what that was all about? 

Because the zoom on the camera that I keep in the car doesn't work, I couldn't reduce long-range views, so here's a distant shot of the guy from TV3, and another shot of the jogger he was filming.

Oh, I see that director Peter Jackson's private Gulf-Stream plane is being used in the search for the lost passenger plane.