Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Pics

[Dinner at a waterfront restaurant in Nelson]
[Somewhere between Hanmer Springs and Springs Junction I]
[And II]

[Beach at Wainui, on the opposite side of the bay from Akaroa]

[Same beach, now from the garden of Catherine's bach]

[Me and Catherine in the garden on a balmy evening]

[Near Kaikoura]

[Somewhere between Picton and Kaikoura]

Sunday, 27 December 2009

.... just arrived in Nelson

Thursday morning on the ferry to Picton - surely every man and his dog took the same ferry as us; no spare seat to be found!! In Picton we stopped by at Mina's new place. She's a very proud home owner now, with a cute little house, which will be an ongoing improvement operation for the next couple of years, but that's okay. Apparently she's done a lot already, especially clearing the site from lots of car wrecks and other rubbish!!

After a lovely lunch provided by Mina we travelled further to Wainui, on the opposite side of Akaroa, to meet up with Catherine, my colleague (and Manager). Another proud home owner, this time of a real kiwi batch, built by her father over a period of 20 years of something like that. This time not a weatherboard home with wooden floors, but brick and terracotta. Lovely garden, and great weather too! I particularly enjoyed the wood pigeons - they are just too big for the branches they sit on!

On Christmas day we've been to Diamond Harbour, met with Wanda, Ellery and the girls, and with Anne and later on also with Geert. We had our first swim of the season at Purau Bay, and back in Wainui an outdoor Christmas dinner, home-cooked.

Age was a lucky guy on his birthday the 26th, with presents in bed, and coffee as well. We had a slight water supply problem at the bach, which meant that I was the only one who got the chance to have a shower in the morning - Catherine and Age missed out! Luckily with some scientifically deduction of the problem we found out what happened and why and en passant we also fixed a leak in the water pipe. After a great breakfast with smoked salmon and poached eggs on bagels we said Catherine goodbye and went off to Christchurch, to visit Wanda & Ellery. We originally had the plan to go to Jacob & Hanka, but they were already on holiday.

As it was 27 degrees we just collapsed in Wanda's garden, with drinks and nibbles, a book, and later on a bbq. We put our tent up in the garden as well, as that would be more convenient for us (not waking up from small children at 6am), as well as for them (not having to provide a bed and stuff).

Today we drove to Nelson, where we tried a few camp sites - all full. So we found a brand new motel instead :-)
Tomorrow two appointments to view the top-2 properties of our shortlist...

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Ready for summer I guess

In the middle of packing for our 2.5 week trip to the South Island, so just a quick update:
  • looking forward to reading a few books, just snoozing on the beach, our first swim of the season, and viewing a couple of properties;
  • another possible lead to a rental property presented itself today via a future colleague in Nelson, whose Dutch neighbour is going back to Holland for 6 months;
  • just discovered that our sleeping bags are mouldy (beschimmeld). We probably haven't used them here in NZ, which means they have been sitting in their bags for nearly 4 years. Trying to save them now by putting them in the washing machine. We'll see...
  • we haven't booked anything, will throw the tent in the car and off we go. One of our self-inflatable mattresses is also challenging us by slowly deflating, by the way. Anyone willing to bet how long we'll be camping?????
Well, that's it really. Have a great Christmas!!!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Starting to make some progress

We really needed to make some progress now, with only 1 week left before we go away on holiday and moving out as soon as we return early January. So we've created a to do list from hell and number 1 on the list is to get a removal company. Two quotes are under way and representatives from another company will be on our doorstep for a conversation this Friday.

Trying to find a rental for the first three months isn't going to be easy in peak season in Nelson and Tasman, even worse, just seems insane, but we've touched base with a property owner of a house in Ngatimoti - okay, it's a 45 mins. drive from Nelson, but Ziva is welcome, the house looks great, the owners seemed interested in having us (although they need to bump a family off their books I believe), it's reasonably priced, and we can give rural living a try.

Age also found a campervan totally upholstered with red velvet, and we both thought of renting a boat - all in case we can't find anything suitable to live in. Who wouldn't love a hippie lifestyle in summer?!

Friday, 11 December 2009

The plan

After having our house on and off the market in the last year and a half, we noticed a strong increase in interest in the last 2 months, resulting in a sale last week!

Things are rolling fast now for us, as we need to be out by 14 January. With the holidays and all, that hardly gives us 2 weeks to contemplate what to do next. No worries, at least we're moving forward again! This is the plan:
  • We'll be moving to Nelson.
  • We'll probably find something to rent first, although we have made a list of interesting properties that are currently on the market, ranging from 2ha blocks with a nice cottage and 2 sheep and a few chicken and fruit trees and olive trees, to houses with gardens conveniently located in town....
  • Age resigned from his job, and has a new adventure lined up.
  • Effectively this means that we'll be more or less gone from Wellington by the 24th of December, if everything goes according to plan, which is approaching very fast!!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Another mystery pic

And to bring an end to the guesswork whether the mixer is a wanna-have or not: it's mine - it's mine - it's mine - and it's sitting on the bench top looking pretty!!

Referring to the mystery pic above: exciting times ahead for us! More information coming soon - watch this space!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Remarkable

Yes, truly remarkable. In the mail today, a reminder addressed to Ziva, to bring her car to the garage for a WOF (Warrant of Fitness)....
Don't know which idiot thinks Ziva would be able to drive a car, although you might be surprised to find out what she's capable of. Ziva is our cat by the way.

Then yesterday, something interesting at the front door! A small box... from one of our Sinterklazen from Holland. So well timed! And just what we needed: 2 big chocolate letters. The 'E' still in one piece! The package had been opened by MAF, they may have snapped Age's 'A' to check whether no drugs were concealed in it perhaps???

Then today, another interesting looking package at the front door! Another Sinterklaas has been busy for us. Stuffed with presents, thanks very much Sinterklaas, greatly appreciated, lovely presents!!
When we opened this box (also opened by MAF previously) we found the following alarming letter:

To us it seemed that something inside was broken, that something has been leaking, that some food in the box was all over the place and that we might be lucky to receive the box at all, as it appears that the box was totally torn apart. Goodness me!

Well, the box looked fine to us... we didn't find any wet stuff, the package with pepernoten was open, and there was a glass angel with loose wings. Then we found out that only the broken ornament was ticked off on the letter, and that the rest of it probably didn't apply to our box. Otherwise it would have been quite a drama :-)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Moko the dolphin

Moko's antics yesterday were responsible for a full-scale marine alert at Gisborne's Wainui Beach.

Coastguard, Wainui Surf Lifesaving Club and police were alerted to a young surfer reported to be stranded 500 metres offshore after the bottlenose dolphin stole his surfboard.

The cheeky dolphin took 16-year-old Jack Britain's surfboard and started playing with it about 10m away from him.

Witnesses said when the surfer tried to swim to shore, Moko would "tease him" - swimming up to him with the board but pulling away when he tried to grab it.

Gisborne Coastguard launched its rescue vessel, lifeguards launched an IRB and the surfer and surfboard were retrieved.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Pasta machine

After I read North & South Magazine last month, I decided I needed a pasta machine. The recipes section featured home made spaghetti and lasagne, and it said that making your own pasta is ridiculously easy, tastes so fresh and good, and it's wonderful fun to make. So I did a bit of research into pasta machines, and viewed a few 'how to' videos on youtube. After that I decided I was ready to buy the Italian made Imperia. All those flybuys points that were just sitting in our account came in handy and within 3 days I was the owner of a brand new pasta machine.

And I have to say, my first attempt to making spaghetti was a great succes. I had a lovely Donna Hay recipe (with asparagus, lemon, basil, pine nuts, and mince), with spaghetti. The only ingredients you need for pasta are flour and eggs - that's all! And the machine does the rest - you just guide your dough ball through the machine, adjusting the setting of the rollers each time, making the dough thinner and thinner, till the desired thickness has been reached. A dough ball the size of a fist becomes a stretch of dough of more than 1 metre in length, is my experience. Anyone wanting 1m long spaghetti???
Nooooo, so what do you do then???? CUT IT!

And lastly, guide managable lengths of dough through the spaghetti cutter. A miracle: suddenly your dough becomes spaghetti! Finally the spaghetti needs to be blanched for 45 seconds and that's it!

I would say: sprint to your nearest cooking store and buy yourself a pasta machine! By the way, it tastes great too :-)

Saturday, 14 November 2009

All Whites vs Bahrein

Tonight is a historical night: the NZ football team (as in soccer) is going to play in Wellington against Bahrain, in order to secure a spot in the World cup football. For the Dutch audience that is nothing to get too excited about, but for NZ it's their best World cup chance since 1982 I've been told. This country is all about rugby, but football is on the rise, and a match like this will help soar the popularity a bit further. The stadium is sold out, and I've heard that the Bahrain King is here too, with heaps of Bahrain supporters. Age is now trying to get the match via streaming video on the tv, as it's only being broadcasted via Sky (pay tv).

Will they start with a haka??

Saturday, 7 November 2009

No idea what to write about today

We're not sure what to do with the Christmas holidays, we're a bit in a dilemma: travelling around on the South Island, but in case our house gets sold we probably need some spare time to move out, find ourselves another place, etc. There is strong interest at the moment, we've had 2 good offers in the last two weeks, but both fell through due to the purchasers unable to meet their conditions in the contract. Quite unlucky, but it seems to be a good time at the moment.

The thing with going to the South Island in the silly season is that you can't just go to the ferry thinking that there will be a spare spot on the boat for you and your car. Everything gets booked solid, planes included, so you need to plan beforehand: your departure date as well as your returning date. Something we're not very good at. It's crazy New Zealand's summer holiday is crammed around Christmas and New Year, with the whole population holidaying in their own country for 2-4 weeks. One good thing: I've paid the deposit for the cattery, so Ziva has secured her spot there. Now that I'm writing this I think that it's time to set ourselves an ultimatum: Next weekend we'll plan our holiday, no matter what. Well, how easy is that??

After Age's snotty cold a week ago, it now was my turn to catch something, especially a sore throat. Taking it easy at the moment, a bit snotty, not too bad, but definitely not 100% fit either. Hate the throat-thing though. This gave me some time to read, and I can especially recommend the following books:
Besides reading I was drawn by an invisible chord to this nice little fashion store down the road, where I suddenly found myself walking out with two new summer tops! Owwwww!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Welcome back, you square hockey legs!

Well, I have to say, I can definitely see improvement on the leg front. Those awe-inspiring square hockey legs are making a come-back, slowly.

My 'normal' hockey competition has finished now - hockey is a winter sport and is not being played over summer. But: some fun competitions are put in place instead, so I'm involved in the Masters competition, a short competition for 35+'s. This consists of 6 games, 11 people on the field per team, halves of 25 minutes, normal field size. The teams are a bit scrambled together, as not everyone from the normal competition is actually 35 years or older.

Last week it had been decided that all teams needed to dress up in costumes with a 'P' theme, whatever that was. I saw a team all dressed up in pyama's, which was actually quite funny. And we were 'Pak 'n Save Princesses', dressed in yellow supermarket bags from the Pak 'n Save. Good Heavens. We planned to go as Prisoners, in prison costumes, which we could have gotten our hands on through the team's connections with the Police (I am not the only one from the Police in my team...). But playing hockey totally covered in paper suits didn't actually appeal to us that much, and 11 suits would have been too much to ask for, we guessed. So yes, yellow plastic instead... This doesn't mean that the games aren't serious, no, still hard work, bang for your bucks, literally, lots of wounded people with ice-packs on knees, ankles, etc.

Then on Thursday night it's summer hockey time: teams of 6, half field, including side-barriers you can use too, mixed (men/women), no age limits, and halves of 15 minutes. That is good fun! I always like to play with men, as my own game improves with their speed and skills. Tonight was the first game, and this goes on till March. We all hadn't met before, so you see each other a few minutes before the game, say hi, hit a few balls together, ask 'where do you want to play', and then off you go. We won with 27-6. A bit crazy, but it was still a good quality game, hard work, lots of sprinting and fun.

Then this Saturday we'll both have our first tennis matches of the interclub season: 8.30am on the field for a game of doubles, and then each of the team (consisting of 4 players) plays a singles match too. This takes ages to complete, usually around 1pm you're done and exhausted for the rest of the afternoon. The home-playing team brings a plate (which means: serves refreshments and (home-baked) goodies), to be had afterwards together with the opposition. Very nice!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

New link added

In the section 'gluren bij de buren', which means something like 'snooping around in your neighbours' lifes' a new blog has been added: the blog from Jessica Watson, an Australian 16-year old girl, who is attempting to sail around the world as the youngest person ever, solo. She keeps a blog about her adventures and that could be juicy to follow. Especially when you know that just 2 or 3 weeks ago she collided with a giant container ship on one of her training trips!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Our Singapore break in brief

  • The climate in Singapore can be compared with walking around wrapped in hot and damp sheets, and there is no escape other than an incredible amount of enormous, sleek, and air conditioned shopping malls. We got the impression that working and shopping are the most important things Singaporeans do.
  • We found the Singaporeans we dealt with very friendly and very helpful. This is in contrast with the way they walk on the footpaths: there is no system in the stream of people, they're not walking typically left or right and they refuse to go out of your way. A big city thing perhaps, where 'me, myself and I' are the center of the universe?
  • Taxis through town are incredibly cheap.
  • The suburb Little India is like a time warp - you're really suddenly in India. The people are Indians, lots of bling bling, crowded stalls, shops and malls, the food is mainly Indian, etc.
  • A swimming pool near by is a life saver in such a climate.

Our trip back to Auckland went well; we had a new Sing Air plane, much bigger screens and reasonably comfy chairs. In Auckland we bumped into Ellery, who was underway to Vancouver for two weeks, quite a coincidence! Of course a real Wellington landing, with strong Southerlies, 11 degrees and rain, the perfect welcome.
And now we're fighting against our sleepiness and body motions (like you're still in a car), and we have a very happy Ziva here. She can't stop cuddling and can't choose whom to give her affection :-)

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

More images


See that giant 'tv'-screen?? Three stories high, including sound?? Well, our apartment is on the opposite side of the road... You know how bright this thing is??? We do!

Loungen in Singapore on the roof top

Our technology-crammed fun hotel room at Schiphol Airport

The chalet in Doldersum

And a shed in Drenthe

Monday, 12 October 2009

3200+ k's and counting

Well, we've reached the 3000k mark with our car, and have nearly come to the end of our stay in Holland. I have to say that holiday-wise I'm sort of looking forward to the next couple of days in Singapore. I had no idea that talking, sitting, eating and more talking and even more eating for 3 weeks could be so exhausting! I haven't even finished my book, which is unique for me.

Tomorrow we'll clean up the chalet we've been staying in, situated in beautiful surroundings, although we haven't been able to explore much of it. Then later on we'll have dinner with my Dad and then we'll travel to Amsterdam, for our last night here, in a hotel at Schiphol Airport. Saying goodbye has begun!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Our last location - in Drenthe

Time flies! We've left Friesland and are now in Drenthe. Terschelling was very nice, but very wet too. We stayed in a B&B, run by two men from Utrecht, who started their business 2.5 years ago and have been back to the mainland only once! That sounds like a real immigration to us :-)

On Thursday we met my brother with his wife and daughter in Oranjewoud, where we had lunch (kroketten of course), followed by a nice walk through the forest there. No time to see where they live now, as we had to get back to Sneek for a dinner appointment with a couple of our Frisian rowing friends, one of them being our dentist, so we nearly ended up in her chair, but managed a narrow escape.

On Friday we had separate programs: Age went out rowing and had a dinner appointment with some former colleagues, and I had some quality time with my Mum. We both didn't have much inspiration and couldn't think of anything nice to do, as the weather was quite wet and unpredictable. We did some shopping in Zwolle, had afternoon tea, and got some frieten and another kroket. Then she dropped me off for a facial, which was quite painful (you know, modelling your eyebrows, and mine were (past tense) quite furry. But the lady finished with a hot stone massage which was quite pleasant. Age as well as I were home way past midnight...

Saturday a busy day with more appointments and a dinner - very nice, catching up with a lot of new kids... Sunday an early morning row, still have a sore bum and musles, then packed our stuff and went to our last location in Drenthe. There we met with Ad and Geertje, whose chalet we're currently in, and had a very nice dinner with them and with Elbrich, Werner and Minke, who came to see us in the afternoon.

On Monday Age got a sore throat, but luckily we had our day off then! Still not well, but today too is a sort of quiet day - just had my Dad and Stijnie for lunch.
From tomorrow on another couple of full days...

Friday, 2 October 2009

Images!!

Typical (Frisian?) farm in Oranjewoud

On top of the viewpoint, with Maarten (my brother), Susan, Arianne.

Outlook from a viewpoint in Oranjewoud, near Heerenveen. Back on the mainland. Before we left Holland for NZ we lived at walking distance from here.


Typical street view of West Terschelling


A certain type of ancient yacht - no idea which type though...


On the ferry from Harlingen to Terschelling


Time difference at the Frisian Islands

Zutphen

Evelyn and Miffy (Nijntje) go for a ride.

Age with his book case - very proud.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Our second location: Friesland

We've had our first week, and after being surrounded by leaf trees - something Age really missed in Wton - we've swapped these now for a more open landscape. In Wton all green stays green throughout the year, and because it's a city you don't see much green at all. We were therefore very happy to sniff some forest and trees in the last week, with beginning autumn colours as an added bonus.

What have we been up to in the last couple of days: we met a former colleague of mine from the Police Academy of The Netherlands in Zutphen, one of the old Hanze cities. Very nice to see Tanja again! Then we drove to Apeldoorn, a town we've lived and worked in (and where I've been born), to have dinner with our old standing friends Mathijs and Ellen, and also to admire their already 2.5 (?) year old son. Well, they hadn't changed the slightest bit, we could just have arrived from Heerenveen, as usual. Mathijs even baked a Dutch appeltaart (apple tart), for the very first time in his life - and ruined his glass stove top too, while rummaging through the above cabinet to look for cinnamon, when the glass pepper mill fell down and caused a big crack. So that was an expensive, but delicious, dessert. Everything tastes better when it has a story, don't you think?

On Saturday I did some more marking work for the Open Polytechnic, and later in the afternoon we went to Arnhem, where we would meet with some other long standing friends: Oscar and Mireille, Niels and Eveline, and Auke and Annick. All with their kids, half of them we'd never seen before. Oscar and Niels prepared a delicious I-don't-know-how-many-course-dinner, with a Pavlova for dessert. The first attempt ended in a Pavlova resembling a dark brown frisbee, but after Niels went out to get more eggs, we all participated (as Oscar doesn't have an electric mixer!!) to give it another try.

On Sunday I did some more marking, we went out for a run again - the weather is still awesome, very un-Dutch, we cleaned the house and the cat (we bought a new brush for the cat, the cat is now half the size as before brushing), and then we went to Enschede to my grandmother (omaaaa). Enschede is the town where we both went to University. Not that we went into town this time, no, straight to oma and then back. Oma too hadn't changed a bit, still good looking for someone of 94 years of age. She had delicious little tarts from the bakery, and there was one type Age and I had just been talking about a while ago, that we really had to try to find that specific little tart, so we were lucky! After visiting oma we went back to Emst, got the washing from the line - now dry, packed our stuff and headed to Friesland, where we are now.

I think we've done more than 1300k already, and there is more to come! More visits, and tomorrow and Wednesday we're going to Terschelling, one of the Frisian islands, where Age's parents are with some more family and where we'll meet Age's sister Elbrich, with daughter Minke, of whom we will catch our first glimpse.

Some more observations:
  • people are better chauffeurs here than in NZ, something that can't be difficult to achieve. You see that they watch their mirrors and what's happening behind, instead of just stupidly looking forward.
  • the stairs in houses are much steeper here, and the steps are shorter, so tumbling down the stairs is actually quite easy.
  • people have more 'stuff' in their houses, more clutter. I notice way more decorations, lots of it in pairs, as one of those well known Dutch designers prescribed years ago.
  • Dutch women wear white trousers.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Beautiful surroundings

If you are a tourist in your 'own' country, you see things differently. I had never noticed that this particular area where we're staying now is so nice: open fields, paddocks, edged by forest. Don't think forest is the right name, but don't know what it is otherwise. We are situated at such an edge and can look through the trees towards the grazing land and corn fields, all of very cute sizes with very cute little farmlets.

The weather plays a nice part too: all days 20 degrees, quite still, bit cloudy now and then, but great autumn weather. I just read about snow fall on the Rimutaka hill road up to 200m and single digit temperatures in Wton!

Feel much better, Age and I just went out for a run this morning, all went okay. Running here is effortless - you don't have to battle a hill first!
We've already chewed over 700k in our car - and used only one tank of petrol of twice the price of petrol in NZ, but as the car is twice as efficient as ours, no shocking surprises there :-)

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Oh those cyclists!

We have arrived safely in Emst, where we'll stay this week. We've had a frantic Saturday and the unimaginable happened: our home is totally ready to be put on the market. It is clean, we've finished our DIY, and the book case Age's created is beautiful. As soon as we've found out how to get pictures on this laptop, as we forgot to take the connection cable with us, we'll provide you with some evidence.

I felt a nasty cold coming on Saturday morning. The second time right before a trip to NL! And yes, with the whole huha: diarrhoea (bless Immodium!), blocked nose, cough, fever, sore throat... This must have been the reason that I only packed warm clothes in my hand luggage, well, I can tell you: if you ever have a few hours to spend in Singapore, don't walk around in a pair of fleece trousers!! And a thermal and a sweater...

The flights were actually quite pleasant, lovely to just sit and do nothing. I even haven't read a single line of text or watched anything on the in-flight entertainment system, except for the flight path. Age watched 3 movies!

After a nice welcome and a breakfast at Schiphol Airport we went to our temporary home here in Emst. Holland is really really flat, and very crowded. We drove in one big queue for most of the way, and I have no idea why - I mean, those people should have been at their offices at 10am on Monday morning! And everyone drives the latest models of cars - all German makes of course. Not one battered ute on the road - I found it a bit pathetic, a hidden contest about who has the shiniest and most expensive car.

We had the idea to visit my Mum later in the afternoon, to force us to stay awake, but when Age shouted in the car to his Dad that he took the wrong way on a roundabout - which he didn't - we thought it would be wiser to not hit the road. We visited the little village of Epe close by instead (where I lived when I was 6-16yrs), all by ourselves with the car we may use, courtesy of my Dad. And we were really shocked by the amount of cyclists!! Everywhere you look are cyclists! School kids, house wifes (the majority), elderly... That was a real shocker - and in normal clothes, not sports gear, also with the latest models of bicycles.

We did a bit of window shopping in Epe and enjoyed our first 'patat met kroket' (fries with croquet, or something like that). We felt like we're in a time warp - thrown back to the future. There is so much more choice of everything, I guess most stuff has a way better quality, as in NZ they try to invent everything themselves (to keep the economy going??). Just some observations, not about good or bad, just about differences.

We had a very good night - woke up at 5am, not bad when you take into account that we went to bed around 7.30pm. Still some fever to work through, but hopefully that and my blocked nose, will improve soon.

Friday, 18 September 2009

How many hours in one day?

This training week left every participant exhausted, including myself, being one of the organisers. Start times of 8am and end times of 8pm and later. But it's all part of the game and it adds to the bonding of the group, at least that's what I've been telling myself. By the way - who invented the term 'Zombie'? Spot on!

Now that this is over and done with, the focus needs to shift completely, and quickly too: on our holiday. Only one day left to leave this place here in an orderly state and I can tell you that that's going to be a BIG task. Haven't touched a vacuum cleaner for 2 months I think, laundry everywhere, let alone the unfinished DIY, which Age is determined to get through tomorrow (!).

Anyway, head is still buzzing, so our next step will be to start our holiday at the cafe down the road, making up a SMART formulated to do list, and unwind a bit!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Kiwi audience

Our blog posts will be in English from now on, as we seem to have a very keen Kiwi audience who can't wait to get their teeth into our blog.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Vast in de lift

Vorige week heb ik een Management Team Development sessie gefaciliteerd, voor de 11 managers van het NIC. Was leuk, vooral de vele uren die ik thuis op het internet heb doorgebracht op zoek naar geschikte videoclips. Ben heel wat tegengekomen op Youtube! In ieder geval, een van die clips is Stuck on an escalator, wat zoveel betekent als vastzitten op een roltrap. Gelijk na het laten zien van deze clip was het lunchtijd, dus hup, de lift in, gebouw uit en naar een Franse banketbakkerij om de hoek.

Na de lunch weer terug naar het gebouw waar we deze sessie doen, en hup de lift weer in. Elf personen staan inmiddels als haringen in een ton in de lift, er staan er nog 2 buiten. O zegt iemand, hoeveel kunnen er eigenlijk in die lift? Dertien, staat er op het bordje, dus dat moet kunnen, zegt een of andere lolbroek, kom er maar bij. Dus toen stonden het hele Management Team van 10 man inclusief de directeur, de secretaresse van de directeur, mezelf en mijn manager in deze geweldig kleine lift, na een copieuze lunch.

Deuren gaan dicht, we gaan een stuk omhoog en toen was het van 'klunk', zwiep en zwaai. Meteen kreeg de ene helft de slappe lach en de andere helft een aanval van claustrofobie. Je kon echt werkelijk geen kant op! Ik heb nog nooit in zo'n volle lift gestaan. Ik checkte met mezelf in of ik het nou leuk vond of niet, maar tot mijn eigen verbazing vond ik het eigenlijk wel knus.

De persoon die bij de knoppen kon, begon als een gek op de alarmbel te drukken. Dat maakte een hoop herrie maar leverde niets op. Toen gingen tenminste vier of vijf mensen allerlei andere mensen bellen, inclusief het nummer dat op de lift stond. Er zou een monteur gestuurd worden.

Het werd loeiheet in die lift, grapjes gingen over en weer over de deterioration van de luchtkwaliteit, de secretaresse nam anxiety druppels en iemand anders had echt last van claustrofobie. We kwamen er ook achter dat niemand in het gezelschap mechanicien is en men vroeg zich hardop af of dit ook bij de Management Team Development sessie hoorde.

Gelukkig bestaat het MT uit zo ongeveer alleen maar mannen, en mannen hebben de neiging overal aan te gaan zitten en alles uit te proberen. Springen hielp niet, dus dan maar aan de deuren trekken. De binnendeuren gingen open, en we zagen dat we ongeveer een meter boven de begane grond moesten hangen. Er was nog een set deuren te openen, maar daar zat een ingewikkeld mechaniekje aan vast. Totdat een slimmerik uitvogelde dat je daar ook mee kon spelen, en ineens waren die deuren ook open. Hoefden we ons alleen nog maar uit de lift te wurmen en op de grond te springen!

Een paar mensen gingen achteraf zitten rekenen, en kwamen tot de conclusie dat die lift minstens 30 jaar oud moest zijn. Wanneer anders kon je met 13 man maximaal 900kg wegen???

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Laatste dag op Wton Police Station

This is my last shift for now, and I'm sort of looking forward to it to end, as these days have been utterly exhausting. Especially being totally hyped up at the end of my shifts and coming home, having unrestful sleeps, processing my experiences.

Again another team tonight, I think we've seen them all but one. All faces start to look like each other, can't remember who I've seen before and who I haven't. At the briefing we hear that this team is top of the line with the amount of bail checks they have done, and that they need to be on the lookout for a stolen car.

The pair I'm teamed up with is going out immediately, starting with bail checks. While we're under way a request comes in to go to Tory Street, to an overheated argument between a taxi driver and two drivers of a towaway truck, who clamped the taxi and are preparing to tow it away. The officers explain that they usually try to avoid Courtney Place (uitgaansgebied waar iedereen dronken is), keeping far away of that area at all on weekend nights, as before you know it you're tied up in that area for the rest of the night, not getting any work done. So Courtney Place is for Team Policing (whatever that might be).

The Tory Street (Iraqi) taxi driver was just off Courtney Place, threw in the 'racism-card' and his amount of kids, as he wasn't going to pay the $190 fine. But in the end he did. The guys I was with weren't looking forward to this one, as they found taxi drivers the worst, could be there argumenting for ages, and these people usually blame racism for everything that happens to them.

After this we continued to Owhiro Bay for a bail check. What a tiny streets Wellington has, and quite windy. Don't eat too much before you head out with cops in their cars! The young boy we checked wasn't home, something the previous team found out already. So this guy will be arrested some time in the near future.
We were quiet in the car, as I was really tired, but still had a good time. It was a beautiful clear night there at the coast with lots of stars. Another check in Island Bay a few doors further down the road - this guy was at home - when a request came in to go to Wadestown.

We were the only unit available, so headed out of town. It was not a priority job - a man, his wife and a neighbour had heard some people trying to break in the couple's car as the alarm went off. When they looked out of the window the offenders were gone, but a few minutes later came back and tried to get in the car again. After yelling at them, they sped off.

When we arrived a dog handler was at the scene, but the dog couldn't pick up the scent. We took a statement from the man (who was wearing a cute robe) and his neighbour, when we heard that the dog handler found 2 young boys on the street. One of the cops and myself went to see the boys and interview them. They were 15 and guilty as of course with their vague stories of their whereabouts, but there was nothing to prove, as the complainants hadn't had the chance to get a good look at them. They were already sort of known by the police, one for theft at his school and the other for assault (as skinny as he was), just bored spoilt brats. One of the boys' father appeared to be a certain actor in Shortland Street, which the boy found quite cool, but Jake, the cop, said he never watched Shortland Street.

The boys were underway to their mate, and when asked who this mate was, both the dog handler and Jake went like 'O, that guy'. Known for armed assault or something like that, a nice guy so to say. The dog handler went off to pay this mate a visit and see what he's up to, and Jake and myself plus the two boys waited for our 2nd officer to come back from the house where he was taking a statement. It was really windy there in Wadestown!
After 15 mins or so the dog handler came back, the boys were free to go, and while they went away he yelled that their mate was crying now. The eyes of those boys! Their cool mate, crying! When the boys were a couple of meters away the dog handler said to us: 'he's not.'

And that was that. The plan was to go back to the Station for a quick coffee and to get some breath analysis equipment. It was getting that time in the night where you could be successful getting some drunk drivers. After the break it would be around 2am and the end of my shift. Well, the break never happened; first we thought we saw a suspicious car, which we turned around for and never saw again, chasing a shadow through the windy roads in Wadestown at high speed. Then we had to race into town as a group of 4 taggers (spuitbus spuiters) was making their way through Mt Vic.

Of all those shifts I think what I most liked of all was the speeding through town, cutting corners, screaming tires, crossing intersections! I liked the sound of the car engine too, I found that really cool.
So we sped from Wadestown to Mt Vic, found fresh tags, but no taggers. As this was very close to home, I could as well be dropped off now. At 1.30am or so I was back home, revved up for the last time...

It has been good!

============================

Over 3 weken komen we naar Nederland. Nog 2 weken 'gewoon' werken voor mij en dan 1 (hele lange) week gevuld met een seminar voor 14 District Managers Intelligence waarvan ik de organisator ben. Het programma daarvoor bevat dagen van 8 uur 's ochtends tot 8.30 uur 's avonds, eindigt op vrijdag en dan zondag het vliegtuig in, lekker voor me uit staren.
Het tennis seizoen begint volgende week weer, hockey eindigt de week voor we naar NL gaan, de golf ladies league begint bijna, net als de Hockey Masters. Het is lente per 1 September, New Zealand ontwaakt!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Dag 3 op Wton Police Station

This time a shift from 6-10pm on Thursday night. Trisha and I are being welcomed in The Watch House again, and wait for the sr Sergeant to come and fetch us and bring us upstairs to the Muster Room. This is not shift handover time, and we step in the middle of the current shift. All quite quiet though. Trisha can come along on a callout while we're still in the Watch House, and I'm reading the paper.

After a brief conversation with an Officer whether Holland is a province or a country (both), I am being picked up, brought upstairs and linked with Lisa and Lewis. Going on tonight at the moment is a drunk who did a grab in the cashbox from a bus driver (lots of paperwork - is it a robbery or just a drunk?) and a guy who punched his girlfriend. The guy has been picked up, is downstairs being interviewed by Lisa, and Lewis is working on the paperwork accompanying this case. Bringing someone in is nice, but the mountain of work afterwards needs to be dealt with rather sooner than later, as these offenders will appear in court the next day. Which means that the file needs to be ready.

Lewis works with me through a Family Violence booklet and the systems he is using to complete the file. Lisa will check his work before it goes to the Sergeant in charge and it is interesting to see how all Officers mentor (and drill) each other with their paperwork in the Muster Room.

Nothing much is happening, I have some time to clear my emails, which is handy, and Trisha and her crew are back too. After a short while they head out again as the speed tickets targets need to be realised and Wellington is not there at all yet. Because my crew is working on their paperwork not much is happening for me. I'm being linked to another crew instead who head out to Newlands. They have to ask a person who's car is being wrecked in an accident if he has car insurance. This person doesn't have a phone...

In the car we have a lively conversation about everyday frustrations.
  • the vests they're wearing are really hot. And the pockets on the front don't close properly so they lose a lot of equipment all the time;
  • who on earth decided to give them woolen pants?? Well, if you live in the land of sheep you're doomed I'm afraid...
  • if you clip the taser on (on the thigh) and get seated, it is pointing towards your face;
  • the shirts they're wearing have replaced the cotton shirts, as these were too hot under the vests. But the shirt is only available with short sleeves. So if you want to have warm arms, you can wear a jersey on top of your shirt. But you have to prop that under your vest, which is really uncomfortable;
  • to operate the sirens, bells and whistles in the car, you have a small console with heaps of buttons to operate while you're driving with high speed. This is located near the handbrake. Ever tried in the dark to fumble with tiny buttons somewhere near your butt while you rather have your eyes on the road?
  • and these button consoles have been placed over the bottle holders, so now there's nowhere to place your bottle with water.
After our little trip to Newlands we're back at the Station. Trish and her crew scored 3 speed tickets in an hour, which is a good result. Again time for paperwork, a chat here and there, and for me some more emails.

Then the Sr Sergeant came to me, asking me if I wanted to go out for a ride. Sounds good, so off we went together. That was the most exciting part of the evening! With sirens and the speed of light we arrived in Island Bay 2 minutes later. It definitely helps to move quickly around town, those bells and whistles. Two other police cars had already arrived; there was a drunk guy who had kicked in a window of the front door of his ex (of 6 years ago). There was Trisha too, sitting on the couch with an Officer who was taking a statement.

The Sr Sergeant and myself walked forwards and backwards to the cops who were dealing with the situation - he said he had a nice role, he could pick and choose the jobs to attend, driving around on his own, overseeing and supporting the Constables. Eventually all the others went off, taking the drunk offender, and ending their shifts with overtime as this case needed to be filed for court tomorrow. We stayed to take a statement from the ex-girlfriend, going through the same Family Violence booklet as Lewis did at the start of my shift. Then at 11.30pm or so the Sr Sergeant dropped me off at home.

Dikke aardbeving

Nu eens wel een aardbeving gevoeld, en een dikke ook! We lagen in bed en ik werd wakker van aanzwellend gerommel, gevolgd door een flinke zwieper, waarbij het hele bed heen en weer ging en overal gekraak in de muren.

En toen was het weer over.

Age ook wakker, dacht ook dat het een aardbeving was. Ik wist het wel zeker, nadat ik het een tijd geleden eens met een collega over aardbevingen had gehad en zij zei dat je ze vaak kunt horen aankomen.

Verder niks aan de hand, maar het bleek 5.2 geweest te zijn, met de komende week naschokken van rond de 4 verwacht. Ik las in de krant dat er geen schade was ofzo, maar wel mensen wiens douchdeuren uit elkaar knalden. Dat lijkt me een interessante manier van wakker worden om 2 uur 's nachts.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Dag 2 op Wton Police Station

[verslag in het Engels, want als email verstuurd naar mn collega's]

Day 2 at Wton Police Stn for me is a night shift. Trisha and I ride along from 10.30pm till 2ish in the morning. Upon arrival we see the same crew from yesterday; they are almost at the end of their shift. And having McDonalds for tea. I find that utterly shocking; these people eat nothing but rubbish on their shifts! A catering contract with Wishbone or something like that can't be that difficult to organise I think?

Even before the start of the night crew's briefing Trisha's disappeared with her pair of cops, due to a call out. No idea where they're heading off to, but I won't see her again tonight.

I am taking part in the briefing, nothing much there, no further information about the expected nasty stuff from yesterday, and all the armour is gone too. During the briefing there's a call about someone who's gone missing in the Botanic Gardens, so that's where I am heading to with my crew. I get a yellow Police vest and a huge torch and off we go. It appears that a group of students were playing 'hide and seek' or something like that in the Botanic Gardens, and one of them didn't appear after 15 mins. So they called the cops. It was a bit early to start a full Search & Rescue operation, and after a statement of 2 of the students, we were gone again.

While we were underway to the Botanic Gardens a call came in that someone had died suddenly and that a crew needed to go to the hospital to deal with the family and the paperwork. We were underway to the Botanic Gardens, so it wasn't us. Phew. But because we were done there so quickly it suddenly was us, going to the hospital. They didn't want for me to start in the morgue, so another crew got summoned to the hospital to pick me up there. In the meantime I could as well come along with my crew to see what they were doing. I think at that time I wasn't sort of enjoying my shift, didn't know what to expect, well at least a dead body...
We then heard the lost student had been found - at home.

Just when we entered the emergency ward of the hospital- full with people sitting and waiting to be treated, and beds in the corridors with people on them, it really was just like I'd entered some sort of movie - my pick up crew had arrived. I got in the car, but we didn't leave as another body had come in just a few minutes before! I was my lucky day for sure. So my pick up crew suddenly had to deal with this dead person, and a 3rd car was summoned to the hospital to pick me up. That could take a while, so I could as well go back to my first crew - who were dealing with the first dead body.

And before I knew it I was back in the emergency ward, in a sort of open plan morgue, shut with a curtain, with a bed in the middle with a Dead Body on it covered with a sheet, 2 mourning family members, one cop taking a statement or getting information from them, and a doctor with whom the other cop was dealing. Gosh. And I was still holding on to my torch!
Apparently all sudden deaths are being treated as suspicious by the Police, so people peacefully dying at home have to be seen by cops, family interviewed, etc. all to rule out any murders or whatever.

Kath, one of my Police crew asked me 'how are you with dead bodies'? I said that I had no idea. She said that they were going to undress the guy, to give his clothes back to the family - the family had said farewell and gone away by then - and if I had a morbid interest I was more than happy to... don't know what exactly. I didn't know if I wanted to flee or actually felt a sliver of morbid interest. I watched them undress the body, noticed that dead people are not supportive in any way, so arms were flying all over the place.

The doctor in charge asked me who I was and what I did there and as soon as he found out I was a training adviser he wrote his name on a piece of paper and told me to tell the world that he thinks very high of Wellington Police, that they are extremely helpful and competent. A big fan obviously.

Then my 3rd pick-up crew arrived - the pommies as they were called. Two huge blokes from the UK and now working in Wellington since 8 months. I was in the car with them for the rest of my shift, and that was quite enjoyable as we were very curious towards each other, being immigrants. I think we've chatted continuously, cruising through Wellington, once with Sirens and Lights, chat chat chat.

We went back to the station after a while, it was quite quiet in town, picked up a form with offenders on bail to check up on them, and went out again. Each offender who is on bail gets once or twice per night a knock on the door to check if they're at home. Burglars for example are not allowed to leave their homes during the night. So we checked one guy if he was in his bed, apparently he was, and then the pommies dropped me off at home at 2am.

En toen was ik zo revved up dat ik dacht helemaal niet te kunnen slapen, en ik wilde Age al mn avonturen vertellen maar die werkte niet echt lekker mee midden in de nacht. Blijkbaar heb ik goed geslapen, want Age vertelde me dat ie keihard geniesd had - normaal gesproken word ik daar wakker van en ook erg kwaad - en nog het raam heeft opengedaan. Niks van gemerkt.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Dag 1 op Wellington Police Station

Up to Wton Police Station today for a good look in the frontline Cop-kitchen. The next 4 days my colleague Trisha and I will be riding along with the friendly staff there. This afternoon starts with the line-up, where we look at pictures of ugly looking released offenders through a powerpoint, as well as a targeting area for car thefts. Not too much going on. A round of questions of who wanted what type of pizza for tonight.

Trisha starts out in the car, while I'd like to get a look of The Watchhouse. One of the team shows me the prison cells and paperwork that comes with a prisoner, but not much excitement here at the moment as all cells are empty.
Back at The Watchhouse I'm having an interesting conversation with the Sergeant about his work, the team and training. People start to pay for their pizza's, while others have difficulties making a choice.

Then suddenly something is going on - 2 arrested people at the same time down in the prison cells area. One an unhealthy looking boy under 17, who doesn't want to be strip-searched and because of his resistance his $160 t-shirt rips apart, after which he starts to sob. He had breached his bail, but doesn't want to be with his parents. He also doesn't want to be in prison, and he doesn't want to go to Rimutaka Prison (the 'real deal') either. The guys from the team tell him that he'll be going to Rimutaka if he keeps going on like this. He's been picked up by Youth Aid a short while later.

Then the other guy, a big fella. Not impressed, very friendly, has been here before obviously. He's brought in because of using someone else's or fake cheques. One look in the system brings up 44 similar offences...

That was a lot of excitement and I still hadn't been in the car! Then one pair of cops was going out to a certain suburb to arrest some guy. I could come along and then be dropped off at home. While we were under way - really nearly where we needed to be, a request came in to get back to the CBD, to the Freemasons Headquarters (vrijmetselaars) as they got a bomb threat earlier that day. Took a statement from the manager there and off we went again to arrest that guy I was just talking about. Nearly in Hataitai now to drop me off at home, another request came in to come back to the Station. This could only be a grotty job, according to the team, with bodies or something like that, as both patrol cars were called back.

First of all the pizza orders were confirmed, then all members of the team were asked to 'tool up' so to say, with their Glock's and a Bushmaster (een of ander groot geweer) for the car. Based on fresh intel they're expecting something nasty in the coming days. If I wouldn't mind staying in the car if all hell breaks loose...
After this we get in the car again - driving around armed doesn't happen too often apparently, when I asked about it - and finally, 2.5 hours after the first attempt, I'll be dropped off at home.

Morgen meer... dan een night shift.

Trisha kwam met haar crew in een search & rescue operatie terecht, waarbij een vrouw ergens in de bush van het pad raakte en haar enkel brak. De politie heeft uren (natuurlijk in de stromende regen in het donker) gezocht en haar uiteindelijk gevonden. Trisha heeft 2 uur in de auto doorgebracht, want ze had geen geschikte outdoor uitrusting aan... dus ofwel een boek mee de volgende keer, of grote rubber laarzen!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

En ons bezoek is weer weg

Donderdagavond kwamen Marc en Marian weer terug uit Ohakune, ze hebben zelfs een keer of wat de zon gezien op de berg, dus hun snowboardvakantie was helemaal geslaagd. Het zou zelfs kunnen dat ze na wat vriendelijke feedback van onze kant en die van onze fans nu weer wat aan hun blog gaan doen. Moet wel van de kant van Marian komen, want Marc vindt er geen klap aan, een blog onderhouden.

Vrijdag heb ik thuisgewerkt, omdat er een ramen-meneer langs zou komen die twee grote ramen in de woonkamer eruit zou halen, opnieuwvastkitten en er weer inzetten en tevens wat rottend hout vervangen. Dit is allemaal redelijk gelukt - er zit nog wel wat afwerking aan hier en daar, maar in ieder geval komt er geen water meer door naar binnen.
Ik heb de hele vrijdag filmpjes zitten selecteren die ik zou kunnen gebruiken voor een Leadership Development sessie. Klinkt leuk, was het ook wel, maar je wordt er bijzonder gaar van. 's Avonds zijn we uit eten geweest met M&M.

Gisteren was een superdagje in Martinborough, waar we met z'n vieren gegolfd hebben. Nou, we hebben wel eens betere dagen gekend, golf-wise. Verschrikkelijk. Leverde wel hilarische momenten op en we konden massaal de broeken verwisselen nadat Marc ongeveer 20 slagen nodig had om ergens op de fairway z'n bal van de grond te krijgen - hij sloeg er steeds overheen!

Die avond moest ik ook nog hockeyen, tegen de 'Indians' - vroeg me al af waarom dat team zo heette, nou na een blik op het team wist ik het, het waren allemaal India-ers! Er blijkt hier dus een Indiase hockeyclub te zitten...
Ze wonnen met 2-1, het was een goeie wedstrijd, maar helaas.

En toen vannacht om 4 uur Marc en Marian naar het vliegveld gebracht - het is toch altijd wat met dat bezoek uit Australie. Daarna weer lekker naar bed, ontbijtje in Island Bay en toen aan het werk: ik onderzoeksverslagen nakijken, wassen en kozijnen verven en Age hout besteld voor een boekenkast, een zaag gekocht en een rondje gefietst.

Deze week wordt trouwens interessant; ik ga 4 dagen mee met de politie de auto in/de straat op!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

(Water)skien

Afgelopen weekend zijn we naar de mountain gegaan, zoals ze dat hier op het Noord-Eiland zeggen. Age had Marc en Marian vrijdagmiddag opgehaald van het vliegveld; die hadden er al een reis van 10 uur uit Perth opzitten. Ziva wegbrengen, mij ophalen van het werk en toen rond 4 uur op pad, net voor het weekendverkeer uit. De weersvoorspellingen leken helemaal niet zo gunstig, we moesten nog zien of we uberhaupt aan skien zouden toekomen, maar onderweg was het prima met af en toe een spatje regen.

We hebben diverse keren geprobeerd onderweg een aardig restaurantje te vinden om wat te eten, maar dat bleek moeilijker dan gedacht. Uiteindelijk een soort van stube gevonden met de temperatuur van een sauna, compleet met houten panelen, en daar een behoorlijk teleurstellende maaltijd gegeten. Vooral de 8 aardappelkroketten, pardon - aardappelknikkers, waren een groot succes.
Het huisje vinden was ook een avontuur op zich in het donker, net als het de-activeren van het alarm en het openen van het sleutelkluisje. Maar eenmaal binnen was het hartstikke leuk!

Op zaterdagochtend hebben we het rustig aangedaan, lekker uitslapen, pannekoekjes gebakken, je kent het wel. We hadden al zo'n gevoel dat de berg dicht was, omdat het nogal hard waaide, dus namen alle tijd. En dat bleek dus ook zo te zijn: je kon niet skien op zaterdag. Bovendien was het vrij warm, een graad of 14 beneden in het dorp en op 1600 m was het 7 graden. We hebben nog wel even boven gekeken; het was er koud en nat en het waaide een halve storm! Een stuk lager op de berg kun je mooi wandelen, wat we ook gedaan hebben - hier scheen de zon en was het heerlijk lenteweer.

's Avonds hadden we onze 'big night in', wat zoveel betekent als lekker thuisblijven, stoofpot eten, borrelen, yahtzeeen en trivianten met een versie uit de 90's. We stikten er zowat in - de triviant dan he.
Zondagochtend weer rustig aan gedaan, het regende pijpestelen dus weer niet skien.... dachten we. Tot we om een uur of 12 eens naar de vvv gingen en er daar achter kwamen dat de berg wel open was. Alle hens aan dek - omkleden en gaan! Wat een troep moet je altijd meeslepen trouwens: warmtespul, mutsen, handschoenen, sjaals...

De berg oprijdend kwamen ons een boel auto's tegemoet; het was vast niet plezierig skien in de regen - die overging in hagel met natte sneeuw. En zo bleef het: je zag geen kont daar boven, alles was wit, mist, sneeuw, hagel en regen, later ook nog wind erbij. In de stoeltjeslift zag je nauwelijks de stoeltjes voor je en op de piste moest je van markering naar markering want je kon echt niet zien waar je heen moest. Goeie sneeuw om op te skien, dus we hebben er wel van genoten. Maar na 3.5 uur gezandstraald te zijn en bovendien doorweekt (skipakken kunnen beter tegen sneeuw dan regen) hadden we het wel gezien en zijn we weer terug naar ons huisje gegaan. Age en ik lekker gedouched en na een kopje thee weer fijn naar huis - nog steeds in de regen.

Marc en Marian zijn nog in Ohakune, komen morgenavond weer naar Wton en gaan op zondag richting Perth.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Klusjes

[Achterlijke foto van ons in Nelson, in de huiskamer van ons appartementje. Geen gordijnen, zoals je ziet...]


We zijn dit weekend erg productief geweest. Wat hebben we zoal gedaan?
  • Eindelijk een huisje geregeld voor volgend weekend! We gaan namelijk skien op Mt Ruapehu met Marc en Marjan, die uit Perth komen overgevlogen voor een weekje NZ. Eens kijken of we het nog kunnen.

  • Ik heb een hockeywedstrijd gehad, in werkelijk prachtig weer. Gewonnen met 3-0. Klinkt makkelijk, maar de eerste twee doelpunten vielen al in de eerste 10 minuten. Daarna ging het zeer gelijk op en in de laatste 10 minuten viel de derde goal.

  • We willen een boekenkast in de study. Nu hebben we uitputtend alle opties bekeken dit weekend, en blijkt dat Ikea's Billy de beste en vooral meest betaalbare optie is. Alleen: we hebben in NZ geen Ikea!! We hebben Marc al overgehaald om 120kg Billy als extra bagage mee te nemen uit Perth deze week, maar de afzonderlijke pakketten zijn te zwaar voor Qantas, dus dat wordt niks. Het invliegen van Billy (inmiddels omgedoopt tot Mårk) was nog steeds goedkoper dan hier een boekenkast kopen of zelf maken! Age is nu nog aan het uitzoeken wat shipping van Sydney zou moeten kosten. We zullen zien, het is al een echte saga aan het worden. Jullie mogen wel blij zijn met je Ikea, de troep die ze hier verkopen is echt verschrikkelijk.
[Een straat in Nelson]
  • We hebben gordijnen besteld voor in de slaapkamer.

  • We hebben accommodatie geboekt voor onze 'midweek' in Singapore

  • We hebben onze paspoorten naar de ambassade gebracht, want voor onze Singapore-stint moeten deze minimaal 6 maanden geldig zijn, en ze waren nog maar 5.5 mnd geldig. Grrrr. Nadat de ambassade ons nieuwe paspoorten geeft ergens in de komende weken, moeten we ons visum nog laten overzetten bij immigration.

  • Ik heb de thermal lining van een aantal gordijnen eraf gehaald, en gewassen en ontschimmeld. De ramen die van enkel glas zijn zijn vaak nat en daar hangen dan de gordijnen continu tegenaan. Dit levert schimmel op, ja erg smerig, maar onvermijdelijk.

  • En tot slot: Age heeft het meeste houtwerk hier binnen bij de kozijnen met verfafbijtmiddel aangevallen en de lak eraf gekrabt en toen de planken geschuurd. Ik erachteraan met polyurethane en kwast en dat wat we nog konden doen bij daglicht ziet er veelbelovend uit. Het was een lekkere coctail van gifgassen hier in huis vandaag: afbijtmiddel, oxyaction voor de schimmel, chloor voor de schimmel, lak, mjammie. Morgen gaat Age verder - want meneer heeft deze maandag vrij.
[Waimea Inlet bij Mapua (Nelson), 100m. van ons appartementje af. Het is eb.]

Sunday, 2 August 2009

De vlag kan uit!

Ik heb 's Hollandsch hockey-eer hoog gehouden, jawel! De druk was ook niet te min, nee nee, zodra men erachter komt dat je een Nederlander bent, dan word je automatisch tot sterspeler van het team gebombardeerd!

Maar laat ik nou net vandaag de kop goed hebben staan en echt vakwerk afleveren: prachtige passes, steeds op de juiste plek staan, 2 doelpunten gescoord en aan de basis van 2 andere doelpunten gestaan. Ik was dan ook zeer pleased met mezelf. Met dank aan mijn nieuwe schoenen en sokken.

Wist je dat men hier niet hockeyt op hockeyschoenen maar op trail running shoes? Dat zijn hardloopschoenen met extra grip voor als je de bush in gaat. Ik dus een paar van die schoenen kopen, zitten heerlijk, en uitgeprobeerd tijdens mijn tenniswedstrijd van gisteren (op het kunstgrasveld). Werkelijk, ik had af en toe wat te veel grip - stond nu en dan zomaar stil!

O, en er waren ineens ook weer 2 nieuwe regels waar ik niks van wist. Je mag met een lange corner niet meer voor het doel langs spelen (waarom niet??) en als je na een overtreding de bal uitneemt, dan mag je 'm zelf houden - je hoeft niet naar iemand anders te spelen, je kunt er zo zelf mee wegrennen. Dat is erg raar als je die regel niet kent!

Age is nu de eer aan het hooghouden, hij is tennis interclub aan het spelen. Dat wordt met de voeten omhoog op de bank vanavond! En hij heeft zowaar zonnebrandcreme op. Weet je wat dat betekent?? Lente! Bloesem! 15 graden! En harde wind...

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Hockeybenen

Het is weer zover, in navolging van Marc die in Perth is gaan hockeyen en er helemaal niets van kan zei ie zelf, zit ik ook weer eens in een hockeyteam. Lang leve het nieuwe werk met nieuwe collega's die graag nieuwe mensen in hun team erbij hebben!!

Vanavond voor het eerst getraind, en ik ben erg blij dat ik af en toe hier nog wat over de town belt (= door het bos, heeft niks met een vuilnisbelt te maken wat ik aanvankelijk dacht) omhoog en omlaag heb hardgelopen, want dat hockeyen is een aanslag op je conditie. Sprinten en nog eens sprinten!

Dit is nu mn derde club hier in NZ, en weer kan ik nieuwe sokken kopen, want ik heb nu een wit en een groen paar, maar voor as zondag (wedstrijd) heb ik blauwe nodig :-) Gelukkig hebben ze allemaal een zwart rokje, en het bijpassende wilde t-shirt krijg ik erbij - die krijg je normaal gesproken van de club te leen.

Verder alles op het werk goed, vermaak me prima, moet binnenkort een paar late diensten met de politie meedraaien en zelf wilde ik ook graag een paar dagen samen met een intel-team werken op het bureau in Wton, wat allemaal geregeld wordt.

En laatst zijn Age en ik een weekend naar Nelson geweest, leuk appartementje in Mapua aan het water. Koud dat het was! Veel kouder dan in Wton. Wel prachtig weer, maar ijzig! Mooi ook dat je dan op het strand loopt en om je heen de bergen sneeuw hebben.
Liepen we op het strand, vond ik dat ik zo'n koude nek had en kom ik er achter dat ik mn sjaal kwijt ben. Waarschijnlijk in het vliegtuig laten liggen op de heenweg op zaterdag. Mijn leuke sjaal die iedereen erg mooi vindt! De volgende dag, toen we weer terug gingen, gevraagd bij de balie op de airport, duikt er een dame een kast in en zegt 'deze sjaal'? Blij als een kind!
'That's what I love about New Zealand', zei Catherine, mn manager, toen ik dit haar vertelde. Geweldig, niet?

Friday, 17 July 2009

Examentijd!!

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Thursday, 16 July 2009

Aardbeving

Ja, wij hebben bijna hevigste aardbeving ooit gemeten hier in NZ gevoeld. En met 'wij' bedoel ik 'Age'. Ik was zo verdiept in mn tv-serie dat ik niks heb gemerkt. Maar Age, in z'n grote paarse stoel naast me, riep ineens 'aardbeving!!'. Z'n hele stoel ging heen en weer zei ie. Nou zat ik toevallig in zo'n zelfde stoel een halve meter verderop in de kamer, maar aan mij is de beving dus voorbij gegaan. Het epicentrum lag in Fiordland, ver onderin het Zuid-Eiland. Een collega van mij had 'm ook duidelijk meegemaakt en is onder een deurpost gaan staan in huis, wat Regel 1 is bij aardbevingen: dat of onder een tafel kruipen.

Dan zijn er weer eens wat wandelaars verdwenen, verdwaald en omgekomen, onder wie de CEO van het Te Papa museum. Die was wezen wandelen in de Tararua's (de heuvelrug tussen Wellington en de Wairarapa) en waarschijnlijk door onbestendig weer overvallen (er ligt op dit moment 1.5m sneeuw bovenop de Tararua's), hoewel hij een ervaren tramper was. En uiteindelijk op 1km van een hut blijven steken.

Verder is de Swineflu nog stevig aanwezig hier in NZ en met name in Wton; we zaten erop te wachten wanneer de eerste bekende door Swineflu geveld zou worden en dat is nu gebeurd, een collega van Age. Bij mij op het werk had er ook al iemand rondgelopen die achteraf Swineflu bleek te hebben 2 weken geleden. We houden onze fingers crossed, maar het blijft winter + het griepseizoen, dus overal hoesten, niezen en rochelen mensen wat af. Met het grote verschil dat mensen die in het openbaar hoesten, niezen en rochelen vreselijk verstoord worden aangekeken, ik zou haast zeggen: nog net niet worden gelynched. Is dat in NL ook zo?

Monday, 13 July 2009

In een notedop

Hier wat observaties en ervaringen van afgelopen week:
  • heerlijk gegeten met z'n 5-en bij Jane, een tennis-kennis. Het was een farewell etentje voor Louise, ook een tennis-kennis, die een jaar in haar eentje naar een oliestaat gaat in de woestijn om daar te werken als verpleegkundige. Erg dapper van haar, en ze heeft ons haar eerste lange gewaad met sluier al gedemonstreerd. Leuk was vooral dat Jane d'r grootste hobby koken is, dus alles was heerlijk vers en met liefde bereid. We hebben gesmuld.

  • op zaterdag kwam een collega van MSD met haar man bij ons eten. Mijn self-saucing chocolate pudding was niet weg te krijgen, maar gelukkig had Leah een zelfgemaakte Z-Afrikaanse 'Melktaart' meegenomen, dus toch nog een luxe dessert!

  • op zondag op babybezoek bij Andy, een collega van Age, en Arzu. De baby was alweer ruim 6 maanden en vond ons machtig interessant.

  • Age had vandaag z'n eerste vrije maandag. Het luxepoppetje werkt tegenwoordig in een ritme van 5 dagen / 4 dagen, iets wat hier zeer excentriek is. Ik had het ook voorgesteld bij de Politie, maar dat kon echt niet, nee wat dacht ik wel, in zo'n nieuwe functie. Maar blijkbaar heeft mijn manager er toch over nagedacht, want ze had er zelf eigenlijk ook wel trek in :-)

  • En morgen een cursusdag 'Crime Science', wat onderdeel is van een cursus voor onze intelligence staff. Best leuk, maar het begint al om 8 uur 's ochtends, zoals alle cursussen!

  • En mijn Nederlandse collega, nu 6 jaar in NZ, die naast me zit op de verdieping met collega's die nog wachten op hun security clearance, vroeg aan mij of ik wist wie Geert Wilders was. Die stond zo vaak in de krant vond ie.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Kleine rectificatie

Nu ik wat bekender ben met de politieterminologie is het mij duidelijk dat ik niet bij de recherche werk, zoals ik eerder had aangegeven. Nee, het is de inlichtingendienst.

Ja, het valt niet mee, ik kon ook de investigation-vaardigheden niet terugvinden in ons curriculum, zoals sporen-onderzoek, bloedspettergedoe, moordonderzoek, crime scene investigation, etc. Niet zo raar want dat doen wij dus ook helemaal niet. Nee, wij leiden onder meer analysts op om aan informatie, verzameld door collators, betekenis te geven en zo toekomstige criminele activiteiten te kunnen voorspellen.
Alles bij ons draait dus om informatie, op het gebied van drugs, violence, family violence, gangs, financial crime, alcohol, terrorisme, counterterrorisme, etc.

Zo, dan zijn jullie maar weer helemaal op de hoogte.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Mijn eerste werkdag

Ja, ik had weer eens een eerste werkdag. Die vooral in het teken stond van de security protocollen. Gelukkig heb ik al eens bij de politie gewerkt, hoewel in NL de security niks voorstelde bij het beleid hier.
Ik kwam dus vanochtend bij het gebouw aan. Eerst intekenen bij de concierge en dan krijg je een bezoekerspas. Daar kun je verder niks mee, maar men kan wel zien dat je legaal in het gebouw bent. Mijn nieuwe manager, Catherine, kwam me ophalen en daar zat ik de hele dag min of meer aan vastgeklonken. De verdieping waar mijn team op werkt is een vloer waar je zonder begeleiding alleen op mag met de juiste security clearance. Daarom heb ik 2 bureaus en 2 computers op 2 verschillende verdiepingen. Een deel van de minder secure verdieping is ingericht als een soort van doorsluiskantoor: hier zitten de mensen van wie de security clearance nog niet klaar is. En daar mag je je wel zelfstandig bewegen.

Dan kreeg ik nog een liftpas / algemene deurenpas, er moest een foto gemaakt worden voor mijn ID-pas die je altijd om moet hebben en tenslotte kreeg ik mijn security card ook + pincode, waarmee ik de verdiepingen ook echt op kan. Het is een ding om met de lift te kunnen, maar zonder security card + pin kom je niet verder.

Bij binnenkomst moet eerst de mobiele telefoon uit en in een kluisje, die mag niet aanstaan in het gebouw, want kwaadwillenden kunnen er op afstand software opzetten en jouw telefoon ineens gaan gebruiken om gesprekken oid op te nemen. Ja, je verzint het niet. Internettoegang moet speciaal aangevraagd worden, daar zitten ook toegangsniveaus in, software downloaden kan niet zomaar en een USB-stick gebruiken kan al helemaal niet - of het moet er een zijn door het bureau uitgegeven en beveiligd.

En nu en dan hoorde ik een geluid dat op een deurbel leek, a la big ben, en dat geeft aan dat er visitors op de vloer zijn zonder clearance, waarbij je, als je aan classified informatie werkt, geacht wordt dit op te bergen tot de visitor weer weg is. Op sommige verdiepingen is dit een blauw zwaailicht, waar velen koppijn van kregen en dus hier en daar vervangen door een melodieuze deurbel. Ook dat verzin je niet.

Verder is er op beide verdiepingen een clear desk policy, wat betekent dat er niks op je bureau mag liggen en alles waar je mee aan het werk bent moet achter slot en grendel. En omdat ik 2 bureaus heb betekent dat 2 sleutels erbij van ladekastjes... Ik lijk wel een gevangenisbewaarder met al die rinkelende dingen om de nek. Mocht er nou een aardbeving zijn ofzo, is mij verteld, en we moeten het gebouw ontruimen, dan graag eerst dat waar je mee aan het werk was in de la stoppen en die op slot doen voordat je het gebouw uitrent.

Nu heb ik vandaag geleerd dat de Politie dit allemaal niet zelf heeft verzonnen, maar dat dit internationale veiligheidsstandaarden zijn, en alleen als die nagekomen worden dan zijn bepaalde organisaties bereid gevoelige informatie te delen. Een convenant met de UK, US, Australie en NZ.

Mijn security clearance zal nog op zich laten wachten en waarschijnlijk krijg ik ook niet de top-level clearance die nodig is, want ik ben gewoon nog niet lang genoeg hier in NZ en ook geen NZ's staatsburger. Maar mijn manager en haar manager gaan wel proberen om mij op de top secret vloer te krijgen, want het werkt wat onhandig om als enige van het team een verdieping lager te zitten!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Op naar de volgende baan

Morgen m'n laatste dag bij CYF, dan een paar dagen vrij en volgende week woensdag starten bij de Recherche!

Gisteravond twee flinke appeltaarten gebakken, om vandaag mee te nemen naar het werk voor bij de morning tea. Klinkt leuk, maar ik heb wel eens betere appeltaart gehad om eerlijk te zijn... Ik heb op een of andere manier altijd deeg te kort en dit keer droogden de appels ook enigszins uit. Nog steeds best lekker, maar niet wat ik me ervan voorgesteld had.

Kom ik op mn werk met die twee taarten, wordt er een trolley binnengereden met een chocoladetaart van wel een meter in doorsnee - had de secretaresse besteld voor dezelfde morning tea (!), maar nou bleek de bakker zich vergist te hebben: die had per ongeluk het recept verdubbeld. Met 16 man hebben we dus mijn appeltaarten aangevallen, en ons een slag geslagen in die chocoladetaart, maar daarvan kon je aan het eind van de dag nog niet zien dat eraan gegeten was.

Ik ook nog speciaal naar de supermarkt gegaan voor het werk, voor de grootste bus slagroom die ik kon vinden - want bij appeltaart hoort slagroom en cater voor 16 man aan slagroom dan heb je heel wat nodig - kwam er bij die chocoladetaart een beslagkom vol met cream! Dus nu hebben we thuis een giga bus slagroom die nog niet eens open is (nu wel trouwens).

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Ons weekendje Ohakune

Zoals je ziet, zag je geen snars op Mt Ruapehu: dikke mist! Het skifield was dan ook dicht, maar enkele die-hards waren toch aan het sleeen of snowboarden op de babyhelling.

Deze sneeuwschuiver kan niet wachten tot ie eindelijk aan het werk kan. Je ziet 'm popelen!

De bewolking lijkt toch wat te breken precies op het moment dat wij een wandeling starten.

De watervallen deden het prima

Zelfde waterval, maar nu van onderen. Mooi he? Het was trouwens ongeveer 1 graad hier.

Vanuit dichte begroeiing plotseling een heel stuk door open wetlands. Het lijkt allemaal heel grijs, maar de kleuren zijn toch indrukwekkend.

Spiegeling

Nog een waterval, met prinses op de voorgrond

Kijk, we hebben dus die berg het hele weekend niet gezien vanwege regen, mist en wolken. Maar toen we gisteren wegreden klaarde het even op en tadaaaa! In volle glorie, Nieuw-Zeeland op z'n best! Donaties voor deze foto zijn welkom.

Van de sneeuw naar het strand, zo doen wij dat hier. Onderweg naar huis moesten we natuurlijk even lunchen enzo en het was prachtig weer, dus lekker bij 13 graden langs het strand gewandeld bij Raumati aan de Kapiti Coast. Op de foto Kapiti Island.