Friday, 29 January 2010

Birthday and other stuff

What have we been up to in the last couple of days? We are working on settling in here on the South Island. It quickly became clear that we can't do without another car. I have to drive in to work and Age can't be 'the real estate agent on the motorbike'. At the moment we have a gas guzzling Subaru, nice for gravel roads and trips to the mountains, but extremely inefficient fuel-wise. So we bought a more economic car as an addition! A yellow/golden Peugeot 307.

Then Age has now more or less officially started with his real estate career. He has a space at the office, a new computer, a new phone, familiarised himself with all the office systems and a few more colleagues, and is working on his marketing plan and a training plan. A couple of training options are available for him in the near future, so it seems that there definitely is support for newbees. He absolutely loves being a 'free' man: going to the office whenever he wants, running errands when needed without having to make up for your time because you have to make 8 hrs a day, etc.

Ziva has been working on her territory. Unfortunately for her there are a lot of cats around, most of them twice her size. One of her encounters with a big fluffy black cat left her with a hole in her back the size of a thumbnail and a toe pointing in the wrong direction. She was quite good at nursing her wounds, and according to the vet surgery wasn't needed, just a dose of antibiotics should do the trick. He shaved her back around the wound, so she looks a bit ragged at the moment, but she's her old happy self again.

I have been working at someone's desk here at Headquarters in Nelson, but because our move and all the rest of it went so quickly and took place over the holiday period, we haven't had the chance to make formal arrangements. Although we made the decision to move to Nelson, it could still be that I wasn't allowed to work from here, and that management wanted me to come and work from Wellington. It seriously looked like that last week, and I already made arrangements to come back for one month to sort myself and my options out properly, but some sort of miracle happened, some people worked for me behind the scenes, and I have now been assured that I can work from Nelson and, when functional, fly up to Wellington. A formal flexible work agreement will be drafted up soon, but I think it's great, and I'm thrilled. This shows a great deal of trust from management and I think it's quite special as flexible work arrangements are not that common in New Zealand.

So yesterday and the day before I was in Wellington, working with my manager on the preparations for our visits to all corners of the country in the coming two months. Next week we'll be in Hamilton, Rotorua, and Auckland for three days! Thanks Pauline and Ian, for your hospitality Wednesday night - I'm sure I'll reunite with your spare bed again soon :-)

Then my birthday; nothing special during the day, except for the fact that I brought morning tea to work: almond fingers. In Dutch: ik heb getrakteerd op gevulde koeken (kano's). These were much appreciated. And Age and I went out for dinner here at the Mapua Wharfside Restaurant. Lovely food, nice balmy evening, sea views...

Friday, 15 January 2010

Ziva and moving house

I have to say that Ziva is the weirdest cat ever. She is incredibly independent, stubborn and just going her own way. How did she get through our move to the South Island?

  • She didn't particularly like our preparations for the movers, like taking things off the walls, taking big pieces of furniture apart, etc. She was quite suspicious.
  • Then the packers and movers, that was even more upsetting! She was nowhere to be found, and outdoors for the whole day, but quite close by, because when I came back from work and called her name she immediately showed up.
  • It was perfectly clear that an empty house has not enough stimuli. Ziva was bored to bits.
  • Then the last bits and pieces in Wellington, and cleaning everything: especially doing the kitchen was quite interesting, as Ziva now had lots of space for herself in every empty drawer and cupboard. She was of great help.
  • The next part of our journey was the trip in the car and on the ferry from Wellington to Nelson. That was quite an experience. I had Ziva in her basket, but was prepared to let her out and walk freely through the car during the boat trip (3.5 hours). When I opened the basket she decided wisely that it actually was the best place in the car. We had quite a bumpy crossing, and when we arrived in Picton and I returned to the car I found Ziva still sitting in her basket. Who knows what she's been up to??
  • Then the 2hr drive from Picton to Nelson, pitch dark. Ziva had totally had it in her basket and wanted out, but her walking around in the car wasn't the best thing actually. I'm sure she had no idea what was happening, when she stood with 2 paws on the dashboard, looking through the window while we were doing 100k on dark and windy roads. After a while she disappeared and found a nice spot to sit on the duvet in the back.
  • With 20k's or so left, she started to fart. Not going to the litter tray of course...
  • Finally we arrived, again in an empty house. Ziva just doesn't like empty houses that's for sure. She couldn't sit still and absolutely wanted to be outside! She tried every window and started hanging on windowsills and scratching the front door. So we decided that if she thinks she should be outside, well, then she must know what she's doing. So we let her out...
  • ....
  • And she came back! And as soon as we hailed her inside and closed the door, she became restless and didn't want to be inside. Today the movers came and delivered all our stuff, while Ziva was outside doing her thing, whatever that might be. I came home from work, and there she was again!
  • Now that we are unpacking boxes and the rooms slowly are being transferred into recognisable rooms again, she is much relaxter, being very naughty and exploring every single item. But she absolutely draws her own plan, that's for sure!
  • How cool is that??

Thursday, 14 January 2010


With the motorbike by ferry to picton. Evelyn and cat arrived on the next one.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Moving house

The piano first...

Friday, 8 January 2010

We just BOUGHT a home

Really, it can't get any crazier, or can it? We just BOUGHT a lovely home, in Richmond, Nelson.
Yesterday I saw a new listing on trademe of a very nice character home. We hopped in the car to drive by, liked it, arranged a viewing 5 minutes later, went through it and liked it so much that we decided to put in an offer.

We sorted out a lawyer, had some research to do at the local council and yesterday just after 5pm we put in our offer. We ended up in a multiple offer situation with one other party, which we knew beforehand, we didn't put our best foot forward as we didn't want to pay a premium price - although fear of loss had us in it's grip, we couldn't sleep at all last night, absolutely thought we would miss out - and this morning on our way back to Picton, to the ferry, we heard they wanted to negotiate further with us.

We used the fax at Mina's office in Picton to sign their counter offer and now it's a done deal! Property was on the market for only 1 (!) day!! And sold privately. We'll move in on the 1st of March.

About the house: it's a replica French Villa, built 25 years ago. A conservatory has been added on later, which is a great 2nd living area. It has a small bedroom on the ground floor, a living area, a laundry with separate toilet, the kitchen, dining area and the conservatory.
Then on the first floor you'll find 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. It also has a single garage with an office space or sleepout attached. The section is almost 800m2, the garden has been landscaped - the current owners are landscape designers.
And don't forget the verandah!!!

Front of the house, with the verandah and on the left the conservatory.


Garden at the back, with the back door to the laundry right, and the sleepout / office, also with a verandah.

Kitchen, quite small, but built last year

Dining area. At your right is the kitchen, on the left the doorway to the conservatory

The conservatory

Living area, with woodburner. The front of the house is on the right side, with the verandah.

The sleepout / office

One of the two upstairs bedrooms

Outdoor dining area - accessible through conservatory

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Found a rental place!

Happy new year to you all from sunny Nelson!!

After 2 weeks of searching for properties to buy and/or rent, we finally found ourselves a rental place in Mapua. All very accidentally of course, as this house hadn't been advertised (yet?). It's empty, the tenant moved out last week, we'll let our movers shift all our stuff immediately to this new address next week, which means we don't need storage after all.

The house has a nice feel, a bit of a garden, a nice deck, and good sized rooms. I've added a pic from the front side with the deck for an impression. At the back of the house, where the kitchen is, is some more garden, a veggie patch, and also a double garage. For insiders: it is located 200m from Mapua Wharf, with the cafe's and galleries :-)
There you can jump from the jetty (steiger), when it's outgoing tide, and let the (strong!!!) stream carry you towards Mapua campsite. We saw whole groups and families do that today, after lunch at one of the cafe's; they just jumped into the sea and floated back to their tents. Quite funny to watch.

Sunset over Nelson bay after dinner today - seen from Tahuna towards Mapua