Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Barossa Valley

It was lovely in the Barossa! Just what we (= I) needed. Very peaceful, calm and quiet, with not too much to do, just the right mix to recover from the flu. I became ill a week ago on Tuesday, nothing special, just a running nose. Quite a bad running nose, when I held my head down the water just poored out of it! So I stayed home from work on Wednesday. And Wednesday night got a fever too. And then I threw up on Thursday, and on Friday I added some diarrhoea to the mix as well!

Lovely story I know. And I didn't have a present yet for Age's birthday, I thought I had more than enough time to get something! My last chance was on Friday, so off I went on my scooter on Friday morning to find something for the man, but I just managed to get into the village and off my scooter, and that was it. It didn't help that it was 35 degrees or something. I went home again, and straight to bed!

Saturday promised to be another scorcher, Age's first 38 degrees here! I've had it before, but Age was in Sydney. Hot weather seems to come with lots of wind, which makes it feel even hotter - the shade doesn't get the chance to cool down or something like that. And then the humidity on those days is only 12%, which makes it hard-going too - you're thirsty all the time, and your eyes and nose dry out, but you probably feel that particularly well when you're having a cold :-)
Anyway, it feels like dangerous weather for the body.

The best thing on Saturday? We drove to the Barossa, which is only 1.5hours away from us, a beautiful scenic drive, went to our hotel, and plonked straight into the swimming pool. Pure bliss! The pool bar was open too, and with our drinks, wedges and views of the valley the holiday had started.
Watching an electrical storm go past on Sunday afternoon
Santa visited the Barossa - yes, he's really busy - and got Evelyn a....... cockatoo!!! Woohooo! Age and I have had some good fun about it, as I'd seen it from day 1 in the Proshop at the golf club (the cockatoo is a cover and you place it on one of your clubs). Then suddenly it was gone! Someone had bought it, a couple of weeks ago! So when I saw Age again after a round of golf when I discovered that the cockatoo was gone, I told him about it. His reply was that I then maybe wanted Goofy? Or the Road Runner? Nooooo, I only liked the cockatoo.

Anyway, I forgot about it, until the night before Christmas, lying in bed, I suddenly figured that Age must have bought the cockatoo for me (as you can see, it kept nagging me), as I couldn't think of anyone else in the whole golfclub (not that I know anybody there yet) who would buy something like that for his missus. And then I got the giggles! And told Age that I knew what was in his present for me!

Funnily enough I was right! And Age kept pushing me towards the golf club on Sunday, and I kept trying to avoid playing golf, as my bowels and stomach didn't really what they were supposed to do, but in the end we ended up on the golf course for 9 holes. I was going to play - I brought my own clubs, and Age was going to caddy for me as he wanted the walk he said (which was strange as Age is never the one to propose a walk). Okay then. So when I turned around to rummage through my golf bag, there was MY cockatoo sitting on A NEW GOLF CLUB!

Santa bought me a brand new driver (yes, he knew the specs exactly), and a new 3 Wood was under way. Which they rang about on Saturday morning, while we were still in bed, Age said. At the time I asked him who that was on the phone, and he said that it was someone from tennis, he didn't have to play tennis that day, he wasn't needed. Which I found somewhat strange, that there would be a competition on on the 24th, as everybody would be busy with Christmas and so. And Age in turn thought that that 'lie' wouldn't go down very well, because we would leave for the Barossa, but I'm probably not every ordinary house wife who keeps her man on the leash on those days, so I didn't think much of it. If he was going to play tennis, I could secretly go out again and try one more time to get a birthday present.

Well, I had the best Christmas ever! And Age didn't get anything. That was not very fair, but he didn't seem to be too hurt actually. Even on his birthday there was no present in sight - all the shops closed, but we did have quite a nice day. We drove back from the Barossa, and later on did a lovely walk along the coast in South Adelaide, see the pictures below. It was the Hallett Cove Walk. Halfway down the walk we saw signs 'Snakes regularly seen in this area'. Just what we thought, we slowly get to know snake country. We haven't seen one yet, but I'm sure we must have walked past some here and there now that it's getting hotter.

The other day we had a blue tongue lizard in the garden, it made lots of noise when cruising through old leaves, and at first I thought it was a snake as I only saw its tail, so I got a little bit of an heart attack :-) They apparently are a gardener's best friend as they feed on snails!
Blue Tongue Lizard

Rock formations formed by glaciers 380 million years ago

Age will get his present, as soon as we've got the courage to dive into the after-Christmas sales. He wants garden furniture! Well, that can be arranged :-)

Looks pretty there on the coast, doesn't it? All those strange structurese have been formed by glaciers and melting ice about 380 million years ago. Insane, isn't it?

Amphitheatre - limestone
More limestone structures

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas frenzy

I still find it hard to believe that Christmas is already knocking on our door again, but all the signs are there:
  • people who have end-of-year road rage - we have to be really alert when driving to work as a lot of people seem to have forgotten how to drive;
  • lots of Christmas do's - we've already had Christmas drinks at Age's work, drinks with my team, and this week we had a Christmas lunch with my team, and a Christmas dinner with Age's team. And somehow it feels like we haven't touched a pot or pan in our own kitchen for weeks, we've been out for lunch and dinner continuously the last two weeks!
  • really busy in the CBD, it's buzzing!
  • me doing a lot of Christmas shopping during lunchtime. It's quite annoying that the shops close at 5.30pm, so there's never time after work to get things done, only on Thursday and Friday. Last weekend we got this nice parcel at the front door (and you know how we love parcels at the front door) - and yes, it was a box full with little presents - but that made us have to kick into action!! So gone were the lazy walks along the river after a Malaysian, Thai, Indian or whatever lunch! Evelyn had to hunt for presents to send away (Age escaped his obligations as he was in Sydney)!! Four lunch breaks later we finally thought we had some nice little packages.

    Then yesterday we had one hour to drop everything off at the post office. Well, that hour clearly wasn't enough, considering the queue that went through the doors up till the kerbside outside. So the only thing we got done was buying the boxes (in every size and shape) to put it all in. Then Age dropped me off at the golf club, and he finished the job - writing addresses - and found another post shop that was still open (also very annoying - post shops that close on Saturday at 12pm). It cost more than $300 (!!) to send our nice little parcels away! Every year we say 'this really was the last time' because of that and because we are always too late with these kind of things and never prepared, but probably the best thing to do is just to quickly forget about it. The nicest thing is buying the gifts, placing it all on the floor in the lounge and look at it :-)

    Oh, and they won't arrive before Christmas - we knew that already :-) People who think they might be eligible for a gift from Santa shouldn't start running to the front door just yet.
And lastly, we have our South Australian drivers licence! Within three months of arriving we needed to exchange our NZ licenses for an Australian one. Of course we were late arranging this too, mostly because it's all so bureaucratic, you need forms, identification, and evidence of residential address (what on earth does it matter where you live???). Anyway, we've got it now, and can't use our NZ licenses anymore. And we found out that every state has its own drivers license. So we don't have an Australian drivers license, no it's a South Australian license. A nice milk cow for the government - don't know if this saying makes sense in English, but you get the point.

Sunday, 11 December 2011


Golf Adventures
Last weekend I went to my new golf club to try out the set of golf clubs I borrowed from Roger and Fran. When I was just about finished I saw this lady on the practice putting area, and I started chatting with her. She was there to play 9 holes with a friend, and they invited me to come along, which was a very good idea indeed! One of them regularly plays with the business women on Sunday, which was the group of ladies I was going to play with the next day (that's why I was practising).

With golf you always end up in the bar afterwards, for a drink and a bite to eat, usually together with the people you just played with. The golf club has a bar downstairs and a big restaurant/bar upstairs with great views over the course. There is a fully equipped kitchen, with chefs, there is bar personnel, and there are waiters! And an extensive lunch and dinner menu too. Yummmmm.

On Sunday I played with the business women, a small group of about 12 ladies who tee off together and have their own competition. The actual day for the women to play and have their competitions is Tuesday, then there is a field of about 70 ladies - obviously those women don't work on that day, or are retired. The ladies were lovely, took care of me during our round of golf, and invited me for their Christmas get-together that same Sunday evening, which was very nice of them.

Planning Day at Work
Then at work on Tuesday we had this 'planning day', a whole day with our division to ''plan the year ahead', but it wasn't really clear to me what that meant. Looking closer at the invite, we were advised to wear comfortable clothes and shoes and bring a hat as the organisers thought it would be much nicer to spend the day with colleagues, do something active, and get to know each other better, than to sit in a meeting room and work. An excellent idea indeed :-)

The day started with a healthy breakfast and a short lecture about the pros of starting your day with a good breakfast (after all I'm working in the Division of Health Sciences), and then it was revealed that we were going to be split up in teams, walk to the Adelaide Zoo and spend the day there scavenger hunting, taking photographs for a 'best picture' contest, and completing heaps of other assignments! The zoo is about 500m away from work, it looks very modern, park-like and leafy, and it was going to be a terrific day with 31 degrees. And it has two giant pandas!

Our team won movie tickets with a contest of creating a zebra from tin foil in 10 minutes, and a yummy chocolate panda bear from Haighs Chocolates with the scavenger hunt. There were actually some really good prizes, and the team that won the overall prize for their assignments got a voucher for one day off plus a $50 voucher. The team that came second received four hours off work and a $25 voucher. Quite neat!

More Golf Adventures
On Thursday there is Twilight Golf at the golf club, meaning a 9 hole competition, where you can tee off between 4 and 6pm with a meal afterwards. We found out that it is quite a race to get away from work early, to get home, get changed, and be there before 6pm ready to tee off! Age dropped me off and he went straight to tennis, and I was just in time to play my 9 holes with two blokes who were about the last ones to tee off (teeing off after 6pm means that it gets too dark to be able to finish - even in mid summer it gets dark here around 8.30pm).

Xmas Drinks @ Work
Then on Friday we had the Christmas drinks at Age's work, to celebrate the year that was and all that has happened with the company: a new office, new employees, new clients, a new name. It was a very nice evening with a group of about 15-20 people.

Even More Golf Adventures
Yesterday I played golf again, really early, at 8.17am. You think you're the only one getting up and so, but no, you can start at 6.30am if you like! The course was packed, as Saturday is a popular day. Usually there are then 250 men in the field and about 2 or 3 women. I played with two men, again, they took care of me during my round, even raked the bunkers for me :-)) And I got into heaps of bunkers, as I don't know my borrowed golf clubs that well - what distances I shoot with them, so there was a lot of raking to do. Afterwards we had lunch in the restaurant, and they invited me for next week :-)

That morning when I looked out of the bedroom window I thought it looked rather cloudy, a bit foggy even. Well, when I drove to the golf course, which is further up in the hills, I couldn't see a thing! It was seriously foggy! The fog made our round rather interesting, as you didn't see the group in front of you, the group behind you couldn't see us, and we couldn't see where our balls were going. There was a lot of yelling going on between groups: 'anybody on the green??', 'are you past that bunker yet?', I can't find my ball, I'm coming back!'. It was really funny! One of the men I played with lost 4 balls on the first 9 holes - then the fog cleared and it became all sunny.

Out for Dinner
In the evening Age and I went out for dinner with Roger and Fran (from the golf clubs - we met them through Lois and Richard) and another couple,good friends of them. We went into town to this organic pizza place, a nice looking eatery, and very busy. I should say: very very busy. And therefore incredibly loud! The acoustics were terrible! That was quite a shame, as we couldn't hear ourselves and our conversations were going nowhere. We finished our pizzas quite quickly and decided to have our coffees somewhere else, which was a very good idea.

Looking Forward
There's only two weeks left before Christmas, and that is very noticeable; people are in a festive mood! The students at Uni left two weeks ago for their summer break, staff is busy marking work and there is a lot of 'holiday' talk. We'll be in the Barossa Valley with Christmas, followed by a trip to Perth to see Marc and Marian :-)

Monday, 5 December 2011


Last week Age made a lasting impression at his new tennis club. He tripped over his own feet when diving for a ball, and tried to set his chin alight on the surface of the court. The result was that at 9.30pm at night he needed stitches. So where do you get stitches on a Monday night? At the emergency department of a hospital.

So two guys who played with Age had to get him to the hospital, one to drive our car, as Age had to keep a towel or something like it against his chin, and another one to drive a second car, so that they could go home after dropping Age off. Apparently the driver of our car hadn't driven a manual for a while, so the ride must have been quite entertaining.

I was at home, doing nothing much, and I got this phone call, and I thought it rather nice that Age let me know he was about to come home from tennis, but it was a bit different: 'Hi, it's me. I fell on the court. Now I need stitches'.
'You did what??'
'I fell, and now I need stitches'
'O, you idiot!'

So he got his stitches, and his anti-biotics, and a tetanus injection. And came home around midnight.
It's healing fine, the stitches have just come out today, and now he needs to be careful for 2 months. Careful with what, I wondered, well, apparently it's shaving! So I may get a wild looking beardy guy soon, rrrrrrrrrrrr.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Our first walk

A while ago we bought a book with 'Adelaide's best bush, coast & city walks'. We were planning on doing one of the walks this weekend, and it happened to be today. The weather was gorgeous, and I selected a walk for the 'beginning Australian walker', as we've classified ourselves. So on our first walk we didn't want to go too deep into the forest or walk through high grass (snakes!) or do anything too daring. Also because we don't have our hiking boots here yet. We just wanted a semi-urban safe walk. So the 'Stirling Parks' walk sounded just what we needed. A 2hr walk nicely through the park-like surroundings of Stirling.

Stirling is the hilly version of the Dutch Veluwe, very leafy, very green. We drove to Stirling, which is a 15k drive or so, and then parked our car somewhere in a street, which supposedly was the start of our walk. Just what we wanted, nicely between the houses, tucked away in the bush. After 100m our book said to cross the road and take a walking trail somewhere through a park, and walk towards a swampy area, and then through a closely mowed area onto a service track. Etcetera etcetera.

We got lost at step 1 of 10 steps of the description of the walk. And the parks aren't parks as we thought parks would be, parks are to be interpreted as 'reserves'. And that means walking through high grass, sometimes up till your armpits through the boysenberries, eeeks! We were fairly scared to encounter snakes to be honest, with our short trousers (don't have long hiking trousers, so our next mission is to go to Kathmandu and get some! - and we thought we would be walking through 'parks'), no one else to be seen, and some of the trails looked like they hadn't been used for a while. And we weren't even in the middle of nowhere, really between gardens and houses on large blocks of bushland.

Our book says this about snakes:
Venomous snakes are widespread in and around Adelaide's suburbs and the Mount Lofty Ranges. It is possible you could encounter a snake on most of the routes in this book. Keep an eye on the track ahead and if walking through grass make plenty of noise - if they hear you coming they'll get out of the way.

So it wasn't this easy-peasy walk I had planned, but it was actually a very nice walk once we'd left the really high and wild grass behind us. We saw some great birds along the way and walked around a lake that had been excavated in 1922 to provide a reliable source of water for the long gone steam-locomotives.
At the end of our walk we went to Hahndorf for some authentic German food, sausages and kartoffel salat, yummm.

Here a selection of the birds we saw on our walk:
An Ibis

Blue Wren
Red Capped Robin
Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo - magnificent bird!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Almost finished in New Zealand

A lot has happened last week. While I was working here in Adelaide, Age went to Wellington for work. That was an excellent reason to organise the movers and get our house empty and clean. So Age added three extra days in New Zealand to his trip, and was in charge of the removal this time. I had organised the last two removals and was totally sick of it, especially as one of these moves was quite disastrous with a lot of damaged goods due to total incompetency of the removal crew.

Age kept me informed throughout the week, but I was sooooooooooooooo glad not having anything to do with it, and just be at the office. The weekend beforehand we went out for a coffee to create our removal to do list. The main things on there were:
  • to sell the car (I had sold it when I was in NZ last time, but the buyer had second thoughts on the day he was going to pick the car up, which was the day before I left for Adelaide. I spent that last day driving past dozens of car dealers, but no one needed an extra Subaru as they all had full car yards)
  • to get rid of 9m3 of goods. That way everything would fit into a 20ft container, otherwise the move would become a lot more expensive. We had been given a list from the removal company with all our items and the m3's per item, and based on this list we decided what we wanted to give away, sell, or throw away. Nine m3 doesn't sound like a lot, but it is! So Age had his work cut out for him!
While I was sweltering in the heat here with 34 and 37 degrees (actually, you don't notice anything from the weather at all when you are in the office - but I can tell you that sitting on a plastic seat on my scooter was rather uncomfy), Age was working very hard for us in Richmond.

His achievements:
  • He sold the car and got $100 more than what I sold it for  :-)
  • He arranged for the piano to be picked up by Mr Music (!), who will make a theatre company happy with it. Finally we've learned our lesson: never go on a world tour with a piano, especially when you both don't play.
  • He sold our garden furniture, the single bed, the table saw, the book cases from IKEA in the study. We were pleased to sell these book cases, as only just a year ago Age bought them in person in Sydney from IKEA and shipped them to NZ (There is no IKEA in NZ, and there is no other shop that comes even close to the price/quality IKEA delivers.). We really didn't want to bring them back to Oz again!
  • He put the bistro set (two chairs and a table, which we used on the verandah) with a price tag on the street, and within a couple of minutes a lady drove past, and wanted to buy it, as she had been looking for months for something like it.
  • He sold the washing machine
  • And then made someone happy with a bulk lot of cabinets, odd chairs, and a wheelburrow, some pots and pans, our Senseo coffee maker, and probably more.
  • And finally the movers brought some leftover boxes away to the Salvation Army, with goods too good to throw away.
  • Ah, and let's not forget four shopping bags full of food! We can't import opened packages with food, so there goes my collection with herbs and spices, oils, flower, sugar, pasta,.... You know, all those basics that you immediately need on the other side, and which we have started to build up again.
  • And there is probably more. So we left a bit of a legacy :-)
Organising all of this required all Age's negotiation and networking skills, but he did a fabulous job.

Then of course there was the removal itself, on Thursday the packers came to pack most items, and on Friday they would lift it all up. So all around you it becomes quite a mess, and quite unclear as well: there are items that stay with the house, things that go, things that need to be put in a separate corner of the house, things to take to Oz on the way back, and things that needed to be taken apart (lots of furniture). Age said that he was so tired on Friday that he wanted to lie down on the floor all the time, but he never got the chance as there were continuously people around to say goodbye, or to pick things up, or to ask for directions (movers).

We let the movers organise the final cleaning of the house, and that was probably quite smart. For starters: you just don't want to do it anymore, we also didn't know beforehand if there would be enough time to do it (Age had to catch a plane on Friday), and how do you clean if all your stuff has just disappeared with the removal truck anyway.

Friday afternoon it was all over and done, Age had a bit of time for a beer somewhere, and then was dropped off at the airport to catch his plane to Auckland. He treated himself to a luxury hotel, an evening meal with venison and stuff, and flew to Adelaide the next morning.

And that was 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 years in New Zealand for us! The last thing that's left is settlement day, where the purchasers become new owners of the house.

We have to go out for dinner soon and review the past years with a good glass wine!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Midlife crisis?

Look what I've got since yesterday! It's yellow, it's wooshing past in great style and with a lot of flair - is it Superman???

No, even better, it's an 39-year old commuting to work!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Lunchtime walk

The river is just behind the Uni.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Animal noises

The last couple of nights in bed we heard the strangest animal noises. A low grunting of some sort, very guttural. We had no idea what it was, but it sounded either like a mating call from an over-excited kangaroo somewhere on the hill (not that we know what that sounds like), or a smaller animal very close by - under our bedroom window for example.

We both thought it could be a bear of some sort - but there are no bears here, just koalas. Then Age remembered reading something about the noise koalas make, and that they sound rather unattractive.

Well, after hearing this we knew that it had to be a koala! And very close by too. So today Age had a look around the house to see where the nearest eucalypt tree was, and there is a very big one just across the road from us. And tadaaa! It had a sleeping koala in it!
I know, it's hard to see, but if you do your best you can actually see 'our' koala wrapped around the trunk of the tree.

It looks further away on the pic than it is in reality - he's sitting halfway up the big tree

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Lots of news

Sooooooo, I've survived my first four days at work! The daily routine is totally different from my previous life as a self-employed worker who works from home. Now the alarm goes off at 6.30am (crisis!). Age and I get up together, have breakfast and hop in the car at 7.30am. A few minutes past 8am we arrive for our early bird parking spot in the CBD. Then it's a short walk to our respective workplaces, and if we want to we can be at our desks at 8.10am. We can also start the day with a coffee somewhere in a cafe. The thing is that if we leave a little bit later, we'll arrive a LOT later and miss our early bird parking for $12 per day. Arriving later than 8.30 in the car park means paying $30 and up for the day. By sharing the car we keep our transport costs managable, although we are looking at other options too, like cycling to work and purchasing a scooter and/or a motorbike.
University building (University of Adelaide)
Another University building (UniSA)

And yet another University building (University of Adelaide). All these buildings (and more) are situated next to each other. Quite an impressive sight.

Cycling sounds attractive, but it's 17k's from door to door, and not flat - Adelaide city is as flat as a pancake, but it's seriously hilly where we live. I have good shower facilities at work, but Age doesn't - so he's looking into joining the Uni's gym for this purpose. And.... we don't have our bicycles in Ozzie yet.

But that's going to change as WE JUST SOLD OUR HOUSE in New Zealand! How amazing is that!! We have been under offer for a week or so, but weren't very excited as the offer was conditional upon the sale of our purchasers' home. You never know how long it is going to take before they sell. But out of the blue another couple appeared, had a look at our place, and put an unconditional offer in. We signed it, and now the first couple has got 3 working days to make their offer unconditional - by selling their home, or by arranging bridging, or whatever way they find to do it. Either way, the place is sold! Both parties wanted to settle mid December, which means that it needs to be empty by then.
Huge hothouse in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, which is around the corner from where I work.
Coincidentally, Age has to be in Wellington at the beginning of next week, so he's added a few days to make our home ready for the removal company. They will pack and lift our stuff up on Friday next week, and will do the final cleaning as well. We still have to get rid of 9m3 of furniture to get it all in a 20ft container. That'll be Age's job too :-)
The container will be shipped to Adelaide, probably arrive late December, checked by customs / biosecurity, and then partly unpacked for storage. We have a furnished rental place till June'12, so don't need much.

Things are suddenly moving very fast! By the way, even with the rigid current routine, we are enjoying our new lives quite a lot. It's nice to be in a city again. It's also nice to be in such a leafy and green area. A lot more trees here than in New Zealand, strangely enough. Another thing that is amazing is the climate. We've had rain almost every day (I don't know whether that's normal), but also temperatures in the high 20's and early 30's. And balmy evenings - just like you're on holiday all the time. Then there's all these tropical fruits, yumm, especially the mangos at the moment, they are devine!

[pics below: impression of Melbourne, where I was with Age a couple of weeks ago. Left: the best street in town. Centre: Melbourne Station. Right: CBD.]

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Almost missed my own immigration!

This morning - seems ages ago - Anne picked me up from home to drop me off at the airport. She was highly amused by my little black bag of only 18 kg's. People who immigrate should have tons of bags and stuff. Well, not me. I did, however, pack the strangest things, like my golf umbrella holder, Age's cycle shoes, lots of books for work, my favourite cookbooks, some kind of internet cable, an adaptor for the iphone for in the car, my brilliant headset, ... This just means that I need to shop for clothes this weekend. But that's easy enough.

The flight from Nelson to Aukland was fine, but we were about 10 minutes late, and when I checked my schedule I actually only would have an hour before I had to board my next plane. After checking my schedule again, as I found that a bit tight, it became even worse, as departure would be within the hour, and boarding at least half an hour before that.


Of course I never got my bag, the baggage handlers had a coffee break or so, and what normally takes only 2 minutes now took 20 minutes. So I had 10 minutes left to get from the Domestic terminal to the International terminal, to check in, to clear security, and to go to the gate to board. In other words, I would probably miss my flight to Australia!! Aaarghhh.

As soon as I got my bag I started running and ran all the way to the international terminal with my trolley - that is about 10 minutes. So my advice to all of you is to keep fit. You never know when you need your lungs. The first thing I saw on the board was that the Check In had closed. CLOSED. Aaarghhhh.

But I saw this queue still standing there for the counters, so I thought I'll just join the queue too. After 10 seconds in the queue I asked the lady in front of me where she was going to. Los Angeles, she said. Hmmm, that queue wasn't going to get me to Australia. There were two ground staff still sitting at their empty counters, processing a pilot or something like that, and I jumped over the fence and asked if they could check me in to Melbourne. O lalala, check in was closed, so they had to make a call. While one of them made a call, the other one told me to jump the queue, bring my bag over and she would check me in. Woohooo.

Then, I suddenly seemed to have landed in one of those airport documentaries, they got me my personal stewart, who had to run me through customs, security, and then to the gate, which was of course miles away in some corner of the airport. When we arrived at the gate, sweating like a pig, I'll tell you, they hadn't started boarding yet :-) And I desperately needed to pee, so when they started boarding I sneaked away to find a loo. Pfew.

Oh, and another tip: it may not be so smart to put your umbrella holder in your hand luggage, as customs in Auckland as well as Melbourne was highly interested in it. 'What are those big bolts you have in your bag there?' 'What the hell is that?'. I have to say, if I was working in customs I would be suspicious too. It looks a bit like a machine gun.

The rest of the trip went fine. And now I'm home.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Champion of Champions Hokitika

I have been terribly busy last week, with work actually and getting ready for my move. I got a bit in a state of panic early in the week, as I couldn't oversee all those little things that had to be done besides my work commitments, but after I'd made a bit of a schedule it became clear what I had to do and when. And that there wouldn't be a spare hour till I hop on the plane on Thursday.

Anyway, in the midst of it all would be this heaven of tranquillity: my trip with Anne to Hokitika, to play in the 'Champion of Champions Golf Tournament' (doesn't that sound great). A tournament played in one day over 36 holes. Anne was going to be my caddie, she would push the trolley with golf clubs, wet weather gear (it always poors in Hokitika), and lots of food, while I would swing some clubs around to try and get this ball from A to B.

She picked me up half an hour late early on Saturday morning (Anne is always late) - I could have slept an extra 30 minutes! - and after a site visit with some prospective clients (Anne is an architect - anybody in need of architectual plans for a new home, renovation or extension??) we were on our way.

Chat chat chat chat chat chat - coffee in Murchison - twitter twitter twitter - lunch in Reefton and another coffee. Reefton was packed with golf ladies from all sorts of other clubs who were traveling to the same tournament. We were spotted by a lady who somehow recognised us as being golfers, which was interesting. After a visit to the loo, off we went again - chat chat chat chat - arrival in Hokitika, that was quick!

We were planning on having a look at the golf course and play 9 holes together, but somehow we weren't really in the mood to play. Maybe it was getting too late or so, or perhaps we just wanted to chill out on the couch with tea, chocolate, and chippies. The threathening clouds didn't help either. So we just kept it at having a look at the golf course and getting my registration done.

Anne had made her famous curry, which we had for dinner that evening. Some more chatting, and then to bed! You won't believe it, but the tournament would start at 7.30 the next morning! That reminded me of old times, where we had rowing regattas with a start at 7am. And if you didn't manage to win your heat you could be out of the regatta at 7.10am. Now that's encouraging. At least golf takes a whole day.

Somehow we managed to fall out of bed at 6am, do our things, get organised (yes, even Anne) and go to the club. I would compete in a team thing, with two other players from our club, and in an individual Nett and Gross competition in the Bronze division, for players with handicaps 18.5 - 24.4.

It always poors in Hokitika, and the forecast was terrible. So we were prepared for swimming on the course. We also heard that we possibly were going to play only 18 holes, and not 36, because of the wet conditions. To make a long story short - we were prepared for everything, but not for FINE weather. We needed MORE sun lotion, and a lot LESS clothes, as there was no rain to be seen - yeah, somewhere in the distance. We were cooking!
We had a lovely time on the course, Anne even enjoyed being a caddie, which was a new experience for her (and for me), the course itself was incredibly different from our own course, which is a lot more closely mowed, and has much faster greens. The grass here tried to eat my clubs all the time, so I had a lot of crappy shots. Luckily in my group we all seemed to have that problem. Putting was something else - the ball just didn't roll at all! I guess after 36 holes of this kind of putting I will completely over-shoot our own greens.

To make a very long story short: we had a lovely meal afterwards, and there appeared to be a prize-giving ceremony as well. Put a room full with cackling women and you don't hear a word of what's being said, so we just clapped when everybody else clapped. Miraculously, somehow I picked up my name in the cackling - I had won a prize!!! I was second in my division with my Nett score. I was baffled, I still am actually. Isn't that cool :-)
Afterwards, Anne and I crashed back on the couch with tea, chocolate, and chippies. And then to bed. To wake up the next morning feeling like we had been hit by a train. My goodness, we were quite knackered.
We took our time to get up and so, checked out of the motel, and started our journey back home.

Chat chat chat chat - Coffee in Reefton - twitter twitter twitter - Murchison: shall we play some golf here? Yes, let's do it. Okay then. Off we went to this pretty 9 hole golf course and had a nice game of golf. We each had our own cloud with sandfly-groupies that travelled the whole nine holes with us. Funny that they are swarming around your butt most of all. We wondered if farting would keep them at bay. Our golf was pretty atrocious, but we both ended with the 'drive of the day' and the 'fairway shot of the day'. So that's good :-)

Chat chat chat and we ended up in Nelson again! Anne dropped me off at home, I had a quick lie on my bed, a shower, and was off to Anne's mum, who had cooked a lovely dinner for us. After that I literally crashed back into bed again. And one of the first things this morning on my agenda was..... a whole body hot stone massage from my Dutch neighbour. Pure bliss!!

Tomorrow is my last day in New Zealand - on Thursday I'll fly to Adelaide (if Qantas cooperates nicely), and work starts on Monday!!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Rugby madness

Finally we've come to the end of six weeks of Rugby World Cup 2011 here in New Zealand. The average New Zealander probably has no idea what's happened in the rest of the world during this tournament, because there was nothing on the news or in the papers that was NOT rugby. And there will probably be a couple more weeks with 'analysis'...

Anyway, the final between France and New Zealand was an unexpected thriller and great to watch. I was literally jumping up and down on the couch, texting with Age, who was watching the game in Adelaide, and texting with my brother Maarten in The Netherlands, who apparently also watched the game there! The All Blacks won with only one point difference.

Here a report of these txt conversations during the match, which started at 9pm.
(A Try for NZ - 5 points to NZ)
9.17pm - Age: Try!
9.18pm - Evelyn: Are you watching the game, eh? Those French made a blitz-start, didn't they?
9.18pm - E: He missed!
9.19pm - A: Yes, shit
9.19pm - E: That's already the second one he's missed

9.30pm - E to M: Rugby final now: try for NZ
9.30pm - M: That kicker Leepu missed already three penalties
9.30pm - E: Yes, that's not very good, isn't it. Weepu.
9.40pm - E: Aaargh overextended knee
9.40pm - M: Softie, he's just tired
(When NZ's number 10 got carried away from the field after his knee bent the wrong way)

9.40pm - E to A: Aargh overextended knee, eeeeks
9.41pm - A: Yes, couldn't see it properly, but doesn't look good, eh
9.41pm - E: Yuk yuk
9.44pm - E: Ooooowwwwww
9.44pm - A: Woooeaaaaaa
9.44pm - E: Pfewww
9.45pm - E: Ow, punching each other now
9.46pm - A: Just a bit of teasing and provoking, eh

(Halfway Break)
9.56pm - E to A: Cup of tea, dishwasher is running, cookie
9.56pm - E: Finished my cookie
9.56pm - A: Tssssk.
9.57pm - A: I still have to have dinner - I can't cook right now
9.57pm - E: Yes that's impossible now. I had chicken and satay for tea
9.59pm - A: Yummm

9.59pm - E to M: Second half now.
10:00pm - M: Predictions from the analists here: France is going to win
10.00pm - E: Awww really? That wouldn't be good for NZ's self-esteem.

10.01pm - E to A: I'm texting with Maarten, he's watching the game also. Comments during the break in The Netherlands: France is going to win!
10.01pm - A: Nah, that's not going to happen

10.01pm - A: Wow, that looked quite good, eh
10.03pm - E: What, from France? (no idea what he's talking about really)
10.03pm - A: That kick
10.05pm - E: Different kicker
10.05pm - A: Donald
10.05pm - E: Duck
10.05pm - E: Whoooaaaa
10.06pm - A: Goal!
(8 points for New Zealand now)
10.07pm - E: Aaaaarrrgghhhh
10.07pm - A: Shit
(Try for France, which makes it 8-5)

10.07pm - E to M: Eeeeeks a try!

10.12pm - E to A: They're getting a bit nervous here, the commentators. They think France is currently performing better than the AB's. They're running just that little bit faster and seem to want it more.
10.19pm - E: The commentators aren't very happy anymore

(Somewhere here the French scored 2 more points, which made it 8 to 7 for NZ)

10.25pm - E to A: Olala
10.25pm - A: Yes, that wasn't very good
10.26pm - E: It's not very good at all anymore

10.31pm - A: Nice kick
10.31pm - E: Yes! He's making his World Cup debut here in the final
10.33pm - E: Ooowwww
10.33pm - A: Hahaha
10.35pm - E. Six minutes left
10.36pm - E: The commentators are expecting a dropgoal from the French anytime now
10.36pm - A: The AB's got to show them something soon
10.37pm - E: Sonny Bill Williams, Sonny Bill Williams

10.37pm - E to M: Ah hotshot SBW in the field now
10. 38pm - M: Is that Kiwi slang for Handsome Maori?

10.43pm - E: Aargh
Final whistle - New Zealand won 8 to 7
10.44pm - A: Pfffff
10.44pm - E: My goodnesssss

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Cosy together in the bathroom

Age has a nice new friend in the bathroom. He does hide and seek now and then: one day he's sitting quietly in the corner and the other day he's gone. And the next day he's back!

This one doesn't fit in the category 'slap with a shoe'.

- Evelyn

Friday, 14 October 2011

Bye Ziva!

Today I've brought Ziva away to the vet to be put down. I just couldn't face it anymore seeing her all day long and thinking 'I have to bring you away soon'.

Her back end wasn't getting any better and she ran out of time.

Very sad, although Ziva's been really happy all along.

- Evelyn

Monday, 10 October 2011

Got the job!!!

Yes yes yes!!! Got an 8-month contract at the University of South Australia as Instructional Designer at the Division of Health Sciences.

I will be responsible for the design, development and implementation of an education model in the context of Aged Care.

For insiders, this means:
1) setting up a training and mentoring program to enhance clinical supervisory capability;

2) developing a structured orientation program that inducts students and staff to aged care inter-professional placements;

3) and developing the contents of the Aged Care programme.

All in all a broad range of tools and resources will need to be developed, including online.

Woohoo, start 7th November.

- Evelyn

Friday, 7 October 2011


Ik heb de hele avond al zo'n lol over die NS plaszakken!
Ieder uur komt er weer een nieuwsberichtje bij met een mening van een of andere betrokken groep en verdwijn ik onder de tafel van het lachen!

- Evelyn

New blog added in links

Now and then things change a bit in the right-hand menu. I've just added another blog, which may be interesting to follow. It's from Maaike, someone I know from rowing, who has sailed the world, met a farmer and lives with her farmer in France. Her life on the farm can be followed on her blog.

Her blog is written in Dutch. Maybe the google translate module can help a bit :-)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Sleepless night

Yes I know, we kept to ourselves the last couple of days, but that had its reasons:
  1. Age is working now, and is the one with the mobile internet connection. Long story short: I'm not so well-connected at the moment :-)
  2. We have been busy with our new car
  3. We have been busy with a lot of other things, you know, like cooking, reading a book, walking along the beach...
This sleepless night I mentioned in the title has to do with 'the perfect car buying scam'. The scam works as follows:

Look for a car on the internet. Find one you like from a very kind private person, not a dealer. Make sure the car is as far away located from you as possible, in a tiny village. Test-drive the car on the weekend and be really happy with its performance. Agree on a price with the owner and pay a $200 bond that you arranged beforehand from the bank, where you just opened a bank account because you are new in the country; because of that you haven't got the money yet, as it is still underway from New Zealand to Australia.

Receive a receipt that you have paid the bond. Then the long weekend starts, and banks don't transfer money on holidays, so the first possible day you can pick up the car is the day the money comes through, which is Tuesday. Arrange with the very kind owner to pick the car up on Tuesday after work. Because you have found this car as far away as possible, it will be a trip of 1 hour to get there, but you are looking forward to that too, as you get to drive back in your new car, and even have dinner somewhere on the way back.

Arrange with the rental car company that you will return the rental car you have been driving all the time that evening. Get yourself picked up from work by your girlfriend with the rental car and start the pleasant drive to your new car's destination. Your girlfriend has been busy all day getting the money sorted. This precious cargo sits safely tucked away somewhere in her handbag. The very kind owner preferred cash above a bank cheque, so the handbag is a lot heavier than usual.

You are enjoying the ride very much, as you are reading the map and just found a lovely scenic drive down to the coast where you are going to. You arrive at the destination, the car shines beautifully and is ready to be picked up. The very kind owner has arranged the necessary form, and together you'll fill this out. The money is handed over and finally the car is yours. The owner is sad to see the car go. You can't wait to get in the car and go. So off you go then, with your girlfriend driving the rental car. The girlfriend thinks the car looks rather cool, when driving behind the new car.

You and your girlfriend are quite hungry, so you decide to have something to eat near by, in fact about 1km from where you picked up the car. You both have a hearty meal of home made hamburgers and fries, with something to drink, and then decide to go home, but get some petrol first. Your girlfriend gets in the rental car and drives to the nearest service station, about 500m away. She gets her petrol, pays and finds it strange that you haven't showed up yet. She digs in her handbag for her phone, where she finds your message: 'the car is dead'.

Hmmmmmm. That doesn't sound all that well, does it? So I drive back to find Age sitting in the BMW, which does absolutely nothing, not even the interior light works, while everything just worked fine before dinner! In the dark (it's evening after all), we try to read the owner's manual, you know, that lovely booklet that comes with your car, which you only touch when something is not quite right. Our first thought is the battery of course, but that would be really strange, as there were no signs at all before that there would be something wrong with the battery.

So then we thought of the key. We had the feeling the battery in the key (and we only got 1 key) was flat, and we figured that the key communicates with the electrical circuit somehow, so maybe that was it. So off we went to the service station again (with the rental car), where an ultra friendly staff member helped us out. Yes, they had a battery for our key, yes they had the tools to open the key. All fixed within a minute, we would be underway soon.

One thing we found in the manual was that after changing the battery in the key you have to reset the key with tons of difficult steps like pushing the left button on the key 3x in a row, then also the right button, then turn the key in the ignition while you press those buttons, turn it back, release pressure from the right button, etc. And then the central locking mechanism should click into place and it would all work again. So Age, our master programmer, tried it 20x, but the car was still dead. We looked under the bonnet, but couldn't find anything wrong with the battery and/or the fuse box. Everything looked lovely under the bonnet (in the dark).

Hmmmm. What next?? We rang the very kind previous owner, but he had never experienced anything like it before, and is not a mechanic, so couldn't help us further. Fair enough.
Then we rang roadside assistance. We weren't members yet, so had to sign up on the spot for assistance: ka-tsjing: $280. As we were in this beautiful far away town, roadside assistance would be with us hopefully within an hour - they had to come from Adelaide. It was only 8.45pm, so not that late...

Fifteen minutes later (!), a local tow truck suddenly appeared. The friendly faced tow trucker had a battery pack with him, and hoped that that would help. It didn't, our battery was just fine, but the car wasn't doing anything. Very strange, he thought, but he could tow us away to a nearby yard, where they would repair the car first thing in the morning. We had no other choice, as we were stranded on a parking spot on the main road in this village, a parking spot where you were only allowed to park for 2 hours.

The friendly faced tow trucker said that he understood our concerns, but we could trust him, as he was police vetted. And we could drive with him to the yard, to see where the car would stay for the night. So we gave him our one key, and he got to work and placed our car onto his tow truck. We started to make some pictures, as somehow this started to feel like the perfect scam to us.

We followed the truck to the yard, where a car repair workshop was, and the tow trucker unlocked the gates and reversed in. Before he got our car off his truck, he asked whether we had insurance on the car. Not that anything would happen to the car, it would definitely going nowhere behind the gates, but you never know. No, we only had third pary insurance, which we thought was enough. It would be a bit strange to insure the car at 10pm at night. Luckily for us the tow trucker offered to ring a family member who worked for an insurance company who may be able to do something. But no thanks, we didn't think insurance was necessary.

So he got our car off the truck, locked it, and placed a note for the mechanics under the wipers. We also got a business card so that we could call the repair company the next morning. And Age asked a business card from the friendly tow trucker.The towing bill was $55. Then the tow trucker left and we went in our rental car back home to Adelaide.

But not really. Either everyone in this village was incredibly friendly, or they were all involved in the perfect car scam. We drove away... and took the first left after a few kilometers, and again, and again. And were convinced that we would see the tow trucker again, with a bunch of other friendly locals, busy getting our car whisked away from the yard.

But our car was still there when we arrived back, and there was no one else. So reluctantly we drove back to Adelaide, where we had a bit of a sleepless night, well, what was left of it.
The next morning, Age is taking his shower (a loooonggggg one to wake up) and his phone rings - at 7.15am or so. The mechanic: they had found the BMW with the note, they had had a look and found out what was wrong: one of the contact points of the cable from the battery to the fuse box was corroded and so the cable was split in halve (if I understand it correctly). We could pick up the car in half an hour if we wanted to.

Plain bad luck. No evil locals!
The previous owner of the car felt really sorry after he heard the story and offered to contribute whatever we wanted to compensate for the expenses we made.

Sunday, 2 October 2011


 We almost missed this Koala, as it wasn't sitting high up in the trees where we were looking, but quite low at our height!

 Age's busy making a pic of the Koala.

Sunbathing turtles

Evelyn in Glenelg, reading the news + email on phone.

 And... our new car.

It's a long weekend here now: labour weekend. We're all a bit confused at the moment, as since today we have daylight saving too (missing an hour!). Tomorrow is Age's last holiday before work commences on Tuesday. That means that I'll have to sort myselves out from then on :-)

Besides buying a car we've been busy opening a bank account here, and sorting out how buying a car works, insurance, and getting an Australian drivers licence. We found out that the temporary work visa we have at the moment is quite restricting in some respects: we can't get a credit card for example, or buy a house. It looks like working towards permanent residency will be one of the next things on our list after we're a bit more settled in.

Work-wise for me there are some things happening too: I have been asked to do some more instructional design work for a distance polytechnic in NZ, and on Thursday I'll be having an interview with the University of South Australia for an 8-month instructional design project, starting early November. Exciting!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Our first spider!

So we're sitting on the couch in our new apartment (next door from our previous apartment), where we have this antique fire place. Painted black, with a white border.

And suddenly, while watching tv Age says 'o'. And there is our first creepy crawler: a white tail spider. Crawling from the blackness onto this bright white boarding.

We recognise it, as we have them in NZ too. Of course this particular one is a lot bigger than any of the white tails we've seen before. Doesn't surprise us as everything is bigger here.

Anyway, a slap with a shoe and then some prodding with a kitchen utensil and it's gone to white tail heaven. That's what Age promised me, as I wasn't sure he actually hit it - i was sure it disappeared back into the blackness.

Age said that if it survived this treatment he'll immediately go back to NZ.

- Evelyn

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Old timer experience

Finding a second hand car for not too much money turns into quite an experience. Yesterday was spent on testing the quality of a 2001 South Australian Holden and a 2003 Peugeot 206, today it was all about the BMWs.
What's interesting about mentioning BMW is the amount of responses with well meant advise we got! But stubborn as we are, we always have to try it out for ourselves...

Early afternoon we drove a 1994 BMW 3-series. Yes, quite a bit older than the Holden and Peugeot, but only slightly cheaper.
While Evelyn always promptly hands in her driver's license as security for the owner, I take the steering wheel. Evelyn then has the additional task of finding a test route on the iPhone with GPS. Since this dealer was situated next to the motorway, we thought we should make use of that and include it in our test (we're getting the hang of it - could almost join the Top Gear crew).
So, we take off and I notice my window is fully opened so I start pressing all buttons but none works. Turns out that there is no button for raising the window: you just have to turn the handle... Luckily Evelyn points it all out, and starts navigating us through our test round.
I have to say, never driven a car before that's so direct in it's steering. Great experience till Evelyn realizes that the route we've taken doesn't actually enter the motorway but goes underneath it... At the same time the fuel indicator starts lighting up, so turning back seems the best option. (In a previous episode we stranded on the motorway near Wellington whilst testing a VW Golf without any petrol).
So, whilst initiating the three point turn we both realize that before we started our test ride we were unable to determine how one actually puts the gearbox into reverse. Oh oh...! And so we end up parked at a 30 degree angle against the curb. And no way to get that gear box into reverse! We both know how to do it in a VW: you press it down before putting in reverse. We've also had a car with an O-ring that you had to lift. But how is it done in a BMW? There's no O-ring, so perhaps you have to lift it by the knob? So I lift the gear handle by its knob but the next second I'm left with the knob in my hand separated from its gearbox... I've just put it back on; as you do.
And what do you do if you're basically blocking the road and can't reverse? You just drive straight ahead: so up the curb across the grass and... accelerate!
Once back at the dealer we thought we should ask how to put it in reverse. Turns out it's done just like a VW; but this one needs a bit of 'wiggling'. Doesn't sound good, does it?

Tonight the BMW experience got even better. A 7-series for sale in 'excellent condition'. All Internet sites will tell you that these cars are hard to fail: they keep going and that's exactly what the owner tells us as well. So we make our way to an address in North Adelaide and find ourselves looking at a... tank. Big and heavy, and that's what it feels like. I don't know what happened to the power steering, but taking a roundabout was like a workout in the gym. And that wasn't the only thing not working. Because it's a European car I keep hitting the screen wipers rather than the indicator and that told us immediately that the engine driving the wipers was still functioning, but the wipers clearly weren't attached.
Being quite an exclusive model, the dashboard was full of indicator lights but also warning lights, and messages: 'coolant low', 'check owner's manual', and many more interesting literature. Because of the handling difficulties I described before, and all the worrying noises the car makes, I probably missed a number of other alarming messages.
We both soon agreed that this wasn't going to be our bargain of the night.

Nevertheless, we've had the experience of a life time - all in one day.
The search continues.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Aaarghh, cars are difficult!

Finding a car is really hard! There are soooo many and it's soooo easy to keep looking for more features, bells and whistles.

My idea was to buy a crappy car for under $5000. That's not easy as there is a lot of very boring crap. And we don't want boring. So suddenly we found ourselves looking and test-driving $7500-$9000 cars.

We drove a VW Golf cabrio: nice, but not handy. And actually quite hot when you're waiting for a red light in 30 degrees.

We drove a VW Golf from the same age as the one above, to compare driving characteristics. After meeting the dealer and driving the car we both felt the huge urgency to sanitise our hands and take a shower.

Then the third car: a Holden Commodore. Boring!!! But value for money and made in Oz.

Tomorrow we're going to try a Peugeot.

My eyes are constantly drawn to old Beetles, in those sunny bright colours! So nice! There are a lot of oldtimers around, I guess Adelaide probably has the right climate to conserve cars.

We just saw a BMW 5-something for under $2000. Sounds interesting too. To be continued...

- Evelyn

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

We found a little house for the next 8 months

We have been rather productive today and yesterday. We applied for a unit in Norwood (which is very close to the CBD), but didn't get it, because we didn't want to sign up for a lease of 12 months. And that's not what the owner had in mind.

Any spare minute we have is spent browsing the internet, looking for furnished accommodation, also unfurnished because there is so little available for a reasonable price, for cars, and other information. We had one other property on our sleeve that we liked, a bit further from town, in Coromandel Valley. It had an open inspection on Wednesday, but we didn't want to wait that long and managed to arrange an appointment today through the real estate agent. Good for us the owner was at the house and she liked us :-)

It was a very nice and suitable place for us, furnished too, and well priced. We closed the deal more or less on the spot there and then and after the agent checked us out with our references we got it! Good news, and one major thing that we can remove from our list.

The next days we'll be busy with:
  1. Finding a car. That's not easy, as we still have a car in NZ, so we don't want to spend too much. Rather as little as possible. But there is just too much choice: a 1973 Volkswagen Beetle old model? A VW Golf cabriolet? A Landrover? An Audi? A horrible Mercedes? Or an MG?
  2. Opening a bank account
  3. Finding accommodation for the coming week.
  4. Arranging flights and hotel in Melbourne, as Age's first job in his new job takes place in Melbourne.
  5. Enjoying Adelaide :-)
We are actually really enjoying ourselves, driving around in our car, criss-cross through Adelaide, today in 31 degrees! Very nice. Our new rental place is quite close to Belair National Park, which we visited today for a quick walk around a small lake. We saw lots of different duck species, lorikeets, parakeets, cockatoos, and turtles! So nice! And we ate our lunch in Blackwood's botanical gardens, where we saw lots of birds too - a shame all those colourful birds fly so fast and so high in the canopy.

We also regularly walk along the beach here in Glenelg, and go for a stroll in the neighbourhood. It's amazing how many people live in a mansion (a huge characterful house), how do they do that?? Not only here, but everywhere, there are so many very nice houses; we'd like to know how to get one too!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

House hunting has begun

After a nice breakfast in Glenelg we headed out in our rental car to drive by a few possible furnished rentals we had shortlisted.

First we went quite far North to Mawson Lakes and found the two properties we were looking for. We didn't like it very much, it's a major development area and looked pretty much the same as those cramped new developments in The Netherlands (like Stadshagen in Zwolle). It didn't feel like Adelaide at all and the commute to the CBD wouldn't be very nice either.

Good knowledge to have, we can delete that area from our list.

Next was a property far South. It took us an hour to get there, and this property on our list happened to have an open inspection time today. But we also found it too far from the city - the commute would be an hour one way according to the real estate agent.

We drove back via a scenic road to a third property that was on paper our favourite. This one was more in the foothills. Very nice, and it looked like a nice place too. But still about 30mins by car to the city over quite windy roads.

We're now looking for more rentals (unfurnished) much closer to town, so that cycling can be an option too.

For the first time in five years: delicious crusty dark bread. We can't stop eating!!!


Saturday, 24 September 2011

In Adelaide!!

We have made it - we're in Adelaide, in a rental place that resembles a run-down apartment in Amsterdam :-)

Adrian picked us up this morning, while we were still hoovering and mopping the floors. Our house has to be open home ready at all times... He dropped us off at the airport and we flew to Chch. Of course they just had had another quake there this morning!

As Age is a Quantas club member we got to use those fancy lounges! Excellent, there's no other word. So convenient! Especially when your next plane to Sydney departs 1.5hrs later than planned!

The delay was caused by a mechanical fault in one of the engines (sometimes you get too much information), and they had to start one engine first, then tow us backwards into the right position and then start the other engine?!

All went okay and we arrived in a very wet Sydney, too late to catch our connection flight to Adelaide. We went onto the next flight, barely had time to enjoy the Qantas lounge in Sydney.

Another 2.5hr flight and now finally we're here where we need to be.

- Evelyn

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Getting ready for take-off

[Me and my mum shortly after her arrival a couple of weeks ago, basking in the sun on our verandah. Those huge thick black pressure socks she's wearing came off almost immediately (but not in time for this photo :-))]

Yesterday we had our goodbye-do. We invited people we got to know here in the last 1.5 years, and it was a great success! People could pop in any time they liked from 5pm onwards, we would serve fingerfood, and they'd bring their own drinks. After contemplating what to serve, we chose a hearty meal with dessert, for those who would be here around dinner time.

That worked really well; I made Osso Bucco - a slow-cooking stew - and it was terrific, also thanks to Age's meat finding abilities! My new nickname: domestic goddess :-) Not sure if I'm happy about that!

Somehow we ended up with way more wine than we started; we figured because of our 'do' being mid-week and people holding back? We served loads of coffee and tea, chocolate and home-baked cake :-)

Today I spent some time in the garden weeding. Imagine how it will look like in three weeks time! A wilderness I think! Age worked on de-installing someone's computer today, and getting his motorbike ready for pick-up. He has sold it!

Tonight we'll be playing tennis, with some more drinks afterwards and some more goodbyes. Tomorrow I'll be playing golf in some sort of team challenge, and Age will mow the lawns and start packing his bag(s). Hmm, me too I assume. And do some washing.

Did I tell you already that we've found accommodation for our first week in Adelaide? It's a basic sort of cottage in Glenelg, near the beach. That will give us some time to sort something out that's more permanent and probably furnished. 'First week in Adelaide', sounds like it's months away, but we're flying out this Saturday :-)


We have people looking after our house, and I'll be back in about three weeks time to see how things are going. Also to work actually - instructional design work.

By the way, now that I'm typing it's funny to see that my right hand is a lot more tanned than my left hand. That's because of golf and wearing a glove!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Less than a week to go...

Apologies for the video clip announcement in my previous post: it didn't work from outside New Zealand. I do have a 1 minute summary of the programme :-)

It's less than a week before we head off to Adelaide! How strange is that! The coming days will be filled with looking for accommodation for the first days, with saying goodbyes here and organising drinks, with me playing a golf match on Friday, with looking for a cattery for Ziva for a couple of weeks, with doing the garden (weeding!), and so forth.

I'm already busy selling lots of clothes through TradeMe. Age is selling his motorbike at the moment. And when the house is sold there is more stuff we're going to sell, as we still want to get rid of 7m3 of stuff.

Now off to James and Gill for dinner! See you later :-)
I played a 27-hole tournament today, so will probably nod off sometime during dinner. We had a beautiful day today, sunny and about 16 degrees. Adelaide hit 30 degrees today - as Matt (from Adelaide) was saying: spring is in the air!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sneak Peak of Adelaide Surrounds

Have a look at this episode of 'My kind of Place', about South Australia, and Adelaide's Barossa Valley and the Murray River in particular. There are a few ad breaks - even in TV on demand, grrr.

It could be that this video is only available for two more days, so no time to waste! Presented by one of McLeod's daughters - you know, those Australian cowgirls :-)

Friday, 9 September 2011

Two weeks to go...

No bites on our deadline sale, unfortunately. No panic though, we get the numbers through, so there must be a buyer somewhere.

The Rugby World Cup 2011 has just started! New Zealand is hosting this event, and it's total madness. The first match is the All Blacks vs Tonga. We're ready for it :-)

Tomorrow another open home.

We have had three different movers around for a quote, and they all say that we have about 7m3 too much stuff for a small container. So we have been busy with our inventory list to identify items, which we could give away or sell. Piano or no piano? Single bed? Table saw? Clothes dryer?

- Evelyn

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Feng Shui

Okaaaayyyy..... My mum discovered my Feng Shui book. On one of the pages it says:

"Feng Shui for a quick sale of your home".
"To speed up the sale of your home, do the following:
Fill a red envelope with:
  • A piece of metal from the kitchen
  • A piece of wood from a skirting board (plint)
  • A bit of dirt from the garden
and throw the envelope in a fast-streaming river."

Hahahaha, you'd think. But.... you never know. So I was certain I'd seen a red envelope somewhere, and I found one (with a stamp :-)) in Age's desk. Then we took a fork from the kitchen, I broke off a little piece of one of the skirting boards in the bedroom, and my mum dug up some dirt from the garden.

And then she took off to a fast streaming stream on the hills behind us. There is a path there, going uphill through the bush, and you really think you're the only one on earth when you walk there. So my mum was walking there, alone, and found a good spot to throw this envelope in the stream. After she'd thrown it in the water, it didn't sink immediately, so she pushed it down with a stick or something. When she looked up there was a girl standing behind her!! The girl said: "hey a red envelope!" And tried to fish it out of the water. "No No, hands off," my mum said, "this is Feng Shui".

Anyway, the girl walked away, and my mum too, a little bit behind. When she came around the corner, there was this girl, talking to a man! Anyway, my mum had to pass them, and actually nothing happened. We'll never know what they talked about, but the envelope probably has been fished out of the water already. And my mum might be happy not getting fined for trying to contaminate the stream with a red envelope :-)

Monday, 5 September 2011

3 weeks to go!

This weekend we had the last of our three open homes before the deadline sale on Thursday. We had 9 parties through this time, and it flushed out one prospective buyer. We accumulated 3.5 possible parties who might go and do something on Thursday. The .5 is a couple where the man had set his eyes on our house 18 months ago, and when he drives past it he always thinks 'when this one comes on the market I want it', but his wife isn't so keen as he is. And according to the real estate agent: 'the wife always wins'.

Today is Age's last trip to Wellington! I just dropped him off at the airport for the last time! Goodbye-drinks on Tuesday, and then Wednesday a slow day and coming home again. He initially planned to have two weeks off after that until we depart to Adelaide, but one of those weeks has already been filled with work in Canberra.

My mum is still here, and has unbelievably good weather. There hasn't been a cloud in the sky these two weeks she has been here. She is enjoying the garden, the house, the outdoor furniture, and the scenery, and we've been driving around a lot. We also played golf on a 9 hole golf course, on the Kina Cliffs. The name says it all, 'cliffs'. It's quite steep! But beautiful, with incredible vistas. On one of those steep slopes my golf cart decided to go the other way! It took off on it's own, downhill. We couldn't even see it anymore, and we laughed so hard that it hurt. It came to a standstill eventually, upside down, with clubs and stuff everywhere.

Yesterday, after we cleaned the house for the open home, we went to Mapua for lunch, and then to Abel Tasman National Park to sniff the seabreeze and walk the first 500m (!) of the famous track. It was getting late and cold, that's our excuse :-)
Age played tennis with James, who had just returned from a 4-week holiday to the UK, and who wanted to check whether he could still play tennis.

An eventful week this week, with Age's finish with The MetService, our deadline sale on Thursday, and my mum going home again, also on Thursday.