Friday, 24 June 2011

Design!

What do you think of this Isamu Nugochi coffee table:
And this Eames / Saarinen chair:
And this Grant Featherson chair:
Yes, we like it too! Delivery is next week :-)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Conversation

E: is Australia bigger than Russia?

A: Russia has 17million square km of land. And oz 7.5million. So Russia is much bigger.

E: geez.

A: and the number of inhabitants is 3:8. So 3 people per square km in oz and 8 in Russia.

E: ah. And The Netherlands? Densely inhabited, so what do you think? Twelve? Twenty? Per square km?

A: (searching in iphone). Netherlands? Four hundred people per square km!

E: !!!- Evelyn


E: and New zealand?

A: do I really have to look that up too?!
16...



Monday, 13 June 2011

More strong quakes in Christchurch

Pffff, happy that I don't have a house to sell in Christchurch. Those poor people there must be mentally exhausted by all those 'aftershocks' - I wouldn't call them aftershocks anymore, they're big enough to just call them 'quakes'. Today a big 5.5 and a 6.0 an hour later, with a lot of damage to the buildings that were already damaged and probably a lot of added stress.

Wine and Ash Cloud

Yesterday we played a tennis tournament here in the countryside, in the Moutere Hills. We were invited to participate, as "we don't have kids and therefore probably had the time" to spend a Sunday doing something trivial as playing tennis. We went from our club with two other players, James and Trish, and after picking them up we drove together to Upper Moutere (pronounce Moe-tuh-rie, or, Moetrie).

Age and I sailed through (not really) the first three matches, then won the semi-finals and then had to play James and Trish in the finals! So the invited guests were going to run away with the prizes!
We lost our finals after a good game, and won two bottles of wine each from a local winery, and then some spot prizes: two real fruit icecreams, which we had on our way back home, and a kilo of grass seed for the lawn :-)

Then in the news is this volcano in Chile, spewing ash into the air. The ash cloud has arrived here, causing airlines to cancel almost all flights between Australia and New Zealand. It seems we arrived just in time back in New Zealand, although Age is planning to go to Melbourne either this week or next week - he doesn't know yet when, and packed a 'just in case' bag for Wellington today. Slightly complicating things for him is the fact that his bag got lost today...

What else... O yes, in Auckland the other day, on our way back from Adelaide, we boarded our flight to Christchurch. The pilot said that 10 minutes earlier we weren't going to depart due to fog in Chch, but things seems to clear up, so we were 'going to take a look'. Off we went, and from the air you could see that in chch it was a clear night, except for some foggy patches here and there. Well, as soon as we were just about on the runway to land we hit the fog and the plane accellerated and off we went again! O dear...

Then we made a bit of a circle, and the pilot announced that we were going to try the other runway! Looking out of the window it didn't look that flash, still patchy fog here and there. But this time luckily we made it, the fog wasn't that thick here, and it appeared that our flight was one of the only ones to land - other services had been cancelled or returned to where they came from. Really, that's a waste of time, isn't it?

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Adelaide - part 5 (Thursday and trip back)

Already our last day in Adelaide! To summarise our decision process in a few words: YES, Age accepts the job offer, and wants to use his time with Matt today to discuss the details of the offer.
Together we went to town to have a look at the new office space, after which Lois, Richard and I left him alone to do his thing. The office is located in the yellow building on the photo, which is an old and heritage type building with retail on the ground floor and many web 2.0 businesses on the first floor, and looks very similar to the Old Bank Arcade in Wellington.

By the time Lois and Richard dropped me off at Roger's for golf, Age had finished his chat with Matt over a coffee - we all thought he would spend his day there, but no, not at all! The negotiations went rather quickly :-) Everyone very excited!

I played golf on a golf course with fairways that could have been our greens, which was a totally different experience. I hardly dared to touch the grass at all to be honest. I was also now and then slightly distracted by all the birds, just like you're walking in the tropical bird area in a zoo, with Galah's, lorikeets, parakeets and God knows what else. All VERY common in Australia, but hey.

In the evening we went out for dinner with Lois and Richard, and Matt and Sarah, to a tapas and pizza place. Again, the food was lovely, and it was nice that everyone was so excited for us to come to Adelaide.

It won't be a matter of just changing one country for the other. We have to go through the whole visa application process from scratch, with health checks, etcetera. For Age's new employer it's the first time they're hiring someone from another country, so we all have to work together to find out what the best route is. Then we also have to sell our house of course, although we could choose to keep it and rent it out and blahblahblah, but we'd rather just start over again.

After dinner we said goodbye to Matt and Sarah, went back to our hotel, set the alarm for the following morning as we would check out and return to New Zealand. We had breakfast with Lois and Richard in their room, muesli and yoghurt, which was really nice for a change, and then said goodbye and see you soon to them too.

All went well on our trip back, and we're back home now! Picked up Ziva from the cattery - no change, no improvement, still incontinent :-( - and need to do some grocery shopping for dinner.
Tennis tournament tomorrow!

Adelaide - part 4 (Wednesday)

Our plan for the day was to do an extended tour of the Adelaide Hills, as tourists. The hills are quite popular with day tourists, as there are little villages to visit, and (I can't remember...) probably also wineries (?). Adelaide has a big German and Italian community, and it shows in villages as 'Hahndorf', and 'Lobethal'. A good thing about that is that we had great German sausages and kartoffelsalad in Hahndorf!! Yummmmm. And there are also heaps of Italian restaurants and cafes - more yummm! The pictures are from Hahndorf.

You wouldn't want to live there though, too touristic, not a 'real' town. But the first village when you go over the hill is Stirling, and there it was actually quite nice. Very green and bushy too, and a 3-lane freeway brings you there in minutes. Lois and I found a fashion store (of course) in the village centre and we both went on a shopping spree!

Back in Adelaide we didn't have much time to change for dinner; Lois and Richard had made arrangements with friends and we would go to their place (the house pictures in one of the previous Adelaide posts feature their home) for drinks and nibbles and then go out to a Vietnamese restaurant. It was really nice to see one of those old houses from the inside, do some putting in the garden (Roger, the owner, had made a putting practice area in the garden :-)), and to ask them questions about working and living in Adelaide. There was another couple as well, so should we decide to move we already have 3 couples (including Matt and Sarah) where we are invited for dinner :-)

What did we learn about Adelaide:
  • tap water is gross. Most people either filter their water or drink bottled water.
  • this year they didn't have many flies, but last year they had a lot of flies.
  • nobody seems overly concerned about spiders, snakes, scorpions, crocodiles, and all those other lovely creatures that we don't have here.
  • ... and probably more. Can't remember.
  • golf seems really expensive, both couples play golf, and pay a $6000 joining fee, and then 'just' $2.500 annual subs. Eeeks! I pay $750 or so per year and found that ridiculous! Luckily there are lots of golf courses in Adelaide, so I have to check them all out, should we move.
The Vietnamese restaurant was great, the food very good, and we had a pleasant evening. Roger invited me for a round of golf the next day, so we all were going to go our own way: Roger and I would play golf, Age would catch up with Matt about his job offer and have a look at the office, and Lois and Richard would have some time for themselves.

Adelaide - part 3 (Tuesday)

On Tuesday we found a nice cafe for our breakfast, and decided to head out to yet another suburb, one that Matt and Sarah particularly like, before we would meet Lois and Richard. They drove from Canberra in a couple of days to Adelaide, with a bit of sightseeing on the side. The recommended suburb was picture-postcard perfect, but the houses there are probably 4x over our budget. Also we saw a lot of lawn bowling clubs, which means that the average age of the population there may be close to 80 years :-)

Age was really good in finding his way around, racing from one suburb to the other. I just can't seem to handle straight streets and square blocks, and got lost everywhere I went. I am much better at curves and hills. What we found is that you can get around really quick from beach to hills, from CBD to suburbs, etc. There are enough roads, and the main roads are all 2 lanes or more. I've never seen so many traffic lights though, that's what you get when you plan a city with a grid-like streetplan.

We met with Lois and Richard at our hotel, where they would stay with us for 3 days, and headed straight to Glenelg on the beach for lunch. After a walk on the pier we thought we'll do some more sightseeing, so we drove to the Adelaide Hills to Mount Lofty, the highest point of the area (which really isn't that high). We noticed that the closer to the hills, the more bush there is in the suburbs. People living in the foothills live more or less in a gumtree forest, which might be quite nice when it's close to 40 degrees in summer. We also read that the average temperature in the hills is 2-4 degrees lower than in the city, and that they have 4 distinctive seasons. So we definitely wanted to check out the hills area, and see how long it would take to get there.

Mount Lofty was really cold! We spent 3 minutes outside and headed straight for the summit cafe with hot chocolate.
On the pictures you'll see over Adelaide, the CBD in the middle, the suburbs around the CBD, the hills close by, and the sea in the distance.

In the evening we went out for dinner, again a pub meal, this time with rather burnt steaks!

Adelaide - part 2 (Monday)

On Monday we had the day to ourselves. My first impression of Adelaide was that I didn't like it very much; the colours of Australia are totally different from New Zealand. Where NZ is fresh, very green (at the moment), white and blue, and with houses in every colour of the rainbow, Australia seems to have every earthy tone there is: brown, beige, yellow, red, and everything in between. And in first instance they only seem to have one tree species, the gum tree (eucalypt).

So on Monday if we were to choose between Adelaide and Wellington, it would definitely be Wellington. I mention Wellington on purpose here, and not Nelson, as it is Wton (or Auckland, or Christchurch for that matter) where the opportunities are. And we decided that we would like to be closer to those opportunities than we currently are. So before we went to Adelaide we sort of decided that we were going to move anyway. But where to wasn't really clear, and the plan was to use this week to sort ourselves out.

What we wanted to see from Adelaide was probably a bit different than what a tourist would want to see, as we'd like to get an idea whether it would be a nice city to live in. So we wanted to check out the suburbs, the landscape, house prices, how quickly you get around through town (Adelaide has over 1 million inhabitants), the quality of the coffee (hugely important), etc. So after a hearty breakfast, a stroll through the main shopping street, a walk along the river Torrens, and finding a great delicatessen foodcourt where we got ourselves a wonderful lunch for a picnic, we headed out in our rental car to a couple of suburbs of which we'd heard that they were particularly nice. The pics below are from Glenelg, a popular beachside surburb.
Adelaide is situated on the South Coast of Australia, so has beaches (and beachside suburbs), and is on the Eastern Side enclosed by hills - the Adelaide Hills, with more hilly and leafy suburbs. The houses are not made of weatherboard, but mostly of sandstone or brick, and there are many houses that look like the NZ cottages or Victorian villas. Besides the small CBD there are no high-rise buildings or flats. Most people live in a house with a garden.


One big difference with NZ is that cafe's and restaurants actually heat their places! I didn't expect that at all, but I also didn't expect just 14 degrees and rain :-)
In NZ you often sit in the cold in winter, but I guess that all those airco's in Adelaide are used in winter to heat the place up. Very comfy!
We had a nice pub meal somewhere after driving around, and a lot of impressions to digest. Also a little bit of a jetlag (Adelaide is 2.5 hours behind NZ), so we went to bed early, and would meet Lois and Richard the next day.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Adelaide - part 1

Saturday a week ago we were just zipping up our suitcase for our trip to Adelaide when the taxi to the airport arrived. So we left a bit in a hurry and forgot our present for Lois!!

We winged to chch on Saturday, had a good meal in the Workingmens Club (a kind of mensa for families, where I believe the majority of the kiwi's has a membership), and left in the middle of the night to catch our plane to Auckland. In Akl we hopped on the plane (with new interior!) to Adelaide, which was a 4.5 hr flight.

All went well, and in Adelaide we picked up our humpy bumpy little rental car and had just enough time to check in at the hotel and a quick shower, before Matt and Sarah picked us up in a huge American tank with chauffeur.

A little inside information: Matt is the owner of an IT implementation and consultation business and he hires Age's services regularly. Sarah is Matt's wife.

Adelaide has some great wine regions, like the Barossa Valley, and McLaren Vale and another one of which I forgot the name. They were going to take us on a wine-tasting tour!

It was great! We definitely have never tasted so many different wines on one day. In NZ you taste 3 or 4 wines, but I think we may have tried at least 30 different wines at 3 wineries. Not that you can tell the difference after 4 wines or so :-)

We had lunch at the second winery, a great platter including some beautiful cheeses, also made at the winery.
The weather was changeable, some rain, some sun, and about 14 degrees.

In the car back to the hotel (and after tasting all those lovely wines) Matt presented Age with a job offer - we definitely had something to think about in the coming days.


- Evelyn

Friday, 3 June 2011

Trying to delete a message

I'm trying to delete a blog post but can't find out how that works through the app on my phone, grrr.

By the way, it's a long weekend here (queen's birthday), the last long weekend before there is another one in October.
We're also nearing the shortest day, which in New Zealand is not bad at all as the days are never so dark and short as in NL. There is already one daffodil blooming in the garden, which seems a bit early to me :-)

Brought Ziva today to the vet's cattery, as she wasn't well and had a fever. Thought she may have a bladder infection or so, but that wasn't it. The vet thought it looked puffy under her tail stump, there might be an infection brewing. Not good news at all, hopefully they'll get it under control.

We just went out for dinner, very nice, and I am now busy getting the fire going. It was 15 degrees in the house all day, brrr. Am in need of a warm and toasty room!


- Evelyn