Wednesday, 5 October 2022

nb Waka Huia is out of the sick bay

Thank heavens for our friend Julia, Debdale Wharf Marina staff and John's Boat Canopies. They have all helped to get Waka Huia well again after her two years out and about between Debdale and London without us...

It's been quite a convalescence for our poor old boat. She has needed wooden panels (and trim) replaced where leaking window frames had been neglected and the panels suffered water damage. 


One of several ...

Window frames have been repaired, a missing light fitting has been replaced, the whiteware has been cleaned out and all the doors have been left propped open, the curtains, squab covers and Duvulay topper pad covers have been removed for washing, and some pillows and cushions that were in a parlous state along with other tat have been dispatched to the tip. And the outside of the boat is getting a thorough wash.

If we had CSI-inclined friends, we could probably get this dirt forensically examined and plot where nb Waka Huia has been over the last 2.5 years ...

The Debdale people are winterising her so she will be in working condition when we return in April - boaters reading this will know that unless the boat is winterised effectively, we would likely come back to burst water pipes, a non-functioning water pump, condensation and diesel bug in the diesel tank, and toilet tank contents that would take a jackhammer to dislodge ...

As it is when we get back, we know we will need to do a thorough clean of the inside of the boat - cigarette smoke lingers and sticks and stinks...

We have arranged with John of John's Boat Canopies to come to us as soon as we arrive to measure up for a new pram cover as the old one is now a shadow of its former self with missing eyelets and broken zips and much mildew and it reeks of cigarette smoke.


And for our bed I am ordering a new mattress that I will ask to be there when we arrive.

We aren't sure what equipment will need replacing, but we can sort that when we arrive. We are going to stay with Julia for a couple of nights so we can break ourselves in gently and shop for the necessities easily.

We are really looking forward to being back on board, and simultaneously we are anxious about what we are going to find.

Trust me, we have learned our lesson well - having to pay a few thousand pounds in convalescent care is a good teacher, and being informed that there will be no contribution from the one who caused the injuries cements the lesson firmly...

Thursday, 15 September 2022

A birthday visit and painting

 Saturday was our daughter Kirsty's birthday. Hardly seems possible that she is 45 - not saying she isn't grown up. She absolutely is, but it seems like only a few years ago that she was a very little kid.

At Caffray Ave, Whanganui when she was probably about 1
In Masterton at QE II Park

First day of school, so that's 40 years ago in 1982. Outside at Cherswud, in Johnsonville.

Year 2 at Paparangi Primary School

 She has resumed a pattern of coming back to Wellington from Sydney for her birthday (now that travelling is possible again). She has an extremely wide circle of friends here in Wellington, so David and I (and most of them I think) are allotted a place in the timetable of her visit. She showed David her spreadsheet for the week ...

We had Friday, and considered ourselves extremely fortunate to have such an extensive time.

Kirsty had requested that we go bike riding in the Hutt. However, as I am still up to my a*se in alligators work-wise, I suggested that she and David go for a bike ride here in Waikanae and I'd make lunch while they were out.

That plan was amended to lunch first - cheese tart, roasties with rosemary, lettuce salad and coleslaw. The leftover cheese tart was quickly placed in a plastic container for Kirsty to take back to Lisa and Max's place. Somehow though, we all agreed that it would be lucky to survive the train trip in to Wellington ...

Kirsty has only recently learned to ride a bike. I am not sure why she was never interested as a kid, but she wasn't. However in November, she and some friends are going to Rarotonga and hiring bikes for tripping around is part of the plan. So learning to ride was required. Kirsty has bought a bike and regularly goes out riding along the riverbank which is reasonably  accessible from where she lives. On Friday though, she had my e-bike. I had suggested she might like me to raise the seat as she is a fair bit taller than me. But she was fine with it in its position. It did mean that she could reach the ground where I definitely cannot!

I sent the two intrepid cyclists on a mission to Harrison's Garden centre - to buy a bird feeder plus seeds and bird cakes. Kirsty facetimed me from Harrison's and showed me the three feeder options, asked my opinion, got it (either of those two but not that one). So of course they came back with the 'not that one', didn't they?

Once the bird feeder was filled and attached, we had dessert - in a rush, as Kirsty had a train to catch back in to Wellington. And as there had been a fatality at Mackay's Crossing south of Raumati, we drove her to Paekakariki to get the train at 5.04. Of course, the left over chocolate brownie was packed into another plastic container for the lovely daughter to take away. She is so good at saving us from ourselves!

As it turns out, the 'not that one' bird feeder was a good choice and the birds love it! Bird cakes (peanut flavoured) in one side and seeds in the other. It hangs beneath the bottle of sugared water that the waxeyes drink from all day. And it is a delight! When I am at my desk and stressing about a deadline or a particular word that has disappeared from my built-in thesaurus as I am writing documents, looking out at the birds feeding is such a pleasure.

Sparrows and waxeyes feasting

The tui thinking about it

The tui drinking sugar water

The waxeye hanging on to the tube and drinking, and his friend waiting its turn


I think I need to request a rate increase though - those birds are like teenagers: they just never stop eating! And the pack of 6 cakes costs $13. They can get through 2 cakes in less than a morning and a cup of seeds in the same timeframe!

There has been a change of scenery in the garage over the last couple of weeks. David had, some time ago, requested that we get the rough, tough carpet for the garage. I was happy to sign off that business case. The business case that I was not so happy to sign off was the one that concerned repainting the garage ceiling and walls. However I signed it off, with a sense of dread, because one condition was that himself (aka ACP) would do all of the painting - as the Tui ads say: Yeah, right!

We chose paint - white for the ceiling and light grey for the walls. I said I would paint the scotia and two inches (5cm for us Kiwis) either side of it in the ceiling white. Then I would paint 5cm (2" to the imperialist running dogs) in the grey below the scotia so that ACP didn't have to get close to the WHITE scotia with the roller full of GREY wallpaint.


 So I had to go around after he had finished and sand the grey paint off the white scotia and then repaint the scotia. I could have left it splodgy. But actually, it turns out that I couldn't.

We are getting it done.

Is this David working on the painting? Nope, it's ACP's beloved wife ... Sanding then painting the top 2" or 5cm of the grey below the scotia.

The shelves are still waiting to be painted - I would not have bothered myself, but ACP wanted to have them grey ...

I was reading and he wanted attention - I was ignoring him. And I didn't want him coming in the lounge in his painting clothes as he couldn't guarantee he had not wiped painty hands on his shirt or trackpants in the last few minutes ...



Where did this powerpoint cover come from? Shelves looking good!

A self satisfied pose...

It does look pretty smart.

After a time of wonder, the job was finished - I did do more than the scotia and the clean up of it. I did around all the window and door frames, above, below and between the shelves, and below the bench.

I also did two coats on the entranceway from the hall to the garage (it used to be a hall cupboard, but we made it into internal access for the garage back shortly after we moved in). When Joe and I redecorated the hall, that entranceway was painted in the hall colours - better than replicating the pink of the garage walls and ceiling ... But once the garage was grey and white, the pale lemon (Otorohanga in the Guthrie Bowron palette) didn't look so good.

 I am pleased that David stuck with it - he does find painting a bit of a struggle as, to be fair, he has no capacity for focal length given one eye is a bit no good. So knowing where to stop with the roller is a trifle hit and miss as he swipes upwards - in some areas more hit than miss ...


The carpet is going down on Monday. More then! 

Thursday, 4 August 2022

Fingers crossed, so far, so good

So far, David and I have not had Covid. We have had all 4 vaccinations: the 2 original shots and the 2 boosters, all Pfizer.

We are still wearing KN95 masks on public transport (mandatory, although not enforced by the train guards or bus drivers) and when in shops or shopping areas. I wear my KN95 mask when I walk from the carpark to the work office and I don't take it off in the office unless I am drinking tea or eating lunch.

And a good thing too - I had two meetings on Wednesday in small enclosed meeting rooms with a man (maskless) who yesterday went in to isolation because his wife has tested positive.

I'm being extra careful because I am far and away the oldest in the project team (by at least 10 years) and am in the vulnerable age group, and because I really don't want David to get it - and I am more likely to bring it home to him than he is to me. He has had more than enough health stuff to deal with over the last 3 years. 

And much as I give him shit in this blog and in person, he is an absolute treasure and I love him dearly and I need to keep him healthy.

Here we are at the Opera House with our friend David R - waiting to watch the show The Girl From the North Country. All masked up. The 3 people who came and sat to David R's left were not masked, but most people were.

We are prepared to be wearing masks long term - I always used to wonder why Asian tourists in NZ were always masked. Now I happily wear one myself. 

And one benefit apart from the health one is that no one can see my wrinkles!

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

A blah day

I had my second booster yesterday, and while my arm was fine, today I have felt decidedly blah - tired and a bit down.

I took the day off work and just blobbed.

I am pretty happy to have had a blah day - a far better option than Covid.

The blah and tiredness were probably also contributed to by having worked 6 days of the last 7 - I'm 71 and I don't have the stamina for lots of workdays in a row anymore. Poor me ...

Sunday, 17 July 2022

The CROW has gone on holiday!

 Today, Luke, Di and Lyall came and took the motorhome for a wee holiday - a short break of just over 24 hours. They had planned on a longer and more expensive touristy trip to Rotorua I think, but are now saving for their trip to Scotland over Christmas. So this sojourn is an overnighter and a bit of a treat for Lyall.

I think Lyall thought he may be in with a chance on driving it away ...

Happiness, I reckon!

Why isn't that child looking at the scenery?

Anyway, they are moored up at Himatangi Beach Holiday Park - a short walk from the Cossie Club, the takeaway place that does fish and chips and burgers, and the very well stocked Four Square.

Only one call asking for help - they couldn't light the gas element. Turns out they had turned the element knob just a bit too far and the gas doesn't come through unless the knob is positioned pointing between the flame symbols.

We will see them later tomorrow afternoon.

And in my last post I mentioned how difficult it is to cook a meal that is big enough for two people and no more. Well, here is a case in point: 

A 25cm pan with 2 small onions, 1 kumara, 1 potato (smaller than the kumara), 4 tomatoes in place of a can of them, 1 can of coconut milk, 1 cup of dried but soaked overnight chickpeas so probably 2 cups by volume. Honestly, there's enough for 4 or five people! Watch out Luke - you may be having a vegetarian curry for dinner tomorrow with not a skerrick of meat in sight, mate!

Friday, 15 July 2022

My expensive husband

 On Thursday, I took David over to Lower Hutt to Boulcott Hospital, a private establishment, so that I could spend more of my hard earned cash ...

Thursday's operation was to remedy two cases of trigger finger on his right hand - the middle finger and thumb. Part of the cost for private treatment is the outfit provided: gown that at least goes around the body and doesn't gape at the back ($19), a dressing gown ($25), perky red socks with non-slip soles, and a fetching blue net cap. That mess on the bed is comprised of the clothes he removed.


What the best dressed private patient is wearing these days ...

The operation was short but the waiting for theatre was not. David was the last of the day, in part I think, because his was a local anaesthetic rather than a general. I am pleased about that because he takes a while to wake up from a GA, and as you know, I am not the most patient of people... Really though, he's had a number of GAs since 2019 and they do have quite an effect on us oldies.

I managed to do an hour or so of work over the phone while I was waiting for David to go into theatre and on the way back in the car - handsfree and on speaker: remote meetings can be very effective - COVID conditions have taught us that!

I had a chat with Julie, the woman I am working with and she asked how much this operation was costing: 5 days, I said ...

To be fair though, when the finger and thumb started playing up a few months ago, David said he would wait for the public system. But give they are far from urgent, I knew the wait would be extensive in these COVID times. So I said if it's less than $x to go private, just do it.

So he now sports a large bandage covering his hand and up past his wrist. No getting it wet for two weeks and the dressing has to stay on that long. And he's not allowed to use the hand all that time! 

Dammit! He cannot wash dishes, do the vacuuming, cut or peel vegetables, fetch and carry anything that requires two hands...

He's decided he's going to see if he can learn to print with his left hand in the meantime. So that will keep him busy for a bit.

I am working and, to be honest, there is not much of an additional load with David away from kitchen hand duties. My biggest issue STILL is learning to cook enough for two people, instead of over-catering hugely. Our freezer is jam-packed and a fair amount of that is leftovers. Do you know how difficult it is to cook a vegetable curry that is just enough for two?

Try it: take one potato, one kumara, one piece of pumpkin, a carrot, a small bit of cauli and broccoli, one onion, a cup of chickpeas, a cup of veg stock and a can of coconut milk - and already there's enough for 6!

So today I have been to breakfast with the guys - no point in David coming as he cannot eat with a knife and fork at the moment - been to Bin Inn for nuts, dried fruit, almond butter, and then to the supermarket for the groceries. I've swept and washed the bathroom floor - we've got a few people coming for a mini neighbourhood watch get together for a drink and some nibbles tomorrow arvo. And some housework is required - fortunately David vacuumed the day before his operation ...

It's a beautiful day and I think a walk may be in order. I'll go and see if I can prise David away from his left hand printing practice.

Monday, 11 July 2022

Stormy weather

and the motorhome has retreated to the street!

 I went out to look this morning given we have gale force winds and an atmospheric river heading our way down the North Island. Beside the motorhome was quite a sizeable branch from the huge very old cabbage tree across the driveway from the motorhome, plus a few smaller bits and a large tuft of the leaves - they are about 700mm long and each tuft contains about 150 leaves.

Given the wind is due to strengthen before it abates, I decided to move the motorhome out to the street. The only two dangers it faces now are:

  • someone hitting it in their car - hopefully unlikely as we live in a cul de sac,
  • the lamppost beside it coming down on it - I am trusting these things are constructed to stay upright in very terrible weather conditions.

These had to be moved before I could shift the motorhome which lives around the side of the house to the right of the tap and across from the cabbage tree.

Cabbage tree - very high, very old, very beautiful.

Cabbage tree leaves flew over the house and landed on the outdoor table - we moved it and all the chairs yesterday to protect them from the approaching storm.