Sunday 20 March 2016

Productivity is up

This guy was riding his pennyfarthing  as we drove around the Pauahatanui Inlet on our way to Masterton yesterday. There were numerous cyclists around but this was the most remarkable.
Today I have been quite well occupied:

When I got back from staying at Bruce and Gary's overnight, I did my High Intensity Training - 11 minutes on the rowing machine that includes three 20 second bursts of going absolutely flat out.

After breakfast I prepped the the dado rails in the toilet and bathroom - the paint job on those was uneven so I needed to re-do it. The first job was to do a bit of sanding, followed by putting the masking tape on - that took longer than actually doing the painting.

Masking tape on

all around the room, and on two walls in the bathroom.

Two loads of washing and then it was on to wallpapering one of the bathroom walls. While I waited for the paste to go off, I reviewed a document for work and sent off my comments.

I finished the wallpapering in a few hours, but will need to re-paste some bits in the morning. The paper is so absorbent that the paste dries out really quickly and the thin shiny parts don't like to stick! I had the same problem with the wallpaper in the bedroom, but when that was being done I had Dee with me and she was in charge of additional pasting and pressing the reluctant bits to the wall. Where is she, I ask!

I am sure that I will be able to get them to stick down ...
First drop is up next to the wall that has had one more coat of paint above the dado.

Second drop done.

All finished, towel rail re-installed, light switch and powerpoint screwed back in. Floor swept and washed. It's looking pretty good.
It was 3pm by the time I finished and I hadn't eaten since brekkie, so decided to make today a fast day.

Then I made soup from the 3kg of tomatoes I got at the market yesterday.

Half of the tomatoes are still in the sink

and half are in the pot

Ready to cook, with sugar, salt, pepper, onions, cloves and parsley added.

I hadn't put away the fruit and veges before we went to Masterton yesterday, so that was the next task, but that required clearing the hydrator drawers in the fridge. Aha, a piece of pumpkin, half of a big kumara, and two bags of carrots with another bag waiting to be put away. So another pot of soup prepared.

Veges prepared

Onion and garlic sauteeing

In go the vege, add some parsley, water, chicken stock, grated nutmeg and yummo!

Two pots of soup attacked with the stick blender and ready to freeze tomorrow.

The second coat of paint above the dado was next and then I made a salad for my dinner.

Just the dressing and the toasted walnuts to be added.

When I went out to get the washing in, I saw that Joy and Grahame had tossed a rhubarb crown over the fence, so it was out with the trowel and a bit of horse poo to plant it.

Dinner eaten, I watched a Netflix documentary about Tig Natoro - a lesbian comedienne in the US who had a double mastectomy. She is very deadpan and really funny - even about her cancer.

Now I think I am ready for bed, so I have a cup of chamomile tea ready and the yawning has started ...

Just did a tired count up from the top - 8 tasks completed today! Yippee! Now I've checked that number from the bottom and it's 5 - what is going on? Time for bed obviously as my numeracy has faded away.

Friday 18 March 2016


I am working from home for the next couple of weeks (until about 4 April in fact). David's mum is not well and unlikely to improve so I came home on Wednesday. Given Easter is just around the corner, it's not cost effective to be travelling up and down to Hokitika for short weeks. So working in the sunroom it is - thankfully David's work chair will be available (he will be staying over at his mum's for a bit) and I can stop using a dining chair with a pillow for my back, which is not the most comfortable.

It has been pleasant being home**, but David didn't get here till Thursday night and I miss him, as well as the Hokitika team.

** It's lovely being able to start work at 7am writing documents in bed with a cup of tea, and work in my dressing gown till I decide to take a break and get showered and dressed ...

Rob was here yesterday, and given David is not likely to be at home much for a bit, Rob was on lawnmowing as well as his standard gardening tasks. David and I had planned on going out for dinner in Paraparaumu but I had seen that a local restaurant had changed names. That seemed to signal a change of ownership, so I looked them up. The menu looked lovely - apart from the black pudding croquettes ... So at 6pm, David, Rob and I made our way there on foot.

At Maison 8 the food was yummy, service was lovely and friendly. We will definitely be returning and will take friends!

Here's some of what we had:

Goat's cheese croquettes with honeyed walnuts, beetroot and apple sticks - Rob and I shared this starter. I think I need to try to make these or something similar.

My dinner was crispy pork bellly with roasted carrots, pureed pumpkin and a lovely jus (gravy really, and yummy even without a fancy name ...)

Rob's Venison Wellington - also lovely apparently - bambi on a plate ...

David didn't wait for the photography session - he had roasted snapper with pistachio and pinenut crust. That also has to be replicated at Cafe Rata - with terakihi or blue cod tho - I don't like snapper much.
This morning we are heading over to Masterton to deliver David, a computer and a printer. We will take Mary's favourite food for her lunch: lamingtons. I don't remember seeing them in the UK. They are cubes of sponge cake (about 3" LWH) dipped in a liquid cocoa mixture and then rolled in shredded coconut. Rather yummy, but not a cake to be eaten when wearing black unless shrouded in a throat to toe apron ...

Friday 11 March 2016

Working, boss!

It's Saturday morning and I am back in bed with my second cup of tea after putting the tomato soup on to cook (tomatoes from the neighbours' garden, from ours and from the supermarket) plus getting an orange syrup cake into the oven for afternoon tea at Geoff and Eileen's this arvo, in company with Jenny and Robin of Romany Rambler blog fame.

I got back from Hokitika yesterday arvo - left there in brilliant sunshine, arrived in Christchurch into the teeth of a very cold, wet southerly and then got into Wellington into the same but less chilly and blustery southerly - the landing in Wellington was much smoother than that into Christchurch, and as most NZers will tell you, Wellington has quite hairy landings at times. What I am remembering from previous years of commuting for work is that landing in Wellington from the north is always smoother than from the south, and since I started this Hokitika assignment, until yesterday, all landings had been from the south. It always looks spookier landing from the south too as it's between rocky, hilly, rough terrain and the last part of the approach is over lots of craggy looking rocks; whereas from the north, it's over smooth rounded hills, then across the harbour and between two sets of suburban hills covered with houses (I reckon anyone who lives on Mt Victoria or in Evan's Bay or Maupuia will have hysterics at them being called suburban - let's see, shall we?). And when the southerly is blowing it's more constant than the gusty, swoopy northerly.

So last night we had some new friends around for dinner. They left before 8.30 as they were off for the weekend early today. That left me with enough oomph to get the soup ingredients prepped for cooking this morning - I didn't have enough energy for that 45 minute wait at 9pm!

Today we are heading to buy the tiles for the bathroom and toilet, back home for a nana nap, then off out to afternoon tea, then home, make a salad and head off to neighbours Joy and Grahame's for dinner with other neighbours, John and Jenny. This plot was hatched last Friday night at our place when there were 24 people around for dinner (everyone brought a plate and a bottle, so only a small amount of catering required by me). Fortunately, I made a note about tonight's event on a the notepad on the fridge, because I didn't remember the arrangement at all - must have been too busy with hostessing or something ...

Luke is going to do the tiling for us, and may even bring his chainsaw and top the silver birch which is shading John and Jenny's place, and possibly the magnificent magnolia in Joy and Grahame's garden will get a slight haircut too. Not sure when, but I know I need to be here to limit the carnage that is always a possibility when chaps set to with a chainsaw ... Not knowing when to stop is a bit of a feature, I find!

As you can tell, my weekends are quite crammed at the moment - getting in the being with friends, the DIY (or DI by someone else, as is the case currently), the laundry from the weekdays away and the requisite nana naps quite fills the days.

And the work in Hokitika is progressing well and I am still loving it - the combination of the work, the place and the people makes being away from home quite sustainable.

David and I have also discussed and agreed that we will delay our return to nb Waka Huia until the project is so near to finished that my pointy finger isn't needed any more. The decision about when that point (hah!) is likely to be reached is still two or three weeks away, but we would really like to be able to have the grandsons with us on the boat for the last week or so of their school holidays, so there is a date to aim for.

In the meantime though, it's busy, busy, busy and I am working, boss! And of course, my being away leaves David plenty of time and peace to get his Weaving Memories stuff done. A win all round, me thinks!