Friday 29 October 2021

Temper Tantrum Opportunities Wasted ...

 When I started writing this we were onboard the ferry heading for the South Island – we plan on being away for a month or so. No return booking made, no real plans except to do some e-biking and visiting friends, plus seeing some places we had to miss out on our trip earlier this year.

We must both be mellowing, because there have already been some challenges and we have had no mutual tantrums or even individual ones. It’s a miracle …

Tantrum Tempter 1: Because we brought the bikes with us, I needed to move the motorhome forward a touch so the bike rack could be lowered. I unhooked the power cord at the garage end, and checking to make sure it was well behind the rear wheels, happily left it attached to the motorhome. You can see where this is going, can’t you?

I moved a metre or so forward and got out to check the space, saw that where we would be standing to load the bikes was right over the drainage grill, and thought that if we dropped anything small while loading, the drain would claim it. So in I got and drove forward and out on to the drive, requiring a right hand turn. Out I got, all pleased with myself. Too soon, Marilyn you dolt!

The plug end of the Reyrolle plug was still attached but it now had the cord with the stripped wires lying on the ground. I am convinced I didn’t run it over as I turned; but whatever, it didn’t like being left plugged in.

I did tell myself how stupid I was and then went to tell David. Who was all understanding and said it was easily sorted – a new plug that he can rewire and we will be fine.

He bought a plug that day from the repair place beside Plimmerton NZMCA park, and he fitted it when we got to Waikawa Bay. There was a problem when we checked each wire with the multimeter as the earth one beeped but the other two did not. So we went down to Burnscos at Waikawa Bay and bought a new shorter cord (10 metres). The next day, David chopped 100mm off the old cord and had another go at rewiring it – success!! So now we have a 29,600mm cord (previously 30,000mm) as well as a 10000mm one.


I did do some re-wiring, but this was when we couldn't make the meter do its pinging thing. 

This was before David did the proper fix. But both of these photos show where we are currently - in Waikawa Bay at the Parklands Marina Holiday Park - this is a great place to stay with really lovely facilities, lots of trees for shade when you need it.

Tantrum Tempter 2: We had agreed we would leave home by 10am because I had a meeting in the city that afternoon that I would need to catch the train in for.

In spite of saying his drop dead time for being ready was 9.30, loading the bikes took longer, packing his clothes took longer, finding the strops to lash the bikes down with was a mission …

We finally left at 11am, and all was calm. Now that is a first, I reckon!

Tantrum Tempter 3: We were in the mood for celebrating that afternoon – I had finished my assignment with my final meeting and handover yesterday, David had found a new plug and it was only $26.30, and we were off on holiday. There was a lower number of covid cases that day (79, mostly in Auckland and no more in the South Island from the one case imported from the Waikato last week). So we were upbeat, notwithstanding late departure, destroyed power plug and all.

So David was set the task of finding somewhere to eat dinner after he had walked with me to the station at Plimmerton. He found that the fish and chip shop had blue cod, so we agreed on that for dinner. I found a nice bottle of bubbly and two single serve cakes (orange and almond, red velvet) at the New World supermarket in Wellington Station.

I was abstemious and gave a fellow camper one of my fillets, and then we both had half of each cake. No bubbly.

Off to bed at about 9pm, fell asleep easily, but woke an hour and a half later. Voluminous, violent vomiting followed. Heart pounding and took ages to settle, oesophagus and throat sore, had to sleep sitting up for several hours. No energy for a tantrum ...


Tantrum Tempter 4: The following morning, David noticed that he had cracked the large vent over the cab – he’d forced the winder trying to open the vent when the catches were actually in the closed position. He was really pissed off with himself. But my view is we could get some waterproof tape and seal it (sorted in Waikawa Bay and it’s only the inner skin that was split, not the outer one), and we can order a new vent and get it replaced, or we can find someone who welds plastic/fibreglass and get them to fix it.

I think what we are realising is that we are incredibly lucky to only have such small problems to deal with in this world where so much seems to be going tits up and where people are so angry over so little.

And here we are on holiday! How lucky is that? 

Most of the following photos are of our driving on to the ferry in Wellington. I am much more confident about this process now I've done it a few times.


Just to show, in the rear view mirror, that we were last in the queue because we had arrived right on the final check in time - my bad: I had not got out of bed when the alarm went off so we left 15 minutes later than we had planned and traffic into the city was heavy.

On the approach to the loading concourse - still on dry land. The green and white cardboard hanging from the rear view screen is to show we have gas canisters and that we have turned them off. Note that I am wearing a mask, as everyone has to do on the ferries now.

On the concourse, over the water now ...
Approaching the maw ...


And in we go

Up the ramp - no need to worry if it can take our weight or fit us width-wise because the trucks come up here too. If they can fit and be held, then so can little old us!

On the way up.

Up and out, around the end
Around the outside and through the inside and out towards the front again to park up very very very close to the big trucks.

And once we were inside and in the Plus Lounge, where for $35 each, all food and drink were free, we relaxed and settled in for the sailing. Considering I had been sick the night before, I was still feeling quite seedy, so it was good to be able to blob for the 3.5 hours. However I did take some photos, but without leaving the lounge ...

Leaving Wellington

That flat piece of land (just above the black thing with the hole in the top) is Wellington Airport.
Leaving Wellington Harbour - out through the Heads - lots of spiky rocks on either side ...

In the Marlborough Sounds now - and that is a mussel farm - I think it was raining at this point.

So here we are in Waikawa Bay at Parklands Marina Holiday Camp - great place.

We have had a bike ride into Picton on a cycle/walking track - scary in places so we got off and walked the bikes (not realising we have a walk assist function which would have made it much easier, particularly when we had to cross the bridge over the marina entrance ...), had lunch at the Thai Panda where we went the first time we were here (yummy food), and then we biked back along the footpath, on the road and a little bit on the bike track where it wasn't too scary ...

We drove to Blenheim yesterday to get a COF (I forgot to go and get it sorted in Levin before we left home). No hassles, a pass with flying colours. Then a drive up to Taylor's Dam to check out whether we would ride the bikes up there when we go to stay in Blenheim tomorrow.

Today we did housework: David vacuumed and washed the floors and I did the handwashing. Then we walked down to Waikawa Bay and had a late lunch at The Jolly Roger. I thought we were coming back for a blobby afternoon, but over the last 3 or 4 hours David has rearranged the garage.  He has much more patience for that kind of 3D jigsaw than I do. So I've been charging my bike battery, drinking tea, eating bits of chocolate (fear not, I did share with David) and reading. As well as chatting with Pauline and Barry on the phone.

Tomorrow we are heading to Blenheim for a couple of days for a bit of biking and more blobbing. And so far, there are no firm plans past that. 


However we have ordered a bike rack for the motorhome from a place in Christchurch - our one is fine, but it is a mission for us two short people to lift our bikes up on to it as it is quite high up and the bikes are not light ... The one we have ordered raises and lowers using a wind up mechanism, so we will be able to put the bikes on at a significantly lower altitude. That will be very helpful! 


We don't expect that rack to be delivered to the retailer for several days, so there is no rush to get to Christchurch where they will also fit the rack for us. Therefore it is going to be a slow trip south down the east coast with lots of opportunities to explore the small places on the way. Sounds like a plan (except we don't have one ...)

Tuesday 5 October 2021

Keeping busy

I'm doing a Health Check on a programme of work at the moment and, after conducting about 25 interviews on Teams or the phone, I'm now preparing the report. (I will retire at some stage, honest, but we've been in lockdown, there's medical appointments for David that mean we cannot just up and go away, so I might as well be gainfully employed, don't you think?)

It's taken me a while to get the hang of this kind of report writing again as it is a fair while since I have done a project review. All of my work in the last several years has been project delivery or helping establish new projects or rescue projects that have gone off the rails. And the writing for that is quite different - this has a different audience, and requires a measure of sensitivity if I'm going to be pointing out flaws and how to remedy them - so, yes, I have to be sensitive. I can do it, but I do have to put my mind to it ... 😇 And by the way, it is very different from writing the blog - here I just put my fingers on the keyboard and out it all comes - stream of consciousness gets unleashed.

Doing the interviewing has been great, with lots of information gathered - everyone involved was open and keen to help. It is great when that occurs and people aren't guarded and they realise that honesty gives a better chance of making sure the issues get surfaced and resolved.

Given what I had read and the feedback I'd been given, I was clear pretty early on what I was going to be recommending. And on Sunday I started making notes using Edward de Bono's 6 thinking hats - on A3 paper that I'd blutakked to the windows. But somehow I couldn't get a handle on how to present the information - in part I think that was because I was following as a model a report developed for quite a different programme of work.

As often happens, it's when I am asleep and my unconscious has time to sort things out, or when I am out walking, that the shape of what I need to write comes clear and the start point pops into my head.

On Monday morning I had arranged to go out for a walk with Ann (remotely - appropriately socially distanced with me in Waikanae and her in Stoke). But as it was raining, I had called it off and suggested she stay in bed. Then I realised I needed to clear my head of the 'why can't I get this sorted' noises (and walk off some of the chocolate I had consumed the night before ...😈) So out I went on my own. I always used to love walking in the rain as a teenager, and I still love it.

So as I was heading towards home, the key words I needed to set the context came into my head and I was ready to write!

The difficulty I was still dealing with was how to shape and order the report. So yesterday was spent writing the context and making a number of false starts in the template. The categories just didn't fit how I thought the information needed to be grouped to make the most sense to the readers who will have to accept the report and implement the recommendations.

This morning though, I went back to the methodology that Sarah and I use when working together developing anything - identifying what people need to know and ordering it from the known to the unknown, the general to the specific, the actions required and the expected outcomes.

So that I didn't feel disorganised (easy for me to feel that way because I am not a natural filer and I don't run a clear desk policy - just ask Sarah or Fiona from DOC or Jo B who was my PA years ago in Telecom) I sorted the interview notes into piles based on the roles of interviewees on the extended dining room table (no room here in my office). And then off I went with the permanent markers on A3 sheets. And out it all flowed.

What a relief! David made my brunch at noon as I was on a roll.

So here is what my office looked like at 7pm tonight when I finally stopped work:

  • notes from Sunday's Hats session and programme information blutakked to the wall (that wall is actually the base of the drop down bed we use for visitors - nifty, eh?)
  • the stack of notes and recommendations handwritten today on A3 paper to the left of the laptop - I'm part way through typing those in to the amended template
  • and my general mess of a desk

And on the wall beside the window is the paua-framed mirror that my lovely friend Michelle (she who once dyed my hair pink ... but still cuts my hair) made for my 60th birthday. For a while it was on the wall of the saloon in Waka Huia, but when we came back in 2019, I brought it home. I love having it here.

 So now it is 9.46pm and I need to go to bed. To wind down after working all day, I watched an episode of Vera (I'm up to Season 8 on Acorn) and wrote this post. But now my eyes are drooping. I have done a proof read of this, but have probably missed errors, so my apologies.

Good night, all. 💤😴💤