Monday, May 30, 2011

Shopping, cooking and a little light reading...

Shopping, cooking and a little light reading? I wish.

Instead we're prepping for a move, polishing up the house for a sale and researching where we might settle in the next city. Not much time for more pleasant things.  

There is, of course, always time to get distracted. 

These lovely books were released last month in the UK. Penguin's Great Food Series -  in their words twenty volumes with excerpts from the finest food writing in the past 400 years.  Sounds promising. Here's a little more about them from a Penguin publicist who's been cooking her way through the books and blogging about it. 

Paid to cook and blog? Just add sleep and it's my ideal job.

The series has been released in Australia and hopefully that means New Zealand too. I want to go and flick through the books and decide which I want. At first glance Elizabeth David, Mrs Beeton and perhaps Alexandre Dumas?

The stunning covers (by Penguin's chief designer Coralie Bickford-Smith) are reason enough to want them all but you know what they say about books and covers. If you do buy all twenty they look like this on your bookshelf. 
I'm really rather against colour coding books (akin to ironing underwear) but a rainbow would work. Just this once.

Friday, May 27, 2011

For Granny...

This flower is for my grandmother who died this week... she was ninety-four.

I have just snippets of memories of her as we lived thousands of miles apart for most of my life. I remember her shoes getting stolen on Bondi beach when I was a little girl and she was on holiday. I remember looking out for the neighbourhood cats as she was terrified of them. I remember all the lovely gifts she'd send from Joburg when she worked in a jeweller's shop. I remember her rosary beads and the bathroom hidden behind the wardrobe doors in her home. I remember the swing in her garden and I remember all the phone calls when she would talk and talk and I would struggle to get a word in.

I thought she loved yellow but Mum says actually it was blue she loved the most but she did love her little yellow car... that must be what I was remembering.  The flower is for you Granny and your two daughters who miss you so much.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Notebook...

Time to buy The Notebook.

It is the key accessory for any move we've ever made and I'm an old fashioned girl so it's going to be a non-digital, no iGadget sort move again.

The Notebook becomes my go-to-spot for any list, phone number, email address, website, school info, house appointment, rental requirement, packers list that we have. It is my bible for the three months it generally takes to shift a family a couple of hundred (or thousand) kilometres.

At the climax of the move - when stress levels are peaking - and everything is boxed and in a container I move onto a flip folder full of paper - final bills, health documents, passport copies and bank statements. All the stuff we're going to need urgently in the new place.

I found this one here - bright is better because of course usually The Notebook goes missing right about the same time as the truck pulls in to load your gear. Luckily by then all the lists are pretty irrelevant. Mostly....

Friday, May 20, 2011

A little more about the move....

There won't be too many more doors... Auckland's home owners can breathe easy again. I love this one and have been trying to take a picture for ages but the family living behind it quite often leave it open to let the sun stream in.

Thank you for all your good wishes. I think I forgot to say yesterday that I am happy to be heading home to Australia but also really quite unhappy to be leaving Auckland.

It wasn't an easy move here and if you'd told me then that I could leave I would have whooped all the way to the airport. We arrived in the middle of a wet bleak winter and it took a while for me to meet people and make friends.  I think because I'd moved a lot I thought I could snap my fingers and settle straight away.

Nearly two years later there is rather a lot to leave behind. Good friends for all of us, great schools, a beautiful country we've hardly had time to explore and an easy, pleasant family life.

Now I just want to snap my fingers and fast forward a year - in three months we'll have moved and after nine months in our new home I know we'll feel fine. That's my nine month moving theory - so grateful to have a chance to test it again....

Melbourne is not really home for me but I lived there for ten months or so five years ago and loved the little life we built then. Last time we lived in an inner city suburb - this time we're looking for a little more space for the boys so it will be an altogether different Melbourne life.

My six year old is embracing the move - I was very worried as he didn't like moving much at all at the age of four.  This time he's very interested in getting a new house, a new school and new friends and most of all very, very pleased that his new life will include lots of time with his very cool Uncle. We're very pleased too.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A little news from NZ...

Channel calm. Look at the lovely picture. Breathe. And again.

I have some news and despite the breathing lesson above it is not a new baby.  I have no intention of starting over - no matter how sweet those babies look.

It's time for another move.

Remember this blog belongs to a serial mover? Well, I am a reluctant sort of serial mover so we are hoping this move will be the last. At least that's what I've been promised...

And the city of choice?  Drum roll.... Melbourne.

I will be strolling up my local high street, shopping 'til I drop, looking sharp in black, eating out and talking about it and unearthing little thrifty finds at Camberwell Market. I am sure you CAN'T wait to read all about it....

OH NOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
Not another bloody Melbourne blogger.

Before that though, it's the move. Sorting, packing, sorting, emailing, sorting, sorting, sorting.

OH NOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Not another bloody moving blog.

It could be worse. You could be moving. Again.

Image from here 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Now I am three...

When I was One
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

Now I am Three,
I'm as big as can be.

I can run, I can jump, I can shout, I can laugh.
I know what I want and I know how to say it.

I want to be Bigger
and Bigger and Bigger.

Ann with apologies to AA Milne.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Ah Mother's Day. I love it and almost sometimes loathe it.

I love the scribbled messages, the cards and cuddles. The "Happy Birthday Mummy' from an enthusiastic but ill-informed nearly three year old. The oversized legs on my portrait. Really kid?!

I love the other half's efforts in the kitchen, the sleep in (anything after seven am qualifies) and the trashy novel he bought me as a joke.

I love that the accidental ending of the six year ban on guns in our house has meant so much to my school boy. The ban was about as useful as a UN resolution.
What I don't love is that Mother's Day can make you feel slightly niggly about an otherwise lovely Sunday.

My poor partner had to spend most of yesterday at work catching up on the hundred things that are hanging over him. I wanted him to go. I never resent the time he spends at work. That would be pointless... I know he'd much rather be somewhere else.

It's not like he spent Mother's Day playing golf (he loathes it thankfully) or swilling beer at the football (there's no Aussie football here) but still I spent the day feeling slightly cheated and slightly cross about feeling slightly cheated.

It's like New Year's Eve and having no party to go to but not really wanting to stay up past midnight anyway.

I spent Mother's Day being a mother.  I went to the supermarket with two kids in tow and hissed at them to behave 'because it was Mother's  Day.' I hoped no one would see me... surely no socially right on mother would be buying milk and pasta and lemons on Mother's Day. They'd have their feet up or be tucking into Mother's Day lunch.

I had a friend over who is trying. Not trying company, she's trying very hard for a baby. What's Mother's Day like for her this year? Or those women who've given up trying.

How sad too for those whose Mums are no longer around.  I have my wonderful mum but I didn't see her or my husband's mother on Mother's Day as they live in another country. A lunch with them would have been nice. Maybe Mother's Day will always leave me feeling ever so slightly guilty about where we live.

I do love mothering but I'm not sure I need a fuss or a present to confirm it. Next year we'll ignore the commercial rubbish just as my own mother always insisted.

One exception, chocolate. Last night my husband turned my ever so slightly niggly mood around by giving me his Picnic bar.

Every Sunday should be like that. Mother's Day or not.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Towering washing piles, Tasmania and tornadoes...

We've been back almost a week now and the laundry pile is back to its normal size. Still towering of course but not spread through the house. My back is much better, I'm off the drugs and getting my brain back in gear. The physio is my new best friend. 

We've had a quietish week if you don't count the unexpected sound of sirens on a Tuesday afternoon as rescue workers raced across the harbour bridge to help the tornado victims. Tornado victims? In Auckland? What a year it's been in New Zealand. 

The tornado veered west as it crossed the harbour from the north shore so it missed our suburb. Aucklanders, those lucky enough to be unhurt or have properties undamaged, are now fully aware of the steps you take when you see a twister. Head inside or stay as low and flat on the ground as you can.

Back to the trip to Tasmania... a million miles from tornadoes.
The boys always learn something new when we head home. My parents live twenty minutes or so from central Hobart which sometimes felt two hours to the teenaged me. The boys love it. I love it too.

They dug potatoes ( a nice lesson in where food comes from) and collected eggs from the chooks.
As a kid we spent hours down in the chook pen trying to hypnotise the old dears - apparently if you turn them upside down they go into a dreamlike state. It never worked but we had fun trying.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


It's the stuff of fairytales. The prince and princess are living happily ever after and the bad guy is dead. It worries me that the wedding of William and Kate was far more interesting to me than the death of Osama. I think I have lost my way as a journalist.

It could be my sore back and the rather nice painkillers I'm taking.  I can only sit down for a short time so my return to blogging will have to be brief.

Another time I will tell you about our beautiful holiday in Tasmania. Family, friends, a fortieth, camping, cooking and enjoying the dreamy days of sunshine. That is Hobart in the photo. It's amazing that you can be in the city and not see a single house as you look across the river.  Of course my sore back got in the way a little but I am home now to fix it.

My new physio is one of those annoyingly fit ones. While I slowly unfurl myself he greets me bouncing on his toes like a tennis pro at the net dressed head to toe in sports gear.

He's also annnoyingly self confident telling me he is the only physio that can fix me and he's going to publish a teaching manual on his amazing method. Only men are that self-confident. I'd like a little of it.

I just smile weakly. I hope he's as good as he says he is.


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