Saturday, June 30, 2007

Opphs: not a good look

After all the excitement of winning the Louis Vuitton Cup, the kiwis are back obsessing about the real Cup to be won. Everyday there is plenty of analysis of the racing overnight as the lead story on the news.

Seems that the last couple of days have not been good for Team NZ. Firstly, they waited for Allingi to make a mistake, opphs, then they didn't and went onto win. Last night (yesterday in Valencia) seems that it was the kiwi's making the mistakes.

So it's 2-3 down to the kiwis, not a good look!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

End of an era

It seems strange to be so far away as such momentus change is happening 12,000 miles away. The end of the Blair era seems hard to believe. Having arrived into Downing Street in such a flurry of excitement his exit seems to be much lower key.

Good riddens was the view of lots of people around the team table today. Cheeky monkeys I kept thinking. He's not even your Prime Minister, then again, he's not mine any more!

Whilst Blair the global leaders slinks off to further international relations minefields closer to home in NZ the Government are legislating against the media taking unflattering pictures of them and doorstepping them in unseemly ways. Oh how the Blairs would have wished for such protection I'm sure from the pap's in the UK. Here's the picture that in future won't be able to be published in the media.

Leader of the Maori Party powernapping!
Hope the media behave tomorrow, big briefing in our shop to remind the media that the thing launched about 18 months ago, launched again 12 months ago, then was launched for a further time 6 months ago. Just incase people didn't miss it the first three times. Oh yes, even NZ politicians have learned something about spin doctoring.

The down side is that it takes about 10 years for trends to really hit home in kiwi land from across the homeland so I think we can be sure that the spin doctoring is only going to escalate until the spin doctors become the news.... and they say the rest is the Blair history.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Houseblogging: glass to see through

Doubled glazed windows have been the biggest progress on site this week. Oh, and the first fix plumbing and electrics too. Yes, it's all happening still and the house is looking more like a house every time we visit.

The roofers are due this coming week. It's not good weatherwise at the moment with rain, wind and a bitter chilly wind. Hopefully when the rest of the windows and doors go in conditions inside for working will improve no end.

The house looks stunning sitting in the landscape which our pictures just can't do justice to but enjoy the views nevertheless.

Same view but with some windows this time

It's all happening for the energy systems

Views from our new bedroom windows
The back door - well, views of the windows at least!
MT couldn't resist a little schoolboy humour!

Friday, June 22, 2007

There she blows

I think it's fair to say winter has arrived. The tell tale signs are the extra duvet on the bed, the fire on every evening, winter coat out of the cupboard and a general new ruddiness to people's faces as a they brave the biting chill of the Wellington wind.

But, it's better than this time last year when we were beset with rain, winds and general all round unhappiness with the weather. Also, snow storms that caused havoc. The snow has arrived in the chilly southland on the South Island and the ski fields are opening for the winter season. Personally I can't wait until we're off to the tropics at the end of July.

No doubt that the colder weather brings new topics of conversations. We have the daily competition as to where in Wellington it's coldest. I feel I won hands down this week as on Monday we were showing 1 degree in Khandallah.

Even if its cold, we need the rain to hold off. Can't build houses when everthing is wet.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Houseblogging: numb fingers

It was blowly a southerly when we visited site this weekend to meet with plumber and electrician to discuss first fix. After three hourse of wandering around the house my feet and fingers were frozen. Hopefully the windows will start to be installed this coming week and the turret and veranda roofs will be installed to keep out the wintery weather which has most definitely arrived.

Apologies for the small number of photos this week - it was simply too cold to be hanging around to capture the best views and light!

Verandas around the side too now.

And the back (note the mud on site - it's been raining but the drains were back filled in the nick of time!).

Friday, June 15, 2007

Coffee etiquette

I always think of Friday's as kiwi day - laid back and making the most of an easy life. Wellington turns a different colour too, the traditional black in the CBD turns denim blue.

The office atmosphere is always much lighter and brighter, usually with plenty of baking in the Level 8 kitchen. This week I was treated to an amazing sight - two men unloading and loading the dishwasher!

Not such an amazing thing really but certainly a rare sight. I realised after a few minutes that this wasn't just two blokes relenting under the pressure of the girls in the office to do their bit but rather them preparing for their Friday refreshment ritual.

When the decks were clear the coffee making equipment was carefully unpacked. Supersized cafetiere, milk frother and wait for it, the coffee beans and grinder. Then the two office baristas started work with full blown coffee etiquette applied. It was a pretty impressive sight to see them leave the kitchen with their tray of goodies (obligatory muffins and cheese scones of course!) and head to their desks for a yarn and coffee.

As you might expect I wasn't going to fall for the Wellingtonian thing, I stuck with my cup of English Breakfast tea (milk in first) to my English china mug. Just as it should be!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Domestic fit out

OK, I know I've become very tardy with my blogging in recent weeks. The fact of the matter is that being a domestic executive is sooooo time consuming. I've got two full time jobs at the moment, the one that earns the money and the one that spends it.

I've been totally engrossed in planning and researching fittings and fixtures for the house. Getting what you want requires total obsession with the detail and however good the architect and builders are, it's down to you to get the specification, sourcing and pricing nailed down.

At last we've made huge progress in this regard after my Godsend Father sent over the Fired Earth catalogue from the UK in which to harrass suppliers in New Zealand. Many a conversation, starts and ends with "I want it to look like that", pointing furiously to the glitzy homey pictures of English country homes. Funny that in New Zealand people are looking at me as if I am completely barmy. The rest of the conversations are usually interspersed with "How much? You're joking aren't you......"; "It takes how long to get here.......?"; "Well I know that that's how kiwi's do it but I'm not a kiwi so please can you explain again......!". It's exhausting and frustrating and it's consuming my life.

But, light is starting to appear like through the mangaroa tunnel. See

Floor tiles, carpets, woodflooring now picked. Plumbing fittings and tapware selected and two fallings out the with builders on pricing. Kitchen still in progress as we're now sourcing English made units that can be supplied and fitted cheaper than those built and made in Wellington (if you can work that out let me know!). Wardrobes decided on although we really aren't doing it the kiwi way (who wants to fill their house with MDF and formica cupboards?). Electric plan drawn up (that's really going to sting when with the bill comes in) and joinery units specified (not so cheap and nasty now).

The search now commences for the holy grail of bathroom accessories and heated towel rails that don't look like they've come from $stretcher but at $stretcher prices. I will need a holiday before deciding on paint colours.

We've also have a wonderful garden landscaping plan which is very exciting and makes a change from thinking about bathrooms and kitchens. The landscaper got the design nailed first time. Funny that it's a Brit that's done it .... a concidence perhaps?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Houseblogging: it's the detail that takes the time

Another almost perfect building week although I think it's been the windiest and chilliest yet. You have to look much closer at progress this week since the devil is in the detail. Key things to note:

- weatherboards to the front and some of the back
- base boards around the bottom of the house
- veranda framing including bullnose roof shape
- Decorative Soffits on the roof
- Oh yes, loads and loads of trenches with drainpipes!

The benchmark pic showing progress to the front

Closer view of the front verandas (look very hard at the roof line for the decorative soffits and base boards under the decking).

Just to prove will will have drains to our state of the art sewage chamber!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

One step closer to bringing the cup home

There's much excitement in kiwi land as Team New Zealand swept to victory in the Louis Vuitton Cup. It's hard not to imagine the big prize coming home and we don't want to tempt fate so perhaps it might be better to just wear the lucky teashirt and hope that the boys don't have any off days on the water whilst battling against their arch rival Alinghi.

A beautiful sight - Team NZ battling for the line

Team NZ looking pretty chuffed with themselves!

Kiwi supporters looking pretty chuffed too!

Kiwi patriots abroad

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Photoblogging:Unspoilt NZ

This last weekend was a four day break for us to blow out the candles for Liz's birthday. We did what all good kiwis do for such occasions - head for the beach!

We were lucky enough to be invited to stay at some friends' beach house at a remote location on the East Coast of the Wairarapa about 2.5 hours drive from Wellington, the last 20 minutes of which is on a gravel track.

Flatpoint is a charming and wild part of New Zealand Coast that has started a new community of weekenders and part time residents. for more information.

We had a great weekend admiring the views, contemplating how you'd actually play golf and admiring the custom of the local farmer flying to the nearest town to buy the paper and dropping them from the air for residents to share.

MT got all adventurous as well and learned to quad bike the kiwi way to allow us to travel up gracefully (well with a lurch or two of the gear changing) to admire the view from the top of the hill. Enjoy the views!

Views of the beach - we picked up Paua shells and spied seals resting on the rocks

The beach house on front line where we stayed - definitely rooms with a view!

MT enjoying his new wheels.
Views from the top!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Houseblogging: race against the weather clock

It was a short sharp visit to the house this weekend as we head travelled back and forth over the Rimutaka Hill to visit friends on the east coast of the Wairarapa. The Build Team continue to make good progress having completed the main roof parts and started on the weather board construction.

Another good building week expected so fingers crossed that progress continues to beat the winter weather which looms ever closer.

A new view to enjoy - looking down the right hand side of the back garden.
Almost a full roof - just the fiddly bits to do!
Close up on the weatherboard.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Shattered domesticity

Apologies readers for the genuine break in blogging this week. Our computer decided to have a meltdown which has been an all consuming worry. The offending hard disk is still sitting in limbo for a recovery operation but we're up and running again in the meantime.

I've often mentioned how important the internet is to our daily lives - reading papers, downloading podcasts, emailing etc. When all that activity was curtailed it was like losing all the furniture in your living room. Although we were still able to use the laptop it isn't like having the master computer working in the ways it normally should.

Still, its over now and I'm determined not to morn the lost files. Well not yet at least. Big lesson learned about back up etc but thinking about what might have been is not a good path to take.

Another busy week for this executive domestic counting down to home working. Mid week bombshell is that my immediate boss is leaving so we'll be all change in a couple of months. I'm delighted for her but that means lots of deals to be done with her before she leaves to make sure that the final home run for me it's littered with stops and starts from the new person.

I've also been investing in being a domestic executive this week but topping up my coach training and networking furiously for future clients. Hopefully that will pay off in time. I've got two clients at work now which is keeping the skills ticking over week by week and have just finished my executive coach training which has lasted 12 weeks.

But as they say, all work and no play so the housebuild preparations are still taking up a lot of time and with garden designs to think about now it's all go.