Friday, August 31, 2007

More colour and detail

There's been a lull in house progress for some reason - plasterers disappeared and Painter was in Auckland. Anyone would think it was a holiday week. The house and site did get a bit of clean up whilst there was noone working on site but I'd prefer that there was more activity!

I was up on site today and it was a beautiful spring day - chilly but if you hung around in the sun it wasn't so bad.

They've more or less finished the outside painting now - just the base boards to do when the verandas have been powerwashed and cleaned off. Inside there hasn't been much done although the new front door has arrived and waiting for installation. As are the door knobs, wooden flooring, archway moulding etc. I'll get some more internal shots to show when we're up on Friday next week.

View to the back garden, soon to be site of the kitchen garden in the bottom corner.

Front veranda complete with heritage red and green

Backdoor and view (note no striped veranda here - no Jones to keep up with on this side!)

Close up to the turret bay windows

Upside down front door complete with coloured glass

Monday, August 27, 2007

A beautiful thing!

Now look, I hope you don't think that this is really my thing of beauty but I feel duty bound to point out to readers that yes, it's true, Coventry FC are currently sitting at the top of the League. It makes MT happy so that's all that matters - enjoy all you CCFC supporters.........

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Yellow Fever

It's the first day of the A league season and it was a close draw today between the Wellington Pheonix and Melbourne (2-2). These pics were taken from the pre-season friendly attended by MT.

The most exciting news is that Becks is coming to Wellington as LA Galaxy are going to play in Oz and for a mere $1.5 m NZ they are bring him to Wellington. Even I might venture to the chill of the caketin to watch golden boots in action!

In case you're wondering. No housebloggin this week - watching plastering dry is about as exciting as watching paint so we gave it a miss. Reports from the builder are that we are on track.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Domestic Executive Countdown: 35 days to go

At last, I'm on the home run to domestic executive life. Only 35 more days to go before I finish my full time contract with MSD. Can't wait.

After months of people being in denial they headhunters have finally been called and the search is on to replace me. They are a bit late in the day but they'll get one of my managers to step up into an acting role until the new person comes along.

So what will I be doing you ask?

I'll be working 20 hours a week for MSD until 7 December working on "special projects". I've always wanted to be a "special projects person" as it seems to me that they swan around doing very little in particular but getting paid for doing so! I've got a few bits and pieces to keep me ticking over and keep on track and that will be fun. In my spare time away from work there is plenty to do:
- a house move
- visitors arriving from 13 December until end of March
- setting up my domestic executive business.

I really don't know where the time has gone but with a countdown now in days I can't help but get excited by the prospects.

MTs career is moving in new ways too - well he's moved his desk from Willis Street to Tory Street! He's finally got his new team set up and can get on with building a new mobile phone network to connect New Zealanders. Rumour has it that they are changing the name of the company to Telepom.......

Telecom New Zealand today announced that Dr Paul Reynolds has been appointed as its Chief Executive Officer, effective from late September 2007.Paul is currently CEO of BT Wholesale, the wholesale business of UK-based telecommunications and IT company BT Group.Paul joined BT in 1983 after completing a doctorate in geology at the University of London. Since then he has had a distinguished career, encompassing senior leadership roles in sales and marketing, strategy, information systems, broadband, and guiding BT’s wholesale business through the complex process of operational separation, when Openreach was created. He has served on BT’s Board of Directors since 2001.

Paul will succeed Theresa Gattung, who leaves Telecom on Friday after twelve years at the company, the past eight as the company’s CEO.Simon Moutter has been appointed as acting CEO until Paul Reynolds formally takes up his role. Simon has held a variety of roles at Telecom, including that of Chief Operating Officer, and has a deep understanding of the business. Chairman Wayne Boyd said he and the Telecom Board were delighted, after a global recruitment process, to have secured the appointment of Paul Reynolds.“Globally there are few leaders in the telecommunications industry with Paul’s combination of skills, knowledge and experience,” Mr Boyd said.“Paul has led programmes of significant change at one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, in a regulatory environment that has parallels to New Zealand’s.”

In 2006, the Telecommunications Industry Association of America awarded Dr Reynolds its ‘Global Icon’ award for his leadership and innovation.“Given his senior contribution at BT, in a wide variety of roles, Paul is ideally placed to lead one of Australasia’s most significant telecommunications and IT companies at this time.”Paul Reynolds said he and his family were looking forward to coming to live in New Zealand.“I’m passionate about the telecommunications industry and its power to transform the way people interact, live, work and play.“I’ve been a keen observer of the New Zealand experience, and am now looking forward to leading a company that will help to shape the country’s future.”Paul Reynolds will be based in Auckland and commence his new role at Telecom in late-September

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cheap air trips

Here's some exiciting news for visitors coming to New Zealand. (,

Virgin Blue And Pacific Blue Announce New NZ Domestic Airline With 'Pay A Visit Not A Fortune' $39* Fares

Thursday 23 August 2007: Virgin Blue Airlines and its three year old New Zealand subsidiary Pacific Blue today announced major plans for a new domestic airline for New Zealand with NZD$39* fares on sale from today for flights commencing in November 2007. Initially the carrier will fly on New Zealand's key trunk routes Auckland-Wellington, Auckland-Christchurch and Wellington-Christchurch from 15 November 2007

The decision to enter the New Zealand domestic market comes in the wake of strong support and lobbying from the New Zealand community for Pacific Blue to bring its service style and competitive fares to internal New Zealand flights in the same way it has done on the trans-Tasman and South Pacific routes.

Virgin Blue Group of Airlines Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, "The decision was not taken lightly as it is a major investment and a long term commitment to keeping the 'air fair' in New Zealand. The time is right to bring some much needed competition to the existing duopolistic market and we are excited to be opening up new travel opportunities for both the people of New Zealand as well as inbound tourists."

Brett Godfrey continued, "When Richard Branson visited New Zealand in January this year to celebrate Pacific Blue's third birthday, he promised that domestic services were something of interest to us under the right circumstances and at the right time. We are confident the circumstances are now right and there is room for competition and an obvious need for market stimulation. Pacific Blue is well positioned to give the existing players a good run for their money, particularly on the monopolistic Wellington-Christchurch route."

Virgin Group Chairman, Sir Richard Branson said, "I am absolutely delighted to announce that Pacific Blue will soon be shaking up the New Zealand domestic market and bringing its unmistakable fun, flair and affordability to travel within New Zealand. I enjoyed a wonderful trip to New Zealand earlier this year, where I saw first hand the great enthusiasm and support for Pacific Blue. I am thrilled that we can further enhance our commitment to the local market with the launch of our domestic operations. We look forward to Pacific Blue spreading its wings and bringing long term domestic bliss, perhaps not for the competition, but certainly for locals and visitors travelling within New Zealand."

The airline will take delivery of two Boeing 737-800 aircraft to join the Pacific Blue fleet and operate both international and domestic New Zealand routes. The routes are tailored to suit the needs of the market in terms of frequency and schedule:

Auckland–WellingtonFive direct daily return flights from 15 November. A special sale fare has been launched of $39* one way on the Internet. The sale fare is available now until 16 September 2007 or until sold out and is for travel from 15 November 2007 through 29 February 2008. Fair fares will start from $69 one way on the net, 22% lower than the existing fares available on the same route.

Auckland–ChristchurchTwo direct daily return flights from 15 November. A special sale fare has been launched of $39* one way on the Internet. The sale fare is available now until 16 September 2007 or until sold out and is for travel from 15 November 2007 through 29 February 2008. Fair fares will start from $79 one way on the net, 30% lower than the existing fares available on the same route.

Wellington–ChristchurchThree direct daily return flights from 15 November. A special sale fare has been launched of $39* one way on the Internet. The sale fare is available now until 16 September 2007 or until sold out and is for travel from 15 November 2007 through 29 February 2008. Fair fares will start from $69 one way on the net, 12% lower than the existing fares available on the same route.

To ensure maximum benefit for Guests travelling for pleasure as well as business, the internal flights will complement Pacific Blue's existing international services, providing convenient connections from within New Zealand to Australia, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands.
Adrian Hamilton-Manns, General Manager Commercial, said, "The people of New Zealand have supported Pacific Blue in its quest to bring true low fares, genuine competition and fun and flair to trans-Tasman travel and that very support has given us the motivation to bring the same product and affordability to the domestic market where it is much needed."
"It is no secret that the existing domestic duopoly results in higher fares and half-hearted competition and we very much look forward to challenging that and championing affordability for local travel."

Domestic flights are now on sale and can be booked via the website (, by calling 0800 670 000, or by contacting a travel agent. Members of the Velocity Loyalty program will also be able to earn and redeem points when they fly domestically in New Zealand.
Pacific Blue plans to double its staff numbers over the next three years as it ramps up domestic operations. New Zealanders interested in joining the dynamic Pacific Blue team in a range of roles can email

About Pacific Blue, Polynesian Blue, and Virgin Blue AirlinesInternational airlines Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue, along with Australian domestic airline Virgin Blue, operate a fleet of 53 modern Boeing 737 aircraft flying to eight international and 22 Australian destinations including New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.
^ subject to regulatory approval

* All fares are one-way for flights booked on the internet, $15 more by phone. Seats are limited and fares may not be available on all flights or during peak periods. On sale until 16 September 2007 or until sold out for travel from 15 November 2007 through 29 February 2008.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Houseblogging: on the home run

Technically speaking home is a long way away so this home run is a long one. About 10 weeks in fact. Still, the house seems to sit with increasing glory as progress is made both outside and in. It looks like a real house now with colours, doors, and skirting boards.

There is still loads to do but you can now see how big the place is and start to really imagine what it's going to be like to live there. Here's a few of the latest pics from today's visit.

New striped veranda and smart red windows. Not to mention the chimney

Close up on MT's turret
View into the dining and living room

Kitchen, complete with barrel ceiling and sky light (especially positioning to lighten up the washing up spot!)

View down the bedroom passage way (that's not me but my friend Anna)
Master bedroom windows, complete with architraves

Guest bedroom turret window (can you see yourself there?)

View back to where the matching red barn will go

Views beyond through the veranda fretwork

Friday, August 17, 2007

A truly British experience

Been a busy ol' week on the socialising front - a visit to the theatre to see the Royal Shakespeare perform The Seagull, a cocktail party for a book launch at the British High Commission and a break with kiwi tradition to go boozing after work on a Thursday. All in all a much more British experience.

It's not been a good week for the kiwi - it's nosedived again in value. The house prices are dropping and MT's predictions about the NZ economy are looming large. Let's hope that by the time the British visitors start arriving at the end of the year, their £ will be worth more than now.

Away from the socialising it's been the usual stresses and strains of work. At least I have the prospect of going part time as the first time to domestic-executivedom. Yeh, now that's something to get up in the morning for!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hands off our milk

No houseblogging till later in the week. Life's too short to be peering into windows to look at plaster. Have weekly accompanied site visits on Friday's from now so will be able to have a good look around and see what's been happening. From what I can tell from conversations, plastering due to have begun, rain stopped painting outside but due to restart again this week. Will post pics and and update at the weekend.

Onto more important matters the global price of dairy commodities is putting the kiwi economy into a spin. Not only are the farmers getting record dividends from Frontera (the kiwi dairy partnership) they are spend spend spend on new imported tractors etc. This means mere mortals suffer another increase in interest rates. But worse than that, the fact that other people overseas are grabbing our milk the pinta here in NZ is increasing at a rate of knots.

You may worry that I've started to take such a close interest in the price of milk but I kid you not, the cost of living in NZ is rising. I've had many a grumbly chunter at work with people who say the same, it's more expensive to do the weekly shop than it used to be. Also, now having dipped into our mortgage money for the house I'm fiendishly keen to know how much interest I have to pay.

Anyway, tucked away in the land of the white cloud kiwi's continue to try and build their own economy for the benefit of NZs. If you want a view of the kiwi psyche over finances, here's something to keep you amused.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Photoblogging: crocodile magic

We'd heard about the crocs in Northern Queensland but it didn't prepare us for the real thing. We saw them in the wild and also in a nature reserve and although didn't quite get up close and personal we were close enough for comfort. For more on crocs.....

Hanging out in the river

Hanging out on the river bank - coming to get you!

Close up to a couple of young un's

Photoblogging: warmer climes

A few snaps of the holiday locations in and around Palm Cove, North of Cairns, Northern Queensland.

The sunset in Palm Cove after another warm day of around 26 degrees.

Views in the other direction of Palm Cove to the pier, normally decked with people fishing
Cape Tribulation - where the tropical rainforest meets the sea

Cool waters of the rainforest

More coastal views

Boys outing on the steam train from Karunda to Cairns

OK, so it was for girl's too!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Houseblogging: back on track

It's been while but refreshed from the warm of Northern Queensland I'm back in the arms of chilly, windy Wellington!

More photoblogging to come later this week but in the meantime thought you'd like to see the house update which shows painting underway. We've an estimated handover date of end of October which makes the whole thing feel that much closer to reality.