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'Choice Home Bro'
New Zealand - AUG 2002
'More tea dear'
Thursday 1st August 2002 Tauranga

A whole day house hunting, Yippeee, I don't think I have the energy for it. We have a feeling that finding a cheap fully furnished house is going to be very tricky but we have been told the best bet is at Mount Manganui a tourist town just outside of Tauranga So that's where we headed first. After visiting a few estate agents we finally met one of those rare helpful types. Who gave us 4 houses in the area to look at. They where all pretty nice but one stood out. A bright yellow cottage next to the sea with a golf course connecting onto the large back garden. It was good but still quite expensive if I didn't get this IT job. The other downfall is that we would have to move out of it for 3 weeks over Christmas as the price is hiked up for the season. Not so much of a problem I guess.

We have a dilemma now, a 3 bedroom unfurnished flat for just $80 a week, but over 30km out of town, or a 2 bedroom cottage for $200 a week. When its all weighed up the flat is slightly cheaper but more inconvenient plus the actual owner lives below. I think we may choose the cottage by the beach but will sleep on it tonight.

Woke up with a positive attitude today determined to find ourselves a house. So after a shower and B'fast we phoned up Karen, a lady who dealt with furnished property and then spent the whole day driving looking phoning etc. The best one we found was a bright yellow cottage which was positioned opposite the beach and had a golf course out the back with a fair sized garden. It was small but had everything we needed even down to having pans and was really very sweet. The only thing was we would have to move out over the Xmas period so that they could rent it out at an extraordinarly high whack to some holiday maker.... not so good.

Went back to the Motel after another exhausting day and just didn't know what to do. I feel we should wait a little longer but Toby is keen to get in the Cottage - I'm unsure, even though it's in such a wonderful position and it's the cheapest in the immediate area I would prefer to live outside the area and away from all the tourists that will descend when the weather gets warmer. We also booked in Bertie (car) for a service to make sure all is OK with him.
Friday 2nd August 2002 Katikati

We went down to see the Estate Agent about the cottage. Sarena still wasn't too happy about moving in their and by the time the Estate Agent had gone through all the details about the summer time bookings for the cottage I was put off as well. We decided to carry on looking and think about houses over the weekend.

The $80 flat in Katikati looked more probable so we drove to Katikati to take another look at the flat and the area. We popped in to see Meri who had found us the flat. She told us it was actually $85 a week. We decided that the are was really nice, a bit out of town but right by the sea and everyone seems really friendly. The lady who owned that flat wasn't in so we just drove by to take another look. Right Next door to the flat is a Rest home so Sarena popped in just to see if they had any work. Bonus someone had just handed in their notice and she was offered a part time job straight away. It must be a sign. We still couldn't get in touch with the lady about the flat so had to book into a motel again for the night.

We did eventual get hold of Freda on the phone but she couldn't see us until Monday afternoon. Nevermind we will just have to go exploring over the weekend.

Well we had made a decision about the cottage and went down to see the Estate Agent - Karen and find out some more details. I really didn't feel right about this place for some reason and by the time Karen had finished telling us about having to move out over the Xmas period whilst they rented out to others and the fact we might have to move out over some weekend so that the 3 owners could use it, Toby was put off as well.

So we wondered off saying we would think about it whilst all the while I wanted to go back to Katikati and find a place around there. We had a chat over lunch and decided to take a serious look at the 3 bed place in Katikati for $80 a week which was ridiculously cheep but a bit of a drive away from Tauranga where Toby wanted to work. We went and had another look and I just new this is where we were going to live..... I also went into the old peoples home next door to see about jobs and was offered a position in the kitchens straight away (part time) the people seemed so friendly and extremely helpful so I took an application form and told Toby who seemed really pleased. It now looked like everything was going to work out all we needed to do was tell Meri, our lovely Estate Agent about our decision. Meri was really pleased and promised to try and get in touch with Freda, the lady who lived down stairs from the flat/house, so we booked into a Motel for the night and waited to hear back from her.

It seems she was away for the weekend and would love to see us on Monday afternoon, in the mean time we decided to drive to Thames for the weekend.

Saturday 3rd August 2002 Thames

Decided to take a small drive north and into the Coromandel Peninsular. I took the longer windier coast road to get to a town called Thames but couldn't actually see any coast. The last few days had been really sunny but it was starting to turn miserable again and was pretty grey and cold by the time we reached Thames.

We took a brief stroll up the high street and popped into a second hand shop then checked into a backpackers which was pretty empty but a really nice place.

Took a couple of hours to get to Thames due to the continuous windy and mountainous roads and the miserable weather which had descended again. Thames centre which was the main street basically had a lovely market set up all along the pavements on both sides so we parked up and had a wonder around much to Toby's annoyance. We then went and found a really cool backpackers which only had a couple of people staying and checked in for the night. We had a quiet evening watching the video, Billy Elliot then went to bed.

Sunday 4th August 2002 Thames

We went for a drive up the coast in the morning to the actual town of Coromandel and got some fish and chips. Then we headed back and on the way had a discussion about this unfurnished flat and how we wouldn't go mad on buying things we didn't really need.

Soon after the conversation Sarena got me to stop the car so she could jump out and buy a sack of pine cones for the flat. So much for our conversation then!

Spent the rest of the day in the backpackers as it was too wet to spend much time outside. A bit of a shame really as the area has some really good walks, so we will have to come back here in the summer.

Took a drive out of town to see if we could find a bird and butterfly farm to spend a couple of hours, but we unfortunately couldn't find it so carried on driving until we arrived at the town of Coromandel and had some fish and chips for lunch then decided to drive back and find the farm. Toby was talking to me about if we did decided on this flat then we couldn't go mad and buy stuff we didn't need, you know, decorative bits and pieces ....... only buy things we need like bed and table and chairs. I agreed and said I would try my best but didn't want to be living in a bloody dreary empty flat that had no character, other wise me might as well live in the backpackers! With that I saw a big bag of pine cones for sale on the side of the road and thought I could probably use them somehow in the flat. I made Toby stop and bought them dumping them in the back of Bertie, but when I got back in the front, Toby didn't look very happy and couldn't believe I had just spent $6 on a bag of pine cones! after what he had just said. He has no imagination that man......

We spent the afternoon sitting around as the weather was really nasty again then just played pool in the evening.

Monday 5th August 2002 Katikati

Drove back to Katikati had a coffee and some lunch then went round to see Freda. She is a very nice Dutch lady and the flat is set on one acre of land which is full of fruit trees. Everything about the place seems right. Freda had a list of questions for us and after she went through the list she asked us if we where sure that $185 a week was OK for us! Gulp! The estate agent had got it wrong, she had told us $85 a week and must of misheard Freda. Bugger we really had our hearts set on it. In a bit of a shock we said goodbye to Freda who was a bit upset as well. She even offered to lower the price to $165 for us.

In a bit of a daze we decided to go and look at another 1 bedroom flat closer to town. It was small and was $190 a week but furnished. The biggest problem now was that Sarena had got this job in Katikati so Freda place would be perfect. It is also right by loads of Fruit Farms so I could work on these until a good IT job came up in Tauranga. So after phoning Meri the Estate Agent in Katikati, who felt very bad about her mistake, we agreed on $170 a week including power in Freda's flat. We drove back to Katikati and made the deal with Freda. Finally after 11 months on the road we had our own place again (and somewhere for Sarena to put her pine cones!!!).

Freda had a friend who has just moved into a rest home so we ransacked his old house and offered him a great deal on some of his more usable furniture. That evening was spent driving back and forth with car loads of stuff. It doesn't take long to get a place furnished. And hopefully we will be able to sell it all when we move out which should make the place cheaper.

Woke up really excited today!! so drove back to Katikati for a wonderful lunch then went round to see Freda about the flat. It shouldn't really be called a flat as this was a huge house set on 1 acre of land ( all fruit trees) and the house was upstairs whilst Freda now lived down stairs next to the double garages - a sort of granny flat. We had a lovely wooden veranda that went all around and had a wonderful view of the valley below and the hills in the distance. The garden was wild and full of orange and grapefruit trees and very private, I could walk through the garden into the Rest Home where I was going to work! We sat down and had a chat to Freda who was asking us a few questions, all was going really well until she said 'now you do know it is $185 a week' we just sat there and stared at her not believing our ears!! how could this be? we told her we thought it was going at $85 a week and she was upset for us, she phoned Meri at the Estate Agents who was also mortified and couldn't apologise enough to Toby on the phone. We said thanks to Freda and got back into Bertie driving aimlessly both not saying anything..... we were both very very disappointed and I didn;t know what to do about the job now. Toby rang another Estate Agent and arranged to view a 1 bedroom furnished flat which we new wouldn't be any good for when mum came over. The flat was in Tauranga which, yes was a good position and, yes it was furnished but it just didn't do it for us and decided on giving Freda a call and taking her up on her new offer of $170 a week including power. Hoorah it just felt like the right thing to do and soon we were sat in the Estate Agents with Meri and Freda signing forms which meant it was ours!!!!!! at last somewhere we can call home and can unpack our bags and walk around in the nud, use the kitchen whenever we like and not have to fight for space with other backpackers, walk to the toilet in the night naked, sit in front of the TV and watch what we want ( not that we had a TV) a place to call HOME......

Later that evening Freda took us down to her friends house so that we could pick out bits we wanted to buy, George, her friend had moved into a rest home so was getting rid of bits. We settled on a very nasty brown velour couch, coffee table, single bed, plates and some cups, 2 chairs, a wicker chair, lamp, and some other bits and bobs all for $325 - about £100 which was good. We went and collected it later on in the evening which at least filled a little of the house, we then went and blew up our air beds and tried to get some sleep in the middle of a empty room - looked quite sad!

 

Tuesday 6th August 2002 Katikati

Didn't sleep very well at all, as we haven't got a bed yet and I have got a bit soft after a couple months of not camping.

I had booked our car in for a service so we drove into Tauranga dropped the car off and then took a walk past loads of Second hand shops. We met a really great guy called Colin who owned several Second hand shops. He drove us around them all until we found everything we needed for the house. He even heavily discounted everything and offered to deliver it all to us for free, by tomorrow. Needless to say my wallet took a bit of a pounding. Thank god they didn't find anything seriously wrong with the car.

We did buy a few other bits and bobs from other shops and made it back home by 5 completely exhausted. Spent the evening sorting things out and hovering all the cob webs of the sofa that we had bought from Freda's friend. The best buy of the day was obviously the TV as it is Osbourne night again and I can't be missing that can I!

Didn't sleep a bloody wink and was really keen on getting a bed ASAP. We drove into Tauranga and dropped Bertie in for the service and then went for a looksy at the second hand shops to see what we could find. Well I had a fab day and ended up in numerous amount of seconds shops, porn brokers, cash exchange etc. One shop we went into had a really nice second hand Queensize bed for $250 and a lovely chest of draws so I got a huge discount on those by doing some aggressive bartering but then realised we didn't have any means of delivering them home. Colin, my sparring partner offered to deliver for free if we chose a few other items so to fill up the lorry and make it worth his time. They had another couple of warehouses in Mount Manganui and offered to drive us there in his car so that we could have a look. I found plenty of odds and sodds and double bed for the 3rd spare room and other things that we could use - some of them would need my painting skills but they were cheap especially after the big discount we got - god I should do this as a living, I really drive a hard bargain! Colin dropped us back to do some more shopping much to Toby's dismay and ended up in the Salvation Army where I found loads of bed linen, a Queen size duvet for $10 about £3 and some Italian shoes for $8 ( could come in useful!) I then found another shop that was selling bags of odd material for £2 a bag which I bought to make some cushion covers with. All in all we had just managed to fill most of the house with some pretty decent stuff which was all second hand.

We went and collected Bertie and found out she needed a couple of things done to her but nothing serious, and then went and collected some bits of furniture that would fit in Bertie - like the wooden table which I think was fab from the Pawn Brokers and kettle,iron and toaster. Toby also went and bought a TV whilst collecting these things from Colin - well it was 'Osbourne' night tonight!

I really hope we can sell all this stuff again otherwise we are gonna be buggered!!

Wednesday 7th August 2002 Katikati

Sarena starts work today! Well she has to spend the day there for free just to see if she likes the job. Lets hope so we need all the income we can get after the somewhat expensive day out yesterday.

I stayed in the flat most of the day sorting things out and waiting for the delivery man to come with all the stuff we had bought. Ooooooh a proper bed, how exciting.

Well my first day at work... start and 6.45am which wasn't so bad seeing as I didn't need to add on time to travel to work. It was nice to do simple things like stick the kettle on and sit at the table to have b'fast rather that sitting in the middle of an empty room eating cold left over takeaway!! Believe me you really do relish everything when you haven't had it for so long. Even staying at other peoples houses it not the same as it being your own....

Anyway I walked to work which took 1min 30sec and went straight into the kitchens to work with Laura for the day and to learn the process - well to cut an extremely long story short it was like the f***ing Krypton Factor. I had to set up trolleys - hospital and just residential full of trays of food trying to work out from a list what everyone had - some had pureed fruit with weetabix, some had toast, some had to have diabetic marmalade whilst others had prunes, you even had to make your own yoghurt!! we also had to make up a tea trolley and set out the dining room for the other residents who liked to eat in the room together so you had to know what everyone wanted off by heart and set it out ready - all this plus about 50 other things before 7.30am. Then they had morning tea which was at 10.30am after clearing up b'fast stuff which meant wheeling round a trolley and handing out tea etc with cake to everyone. Now Laura new how everyone wanted there drink and who was a diabetic and couldn't have sugar, who had a protein milk shake, who had a special thickener, who had just warm milk bla bla bla the list is endless. This could be done by asking the people as they were coherent much to my relief. But when wheeling our trolley round to the hospital wing that's when it got harder. These people couldn't speak and had to be spoon fed so you can't ask them - ' mornin love how do you have your cuppa' some of those poor old sods are just laying dribbling in the corner somewhere being spoon fed some red jello...... god shoot me when I'm old.

When this had been done it time to prepare for lunch all cooked by 'Olious' a chef from Holland who I had been told was very temperamental. I won't bore you with the rest of the day only to say I went through 6 sheets of A4 paper writing notes which when I look back on don't make a damn ounce of sense. My shift finished at 2pm and I literally crawled out of that place and dragged my sorry arse back home to find a happy little Toby flitting around the house sorting out the furniture which had been delivered at lunch time. We drove into Tauranga in the afternoon to visit the 'Warehouse' a huge discount place that basically sold everything at ridiculously low prices but also fell apart within a week! we bought some cleaning materials, mostly for the couch which stank of stale fags and had a hideous amount of webs lurking underneath then went to 'Pack n Save' for some food shopping then drove back home again exhausted. Thankgod we now have a bed to sleep in! we now also have some 100% cotton fluffy sheets and a thick woollen mattress cover to keep us snug - absolute bliss, if you have never had 100% cotton sheets on your bed and under your duvet then you have missed out on one of life's little comforts.

Thursday 8th August 2002 Katikati

For some inexplicable reason I had the urge to clean all the windows. Must be the novelty of living in our own house. I'm sure it will soon wear off though. It actually took me most of the day as they where pretty grubby. Sarena went round Katikati to look for some more 'essential' household items. She returned with a rug, plants and other bits and bobs that I can't remember. Maybe its me who has misunderstood the meaning of essential! I must admit though that the house is already looking very homely and lived in. Well done Sarena!

Over the past few days Sarena has obtained various bags of materials as she is determined to make her own cushions. Tonight was her first attempt, unfortunately the cushion filler was a little too big for Sarena's first choice of material so she had to adapt her design and ended up creating a pair of German/Austrian shorts for Pinochio! In fact as I told Sarena how good it was I could actually feel my nose getting longer!

Had a good old trog around Katikati to see what they had to offer whilst leaving Toby to clean the windows. I found a lovely rug which was in the sale, well 2 lovely rugs but couldn't make up my mind which one to buy. I ended up with the green one and took it home to show Toby, after rolling it out I decided I didn't like it so went back and swapped it for the other favourite which turned out to be just perfect. Poor Toby is now having a hernia because of the money so we sit down and write everything down that we have bought and try to budget ourselves. Well the evening entertainment was me trying to make a cushion cover........ I had some lovely sky blue material and I had some bright buttons which I had picked up in the second hand shop. So I thought I would create something with a bit of flare and character but as it turned out, I ran out of material and had to fill up the gap with some other scrap of material. On one side of the now covered cushion it looked like a professional piece of art but when turning it over it looked like, as Toby put it ' Pinocho's shorts' Mmmmm will have to rethink my covering technique...

Friday 9th August 2002 Katikati

My first proper day of work in 11 months. Just the shock of getting up at 6 on a freezing morning mad me realise who lucky I have been since taking up unemployment. Narash the foreman picked me up and stopped of at his house to pick up some work tools for me. I felt quite honoured as I headed into the Kiwi fruit plantation with 20 or so Indian immigrants.

It was pouring down with rain and my job was to walk up a line of kiwi fruit trees ands tie their recently pruned vine like branches onto the overhead wires. Narash explained the pay to me. $2.50 for tying each bay (about 4 trees) minus any male trees that don't have to be tied. Apparently I did very well for my first day. Narash hadn't expected me to finish the whole row. Feeling quite pleased with myself I mentally totalled up the number of Bays minus the male tress and worked out that I had earned a mighty $25 (about £8) before tax. Not bad for a 10 hour day in the rain! I think I just about paid of my packed lunch. Welcome back to the real world Toby!

On returning back to back somewhat demoralised about returning to the working world Sarena excitedly showed me her redecorated lampshade. I particularly like the subtle effect of glue patterns around the piece. She also informed me that she had booked us on a yoga course which I had passingly expressed an Interest in. Crikey, I'll have to work triple shifts to afford that!

Toby had to get up early for work so I had a bit of a lazy morning around the house then went round to see a lovely lady about joining her Yoga class on the 20th August for the both of us. I ended up staying for 1/2hr chatting to her about this and that, everyone in this town is sooooooooo friendly! She lived round the corner from us so we could just walk to her house - very handy.

I then went into Katikati to buy some glue then spent the afternoon trying to cut out bits of old curtains and jazz up our boring lamp. Oh dear I succeeded in gluing most of the material to my hands and turning the lamp into a hideous monstrosity that was now covered in running glue and tatty bits of green curtain - how come it worked out in my head but not in theory. Toby came home looking knackered and just looked at my lamp creation sitting on the floor without saying a word - his silence conveyed complete horror........

Oh well might have to buy another lampshade!

I had also moved the bed around in our room which made the room look much nicer and and moved one of the chest of drawers into the lounge just to fill a gap. We were going to go down the pub for a drink in the evening to meet the locals but Toby was whacked so just had some dinner and then went to bed.

Saturday 10th August 2002 Katikati

Second day of work. Narash had informed me that today would be a lot easier as I wouldn't have to think! As if tying down tree branches had got me mentally exhausted! He was right though I spent the day just hacking the branches off old female kiwi fruit trees as they are going to be replaced by male ones. To my surprise I discovered that the guy working next to me wasn't from India. 'No I am from Pakistan'. My mistake!

I managed to finish raping the trees in good time so was back to tying down branches again. oooh my brain can't take it.

I'm sorry I must sound very cynical of my new job. I am actually quite enjoying working out side at least the weather was a bit better today. Its feels good to get home and feel that you have done an honest days work. It also makes me feel very fortunate to have a skill like IT and respectful for people who work day in and day out on minimum wage. oohh bugger I sound patronising now... sorry don't mean to.

Well we both got up early, Toby for work and me for the market. I said my farewells to Toby and headed down to the Sat morning market at 7.30am to see if I could get some cheap plants. I had a lovely time mooching around and ended up bumping into a couple of people I had already made friends with - I really like this place. I came home and housed my plants in their new rooms then caught up with my diary. I spent the afternoon bird watching from my balcony then cooked dinner for my hard working boyfriend.

Spent the evening watching TV with poor tired Toby who couldn't move off of the couch. We were supposed to go out and try out the pub but Toby just wanted to stay in saying he couldn't believe how bad the wages were for his new job. I of course laughed and gloated that for the first time in my life I am earning more money than Toby not that it would last for long. For the first time in his life he knows what it's like to work hard in a shitty job for a shitty wage - I think Toby has got used to doing his office stuff for lots of money.........

I will be laughing on the other side of my face when he gets his posh job and earning good money again!!

Sunday 11th August 2002 Katikati

Narash was late picking me up for work. I half wanted him to forget about me and half wanted to get to work. My muscles are aching a bit but it does feel good to have done something. In the end Narash did pick me up and I spent the day with Nassau from Pakistan who ended up spending most of the day sitting in the car while I worked my butt of tying down branches.

I was very pleased to get home. Only 3 days into work and this big tough farmers son was feeling very out of shape with working on the land. It felt great knowing that I didn't have to work tomorrow.

Ahhhh I had a lovely lie in whilst Toby had to get up for work again at a ridiculous time in the morning. I packed up my day pack with all my walking stuff and headed off for a lovely couple of hours of 'tramping' as they call it over here. I had my bird book and binoculars and had a wonderful 2hrs wondering down in the valley by the river taking some wonderful photo's and watching some beautiful birds. My walk took me down to the sea where I then walked back to our house which is conveniently situated round the corner and then wrote up my notes ready for work.

Monday 12th August 2002 Katikati

No work today and I am hoping to hear back from the IT job in Tauranga. I did n't hear anything back... bugger! So I spent most of the day designing the new look web site. The bathroom was getting redecorated today and hopefully a new phone line put in for us. unfortunately the engineer would have to dig the garden up to put a new line in. So we decided that we would just share the phone line with Freda.

Got up early and went to work, I was on another early shift which turned out to be just as confusing as the last one which wasn't much of a comfort!! We went into Katikati in the afternoon and just pottered around.

Tuesday 13th August 2002 Katikati

Finally got a phone call about the IT job in Tauranga sounds hopeful as they want to see me tomorrow about a contract for a few weeks, a start at least.

We went into town and watched 'The Signs' at the cinema, it was pretty good. And after shopping we got back home as Sarena was working her first evening shift at the rest home. So I did some more web site work and cooked a curry for Sarena's return. It was then time for the Osbournes and bed. Crazy or wot!

Went into Tauranga and had a walk around to look for throws to put on the dodgy brown couch then went and watched 'The Signs' at the cinema, I have been waiting to watch the film for ages and wasn't disappointed Christ I crapped myself and thought it was a really good film, just up my street.

We then went and did some food shopping before I went and did my evening shift, being shown by Rebecca, the girl I'm replacing. This was a lot easier than the morning shift and was quieter, should be easier to pick up. I keep thinking of Del, my late stepfather lately as there is an old bloke who reminds me of him living in the Rest Home. Del seemed to age 30yrs in the last few weeks of his life and I can't help thinking if he would have ended up staying somewhere like this if he had lived longer with the cancer, and I can't help thinking how much he would have hated it and that it was better he went when he did. I still find myself forgetting he is dead though and think of home and stuff and then it dawns on me he is not there any more......very strange.

I went home to a lovely tasty curry which Toby has lovingly cooked - yes Toby had cooked something!! We then watched the Osbournes

Wednesday 14th August 2002 Katikati

Sarena wasn't working today so we both had a lazy morning. The Bathroom was finished being decorated by lunch time and very nice it looks too, better than the black mould look that was there before.

Sarena went looking round town whilst I went to meet the boss of Radford Consulting. Cool I have got an initial contract for a few weeks that looks very hopeful to be extended. And I start tomorrow. Excellent.

Toby had another interview with the same company as before whilst I walked around Tauranga for an hour and bought some paint. Met up with Toby later on and he seemed really pleased, he was to start work the next day!! which now meant having to quickly go and look for some clothes for him to wear. I went and found some settee covers (bed sheets) to finally cover the horrible settee of ours. ...

When we got back home I tried the covers and couldn't believe how much better the room looked

er

Thursday 15th August 2002 Katikati

Its only half an hour drive to Tauranga from home. Pretty reasonable. My first day on the job went well. They seem to have a few projects on the go and I have allocated one specific one that's a bit of a mess at the moment but with lots of potential.

Its taking a little while for things to come back to me but its great to be working in a proper software development environment as their is loads for me to learn. A REAL code monkey now! A guy called Andrew is handing the project over to me and is really cool. We got the most important stuff sorted straight away, like, where the best place is to go for New Years Eve.

Toby's first day at work today bless him whilst I painted my crusty chest of drawers - no pun intended........and was pleasantly surprised at how bloody good it looked!!

Friday 16th August 2002 Katikati

Got right stuck into work, Friday is pizza day, but I had bought my own lunch, then I was delayed getting home as they have a meeting on some Fridays, so returned to a bit of a rollicking from Sarena as she was worried about me. Everything's is just back to how it used to be!

Mmmmmmm went in to check on my now dry chest of draws only to find out I had missed the underneath bit and feet, so had to finish that off. Toby came back really late and didn't let me know where he was so I ended up really worried and pacing up and down the lounge. Little bugger came home and said he had a meeting at work but had lots the use of his phone finger..................

Saturday 17th August 2002 Katikati

Sarena is working this weekend again which gives me a great opportunity to catch up on the web site. A bit sad I suppose but it needs to be done. I also have a Internet connection from home so can get my fix.

Well my first shift on my own! I decided to start early just to make sure I got everything out in time, so started at 6.15am which seemed to help and meant I wasn't so rushed. I work with a different chef at weekends who was very helpful but then everyone was luckily. The whole shift was really tiring so my the afternoon I crawled back home and did nothing all afternoon whilst Toby worked on his computer.

Sunday 18th August 2002 Katikati

The same old. I nearly got tempted to go out for a walk but then it started to rain. Pretty eventful.

Another morning shift which again was like something out of a comedy film then went home. Toby was once again working on his computer all afternoon

Monday 19th August 2002 Katikati

Back to work, had to leave early as the car is booked in for a transmission service in town and its a bit of a walk to the office. Starting to get more familiar with everyone at work. It won't be long and I'll be getting a bit cheeky with them.

Had a morning shift then went down to buy some soil and pansies to put in my pots outside

Tuesday 20th August 2002 Katikati

Looks like we have a potential pilot site for the project I am working on. This is good news as it gives the company to prove this flagging project and put it back into focus. Good news for me too as it will probably mean my contract will be extended for the redevelopment of the application. Bad news though as we have to meet the clients tomorrow and I need to wear a tie. WEAR A TIE, I said, WHAT ME! the duke of notieshire. Oh well best go shopping, also got myself a shirt, tracky-daks and some trainers whilst I was at it.

To help us get away from the spending the evening in front of the TV syndrome Sarena has signed us up for a course of Sarena has signed us up for a course of Yoga, I don't mind that at all but she's cutting it a bit close by booking it on The Osbournes' night. Not to worry though we where back home half an hour before it started. Yoga was good too especially the lie on the floor and relax bit, just lacked the TV!

Had the day off. So I spent the morning doing some washing and ended up flooding the laundry room!! luckily Freda was out for the day so I had enough time to clean it all up..... did some drawing in the afternoon and read my book, prepared a curry then got ready for my first Yoga lesson. Toby got back at 6pm got changed into his new Yoga clothes that he had bought at lunch time - narner. We walked around to her house then spent the next hour and a half stretching ourselves into very difficult positions..... we also had the instructors kitten joining in and attacking our hair and feet and even my shadow on the wall. We both really enjoyed the evening and felt really good afterwards, afterwards we walked back home and ate a huge curry and watched the Osbournes

Wednesday 21st August 2002 Katikati

The potential pilot company seemed pretty impressed with the project but where some what weary of pilot schemes as they seem to have done some before and got stung. Hey but they haven't worked with the Jonester before.

Well an afternoon shift today but said I would do a few hours in the morning as well whilst Lilian went to her neighbours funeral. Getting to grips now, of what has to be done, the afternoon shift is a lot better than the morning. Checked my emails when I got home and found our my mum, bless her has put £300 in my bank account to help out. Mum you didn't need to do that!!!! On my evening tea round at work I asked what one old lady would like to drink, I had Milo, Coffee or tea, and she asked for a large Brandy or a neat Vodka!!! I know how she feels...

Thursday 22nd August 2002 Katikati

Have to wait until next week to hear about the pilot project. If it goes ahead it will take up all my time for the next few weeks, So I did some work on a side project developing a online database for the pipfruit industry using ASP and SQL. bet you really wanted to know that!

Another afternoon shift so went for a walk and ended up in Katikati again looking for a hair product from Aveda which is the only thing that seems to work with my big curly hair! but these people had never heard of it... that was like going to a hairdressers in the UK and asking if they had ever heard of Burger King....... Aveda have huge shops in Oz and they do makeup stuff as well NZ is really behind with everything, they have just had the 'Ali G' film open up, which has been and gone in the UK. And I saw an advert for Neutragina skin products which are just launching in NZ..... they have been going in the UK for years!! I love it over here it's like taking a step backwards in time.

Friday 23rd August 2002 Katikati

Started setting up a PC for the pilot project. Bloody hardware it never does what its supposed too, totally un-logical! Managed to achieve sod all by the end of the day, luckily it is Friday and time for a special meeting! at 4:30 everyone stops work and kicks ass on a network game. Tonight it was 'Medal of Honour' and only me that got his ass kicked.

Finally we managed to hit the town (well Katikati main road that is) and visit a few pubs (the only pubs). Not too impressive the first was pretty dead and felt imposing due to the gaggle of massive Maouri women swilling their beer. So we had one and popped up the road to a bottle shop that has converted the room at the back to a bar. It is a bit friendlier but still lacks in atmosphere.

What a beautiful day today, the sun was shining and the sky was blue.... I went out for a lovely walk into town and bumped into a lovely kitten who wouldn't leave me alone so I had to take it home and tell the owners that it was too young to be out on the streets, they just looked at me strange and shut the door....

We decided to go out for our first social event ......... so we went down the local! the first pub or should I say a room with a bar and some pokie machines in, was nearly empty apart from a gaggle of Maori ladies whom of all were quite loud and a bit drunk. It was supposed to be 'Rock Karoke night but didn't have anyone singing, just loud music. We decided to vacate this establishment and go down to the only other bar in Katikati which I had been told was better. It was basically a small room at the back of a bottle shop ( off-licence) it had a bar and once again - pokie machines ( slot machines) it was full of locals who all new each other so we felt a bit out of it, had a beer then went home. NZ is the same as OZ when it comes to pubs, well they basically don't have any..... they are just rooms with a bar and usually is a betting place for the horses/ dogs / just about anything that moves or just full of these slot machines that everyone is addicted to.

Saturday 24th August 2002 Katikati

Must get the new web site finished. Didn't! got distracted by various things. Fixed the stereo in the car which took most of the morning then cooked some dinner for Sarena's return from work. She was very tired as I had kept her up all night snoring (obviously the beer). So I went exploring in the car. About time we found out what was around us. Its beautiful just followed the coast road north to Waihi and back again. There are some great spots and I managed to get the car off-road and go for a spin along a deserted beach. Can't wait for the summer, I think we will need a boat and surf boards though. Essential!

I was on an early which wasn't very good especially when I was kept up all night with Toby snoring, the little bugger stopped though at 4.30am half an hour before I had to get up for work........ bugger.

Thought I should try and make some curtains to go in the small room but only had had some orange material so gave it a go......... Crikey I am so crap when it comes to sewing etc, they didn't turn out as bad as my lamp that I tried to tart up but they still looked bad.

Sunday 25th August 2002 Katikati

Didn't snore last night which means Sarena will be in a better mood when she gets home -I hope! It was really stormy last night, thought the house was going to blow away. Did more web site work. When will it ever finish.

Another early and still very tired but the shift went well, didn't do much when I got home as Toby was working on the website so I just read all afternoon.

Monday 26th August 2002 Katikati

off to work... Suppose I could write a bit about Katikati - our new home...

Katikati (known as catycat to the locals) is in the Bay Of Plenty in the North Island about 2 hours (200 km) drive south east from Auckland. the nearest city is actually Tauranga (where I work) which is home to the busiest port in New Zealand. The whole are of The Bay Of Plenty is famous for its fruit growing. Mainly Kiwi, Avocado's and Grapes. Consequently Katikati is home to one of the Largest Wineries in New Zealanda and a nudist camp (a good combination)! It has a population of around 2000 people. The town is also know as 'The Murial Town' as many buildings are adorned with paintings like the one in this photo. Nearby tourist attractions include, Hot Thermal Springs, White Island (NZ's most active volcanoe), The Coromandel (for walking), the Waikato caves and Rotorua, one of the top tourist towns is only a short drive away.

Working on a late so stayed in all morning, which meant I had the unfortunate --------of overhearing Freda's granddaughter going absolutely skitso downstairs swearing like a troopa at her grandma. It seems she is only 9yrs of age but certainly didn't sound it!! I forgot all about my meeting at work! woops

Tuesday 27th August 2002 Katikati

...work again, had Yoga in the evening though, learnt the twisting cobra and reaching for the sun. It was the last episode of the Osbournes tonight. Very sad. Good news is that the next series has already been filmed.

On a late again but had the car so went for a lovely drive then went to the meeting which had been prosponed from yesterday thank goodness- woops. Worked on a late today but had a morning meeting at work with the rest of the kitchen staff. The chef was going back to Holland for five weeks for a holiday so wanted to get things sorted before he left. The meeting didn't go so well as it was brought up about his being unapproachable and difficult to work with, I hadn't worked with him so couldn't really comment, needless to say he got quite angry and made his views known

Wednesday 28th August 2002 Katikati

Managed to arrange a lift to work with Kathy, dead handy as it saves the petrol and leaves our car at home for Sarena to use

Yoga session first thing then came homeI and waited for Patrica, Freda's daughter to come round at noon so we could go out for coffee and a chat. We had lovely lunch down in town and spent the afternoon together just chatting and talking about some of her problems, ie family.

Thursday 29th August 2002 Katikati

work again...

Had a lovely day as I had the car for a change so I decided to wash Bertie which ended up taking ages and I couldn't reach the top of her. I then went out and about exploring some of the surrounding area. I went down to Waihi beach and had a wonder around before finding a wonderful lookout over Katikati, took some lovely pictures. I could see for miles straight out to sea and even as far as Tauranga so I stayed up there for a bit then went back home

Friday 30th August 2002 Katikati

..and again. Sarena drove me into work and she spent the whole day in town. I met up with her for a very civilised lunch and then finished work at 4 as the whole office started playing network games against each other, Counter-Strike and Ghost Recon. Both very good games, just a shame I am crap at them.

Picked up some shopping on the way home and celebrated the end of the week with a damm hot curry. Mmmmmmmm!

wahey, day off today and the weather was beautiful so dropped Toby off at work and spent the morning looking at second hand shops again and found some more bargains for the house. I then went up to Toby's work place to drop the bags off and to say hello to some of his work colleagues. I then walked into the town centre part and spent 30mins mooching around before meeting up with Toby for lunch sat outside in the sun......lovely. Toby went back to work whilst I spent the afternoon buying lots of bits and pieces, I even bought some little bits for myself which is something I haven't done in a long time apart from some clothes in a second hand shop. I then met up again with Toby at 4.30 and did some shopping before getting a takeaway curry and driving home.

Saturday 31st August 2002 Katikati

Sarena was working today and I intended to finish our website but ended up playing Half Life on my laptop which took up most of the day until Sarena got home. By then I felt pretty guilty for wasting a beautiful sunny day that I went for a walk along the river.

On an early shift today so just crashed out in the afternoon and felt bushed. Nearly into Sept and can't believe we have been travelling for nearly a Year

Getting to know all the people who are in the rest home by name, which is good. They all seem to know me as well and seem to like me, I have a good old banter with some of them. There is a lady who is 100 and completely with it.

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