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'Fancy seeing you here'
New Zealand - JAN 2003
'falling into a new year'
Wednesday 1st January 2003 Paihia

Happy New Year.- Its hard to believe that it was 2001 when we left for our travels.

Not much time to recover this morning. JP and Louise have to head south as the have a ferry booked to the south island on the 3rd. So they needed to get a move on. What a hectic 3 weeks they are going to have.

Sarena and I decided to take advantage of being in the Northland and visit Cape Reinga right at the top of the island. The drive was pretty nondescript but 3 hours later we got to the cape and it was stunning. Perfect blue sky, rolling green hills, white sands and endless sea. pretty good really. Cape Reinga is also the point were the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea and it causes quite a stir at the base of the cliffs were to the bodies collide. It was very tempting to camp up here for the night but we had no money and very little supplies so we decided to turn around and start to head back into more civilized parts of New Zealand. We tried a few campsites but they were all full and we ended up back at Paihia but still had no luck. In the end I convinced Sarena that we might as well drive all the way home. So we got fed and watered and headed south back to Katikati.

We didn't get home until midnight and had just enough energy for a cup of Milo each before hitting the sack.

New Years Day! the beginning of 2003

JP and Louise were off to catch the ferry down to the south island on Friday so had to start making a move. We said our goodbyes and wished them well and then we packed up and drove up to Cape Reinga on the Northern most tip on NZ. It took about a 2hr drive mostly on gravel track to get to the most breathtaking part of the world. We were surrounded by Aqua Sea and green fields on a bed of endless sandy beaches topped off nicely with a cloudless blue sky. I took loads of wonderful pictures and then headed off to find a campsite for the night. We went back to Paihia to another little site which turned out to be full so went back to the one we had been in for a few nights which also turned out to be full. Toby said we should drive all the way back to Katikati but i thought it would just be too long a drive, nevertheless Toby drove all the way home after stopping for a quick burger, we didn't get home until midnight, so all in all we had been on the road for 13 hrs!

Thursday 2nd January 2003 Katikati

Didn't wake up until 10, which is pretty rare for me. then had to clear up all our camping mess which seemed to take hours as we where both pretty lethargic all day.

Sarena made one of her masterful curries for dinner, which I obviously ate too much of and felt even more dozy so it wasn't long before I was back in bed.

Slept like baby...... clean bed sheets always make for a good nights sleep. The only thing was i slept so deeply i felt like shit all morning like i had been drugged or something. It took most of the day to clear up all the mess we had dragged in from the car because we kept sitting down all the time feeling exhausted. We did all the washing and i put on a curry for dinner and then we just vegged out for the rest of the day - bliss.

Friday 3rd January 2003 Katikati

Sarena disappeared in the morning to go and play with some flea bags down to road that she is looking after. She ended up going swimming to and only just made it back in time for us to get to Tauranga to watch 'The Two Towers' - very very important.

Needless to say we both thought it was brilliant, especially Golem and the dwarf tossing! and thought we would emulate the story by traveling the mystical land of Pack N Save in search of the scared bargains and the keeper of the onion rings... we found neither! Due to the inexperience of my partner who is unaware of the secrets of Pack N Save we failed in our quest.

Later we attempted to watch 'Ace Ventura 2' but I developed an intense desire to smack Jim Carrey upside the head, feeling weak from our days adventuring I could not pull myself aware from the pull of the TV. I feel its dark powers are turning me into something evil. I am getting weaker! soon he will find me! I'm fading away! help meeeeeeee...

I had been asked by my Yoga lady to feed her cat and 2 kittens whilst she was away for 10 days so of course i agreed! So after b'fast i hurried down to her house and spent ages feeding and playing with the the little blighters - so cute. I then cycled down to the pool and spent a fab hour doing the best swimming yet! it seems i can now do oodles of laps without stopping, about bloody time though..

I rushed back home and had a shower then we drove into Tauranga to watch 'The Two Towers' which was bloody brilliant, can't wait for the next one. We then went to 'Pak 'n' Save' for our weekly shop, Toby was showing off though because he does it every week. I kept losing him and he was just whizzing around in double speed chucking everything in.

It was another case of sitting in front of the TV watching Ace Ventura (2nd one) not finding the film funny just very annoying, i really must be getting boring?

 

Saturday 4th January 2003 Katikati

I must say Sarena is looking decidedly attractive at the moment with a huge great alien-being stuck to her bottom lip! We both went for a swim in the morning. And I did intend to do some work whilst sarena popped over to her friends but I ended up playing games.

Woke up with the most disgusting blisters all over my mouth, i burnt my lips whilst sitting all day in the sun NYE and they have now turned into Cold sores - how attractive....

Went swimming with Mr Jones in the morning and did quite a few laps again without stopping. Went to visit Lesley in the afternoon and see her new kitten 'Santy' a Persian fluff ball, the sweetest dearest looking thing - i want one

Sunday 5th January 2003 Katikati

Our intention was to go for a nice healthy walk today. so we headed north(ish) to a spot that we had driven by a few times to find that there wasn't really anywhere to walk. luckily we passed a pancake house on the way (all part of Sarena's master plan methinks) so we popped in there for lunch. It was actually very humid today So I was pretty glad that our walk didn't turn out to be much. The pancake was interesting. very nicely done, but my choice of toppings was a bit dubious, Bacon, Banana and Maple Syrup. I think I should of just stuck to savory choices!

We then headed back home and I decided to go for a swim to cool off and compensate our lack of walking. Sarena experimented with some Pork Chops and came up with a great dinner and the we set down to watch 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'. A Classic

I had a very troubled night due to the amount of mosquito's we had in the bedroom. I must have got up 4 times to run naked around the bedroom with Toby's new 1000 volt bat trying to zap them all. Toby did manage to sleep through most of the sessions even with the light on and me going berserk...

We decided to go out for a bit of a trek so packed up our little day packs with rain Macs and drink etc and set off for the woods 15mins down the road. When we got there though we found it was only a picnic and rest area, it did have a little stroll next to the river which took us about 4mins to do. It was a then a joint decision to go to the pancake house just up the road for some lunch instead of walking as it was a damp and humid day and not nice for traipsing around anyway........ well with that excuse out of the way we could get down to some more serious issues like what flavour pancake to have. Toby had the banana with bacon and syrup whilst i had the bacon, cheese, mushroom and syrup.

Turned out to be very nice, if not a little strange? good place to take the rellies when they turn up next month though.

We then went home and Toby went swimming whilst i got out my watercolours and produced something a 4 year old could have done. I did produce a very good dinner though! we then settled down to the very fantastic film 'Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark'

Monday 6th January 2003 Katikati

Guess What!? Yep...Back to work. Its about time as I was really starting to miss it... NOT. Kathy has very kindly lent me her company car as she is still on holiday for another 2 weeks. lucky beggar. Its not so bad though as there is only 3 of us in this week so its pretty quiet and easy to concentrate on work. Although I did get distracted by spending most the day discussing the finer points of 'The Two Towers' with Andy. We came to the unanimous decision that it is an excellent piece of filmography

Got home to find my dinner all ready and waiting for me. Fantastic. I then spent the evening watching the episode of friends with Brad Pitt in, he's so gorgeous!!!! and reading a book that I have already started twice but am determined to finish it this time.

Well my man is now back to work so i have the place to myself again. Went swimming at 11am instead of my normal 7.30am then went down the library and found a bran new 'Dean Koontz' book which i was extremely happy about - fab writer. '

I had a go at painting again but just couldn't get into the mood of it at all so went and trimmed my lavender plant.... in fact i pottered around all day doing odds and sods before preparing Toby's dinner which he wolfed down then watched a juicy episode of friends that starred Brad Pitt, god that man is darn right shaggable - i certainly wouldn't kick that man out in the morning! We went out for a run late evening, something i haven't done in ages but luckily found it to be quite easy?

Tuesday 7th January 2003 Katikati

Got stuck into doing creating a new web site for Radfords. Its quite enjoyable at work when there's nobody there. I find it easier to concentrate. Managed to Book a days skydiving over lake Taupo for next wednesday. We will meet up JP and Louise again to od it. very exciting.

Sarena popped by in the afternoon and we arranged to go to the Cinema with Andy and Rachel after work to go and see 007...

..What a load of tosh that was. The cinema was really packed though, and I think Andy and Rachel must of got the last tickets. The action was pretty good but a film needs more that that nowadays as action scenes are a 2 a penny. The film has virtual no story line and is just a vehicle for action scene after action scene. Saying that though, I thought the characters where a lot better than they have been in the last few 007 films.

Went down the pool early for a good session then popped down the garage to book in a WOF for Bertie. Whilst i was down there the nice young man at the garage put some air in the tyres ...... ahhh the ways of a woman.

I then drove into Tauranga to put some films into be developed. I have 14 of the buggers and the lot would cost $370 to get done! so i only put in 3...... much more expensive than the Uk to develop films for some reason? I then went to the opticians to book in an eye check and to find out if i could wear contacts which i have always wanted. My glasses are soooo scratched and i really need some more. The frames I looked at were about $270 which seemed the standard price even for the kids frames which are free back in the UK ( i always get them...) Looks like it's gonna be an expensive month.

I then went up to Toby's work and sat on the floor reading my new bike magazine waiting for 5pm. We had arranged to go to the cinema with Andy (Toby's work colleague) and Rachel to watch James Bond. I got a little bored waiting so darted up to Pac 'n' Save to purchase a battery operated mozzie deterrent which you could carry around anywhere - fantastic! no more jumping around in the night with the bat.

Toby and I went down to the Mount, bought 2 tickets then went and got some chips which we ate waiting for the other 2. It was a packed cinema and the bloke wouldn't' let me in the film with my bag (must have seen the hidden pick a mix and drink stash with his X-ray eyes) I personally thought the film was a bit trashy and soooooo over the top, whereas Andy thought it was fantastic ( must be a bloke thing) i do admit however that Halle Berrie looked absolutely fantastic and i'm sure if i carry on doing my exercise routine i will look like her by the end of the month!

We then said our goodbyes and went back home dispersing with our nightly run.

Toby has booked us a 12,000ft skydive for the 15th Jan over lake Taupo with JP and Louise. I was really looking forward to doing it but i must admit i'm starting to shit a brick!

Wednesday 8th January 2003 Katikati

Had intended to go for a swim first thing but opted for phoning Deon and Shelly in the UK. I did try to phone other people too but couldn't get through.

Got to work a bit late in the end. And broke the day up by walking into town and picking up some photo's that Sarena dropped in yesterday.

Sarena had cooked a massive chili for when I got home. and I spent the evening reading about the new Ducati 999 (don't like the new front, looks like a scooter) and annoying Sarena.

We did brave the rain and go for a run in the evening which I found a lot easier than usual. I found I could dodge the raindrops with my lightening speed.

 

Had a bit of a lie in then phoned Clare and ended up chatting to her for an hour! god i do miss them. I then went and fed the cat and kittens who were very loving today.

I then went for a swim and ended up doing 30 laps front crawl without stopping! i did 55 laps including the other stuff i do and i was very chuffed with myself. I couldn't do one lap a month ago without having to have a 10min break to get my breath back, i still thank Beau everyday for teaching me how to swim properly.

I then went the garage again to book in a 5000k service on Bertie. The rest of the day was pretty routine stuff, cleaning out the ashes from the burner in the garage then cooking dinner for Toby bla bla. God i sound like a house wife! I did get a chance to get stuck into my Dean Koontz book (i love that man) Toby came home and we spent a couple of hours reading before we went out for a run.

Thursday 9th January 2003 Katikati

Cripes. What's going on with the weather. Its meant to summer but we are getting non-stop torrential rain. The Drive way is flooded, which I soon discovered as I ran to the car and ended up getting soaked to my knee.

Tried phoning our friends Joy and Spit back in the UK several times, but the never seem to be in - very inconsiderate!

Got loads of work done. but more time was spent on the new company web site rather than my main project which is now falling behind a bit. Better make it up at the weekend. Also popped over to a company called Enform to help out with a database problem they had and then headed back home in the pouring rain.

If I had wanted a summer like this I would have stayed home ;).

We had a huge rain storm all night so didn't go swimming first thing. The rain and wind grew gradually worse as the day went on but i still went for a swim at lunch time. The girl down the pool thought i was slightly mad but at least i had the place to myself. Took Bertie down to the garage for his WOF and service and i felt like a mother waiting for her child whilst i was sat in the waiting room reading my mag....... I kept looking over to him whispering words of encouragement and telling him to be brave.

Had a call from our mates Joy and Spit, who are coming over here in March, (couple of days after their wedding) to live. We are all very excited about meeting up again and intend to do a lot of champagne drinking to make up for not being there on the wedding day + Xmas 2002 / 2003 & them leaving the UK.

The weather was terrible in the afternoon and we now had a huge flood out on the asphalt which i found out when getting out of the car and stepping in water that came above my ankle. The storm raged on all evening so we decided to give the run a miss. I did get worried about the cat and kittens though so popped up to them - they were fine. So it was an evening of red wine and 'Vicar of Dibley' + Father Ted.

Friday 10th January 2003 Katikati

Finished the company web site today - well as much as I am willing to do. But then found it very hard to get motivated and back into my main project which I need to do some serious catching up on. Instead I found myself doing little jobs as way of a distraction, because I am finding it hard to face the big issues. Bugger. must kick myself up the ass.

Had to go shopping after work, which meant that there is no food in the house which also means that Sarena wouldn't of made me my tea for when I got home. Very bad planning.

 

Got home by 6 and the rain is starting to ease off a bit. felt knakered for no reason whatsoever am starting to worry about the pressure of work. One of my old habits, but I hate letting people down and tend to take it out on Sarena a bit. Sorry Sarena.

Gosh didn't wake up until 10am, very nice.

But when i realised what the time was a jumped out of bed an looked outside to see if the recyclable bin men had been around, and of course they had. So still asleep, I put on my trousers and coat and shoved the bin in the back of Bertie to go and chase down the lorry. I eventually stuck my bin outside Radi's house and went to feed the cat and kittens, and to my surprise my bin had been emptied. What a small life i lead.....

I went down to the garage and had the slow puncture fixed on Bertie then to the Library...... yes i obviously do lead a small life reading back on my day.

Went for a run in the evening and found it very hard but at least the rain has stopped for a while.

Saturday 11th January 2003 Katikati

Had planned to spend the day catching up on work, but instead I found it very hard to motivate myself. The first distraction was swimming, then eating. Sarena started to get a bit annoyed with me so made be sit in the spare bedroom to work. That lasted for an hour or so and then the power of the bed over took me and I was forced to take a mid-day nap.

Giving the work idea up as a lost cause We decided to go out for a drink so headed to the local, The Boo Hai for a beer or two. Doh, the local has now lost its license as the landlord forgot to renew it. So much for the Katikati social life. We drove a bit further down the road and ended up at Hades bar. Had a nice refreshing beer and a few games of pool. at which I whipped Sarena's ass :). and then headed home to veg out for the rest of the day as usual.

We both went for a swim in the morning but found my shoulder was hurting so didn't push it too hard. Toby was supposed to be working at home all weekend on the computer but he wouldn't sit down and do any work, even when i made him sit in the spare bedroom with his laptop in peace and quiet. I went into the room to see how he was getting on and found him lying on the bed having a nap! he is naughty.

He didn't do any work for the rest of the day saying he would make up for it Sunday..... yeah right.

We then decided to go to the pub for a couple of pints, something we never usually do. We went up to the Boohai and found the place empty (no surprise) after stepping up to the very small bar a man sat at the table told us we couldn't buy alcohol?? What in a pub on a saturday I ask myself...... oh no it's because the landlord forgot to renew his licence! can you believe that? so here was a pub open to the public only able to sell soft drinks.... well we left laughing all the way back to the car (only in Katikati)

So it was decided to go up to Hades bar for a drink and a game of pool, once again it was empty. Still find it hard that people don't go out to the pub for a pint sitting in the garden on a lovely sunny day. Well Toby thrashed me at pool for a change but we did manage to steal one of the pint glasses.

Spent the evening drinking white wine and watching crap tv

Sunday 12th January 2003 Katikati

The whole day was spent as a build up to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I managed to get some swimming in, and not a lot else.

Got some good news in the afternoon. Clarky and Tracy from will be popping in tomorrow night for a few beers. Cool!

Oh yer. Found out Saints are 5th in the Premiership. Crack open the bubbly!

Well it was another dossy day really and i didn't do any exercise at all, which made me feel very guilty especially as Toby went for a bike ride and went swimming! he didn't do any of his work though.......

Once again i did another curry - boring cook aren't I !!

Best part of the day was watching the second Indiana Jones film whilst eating sweeties and crisps..... mind you still not smoking which is good, haven't had one since NYE. Not that i was a heavy smoker but i did participate in one or two of an evening, i did smoke bloody loads if out drinking though.

Had a call on the mobile from Clarky saying they were coming round to visit Monday night!! bloody ace. They are flying back to the UK on Wednesday so can only stay for one night unfortunately.

 

Monday 13th January 2003 Katikati

Got right back into my main project at work. managed to make good progress.

Got home by 6 and was feeling pretty energetic so I went out for a run before some friends from Whitchurch arrive for the night. Steve (Clarky) and Tracy have spent christmas with Tracy's parents in Melbourne and have had 4 mad days in New Zealand. They fly home tomorrow so are visiting us for their last night.

Sarena mad a great dinner, as expected! Steve and Tracy were looking pretty tired but we all managed to stay up chatting until 11 before hitting the sack.

Our new battery fan mossy repellent didn't work last night as the first thing we saw when getting out of bed was a girty fat mossy and on further inspection i found a girty big bite on my stomach..... bastards, rotten wanker bastards.

Anyway i did some food shopping for dinner and the essentials - beer and wine. Tidied up the house then played a game on the computer for a while before doing something useful like painting the plant pot.

Starting to get a little nervous as Wednesday approaches and i jump out of a plane - god where is that wine i just bought.

Steve and Tracey got here about 6.45pm and we all had a tasty dinner cooked by Moi and lots of wine and beer. They told us all about there holiday and what was happening back home. Can't believe what's going on in Eastenders! Tracey gave me all the low down.

We all went to bed about 11ish as Toby and I had to get up early in the morning so we bid goodnight and hit the sack.

Tuesday 14th January 2003 Katikati

Sarena came into work with me today as we are straight of to Lake Taupo at 5 to meet up with JP and Louise for tomorrows skydive. Steve and Tracy made it up in time for us to say goodbye. It was really great to see them again even though it was only briefly. We then jumped into the car and set off down the road only to have to turn round so Sarena could get her wallet. I sat in the car whilst a fit of laughter exploded from the house. Apparently Steve was talking to Sarena and 'the chair that must ne'er be spoken' gave way beneath him giving him just a shock that lost control of his sphincter and let of a mighty fart. It all sounded hilarious and Sarena was giggling about it for ages.

Leaving Sarena in town all on her own for 8 hours can always be a risky affair. And I was staring to worry when she kept popping back every few hours with more bags of stuff to store under my desk. I was too scarred to look at what was in them. Her main task for the day was to get her eyes re tested and some new glasses, Unfortunately the cost of her glasses doubled by the end of the day. On top of that she blew me out for lunch so I had to get my own limp sandwich from the shop down the road. She better start feeling pretty humble when I see her again.

We managed to get away from work just before 5 and got to Taupo by 6:30. Not bad at all. JP texted us his location 5 minutes before we arrived in Taupo and we booked into the last remaining cabin on the same campsite. Military organisation for you. We didn't bring any food or drink with us so pooped out for some chips and JP kindly donated us some beer.

JP and Louise have done so much in just 3 weeks. I am very impressed that they still have the energy to do a skydive. We spent the evening finding out what they have been up to and making mental notes to do all the cool things they have done.

I cycled up to feed the cats first thing then packed some stuff for the campsite. Steve and Tracey got up just as we were leaving so we said our goodbyes and left them to it. We drove out of Katikati when i realised i had forgotten my purse so we drove back again and i ran back in the house to fetch it, Steve and Tracey were sat at the dining table. I was just saying my farewells again when Steve's chair collapsed from under him and deposited him on the floor, it frightened him so much he farted on the way down. I couldn't move for laughing so much and just seeing him sat on the floor....... well i told Toby when i got back in Bertie and we were hysterical for about 10mins - he didn't fix that chair very well did he.

Well I was left wondering the streets of Tauranga for the whole day waiting for Toby to finish work then we could drive straight to Lake Taupo. I unfortunately went to the second hand shops a couple of min's from his work place and purchased a couple of things for the house which i dropped off at his office before hitting the main town and real shops. I bought some more stuff for the house (all of which we need) for when the parents come over! I then had my eye examination at 2pm and picked out some new frames. It took ages to decide between just 2 pairs and i drove the poor girl who worked there, mad. I chose some in the end and had a heart attack when i found out the cost ($450) with lenses, I only had to pay half the cost but pay the rest on collection. What with the cost of the jump as well it means we wont be able to get any food shopping this week - mmmmmm plain rice and baked beans it is then.

Spent the rest of the afternoon feeling really guilty - oh, also forgot to meet Toby for lunch, he called at midday asking where we should go but i was already sat on the sea front eating some nacho' s....... Sorry Toby. By coincidence though I did have the pleasure of having Rachel and Andy (Toby's work colleague) who came and sat down with me

Now feeling more guilty, about the money and forgetting him i trundled back up to his office to wait for him to finish. We then drove to the lake and met JP and Louise at the Big 10 campsite where we got ourselves a cabin for the night instead of putting up the tent, it was very cold! Spent the evening chatting and drinking beer but i wanted to get to bed, was feeling a little car sick still from the journey.

 

Wednesday 15th January 2003 Taupo

Time for some Adrenaline.. Good job too as we didn't have any food for breakfast so which means nothing to throw up. well that's the theory anyway!

Thankfully, the weather is perfect for a skydive, which is pretty lucky considering the nasty spell we have just had. We convoyed with JP and Louise down to Taupo Airport at 9 to find it already pretty busy with people jumping. We opted for the second highest jump 12,000 ft and JP and Louise also splashed out for their own personal video crew.

We sat around for half an hour and were all pretty calm about the whole thing. Then JP and Louise got their role call and got kitted out. While they went up we got chatting to some friendly travelers. something we haven't seem to of done for ages. It was great to chat to new people. Nick and Murial had already done some jumps and Nick was taking more to try and get qualified. They have also put together a traveling web site which we can keep track of (www.purenrg.co.uk). Eventually we got called up. I met my jump partner, Andy, and gave him a few tips on what he needs to do to enjoy his jump, like: don't kill us! By the time we had got kitted up JP and Louise were back on the ground and were buzzing. It got me quite excited by the whole thing and was also handy as they good now grab our camera and take a few photos of us. There were 5 jumpers on our plane and we got loaded up pretty quickly. There was not much room in the plane you just sit in a row on the floor between your instructors legs. As I was the biggest I had to sit right by the door so they could get rid of me first. The said it was because there was more space by the door But I am guessing that they wanted to get rid of the bulk quickly to conserve fuel.

Andy was very reassuring during the flight but as he was sitting behind me he couldn't see my face. I started of being very confident and as witty as I could be when I fist met him but as we flew higher and lake Taupo looked smaller and smaller through the thin plastic door I became more and more apprehensive. My mouth dried up and I became quite conscious that I needed the loo. Lets hope my bowls old out when we jump. We got to 12,500 feet when the green light flashed and the door slid open. I swung my legs out over the edge of the plane and posed for a photo and in a instant we were gone.

The first few seconds of a skydive are just like a bungy jump or roller coaster and as you accelerate your stomach churns. however that moment is over very quickly and as soon as you reach terminal velocity (over 200 km/h) your body parts return to their standard positions and you can start to enjoy the moment. It was amazing. The clear blue morning had now developed into a blanket of cloud at about 4,000 feet, which I think added to the experience. In the distance you could see the snow capped volcano of Mt Tongario poking heads head just above the clouds and as we free fell the sun made cool effects on the top of the clouds. It took 45 seconds to fall 8,000 feet and as we hit the clouds Andy released the parachute and we floated gently beneath the clouds for a fantastic view all across the countryside. I just starting to relax in the harness that Andy loosened off a bit for me when he decided to play cat and mouse with a fellow skydiver. We began spining in the air and twisting and turning which really started to make my stomach go again. 4 minutes later and we where back on the ground. Andy did a great job. I can honestly say I couldn't of done it without him. Sarena looked equally buzzed up as she landed behind me. and JP did a good job of spotting us and got some video footage to boot. What a great day and it was only 12 o'clock.

We picked up our photos and said a brief goodbye to JP and Louise, just to ensure that they would have to visit us in the next few days when thy drive back to the airport. They then headed off to Rotorua, and we headed home. I was feeling suitably exhausted. I wonder what it was like in the office today... NOT!

Spend the rest of the day recovering, then got a call at about 10 form JP saying he was just on his way over to our house. Blimey they had a busy day.

Woke up after a shite nights sleep thanks to Toby snoring and me forgetting my earplugs. We phoned the skydiving company at 9am to make to get the all clear then set off for the airport. I was feeling a little nervous but not half as bad as when i took my bike test! We filled in our forms then sat around for a while waiting for our turn, JP and Louise got kitted out first and then were taken to the plane. Toby and I started talking to a lovely couple from the UK who were traveling around and we swapped web site addresses ( they had a travel web dairy as well) they had already done their jumps and were saying how great it was. Before too long they called our names and we were getting our lovely jump suits, harness, hat etc strapped on. Louise and JP walked back in with huge grins on their faces and were beaming - must be good. I had a tandem instructor called Freddy who was very nice and i think he thought i was scared to death because i was so calm and collected! He wouldn't let me go from the moment he helped me with the harness and kept asking if i was ok..........I actually felt very very un nervous? i really looked miserable in the video and pictures but was just very focused. I think Freddy was used to people getting all fired up and wooing whilst high fiving all the time - oh the English reserve...

We had opted for the 12,000ft drop without video (too bloody expensive) so just had to rely on JP to take a video of us landing! Well all five of us all with tandem instructors bundled into a tiny plane backwards so that we were sat on the instructors knees and facing the back of the plane. The take off was smooth but was quite strange as Toby and myself were sat next to the door which was clear plastic so we could see everything. Freddy attached himself to me but it was very tight and i couldn't breathe, he loosened it thank goodness. We were up to 12,500ft when the green light went on and i looked at Toby's little face which was by now as white as a sheet, it was the first time i have ever seen him look scared. The door went back and Toby and Andy shuffled to the edge before having a photo taken then were off. Then it was the girl next to me, then it was my turn. We shuffled to the edge and he gave me a very quick brief on what he had already told me - i.e how to position myself whilst freefalling and gave me permission to scream. We then had a quick photo and were falling out of the plane, he did a back flip just as we fell out which turned my stomach in knots but before i knew it we were flying in the air!!!!!!! I can't really explain the experience only that you are looking down on the blanket of clouds trying desperately to breath because you are falling so quickly. It's not like a bungee type of falling, well only for the first 5 seconds! You are just being blasted from the wind looking down on the clouds, Freddy pointed out the sun spot on the clouds which produced a wonderful rainbow effect. After 45sec of free fall and falling 8,000ft, just as you fall through the clouds he pulls the cord and the chute goes up. Then it's just the most wonderful feeling, like sitting in a chair and flying like a bird with miles and miles of open space around us but the thing that hit me most was now the absolute quiet. We did a few twists and turns which made my tummy start rolling again but it just so gentle and peaceful - awesome

We landed very smoothly and I found myself kissing Freddy, thanking him. It was the first time he saw me show any emotion and of course i hadn't screamed on the way down which i think he was disappointed about.

Well it was over and i felt fantastic, after we had changed and watched the video and looked at the photo's (mine was crap) we said our goodbye's to Louise and JP and headed home. I once again suffered from car sickness - forgot to mention we had Kathy's car and not Bertie so was please to finally arrive in Katikati feeling exhausted. Toby crashed out for an hour whilst I tidied up and then we just vegged out on the couch for the evening.

Moment of the day: when we were 5,000ft in the air floating down like a feather with Lake Taupo, mountains and green fields surrounding us and Freddy whispers in my ear,

' Welcome to my office'

Wow, very deep

JP and Louise popped over in the evening and had a couple of beers before heading off down to the end of the road to park up near the water for the night.

Thursday 16th January 2003 Katikati

Cycled up to the end of the road in the morning to find JP and Louise camped out by the sea. Gave them a quick wake up knock and then headed back to work and back to normal again. Every one at work was very interested in my skydive and I had strict instructions from Sarena to make sure that everyone knew that she did a back flip when she jumped out of the plane. Andy also informed me that here were 3 skydiving accidents in New Zealand yesterday, 2 in Auckland and 1 at Taupo where we where. They where just a few bruises and broken bones from single jumpers. That misjudged their landings. Not that dangerous is it!

Spent the day painting all my plant pots with my new tester paint and rearranging a few things - getting very excited about having the family over. Went and picked loads of fruit from our garden and found a tiny little birds nest with a little mummy bird sat on it, when she flew off all these tiny little heads popped up with open mouths - so sweet. I then went swimming but didn't do very well then went for a run in the evening and again i found it hard.

Friday 17th January 2003 Katikati

Worked pretty well. Took a stroll in the sun at lunch time and joined Andy and Rachael for a coffee in Rachael's dads Mediterranean restaurant.

Got up early and went for a swim and thankfully did a lot better. Just pottered around for the day and read my book, weather was really hot so i didn't sit in the sun. I went and took the spare key back to Radi who was the owner of the kittens. I had dinner on the table for Toby when he got home as always.

Saturday 18th January 2003 Katikati

Its a beautiful day outside and the beach was very tempting. But I have a lot of work to catch up on and I aim to get the web site updated too. I was very self controlled and actually manage to spend the whole day working. I know its all very sad but I will feel a lot better knowing its done. I managed to get hold of my Dad today too. He has actually bought his flight over here to see me. He is arriving on the 18th of February which is just under a week before Sarena's parents arrive. This is great news as I have all that time off work so we can get out and do loads of stuff which will make up for me working these week ends.

Wow a wonderful sunny day and we decided to stay in so that Toby could get some work done. I on the other hand ended up trying to do something with my lampshade and have now finally destroyed all hopes of salvage..... oh well. I did tart up some more of my painted milo tins/plant pots and had few ideas to some other stuff to make this place a little homelier for when the parents come over. Good news about Clive coming over and i'm really pleased for Toby as he is so looking forward to seeing him. Had a strange dinner due to the fact we didn't have much food left in the larder then went out for a run.

Sunday 19th January 2003 Katikati

Managed to get down and motivated to do some work for most of the day. Got some swimming in too. the pool only had a few kids in it but they seemed to be attracted to Sarena and pretending that she was a deadly shark. If only they new how lucky they were to leave the pool alive.

It was the last Indiana Jones tonight. What are we going to do on Sunday's now? Maybe we could go out and socialise! nah not us!

Made Toby do some work at last so i just did my own thing - painted a picture for mums room. I found a horrible picture at the Salvation Army but it had a nice frame so i swapped it with my picture, still looks like a 4yr old did it! We both went down to the pool and the kids kept buzzing me saying i was a shark, I wear a black swimming costume and black cap. So i said I would eat them if they got in my way again....... yuk, kids. Spent the evening watching the final of the Indiana Jones trilogy.
Monday 20th January 2003 Katikati

First day that everyone was back at work so we started the day with morning tea and then a meeting update so I didn't really start into my work until midday. Managed to catch up with the Phil though to discuss my future with Radfords and have moved my leaving date forward a month to the end of March. Which will hopefully give us time to get round the south island while the weather is still decent.

Got home to find a few more DIY objects around the house. Bless - it keeps her out of mischief.

Went picking fruit from our garden and came back with oranges and plums. Went down to Mitre 10 in Katikati and took loads of free paint samples then covered the top of a white chest of draws that Frida has loaned us - can't really explain but it looks a little nicer than just boring white. Went swimming in the afternoon as usual bla bla bla all very boring
Tuesday 21st January 2003 Katikati

Thought I would get to work early as I have the car and its handy to ensure I get a parking space. Not a chance though, I have extreme trouble getting up at the moment. Never mind.

Work as usual, then shopping as usual. A much needed shop this time as the cupboards are completely bare, Poor Sarena must be sitting at home wasting away.

Toby took Bertie to work so it was a case of me cycling everywhere for the day. Did the usual, swimming and farting around the house waiting for Toby to get home with the shopping. I was bloody starving! finally we can eat some proper food. Toby went out for a run in the evening whilst i guiltily sat in front of the box watching Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise get naked.
Wednesday 22nd January 2003 Katikati

Overslept this morning, but still managed to fit a quick bike ride in and run into Katikati to get picked up by Kathy. Forgot my wallet though, bugger I'll have to go on the scrounge for lunch now.

manage to IOU some petty cash and get myself a chicken sarnie. Wasn't too productive with my main project today as I found distractions in other projects. Nevermind its good to do some different bits now and again.

Got home to a massive Salad prepared by Sarena, and after she forced another episode of Shortland Street on me we actually managed to switch the TV of and relax to some music and conversation.

Sarena has been emailing a friend in Auckland and arranged a day at a beer festival.. sorted :)

Back to Yoga lessons - wahey. Didn't have to pay thank goodness due to not having any money so she said i could pay next week. Cycled there and back again then did some painting before lunch. I cycled down to the pool but it was full of blinkin kids...... yuk. I decided to drive down later in the day but it seems I have lost the knack for swimming for some reason? could only manage a few lengths then felt really shaky, think my sugar level just took a nose dive so just had enough strength to dry myself and get dressed before crawling to the shop and buying a chocolate bar- aaaagh instant relief. Went home feeling deflated, why can't i swim anymore? Anyway made Toby an exciting dinner of salad... yum then did my diary before going out for a run, something i haven't done for ages

Received an email from Chewie, old school friend who lives in Auckland. He has invited us out to a big beer fest on Feb 1st which is when i go up to Auckland for my eye test to see if I can have them lasered, all fits in nicely. Also arranged to meet up with Jules whom i met in Queenstown so that's something else to look forward to.

Thursday 23rd January 2003 Katikati

Left Sarena reeling around in pain. She has pulled her back again. Did the usual at work and actually made it out at lunch time to pop down the opticians to get a new arm for Sarena's Glasses as she snapped them a few days ago when she sat on them and has had the lenses cellotaped to her head for most of the week. Got home to one of Sarena's special curries, hmmmm

Had a terrible nights sleep due to my back hurting. When i got up the next day I found i was in agony........... oh fantastic 1 hours worth of gentle Yoga and i felt like i had a 20inch knife sticking out of the middle of my back. Spent the day doing nothing but sitting and reading whilst having regular muscle spasms and limited breathing ability, didn't even bother with swimming and didn't go for a run in the evening - hey i couldn't even pull my own pants up!

Friday 24th January 2003 Katikati

Got into sorting out a new web server for Radfords today and spent most of the day trying to work out how their current system works. Didn't suss it though.

Kathy phones Sarena at lunch time to see if she was interested in tempting as Lindy the secretary has to go for an operation soon. Sarena agreed. uh-oh working together, that could be disastrous!

Mmmmm another crappy nights sleep, couldn't find one comfortable position to sleep in and once again spent the day not doing an awful lot. My highlight was going down the library......... still having muscle spasms and difficulty breathing which must have looked very strange to the dear old ladies down the Library - i looked like i was having some kind of fit whilst trying to bend down to the lower shelves. Still can't believe Yoga could do this to me though, we only did a few gentle stretches??? I made dinner for Toby then read my book for the rest of the day. Starting to worry about what to get for his birthday though which is looming fast.

Saturday 25th January 2003 Katikati

Got up early and did a bit of work for Liquid, then we managed to get ourselves organised and went out for a walk. It was a perfect day for it, Nice and sunny but with a cool wind. We too a track from Waihi Beach and headed north to the next cove which was beautiful. its a good 30 minutes walk to get their and no road access so it was nice and remote and tranquil. we then took a walk inland to Will's Falls. It was a pretty overgrown track that crisscrossed a stream. The falls was also part of the stream but was pretty high, They would probably be spectacular with a bit more water. It was starting to get pretty hot now and we had no supplies with us so we turned around and didn't get back to Waihi beach until about 3. Both of us were gasping for a drink and feeling pretty exhausted. We refueled on Vanilla Coke and Salt and Vinegar crisps which provided us with enough energy to drive the 15km back home.

Spent the afternoon listening to music and chilling with the cool breeze blowing through the house, and thinking about the miserable dark and wet days everyone must be having back home in the UK. ha ha ha!

 

Toby was up and out of bed very early which meant i had to get up not long after him, don't know why, just can't sleep. We decided to go for walk down at Waihi which had a small trek to the next bay and a trek to some waterfalls. We started off at about 11ish and the weather was lovely - not too hot with a lovely breeze. The first part of the walk took us to the most beautiful white sandy beached cove, we came around a corner and just looked down upon it. The water was just such a vivid blue and green just like the Mediterranean Sea. We walked along the beach to the other end and found the path which took us to the waterfall. That walk was actually quite hard and had us crossing a stream 5 or 6 times and hiking over rocks, logs etc. I was thinking of taking my mum on this walk when she get here but thought better of it by the time we got to the falls. I was thinking how it was quite a hard walk and that maybe mum wouldn't be able to cope, when we turned another corner and found the falls and 3 oldies sat on the floor eating their sarnies! Cripes maybe the walk wasn't as hard as all that then? The falls were a little disappointing and was more of a trickle but you could see it turned into quite a biggie when the wet season was around. We sat and took a few pictures before heading back the way we had come, we found wild strawberries and at one point we stopped to watch some small wild birds (fan tail) they seemed to be as interested at us as we were of them and came to sit on the branches right next to us. I could have reached up and touched them they were so close, very lovely. Felt awful when we came out of the forest though as our drink bottle had fallen out of Toby's bag, I hate people who leave litter anywhere so felt really guilty. We felt a little better when walking back to the car we picked up an empty bottle someone had dropped in t he bushes. By now we were getting very hungry but were starving by the time we got back to the car at 3pm. A quick stop for a Vanilla Coke and a packet of Salt and vinegar Crisps kept us going till we got home. Didn't go out for a run as I was feeling pretty tired from our days excursion.

Sunday 26th January 2003 Katikati

Only spent a few hours working, then managed to get to the pool for a quick swim. I am slowly getting better at the crawl and actually managed two lengths in a row without stopping. Wow!

Did a few bits around the house and that's about it.

Mum phoned at 9am and we had a lovely chat, she was asking me for ideas of what to buy for Toby's Birthday - no idea

We then went swimming and i actually did 50 lengths , 40 of them were front crawl!! i have got my swimming ability back again, thank goodness. Didn't do much for the rest of the afternoon but Toby mended the radio in the car ready for my drive out to Ohopo tomorrow to visit Julia.

Monday 27th January 2003 Katikati

Its a bank holiday today. Something to do with the founding of Auckland so only this area has a day off. Sarena's off exploring on her own today. Visiting a friend down the coast in Ohope. So I spent the whole day working, Tried to fit in some swimming but cycled to the pool to find it closed. Never mind it meant that I could get more work done.

Sarena got home by 7, unfortunately there is no food in the house so she got herself some pasta whilst I munch on a chicken breast. Back to work tomorrow and I have loads to do before I finish for 3 weeks in February. I can sense a bit of stress coming on.

Very excited! i drove to Ohope just past Whakatane today which took about 2hrs. Went to visit Julia whom I first met in Queenstown and we shared a room together. We got on like a house on fire in Queenstown but hadn't really spoken since so i was a little worried.

Had a fantastic drive all along the coast and when i arrived, Julia had baked the most wonderful banana cake for us! how sweet is that. We automatically just clicked again and spent the afternoon non stop talking whilst walking up and down the beach which is 2 steps from her house. It was so nice to have a chat with another female - really miss that. She really reminds me of my mate Alison back home whom is lovely and we seem to have the same sort of strange bond thing, like we have known each other for a life time. Julia is expecting a little baby and is going to OZ to get married in March and has said we can go and stay with them for a bit if we go back to Brisbane - would love to! We had a wonderful salad in Whakatane, in the only cafe that was open. Bank holiday over here means everything shuts, You would think the cafe's and restaurants would be open because of the extra trade........ It was like ghost town.

Anyway i bid farewell and drove home, stopped off to get some small provisions. I found Toby still beavering away at the computer. Didn't go out for a run - bad girl.

 

Tuesday 28th January 2003 Katikati

Got straight into work today. And managed to get loads of progress, It looks as though I will have to do another presentation on the 10th of February and there is still loads that needs doing.

Still no food in the house, so I stopped off in Katikati on the way home to buy a potato only to find Sarena in the Chinese takeaway opposite. Sounds like a much better idea. I'll have to have my potato tomorrow now.

Went swimming first thing.

Later i went to Waihi Beach and had a little look around, found a lovely pair of 3quarter length sporty trousers for Toby from the second hand shop and a blouse and a book for me. Tidied up the house in the afternoon then went and got a Chinese for the both of us. Went for a run but was absolutely crap.

Wednesday 29th January 2003 Katikati

For some reason I have left this day out when keeping my diary up to date. It is now Sunday the 9th of February and we have just returned from Auckland Airport after picking up our friend Lisa Moody who has flown in from Bangkok. I have just eaten a cheese sandwich and decided to check my diary. so know you know the truth! But can you handle the truth!

If you actually want to know what I did today then just read any other week day from the previous 4 months.

Didn’t have time for a swim but did go to yoga then quickly went home to get showered and changed before heading into Tauranga and to have a look around Town for a pressie for Toby. I then popped into Radfords for a quick brief from Lindy showing me the general Reception procedures – all very easy. I then went to Pack n save for the weeks shopping which is where Toby came to meet me then we went home and I flaked out for the evening – went out for a run
Thursday 30th January 2003 Katikati

Uh, Oh Working with Sarena. Could end up in a row! We both walked into KatiKati to get picked up by KathyKathy and had a few comments from passers-by suggesting that we where going to school. We did look a bit like that though, both with our backpacks on. I am even wearing the local schools colours, gray and green.

Working with Sarena isn't bad at all. Didn't quite get her to bring me my regular cups of coffee and sharpen my pencil on request, but at least we got on. I had my head down most of the day working on my project, but we both found time to go for a walk together at lunch. Ahhhhh ;)

Popped into see Todds fully restored '29 AJS that he is racing at the weekend. Very clever I wish I could build things like that, maybe one day I can have a workshop with loads of tools to play with.

Well my first day at the office! I got up early and went for a short bike ride then walked down with Toby to meet Kathy and get a lift in. It was a really easy day and the telephone only rang a few. In my past experience at working in Reception it’s meant having to do 6 or 7 things at the same time whilst answering a constantly ringing phone etc. I was told I could read my book when it was quiet, very nice little job and the money I get I can buy Toby’s b’day pressie. The company is extremely relaxed and nothing like I’m used to, and I get to see the working habits of Mr Jones. We popped in to visit Todd (Kathy’s son) on the way home as he wanted her to see his very old restored motorbike.

Feeling pretty horrible because of the lack of swimming…

Went out for a run in the evening and did pretty well for a change

Friday 31st January 2003 Katikati

Woke up to a very cold morning with a cool mist flowing through the valley below us. Friday is the day Lindy gives me a back massage but Sarena seems to be avoiding her duties. I have suggested disciplinary action to her superiors who have informed me that they will review her performance at the next board meeting. You just can't get the staff.

Ate too much pizza for lunch, as usual. and managed to get loads more work done... ...well that's what I'm paid for.

Another quick bike ride and then off to work together – very sweet. Had a great day at work and spent most of it reading my book and then popping out into town to do some banking etc. Friday is Pizza day so had a few slices of that for lunch.
Didn’t go out for a run but did go to bed early.

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