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Just found out from Maeve that Billy Connolly is touring New Zealand… so decided to get tickets. It was sold out. Badness.. Said – who cares anyway and booked tickets with Glynn to see him in Auckland, sure it’ll be expensive, but probably one of the last times I’ll have the opportunity to see him… just can’t wait (March)


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Hmmm, so Tuesday was my last entry eh… well quite a lot has happened since then. So it has.

We got a car… that was probably the most important thing really, as it meant we could get out and see and do things at the weekend. It’s a pretty stylish Toyota Corona. 2L engine, massive boot, 1986.. we’ll see how this goes. I kinda hope it passes it’s W.O.F. (Warranty Of Fitness) every car over 5 years old, I think, has to have this done every 6 months.. It’s something like that anyway.

So if we pass that it’ll be plain sailing until May, which would really be nice, may have to get it fixed up a little first, not for anything major mind! but the steering feels a little loose sometimes and taking it over 90kmph it gets a little hot, it seems.

But sure twill be grand.

Oh, so we got that on Tuesday evening.. rest of the week… well job hunting again, I really ought to get a little more serious about it all really, I’m being slightly lazy and hoping something magical will fall into my lap. Could happen ;)

But just not yet. Maeve has landed herself a pretty excellent – experience wise- job implementing (inflicting? ;) ISO-9000 on a department in a hospital… they’re going to just *love* computers (which they don’t use!) still.. going to be awesome experience anyway.

As you can see from this pic, looking for jobs is damn stressful sometimes.

Mind you, my friend Keith in Oz was telling me to keep the labouring up, that it’s totally casual and you learn loads… hmmmm still not super sure about that one (though it’s entirely possible I may be left with little alternative) see what you can do with an honours degree these days – opens doors I tell you – Opens Doors..

So yes, I am now the only unemployed bum left in the house.. still, could be worse! do get the chance to see the place and chill out reading a little, writing a little, it’s kinda cool – heading off during the day for a bitta’ bouldering in town.. defiantly has it’s ups…

What else… yes, so no job as of yet for me, and on Saturday then we took our car

up to the mountains. It was kinda funny, for a long time it seemed like we were driving through Irish countryside… (well except that we knew we were in New Zealand – we weren’t actually confused at all ;)

and then we came round a corner in the road and saw this :

Which reminded us that we definatly weren’t in Ireland.

So on we went up to a place called castle hill. Apparently according to this page, the Dalai Lama said that Castle Hill was “The energy centre of the Universe”

So there, I was at the energy centre of the universe at the weekend.

Which was nice.

And I really do have to put lots more pics up sometime… but this is one pic (really did not take enough – too busy experiencing the energy which seemed to be coursing through my body.. the DL was dead right, I can now stop traffic with a mere thought. Very Strange Altogether. But that’s what happens when you go to the energy centre of the Universe.

The whole Universe.

ok, enough of that… so yes. looks a little like this :

So that was Saturday during the day. Takes an hour door to door, which is fine really, almost makes it practical if you can get out of work early to head off for the evening… we’ll have to see how it goes.

Then for the evening we headed off to a bar-b-q with some friends that friends of my sisters had made when they were over here ( which we met at a bar on friday ) (convoluted sentence or what).

Which was lovely… really lovely.. it’s in an awesome part of ChCh called Redcliffs, right up on the side of the hill overlooking the whole bay. To get to the house you have to basically walk up a garden path (well lots of them as the hillside has quite a few of these houses on them) it’s quite steep, but the walkway is lovely, one big mass of flowers and colours, it’s deadly. Complete pain hauling dishwashers etc. up no doubt… but worth it I guess! Wish I had a pic to put here, if I go back I’ll get one.. Ingenious ppl a bit further away ran a pulley system down to the road (the house is about 100m zigzag up from the road) to haul up groceries etc… it’s really very cool.

So yes, bar-b-q. Met a few climbery folk which we may head out with on Tuesday, but we did manage to get a guide book that another Irish climber (Peter O Farrell) left here when he was here before.. so we’re going to keep that until we leave the South Island I guess..

So the food was yum (incl boysenberry ice-cream with passion fruit syrup – damn fine) watched the Pommes beat the Ozzies (they all call the British Pommes over here) and home. Tis nice having a voluntary designated driver (Glynn) for the evening.

Oh – apparently two guesses for where the nickname Pomme comes from are

a) POHM (Property of Her Majesty) was printed on their clothing.

b) They were so red they looked like a Pomegranate.

Who knows? not me anyway..


And then today – well earlier in the week I’d got in contact with a tramping club and decided to head out with them… I wasn’t expecting too much, as I kinda expected it to be a bunch of Sunday Strollers out for an airing. Which it kinda was, but they were lovely.. really friendly and interesting people, who I think really enjoyed having an excuse to talk about the wonders of NZ to. But it really was good. I’d say of the 9 people 2 of us were under 30 (and one of us only just) and the others, well one mid thirty – and the other 5 60ish..

All quite fit though… So the walk was up on Banks Peninsula, again I’ll get a map sometime and show you, but the views

were quite nice really…

but also I did learn quite a few things about the area… like this pic here

This is a pic of indigenous NZ Bush. Pretty old a lot of it, some of the trees we saw were (apparently) over 1400 years old… which is old. Hmmm, wonder if I’m remembering that correctly – called totara

(this from google)

The totara grows to be a very large tree and it can have lots and lots of red fruits for birds to eat. Its wood is very durable and so it has been popular for making furniture and fence posts. The wood is so tough that trees from forests that were burnt hundreds of years ago are still sometimes found today. Totara was a very important tree for Maori, who used it to make huge war canoes (waka taua) and for carving and medicine. Maori also used the stringy bark to make things like bags lined with dried kelp to keep their mutton birds in.

The part that they were pointing out was that the wood is damn hard, and the stumps really do stay on the land for a long time.

The slightly ironic thing here is that it was Scottish settlers who were kicked off their land by greedy sheep farmers that then came over here, burned a lot of the

Bush away and then started grazing their sheep on what was left..

The only other thing which I took a pic of was this –

Which is a leaf of a plant called the Bush Lawyer… ‘cos it has nasty spikes which once they get into you rip you apart and never let go.. hehehe, poor old Lawyers :D

Let alone Bush. Mind you, bet he has some great lawyers, have to have to get away with the st…. sorry. I’ll stop.

So yes, where was I – so the Tramp was fun, and followed up by a pretty gigantic ice-cream for $2.50 (it was about 7 inches of scooped ice-cream)

Oh – finally, ChCh does get a lot of wind. Most of it off the coast I guess… as you can see from this pic (It was *not* windy (well that windy) when this was taken.

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So the last couple of days have been spent applying for various jobs and visiting recruitment agencies… slow going for the most part… but not too bad.

On the IT side of things… well… there seems to be very little.. and what there is, for someone with my visa would all be contract work. Now contracts to me always seemed a little scary.. but I suppose it’s just a fancy word for Temp Work. Technically when I was in Vancouver working I was being billed as a contractor. The silly thing was that I completely forgot to file my tax returns…. Ahhh well… my fault ;)

Settling in here though… slowly admittedly, but it is getting a little easier, and I get lost less often in town! so that’s nice too :)

In fact, I’m beginning to think that a job might get in the way of having a Good Time, but I guess the moola would be nice too.

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So a little update from last week…. well Friday night was a heavy night out.. oh it was also a bank holiday for Christchurch… though from now on I will call it ChCh.. ‘cos that’s what they call it over here.. and we should be getting ‘hip to the lingo’..

Each city, or something like that, get to choose their own particular bank holiday – Auckland’s is in January I think…. strange but there you go..

The day – friday was pretty lazy really… spent it trying to apply for ‘pooter jobs mainly.. did manage to get in contact with a guy called Seth… see I enjoy the game backgammon a wee bit – so I searched on google to see if there was a club (there isn’t) but his name came up… so I mailed him to organise meeting up for a wee low stakes ($1 a point or something) match sometime… but also I figured it might be a way to get info on jobs.

Which it was… they have a pretty interesting and cliquey set up here.. the various companies seem to use a website called RealContacts.. and basically what happens is that engineers recommend themselves / join this network and it’s how the jobs seem to be advertised… which is great if you’re in on it… but not quite so if you’re not. There’s also a sorta pub meet every Friday where the techies all meet up. Sounds like a blast… but I’m still going along next Friday! and I’m going to drag Glynn along too…. hopefully.

Friday night was a late one.. Guinness tastes kinda weird over here (and no, we were mostly drinking the fine NZ beers. Of which there are many. Some of us came out slightly better than others.. but sure what can you do…. not that we needed to of course.. of course… but our taxi driver was kind enough to inform us, when we pulled over slightly before our destination… that messing up the car was a $300 fine.

So that was news… and something to be aware of.

Yes… defiantly interesting.

Saturday was spent pretty much entirely inside.. we did have some heavy rain.. but mostly it was just recovery.

Sunday – today.. well lazy enough start.. and then got into looking for cars… Walked to gazillions of showrooms.. I was slightly dreading that the others would find one they liked… as I don’t trust those places, and also that the prices were about $4000+, whereas the ones in the personals were about 800+.

And now that I’ve quit my lucrative job ( I quit today…) I want to be cheapy again… luckily nothing jumped out at us.. so back to the ranch (well house) after a weird greek falafel type chicken thing.. which was, well, ok but not my all-time favourite and we started ringing up ads.

A lot of them had gone already, but we did check out a couple of them… found a Honda that was quite nice, but quite old… so we didn’t get it, no harm really, probably best to have a good look around, sure you might miss the best deal, but you’ll get a good one.

So yes, quit my labouring job.. I’d also had a quick look at my insurance policy and it did exclude labouring so that was another good reason to quit. Course if I *really* can’t find anything… then I will get another one. But I’m not quite that strapped for cash. Yet.

Still… at least I don’t have to get up for 6:50, but I dread to think what they’ll be saying in the canteen (well container with a couple of chairs and a table, and a sink with lots of dirty crockery and no water..) about wussy irish boys who can’t hack the pressure.

However, thanks to Dec and Lorcan for their encouraging txts… Decs telling me to bend my knees and not my back or that I’d damage my spine…. and Lorcans telling me to loosen my belt a notch (I’m guessing so that I’d blend in!) and for all the other mails saying to a greater or lesser degree HAHHAHAHA :D and – nice outfit.

Personally I did think I looked quite dashing.

Oh – also made mums orange concentrate recipe… and it was a complete success, so for anyone who’s tried it and liked it… or wants to try :

3-pints water boil with 3 pounds sugar

when boiling add grated rind and juice of 3 oranges and 1 lemon (I did 4 oranges ‘cos I didn’t have a squeezer) and 1.5 oz citric acid.

return to boil for one minute



and it’s really good! :)

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So…. hehehe, twill be an interesting (to me anyway ;) post this one… So I wandered around the town on wednesday, getting CV’s printed off and photocopied and handing them in to different agencies… Most of which informed me that office work was not going to happen unless I sacrificed several goats and sheep to different spirits and slept inside a pentagon.

So that was a little annoying. Course Maeve pointed out today that I seemed to have applied to all the wrong agencies for getting office work… But sure I did get work as you will see…

Yup.. so after doing a word and excel test (and spelling and numerical tests) – actually for the record I’m ‘not productive’ at word… despite getting a 97% accuracy on the test…. in all fairness that’s simply concerned with how many shortcut keys you know…. Yes yes I’m making excuses but what they hey ;) come get me :D

So yes, where was I – ahhh yes – finished those tests and went upstairs to DKW personnel.. where I asked about office work and was again told that ‘it was quite slow at the moment’ Nice people though, two of them had toured Ireland and worked on Grafton St… so that was nice.. Funny really, someone told me that the Kiwis in Chch (yes, that the in acronym for Christchurch), are quite insular and not friendly… so far that’s defiantly not been what I’ve found.. they seem very friendly most of the time, and eager to help – I was wandering off to find my bike – oh yes – the puncture was fixed for free, which did restore my confidence in humanity somewhat… anyway – so I was looking at my street map, and a lady came up and tried to point me in the right direction…. you’d not get that in Dublin?! – or maybe you would and I’ve just not noticed..

So yes, DKW…. and I sorta kinda let myself get kinda enrolled as a laborer… ehem… they said that they didn’t need to contact my referees ;) mind you Adrian and Peter may even be reading this for all I know – if so – sorry you didn’t get the call asking if I am suitable for hard manual labour, just incase you do get a call sometime… by the end of reading this you can make up your own mind :D

And they even got me my IRD number – Revenue people… if you don’t have the number then they take 48Cent in every dollar off you.. which really isn’t great-smashing-super. Mind you, unlike OZ I believe we can claim tax back at the end.. which is kinda nice enforced savings really… So they got that sorted out, and my Hard Had, bright orange vest, and steel capped boots, – or steel caps to those of us in the trade. Which I currently am, and probably will for the next week until I decide that a weeks hard labour is enough for me…

So yes, back home, a bitta climbing – probably a dumb idea considering… and then earlyish to sleep for my 6:50am start the next day..

—————————Hard Labour Day Number 1—————–

So yes, today woke up nice and early so that I could get there on time… the place is a development up on a golf course called Clearwater.. apparently Tiger Woods played there a couple of months ago. As you do.

Actually they are going to be sweet apartments (well the ones I didn’t help build ;) when they’re finished. They have a huge garage at the bottom, and go up 1 flight of stairs to the front door, then a huge kitchen, looking over the lake (all the windows front onto the lake – oh and there’s a jetty out back), and then up again to a couple of bedrooms and a bathroom, and again the bath is right beside a window looking onto the lake.. very nice really…

So spent the morning movin’ stuff, and tidyin’ stuff and generally trying not to lift and twist, keep my back straight, and not carry too much. I can honestly say that doing these things correctly really isn’t trivial at all!, and also, that I really can now appreciate the value of a hard days work.. I know I’ve only done one, and I’ll try and stick it for a week and see how it goes.. but we’ll have to see, I don’t much feel like killing myself either…

So made neat little piles of wood.. though did learn one thing about stacking wood… if say you’re stacking a pile of 2*4s which are say, 8 ft long – something like that.. what you do is you pile them up, and then when it’s going to get unstable, you put two logs at right angles and repeat the process…. one way of stacking timber that’s a little more stable than making a big heap. So here you go readers… a bonus for getting this far if you ever want to stack timber ;)

Actually it was perfectly fine right up until Evil Carpenter Man came along. Well, he wasn’t strictly evil, though he did have the weirdest stare… – but this was after lunch so I had a bit of energy… oh yes, at lunch I learned that Kittry’s sister is 20 and has 5 kids…. I would protect identities, but I very much doubt they’ll be reading.. and anyway, it’s really something to be proud of, and she’s trying for a boy… So that’s nice.

Yes, so Mr Evil Carpenter Man came along with ….. yes….. some Real Work. Now I’m an honest laborer, but sheesh.. we could have used a third person in my humble opinion…. We were moving those Humungous Marble tabletops that people have in their kitchens, from down in a garage all they way up into the kitchen… the first few were fine, but goddamn… (sorry mum if you’re reading this ;) but they really were super heavy… and while I didn’t think of myself as particularly weak… I certainly know I’m not as strong as Aiden, the bloke who’s family left Kilkenny when he was 6 and was helping me lift these Things. He was completely sound, and I just felt sorry for him that he had to work with me for the day.. hopefully I’ve not completely broken the man… well, he’s probably about 23 actually.. most sound. Told me Auckland was the place to go for ‘pooter work, and that he’d just come back from working in Oz, and that he was totally on his way back after having to reside in NZ for 6 months (then he can go back and renew his visa)…

So yes, lifting those things (and yes I did bend my knees and not my back – for the most part anyway) was a complete nightmare…(so I hope anyone reading this who has marble topped counters Really Appreciates what they’ve got) I was ‘totally pumped’ by the end of it.. still, probably not a bad work out for finger strength as these things go, so that’s something to be thankful for… if it leads me to conquer the overhangs any easier I’ll be sorted… And I *think* I may be able to use my mp3 player too … but I’ll have to see about that one…

But, hopefully, if Maeve lands herself office work, and the ppl she applied to seemed to think that she’d not have to sacrifice anything to anyone, then I’ll defiantly quit the laboring and try to get work too… ’tis all a little mad really, but defiantly character building… I can feel my character getting bigger already…

My hands certainly have character

Nice people though, and that makes all the difference.