Monthly Archives: June 2011

Everything happens for a reason …

The volcanic ash cloud (wherever it was) looked pretty tame to me ...

After a weekend of disrupted travel plans, I’m struggling to decide whether everything happens for a reason.

Did Mount Puyehoe in Chile spew it’s volcanic ash simply to foil my weekend away? If I am to believe that everything happens for a reason – then what was it?

I arrived in Auckland (en route to Melbourne) prepared for the possibility of delay. The delays turned to cancellations and after five of them I decided it was time to chuck in the towel, cut my losses and return to Wellington. A four-day break in Melbourne morphed into a three-day break in Auckland.

I’ve rationalised this event to find the positive.

  • I got to spend time with my future extended family getting to know them better. Schlepping around pyjama-clad and mug in hand in the morning breaks down all sorts of barriers!
  • I made friends with Ruby the dog and Daphne the cat.
  • I got to spend time with an old school friend renewing very close bonds we shared many years ago.
  • I got to know the Auckland streets a little better even though I still refuse to drive there.
  • I enjoyed time with my lovely lovely daughter and her equally lovely fiancee.
Each one of these times is incredibly special and treasured … every cloud – even an ash one – has a silver lining. I’m not entirely convinced though that absolutely everything happens for a reason.
Sometimes things just happen …

Weekly photo challenge: Worn, the story

No sign of volcanic ash here ...

Is there a way to photograph patience?

Mine is wearing a little thin today … I was scheduled to visit Melbourne (Australia) with my daughter. Melbourne is approximately a four hour flight from New Zealand. In order to make the trip together I must first fly from Wellington to Auckland.

Sadly, volcanic ash from Chile is playing havoc with our plans.

Today’s flight from Auckland to Melbourne has been cancelled. In order to rebook I’ve had to wait in one of those interminable phone queues … you know, the ones that play muzac interspersed with cheerful voices from staff telling you how valued your business is, and other sorts of irrelevant tit-bits.

I sat there on my bed prepared for the long haul, tray on my lap with all-bran, kiwifruit, cellphone and documentation. Too cold to be anywhere else at that hour of the morning. Rebooking, when my call was finally answered, was simple. Now, I just have to hope that the ash cloud has lifted by tomorrow morning. Otherwise, I’ll have to go through the whole procedure again!

But wait there’s more …this isn’t the whole story folks …

I arrived early (thank goodness) at Wellington airport for my domestic flight to Auckland. While scanning my e-ticket a lovely young man came up to assist – no I’m not that doddery or incompetent I thought – and pointed out that the flight I’d booked was Auckland to Wellington, and visa versa for the return trip. Showing his pearly white teeth in a broad grin, he told me that rebooking was going to be expensive.

GRRRRR!!! Maybe I’m not as competent as I thought.

So, I had to wait in queue number two, another long one because everyone’s flights have been affected. $$$$$$ later I walked away with the last available seat to Auckland today.

I’m feeling quite worn …

I’ve since heard that there’s been another earthquake in Japan. When considered with those that having been plaguing Christchurch recently and the spewing volcano in Chile, I really can’t complain.

Whatever happens this weekend, happens …

Changing my mind …

Very hard to resist this ...

Minds are made for changing – I’ve recently written a blog on this topic. What I haven’t written about is my notorious habit of changing my mind in cafes and restaurants.

I deliberate at length over the menu – even when it’s short – place my order and then change it.

I might see a yummy looking dish on it’s way to some other lucky punter, experience menu envy, then regret my choice. By that stage it could be too late to change it, but if it isn’t, I will.

This morning my partner and I thought we’d have breakfast at our favorite cafe, Nikau. We know the menu off by heart … it hasn’t changed significantly in the years we’ve been going there. I could recite it for you …

Still, we went in, ordered our drinks – a long black and english breakfast tea – and said ‘thank you’ to a copy of the beautifully presented menu. I’m always a sucker for their fresh fruit salad and yoghurt (with a portion of muesli on the side) or their delicious hot and steamy porridge with caramelised apples and slivered almonds. But I’ve been trying to be really good lately and have reverted to having a simple boiled egg (four minutes!) with wholegrain toast.

I’ve also been trying diligently to stem my mind-changing habit. Of giving my order to the lovely waiting staff, then racing after them to change it to something else.

This morning the owner Paul served us. We always have a chat about something (usually football or rugby) and then he tells us, knowing how Dave hates them, that the only fruit on the menu is banana. The he asks me what my order is, and then what I’d like to change it to.

So to myself, I said fresh fruit and yoghurt (with muesli on the side), but to Paul I said ‘one boiled egg with a slice of wholegrain toast, please.’

It took so much resolve to stay in my seat, keep my lips firmly sealed and stick with the plan.

Sensory thrills in ‘real time’ shopping

Ooh la la!

I’ve been listening to a debate on the radio this morning – whether we’d prefer online bargain hunting or the physical retail experience. In these hard economic times our local retailers are finding things tough …

Personally, I like going to shops – I prefer real retail therapy. I enjoy the act of driving into town, escaping the chains of household drudgery, wandering the streets, looking in the shop windows, trying things on, picking things up – holding them, turning them over in my hands, felling the textures, punctuating the trip with a ‘long black’ (that’s a coffee) in one of my favorite cafes, meeting up with friends, and chatting to shop assistants when they haven’t got their eyes firmly fixed, as they pout and preen, on their reflection in the nearest mirror ! ‘Real time’ shopping has social and sensory appeal.

I’m not good at waiting – if I want to buy something – then I want to have it now. I have, however, learned over the years the benefits of putting things on ‘hold’ – it gives me time to think about whether I really really want them. I’ve also taken up the practice of putting things on layby – when I don’t need the item/s right then and there or I can’t afford them then and there – because I can then pay off the balance gradually.

My children chastise me! Always telling my how much cheaper goods are online, the variety of choice. Bowing to pressure, I’ve taken their advice tried the experience via Strawberrynet.com, very recently. It was really easy … I made my selection, did the deal and then three days later my products arrived in the mail. I’ve heard complaints that the products may be counterfeit – I’ll guess I’ll find that out when I start using them. (I’m waiting to finish my near empty bottles first!) Sure I saved a bit of money, but even as I made my purchase I wondered whether I was buying real deal authentic products or whether I was being had. I never feel that way when I’m in a shop …

Supporting local retailers is important, knowing that if we don’t walk through their doors, they’ll be forced to close. We’ll be left with empty shop windows and empty streets. We won’t be able to pop down to the shops, chat to the owners about their merchandise and seeking their advice for our decision-making. You can’t do that online – you get no feedback, no smiles, no laughter – nada. And then if the product is not right, you have further delay (and anxiety) while you return it.

One mustn’t forget the incidental exercise factor (to be blunt – the Chawner effect). Shopping online does nothing for the waistline as you sit for hours trawling the internet exercising only your fingers. It can’t compare with the health benefits of tramping the streets in gale force winds, reaching to the skies as you remove layers of clothing, bending and stretching as you try on a multitude of shoes. No need for a gym membership … beat the winter flab, get off your bums and get shopping sisters!

I definitely prefer ‘real time’ …

Weekly photo challenge: Worn

Worse for wear...

I fell in love with the Sanderson fabric many years ago and had two two-seaters sofas made up in it for my previous home. They looked so beautiful by the fireside and suited the style and age of the house.

At the time the design was full of rich blues, greens and deep pinks. I love these sorts of colours.

I remember eagerly awaiting their arrival … they seemed to take months to come. Then the day they arrived I took lots of photos of my delighted kids perching, sitting, lying and even fighting on the lovely new sofa – it was a very special day. The photos are still on the wall of our family room!

The sofas haven’t really worn well even thought they’er about 18 years old. They look unloved and uncared for. They have many threadbare patches like the one pictured. Oddly though, the patches are all vaguely rectangular in shape and only in this part of the design – the central core of the blue foliage which was once deep pink. They form a neat row of patches along the arms and back of the sofas.

Strange.

Sad – I still really love the fabric! That hasn’t changed …