Monday, January 23, 2006

Day 1, Part 2...a new beginning

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away......

Well we finally got here, after visiting more countries in 26 hours than I have in the last 26 years! The flight isn't for the faint-hearted although we struck lucky quite by accident. It turned out that our trip would be a series of short hops via Dubai, Singapore, Brisbane and finally Auckland. I seriously think I would have gone mad if we'd have had the 2 thirteen hour trips that most people seem to take.

Anyway, it really is a fantastic place, although the experience hasn't been without its ups and downs. Things were going really well from the airport - we were fast-tracked through Immigration after being directed to the "families with young children channel"!! and two chic, sleek white taxis were there outside to meet us as arranged, to whisk us off to the apartment. The drivers was very nice, and very welcoming, although that could just have been because he knew in advance that the fare for a twenty minute trip would be nearly NZ$200!! Not to be deterred, we got into the apartment, jeglagged and somewhat unwashed, ready to relax and clean up.

"Arrrrrrrrgghhhhhhh, oh my God we can't stay here!"

Somewhat taken aback by Mrs C's initially reaction at what is a beautiful and spacious apartment, I calmly enquired as to her concern. She just the floor-to-ceiling, single glazed windows that looked out four stories above the park. Being slightly less tired than me, she'd already assessed the potential and likelihood of our two offspring tear-arsing around the apartment and crashing through the windows at full tilt.

Thinking quickly, I suggested that things might look better after a cup of tea. However, after a thorough search of every cupboard, it soon became clear that we had no provisions whatsoever. After gazing out of the window at a vista of high rise office blocks, it was also apparent that this was not an area likely to be populated by many supermarkets or corner shops!

The next reaction, only fifteen minutes after arrival, was shared by both Mrs C and me at exactly the same time..........what the hell have we done?? We are on the other side of the world, in a new city, where we know nobody. Panic started to set in! However, a very quick call to the office of my new employer sorted things out.

"Hi, we are here but a bit stuck, do you know where the nearest supermarket is?"

"Oh, I am so sorry, I never thought - I'll be right over!"

An hour later and things were starting to look so much better. Despite one bag of essentials - tea, coffee, milk, cereal, bread and biscuits - costing more than a weekly shop in the UK, things had calmed down a little.

It also quickly became obvious that people here are polite, friendly, helpful and generally very very nice.

It's also a bit of a strange place - more later about bungy jumping, car number plates and estate agents.....

(Finally, for those of you that know me and read this, I haven't got access to your e-mail addresses (Andrew, Lesley, Jean etc). Send me an e-mail and I'll reply

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Life's like a box of chocolates...

Well, it's been a while since I've posted anything, which is largely due to the fact that I've been pretty busy getting stressed out (to the point where Mrs C has commented on the alarming amount of my hair left on the pillow each morning!).

First of all, our second visa application was rejected just before Christmas on a couple of technicalities. Having gone through the rigorous medicals, it seems the the hugely likeable doctor had been so engrossed in the length of my legs and the quality of my wife's "jugs" that he completely forgot to tick the box that said I was a fine specimen of human health. In addition, the nice people at the High Commission took a dislike to my passport because it was starting to look a little battered - a bit like me really!

So, since we last met, I've spent a day in Liverpool freezing my bahoogies off whilst waiting for a new passport, and a day in London freezing the rest of me off waiting for the High Commission to reopen after Christmas.

Which brings me back to Christmas itself - a largely unwelcome affair this year when most of our time was spent worrying what we were going to do with all the toys that were now filling the spaces we had cleared of old toys in preparation for the big move! Other than the entertainment of listening to the mother-in-law's deeply fulfilling tales of persecution by imaginery nocturnal noises and her resultant midnight spying missions, Christmas was something we agreed we could all have done without really. Nevertheless, for the first time ever, I did manage to watch 'Zulu' right through from beginning to end - largely thanks to Mrs C taking pity on my New Year's Day hangover and volunteering to cook

On the plus side, Christmas now over, whilst most other people are flocking back to work, I am now officially unemployed. In the run up to this lifetime first, I had dreamed lovingly of basking in a brief, but carefree, period living as an unshaven, workshy fop, cultivating the odour of a geriatric badger. However, instead I now find myself having to come to terms with a distressingly accurate body clock that seems to rouse me from peaceful slumber at 8am EVERY morning in preparation for the sacred vigil of watching for the postman, expecting him to skip gaily up the drive waving our passports and visas invitingly.

Now I don't know about you but our postie arrives punctually every day any time between 8.45am and 11am, and by the time of his arrival I'm a caffeine-crazed Nick Jr junkie. Generally, I can't get near the TV even if I wanted to but my four year old is wallowing in the novelty of having Dad at home - She hijacks me on the landing every moring as I attempt to sneak downstairs for 15 minutes of tranquity in the company of Sky Sports News - but how can anyone resist the request "sit with me Dadda and watch 'Mick Jr' "?

I've come to the conclusion that there have only every been three episodes of Fifi and the Flowertots ever made, and I've seen all three of them fifteen times! As if that isn't bad enough, you then get Kevin the Scouser dancing about in a green pullover every morning asking you "Or ey, der yew want ter play Blews Clews wit mee?". Now I know I'm getting older but I don't ever remember kids' TV being that bad when I watched it. Brain soup the lot of it!

Anyway, after over a week of this, I succumbed yesterday and sent a sickeningly polite e-mail to those nice people in Immigration to try to get a status report, only to be told that our applications were shortly to be allocated a caseworker. ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!! Despite taking my money over two weeks ago, and promising me that a trip to London would get me the visas there and then, I now find the applications hadn't even been looked at!

This morning, consciously knowing full well that the postie wouldn't be bringing anything interesting, I manfully fought my body clock and rebelliously slept in until 8.35am! After ritually meeting my four year old on the landing and traipsing zombie-like down stairs to make coffee and take my daily dose of Fifi, I decided there was nothing else for it - I put my foot down with a firm hand and insisted we switched to CBeebies staight after the Early Worms and immediately before Kevin the Scouser made his appearance. You know, there is something strangely soothing about Tikkabilla.

I also decided it was time for a beer with a few old work colleagues this lunchtime.

On reflection, it was clearly the right thing to do - turns out, Mrs C had a phonecall whilst I was out - those nice people in Immigration are sending the passports AND VISAS special delivery first thing on Monday. I should go for a beer more often I think!

OHshitohshitohshit. Now it's really happening and I've got to start all the cleaning, tidying and throwing away I've been putting off for weeks, to avoid getting my hopes up. Oh, and I suppose it would be a good idea to start looking for some flights, because the house will be devoid of all furniture come Friday!!!!

Looks like we are on our way

Whakawhiti te ra