Well, we have had a bit of a depressing week this week. From hope and happiness to doom and despair in a few short days!
I’ll set the scene – a promise of a whole term’s worth of salary was announced by the arrival of a payslip on Monday after several long phone calls to Payroll in Wellington the previous Friday. We should expect the money by Wednesday at the latest! Hooray! Aonghas has been patiently waiting for his Nintendo Wii (the money for which he had saved up from Birthday and Christmas) since we got here. But as we had no television and we had spent his money (dreadful parents that we are!) we said that he would have to wait. The television problem was solved when his friend Hong’s Mum and Dad lent us their old one but we still had no money! We promised him that we would buy it when I got paid which we thought would have happened weeks ago!! So he was very excited when it looked like he would be able to have his Wii this week for the holidays. Not so! No money on Monday, no money on Tuesday, checked the bank account just about every hour but still no money on Wednesday! On Thursday I phoned Payroll who said that the money had gone from there and should be in my account, so they suggested I phone school. On phoning them and checking my payslip more carefully we found that the account number was wrong by one digit – so my money was somewhere in the ether – possibly in someone else’s account! Several frantic phone calls later by the wonderful accounts staff at school to Wellington and I now have a promise that the money will be in MY account by the end of today. I won’t hold my breath!! Just keep checking the account….
We have spent a few pleasant mornings in the museum this week keeping busy and being entertained. What’s wrong with that, I hear you say? Well, nothing really except when you come out and go back to the car to find that someone has got into it and stolen all your CDs! No apparent sign of forced entry (I had checked that it was locked before leaving it but as it has central locking I only checked the drivers door trusting that the central locking worked), and fortunately no damage to the car. They also took the registration documents and the insurance details from the glove compartment. What else was in there I don’t know – my sunglasses, and other bits of junk. My guess is they just tipped the contents of the glove compartment in a bag and ran. Not sure if it is worth making a claim but when you count up the cost o 20 or so CDs you suddenly realise that that is quite a lot of money. Had to phone the insurers to ask them to send out a new policy document so will see what our excess is and work out whether it is worth claiming. Spent the next hour at the police station reporting the theft and getting the car brushed for fingerprints. Nothing positive came up so I’m guessing it’ll just be another one to put down to experience!
As I have already blogged we have spent the last couple of weekends getting excited about looking at houses and even found one we think we could put an offer in for once our sale comes through. But – yes, you’ve guessed it! Six weeks after making an offer our buyer has pulled out – SIX WEEKS!! He claims it is because builders reports state that there is too much work to do. However he had builders round there BEFORE he put in his offer. We know that because in the course of doing that he switched the water on, left it on and as a result caused a leak which luckily our friends found when they went to open the windows to air the house. It resulted in our friends having to fit a new water tank and clean up all the mess. It also caused our next door neighbours problems, but I won’t go into that as it is far too complicated! We suspect that he has had problems getting a mortgage and is using building repairs as an excuse. He was already getting the house for considerably less than the market value even given the depressed state of the market. How can he decide now after 4 or 5 months (he first viewed it back in Feb.March) that it is not what he wants? Grrrr! VERY frustrating! Okay, rant over ….
So if anyone out there knows of anyone who wants a substantial Victorian family home in Ingleton North Yorkshire please make us an offer. (3 bedrooms, large living kitchen, large living room, copious amount of boarded out, dry cellar space, mature garden (probably quite overgrown by now but it is lovely underneth!!), 2 garden sheds, outdoor ex-toilet now shed! Off road parking. It is the former mine manager’s house from when Ingleton was a thriving mining village. The three cellars are dry, centrally heated, and used by us as a children’s play room, a study and a storage area for all our caving, climbing, camping, walking gear so there is plenty of space! The kitchen is the hub of the house – we unearthed a big hearth and stone lintel before we left but had no time to do anything with it so there is scope to devlop that. But the kitchen is big enough for a large dining table so we spent most of our time in there! The sun pours in in the afternoon and late evening making it a really sunny spot to be. The living room is the same size as the kitchen and again the light comes in afternoons and evenings. Upstairs there are three bedrooms and a bathroom, the master bedroom has fully fitted wardrobes. All looking a bit sad now that no one has been living there for six months so it desperately needs a happy family to keep it company again! We look forward to being inundated with offers!!
I wrote this on the 11th July which was my niece Lucy’s Birthday so it is now a belated Happy Birthday but the same love and best wishes apply!!
We are at the Waikato museum where Aonghas is happily learning how to play/do Rakau– a Maori game/battle training using long sticks. It develops hand eye coordination and reflexes as well as rhythm ready for battle! Lachlan and I have just left him with a group of children in the Museum of Waikato Marai area whilst we have a coffee. The tutor was desperately trying to get a group of very shy children all aged between 6 and 10 to shout loudly! Not usually something Aonghas has a problem with! We’ll go back after our coffee to see how he hi getting on.
Now something I forgot to mention it in my last post – don’t know how I forgot because it is a fairly momentous event! Take a look at the photos! I arrived back home at about midnight after my long journey from Europe and Nigel greeted me – nothing odd in that, I
had been away for three weeks after all. We had a cup of tea and caught up on some news and then I noticed…… half of Nigel’s face was missing! Well, not his face but it did sort of seem like it – he has shaved off part of his beard to leave his moustache and his beard at the front but not down the sides of his face. I was quite taken aback and, I have to say it has taken a bit of getting used to! It does look quite cool though and makes him look a bit younger and less wild! He says he was prompted to do it after we had watched a couple of those make over programmes where they take a middle aged couple and revamp their looks to make them look younger. Nearly all the men look younger by simply shaving off scraggy beards! I never knew he was so vain! You learn something new about people all the time don’t you? What will he do next?!
Well, we have had a couple of days of beautiful weather, clear blue skies and surprisingly warm in the sun though very chilly in the shade. We cycled around Hillcrest to look again at a house we are quite interested and to get a feel for the area. Due to my imposed computer ban on sunny days the boys enjoyed playing out in the park. Lachlan spent a good couple of hours doing some rugby training with Aonghas and they played hide and seek and various other things in the park and garden. It is sad that their default activity is the computer however when they have that taken away they do really have much more fun doing other things! Aonghas spent a couple of happy hours building dens with the cardboard boxes and when his friend Jamie came round they created ramps and race tracks for the remote controlled cars with them. It was so warm that Liz and I even sat out on the decking to have our coffee. But the rain is back today so we are at the museum where they run activities for children each morning from 11 until 12. Lachlan is too old but we will take the opportunity next week when Aonghas is booked in again to have a good mooch around the museum exhibitions. We have a couple of free tickets for the cinema so we will go and see a film this afternoon. Right, I’m off to see what they are up to with the big sticks! Will report back later.
Well, after my brief sojourn in the English summer (!?) I am back in the midst of NZ winter, which doesn’t seem greatly dissimilar to the English summer! No that’s not really fair; it has been quite cold and very wet recently and I am sure that now July is here, England will be in the throes of a heatwave, especially since it external exam time and school doesn’t break up for two more weeks yet. We have just started our two week winter break and the last few days have been a real mixture of rain, wind and beautiful clear blue skies. It is currently 13 degrees C here in Hamilton and has hovered around that temperature most of the time during the day. There have been some spectacular thunder storms, though we are told that that is unusual, and the South Island snowfields are enjoying big dumps of snow. More locally the ski fields at Ruapehu have also had good snow this week so are looking forward to a busy school holiday. Unfortunately we won’t be joining the throngs as the Salaries Assessment Unit in Christchurch STILL haven’t sorted out my salary scale, and as a result I STILL haven’t been paid! Never mind, I keep telling myself that it’s a good way of saving and it should be a nice lump sum when I finally get it all back paid!
We can’t quite get our heads round the growth cycle of plants and the seasons – it is curious as the daffodils in our garden started coming out in June and are now looking glorious, the lilies in the pond have flowered and the lavender is in full bloom. Primulas are all out looking pretty and the Camellia trees are resplendent as the Rhododendrons start to sprout. Our oranges are nearly ready to eat (we think) – they are still very tart but very juicy. The birds are also starting to come back – the sparrows never went away but fantails are around again and we have started to see Goldfinches and tits. Plenty of blackbirds as well as the NZ magpies.
The boys continue to play rugby – after playing 3 grading matches against some big teams and taken heavy batterings Lachlan’s team are playing in a division 2 league and have so far won all their matches. He has been playing Full Back for the last few matches and is enjoying it. Picked up Player of the day on Saturday so he was very pleased with himself! Aonghas’ team have also been doing well though he is struggling a bit with the contact game. Having spent 3 years playing tag he has gone straight into tackling, hand offs etc and is finding it a bit intimidating. We’ll see how he gets on as the season progresses.
We have also started to look at houses as we will hopefully complete on our house in the UK soon – (all available fingers and toes crossed that it doesn’t all go pear shaped at the last minute!) Still not sure exactly how many dollars we will end up having to play with – a lot less than we had hoped due to the low price we ended up selling for. It is very interesting seeing how the NZ housing market works – very different to the UK. You don’t have to use just one Estate Agent to sell – the agents seem to work for a Real Estate company but once they build up a relationship with a potential buyer they will network to get you into houses which are with other agents. It seems that because the house market is in a dip here at the moment the agents are having to work doubly hard to sell properties. They have “open homes” when the vendor has to vacate the property for half an hour or so on a Saturday and/or Sunday (having spent hours making it spotless!) so that the agent can let prospective buyers look around. We have spent the last two weekends scouring the papers, compiling a list of open homes to visit and then driving round looking at houses. It is fascinating seeing the range of houses and really useful as you can see a lot of houses in a short time to make comparisons. We have seen a couple that we like but are not in a position yet to make an offer so we will keep looking! As I understand it this is what happens – very roughly as I am still getting my head round it. Once we make an offer it will be conditional – which means we will draw up a contract and will have certain conditions to meet such as doing searches, getting finance, getting a LIM report, builders checks if you want them, and you also have to pay a 5% deposit. That period usually lasts about 5 – 7 working days and the vendor can’t accept any other offers. Once you have et all the conditions the offer will go unconditional which means that we will agree how many days to complete and come up with the money etc. It typically takes about 6 weeks from an offer being accepted to moving in. It seems quite a lot simpler than in the UK but the best thing is that once you have made an offer (and paid your deposit) it is highly unlikely that the sale will fall through as it can in the UK. I guess that you have to be serious as the deposit is at stake if you default so people don’t tend to make offers without knowing that they can follow through.
Anyway, the sun has come out and the boys (and I) have been staring at a computer screen for long enough so I am going to try to prise them away and go out for a walk. Wish me luck!