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l'enfer du North Island

  don't ask about the itching Wednesday 28 October 2009 link

We have now gone unconditional on the sale of our house, and the purchase of another. Moving in January. So expect our Christmas to be mainly spent putting things in boxes. Anyone got any recommendations for moving companies in Wellington?

In case I hadn't mentioned, we'll be moving from Newlands (civic motto: "Close to Johnsonville!") to Johnsonville (civic motto: "We have a mall, you know!"). We'll be exchanging a view of the neighbour's brick wall and an old shipping container for a bush-clad gully - which we will own most of the visible arc of. So that's quite cheery right there. Plus an extra bedroom, an actual study, and a decent deck. Minus a garage, but you can't have it all. Some form of housewarming party is almost certainly going to occur; watch the skies in late January or early February.

You know how when you fall over on concrete, you can skin your knee? Last weekend, Maggie skinned her forehead. Impressively acrobatic, and looked very painful. Now she has a perfectly ring-shaped scab 3cm across in the middle of her forehead (for some reason, she didn't lose any skin right in the middle of the impact site). We get funny looks, but thankfully Maggie is now prolix enough to be able to say "I fell off a step!" to people.

This is usually followed by "Wiggles!", as she is currently on a Heavy Wiggles Kick. She's obsessed with Dorothy the Dinosaur, and can point all the Wiggles out of a line-up. We have not yet gone through the Greg/Sam distinction, but it will come soon.

What I've been listening to recently.

  hard day again Friday 16 October 2009 link

Another day, another four hours under the needle. Went out and had my birthday present to myself today: finished my sleeve. Tim out at Pacific Tattoo was excellent as ever, and carefully spent the first three hours going over the rest of the sleeve and reworking where needed to get the full depth of colour (black, mainly). We only had a rather small bit to go, and to be honest the choice of design was pretty obvious: another woven/textured section, to match the top of the inside forearm. We were done by 3pm, and I went and spent an hour walking on Paekakariki Beach before heading home. That's the way to do it.

How NZ works in a nutshell: I tried to tip Tim for his good work; he refused and gave me a free t-shirt instead. Needless to say, I'm booked in for the soonest appointment to start on my left thigh piece. Details to come, but it's a reasonably abstract piece representing an animal, hopefully taking up the whole thigh. Should be good.

You know how there's that stereotype about tattoos, "Yeah, I woke up with this one today!" The drunken sailor archetype. Not to say that it's not applicable in some cases (say, assembly line shops near naval bases), but pretty much every tattooist I've worked with has had long waiting lists. In this case, my original idea for getting a full sleeve on my right arm was this time last year: my birthday present last year was to be getting my arm tattooed, and a year later I've finished. My next project project is well in order and designs are being drawn up: the first session is booked in.

For April 2nd next year.

Because that's the first free appointment he's got. Legitimate tattooists have long waiting lists. So with a bit of luck, by this time next year I might have my leg somewhere near finished.

It'll take a while to get the bodysuit finished, then.

Pictures for the curious here at flickr. Not much new work, to be honest: I didn't have much room left. Mainly we spent today sharpening up the existing bits.

How NZ works, part 2: later, in Johnsonville mall, I popped into the pharmacy. "Some bepanthen, please," I said to the lady behind the counter. She looked me up and down and said "Is it for a tattoo?" "Um, yeah," I said, "... I take it there's a specific market share for this?" "Well," she replied, "it's either for nursing mothers with cracked nipples, or people with tats. It's what my husband uses when he's healing a new one." And we had a two minute chat about good tattooists around Wellington. That's how we roll here in NZ, folks.

  raising dust Tuesday 13 October 2009 link

An interesting couple of weeks.

Firstly, we spent the first half of the school holidays in Auckland. It hammered bloody rain for six days out of the seven we were up there, necessitating rather a lot of indoor activities. Unfortunately, we were also hit by some serious viral illness: I was flat on my back for two days, Heather similarly, and the kids very sniffly, coughy, and generally vile. Still, we fitted in a trip to the museum, the zoo (on the one sunny day), and a variety of indoor playgrounds and shopping malls (embarassed cough). All the relatives were seen, a certain amount of mucus was produced, and leisure was the winner on the day. I spent a surprising amount of time rather enjoying driving a manual car again (I didn't know any car rental places rented out manuals any more), even if it was a 1.3ltr Daihatsu Sirion (a cross between one of those ride-on scooters for OAPs and a surprisingly grunty go-kart). Ah, second gear: it's the Swiss army knife of driving. There's nothing it can't solve.

While we were away, we missed out on a tender for a house. By $20,000, so we were more annoyed than gutted (gutted would have been missing out by $1,000). This was a bit annoying. But we threw ourselves back into the whirl of open homes, going around a couple of likely-looking places. One place turned out to look quite likely; we offered on it, got a bite, and lo, we had our offer accepted. Cue a certain amount of frantic running around trying to sell our place (our purchase is conditional on the sale of our current house). Anyone want to buy a 3brm character villa in Newlands, completely updated & modernised? It's a nice wee house, and a good neighbourhood.

For the curious: we're moving about 3k, out to Johnsonville. Coincidentally, just off one of Wellington's better road cycling loops. Handy that. Further details once the sales involved actually go unconditional.

You know you're selling your house when you're mowing the lawn at 8am.

Rebecca is currently obsessed with the Lego set Heather got me for my birthday. It's a set of Star Wars lego - Darth Vader's TIE fighter, specifically. Every night, we have to do another ten minutes. Heather bought it for me: I think I've managed to put about three pieces on it. Mostly, it's Rebecca carefully poring over the instructions and slotting bits into place. She's loving it. One of these days I'll have to actually show her the movies.

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unspoilt by progress

calm, peaceful, sweary

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