Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Wishes

Just wanted to send Christmas Wishes to you all. . .
But first, some pics of the ice on the top of our landlord's car, A) cause it's pretty and B) to show just how cold it is over here!!
Right, here's for the Christmas-y Wishes, hope it works. . .
video

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Because My Mum Told Me Too....









Hello all.
My mum requested that I post some photos from our neighbourhood and so here we are. Numbers 2,3,4,&5 are of Horsham centre.

Still no proper snow. Still waiting for my visa. Still not smoking.

Don't think I have any more news.
Merry Bloody Christmas

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Firsts and lasts

Ok, so some of you may already know this, but last weekend Shelley and I went to London and Shelley took me Ice-Skating for the first time ever!! Now, for those who know me you will not be too surprised to hear that Shelley made sure she had the first aid kit with her and she also made note of the Medic as we were heading onto the ice. (She also suggested I become friends with him). So she was VERY pleasantly surprised when I only fell over six times. . .in an hour. . .and didn't have to go to hospital afterwards!
So anyway, here are some pictures:

These photos show the beautiful venue. . .The Tower of London (there weren't any hangings on the day we went . . . ) It was lovely and COLD!! Freezing cold, there was snow in London that night and apparently in Horsham too although it had all melted by the time we woke up. And I had to walk around London with wet jeans all day!! Stupid wet ice.

This is the five minutes in between falling over that I actually managed to skate for. . .in fact the skating wasn't the problem; the stopping was.

And unfortunately the problem with stopping (aside from the falling over) was that it often happened in front of people:

The nice man in the red jacket was an ice marshall whose job was to make sure everyone was ok and behaving on the ice. He thought it was cruel of Shelley to not let him help me up until after she'd taken the photo of me.
Shelley on the other hand had no problems with the skating . . .

But then, she has been ice skating before so it's understandable.
The bruises I received are now healing and I WANNA DO IT AGAIN!!!!! It was just so much fun and I'm sure with more practice there will be less of the falling over. . .I hope.

Anyway, after the ice-skating we headed over to Covent Garden for lunch, which only took twice as long as expected because one of The Major tube lines was closed for engineering work (Shelley thinks there was a broken cup holder somewhere).
We found this lovely little Crepe-erie (or however that's spelt) called La Creme de la Crepe. . .Anyone who may be heading to Covent Garden in the near future (which I'm sure is all of you!) should go eat there, they do the BEST savoury crepes, especially the "Piggy that Went to Market", yummy in my tummy . . . and one of these days we'll be able to try the sweet ones as well. . .See how pretty it looks:


We also went to the NZ shop, which is still out of L&P, much to Shelley's disgust. . .she was extremely looking forward to having some L&P and it's the second time we've been all the way into London and they haven't had any. They also didn't have any twisties or burger rings either, in fact they didn't have any chippies at all!!

Just before we left Covent Garden, we saw these guys:
They were the funniest street performers I've ever seen!! They really knew how to work the crowd and keep us all entertained. It was great!!
But anyway, onto the other big news of this blog. . .Shelley smoked her last cigarette last night. . .I have previously given her an ultimatim that she has to be smoke free before we try for babies and as cigarettes are so expensive over here we decided that the carton bought at duty free would be her last. Doing it while over here also means that she is around less people who smoke (you know who you are!!) so it might be easier for her to quit. . .

This is her lighting up for the last time, as you can see she had some trouble lighting it due to the wind and the cold (have we mentioned just how cold it is over here at the moment?)

This is her savouring her last cigarette (see how happy she looks? I might end up missing that look in the very near future)

And this is the end of an era. . .after 18 years of smoking, Shelley is attempting to stop. . .wish us both luck. . .if you don't hear from us for a little while, Shelley may have gone on a murderous rampage. . .

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hyde Park, Hallowe'en and more about Amber's job

So, Amber had work on Saturday and Sunday at the Capitol before starting at Muntham on Monday, so Shelley and her (I like talking about us in the third person to confuse you all!!) decided to go to London on Thursday for a sort of "last minute explore". Amber had been telling Shelley all about the squirrels in Hyde Park and how friendly they are so they decided that it was a perfect opportunity to go visit them. . .Before we found any squirrels though, we did find a sign which we're sure we've told you about before. . .


Isn't it great?? The dead body just makes it I think!!
Anyway, we then met this squirrel, who was a little shy, but at least posed for a cute picture (I, Amber, personally think he was imitating a Meer Kat. . .)

He seemed very curious about the two of us, but just was a little too shy to actually come up to us. However, we soon hunted out a big group of VERY friendly squirrels, the cutest of which was this little guy - we think he's saying "ME?!?!?" and that is Shelley's knee that you can see him leaning on!!! She was also the one taking the photo.
So any of you Animal lovers who think squirrels are absolutely adorable, I strongly suggest that you visit Hyde Park!! And if you take nuts, seeds and other Squirrel-friendly foods they will love you even more. . .
We also visited Covent Garden (which Shelley loved although she was too interested in the Shopping and it was too cold for her to let me stay to watch some of the street performers) and we found the NZ Shop!! Yay for Pixie Caramel's, Perky Nana's, Summer Rolls and K-Bars!!! Unfortunately they had sold out of L&P, much to Shelley's disgust. She had been looking forward to her L&P all day!! After all of that we went to Camden Market and explored around there. We found the rudest man, he was selling NZ Greenstone carvings and was EXTREMELY arrogant and RUDE!!
But anyway, at Camden Market's we found the Original Doc Marten Store and Amber (yes, talking about myself in the third person again), who needed some boots anyway as it's coming into Winter and she's working, may have gotten some Made in England, 20-up boots. . .yay for credit cards. . .
And then we move on to Friday, we know Hallowe'en is not a big deal over in NZ, but over here it really is!! So we got dressed up a little. . .



In the photo of me you can see my new boots poking out the bottom :)
Some of Mel's work mates were doing a "Space Hopper Pub Crawl" for charity (no seriously, they had a website where you could sponser them and they were carrying buckets around with them as well!!) so we went along with them as their support (and laughed at them a lot!!). It was fun!!

Anyway, some of you have been asking on Facebook about my new job so I thought I would explain a little more. . .Due to the nature of the school (see below, or check out the website given in the other post), all staff have to be trained in proper restraint techniques and unfortunately I have not been trained just yet. . .as a Learning Support Assistant I am basically helping out when and where I'm told. I am meant to be mostly in English but due to the fact that the English teacher is pregnant and therefore can not currently restrain the boys and I'm not trained yet; they're not putting me with her until I'm trained. So far I have been in, Art, IT, Maths, Drama and, the dreaded, PE. I'm dealing with boys who are aged from 11/12 through to 15/16. And they have all been permanently exlcuded from a Mainstream school at some point. There are about 8 boys who are on the Autistic spectrum, there are ADHD kids and kids who just generally have emotional and social problems. Most of them are actually really lovely and have just had a bad time when it comes to parents/situations, etc.
Anyway, I'm off to go pout about David Tennant leaving Doctor Who and it's my bed time too.
Leave more comments people!!!! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Birdies, birdies and more birdies!

So the other weekend we found ourselves stuck at home and wondering what to do for the day as (for a change) it was sunny. We decided to take a walk to the local Bird of Prey centre, Huxley's Bird of Prey. (www.flyingfalcons.co.uk). It was a little bit of a hair-raising walk as we found ourselves without a footpath at one point, but it was worth it when we got there!!!

One of our favourite parts of the whole experience was these owls:

The top owl in the photo is Little Mo, who was not, by any stretch of the imagination, little!! The middle girl is Katy, who was very vocal, most of their owls are imprinted when hatched which means that the first thing they see when they open their eyes is a human. Katy believes she is human and therefore likes to talk to people!! The bottom owl is Igor (yeth mathter). Igor has a bit of a sad story attached to him. . .He was bought as a present for a child (way before Harry Potter which just goes to show that people don't need suggestions to do dumb things, they can do it all by themselves). The family in question didn't really know how to look after an owl so he was left tethered outside with no shelter and occasionally fed dog food (or something equally un-owl-like). There was a gap in the fence next to him and schoolchildren would throw stones at him on their way past. One of the neighbours contacted the RSPCA who in turn contacted Huxley's and they came and rescued poor Igor. Igor is still frightened of many other birds of prey (as they would obviously have picked on him when he was unprotected) and cowers when he hears one of them calling. He is also afraid of the dark (an owl afraid of the dark, isn't that the saddest thing you've ever heard???) and when they take him on shows and it starts getting dark, they have to put him back in his carrier where he feels safe to calm him down. Anyway, at least his story has a happy ending because the nice people have given him a home and lots of cuddles and he is very loved now!!
You may notice that some of the birds are tethered where they are. This is not as cruel as we thought it was! There was a flying demonstration and during that we discovered that many birds of prey are actually just plain lazy. They will only fly a certain amount and then they'll start waddling around on the ground! So having them tethered is pretty much the equivalent of what they would be doing in the wild anyway.
They also only teach the birdies "tricks" that they would normally do in the wild anyway! Unlike stoopid China who absolutely terrrified these poor animals:

This was done for a celebration of China's "Anniversary day", the 59th year since they became a communist country. BAD CHINA!! Poor horsie and kitty just not meant to do things like this!!!

We also found out that the belief that owls are wise, is just wrong! (sorry to Nessa who when we did our whole every person is an animal thing we made an owl, because of the wise old owl stereotype, maybe we should rethink that. . .maybe a falcon would be better. . .)
ANYWAY, onto one of our OTHER favourite parts of the whole experience! MEETING IGOR!!!!

Yes, those feathers really are as soft as they look!! And he has ticklish feet which means that if you pat his feet, he'll start pecking (gently) you to make you stop.
Moving right along. . .here are some more photos of our favourite owls:


The top one is Igor doing his impression of Amber when she first wakes up (she's never able to open both eyes at once first thing in the morning, or after surgery which really freaked out the nurses in recovery!!) the bottom one is "Little" Mo, Mum - see his breast feathers? Little Mo is a Siberian Eagle Owl (not a scandinavian eagle owl like Amber keeps saying).

Here are some photos of them flying:
Ok, so none of them are actually flying in any of these, but that's cause it's really hard to take photos of birdies flying cause they're quite quick!! The bottom photo is Katy who at this point had had enough of flying and was talking to her "daddy" about how he should really just feed her now. The top one is Bramble the Barn Owl who knows the routinue really well and will start flying about his aviary in a really excited manner just before the demonstration time! Also, all fans of the Labyrinth should recognise that shot. . .the middle photo is of a Harrier Hawk, it's just landed and is settling it's feathers back down, Harrier Hawks are unique because they can be flown for a hunt and still fly for "dead" meat as well, Falcons and other Hawks will refuse dead meat if they have tasted "fresh" meat and killed.
Anyway, if any of you have been watching International Weather forecasts, you will be aware that some parts of England are already getting snow! Where we are has had a snow warning already and for the last two years snow hasn't fallen here until well after January. They turned on the COLD weather for us!
Also, for those who have been following the "Amber-needs-a-job" saga, Amber was offered a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) role at the following school: http://www.munthamhouseschool.co.uk/ She starts on Monday, the 3rd of November. The theatre position was only casual, this is full time. She will still be doing a couple of film shifts at the theatre but they couldn't guarentee her a full time position as they are run by the District Council and therefore have to piss around for several months before they can give a job to ANYONE. (much to the disgust of the technicians who work there who A) would like to have Amber working with them and B) are very understaffed and underpaid as it comes into Panto season)
Ok, now that we have caught you all up, we have to dash to town. . .love and hugs to all!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We came half way around the world to find New Zealand?

We have just finished reading Nation by Terry Pratchett and there is a line in the book that goes something like so far away from home you end up back where you started. This is a little bit how we felt when we ended up standing outside the Leeds Armoury in, well, Leeds.
They were doing a display called The Wonderful World of Weta.

Did you know that Weta made the Very Big Gun that was used in Hellboy? No? Well they did. this exhibition was all about the weapons that Weta Workshop made for LOTR, Narnia, King Kong, and yip Hellboy. There was even a sign that said to follow the Wetas. Not something you expected to see in England.
Photo Time!


This last image has nothing to do with the Weta exhibition but we have included it becuase we think it looks cool and kind of artsy.

Unfortunately We could not take photos inside the actual exhibit but this one is taken at the entrance to the Narnia section. Any one recognise those fur coats?
(Sorry this one is a little blurry but it is the best one I took)

Anyway this was just the thing to help two very homesick Kiwis feel even more homesick but it was still really good to see that little ol' NZ is world reknowned for making fake weapons in a very realistic manner. (good to know we are useful for something right?)

P.S Amber just told me that the first film she threaded up at the Capitol (her new job) had an ad on it to "come and see the worlds youngest country" filled with shots of the Naki and the Haka and Hongis and yep well I guess we are world famous.... Speaking of which if any body reading this feels like helping out a couple of homesick girls we could really do with some L& P and some Twisties...... care package anyone???

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Capitol Horsham. . .

is soooo cool!! They have three "film" Projector's, all Victoria 5's and one DIGITAL projector that is like, REALLY cool looking. ..They are also a Theatre as well and all of the projectionists are actually techies for the Theatre (they were really excited about the prospect of having somebody who is specifically trained in Projection!!) and they want to employ me on a casual basis to start off with but one of their guys is leaving soon and there is the possibility I could step into a full time job!! And if I do get a full time position there they will train me in Lighting and Sound technical stuff for the Theatre side of things!!! EEEKK!! Shelley is a little afraid that if I do get the full time position I won't want to leave as it'll be like my IDEAL job!!
Oh, and the guy who "interviewed" me was from Hutt Valley and he said "Us Kiwi's have got to stick together" which was really cool :)
So, as soon as I get my National Insurance Number (England's version of an IRD number), which will be happening on Tuesday, I will be getting a couple of "training" shifts to get me back up to speed :) Oh, and also to teach me how to operate a projector WITHOUT AUTOMATION EEEK!!
YAY for incoming money!! (Even if it is only £6.35/hr for casual shifts, it's still better than nothing!!)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It is not a toy


So this was one of the other highlights of Thailand. We went to a place called Fantasea (really spelt like that too) and we had the chance to have a cuddle with this little guy. The reason that it has taken so long for us to post this is because at Fantasea we had to give up our camera and then purchase a professional photo from the theatre. So thank you very much to Mum and Dad (well more dad as he did it) who scaned this photo and then emailed to me so that I could post it for all you lovely people. Just in case you were wondering he was very soft and very warm and he kept prodding amber with is front paws to get her attention and so she kept looking at the cub instead of the camera despite the fact that the people taking our photo were trying to get her to look at them!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bunny loves

So today Amber and I were in our bedroom which is on the second floor of Mel and Mikes flat. I was looking out the window which overlooks our courtyard and enables me to see into our neighbours courtyard also. I looked down and saw bunnies hop hop hopping around. Amber and I went running down stairs grabbed the last carrot and some cauliflower leaves out of the fridge and went over to see our friendly neighbours to request to be allowed to hang in their courtyard with their bunnies.

They have four bunnies and two of them were frolicking outside. A big mostly white furred girl named Lilly (but not as beautiful as our niece Lilly) who has one brown eye and one blue eye and a beautiful boy named Fin who is the same colouring as our dearly departed Little One.

Anyway we got to give them lots of pats and we got sniffed and bunny boinked a couple of times. For anyone who doesn't know what a bunny boink is, it's where a bun kinda headbutts you but uses their nose instead. It is usually done by the bun to get attention (or food). Anyway Amber and I had a lovely time with the bunnies and had many chuckles when Lilly tried to hide in the greenery in the garden of course with her colouring she failed completely.

Next time we go to see them I will take the camera.

Loves and bunny kisses to you all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Random Shiz

Well as we are not travelling at the moment and we are not seeing any new sites I thought I would just post some more photos from all the places we have been.


This photo was taken in Tailand from the lookout that we went to in the rainforest (somewhere) Nat - sorry I cannot be more specific on the details but it was definitely on Phuket :)

This photo was taken as I was thanking the elephants for taking us for a trek. The elephant is about eat a piece of watermelon that I fed him. At one point the elephant that is on the otherside of me helped himself to the fruit from the basket I am holding in the photo and so I fed them both.

This photo is Amber thanking the Elephant that we rode on. When she put her trunk thru the fence to take the food we were able to pat them as well as feed them.
This was something that we came across in the middle of the airport when we were flying out of Bangkok. Odd. Shiny.



Drinking out of coconuts is fun. Sadly these ones were not alcoholic.