Sunday, April 29, 2012

Oh you are such a pretty one (Leonard Cohen)

A couple of housekeeping matters to take care of in this post as I respond to some of your questions.

1. What does SWMBO mean? And for that matter LOML? I refer to Jacky (the person I celebrated 28 years of marriage with recently) in a variety of ways. She crops up in these posts from time to time as 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' (SWMBO), and/or 'Light Of My Life' (LOML). It's simple when you know right?

2. Where on earth are you both? We now live on a 12 acre lifestyle block of land near a tiny little place called Otane (has a general store, a cafe, a few houses, a primary school,  a pub, a memorial to those who died in the First and Second World Wars and a great garden centre called Tree Guys). This is about 40 mins southwest of Napier on New Zealand's east coast of the North Island. We are also close to a slightly larger town called Waipawa (which somehow appears on the map below for some bizarre reason).

3. So how is it being back then? Well it's definitely different. The trees are all starting to change colour around us and that's a real treat again. The food on the supermarket shelves is now recognisable and the idea of having alcohol available in the foodmarket is just surreal. I'm struggling with watching Arsenal play at 1.45 in the morning and having little spare time to write blogs, read, or practice the guitar is also annoying. But balancing that are all the green hills, autumn weathers, blue skies with clouds, and other familiar things I've grown up with.

4. Samantha read my last posting and said - yeah good but what about Waffles??

Waffles (a.k.a. Wafi, Mr Waffles, and sometimes even Waffle) is our new cat.

Jacky wanted to wait until I got back to Nu Zild before going 'cat shopping' as she called it. I think it was about three days before we (Jade and Samantha tagged along as well) duly went to the SPCA in Waipukarau (a town a little further south from Waipawa - I hope you're keeping up!). They had about 100 cats from tiny kittens to full grown cats.

I'm a firm believer in cats choosing you (rather than the other way around) and a very sweet ginger cat immediately made a bee line for me and Jade. It helped a lot that he was not a young kitten so he was toilet trained and he thinks dogs are great fun.

I've named him Waffles (or Wafi for short after the Wafi Mall in Dubai) and he's turned into a very smoochy cat. He follows me around the farm all day and is pretty fearless, he took a swipe at Jacky's horse when the horse wanted to see what the ball of fluff at his feet was doing.

Waffles joins a growing menagerie. We currently have SWMBO's horses - Zen and two horses that are kindly being lent to her - Meg (for Jade to ride apparently) and Max (from whanau member Margie in Hastings); Samantha's dogs - Bazil and Dookie (although he is currently in Wellington for a few months with Jesse and Sam); and 13 sheep.

Dookie, Jade, Bazil and Fanfa

Jade, Zen, Mabelle and Max

Love and peace - Wozza

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

'Cause here with you is where I belong (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

Okay - time flies like an arrow but fruit-flys like an apple. I can't believe it's been a month since I last wrote a post in my blogs.

This is the longest gap I've ever had. And the reasons you ask?
  • Adjusting to living in Nu Zild (quite a change after the Middle East and our life in Al Ain)
  • Unpacking our house that was in storage for nearly two years (boxes and stuff to sort - you know the drill)
  • Working every day on farm stuff (see below)
  • Painting and working on A.R.T. (see for details). As this is where the office is as well, it meant a week without a computer being handy.

Mrytle in front of our place. A.R.T. is on the left.

I can't believe how much time has been devoted to farm stuff in particular - chopping down trees, trimming hedges, fixing fences, tractor collection (yes Mrytle is fine), mowing lawns (the grass growth has been amazing in the Hawke's Bay this year!!), planting Maple trees, putting up shelves and various horsie stuff in SWMBO's Habibi Stables, collecting horses (we now have three on the property - called Roch-dene by the way) and a thousand other little jobs.

I'd forgotten that farm living is not simple. One job invariably leads to three others.

But it's all been fun (apart from the fencing wire which bit me back on the right hand ring finger. Lotta blood but SWMBO enjoyed acting like nursie and Samantha was very calm too when it happened).

We have also had a few biggie celebrations in the month that has zipped by - Jacky had her 50th birthday on the 14th April with Samantha, Jesse, Jade, Gavin. Michelle, and Sallie all making the trip over to help us celebrate in our new home.

SWMBO with her family team effort cake.

Fanfa adds the message after Jade did the icing and I baked the cake.

Jesse, Dookie and Fanfa

SWMBO and I also celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary on 21st April. Pretty cool huh.

I will make a determined effort to do entries as regularly as in the past so stay tuned again for updates. I'll also be including some snaps - the views are breathtaking, particularly of late with the misty mornings (the hills around us look like islands in the mist) and the evening sunsets.

Love and peace - Wozza