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Friday, 11 February 2011

The simple things are sometimes best

I got home about 6:30 last night, really knackered.

We continue to have computer network problems in Nuova Lazio High School, and even though I know that our Systems guy is working hard at it, it becomes very frustrating when you are losing 15 minutes out of every lesson to re-boot the computers and get the kids to log-on.

I've also been involved in fixing the timetable and setting up our SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) classes, plus teaching 4 classes, setting and marking assessments, taking my beloved's car into the garage and my own car into the body shop after some silly girl in a bright orange BMW reversed into me in Wellington. Her excuse of "I didn't see it" was a bit shaky. It's a big black Isuzu 4x4, how the hell do you miss a 2½ tonne truck?

So I was tired and a bit fed up.

After I had changed into my usual kit (mentioned on previous post, T-shirt and disreputable shorts) and my beloved had set out a nice big bowl of a meaty pasta dish, I began to feel better.

An ice-cold bottle of beer completed the process of making me feel almost human again.

Then I took our little doggie out for a walk. This is a Bichon-Frise, a small white fluffy bundle of mischief. My beloved wanted a dog, so she got one. Guess who takes it for most of it's walks? Yep, me.

Our outside thermometer, last night at 7:30 pm

But this evening I didn't mind. The temperature was a lovely 25°C, a balmy intermittent breeze was blowing, the sky was a brilliant, almost violet blue as the sun began to dip towards the Belmont Hills. I realised I was happy. Nothing special had occurred, no earth-shaking realisation or re-alignment, just the simple pleasure of walking under a perfect sky in comfortable clothes.

These are safety boots

These are not safety boots

I was wearing, in addition to the shorts and T-shirt mentioned above, a broad-brimmed hat and a pair of elastic-sided steel-toed working boots. These boots can be found in most kiwi homes, and are really useful. These boots have protected my little tootsies from dropped rocks, a carelessly swung pick-axe, a ladder dropped off of a roof an innumerable splashes of paint, concrete and on one memorable occasion, blood.

In addition to their protective qualities, they are very quick to slip on, which is why I was wearing them on my evening perambulation.

This is one of the things I really love about New Zealand. The casual approach to dress codes. I would not have dared to go out for a walk in the UK similarly attired. Apart from probably being too cold for just a T-shirt, walking in public in shorts and work boots would have been frowned upon. Decent clothes are expected, ties should be worn at most times, and some effort should be visible to being smartly co-ordinated. It's this cloying cloak of respectability, all but invisible and unremarked which makes life in the UK unexpectedly restrictive. You can't really do as you want, but must comply with the unwritten laws of public behaviour.

Kiwis mostly don't give a shit what you wear, do or say.

I love it.

Our front deck and swing.  (Note carefully placed G&T table)

After we got back home, I stretched out on the porch swing with another cold beer and just drifted to the sounds of the parakeets swooping up the driveway, the Morpork (a small owl) hooting in the reserve behind our house and the guttural, yet somehow reassuring snarl of a chainsaw drifting up the valley. The light had begun to take on that ethereal golden glow that warms without heat as the sunset approached.

View down the valley from the front deck

I was content.

I was happy.

I was sleepy.

Life was good.


  1. I love that feeling, when everything seems absolutely perfect in the world. When you appreciate how amazingly beautiful everything around you is, when you normally just bustle past it without a thought.

  2. Nicely evocative. Its funny that a sound as intrusive and intrinsically annoying as a chainsaw, when, in the setting you describe, can sound just right.

  3. Thanks Fflur, it is a lovely time. I could forget about school and the kids and just enjoy the moment. Actually my students are pretty good. I've a lovely group this year, the few bubbly ones aren't too bad.

    Thanks TC, it is strange how the sound, when a bit distant, just seems to fit in.

    I look forward to being a grumpy old bugger soon. It's not as tranquil, but more fun.

  4. Good morning. My post is running a bit late today.

  5. Wow! I am envious!!! Not of the work clothes, obviously. But the VIEW!!!! and the DOG!!!!

    I must say, it's only 2pm here on Saturday afternoon, but there's a whisky and ginger ale with my name on it in the kitchen. I need it. That's probably Not A Good Thing, but I don't care!!!

    Ali x


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