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Sunday, 5 June 2011

The furniture has arrived

I mentioned last week that we had bought some "pieces" of stylish furniture from a nice place in the Wairarapa.  They arrived earlier this week, but we've only just got them upstairs into the lounge.

I do like the armchair.  The leather is really thick and the padding is soft enough to be comfortable, but firm enough to give great support.  It also has two large side pockets, useful to store things like remote controls, books, papers, and even the possibility of concealing a small glass of whisky from my gimlet-eyed beloved.

This chair was owned by Hika Reid, an All Black who played first in 1980, and my rugby-mad beloved bargained with the lovely owner of the shop to get an autographed picture from Hika at the first opportunity.
Hika Reid

Then we move onto the dresser.  It was probably a bedroom piece when it was first used, and there's signs that it's been slightly altered.  It is in good condition however, no borer (the NZ equivalent to woodworm) and made from good quality Kauri.  All the drawers are hand made, showing good quality concealed dovetail joints, which are obviously sawn by hand.  There's a few dents and minor scratches, but the whole thing works as a full-of-character piece.  Eventually we'll be using it as a TV cabinet, to support the big TV, hopefully so we can sit and watch the All Blacks win the bloody world cup.

If they don't. the whole of NZ is going to go into a huge depression.  It was bad the last time, in 2007.  When France beat the ABs in Cardiff during the quarter finals, there was a huge feeling of disbelief form everyone.
Beaten by the French?
Only the quarter finals?
No answers, but they'd better win this year.  Or else.

The last piece is a console or hall table. Really well made, possibly in Italy, its top can open up to double the width, and the legs can spilt and swivel to create a small extra dining table. When we first put it up against the wall, it was under a large autographed photo of Tana Umaga (The previous and great captain of the All Blacks, and who used to be a pupil at our school in Nuova Lazio) which I procured for my beloved's Christmas present.  Unfortunately when we put the table under the photo it started to look like a shrine to Tana.  While my beloved is a great rugby fan, she actually doesn't worship them, so the photo had to go, and we replaced it with a lovely embroidered tapestry of a bowl of flowers.

Here's the original picture of Tana, showing his autograph.

I happen to think we live in a lovely house, in a lovely part of New Zealand, which is itself a gorgeous part of the world.
Our front room (In Scotland, it would be referred to as "The Good Room")

It's about 11 metres long, and very bright in the daytime.
 I was asked to give a 5 minute presentation to a class of Year 11s (15 year olds) about why I came to NZ from Scotland.  It went really well, and I got lots of questions about cultural differences, and how did i feel leaving family behind.  I think it was the familial (or whanau) dimension which caused the greatest discussion. Many of the kids just couldn't contemplate leaving family behind.  New Zealanders, partly because the pioneering character still prevails, and pioneers NEED family and friends to survive, and partly because of the Maori and Pacific Island culture which holds family as the most important social grouping, are very family oriented.  At the end of the presentation, one of the students asked,
"You've said you like New Zealand, and you've given your reasons for coming here, but would you leave New Zealand for somewhere else?"
I instantly relied, "No, I think of myself as a Kiwi, and I have no intention of leaving"
He thought a second and then asked'
"But even if you got more money, would you leave NZ?"
"No" I replied, not even for more money"
"Even if they offered THREE time the pay?" he asked.
"Not even for three times" I said firmly.
He (and they) looked shocked.  Why was I that attached to NZ.  They thought it was OK, but nothing special.
I tried to get the ideas across to them.  Of all the many countries I've lived in and visited, NZ had the best variations in scenery, the most glorious mountains, lakes (or lochs), coasts and beaches, warm and clement weather, and primarily, the most friendly and supportive people I've ever met.
Don't get me wrong, I still love Scotland, and the Scots are very friendly and approachable, but ask yourself this.  The last time you were in a Supermarket, did the girl who packed your groceries ask how you were getting on, and did you have a conversation about your/her holidays?  I did yesterday, and Carol was very envious about our trip to Melbourne, and I was envious about her planned trip to Tahiti.  I've had conversations with Scots at a bus stop, in pubs, in Fish & Chip shops, even *looks down at feet and blushes slightly* in toilets, but nobody is as friendly and approachable as Kiwis.
A cup of tea?

There's a story from Jeremy Clarkson (of all people).  He was stuck in a town called Palmerston North, about 100 km North of Wellington. He was stuck at the airport, waiting for a delayed flight.  The guy at the book-in desk told him that he'd have at least a 2 hour wait.  Now being stuck in Palmerston North at any time of the day, is like being stuck in Stornaway on a wet Sunday.  Depressing and bugger-all to do.  The check-in guy knew this, and so invited Clarkson and his film crew round to his own home for a cup of tea and a bite to eat.

Only in New Zealand, and why I love this place.

Just win the world cup guys. Win the world cup or else.

PS 90,000   Ho Hum


  1. Dear Twisted, You do have a lovely front room. It is interesting reading how attached to New Zealand you have become - I think the process of migration is such a brave and difficult journey because you cannot be sure it will all turn out when you embark on it. Living overseas I find I miss my extended family and ordinary things like a bowl of good Vietnamese noodles. In this house we have our own wishes for the World Cup but if these don't come to fruition, go the All Blacks.

  2. Thanks Linda,
    we like it. I also miss foods from "home", like Haggis, deep-fryed Scotch Pies, greasy chips and big pickled onions. My beloved also misses tastes from Singapore, like real Laksa and Chilli Crab. While I hope the ABs do it, I'd prefer the Aussies to win rather than the bloody English. If there's any English reading this, sorry, but you know it makes sense.

  3. Rugby????
    Nah mate, you need to follow Aussie Rules. Now THERE'S a real game!

    *runs off very quickly to avoid the inevitable*

  4. Actually, Frogdancer has a point...



    A U S S I E R U L E S !

    Don't make me laugh.

    Q. what's the difference between an Aussie Rules crowd of fans and a drug fuelled rabid bunch of complete dickheads who don't know or care who's playing as long as they can get completely pissed and have a fight.

    A. Drugs (probably)

    Q. What’s the difference between war and an Aussie rules match?

    A. War has rules

    Q. What is the ONLY game in the world where the "players" (bunch of piss-head sex-maniacal hooligans) run about in their vests.

    A. Aussie Rules Footie.

    Linda from Chile: Oh Gawd, another reprobate Aussie. Pining for the hooliganism that is Aussie Rules. *sits for 5 minutes while steam percolates gently out of ears*

    After watching South Americans "playing" soccer, I'm surprised you can see the difference.
    Did you know that one South American country refused to sign the UN convention on Land Mines, because they reserved the right to use them in defence of their national team's goal?

  6. Pencils have a point, but we still don't need a silly game like 'ruels' (as the Aussies say it).

  7. But at the end of the day it's still not Petone!

  8. I think your hoose looks great - and new items of furniture look super.

    I have friends who rate NZ as their favourite place in the world. If it wasn't so damned far away, I'd pop over. I had a pen friend in NZ once. He turned up - twenty years after we had stopped writing - with his wife (now on honeymoon in UK) and stayed with my poor mother for nearly a week.

    I have NO idea about Aussie Rules footie. And I think I'll keep it that way :-)


  9. Second Fiddle: You're correct it's still not Petone..........What's still not Petone?

    AX: Thanks aboot the hoose. I feel the same. Anyone I'm in contact with is free to call in and we always have a spare bedroom.
    Our rates are very reasoanble. (Did I tell you my grandfather came from Aberdeen?)
    BTW It sounds like the ex-pen friend from NZ came from Petone.
    Good idea about the Aussie Rules, I don't think the players have that much of an idea either. Or the umpires, who by the way, dress like complete prats, and their hand signs for a goal/try/rubber/whatever are hilarious.

  10. You have to love any country where a dead sheep makes front page news... I've only been here in Auckland (I know) for a year, but I'm loving it.

  11. Shackleford Hurtmore: Dead sheep....oh, you mean Shreck? I agree it's a bit odd when a cartoon character is named after a sheep (or was it vice versa). BE WARNED NZ sheep can be a bit nasty , see the film Black Sheep.
    Never trust the devious thick-as-shit lanolin covered neurotic bastards. The sods have a tendencyto butt you in the groin.


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