Friday, July 18, 2008

Due South

This is the plan. It's already changed 9,237 times. It will probably change again.

Fly to Christchurch, pick up car, then on to

Mt Cook
Te Anau

And that's just South Island. We're looking at returning to the North Island proper when the weather starts improving as there's no use sitting on a beach in mucky weather trying to convince yourself it's actually warm enough to sunbathe like people do in Morecambe.

Our hire care represents the very pinnacle of automative engineering - A 2005 Diahatsu Sirion which I am renaming The Die Hard Sirloin - and activities planned along the way include snowboarding, writing my name in the snow, having an argument about one another's map reading skills, shivering a bit, meeting up with me old mate Chris, cruising around Milford (not, I am told, the home of MILFs), climbing the Fox Glacier (which will be mint) and the Franz Ferdinand Glacier.... and probably a lot of driving.

37 days encounting......

Surfer's Paradise

So, I am leaving Auckland. The flights, the hire car and the accommodation are booked. The date is set. All I have to do is now is sit through another 2 weeks of, well, nothing. And that's harder than you think......

I joined this company during a staff shortage. And because there was work to be done, accordingly, I did it. But since that day way back in April, the company has hired no less than 6 new people, meaning that for the last 4 weeks I've been content to dawdle, dally and lozzock about on the internet, whilst work is actually taken off me by eager new beavers (probably an unfortunate choice of words given I'm still the only man here).

The problem with this is twofold. First, if it weren't for George providing me with a few choice websites, I would have bludgeoned myself into oblivion with a hole-punch by now through sheer boredeom. In your own home, doing nothing makes you the king of your castle - revelling in your inactivity and celebrating the stationary with no expectations and therefore no reproachement or guilt.

But to do nothing when you reckon you probably should be doing something. That's different. It's disquieting and makes for an uneasy day. Which leads to my second point.

I can't prove it, and it may well be a kind of mild paranoia, but I think the fact that my days are emptier than John Leslie's Diary is breeding a kind of polite but palpable sense of resentment among people who actually have work to do.

I have indeed telegraphed my availability on a number of occasions, responding to the Kiwi's wanky buzzphrase "Phil, do you have capacity?" with the reply "Yes, I'm not busy right now", although I would have liked to reply "Yes, I am indeed capacious right now", yet work has not been forthcoming. In my defence, all I can say is: it's not my fault I'm not busy.

Anyway, I have two weeks of surfing youtube and Facebook left, and then will have to find 3 weeks of temp work before I leave Auckland on the 25th August. If anyone fancies sending me some interesting links to browse whilst I glance over my shoulder to see who can see my screen, before flicking back to an empty Excel spreadsheet and punching a few random buttons on the calculator to make it look like I'm working, please feel free.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Flat Out

Lou and I finally have a flat.

I'm sad to leave The Brown Kiwi: the cameraderie was endearing, the host hilarious, the experience memorable. But this trip is all about what happens after Auckland, and for that we need money. So with the Brown Kiwi's double room costing us the equivalent of a return ticket to Western Samoa evey week, despite Nils gracious discount, we decided to move out into cheaper digs.

Conversely, and fortunately, over here cheap accommodation does not mean having to live underneath a railway arch with an itenirant jazz musician called Keith. Rather, rental prices are around 40% cheaper than hostels, and $200 a week has secured us a room in an apartment 15 minutes from town with bed, dishwasher and TV. Three of my key requirements.

Admittedly, it wasn't the first place we looked at. A trawl through some accommodation websites revealed that we weren't in the most favourable of positions - a non-smoking couple requiring a flat for only 8 weeks - especially considering the online adverts were very specific about the type of housemate required, some stating: must be smoker, must like cats and, my favourite, must be quiet.

Our first viewing was a place just off Ponsonby road which could only be described as a cross between Northampton Polytechnic student accommodation and an inner-city "housing project" for single mothers with learning difficulties. There's something very disturbing about a "TV room" consisting of four walls of powdery, unpainted breezeblock, together with 3 plastic school chairs pointed at a flickering screen.

Our second viewing was of house in Grey Lynn, and whilst the accommodation was fine, Lou and I both agreed the woman who already lived there, Camilla Ribena-Faqhuar-Camembert-Bibblington-Breadbin, was annoyingly wiffy-waffy and would have probably required throttling at some point.

And so finally to our current location just off the Great North Road. Initially, the signs weren't good: bottom of a hill, bright tangerine-coloured building, above a garage. But upon opening the door we were pleasantly surprised: spacious, clean and apparently new. The couple who already live there seem fine, and as a result of pushing two single beds together, we now have a "double" bed the size of a tennis court.

I am avoiding the obvious joke about "Love All"

Or "New Balls Please"