Friday, 16 October 2015

A day out loving the Tron

Parents throughout New Zealand will all be well aware that we've just started school term 4 - which meant the last fortnight has been that time dreaded and feared by some, welcomed and blissfully enjoyed by others.... School Holidays!

For the Kiwi Annisons the holidays are a pretty cruisey time now we only have one of our three kids actually at school, and somehow, sometime, our youngest has morphed into a 13 year old. I'm not sure when that happened. It seems like only last year I was occupying her with playdough or PVA and bucketloads of glitter. Maybe it was.

As I'm fortunate to be in the very lucky position of being a self-employed consultant, often working from home, I'm now able to be around for much of the holidays. Flexibility is the key word for us. One day a hair appointment for Miss13 saw me slaving over a hot laptop in the salon while she enjoyed some pampering time. The hubbie, who's also self employed, had some suitable tasks he was able to 'employ' our daughter for during a couple of days - and - over the course of two weeks the dreaded Bedroom Tidy Up Task was finally completed. Phew.

So on the final day of the school holidays, with uniform and school bag checked and ready for action the next day, the sun obligingly came out and we knew we needed to get out and enjoy it.

What to do? Where to go? How should we occupy ourselves?

It was a no-brainer really. We would have a day out in our neighbourhood - the wonderfully diverse, but often disregarded, city of Hamilton. We would be tourists in our own town.

Hamilton is New Zealand's fourth most populated city but also its largest inland city. While not being within sight of the stunning NZ coastline it does sit alongside the mighty Waikato River and in the centre of one of the richest agricultural areas in the world. It is without a doubt a metropolitan city. A university city. A historic city. It has a great, and diverse, culture with some tremendous cafes, bars and restaurants; a growing art, music and theatre scene; great (and world famous) events; amazing open spaces with surely the best public gardens in the world; and some darn fine shops and businesses. And some pretty awesome people.

So it's pretty cool that we live right on its doorstep and get to enjoy all these delights regularly. But sometimes it's nice to remember what you have and go out and partake in a day when you purely #LoveTheTron.

The day was off to a great start as we savoured a scrummy breakfast in Joes Garage (Ward Street) after winning a voucher for a free feed! Nice one :-)

A riverside walk along the Waikato River
We meandered along the path and did a circuit from Ferrybank, crossing at Claudelands bridge and back through Memorial Park to Bridge Street bridge

Watching rowers go past and then a slower, more relaxed trip by a family of ducks

The hubbie

One of our favourite outdoor spots in Hamilton - the Potter Children Garden/ Parana Park
You're never too old!

Spot the child!

 Apparently they cannot just "smile for the camera"

Memorial Gardens - looking darn good

Outside the museum - we visit fairly regularly - always something new to see

 Then we walked along a slightly more modern Victoria Street, visited our favourite book shop Browsers and then partook of a cool beverage, or two, in a local hostelry 

Before hopping in the car to journey home, stopping in Hamilton East at our new favourite ice cream shop, Duck Island Ice Cream

Amazing Jersey milk ice cream with unique flavours - I enjoyed every last drop of my blueberry jam and toast 

A relaxing day, thoroughly enjoyed every minute and every place we took in. And there was a lot that we didn't even touch; the zoo, the Gardens, the lake, the arboretum....
Seriously, why would we not #LoveTheTron ?

Note: if you're wondering about the hashtag - just have a quick look on Twitter, it's an amazing movement, started and run by ?? (seriously.. they are famously anonymous) and rapidly adopted by many Hamiltonians and visitors who agree that it's actually quite easy to live it up in Hamilton. 

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Thursday, 8 October 2015

A slowly expanding house

It's been a while since I did an update on the house renovations but I can assure you we've certainly not been sitting idle since the last house post in July: a facelift for our kiwi cottage

Although funds don't currently allow us to just get the new kitchen extension up and in 'just like that' we did decide that now we have our resource consent and are all set to go.... we should make a start on the first stage.

So at the end of the house where the extension is going (and as you can see on the pics below - the only side of the house we've not re-clad because of this reason) the land has been scraped back to clear the way. This kind of gives a guide as to how big the room will be too.

Our little two bedroom cottage is currently only about 100m2 and we're adding on another 35m2 with a dining kitchen across the end.

This will allow us to reclaim the space in middle of the house where the current (and very small) kitchen is, and move the dining table out of the current living room - the house will still be cosy and comfortable with just the right balance of living area and a fabulous new space for the kitchen diner opening out onto the back garden. I cannot wait to see it for real - not just in my head!!

The first job, which required the building inspector to sign off, was to mark out where the house piles are going and dig 15 very large holes!

This involved lots of string, some spray paint,  a tape measure, and a laser thing (the husband will roll his eyes now!).

And then it involved two spades, two people (me & him), and intermittent visits from a kitten that would examine the holes and inevitably push a little earth back in them. She's helpful like that.

At this point the inspector checks everything is looking hunky dory - or maybe he measures the holes and refers back to the plans, I really don't know. But most importantly he gave us the correct nod of the head, the right bit of paper, and said 'yep'.
So we carried on.

The next stage involved concreting into the ground the tanalised wooden posts that will be the piles for our new extension. They look like sticks in the ground - because I suppose that's what they are - but this is how it's done here. Technical questions on a postcard and I'll refer them to the hubbie!

So stage one, of many, is now complete - we have piles!!

I've never been so proud to blog about it either.
Back with more soon hopefully :)

Funds accepted with the postcard then we can get to roof level!

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The Kiwi Good Life blog and social media pages are run by Vicki Annison (aka KiwiVix)