December Letter 2004


Well this year has been a good one!  They say life begins at 40 and this year seems to have proved that!


As you probably know, I moved back to Christchurch after 18 enjoyable months in Auckland.  The main reason for coming back was that the job didn’t work out nearly as well as had been promised.


This year I’ve started up in Real estate and got off to a flying start – selling 4 listings in my first 5 weeks!!  However as only one of those listings was actually mine (the other 3 being holidaying colleagues’) things began to grind to a halt when it came to finding new listings!  It takes time to get known and trusted as a suitable sales person!  (Picked up a new listing yesterday - yay!)


I lost my diary recently and for a real estate person, this is a real hassle!  So I decided to bite the bullet and buy an electronic one, its an IPAQ Pda with “Pocket Windows” some left over stock at vodafone – only cost me $600 – used to be over $1300!! Has a colour screen – that you can write notes on directly!  Fits into my back pocket.  I’m very pleased with it because since I can back it up to the computer and synchronise with it – AND my cell phone (contacts and appointments) it means that if I should lose it again, I can just buy another, “sync” it up and we’re away again!  Its much better than a paper diary as you can keep a list of tasks to do that are in your face all the time and it reminds you of appointments at a specified time prior, so I’m hoping for great things!  

Only problem is that the phone's contact maximum is 500 and I’m already up to about 498!! Wonder what will happen after that!?  


Taiwanese students have still been something I’ve been involved with, plus one from Mainland China as well, so still managed to keep the wolf from the door. 


Having my own website and a page on that devoted to my services as an interpreter has also netted me some income.  I enjoy the freedom of being self-employed.


You may know me as being kind of a sleepy person – not much of a morning person, and often rubbing my tummy?  Well I’ve discovered fennel and peppermint oil capsules, which are great for settling my tummy and ‘Valerian’, which has given me much better sleep!  Now all I have to do is start going to bed earlier and maybe I can start living a more “normal” life!!


Swimming is also something that I’ve been doing a lot of too, averaging a kilometre every second day.  Still working on my tummy muscles!  Hopefully my first visit yesterday to the gym (in ages) will improve on that as the instructor showed me what to do on a Swiss ball, and I could feel all these muscles straining with the unaccustomed exercises!! And today they definitely feel a bit stiff!!   Squash I play every Tuesday evening with Simon Taylor an old friend from the early 80’s who I used to play squash with at Uni.  He still beats me nearly every game, but he’s definitely noticing the strain!   Hopefully I can turn my little “Keg” into a “six pack”!!


I bought mum a Swiss ball for her birthday as they are great to sit on in front of your computer (a 65cm one) the grandchildren thought it was great fun and took it outside for a play, after a brief but disastrous encounter with the rosebushes its now history.  No one wants to offer a patch for them, as they would be considered unpatchable because of the strains that get imposed upon them.  The man at Rebel Sport thought my suggestion of a tyre pando might work.


Clients in Taiwan are hankering for me to go over there for a visit, one’s offered to pay for my ticket and give me a place to stay and vehicles to drive around in or on, another’s offered me $10 000 Taiwan dollars spending money for the duration!!  Hard to refuse!  But I’d rather go when things got a bit cooler here so we’ll see what happens next year I think.



We’ve had a bit of a population explosion with paradise ducks here on the river!  Its great; they are such handsome birds, and some are obviously great parents, I have a duck page on my website and there’s pictures there of a family with 11 kids!!!  5 weeks later they are still going strong, another family has just hatched another 6 a couple of weeks ago, and they are still all there too, so I imagine in a few years time they are going to be everywhere!!


We are in the process of joining up with Telecom for our Internet connection, we are going to change to broadband (High Speed) service and see how that goes, our friends have changed over and they say its great!  I use IHUG at present and it seems to be very slow lately, these friends mentioned that that was one of the reasons they’d changed over …so I rang IHUG and spent ages being “3rd in the queue” only to find I’d called the “sales department” transfer to “technical department “ found me “tenth in the queue” just been suggested I email them instead!  Think I will, In the meantime I was chatting (online) with a friend, when IHUG finally answered, they gave me some DNS numbers so that will be interesting, I asked his name and he said it was Lee, I asked how to spell it and he said “L I “ so I asked him “Oh are you from China?” and then we chatted in Chinese for a while, turns out he’s been here for about 14 years – very little accent.


We are going to Auckland this Christmas; everyone seems mildly disorganised about Christmas this time around that I have spoken to so far!  Yi-Ming has to change some stock around with some of his suppliers, so we will go up with a car full of statues!  He bought a Subaru wagon this year so it’s great for that!!  We plan to meander up the North Island visiting galleries and friends.


On my way home at 9:15 pm one night after a squash game, I was driving thru a rural stretch of road just off a roundabout going downhill doing 63 kms ….. got pulled up for it by an oncoming police car…. L   50 K area, no buts about it, $80 fine….. Now after this I began thinking that’s 4 within two years!!  Going to have to change this car!! It’s so easy to go over the limit in it!!  (Didn’t used to get speeding tickets) now the first three were 35, 35 and 20 points each… so that’s 90 + this 20 points… uh oh does this mean no licence for three months????  Stewed for a few days then finally searched the police website and found a points number to ring “just on the off chance they, or I, had made a mistake”.  The very nice woman then told me that I had a total of 75 (the last one doesn’t register with them until paid) not the 90 I thought I had!!  So one of my infringements had only netted me 20 points not 35!!  (I had been expecting someone to come knocking at the door and handing me a notice and asking for my licence in return – to be held for three months!!) So you can imagine my relief when I found out my total is now only 95… “Only until Jan 21” she pointed out “and then it drops back to 60” 


Actually I think everyone should drive like they only have 5 points left!!  Maybe the roads would be a lot safer!


We went on a road trip to Queenstown and Wanaka too, also on a statue delivery run.



Caught up with my cousin Allistair in Glenorchy, he gave me some photos on a disc and I made him a wee website.  Something to consider next time you're in Queenstown!  There are some awesome photos there.

 He also made a divine dish of smoked salmon, just unreal!


We have finally organised for Telecom to install Broad band hi speed internet (ADSL) so we are looking forward to better service there!  That will come on in about 2 weeks from now I guess.

Then we realised since we’re going away for three weeks might as well wait till we get back!


Well I think that’s about enough for a year, could go on but wouldn’t want to bore you too much!


Hope you have a happy Christmas and New Year!


All the best