Archive for the ‘Microblog Mondays’ Category

  1. Winners for postcards from 4 of the 7 new countries I’ll be visiting over the next couple of months are:
    – Jess, for Iceland
    – IndigoBunting, for Russia
    – Turia, for Denmark
    – Nicole, for Norway
  2. a guessed a Baltic Sea Cruise, as did a friend of mine on Facebook (where I linked this post), and because technically they’re correct, I’m giving them both the option of guessing again for specific ports, but you can also guess too, on my original post or via email malinzblog(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)nz. (a, I hope you’re reading this!)
  3. Over the very quiet four-day Easter weekend (hence Monday blog on a Tuesday), apart from taking a walk every day, I amused myself with some sewing. I was amazed at how easily certain things came to me (eg the muscle memory of loading the bobbin and inserting it into the machine that I bought way back when I was a Master’s student at university and earned some money as an assistant teacher), considering that I haven’t sewn regularly since the 1980s, and first learned most of these techniques in the 1970s.
  4. I’m enjoying my sister’s (and BIL’s too I guess) avocados at the moment, lovely and big and creamy, and so much cheaper (ie free) than the supermarket.
  5. We’re also feeling furious every time we drive past a petrol station at the moment, because we were about seven hours north a week or two ago, and noticed that the price of petrol was thirty cents cheaper there than it is in our city. We pay $2.05 per litre (an online calculator tells me that this is about US$5.54 per gallon), but if we lived where my sister lives, we’d be paying $1.74, and that’s NOT fair!
  6. There is a distinct autumnal feeling in the air here in New Zealand, the sun is going down so much earlier now, the leaves on our oak tree are definitely turning, and I’m thinking it’s time to put those (hardly-worn) summer clothes away for six months or so.

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I am taking up a friend’s suggestion that I run a competition to guess where I’m going on my next trip, and the winners (first to guess* correctly) will receive a postcard from the destination they identified. (Two qualifications to this: 1. Assuming postcards are still available for purchase (if not, I’ll make a photocard on my return), and 2. The postcard will have been bought from the destination, but might not be posted from there.)

We’re going to eight countries on this five-week trip, seven of which will be new and exciting for us.

Clues (I might add to this list later in the week):

  • It will take a total of about 31 hours travelling time (from home to hotel) to reach our first destination, which is really only a stop-over to go onto the others.
  • Two destinations (or more, I’m not sure) might offer the opportunity to see (or even better) photograph puffins.
  • According to internet historical weather data, I have to pack for daily high temperatures ranging from 5 C (41F) to 33C (91F) … and in at least one destination, rain, lots of rain.
  • Only one of the destinations would require me to get a visa, but given my mode of travel to enter this location, it turns out I don’t need one there either.

* If you already know where I’m going (because I’ve told you), and you want a postcard too, email me your address at malinzblog(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)nz.


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I am currently visiting Charlie and her parents and Jeff and Cloud (the dog and cat respectively) and have been exposed to her unique 8-year-old thought processes.

  • “Donald Trump is an idiot, because he is.”
  • Answering questions from your aunt AMA mother is not nearly as interesting as dancing like a cat to “I’m sexy and you know it.”
  • Pets are to be loved, played with, and ignored at your pleasure.
  • Art galleries are worth visiting
  • Virtual reality is awesome because “you don’t have to use controls you just use your head.”
  • A good library is a great discovery.
  • Delayed gratification is a terrible idea.

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As many of you know, I love compiling my photos after a trip, then completing a photo book. Over three years ago, when we came home after our five month trip to the Middle East and Europe, I set to work, relishing seeing all our photos again, and producing three books – one for the Middle East, one for our three months spent in Italy, and one for our Poland, Slovenia and Switzerland explorations.

I had also kept a blog during the trip and thought it would be nice to have a hard copy, so I sought out blog-to-book software, settling on Blurb’s Booksmart. Initially, I thought that maybe I could incorporate my blog into a wider book, filling in the bits I never got to write about when I was away, but life intervened, and the project languished for months at a time. Finally, a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to finish it off; my forthcoming trip and the fact that the company was offering a 40% discount for a limited time were added incentives!

After proof-reading over 100 pages, I finally sent it off for printing, receiving it back last week. It was just what I needed to cheer me up:



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After the gym this morning, I stopped around the bays at one of my favourite cafes for a welcome coffee, after abstaining over the weekend. The good weather of the past week of so had vanished, and we were encased in misty rain and low clouds, limiting visibility and sucking the colour from everything except the bright yellow and orange lifeguard stand in the middle of Oriental Bay, pointless and forlorn, useful for only a few short days this summer-in-name-only.

Unlike the sunny days we basked in last week when locals and visitors had filled its tables inside and out, today the cafe was not crowded. I had avoided it for the summer months when school holidays and cruise ships had contributed to crowded waterside cafes, and today it was just how I like it. Cosy inside, with its deliberately kitsch 70s decor, there were a variety of customers; a man on his laptop between meetings, the three elderly women catching up over coffee and cake, a few young couples, including the couple grabbing a coffee in the under cover outside tables so one of them could smoke, later replaced by a man who was simultaneously indulging his caffeine, nicotine and crossword addictions, and of course, there was me, reading, watching, and writing.

Outside and also under cover, a sleepy bulldog was curled up in the dog bed, looking ever so slightly grumpy and unappreciative when one of the staff woke him to give him a pat. He was then regularly disturbed by deliveries and customers coming and going, wearily opening one eye to check on proceedings as they walked by. He’s trying to sleep again now, his eyes closed, weighed down by his wrinkles, plump and perfect, unlike my own.

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  1. When do people ever have the time to listen to podcasts?
  2. How can someone have a workout and then not shower afterwards?
  3. Why would you bother buying a Maserati four-door sedan?
  4. Why did the plural “there are” disappear (particularly in speech), and when did “impact” become a verb (with a nod to my friend who once titled his blog, “Impact is not a verb”)?
  5. What is the attraction of selfies?
  6. By deliberately not revealing our 2017 holiday destinations yet, have I made it an inevitable anti-climax when I finally do, and will I know when it is the right time to do the big reveal?
  7. Will I ever get around to tidying my office?
  8. Is it obvious that five of these questions had been recorded for this post for a while, and three of them were made up on the spot to get to eight sentences?

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Yesterday I kicked myself as I drove again to the gym, around the bays, where the harbour was a flat, reflective, surface, the boats and boathouses sitting perfectly in the morning light, just waiting for me to photograph them with the camera that, you guessed it, I’d left back at the house.

Still, I worked out at the gym where the glass doors were flung open onto the balcony, enjoying the feelings of a summer come at last, and realised I didn’t need a camera to appreciate the sights, or to take them for my blog readers.


Then, I drove further east, through movieland – occasionally called Wellywood, the base of Peter Jackson and Weta’s extensive movie-making businesses, the birthplace of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies, where work on Avatar and many other movies is ongoing – through to the seaside suburb with the movie-industry-induced high residential prices, and always the feeling as if you’re on holiday at the beach, where I was meeting a friend who had escaped the Polish winter for a week or two, and had been welcomed home with a perfect day.

We sat beachside to catch up, appropriately donning hats and sunscreen, over coffee and avocado-smash toast, enjoying the sight of the interisland ferries passing out in the channel, plotting some last adventures offshore before her years in Europe end and before old age (and, in my case, lack of funds) gets us.


Then I drove home around different bays, enjoying the spectacular views and making note of old piers for future photography assignments, noting truly that you can’t beat Wellington on a good day, even though this year they have truly been few and far between.


The afternoon was spent working at my in-laws, taking advantage of the lack of wind to chop down/prune some trees, to collect bags of lemons which my in-laws hate to go to waste but forget to give away, the by then inevitable visit to the tip (which is much less frenzied on a Monday), and a few minutes to play with my camera, enjoying the different angles of their raised flowerbeds, and the copulating butterflies who were also taking advantage of this stunning day.

The day ended with drinks on our deck, shaded by one of our trees, taking therapy not only from the alcohol and fine weather, but from watching the tui and fantails and many other nondescript and therefore nameless birds in our trees, the quantity of which (as I had learned earlier in the day from national radio) apparently decidedly reduces our stress levels (as I am sure my bird-watching friend are well aware). It’s good to have another reason to relax outside with a camera, a drink, and each other – not that I needed one after the pleasure of spending time with friends and the satisfaction of a job well done.


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