Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm going once, I'm going twice, I'm sold to the lady in the second row...*

TradeMe is dangerous. But sometimes there are treasures that just have to be bought: $37 for a boxed set of Little House on the Prairie - the editions with the covers I love most! There's nothing like winning the auction for something amazing.

Today it's exactly two months until my dream time holiday. The winter of frugality needs to kick in in the extreme from June 1st...

*Auctions always make me think of two barbershop songs, 'Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)' and 'The Auctioneer'. I especially like the second one, the claps get me every time.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Food (Show) Glorious Food (Show)

Yesterday I spent five hours at The Food Show. I hadn't been before and I didn't intend to stay that long but I arrived at 10am with Beth and somehow it was 3pm before I knew it.

We sampled all sorts of things - amazing yoghurt, cheese, sausages, chocolate puddings, bagels, wine, beer, margheritas, gin...and watched two cooking demonstrations, one by MasterChef NZ judge and Euro owner Simon Gault,  and another by Julie Biuso (who I hadn't actually heard of before). I learned how curly fries are made and saw some impressive desserts being judged.

And out of all that was on offer, what did I end up buying? Tea. Three different types of delicious tea.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Boredom in Seattle, hilarity in Gotland

After the epic endurance feat that was Cleopatra, we decided we needed something significantly lighter for classic movie Sunday two weekends ago. I felt like something a bit frothy so we got a supposed modern classic, While You Were Sleeping.

UGH. In my opinion, this movie is not deserving of its romantic comedy classic status. It's not like I had high expectations and I was even prepared to overlook the tenuous plot foundations (how hard is it to say, 'I'm sorry, no, you've misunderstood, I'm not his fiancee, I'm the woman who saved his life'? I'm pretty sure the family would have been just as pleased to meet her). But, feasibility aside, it just went on way too long. Even though it's only an hour and 43 minutes, it felt much longer. It was too much to buy into and too frustrating that Sandra Bullock's character let it get to the point that it did before telling the truth. This movie did not fill me with warm romantic fuzzies. It irritated me. The best thing about the whole movie was the grandmother, played by Glynis Johns, the woman who played the mother in Mary Poppins.

Last weekend, however, was a triumph. Pippi Longstocking. The 1969 version made from a collection of episodes from the Swedish TV series. I hadn't seen it before (I'd only watched the 1986 American version when I was younger) and it was hilarious! Mainly because of the English speaking voices dubbed over the Swedish - the accents and voices of the characters seemed to change a lot, my favourite were the criminals who initially sounded kind of Mexican but by the next time we saw them they had become British.

The girl who played Pippi was so cute and gave Pippi such personality and the little girl and boy who become her friends were such cute wee Swedish ingenues. The story itself and some of the dialogue and editing was so random it was extremely entertaining. The special effects were especially special.

I found out from my good friend Wikipedia that the show was set in Visby in Gotland, an island belonging to Sweden. My family on the Jacobson side were originally from Gotland so that pleased me greatly. I've decided that this fact, combined with my hair colour, means I pretty much AM Pippi Longstocking. I wonder how my flatmates would feel if I got a monkey?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Autumn ending

Hockey on a beautiful day in Lower Hutt last week 

Dessert at Foxglove. Amazing. 

Mt Ruapehu yesterday at about 3.30pm 

Seeing a plane out the window of a plane is quite disorientating...

Playing with my new camera. Oooo the clarity. But also, look at that salad. I was pretty pleased with myself.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Yesterday Alex and I got asked to help out a V48 Hours team. It was so fun! I've never done any film stuff before (except for a few years in which my sister, step-sister, step-brothers and I were into using the home video camera on the weekends we were all together to make our own episodes of the TV programme Mirror Mirror, our own soap opera called Caroline Crescent, and a TV drama along the lines of the old Montana Sunday Theatre programmes that used to screen on channel one, all complete with ads and my sister quitting in tears because I was being too bossy).

Despite the time pressure, everyone we worked with was really nice and seemed to be there to have a good time as well as to make a decent short film, which is surely what the competition is all about. I secretly liked them saying, 'Quiet on set, rolling, sound, speed [I didn't work out what that actually meant], scene three, take one [clapping the clapperboard], action!' It was just like the movies...

I not-so-secretly liked the bonnet I got to wear (the film is set in Victorian times). Once it was on I refused to take it off for the rest of the day. I also loved Alex's dress. Such a good colour.

Doing some unrelated photo acting while waiting around; sadly this was pre-bonnet 

For the conversation party scene we went to the Government Buildings, which are currently home to the Victoria University Faculty of Law. I had never been in there before (despite passing the building every day on my way to work for the last five months) and it's so cool. Apparently they do tours every weekend so I might have to go along as I only got to see a wee bit of it yesterday.

It's the largest wooden building in the Southern Hemisphere. And there is definitely a lot of wood.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Last night as I was walking home from work I came across a six piece jazz band* playing on Cuba Street. I wasn't in any hurry so I sat down and listened to them for about forty minutes. It was a little bit chilly but it was so worth it. I even got my knitting out for a wee while. They played some old favourites ('Puttin' on the Ritz', 'It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)', 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow') and some I didn't recognise.

Then they announced that their last piece for the night would be a Charleston and encouraged the people standing around listening to dance.

And they did!

*They had some cute wee business cards in their suitcase, they're called The Wellington City Shake-em-on-Downers and they're available for weddings, parties etc via shakeemondown[at]gmail[dot]com.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


On Sunday we were elephants with trunks on a little fishing wire pulley system, so when you pull the string the trunk moves up and down. I wish I could say we made the masks ourselves but we didn't, someone much more clever than us did.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Light and dark

Morning sun on my way to work the other week

The night lights of the city from the top of Brooklyn hill last weekend

Something with lots of light and dark is a show that opened at Downstage Theatre last night, Death and the Dreamlife of Elephants. I didn't manage to see it in its first incarnation at BATS Theatre in 2009 so, having heard lots of positive things, I was intrigued to finally see it for myself. It definitely lived up to expectations. There were two performances that I particularly loved, that of an old woman and an unusual cousin. The design is also very effective and sometimes quite magical with the way it plays with shadows. There were some things introduced in the beginning that seemed to be forgotten about as the show went on (the obessive counting of one character for example) and I felt like the first half was a bit long with style weighted over substance in terms of story progression, but overall it's a great achievement by those involved and I'll be thinking twice before buying any ornamental elephants from hospice shops...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Queen of the Nile

On Sunday afternoon I had a date with one of my tiny boyfriends. They're both around 18 months old and I've begun seeing Max quite regularly - every Tuesday night in fact, which is helping greatly with my Winter of Frugality - although he's either already asleep or on his way to bed by the time I get there. I don't see my other tiny boyfriend, George, as often, but on Sunday I got to hang out with him properly - by which I mean, he was awake. We went to the park and then I took him for a long walk in his pushchair down to the sea to watch the planes and the seagulls. He is excellent company.

On Sunday evening we had classic movie Sunday. In honour of the recent passing of Elizabeth Taylor, we watched the 1963 version of Cleopatra. I've said it before about classic movies and I'll say it again: some of them are SO long. This one clocked in at four hours and five minutes. That's even longer than Gone with the Wind. Apparently the original cut of Cleopatra was six hours long, but thankfully the studio producing the film made the director edit it down.

While it was interesting to learn about Cleopatra and some of the figures in Roman history (although also slightly worrying as we did some scenes from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra in fourth form and I did Classics in seventh form, so I should have already known some of the stuff in the movie), the thing that kept me going was Elizabeth Taylor and her outfits. She seemed to have a new one in every scene and all of them were amazing. Although some of her headpieces were a bit too much like ornate shower caps.

Richard Burton didn't really do it for me, I much preferred Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar. And although apparently Elizabeth Taylor recieved criticism for her performance, I thought she was great. She was very beautiful and very shapely...an ample bosom if ever I've seen one.

The sheer scale of the film was pretty impressive, all the sets and locations, the extras and horses and battlescenes. I think my favourite scene of all was Cleopatra's entrance into Rome - it just kept going and going, with more and more dancers and floats and coloured smoke. It was like Cleopatra was bringing the Mardi Gras to Rome and the Romans LOVED it.

Towards the end though we were hanging out for that asp. And ever since I've had the first line of this speech by Shakespeare stuck in my head:

The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Burned on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumèd, that
The winds were lovesick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggared all description: she did lie
In her pavilion, cloth-of-gold of tissue,
O’erpicturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature. On each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-coloured fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.

Antony and Cleopatra, II.2

Monday, May 9, 2011

View from my window

Well, I don't have one really. Not from my bedroom window - the glass is frosted because there's a window of the next door house about a metre away. But I do have a view through the mail slot and I do love my grand old Berhampore dame. I've been here over three months now, it seems to have gone so quickly but I also feel like I've been here for ages. I love living in a real house again, especially a real house with so much character and history. I'd love to know who this house was built for and when.

I especially love the washing line! Even though the warm sunny days are becoming fewer it's so nice when we do have one to be able to hang things out. I actually like hanging washing on the line, it's very satisfying. I didn't realise how much I missed it up in my old third floor apartment.

And my flatmates are lovely. All four of them and their various girlfriends and boyfriends and other friends. This was for the 'birt day' of one of the Sophies the other weekend. Someone lost the 'h'.

I'll just have to remember to look back on this post again in the middle of winter when the high ceilings and lack of insulation have turned my bedroom into a fridge...but this winter I'm determined not to use my electric blanket. It's socks and flannelette pyjamas all the way!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Comedy of (sock) Errors

This may simply look like a sock post-heel turn and mid-gusset.

But look again. It's actually laughing at me.

I foolishly thought that the second time around it would be so much easier. But the first sock took so long and this one has also been taking forever, so by the time I got to the gusset again, I had forgotten how to do it. And while I wrote about getting someone to help me with it last time, I didn't actually write down anywhere how I'd done it - helpful.

So this time I made it up as I went along. It's not great but it'll do. I'm over it. It's a sock. I just want to get it finished.

Then we'll see who's laughing.

(Speaking of laughing, I saw the most hilarious show I have seen in a long time on Thursday night. The Irrefutable Truth About Pet Food at BATS Theatre as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival. It's closing night is tonight. It hasn't been to everyone's comedy taste but it was definitely to mine. I seem to be at odds with general critical opinion at the moment, on Wednesday night I went to a much raved about three and a half hour show that shall remain nameless and I was quite unimpressed - while there were some some really strong performances, the set was unimaginative and boring, one of the lighting offers was particularly ridiculous, some of the accents were terrible, and as Alex said, we could have watched a Home and Away omnibus and gotten the same thing out of it as the script was so soap opera-y.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Days in lace

When I first saw THE wedding dress, I immediately thought of my Nana's wedding dress. So when I saw her on Sunday I got her to get out her old photo album so that I could look at her wedding photos again.

Turns out that apart from the lace sleeves, her dress wasn't that similar to the Duchess of Cambridge's, but I love the photos anyway.

Apparently she later cut her wedding dress up to make petticoats for my Mum and my aunty when they were younger. Unbelievable.

I never got to meet my grandfather. He died when my Mum was 14 so I don't know much about him. He looks like he was a bit of a cheeky babe in his younger days though.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A right royal wedding party

Our Royal Wedding party was a right success. The lounge was decorated with union jacks, a giant mural of Diana and Charles on their wedding day with a surprise guest photoshopped in, my Will and Kate bunting all the way from London, and some great images of Kate Middleton from this very funny blog. There were tiny sandwiches, pikelets with jam and cream, cheap sparkling wine, and a sponge with William's face dusted on in icing sugar (clearly William in better hair days). Beth bought me a Royal Wedding sick bag in case the ceremony got too much but the only time it was almost needed was when I first saw Princess Beatrice's hat...

I was a bit surprised by THE dress, I had thought it would be more like the maid of honour's dress but with slightly longer sleeves (as I knew she had to be a bit covered up in accordance with the church protocol) and a train. Having looked at photos though, I've decided I really like it. The lace is beautiful and was apparently made by the Royal School of Needlework - the Official Royal Wedding site says that those working on the lace had to wash their hands every thirty minutes to keep the threads clean and the needles were renewed every three hours to make sure they were sharp. On TV you couldn't see that there is lace on the skirt of the dress so I thought the bodice and the skirt didn't really fit well together, but now that I've seen photos and seen how the skirt has echoes of the lace, I do think the dress works overall. I loved the maid of honour's dress though, she looked amazing.

The only thing I wish we'd had was a lip reader with us who could tell us all the little things people were saying to each other - William and Harry when they first arrived at the church, Harry, William and Kate when she first arrived next to them at the altar - they seemed to be making some jokes and having a good, if nervous time. Maybe they were saying, 'Did you see Beatrice's hat? What is up with that? Who invited a moose?'