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Got a bit of a story to tell..........

Got a bit of a story to tell..........

Old Sep 26th 2007, 12:07 pm
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Default Got a bit of a story to tell..........

..............been updating it on one of the other sites but it seems that the site in question has crashed!

Question is would you like to hear it?

If so let me know

Ian
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Old Sep 27th 2007, 3:26 am
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

Originally Posted by niseysOH View Post
Would it be the story of how you lived in NZ didn't like it so moved to OZ and now love it.......

There you go saved you having to tell it yourself.

End of pointless story tease thread.....
Its a story of a British family moving from the UK, living in Akl, then ChCh.
Giving an insight on the good and also the pitfalls. Bit of a "try not to make the same mistakes as us" story.

Not a tease at all, if you don't want to read on here fine you could always buy the book in a few months
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Old Sep 27th 2007, 10:51 am
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

Originally Posted by jads View Post
you hate NZ dont you:curse:
No, I loved Auckland and would not say a bad word about Rangiora, but it did not work for us for a few reasons
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Old Sep 30th 2007, 9:04 am
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

Originally Posted by Here comes the sun View Post
This has to be the most pointless thread Ive read on here!
Hi Guy's,

Well first of all I'm going to start with some back ground, just for the new people on here who don't know our story! I'm going to be as honest as I can and let you know everything, why, how, where, even down to job's, money and houses! Just so people know what we have been through and why NZ ended up not for us. I'm also going to be very honest with how I have found Australia so far and finish off with my conclusion.

It’s a long one so go and make a brew before you start reading!

Back in 2002 we made the decision to move from the UK, why, I still don't 100% know. We had a lovely house, I had a great job that I loved and most of all we were very happy. Then one night we watched one of those programs on TV, I think it was a place in the sun and it got us thinking. The next day I contacted an emigration consultant, I was curious to see if we could "get in", anyway the only way we could get in to either NZ or Australia was with a job offer. The next day I Google searched companies in Australia and made a list of telephone numbers, at this point we did not think we would move to NZ and I knew little about the place. That night I stayed up late and started to contact the companies on my list as luck might have it Nissan Industrial equipment were looking for a person with my skills, all good. They asked me to fax my C.V over and they would be in touch. After a few days I got a phone call asking me to come over for an interview, the deal was if I accepted the job they would reimburse me the travelling expenses, so we made arrangement for someone to live in our house to look after "Ben" our black lab and asked Sharon's Mum and Dad to mind our "H". This was the first time we had been away from Harry and the first time that anyone had looked after him and with Sharon being a new Mum it was quite an emotional good bye, even if it was only for 10 day's!

So off we went, we landed in Sydney and were met by a representative from the company, and he drove us to the hotel and said he would pick me up in a few hours. The one thing I remember thinking was how hot it was and I could not believe the amount of cars on the road. Anyway he picked me up and drove me to Nissan for the round of interviews; the thing I did not know was that they were going to test me as well, basically on my knowledge of safety and calculation. After a few hours I came out and knew there and then that they would offer me the job, they said that they felt I should have a good look round Sydney and had arranged for a company car to be dropped off at the hotel. I got back to the hotel about 4'ish to be met by a rather red Sharon, she had been sun bathing all day! This was our first experience of the ozone or lack of it in this part of the World.

Anyway, the next day we went for a drive to look at areas and houses, we very quickly came to the conclusion that Sydney was far too expensive for our budget. We could afford a town house on a new estate similar to a Barrett house, ok we'd have the sun but it was not worth moving to the other side of the World for. The next day I had a meeting with the GM of Nissan Australia, sure enough he offered me not only the job I thought I applied for but a Major accounts role within the company. I turned it down; he was amazed and asked why? I told him if we were going to move to the other side of the World we wanted the dream, big house, swimming pool, near a beach etc. He was silent for a while and then told me to go back to the hotel and pack my suite case, I asked why and he told me that they were going to fly me to Brisbane! I asked what position was available there and he said none, but they would make one, game on!

Sure enough they picked us up and we found ourselves at Sydney airport on another mini adventure! It felt a bit strange and a bit weird at the end of the day were just normal people from St Helens, I was quite taken aback by with the extent Nissan went out of there way to help us. We landed in Brisbane and it was just like getting off the plane in Spain, you know when the heat just hits you, I know Sydney was hot but this was different it sort of took your breath away and at the same time your cloths suddenly became wet with perspiration. We were met at the airport by a bloke called Richard (still in contact with him) he was the Queensland state manager and at the time seemed a straight up nice bloke. He took us to the motel and told us that he would pick us up at 9am the next morning, he was going to show us round some housing estates so we had a feel for what we could get for our money. That afternoon we sat by the pool, Sharon was sunbathing and I was just thinking, there was loads of stuff going on in my mind and I needed answer's to a load of questions. Just then a middle aged bloke appeared, we exchanged "Gidday's" and I started to talk to him. I asked him questions for over an hour and he gave me the answer's, some answer's I did not like but at the end it was the truth and I could now start putting the jig saw together, if it was not for that chance meeting I think at that point I would have gone back to the UK and put the whole emigration lark behind us. The next day Richard turned up and took us to a new development called "Forest Lakes", our first impression was "wow". We'd never seen a housing estate with a set of cascading lakes in it! It was fantastic, most of the houses were bungalows another "wow", were we come from bungalows are sometimes more expensive that houses and these were detached! We visited the "show village" which was basically a street full of show homes of various designs, we fell in love with the whole concept and discovered that with our money we could buy two houses (its a bit different now due to the Qld house boom and a drop in exchange rates) Anyway we were happy campers and with seeing this the infrastructure around the city we knew we had to go for it! I told Richard that it was a goer and that I was happy to sign the contract, he informed the GM and with that the emigration process for Australia started! The next day we flew home and were met by Sharon's Mum who had had her fingers crossed that we would not like it, but hey I'll talk about that latter on.

A few weeks latter I received the job offer, everything they had said they would do they did. I went back to my emigration consultant (Four Corners in Manchester) and they started the application, all they needed was a set of financial reports. Well we waited and waited and waited, I use to ring Richard weekly to see what was going on, we needed to know because the house was on the market and we had arranged everything all we were waiting for was the visa's and then we were off! A few weeks turned into a few months I asked Claire (emigration consultant) what could I do to speed things up, she told me there was nothing I could do I was in their (Nissan's) hand. Then she asked if I'd ever thought of New Zealand? I told her that I'd never even considered it, but by that time we had caught the emigration bug and just wanted to experience something different! She told me if I got a job offer I would have enough points to get a work visa which we could eventually turn in to PR, so with that in mind off I went. I did the same thing as I did for Australia and Google search companies again that night I stayed up late and sat there with the phone making calls, again luck was on my side and the 2nd phone call I was asked to send my C.V. That night the phone rang, it was the sales manager called Brendon, he asked me a few questions and we talked about capital equipment for over an hour. He then said that he would offer me a job, but I would have to sit a video interview and be interviewed by him, the GM and the HR manager. He also asked what they (the company) had to do to get me over, I told him that I had an immigration consultant working on me behalf and the best thing was to contact her direct. Anyway a few days past and I got a call from Brendon to tell me that the video interview had been set up and he gave me the address in Manchester where I had to go. That night I remember sitting in a very white clinical office with a camera pointing at me and a video screen in front of me, all sorts of thing were going around in my head and I felt sick with a mixture of pressure and nerves, then I thought "stuff it" if they don't want me at least we've give it a bloody good go! Suddenly the screen burst in to life and there in front of me were three people with the power to change my life, quite scary really. They seemed nice and started to ask me various questions mainly about my family and why we wanted to make the move to New Zealand, I lied! I couldn't really say it was because we could not get in to Oz could I! After an hour of quite light hearted conversation the GM asked what I would say if he offered me the job? I told him that I would take it and then stayed quite; he then said would I take the job and I replied yes. This was at the end of November/beginning of December and I was given the start date of the 15th January but they wanted me over a week before so I could acclimatize to the weather. The deal was that they would pay for my accommodation but everything else was down to me, fine I thought. The next day the GM got in contact with Claire and the process for immigrating to New Zealand began!

Every thing was going great, but we had one major problem which was the house sale. The plan was for me to go over first and set up a rental, then our Ben would fly out a few weeks latter and eventually Sharon and Harry would join us after a couple of months. So we decided to drop the asking price by 20K and see if we got any bites, within a week a couple came to view and asked us why we were selling we told them that we were emigrating to NZ, they told us that they were moving back to the UK after living in Australia for the past 20 odd years, it was something to do with the ladies health and she could get better treatment in the UK. Anyway they put an offer in and all was going to plan we just had to get our visa's have our last Christmas in the UK and we then were off to start our new lives. We had a completion date to work to and got all the shipping quotes in, we decided to go with Anglo Pacific as they seemed to be the most professional this turned out to be a bad move. So soon enough Christmas was upon us and we had a few of our friends and family round on Boxing day night, everyone told us we were doing the right thing and wished us well apart from Sharon's Mum and Dad who did not really comment, I put this down to them being naturally upset after all their only Grandson was moving to the other side of the World, I think it was harder for Sharon's Dad as he had a very close bond to Harry and at the end of the day Harry was named after him! Between Boxing day and New years day I got a phone call from NZIS telling me that the visa's were more than likely not going to be issued, my stomach dropped and I felt my legs turn to jelly, why I asked? My case officer explained that the company had to show that they had tried to employ a "Kiwi" for the role, surly they'd done this! I phoned the GM but could not get through due to the Christmas break, I emailed work, phoned work and could get no response what ever, I went outside sat down a nearly started to cry, I could not understand why this had happened, we'd got so far by this stage and I knew I would get there in the end, I suddenly remembered a email that the GM had sent me with a different email address, that address must be his home one? Quick as you like I went to next door to use their computer (we had decided not to get one until we moved Counties) I wrote the email and then pressed the send button which was quite hard with my fingers crossed. That night the phone rang and it was Rhys (the GM) I explained what had happened and why the visa might not be issued, I waited for a comment, it seemed like a life time and then he said that they have been trying to appoint someone for this position for the last 6 months with no luck, they had advertised in papers, magazines and had employed a agency. God that was music to my ears, I came over all giddy, I thought this was meant to be New Zealand wants me! Rhys asked for the telephone number of the CO and said he had all the documentation at work and he would go in and try and sort it out, I left it with him as there was apserlutly nothing I could do, for the second time he held the keys to our new lives! The new year came and went and we had the packers booked in for the 3rd, then out of the blue I got a phone call from the estate agent telling me that the buyers wanted me to not only drop the price but pay their rent as they had paid a month in advance and would not get this back, talking about having me by the b0llox! I was fuming and nearly told them where to go but reluctantly agreed to reduce the sale price by a further 6K! Bast#rds, at the end of the day I had no choice, so when you come to sell your house don't let on that you're moving Countries! So the only thing left to do was to sort out the visas, basically to get the yes or no! I got sick of so I took the bull by the horns and phoned NZIS and spoke to my case officer, she told me that no decision had been made! I could not believe it the packers were due the next day, I told her this and she told me that they were looking at all the information that Rhys had sent and would make a final decision in the next day or so, bloody hell, what should we do? Should I carry on and let the packers in to do their job or should I cancel them? I thought "stuff it" if we don't get in we'll move to another part of town anyway! That day our Harry came down with what we thought was a cold we didn't think anything of it but it got worse towards the end of the day, so we phoned the doctor and described the symptoms over the phone, he told us to take him to hospital straight away. As you can imagine we panicked and rushed him to hospital, it turns out that he had a severe chest infection and was put on a ventilator, it was a horrible sight watching my 18 month old lad being hooked up to all those machines. Sharon stayed with him over night while I went home to feed the dog and try and sort things out, not only did I have to pack my suite case but now I had to pack one for Sharon and one for Harry, as you know they were going to stay with Sharon's Mum and Dad. Anyway, I did all that and went to bed. I couldn't really sleep, I was thinking about Harry and also what we were doing, I was leaving for a new Country in a week’s time and didn't even know what the capital city was called! You see we'd done 18 months of research for Australia and rightly or wrongly I just could not bring my self to read more books, I think if we had a computer I would have done some research but we didn't so I did not bother! The next day the packers turned up and started to, well pack! I watched them in amazement, how fast did they work! They must be on a bonus! After a few hours keeping busy making sure they were packing everything properly the phone rang. It was my CO with a couple of question for me! She asked me why I wanted to move to NZ. What do you say! I don't know what happened but a brilliant spiel came from my mouth and after a few minutes of me dribbling on she told me that she was issuing me a 24 month work visa, yippee we were well and truly under starters orders!!!!!!!!!!!!! I went to hospital to visit Harry and also to let Sharon know that we'd been accepted and that I'd packed some of her cloths and taken them to her Mum's, the look of fright on her face, I wondered was it because of the visa's or what cloths I had packed!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway I went back home and could not get over how much stuff the packers had packed, it a strange feeling watching all your worldly goods being wrapped up bound for the other side of the World, The night time came and they were gone, they just had to come back in the morning to pack the odds and ends. Sharon phoned to say that our Harry could come home, well to her Mum's. For the next few days I was staying at my Dads, there was not enough room at Sharon's Mum's............ fair enough! The snag was that my Dad lived in Liverpool and Sharon's Mum and Dad lived in St Helens, all in all about a 40 minute drive. So everything was done, house sold and due to complete in the next few days, visa got, flights booked the only thing to do was tell my boss that I was leaving!

Now I'd worked for this company for just over two years, they head hunted me from Toyota Industrial equipment and offered me a package that I could not refuse. I started work and was immediately put under pressure to sell! Now strange as it might sound I love working under pressure and thrive on a challenge, the company was and still is the largest independent Nissan capital equipment dealer in Europe and the head of the company is a bloke called John, he built the company up from a small shack on the dock road of Liverpool to a multi million pound empire! John was a normal bloke and the money had not gone to his head, he still shopped for his shoes at pound stretchers! After a few months I'd settled in to the systems and the product and felt very comfortable working there, basically I started to move metal. This was noticed not only by John but by Nissan Europe and in my second year I'd sold the most units in the Country, yep I was earning big money my final year I earned over 60K had a company car which was a four wheel drive and had more importantly build up a fantastic relationship with John, I looked at him not as a boss but as a friend and a farther figure. There were also 3 more company directors Carrie who was John’s wife, Phil who was John’s brother and Ray who had worked his way up from an engineer to service director. I got on with all of them and loved my job, if it was not for the need to seek an adventure I would have stayed with the job for the rest of my life! Anyway because of the relationship I had with John I had been keeping him informed at each step of the process, why? Because I respected him and felt it was the right thing to do. Well that day had come, I had to go to my work the company I loved and inform the people I respect that I was leaving! I walked in to Johns office by the look on my face he knew what I was going to say, he lent back in his chair and simply said "your going aren't you" I told him that I had got the visa's yesterday, I knew he was banking on me not getting them and with everything that had gone on he must have thought that my chances were slim, so it was a shock for him! He told me that he wanted to take me out to lunch, strange because he'd never done this before! Typical John we went to the Little Thief and I ordered an all day brekey, John started to talk and then came out with "go on then how much" I told him that it was not the money it was "what if”! I told him that I'd hate to be stuck in St Helens when I'm 70+ thinking of what might or could have happened and how our life might have ended up. He didn't understand but told me I had a job with him when ever I wanted; I asked him how much he would have offered and was shocked with the amount! So that was the end of a job I loved quite quick and simple and I left knowing I had something up my sleeve in case it all turned pair shaped!

Friday came and I went down to see Harry and Sharon, we had our leaving booked for that night and wanted to make sure everything was ok. I'd not been able to have a "minute" with Sharon and being honest thought that the time for our last "love making session" was getting close! Sharon's Dad had taken our "H" out and her Mum was in the kitchen, she made an excuse that she had to go and order the balloons for the doo and we went out. Luckily John had said that I could keep my car until the final day so off we went "four wheel driving" we ended up at the back of a golf course and proceeded to get out kit off and do it like teenagers, as you can imagine it was not one of our better one's, but hey it was our last one in the UK! We talked about how she would cope at her parents and what she needed money wise while I was gone; I dropped her off and arranged to pick them all up, Sharon, Mum & Dad and Sister at 7pm so we were there to meet the rest of the family and friends at the leaving doo. I went back to my Dads and repacked just to make sure I'd got everything, I had two suite cases packed to bursting with what I thought was everything I needed. It was only then that my Dad asked how much was I allowed to take and I said it was 32kg per bag, he asked was I sure as this seamed a hell of a lot. So I rang Singapore air and asked? Shock, I'd well cocked up as you know its 32kg in total I'd got double, I asked them how much it would cost in excess allowance and they worked it out to be well over 1000 pound, stuff that! There was nothing I could do about it and would have to wait for Saturday morning to try and sort it out; I was booked to start the flights at 7pm on Sunday night so I was running out of time. We decided to enjoy ourselves at the leaving doo and forget about it for the time being. I went to pick the Mrs and family up at there house and was shocked and upset to see Sharon's Mum & Dad sitting there in their dressing gowns, what was going on I thought? The look of sadness on Sharon's face said it all, then when I asked what was going on her Mum told me that they were not going to the party because they did not want us to go FFS as if there protest would change our minds at this late stage, I felt for Sharon because for one it was her Mum and Dad and she'd have to live there for anything up to 3 months while I was setting things up. I looked at her sister who was dressed like she was going playing sport and not dressed to party, I asked why and she came out with the excuse of having no money, now this hurt me big time because over the years I'd done so much for her. She had always struddled and I'd helped her out by buying things like a new cooker for Christmas as well as giving her a few hundred quid to help her. I felt like I'd been kicked in the you know what and too be honest felt like I'd been used. So we went to the doo and all went well, I'd put some money behind the bar and the caterers had done us proud. It was not until the end of the night that the tears started, it was hard very hard. It was doubly hard for me, not only was I leaving my wife and child behind but I was also leaving another Son who was 9. My other Son Callum took everything in his stride and I was really proud of his attitude, I did have the feeling that I was deserting him but I knew that one day he would join us so I kept on telling myself that I was paving the way for his future, it still helps when I tell myself that but I do keep on getting the feeling that I've let him down.

The next day I was up with the sparrows as we needed to sort out this suite case, I got the yellow pages out and rang loads of companies each of them telling me that it would cost about 500-700 pound, couldn't believe this! I then stumbled on to a company based on a platform at Victoria station in Manchester. They would ship it out for me for 60 quid, result! The only problem was they did not know when, it could go in a month or it might even go on the same flight as me, it was the luck of the draw. Anyway it was the only option I had! With getting the bag sorted out I quickly running out of time, I went back to Sharon's Mum's but Harry had already been put to bed, so I had a quick chat with Sharon and went back to my Dads as the next day was "D" day!

That morning I got up had a shower and started to get ready, I thought to myself "are we doing the right thing" then thought "well its too late now" I had a good chat with my Dad who told me that he was going to book flights and come over as soon as possible, I told him to give us at least 6 months to settle because we might not like it! The time was getting nearer and we packed the car, Sharon and Harry were coming with us to see me off, at the time I thought I'd be able to cope with that but when the time came I turned in to a bumbling idiot! The drive to Sharon's was a quiet one, I didn't know what to say to my Dad, I was one of his only relative and family member left so apart from a couple of cousins and his friend he did not really have anyone else, he'd raised me by himself since I was 11 and I'd gone through many stages of life! He once told me that at one point he thought I was going to end up in prison, (thanks Dad) we got to Sharon's Mum & dads and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife as you can imagine I was not the flavour of the month! We picked Sharon and Harry up and drove to Manchester airport, it was a weird feeling not knowing when I would see my wife and son again, but it had to be done and it had to be done this way! We got to the airport, parked the car and booked all my case in, guess what I was still over my limit! The check in lady told me to take my suite holder on board as hand luggage, she sort of winked and give me the nod, well that was all I needed! I packed everything that was making my case over weight in to the holder and all was well, the only thing was that the suite holder weight that much that after a few minutes it left a red impression on my hand, I thought I'd never get away with it but I did! So after that we sat down for a coffee and waited until I had to go through the doors, the time went quick and Harry was just being a funny toddler, Sharon looked amazing and I could not get in to my head that I would not see her again for a few months.

It was that time! The time I had to go through the doors! I looked at Sharon and she just burst in to tears, Harry did not have a clue what was going on, he was just an innocent child doing things that children do! We kissed and held each other and then that was it, I hugged my Dad and went through the doors, I did not say good bye, just see you latter as to me good bye is to final. I walked through and carried on walking, just then I felt myself turn round and go back to the doors, the doors were frosted glass and I could just make out Sharon walking back my Dad had his arm round her and Harry was skipping, with this I burst in to tears. I think the roller coaster ride of the past few weeks had finally stopped and all the emotion I had built up inside me came out in one, like I said I was a blubbering idiot!
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Old Oct 2nd 2007, 8:23 pm
  #5  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

Originally Posted by Evilbert View Post
Are we going to get the rest of this??
I'm posting it in bits because its quite long!

Here you go, 2nd bit!

So, I started to walk down to the terminal having a quick look in duty free, I felt a right Burk with this suite holder. It was an old brown thing and the strap that you put over your shoulder had broken years ago, I think that's why my Dad gave it me. My Dad is one of the tightest people you could meet, a nice bloke and funny to go out with but by Christ he was tight, when he walked next to you you could hear a faint squeak. A few Christmas ago he bought me a tie from Marks & Spencer's (or I thought he did), it was horrible and at the time I thought to myself, that's going on the take back pile, when I eventually got round to taking it back the woman at the check out asked me did I get it for Christmas, obviously I said yes, she said that she was sorry to tell me that they stopped selling this type of tie 3 years ago! So what my Dad has more than likely done was got it for a present and thought there was know way he was wearing that and put it to one side to eventually give it me.
Anyway back to this suit holder, the only way I could carry it was by the coat hanger hooks sticking out of the top. These were the metal ones and I could only use two fingers, as you know I'd stuffed as much as I could into it so with the weight of it the coat hangers were leaving deep red marks, this got to a stage after a few minutes that it hurt that bad I had to change arms/hands, it was just uncomfortable and I must have look bloody stupid.
I thought since I've got an hour and a bit to kill I'll go to the bar and have a pint, I found were it was and sat near one of those big information screens so I'd know what was going on. I saw an ideal seat and went to get a pint; now this was going to be the best larger I'd had for ages well at three quid I thought it better be! I'd sat in an empty part of the lounge there was a couple of scallies and a few old people one of them had a couple of young children, must have been there grandchildren because they looked like they'd stopped shagging years ago, to be honest it looked like they found it quite hard to talk to each other!
Just as I started my pint the scallies voices got louder and louder, the stuff coming from there mouths was embarrassing, I thought should I go over and say something or should I just look at them and wait for one of them to say something to me, which would give me an excuse to pretend I didn't hear them and go over and have a very quite word. I kept on catching one of the lad’s eyes and I knew he was the type to come out with the old classic "what are you looking at mate" I was just waiting for the right opportunity to have my words! Just then and from nowhere two coppers turned up, went over and had a word themselves, the two lads started mouthing off and as quick as you like they were arrested. So I finished my pint in peace and waited for the boarding call.
Time went quite quick and the flight was called, my first thoughts was how I was going to get this bloody suite holder on board without anyone saying it’s too big. I went with the smile and be nice approach and it worked no one said anything! So there I was ready to leave Manchester bound for Heathrow, this was the first part of my new life I was the pioneer clearing the way for my family. I felt quite chuffed with myself and sat there ready for the off. After a few minutes the captain voice came over the speakers asking us to leave the plane due to a technical fault, Great! So off we went back to the lounge, as soon as I sat down we were asked to board again, so again off we all went. I have never worn a watch but asked the lady next to me what the time was, I worked it out that I'd be ok for the flight to Hong Kong if we left in the next 30 minutes so I was at that point quite relaxed. Just then the captain's voice came blasting out of the speakers asking us for the second time to exit the aircraft, so again off we all went, now I started to panic and think what would happen if I missed the flight. We waited for about 10-15 minutes and boarded yet again, by this time there were some fed up people and fed up people are the worst people to fly with, you see I'm ex RAF and I use to fix engines. I remember when I was based in Germany we were at the end of building a Tornado engine, it was Thursday afternoon and we were on job and finish so when we finished we could go, being on night shift the next week meant a long weekend and I'd already told my the lads I was coming home. Anyway one of the final jobs was to tighten a ring of bolts, one of the lads who were on our team snapped on bolt "it just comes off in my hand" bloody idiot! Crap that will mean we've basically got to strip the thing down again!!!!!!! More importantly it meant that we would only finish on Friday afternoon, what did we do? Well like any first class engineer we decided to do the right thing, yep we glued the sheared bolt head back on and kept quiet! We finished the engine within the next half hour and went, at the end of the day there was loads of bolts and one sheared one wouldn't matter, well that was our train of thought anyway.
So as you can imagine if we use to get up to tricks like that on combat fighter jets what tricks do you think the civvies do on slower passenger aircraft, yep I'm not a good flyer! So the engines started and there was the normal sound of the hydraulics blurting in to life as they became under pressure but it still use to worry me!
Eventually we had taxied into position and with a roar of the gas turbines we were hurtling down the runway, oh well that's it then!
The flight was only 30 minutes, a message came over the speakers asking people with connecting flights to make them known, and that’ll be me then. I thought it was going to be tight but when we landed and a spoke with an official from Cathy Pacific he said that Id have no chance on making the flight, I asked why because there was half an hour to go, he told me that I'd make it but my bag would not and because my bags were not going to go with me then they are not priority luggage and they only be able to get them there when space became available, then when they got to Honk Kong the same thing would happen, oh well when was the next flight I asked? It was 1pm the next day, its only 8.30pm now what am I going to do until then? He said that they would put me up in a hotel transit room, fine but I was not happy.
The reason I went with this flight was not because of the baggage allowance, the size of the seats or because the birds were fit. It was because there was only an hour between connecting flights in Hong Kong, now with what had happened I had a 14 hour say there, great!
So I was given a map and me and faithful brown bag my trusted suit holder made our way to the exit and shuttle bus bound for the hotel, I got to the hotel and being a scouser and quite wise I gave a totally different name than my own and explained about the aircraft breaking down in Manchester and that Cathy was footing the bill, after telling them that she (the lady at reception) was fine and gave me a key. So why did I give the wrong name in? So I wouldn't have to pay for the dirty films I was about to watch, I'm not as thick as I make out. Pity I had the trusted suit holder and not a big bag or the towels and dressing gowns would have come with me to Auckland!
Anyway thought I'd better check and let Sharon know what was going on, Her Dad answered and ask was I in Hong Kong, I told him what had happened and he said "that's not a good start". Sharon got on the phone and I could immediately tell that she couldn't speak, she wanted to speak but answered in Yes or No, oh well that's how it was going to be I guess, I felt sorry for her, she was stuck with her Mum and Dad for God knows how long and as you know they were not being one bit supportive of our quest for a new life, bad news really!
So I did what most dotting husbands would do in that position, yep I put the phone down and turned the telly on going straight to a dirty movie and lay there on a massive double bed which had crisp nice white sheet on, smart!
The next morning I was up with the sparrows, shower, shave and down for breakfast. I didn't know if it was free or not so when I made my way down stairs I took a mental note of a room number with a "do not disturb" sign on the door knob, They'll not be getting up for breakfast and when they come to question a breakfast on there bill I'll be in the air on my way to the bottom of the World.
So I had the full Monty, and then some more. The waiter asked for my room number and I told him that I was here because of Cathy's fault. He went away to look for the supervisor, eventually he came back and said I would have to pay for the meal, I thought fine I've got two options the first one is to give them the real room number, after all I'd told the girl at the desk a false name anyway or give them the other room number with the do not disturb sign on, mmmmmmm what should I do? I thought stuff it I'll go for the direct approach, so I told the waiter that I was not paying and to get the supervisor if he had a problem with that. Sure enough the supervisor came over and explained that Cathy Pacific only paid for one main meal, I explained that I didn't get that last night so use that to pay for the breakfast, he said in very bad broken English that he couldn't because it was against the hotel policy. What a load of B0llox, so I got up and walked off telling him to take it up with the airline, I knew something like this would happen it usually does! So before I went for breakfast I had everything in my room sorted and knew the times of the free shuttle bus to the airport, as I went past reception I could see people waiting for the bus so I had a quick look over my shoulder to see the state of play and knew it was time for a bit of a quick exit. Got the stairs up to the floor got my trusty brown suite holder and left the keys on the bed, I then made my way down to reception saying a big "hi" to the new receptionist on the desk and joined the queue for the bus, well hid behind a pillar so I was out of the line of peoples sight, the bus came with impeccable timing and I got on, so the journey had started again.
The bus pulled up to my terminal and off I got, went thought customs and waited for the flight to be called, 3 hours is a drag so I went in to W H Smiths for a free read, I started on the car magazines and ended up on house and garden, but it had filled a few hours. Eventually my flight started boarding after having a look round Heathrow I thought it was the most disgusting, dirty airport I'd ever been in. Not being too racist, but there was not too many white faces working behind the shop counters or doing any other Airport type tasks! It was a relief to get on the plane and even better when I sussed out I had an aisle seat, ace for stretching your legs!
Anyway the flight was good, Cathy Pacific air hostesses could not do enough for me and I watched a couple of good films between eating and sleeping, plus every time one of the young girlies went past you had a great view of there bums (sound like I'm a dirty old man......well I'm not that old! and I bet most blokes have looked especially with all that time on your hands)
So we landed in Hong Kong and all left the plane, it took a while getting through them areas that you have to go through to get to the main airport but as soon as I did I was met by a fantastic sight, what a amazing airport and I knew if brown bag my faithful suite holder could talk he'd say the same!
So I had 14 hours to kill, I knew I had to change some money so that was the first of my "thing to do list". I did not have a clue who much 20 quid would buy me and I wanted to get some duty free ciggies and have something to eat anyway when I changed it I was given a load of notes and thought wow this is cool. I went to the duty free shop had a look round to kill some time and bought 200 cig's. I still had loads of dosh left so next on the agenda was some food, now I'll try anything and when I'm in a different Country I tend to eat what there eating, why? Well I go with the old theory of, if its good enough for them and there paying and eating it well it can't be that bad! I had a look round the entire stall’s" and without doubt the busiest was the "red" one, don't know the name but I can remember its was red! So I went in and looked what everyone was eating, most people had some sort of clear'ish soup with noodles and some ball thing. So I'll be having that then. I queued up and within no time it was my turn to order, I just pointed at the stuff that the woman in front had ordered and said "one of them luv". I was served with this stuff and sat down to eat it, so what did it taste like? Bloody horrible, is was hot as in spicy and tasted a bit like fish. Well it would fill a hole so I took my time and finished it, I stood up and immediately felt a strange sensation in my stomach! This sensation was quite familiar and I knew what was coming! I looked at the overhead signs and could not see the sign I wanted or to be honest needed and needed very soon, then it was there in big letters...TOILET! I started to walk quicker but knew my timing was getting close so a quick walk turned in to a bit of a jog, then something started and my pace became more like a sprinter in the final of the 100m for him at the end of the race was a gold medal for me at the end of my race was a toilet bowl and clean undies! Anyway I won't go in to what happened next!
So I left the toilets with one thing in mind, yep I in hunting mode and was going to hunt down a shower!!!!!!!!! I looked everywhere and eventually spotted a massage place, now this was for massaging your feet, but it had a shower and that's all I wanted. I paid the lady the money and me and brown suite holder made our way to the shower cubicle, wow what a feeling after all them hours travelling, brushed my teeth freshened up and just stood there for about half an hour, well until the lady asked or hinted for me to get out, remember I was killing time and was determined not to go asleep, well only 8 hours to go!
I went and bought some water, found the smoking area and went in, the smell was horrible and the walls and ceiling were yellow with cigarette stains imagine what it was doing to the inside of your lungs, well that's what I thought as I lit my ciggy!
Anyway that killed 10 minutes or so! I took a seat near the flight board and started to people watch wondering who was with who, what they did and were they these "Kiwi" type people that spoke quite funny, the only "Kiwi" I knew was Johna Lumo (sp) I couldn't think of anyone else famous who is a "Kiwi" well Richard Crow but he's only a "Kiwi" when it suits, I think everyone thinks he's Australian anyway! So I started to day dream but that didn't last long as it was infact boring, stuff it I'll take me brown suit holder for another walk, so I did and killed another couple of hours and yes I avoided that red shack thing, I should have tried to get some money back for having to pay for a shower. So I walked and walk and walked round the airport in the end I give up and sat down near the gate, I knew I was not going to go asleep because there was an annoying kid who would not shut up.
Finally a great sight came, yep two check in ladies walked up and stood behind the desk, fan-bloody-tastic I'll be on soon, my final leg to New Zealand. By this time I had not gone to sleep for coming up to 22 hours, I knew I would crash just after take off and hopefully that would sort the expected jet lag out. We started to queue and finally it was my turn to board the plane, I got to my seat, strapped myself in and crossed my fingers that no one else would be sitting next to me, just so I could move the arm rests up and crash horizontal. I picked up the magazine from behind the seat in front of me and started to read it, ace it had a 4 page article on New Zealand. Well I was shocked and stunned, after reading a page I had found out something that I didn't know about NZ! Auckland wasn't the capital and who the bloody hell are the hurricanes, knights and blues and who do you pronounce some of the names of these towns, oh well should be an exciting few months then!
With that the aircraft lunged forward like an over weight tiger trying to pounce, bounded down the runway gavering the required momentum and took off, after we reached the required height the seat belt sign came off with that "ping" sound. I had a quick word with the nearest air hostess just to tell her not to wake me even for food.
I took my shoes off turned my head round and crashed good and proper!

I slept sound and woke up an hour from Auckland.
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Old Oct 6th 2007, 11:00 pm
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

So I’d have the big sleep and felt, well rough as anything! I looked out of the window and could see the start of a new Country, the first thing that hit me even from that height was the sea and the different colour blues, I thought “wow that’s brill”.
Soon enough the “ping” happened and everyone started to get ready for the slow descent down.
We landed with no trouble what so ever, which was nice and everyone started to get ready to leave the aircraft, this always makes me laugh as if your going to get out any quicker but people do try and push there way in. Anyway I’d left the aircraft and made my way to the baggage collection area, I was wondering if Brendan was waiting for me, remember all the flight times had cocked up because of the engine problem in Manchester, oh well we’ll find out soon enough. I collected my bag and started to make my way to passport control, it was a good feeling telling the lady behind the counter that I was here for the rest of my life, I did feel smug saying it. I did notice that everyone was a lot bigger that I thought they were going to be, I latter found out it was because they were “Pacific Islanders” and there were quite a few of them living in Auckland!
Before I went through to hopefully meet Brendon I went to the toilets to freshen up, you know have a quick wash, brush my teeth and make sure I looked ok, well after 30+ hours travelling as best as I could look anyway. I put my sweatshirt on, not that I was cold it was just to cover the Liverpool top I was wearing!
So this was it in a few minutes I would meet my new boss for the first time, God it was nerve racking, would we get on, would he like me, could I sell this product and make a decent living!
So I walked through the doors and sure enough spotted Brendan, he asked was I ok and what had happened to the flight, why was I delayed. I explained everything as we walked to his car and he seemed a nice bloke, so all ok at the moment! He picked me up in his company car which was a Mitsubishi Diamante VRX, I’d never seen one of these and thought it looked smart, I remember thinking to myself that I’d like one of these one day. We started to drive to the motel where I would live for the next few weeks, this was in a place called “Botany”. I’d latter know this area as Bot Bot Botany! The drive to Botany took me through some of the rougher parts of Auckland and Brendan pointed out what they were called and what sort of trouble happened there, to me they looked ok there was no litter around and all the houses were detached, I thought if this is rough what’s the nice area’s going to be like, its good this, but what was this “P” stuff, I just thought he was on about pot!
We made it to the motel and Brendan helped me with my bags, I was on the top floor of a new motel over looking a duel carriageway, there were two double beds and a small kitchen with a fridge, kettle, hotplate, microwave and toaster, cool. He said for me to get some rest have a look round the town centre and if I could open a bank account, if I needed anything to phone him, but other than that he would pick me up at 10’ ish in the morning, take me for a drive round, and pick my car up from work.
After have a shower I looked for the ironing board and ironed all my shirts, hung everything up and had a brew, by this time it had just turned 10am, I thought I’d go and have a walk round and see what Botany was like. It did not feel like it was the start of my new life, it felt as if I was on my holl’s, it was a strange feeling. I knew why I was here but in a way could not get my head round it, I think everything thing had happened a bit quick and some things had not caught up with me yet but they would sooner than I thought.
I walked in to Botany centre, which was only 5 minutes away, it was nice and new there were new buildings going up all around and it seemed a lovely place. The first thing I did was to go and have a coffee, it was not so much as wanting one I just wanted to sit down for a bit and take it all in, people watch really. I could not believe how many types of coffee there was, you see I never went out for a coffee in the UK why would I. I’d go to the pub instead, so with all this choice I had to ask advice! The waitress told me it was a Latte that I wanted, fine as long as it is white that will do.
I sat there watching the World go by thinking this is not real and what would Sharon think of the place, I hope she liked it, what would we do if she didn’t?
So after a good half hour I’d finished the coffee, how do you get the last bit out you know the frothy stuff that sticks to the side of the cup and seems glued to the bottom, I looked over to a bloke who was just finishing his, he used his spoon to get every last bit out, that will do me, if he can do it so can I. Oh well when in Rome and all that!
I started to have a look round and spotted a bank, it was the ASB so I thought that will do I will go and open an account. I was not bothered about rates, ethpos, loans etc I just wanted a bank account. Its ok for people who are making the move now you can use peoples experiences and make a call yourselves, but not only did I not have a computer I thought forums chat rooms were for dirty old men who wanted to chat up 13 year old school girls!
So I was in the bank and joined a line waiting to be served, I noticed that most of the tellers were ever Chinese or these big Pacific Islanders, fine I’m in New Zealand but there was no nice looking one’s, again fine I thought. It got to my turn and I explained to the woman that I would like to open an account; I had my passport and asked what sort of account they could other me? She explained in very bad English that I could only open a savings account, as I did not have PR, what a load of b0llox. I asked if she was sure and she went to find out, when she came back she confirmed that it was the savings account or nothing, oh well it would be nothing with the ASB then. I left and crossed the road to go in to the “Blue” bank, this was the ANZ and they were great, I opened a cheque and savings account and was given an ethpos card, I did not know at the time that this card would latter cost me a small fortune in Bank charges.
So that was me done and dusted, what should I do now. I thought I’d have a look in the estate agents windows and get a feel for house prices, just to see what we could get for our money! I was quite shocked at what was advertised and quickly did some calculations in my head, crap were going to need a loan.
The plan was to be mortgage free but I quickly discovered that this was going to be impossible!
Going back a few months! Years ago, when I bought my first house I had used all my savings as quite a large deposit, now when I left the forces and started my new job to my amazement I found I could save a load of money each month, even when I met Sharon and we started to go out with each other I still had loads of money left at the end of each month, which was great. I have always been a saver, my Nana use to always tell me “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”. Eventually when Sharon moved in we decided to move house, we bought a semi on a nice estate, I’m quite handy and we set about doing it up, you know new kitchen, new bathroom and painted in neutral colours. We then sold this and bought another house and did the same, the thing is I’d kept the original mortgage the same, so we were in a lucky position to have a low mortgage and a decent house. One day I thought I’d buy another house and rent it out, I know that sounds daft, you don’t just wake up one day and think “right I’ll go and buy a house” but that’s what happened! I went out and bought a 3 bedroom terresd house, anyway back to standing outside the estate agents in Botany! With the prices of houses I knew we would have to sell the other house, this was supposed to be our pension in latter years, oh well needs must I suppose. I thought about it while I was walking back to the motel and when I got back my mind was made up, it had to go! I thought about capital gains tax and how to get round this, the house had more than doubled in the 18 months we had had it so I was going to get shafted by 40%! I thought but if we went back this would be our main residence so really I should not be taxed. Anyway I put it in my to do pile and thought I would do this in a week or so!
I was sat in my motel room and the phone rang, it was Brendan. He told me to get ready as he was going to take me for some dinner and show my round some of the area, he was going to pick me up at 6.30pm, great I thought.
So 6.30 came and went and he eventually turned up at 7.15, this was something I had to get use to……………Kiwi time, what ever they say add at least half an hour on. I got in to the car and we drove to the Eastern suburbs, we looked round St Hilliers and he told me that this was a posh part of Auckland where all the well to do (rich) people lived, I must admit I was gob smacked with the scenery and just how “nice” everything looked, it was drop dead lovely with the sea and the foreshore, like a post card. We drove along the sea front towards Mission bay; he explained about the gun turrets in the side of the hill and told me that there was supposed to have been Jap submarines in the harbour during the Second World War, it was great just listening to Brendan you could tell he was really passionate about his Country and loved being hear. He told me that he was originally from Christchurch and had moved up hear a few years ago with work. He use to work for Toyota Industrial and had only been with “Mitzy” a few months, this was his first management role and I was his first “rep”! This was a bit unsettling, why did they have no one else?
Anyway, we parked the car and went for something to eat. Mission bay was ace! It was something I’d never experienced before, well I’d had meals out and sat in front of a restaurant but this was so “everyday” if you know what I mean. He asked what I fancied to eat and I said to order for me, being honest, I had never heard of most of the things on the menu and felt a bit embarrassed asking what they were! So he ordered “snapper” great, what the bloody hell was snapper, was it chicken, meat or some strange veggie dish! We carried on talking and he told me with my experience I would be earning big bucks, so how much was “big bucks”? He told me that he expected me to earn at least $80+ if I did my target, oh well $80+ was fine but if you compare it to what I was on in the UK it was about ½ the amount of what I was use to, infact my basic of $45K was very low to what I was use to. Oh well at least it will be cheaper to live over here, well that’s another story!
So we finished our meal and I found out that snapper was in fact a fish, well not just a fish but also a fantastic tasting fish that melted in your mouth, I’d be having more of this!
We got back in the car and he drove towards Auckland, it was dark and when we round the last corner the view of the city was fantastic, all I said was “wow”. The sky tower was all lit up and there was a blue light going round the top of it, the bridge was lit up and it all just looked beautiful. Each side of the road was water, the right hand side had a mariner with all different types and sizes of boats, and I felt very honoured and humbled that I had been given the opportunity to be here in this fantastic Country.
Anyway, everything was going well and I had to pinch myself, I was chuffed to bits that I was here and could not believe it, it had not sunk in yet.
The next morning I woke up with the birds, yep jetlag! As arranged Brendan picked me up and drove me to work, I was dressed in a suit, shirt and tie. He had a pair of pants on and a shirt, no tie. I thought this was a bit strange but hey he was my boss after all. We arrived at work and from the outside the building looked as if it needed a coat of paint and a good tidy up, I went in side and was taken to my office, great a large dark room with no windows! I was then taken to meet Rhys the GM, he was much younger than I thought he’d be. He asked how I was settling in and if there was anything he could do for me, he then told me that the company would be paying for the motel but it would be good if I could try to get a rental as soon as possible. This was great news and would give me a bit of breathing space money wise.
I then was shown my new company car, well they had sorted me out good and proper. It was a Mitsubishi Gallant, now these were quite expensive in the UK and I was chuffed it was an estate as well after all with a 2 year old and a dog I’d need the room!
Talking of dogs, our Ben was due to land in Auckland in 2 weeks so that was how long I had to find a rental. We’d arranged for Golden Arrow to keep him with them for a couple of weeks before flying him out, this gave me enough time to hopefully sort things out. I’d asked Brendan the night before about rentals and he had explained it would be better if I concentrated on a specific area, fine I thought I liked where we went last night so I’d have a look round there first. The rest of that day was spent going through the systems and product, I was given a price list product info and for me that was all I needed, I was ready to go in to battle!
At the end of the day I started to make my way back to the motel, I had been given an A to Z but this was my first time on my own. If you don’t know Mangere Bridge to Botany should take ¾ of an hour tops. After 2 hours getting lost and trying to find where I was I managed to get back, I knew I would get lost a few more times before I picked up some bearings. I got back to the motel and had a shower, I thought I would fill up the sink and see if the water went down the plug the opposite way, someone had mentioned it to me so I thought I would see for myself. I filled the sink to the top and pulled the plug out, then I realised that I didn’t know which way the water went down anyway so that was a complete waste of time, I did notice that the sink did not have a overflow, I made a mental note of this and thought I’d better tell Shazzer this when she comes out or we would get flooded.
I looked at the clock and thought I’d better let her know how I was getting on! I rang and sure enough Sharon answered, it was great to hear her voice but I knew that she could not talk, I asked if she had booked her flights and she told me that she had not, I asked when she was doing this and she just said “not yet”. That was about it, nothing much was said, I knew she couldn’t talk but I felt crap because it felt as if we did not know each other and she was holding back on something. That night I went to bed wondering why she had not booked her flights or even looked in to things, oh well she’ll do it in the next week or so, well that’s what I thought!
With that phone call not being as long as expected I thought I’d ring my solicitor and find out what was the score about this capital gains tax, I got talking to him and it became clear that I could get away with paying it, yes I thought that’ll do me! The next phone call was to my mate, he owned an estate agents and I told him to get it valued and let me know how much it was worth. He came back to me a few days latter telling me that if I painted the inside it would sell for round about 90’ish. I was shocked, as I’d only bought it for 37K, which was nice, a gamble that had paid off! So I got hold of one of my mates and asked if he would do me a favour, he came up trumps and repainted the whole of the inside of the house for me. He did not ask for anything but a weighed him in and sent him a cheque through the post. Anyway the house went up for sale a week or so latter and was sold for above the asking price within a week. The thing is Sharon’s mum walked past the house everyday on her way to work, selling the house didn’t go down to well as she thought that it was a sign that we were cutting all our ties with the UK. It was not it was because I had done bugger all research and was shocked at the house prices in Auckland!
Anyway, I got up the next morning and got ready for work. I had not had the bests nights sleep nothing to do with jetlag more to do with loud cars driving past most of the night, you see the main drag had a number of traffic light and boy racers would use this as a drag strip, I latter found out that these were called hoon’s!
So I left the motel at 6am knowing that I’d get lost! Surprising enough I did and ended up getting to work an hour and a half latter!
I made my way to my very dark office and started to ring companies listed in the yellow pages, well it worked in the UK it should work here. The one thing that I noticed was that you could get to speak to the MD or even the owner, wow I’d never been able to do this. It was great and soon enough I had my first appointment, it was a company called “Carrols Cartage” and they where just down the road from work, my appointment was with Tony Carrol the owner. I got there and listened to what he had to say and then gave him my recommendations, he was imp pressed with my solution and asked how much it would be? I told him and stayed quite waiting for a response which did not come! I then asked him for the order and to my surprise he gave me it!
Well my 2nd day and a new truck sale to my credit, I went back to work and told Brendan that I had just got my 1st order. He said “yer right” and carried on with what he was doing. I then put the signed order on his desk and asked how long it would take to deliver it, not only had I got the order but I’d got the payment upfront!
Well as you can imagine he was chuffed to bits with this, went, and told Rhys, he came in and congratulated me.
It got to Friday and about 3pm Rhys came in to my office and asked me what I would like to drink, I told him I‘d have a coffee! He asked if I wanted a wine or a larger, I thought this was a catch to see if I would drink alcohol and told him that coffee would be fine. He said to come down to his office so I did and was blown away by everyone in there having a good laugh and boozing off! I thought stuff this and had a larger as well! I had a couple of drinks and started to pack up to go back to the motel, Brendan asked me what I had planned for the weekend, I told him nowt much just looking at a few rentals and sussing out the area. He said that he usually goes down to Taupe fishing but was not going this weekend and if I wanted I could go round to his house for a BBQ. I thought that was great and accepted his kind invitation. I asked him what fish he caught and he explained that he was “hooked” on trout fishing, infact it turns out that he is quite good at it and has written a book called “Volcanic Trout” (this is by Brendan Mathews and is on sale at most good book shops)
So Saturday came and I was booked in to look at some rentals, now Sharon had “requested” that we try to get a rental a few minutes from the shops and near a beach, I think that is what most people dram about when moving to a new Country. So I started my search in St Hillier’s and was booked in to see a few rentals there, one of them was on St Hillier’s bay road and I parked my car outside and walked to the shops to see how long it would take, it was a good 10 minutes walk there but 20 minutes back basically because it was up hill and by God the hill’s are steep!
On the way back I noticed a bloke doing some gardening in a house opposite the rental, I went over and started to chat with him. I explained that I was thinking of renting the house over the road and wanted to know a bit about the area? He started to tell me about “St Hillers” a with his description it sounded the ideal place to start living our new lives. He introduced him self as “Pete” and if I wanted anything else just to “rock up” and ask!
Well the house was a wooden thing with a bit of land ideal for our “Ben” and ideal for a starting point, well until I went inside! It was straight out of the 70”s, the kitchen was papered in a brown patterned horrible wallpaper and the living room had a number of stains on the walls and ceiling, and it smelt of mould. The agent told me that there were two young lads renting it at the moment but they would move out within a week and if I wanted it I could move in next week. I thought “Move in” with what; I had nothing but a suitcase and my faithful brown suit holder! Anyway, I’d been pre warned about landlord’s phobia about dogs and all ready had my “story” about our “Ben” ! I explained to the agent that I had a dog but he was a retired guide dog for the blind and no problem what so ever! She told me that she would have to talk to the owner and would get back to me in a few days time, oh well if she lets us move in with the dog I’ll take it.
That night I made my way to Brendan’s house and met his wife for the first time, she offered me a drink and I excepted after about 30 minutes she asked me would I go and get some lemons, no problem! So I went to my car drove to the shop a few minutes away and bought some! When I got back and gave her the brown bag with half a dozen lemons in it her and Brendan just fell about laughing, I was stunned and asked what was so funny? Brendan took me outside and showed me a lemon tree, I was blown away I had never seen a lemon tree before and was amazed that they had one in there garden, I know it is a little thing but I was speechless to me it was amazing!!!
So after a few more drinks and a bloody good laugh it got time to ring Sharon and let her know about the house, my first week at work and the fact that up until now Auckland was one of the most wonderful places I’d been too.
The phone rang and Sharon answered, her Mum & Dad were not in and she could talk openly, the first thing she said was “I’ve got some new’s”! Great I thought she has booked the flights and her and our Harry were on there way, at least we could work to a date. Well that was not the new’s! Sharon in a soft voice asked was I sat down, oh God what’s happened I thought. She then came out with her bombshell! “I’m pregnant” I could not believe it as we’d not planned another baby yet, that quick fumble behind the golf course had been a hole in one after all!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old Oct 8th 2007, 7:49 am
  #7  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

So my wife was pregnant , in the UK and living with her Mum & Dad who did not want her to move to NZ in the first place, great! Now what are they going to be like when they find out that we were not only taking there only Grandson but taking an unborn child with us who they might never see. How was Sharon going to explain that, how was she going to cope on the flight and most of all will her parents talk her out of coming over! All this was going through my mind, as you can imagine I was in shock and could not talk to anyone about it, I could not sit down and talk to someone I had only just met. That’s the problem with moving to the other side of the World when push comes to shove you don’t have anyone and the friends that you make are mostly “make do friends” until you find some that are on your wavelength. Another thing that will happen is your close friends in the UK will amaze you, the ones that you think will keep in contact don’t and the one’s you think will not do. Its hart breaking how little time it takes for you to lose contact with what you thought was your good mates, it has shocked me that my good friends (one in particular) has never rang, now this is a bloke who I looked after when he went through a 3 year spell of depression and would not leave his house, I even talked him out of throwing him self in front of a lorry, but he could not be arsed ringing me. Now after over 3 years away from the UK I still have not had a phone call!
Then you will meet people over here and think that there nice and you have a lot of respect for them, again there is one bloke in Auckland who I did respect until after a beer or two he told me that he was paying his outstanding UK mortgage with his UK visa! The plan was to do a bunk and not inform the Visa Company where he was, this debt mounted up to 20 odd thousand pound. I think he only told me this because I’m a scouser and he must have thought that being a scouser I’d find this sort of thing acceptable! Well I was shocked and lost all the respect I had for him instantly, you’d be speechless if you knew what this bloke did for a living! He’ll crap himself when he reads this, but don’t worry I won’t name and shame you, hope you can live with yourself?
Anyway I’ve rambled off track a bit!
So who knew me enough and who was the one person I could talk to about my new situation……….that’s it my Dad!
So Sunday morning came and I thanked Brendon and his wife for there hospitality and made my way back to the motel, on the way my mobile went off and it was the estate agent letting me know that I’ve got the house. Bloody great I’ve been accepted for a 2 bedroom house with 70’s decoration and the wife’s pregnant, what do you do?
I told her that it would be ok and arranged to go in that Monday to sign the paper work and pay the deposit; it had to do as “Ben” was due to land on Saturday.
So I rang my Dad, this was the first time I had spoke to him since I’d landed so I knew it was going to be a long conversation. I told him what my first impressions were and how wonderful Auckland was, how I was getting on at work and that I’d got a rental house and I could move in that Wednesday. He then said that he had some news! Go on what? “Well son I’ve booked my flights and we will be over in November for 10 weeks” My first thoughts were “oh no”. I said to him that I thought it was far too early to book anything as Sharon wasn’t even here and what if she did not like the place? Then I told him that she was pregnant!
He asked me what I was going to do. I told him there was not much I could do and then he came out with a statement that has now ruined our relationship! My Dad has been married and divorced a couple of times and now has been living with his current girl friend for over 10 years, so he’s got sort of use to being in and out of serious relationships. Me well I fell for Sharon the first time I set eyes on her and after nearly 10 years to me she is still the most wonderful girl in the World! So his next words of wisdom totally shocked and to be honest p1ssed me off!
He said “make sure you have all your money in your name” I was confused about this statement and asked why? He came out with “so you’ll have your money when you leave her” God I felt sick, my own Dad telling me to get my house in order financially so I would have money when I left my wife! Well for me this was not an option, I got married for life and if Sharon did not want to move over here that it was a simple I’d move back to the UK. If my Dad had booked to come out here fine, but I could not guarantee that I’d still be here and anyway how could I talk to him now after a statement like that, as you can imagine my head was in bits and I did not know which way to turn!
I looked at the clock and it had just turned 10am, I had a load to do, I had to go and buy a bed and a washing machine, a fridge and something to sit on!
The bed was easy, I went to bedpost and had a look around. The thing was we had our bed coming over, so the plan was to buy our Harry his first “big boy’s” bed. The problem being for the first few months we all had to sleep in it until our stuff arrived from the UK, I looked at the sizes of the beds and came across what was called a “king single” basically it was one between a single and a double, ace I’ll have that.
I went to enquire about delivery and came out with something that I use every time I buy anything “how much for cash”? This has worked for everything and I not only got a huge discount but got 4 pillows chucked in with the deal! They promised me that they would deliver and set it up on Wednesday between 4-5pm, smashing!
I then went to a place in Otahu that sold second hand or refurbished washing machines and fridges, again “how much for cash” and the deal was done, again I arranged for delivery on Wednesday.
While I was in Otahu I had a walk round the town, did not think at the time but thought it was a bit strange that I was being looked at funny, it turns out that it’s not the best place to walk round being a white bloke and on your own. When I got to work on Monday Alan the hire Manager said he saw me there and was trying to attract my attention, he said I stuck out like a saw thumb, I tall white bloke with a burnt red face, he said I had “holiday maker mug me” written all over me!
Anyway it was Monday and I was in work, I needed to suss out which phones in which offices I could use to get an outside line to the UK. The only one I could use was Cynthia’s, Now Cynthia was one of the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, dark hair, dark skin and the body of a model. She was a very sexy lady and her voice when she spoke to me made my knee’s knock! Well she wasn’t a Kiwi she was from South America, yes a Latin lovely working in the office opposite me oh well it beats looking out of the window, even if I had windows! Over the next few months I got to know her really well and was invited to a BBQ that Friday, cool can’t wait!
So that week I carried on working and the orders started to come in thick and fast, work wise everything was going to plan. Thursday came and I got a message to ring MAFF, great I thought me dogs left the UK, sure enough it was to confirm that I could pick him up at 10am Saturday morning. I’d already been and paid for the rental and picked the keys up, that night I was going round to clean and get things sorted out for when Sharon, Harry and bump arrived, I had talked to the owner and asked if I could repaint the kitchen and living room as it was horrible. She had agreed and said that she would pay half the money for the paint, I asked her if there was a colour she wanted me to use and she told me that she didn’t mind what colour I painted as long as it was a shade of white.
So that night I started to paint, I started in the kitchen and after a couple of hours I’d painted the walls and the all the doors. The doors were painted dark brown and with the brown wall paper it made the whole room seem very small, well it was small but at least now it was brighter, yep I painted it to match the yellow work tops, yellow and white which seemed to bring everything together quite well!
The living room on the other hand was a big job and to this day I think NZ paint is crap, it took me another few hours and I eventually finished at 3am, I was knackered but chuffed with the results. I had a quick shower and went to bed in our new “king single” now if your buying one of these make sure you can get the right bedding for it, being an odd size it’s a bit of a mission buying sheet sets!

Well the next day at work I was talking to Brendon and told him about what I’d bought and how things were getting on, I told him that all I needed now was a BBQ and an outside table and chairs and that would be me sorted until our container got here. He told me something that had a impact on my New Zealand life in a number of ways, yes the “Warehouse” and www.trademe.co.nz !
I went on trademe that day and joined, luckily I managed to pick up a BBQ and arranged to pick this up Saturday morning, the seller was amazed that I insisted on being able to pick it up at 7am. Well I had to as “Ben” was on his way and the girl who was selling it lived in Henderson, where to bloody hell was that!
So it was a early night Friday and I was up and out by 6am, I went to get the BBQ, paid for it and made my way back to St Hilliers, stopping off at the butchers to buy some steak, chops and kebabs. Well I’d not seen my dog for what seemed to be months and I’d just bought a new BBQ it seemed an ideal time.
I set the newly purchased BBQ up on the deck and looked in the fridge, it was truly a bloke’s fridge with the total contents being meat, and milk and beer to be honest it looked great!
I left the house all excited, me best mate had landed and I was so looking to making him a BBQ. Its strange how attached you get to your animals. I got to Auckland airport and went to see MAFF I had a few bits of paperwork to fill out and some money to pay but that was it, I was given a recept and told where to go next. I ran to the next building I could not wait to see the big daft black thing; the lady checked my paperwork and said “fine come this way”. She took me round the back to were all the crate were, I could see him looking at me and then his tail started and he started to cry, he was made up to see me, well knowing our Ben he was more than likely just made up to get out of a smelly cage. He did stink but not of what you’d think, he smelt of sawdust. Anyway I got him in to the back of the car and we went back to the house, the first thing I did was to hose pipe him down and shampoo him, just to get the smell off him as I knew for a fact he was going to be sleeping in our bed!
So it was 10.30am and me dog was with me, the BBQ was cracked open the steak was sizzling, there was one thing missing, yep a beer! So that was it for Saturday me and Ben had a load of meat and we both had a few beers, infact I was in bed by 3pm p1ssed! I slept through and woke up on Sunday morning, I think the painting saga had caught up to me and I just needed to rest, well that’s my excuse!
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Old Oct 11th 2007, 12:38 pm
  #8  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

So up we got and I made a brew had a walk round the garden and decided to show Ben around the town and in particular the beach at the bottom of the road! Now this became a bit of a routine for us especially at night, what I use to do was get in from work have a shower do some washing or ironing and then take Ben for a walk. The walk was basically to the field going the back way and ending up in the pub next door to the chippy in St Hilliers. I’d have a couple of beers and Ben would have an ash try of water, then I would walk to Mission bay along the sea front, it was a lovely walk and use to take it out of us a bit, so much so we would need to stop at the German bar which was in a place called “Kowi” I could not pronounce the real name never mind spell it! Anyway we’d have a couple there and then make our way up the hill back to the house, we did this every night and people would get use to us. That’s when I first sussed out that “Kiwi’s” talk funny, one night a lady stopped me and asked what my dog was called? I said “Ben” she said “Bin” and I said no “Ben”. She then said “Bin” and I asked her why I would name me dog after something you put rubbish in! Oh well you do get use to the wording after a while, I still laugh when someone who has just arrived says
Or use’s the word “route” in a sentence!
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Old Oct 12th 2007, 11:06 pm
  #9  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

…………….So back to Auckland and in particular St Hillier’s, now this little place was to me fantastic. It had everything that Sharon wanted and more, the beach was nice there was a small shop and most of all there were quite a few bars! I loved sitting in one of the many café’s just having a coffee and watching the world go by, it was ace. I soon came to the conclusion that every car in Auckland had a tow bar fitted, if it was big enough to pull a boat it had a towbar. I remember the first time I saw a “ute” now to me these are pick up trucks but to Kiwi’s there Ute’s or to give them there proper name utility vehicle. Basically there the front of a car with the back being a pick up there usually fitted with, no not a 2ltr diesel turbo but a bloody big V8, why?
I still don’t understand the concept of having a V8 in a pickup but hey that’s horses for courses I suppose, they do sound nice!
So Monday again and I was off to work, I’d now been quite happy in Auckland, I’d done a lot and sorted most of the things I needed to. It was just a waiting game now, just waiting for the family to come over or at least book the flights, fingers crossed it would be soon. The thing is I’d started to explore and look at different places but I wanted to go over the harbour bridge and have a look round that area, but daft as it sounds I only wanted to do that trip with Sharon but I don’t know when that would be!
Auckland harbour was and still is a stunning place, I’d been on a few jobs there and even being on the industrial side the water was so clean it was amazing, I went to one company that made them bloody big boats, you know the ones, people who are seriously rich buy them. I met with the MD and asked him loads and loads of questions about them, by the end of my appointment he’d bought a truck off me, I think it was just to shut me up. That’s the thing about New Zealand, it does not matter how big the company is you can still get to talk with the owner, MD or managers, and this was something that I was totally not use to and I used this to my advantage, and I was trying to do 8 good appointments a day. Well I did not have a family here so I ploughed all my energy in to work, I loved what I do and get enormous satisfaction from doing it. You meet so great people and also some complete idiots, but it must be the same with any job.
I’d been here for about 6 weeks by now and I had a lot of deals on the go and had got in to double figures all ready, I found the job here easy. The thing is I was doing it the same as I would in the UK and found that my competition were basically lazy and assumed that they would get the business, I knew I was doing well as I started to be criticised by the competition and there prices were starting to drop, the daft thing is they were still not going out to see people and not following up on quotes. To me if you go out and see a customer, listen to what the have to say, have a look at the job you can then talk to them and come up with an ideal solution. The competition were doing everything on the phone and then waiting for an order to come! If you were a MD who would you give the order to, a faceless wonder on the end of the phone or someone who took the time to come and look at what you needed the unit for, well The orders started to come and I was making some great commission I started to put the prices of the trucks up and with this my commission would rise, I also tried to implement some new systems in the sale’s office mostly finance, now these systems were not major changes they were things we use to do “as normal” in the UK. Little things that would make the job easy, like having a customer list, I could not believe that a company in this age would not know who there customers were. Anyway to my shock all the suggestions I had landed on deaf ears and even tho they would make the company in time more money they did not want to listen. This was my first experience of the NZ business mentality and could not understand why they did not want to change. But hey I was only a rep and my point of view did not matter.
So I started to target larger companies and made an approach to Carters Builders, I eventually got the blokes name that was in charge of the material handling equipment for the whole of NZ, I rang him and booked an appointment to see him. The day came and I “rocked up” to the head office told the receptionist who I was and waited for “Tony” to come and get me. Sure enough this oldish bloke came down and asked if I was Ian? I said yes and followed him to his office. Now Tony was a old bloke who basically was from the old school of sales, I knew straight away I was going to be tested and knew these test’s were to basically see if I was reliable and that he could depend on me to get the job right first time. He asked about my product and wanted a few prices to compare. I told him that would be no problem and that I just needed the specification of the trucks and I would be able to provide a quote, I was amazed when he told me he didn’t and that I would need to visit the sites and spec them for myself, fine I thought and he gave me the names of each site contact and the address. Now it was Tuesday afternoon and I told him I would be back on Thursday with a quotation, Tony made a comment that at the time puzzled me but I now know why, his comment was “are you sure”. So I went back to work and looked at the map, I knew where one of the Carters sites was because I passed it everyday but I had not herd of the next 2 places. I asked one of our engineers where about in Auckland where Kiatia & Dargaville (sp) he laughed and called me a daft Pome, when he showed me on the map I could have died, its turns out that Kaitia is the furthest Carters depot they have and would take me most of the day to get there never mind getting back, oh well that’ll be my test then.
Anyway back to the engineer calling me a pome! This was the first time anyone had called me a pome and I was a bit taken aback, why pome? Now in my opinion being called a pome is nowt, to me its like water off a ducks back and if anyone calls you it just laugh it off because at the end of the day Kiwi’s are not quick witted and most of them can’t think of anything funny to say so with that they’ll call you a pome and start laughing.
So where does this saying come from? There are a lot of opinions to this and to me after doing some quick research I have come to the conclusion that “pome” is not in fact short for “Prisoner of mother England” as this expression only came about just after the 1st World war. But is in fact short for “pomegranate”! Now when the first settlers came to the Southern hemisphere be it New Zealand or Australia they were not use to the harshness of the sun and did not have all the many types of sun bloke available now days. So they quickly turned red, the locals or the people who had been here a few years use to call them the “pomegranates” which eventually got shortened to the phrase “pome”. There are quite a few theories to the word “pome” but this one, to me was the best and in a way nicest!
Anyway back to opening my mouth before knowing where a place was! I had two choices, the first being to go for a quick tour of the North of the North Island and the second was to not do it! Well if I did not do it I would lose any chance of gaining Carters business so I had to didn’t I?
The next morning I was up bright and early, well 3am to be precise. The plan was to drive along the 16 (I think) towards Henderson and then pick up the main motorway, I then had to turn left after an hour or so which would take me to Dargeville, cool. I could not believe that the “route” was so simple. I bet a few of you are wondering why I was going to Henderson first? Because I had to avoid the Auckland harbour bridge, I was only going over that with Sharon, I know I’m a softie!
Anyway I fed our Ben, he gave me a look of “what are you doing at this time” and off I went, I took the coast road past Mission bay and through to the city, I’ll say this again, Mission bay and the road that takes you to the City is ace! I loved looking at all the boats and on my way up started to think about buying one, you may laugh but us blokes no matter where in the UK your from will have the same thoughts as me, I bet there are blokes reading this who are now weighing up buying a boat!
Anyway after a few hours it started to get light and I could see where I was going and what the places were like I was driving through. I still can’t get in to my head the roads in NZ, going out of Auckland you are on Motorways, but as soon as you’re a few KM out the motorway turns quickly in to a single lane highway with a passing lane every few km, I thought this was quite “cute” but after a few trips out of Auckland it did get on my nerves and I cane to the conclusion that the road networks in NZ need up grading, this is not NZ’s fault as it must be hard work trying to keep up with the never ending flow of migrants!
I started to go through little villages and the further up “North” I travelled the more it quickly became apparent that these small villages were getting even tattier. Until I drove through one and to me it was like going back in time, not in a nice way like a scene from ”Heartbeat” but in a third World way. I know people are not going to like that comment but think about it, the further North you go the less opportunities there are for work and even less opportunities to earn a good wage, unless you’re a dentist, doctor, school teacher or policeman etc. It was strange to see all the old cars being parked up in peoples gardens and the state of some of the houses, some looked derelict but you knew people lived in them because of the lights on or cloths on the washing lines. That’s another thing about NZ the amount of old cars there, years ago some car manufactures use to assemble cars here, BL had a plant on the South Island and use to assemble Jaguars and Triumphs, Toyota had a plant as well this is now used to do there “signature” range of cars which is one way of competing with the many jap imports and quite a clever idea by the Toyoda family, did you know the proper name of Toyota is Toyota automatic loom works or TAL and they started out making sawing machines, just a good pub trivia question!
Anyway if your in to classic cars there are plenty on the road in NZ, its all to do with a mixture of not putting salt on the roads and most Kiwi’s not being able to afford to replace there current vehicle.
So I was nearly at my first appointment in Dargaville, I had the branch managers name and was going to meet him there and the area manager up in Kiatia a few hours latter.
I got there at about 7.30’ish and was just in time for them opening the gates, I went to introduce myself and by the look of the managers face he didn’t think I would turn up, anyway I completed my site survey and knew exactly what specification they would need, he told me that no one had ever been to see then in the 20+ years he’d worked for them and that the trucks had turned up the wrong spec every time, that was music to my ears! I told him to contact Tony and “do us a favour” let him know I had been, with that I was off to my next appointment. I was looking forward to the next one mainly due to a certain beach I wanted to visit, you see a few years ago I was well in to Crowded house and they recorded and played a free concert up there, this ended up being there last concert before they split up due to most of the band falling out with each other and I wanted to send a post card to a old work mate called Kevin. Kevin was the bloke who took me on when I left the forces and basically gave me a start in sales. He ended up stabbing me in the back but I’ll get to that part in a few weeks!
I must say up on the North of the North Island if you have the money or a job that you could do at home or are a dentist, school teacher etc well that’s the place to live, what a fantastic place (if you can ignore certain parts that quite blatantly are poverty struck) and in my opinion one of the places I have marked down for when I retire! The thing is to me you have to be either rich or poor to live there, there did not seam to be a middle ground, I could be wrong but that was my opinion and an outsiders opinion is usually not blinkered. Anyway if you are lucky enough to be able or given the chance to go there to settle and I can assure you that you will never look back, as you know I was amazed with Brendon’s lemon tree the stuff you can grow up there will blow you away (no pun intended)
So I got to Kiatia, again this place is lovely and again if your in the fortunate position to be able to get a job up there or better still not need to work then start to look at the North of the North Island, I know people make the move for a wide range of reasons but for us one of the reasons was the weather and a far better climate, this area has it most of the year round but has non of the nasties associated with Australia which as many people think must be a bonus.
I met with the area manager who explained that I was quoting not only for these two site that I had visited but quite a few more, as asked how many and he said to ask Tony when I next with, which up to now would be Thursday! I did the site survey and sat down with the area mgr. It again was great to hear about all the hassle they had had with any of the equipment on site and that no one had bothered to take the time to come and see the site. I thought that it was strange that no one had made the effort at the end of the day Carters are a house hold name and every town usually has one and every Carters need a truck! So was this a case of people being complacent or people not being arsed which ever it was it would work in my favour.
So off I went thinking to myself that this could be quite a good possibility and at the end of the day “you had to be in it to win it”.
On my way home I was just outside Auckland and I saw something that I will remember for the rest of my life, one of the most spectacular views ever! On the way back to Auckland you drive through Warkworth and the a bit further down the road Auckland is about to appear. This might sound strange but l loved this part of NZ, you see your in the middle of nothing going up a hill, when you reach the top there in front of you is Auckland, it’s just there big and bold. I know this will sound like I’ away with the fairy’s but I always thought it was like a scene from superman and Auckland was the thriving Metropolis!
Anyway I got home at about 10’ish and “Ben” was made up to see me, I spent some time with him playing and then had a shower and went to the land of nod.
Have you noticed the toilet paper over here, it has a funny type of small to it. At first I thought it was me or it was the type of toilet paper I was buying, this will sound a bit strange but every where I went I would look at the loo paper and see if it smelt, what’s even stranger is that the older the houses the more the toilet smelt of this loo paper, people will be thinking what the hell I’m on about, but the next time your in the loo I bet your smell the paper!
The next day I made my way to the office, you quickly get to take where you live for granted and after a few weeks start to look at some of the negatives about the place, for me it was the amount of graffiti or what is known in NZ as “tagging”. This is were gangs or individuals would mark there turf, a bit like a cat marking its territory but this was more “in your face” and totally annoying for the people who owned the property these tagger’s would target. There was one house in particular that would be hit, it was at the lights near St Hillier’s bay road coming from Panmure, this house would get done every weekend and most weekend’s I’d see the old bloke painting over the tagger’s ID. You could clearly see where they had written there name or symbol, it must have been terrible for this poor bloke. You could clearly see that his house was his pride and joy, the garden was perfect and the flowers bed’s could have won a prize in any flower show. People say tagging comes from the “gang” culture originally from the US, I can’t comment on this as I have not got a clue what the US gang culture is or what its like, I do know that these “hoodie” tops should be banned globally especially in Auckland. Why would you wear a sweat shirt with a hood, have a base ball cap on and the hood up on top of the baseball cap, say that I’m not with it but wearing such cloths is not because you’re cold, especially here!
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 8:02 am
  #10  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

So my “holiday” period had ended, I had started to live in the area and started to look at thing not as a tourist but as type of local. I knew I was not really a local because I was still getting lost, but you know what I mean!
Anyway I was at my desk and I started to work out some of the required capacities and what sort of truck these Carters sites would need, I thought long and hard about what I had been told. I thought stuff it I don’t just want these 2 sites I wanted the lot, yep I wanted to be able to quote for the whole Country.
Just then Cynthia walked in and reminded me that it was her BBQ this Friday, I asked what should I bring and who was going. She told me just to bring myself and the people who would be there were her friends form all over Auckland, there was only me that had been invited from work. I thought could this mean she fancies me!
I rang Tony and explained that even tho I had an appointment booked to see him the next day I wanted to have a quick few minutes with him today prior to putting anything in writing. He agreed and I made my way to Carters HQ, I went straight to receptionist and again informed the lady that I was here to see Tony. She buzzed him and I could hear him say “this bloke is mad” this puzzled me a bit and I was curious to find out what he meant, I thought I’d ask him anyway. We sat down and as ever Tony was completely stone faced, he was the expressionless man. I asked how he was and he started to play the “one word” answer game, you know yes, no, fine, well, ok. This is classic old school buyer’s tactics so to overcome this you have to quickly think of questions that can’t be answered with one word. I thought of a question that would ether break the ice or make the atmosphere cuttable with a knife!
So I asked, “Tony I hope you don’t mind but I could not help to hear you telling the lady behind reception that you think I’m a mad ” I waited for a reaction and the one that came with the one that I wanted, the stone faced man started to crack and without him knowing he actually smiled! He explained that he had never know someone willing to go the extra mile to gain Carters business and with everything I had done so far he was thinking of letting me quote for some more sites, he told me that he had visited these sites and had a clear specification in mind. I asked him where and how many more he was going to let me quote? He told me another couple, now I knew from the past conversations with the manager of Dargaville and the area mgr up in Kiatia that there was a national deal to be had so I asked Tony was this the case?
He looked at me laughed and said it was, so I asked could I provide a quote for every piece of equipment he was replacing! He laughed again and told me that I had a nerve and I replied that if you don’t ask you don’t get! He started to ask me why I had come to NZ and what I thought of it, I told him and told him about Sharon being pregnant and her Mum being a complete pain, this must have hit a nerve because after that he asked me could I come back with a detailed quotation for all the NZ sites that were replacing there lift trucks that year. I told him I could but when would he be making a decision? He explained that he had already given a verbal order to Toyota and the sales manager was coming in on Monday to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. So basically I had till Monday to provide a quote, I told Tony that I would not be cheaper that Toyota and if the deal was going to be done on price to give it to Toyota there and then, however my quotation would be right on in terms of specification and safety. With most buyers you mention Safety or “health & Safety” and there ears prick up!
So off back to work then, Tony was going to email me a list of branches and contacts My plan was to phone everyone and make sure that I was quoting the right bit of kit, I started to do this Thursday afternoon and all day Friday, I left work after drinks and made my way home. On my way I notice quite a few cars coming from the opposite direction flashing me, now to me this means a copper with a speed camera, so I looked at my speed and slowed down a bit. As I came closer I started to think that this was not a speed thing but something totally different, it was a road block and every car in both directions was being pulled over and every driver was being breathalysed. Crap I’ve had 3 bottles and not much to eat, there’s a chance I’m going to be over the limit. So why did I drive in the first place, simple you never think its going to happen to you. I waited impatiently in the queue, I could see a couple of unmarked police cars parked on side streets these are used to chase people who try and make a U turn, you can tell unmarked police cars quite easy in NZ. There mostly Holden commodores with normal steel wheels, mainly either red or light blue, don’t have a towbar and have the give away big white LPG sign on the bumper!
Anyway it got to my turn to “blow in the bag” I felt very uncomfortable and to be honest quite stupid, if I was over the limit it was good night Vienna and I was going back to the UK. The police officer asked me to take a deep breath and blow constantly until he told me to stop, he explained that if I did not agree with the results I could give a blood sample and pointed to a large police truck where he told me a doctor was present to take the sample. Blowing in the bag seamed to take forever and I felt very ashamed to be doing it. The copper told me to stop and then waited for the result to show, he asked me if I’d been drinking and I told him that I’d had three bottles of larger, I thought there was absolutely no point in lying!
Just then the electric device beeped and he told me to carry on my way! That was it I’d passed, I was so relieved I let out one hell of a big sigh. From that moment I have never drank and drove again, well I have a couple of times but they have been on the odd times that there was no other choice or option. Like having to take someone to hospital but I think given the circumstances anyone who is in that sort of position would have done the same.
So it was the night of sexy Cyn’s BBQ, I was looking forward to meeting her friends and got home had something to eat fed our Ben and had a shower, not in that order.
I picked up some beer form the local shop and made my way to her house, she also lived in St Hillier’s and the walk was down a load of steps towards the village, with Auckland being so humid by the time I got there I was a sweaty mess, but it didn’t bother anyone as everyone was in the same boat. Cynthia was wearing a stunning outfit and looked magnificent out of her work cloths; she invited me in and took me to the garden to introduce me to her husband. Now I can’t remember his name, Sharon will know it but for this post I’ll call him GLB or good looking bastard! Now if I was a bird I’d more that likely let him shag me! He could have been a pin up model, dark skin, deep brown eyes and a male body to die for, yep when these two got round to making babies you know that they would be beautiful ones! I started to talk to GLB and he was a very nice bloke, great! good looking and nice as well. We started to talk and guess what? Yep he was also funny and it did not take long before he had me in stitches, he started to tell me that he was doing a BBQ the way they did them in Paraguay (that’s where they were from originally) and took me to show me his BBQ set up. He got some old newspapers and some olive oil, the underside of the hot plate was all ready alight, it was not the usual gas affair but a traditional charcoal one with that pungent smoke that sticks to your cloths like glue. He sprayed this olive oil over the hot plate and started to wipe the plate with the newspaper, this cleaned everything quickly and there was not a trace of paper left on the plate, I still clean my BBQ today the way GLB did his and it works well!
Anyway more and more people started to show up and the beer started to flow. At about 9’ish the food was ready to be eaten, it was great going to some body’s house, not because of the people or the food or even the chance of meeting new friends. For me it was the only time I could get to use a proper plate and knife and fork, you see with our gear not arriving I was eating everything from a paper plate with a plastic knife and fork, infact I only had a outside table a chair and a clock radio in the front room. The food was fantastic and that old Kiwi thing of bring a plate had brought some grate food, bring a plate is were you turn up with something for everyone, I thought it was a bit daft but if you think about it this was a sort of tradition in New Zealand and at the end of the day we are kind of visitors to this Country and have to do this sort of thing to try and blend in. People talk on this forum about how new immigrant to the UK don’t try and blend in with the “British” way of life and the “British” culture, I can see peoples point and it does annoy me that people going to the UK don’t try and speak English, but what is British culture, going to the pub on a Saturday afternoon or having the compulsory two weeks summer holiday in Spain. Having your Sunday dinner of meat and two veg or being stuck in traffic for 10 hours a week, what is British culture?
Anyway back to the food, because of Cynthia being from South American most of her friends where from there too, have you noticed that everyone has there own click
No matter where you come from there seams to be a click for you, well everyone apart form the South Africans. Cynthia’s friend where from all over South America, countries like Brazil, Columbia, Mexico and Argentina so as you can imagine the food was bloody great. I did stuff my face because I could and could not help myself and ended up towards the end of the night talking to a couple of blokes from Argentina. They were really nice fella’s and we talked about a lot of subjects, how they new Cynthia, what they were doing here in NZ, how long they had been here and of course Football. We talked about the premiership and that ex man united bloke who was from Paraguay, then that subject had to be talked about and after a fair few beers I could not help myself, I was totally out numbered by South Americans but I could feel the question coming “So what do you think of the Falklands then?”
I thought they’d be a bit touchy about the subject but fair play to them they made a few good jokes about it and it ended up me being the one who felt stupid for bring it up in the first place, we just went back to talking football. I did notice that everyone was trying to talk English, Cynthia explained to me that if I was not there they would all be talking Portuguese but because I was then they all felt it would be bad manners to talk in there native tongue (the Welsh could learn something from this) and anyway they would like to use me to learn from. So if you meet any South Americans and get chatting to them and they come out with some Liverpudlian slang you know they were at the same BBQ as me! I talked to a few of the girls there and by Christ they were lovely, you know the type in fact all of the people there were good looking, well all of the except the sun burnt red faced beer bellied scouser, but hey that’s me!
Anyway I thought it was time to go before I made another stupid comment or started singing as I tend to do after a few!
I woke up the next morning and made a coffee, yet another perfect day in paradise. I asked Ben would he like a bacon butty and started to crack open the BBQ, that’s one of the best things about living in NZ, I know its simple but isn’t it great using the BBQ for most of you cooking. I can now cook most things on my Barbie some of the stuff I’d have never tried in the UK. Well saying that what is a UK BBQ, ours was an excuse to get together have a drink and cremate some sausages and burgers, if you were lucky and depending on where the BBQ was held you might get some pasta but you always got the “green” British boring salad! Now I cook breakfast, fish, and different types of meats in so many different t ways on the Barbie. I have just picked up things from people we have visited and put them all together. There’s always a big debate about cooking steak, I think the best way I’ve found is to put them on the hot plate and wait for the blood to bubble through, at this point you turn them over. I found this way after listening to the radio one Sunday afternoon and there was a long debate about how to cook your steaks, quite cool really!
Then I thought “I’d better ring Shazzer, after all with the time difference her Mum & Dad would be in the labour club (don’t you love routine) and she’d be on her own so we could talk open. The phone started to ring and I herd my love for the first time in over a week. It’s a strange feeling or more of a situation talking to someone on the other side of the World especially when that someone is a loved one. Its great to hear them but it’s a horrible feeling when you have to put the phone down and you know that they don’t understand what you have been doing or what you have seen, I’ve talked to a mate and told him what we’ve done and what we have been up to and then when you ask them what they’ve done you get the “nothing really”. We don’t know how lucky we are moving from the UK and experiencing different activities even if it’s a simple walk along the sea front or having a coffee in one of the many nice café’s. I for one would not be able to do this sort of thing in St Helen’s and when you live in that sort of environment you don’t even think of doing it!
Anyway I could speak open with Sharon and asked her the question “have you booked your flights yet?” Well she had and she told me the dates I was made up and could now plan things, the only problem was that she had still not told her parents! I knew she was putting it off and told her it would be better to tell them sooner than latter, she agreed but said there had not been the ideal time! When would be the ideal time to tell your parents that you were flying to the other side of the World, well at least I finally knew that she was on her way. I was chuffed to bits and very, very relieved. I put the phone down and went back to the BBQ; it’s a good job I like crispy bacon because I totally forgot about this brownish stuff smoking on the hot plate!(so much for being a BBQ wizkid!)
I didn’t do much for the rest of the day, just messed about with Ben and polished my shoes, done my ironing which was easy as it was only a few shirts. You could tell I was getting in to the Kiwi way of work because I had stopped wearing a tie, I still felt under dressed but it seamed the thing to do. I got my lap top out and started to type out my written quotation and specification for Carters, I got stuck in to it and within no time it was 9pm and I could hear my bed calling me, so off I went and good old Ben followed. This would have to stop when Sharon and Harry came out, I know I’d bought a King single but Me Sharon our Harry and Ben would not fit, until then I let him on. I don’t know if its just our dog but his feet stink and he has the habit of lying down with his feet on the pillow, he usually does this during the day so you go to bed, put your head on the pillow and are met with that pungent aroma of Ben feet!
The next day at work Cynthia said it looked like I enjoyed myself, I thanked her for the invite and she just smiled and in that Latin accent replied “no problem”, I think she could have told me anything and it would still sound sexy!
I started to print out and bind my Carters quotation, I checked it a couple of time’s and made sure I had all the correct information. My appointment with Tony was only in the afternoon so the rest of the morning was spent on the phone trying to book some appointments to talk to people about Mitsubishi’s, again I had no problem getting appointments and being honest people were just curious about me and a bit shocked that a salesman in my industry wanted to go and talk to them.
The afternoon came and again I started to make my way to Carters, I think my car by this time knew how to get there on its own. I sat in front of Tony and slowly went through every specification for every depot in great detail. He was very interested in why I’d quoted what, the specifications and the safety points. After over an hour I’d finished and then did what every good sales man does, yep I assumed the deal and asked for the order. He laughed and told me he’d be in touch!
I left a bit gutted and made my way back to Mangere Bridge, I got back to work and Rhys was there waiting for me. He asked me where I’d been and I told him Carters! He wanted to know what I’d said and who I’d seen, I thought this is weird so asked why? Rhys said that he’d had a phone call from Tony about 15 minutes ago asking him, Brendon and myself to be at Carters HQ at 4pm. Oh crap I thought have I done or said something wrong, I couldn’t have!
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Old Oct 22nd 2007, 8:42 pm
  #11  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

We went up to Tony’s office there were two chairs in front of his desk and one near the back of his office near the window, guess which one I sat in. I felt a bit like little boy lost as Rhys started to tell Tony about the merits of Mitsubishi, suddenly Tony told Rhys to be quiet! Oh this was it, here it comes. I could feel the palms of my hands go all sweaty as I waited to hear these words of wisdom come from Tony’s mouth!
I could not believe the sentence that Tony came out with, especially the second bit!
“I’m going to place an order with Mitsubishi for the replacement of my fleet” What!
Then he pointed at me and said “and it’s all because of him” Me!
Rhys and Brendon were gob smacked and I was chuffed to bits, wow I’ve got my first national order.
So anywhere you go in NZ go in to the Local Carters builders and 9 times out of 10 the Mitsubishi fork lift there will be one that I’ve put in, for Wellybound the one in Masterton is one of mine!
Now it was great to get the numbers but even better to get the commission, you see I was paid a $45K basic + 1.5% commission of the total selling price, now most of these units were big’ish trucks and cost in the region of $40K so if you worked that out it adds up to $600+ each truck and there was 30 odd of them being ordered, which was nice! The money was great and would come in useful when Sharon got here, I did only get paid on delivery and they were all factory orders so they would have to come from Japan which could take up to 16 weeks. But the best thing was that I have proved myself in a very short space of time, my total orders was now just under 40 units and my target for the year was 45 so I had nearly hit my target. The best thing was I had now sold more units myself than the company sold last year and that was the whole of New Zealand, as you can imagine I was the blue eyed boy and could now do no wrong!
With all that had gone on with work it had kept my mind off Sharon, Harry and bump but now it was time to get my life back on track and become a family once again. The weeks flew past which amazed me as I thought they’d drag, I even got a phone call from the shippers to inform my that they had a date to unload our furniture and to asked me to call in and pay the MAF charges! I now know this is a rip off but at the time did not know about ***** and did not know anyone who had made the move from the UK who could warn me about this fictitious charge, so not knowing I popped in and paid. Arranged a date and thanked them for all there help. Remember to tell any movers that you will pay MAF direct and don’t fall for this illegal act!
Anyway like I said it was time to plan Sharon’s arrival!
I knocked myself off that Friday early, Sharon and Harry where due in at 10am on the Saturday. I had time to plan and make sure the house was clean, it had no furniture but I knew deep down that Sharon would try and pick faults in anything she could, I knew that she did not want to come. Why? Well this was understandable, she was coming to a new and very different Country and she was coming pregnant, she must have them hormone thing’s doing marathons round her body and with her parents putting there two peneth worth in as well it all added up to not a very good start and she hadn’t landed yet!
I started to clean the house, I even tried to clean them horrible metal blinds, you know the once that are horizontal and bend with the smallest of pressure. I got half way through the first one and gave up! God this was hard, I knew I had to clean them and I knew that Sharon would inspect the house with the precision of a sergeant major inspecting the billet of his new recruits. So I thought “stuff it” I’ll take them down, top tip here! Take them down lay them flat outside and use a soft brush and some soapy water, then hang them on the washing line to dry, he presto they turn out to be like new!
I went out and bought some food, I had to have some sort of food in the fridge instead of speights and butter! While I was out I bought a bottle of Champagne and a large toy lorry for Harry, I filled the lorry with loads of matchbox cars. I also bought a load of white lily’s these were Sharon’s favourite flowers. The thing was I did not have a vase!
I went back to the house and knocked next door, the girl who lived there was too be honest weird. She was a type of gothic and looked spaced out at the best of times. When the door opened you could smell the “pot” coming out, well I asked her did she have a vase I could lend and she said yes, I was stunned when she reappeared with a really nice clear glass vase, I took it and thanked her. So that was it I was all set for my wife’s arrival. The plan was to pick her up from the airport drive to “one tree hill” where she could see the whole of Auckland and experience the fantastic views and the different colours of the sea. Then to Mission bay to have a coffee and a walk down the beach and finally take the drive back to St Hillier’s where by that time she would have hopefully fell for Auckland as much as I had, fingers crossed.
I went to bed early that night; I was like a child at Christmas and screwed my eyes up tight trying to get to sleep as quick as I could. But there was that smell again, I’d washed and ironed the bedding but some how Ben had sneaked in and got on the bed, the pillows stunk of Ben feet. So I got up and took the pillow case off and shoved them in the washer. I’d bought one of them top loaders the ones like your Gran use to have, I now know why in the UK they got superseded by the front loader! Basically there crap, use too much water and have a healthy appetite for cloths. There is a one good point about them, if you forget to but one of a pair of socks in you can lift the lid and chuck it in, but the machine knows this and will eat that sock anyway!
So I’d shoved the smelly dog foot pillow case in the wash and waited for the cycle to end, I had to stay up so I could hand them out to dry so they’d be dry and I could iron them in the morning and put them back on the bed so it would look nice, well as nice as any Buzz light-year bedding could look!
Luckily I could not be bothered putting them on the washing line and just hung them up on the “dick” which was undercover!
Lucky, well for the washing but not for picking the wife up!
I had never seen rain like it, raining cats & dog’s more like cows & bulls! It was chucking it down; great that’s all I need!
I left Ben outside mainly because I didn’t want him going back on the bed, the down side of this is because he’s daft he’ll just stand out in the rain, so when we get back I’ll not only have a hormonal wife a tired 2 year old but a smelly damp dog, supper !
So it was that time, the journey I’d been waiting for, no longing for!
I got in the car and started to drive, I had the wipers on full belt and still could not see were I was going. I turned the lights on hoping that would help but it didn’t I continued with the drive hoping that I wouldn’t crash, not only was it chucking it down but because it was still hot all the windows steamed up. I started to think this was not meant to be!
Eventually I made the airport and found the nearest parking space to the International arrivals. I got out of the car and could not believe the pools of water around the place, the gutters could not cope with the amount of rain and the visibility was down to below 200m, I thought it would be touch and go for the landing; I wouldn’t like to land here with all this water!
I made my way to the arrival part and went to check on the flight, everything was on time and they gave me the ETA. Because I was excited I’d got to the airport half an hour early, thinking back it was lucky I did with the weather being like it was.
The time past slowly but finally the information screen told me that the plane from Singapore had landed. Great I would see my family for the first time in what seamed like months, loads of things were going through my mind. Would Harry remember me, what would Sharon look like, would she show? Just then I noticed people moving closer and sure enough came the passengers from Sharon’s flight, I was excited and nervous at the same time, that was a horrible feeling but the worst feeling was when seeing the last of the passengers make there way through customs and out in to Auckland airport arrivals. I waited another 10 minutes still no Sharon, I thought that she would be getting someone to help her after all she had a buggy and two case’s plus the hand luggage not forgetting a two year old! So the 10 minutes turned to 20 minutes and I started to think that she might have not got on the plane at Manchester!
After 30 minute I was worried and sat down in the nearest chair, what do you do? I went to the Singapore information desk to ask if Sharon had got on the flight but because of the weather there computer system was playing up and to my horror they could not confirm anything!
So I went back to the arrival gate and waited, 45 minutes has passed what should I do. I thought of just getting on a plane back to the UK I missed them both that much, but I knew I couldn’t because of the big black damp thing waiting for us outside the rental!
I thought I’d give it an hour and then make the call, well I say call I mean make the decision to leave the airport and go home!
It’s a strange feeling watching loved ones meet up, if it’s a parent meeting a son or a brother meeting a sister, you can feel the electricity in the air and feel the love between each party its lovely to watch. It’s great watching grown up men fall apart in a worlwind of emotion and watch the emotion come out as they make there first contact with there loved one, you wonder how long it has been since they last saw each other and what was going through there mind’s, I was thinking what there first words to each other would be after so long apart!
Saying that what would be my first words and what would be Sharon’s?
Well at this point would I even get the chance to say anything to her? At that point of time my feelings were as extinguished as a newly struck match in this horrendous Auckland weather.
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Old Oct 26th 2007, 8:57 am
  #12  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

……………………….Standing there all alone at Auckland airport waiting for my wife and son to walk through the doors was crap, well not crap but strange. Would she come through and how would she react to me, would she like my new and improved physical appearance, I’d lost loads of weight in a short space of time, stuff the Aitkin’s diet what you need is a dog and fridge full of Speight’s. And what’s with me and airport doors, they seam to be the Bain of my life, last time I was on one side and the Sharon the other I burst in to tears, but is Sharon on the other side now?
Just then I felt a surge of relief ripple through the whole of my body as I caught my first glimpse of Sharon, there she was pushing our Harry in his pram, thank God she’s here. I then wondered her first words would be? Would it be “I love you” or “I’ve missed you” or even “Wow your still a handsome bugger” just the as she came closer her mouth opened and he first words came out “they’ve lost the bloody travel cot”!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just laughed, that was my Sharon and typical of some thing she’d come out with. Years ago when we first started going out she use to stop at mine Saturday and Wednesday nights, I had my own house and I’d spent a small fortune decorating it like a proper bachelor pad! I had the big TV the ace stereo and a fish tank with tropical fish in it. Sharon was not in to fish until we went to the pet shop and bought her one, that night she sat in front of the tank watching her fish and came out with a cracker, or as I now call them “Sharonisim’s” she turned round to me and told me that the plants in the fish tank were dying, fine. But the next bit had me in fits of laughter, “Yep I think you’ve over watered them”!!!!
Anyway we hugged each other and I bent down to say hi the Harry, he smiled back but I could see he was not too sure about me, I know I had not seen him for while but I thought I’d get a better reaction than this, oh well he’ll come round. I started to push the luggage trolley towards the direction of the car, I explained to Shazzer that Auckland was not usually like this and that the rain was the worst that they’d had for years, I could tell by her face that she was not impressed and I thought to myself that this was not going too good. We loaded everything in to the car and got soaked in the process it was still chucking it down and the car windows were still steaming up. I thought there is no point going to “One Tree Hill” or any of the other places I wanted to show her so started to drive straight to St Hillier’s.
The drive was fine, we could not see anything which as you know was not part of the plan, but we got back safely.
I pulled up to the house and the look on Sharons face said it all, I knew this was going to be a hard battle to win her over. I know I could have got a better house but it was Sharons wish list and the fact that the landlord allowed our Ben that, well forced me I n to renting this place. As she got out of the car our Ben, who by this time was big, black damp dog came bounding round the courner, you could tell he was pleased to see her as not only his tail but his whole back end was wagging and he was “speaking” to us, a bit like that old advert with the cat, you know about kids playing with matches “Charlie says never play with matches”.
So I opened the front door and she walked in followed by our “H”, I told her to turn right and go in to the “family” room, it must have been quite a shock to walk in to the place that would be home and find an outside garden table and 4 chairs and that’s it! No picture nothing, none of our gear and nothing familier. I gave Harry his present and he was happy and sat down and started to play with his new “brum-brum’s” Sharon on the other hand was not impressed, I’d tried my hardest to set everything up as best as I could, I knew she didn’t like the place, but saying that I didn’t. You see with have the same tastes in a lot of things that’s one of the reasons we get on so well and deep down I didn’t like the house as well, but it would not be for that long, well hopefully we’ll have the chance to own a place in NZ or would we, the next few weeks would be a testing time.
The next morning we got up, the jetlag hadn’t affected Harry one bit and he was right as rain, speaking of which the weather had changed and it was a perfect day outside. We had something to eat and decided to go down the beach as a family for the first time. So we packed Harry in the pram and made our way down to St Hillier’s village. Now I’d done this walk every night with our Ben and didn’t think it was that much of a hill, but as Sharon quite rightly pointed out it would be a nightmare going back up, remember since I looked at the house something had changed, yep a small mater of the “bump”. So yep it was going to be hard and get harder for Sharon to walk back up these hills pushing a pram loaded with shopping while being pregnant, so I’d cocked up with the house then.
I had the week off and we decided to do some road trips, the first one was a trip down to Rotarua. The next morning we loaded the car up, pram, car seat and of course the black thing! Now Rotarua didn’t look that far on the map and Brendon went there every weekend so it must be doable in a day. As you might know yes it is but with a 2 year old a pregnant wife and a dog you’d be better spending the night there. So we started our trip and after a couple of hours we still were not there, in fact we’d got just over half way. We had to stop with the dog and then we had to stop because of Harry and then we had to stop because I’d got lost!
We arrived in Rotarua and yep it was raining, we drove round a bit of the lake and then went to McDonalds, the one with the old aircraft outside which Harry loved. By the time we had finished our big Mac it was time to head back to Auckland, well yet another cock up my me then!
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Old Nov 2nd 2007, 10:47 am
  #13  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

The next day was far better, we packed the car again and headed for the Coremandle (sp) it was blazing hot and the drive was a good one, we decided not to take the black thing as it would be far too much hassle, it only took us a couple of hours and when we arrived at the beach it was picture post card stuff, light blue sea, white sand, blue skies the lot. The only thing that bothered me was that nobody was on the beach, I mean no one! We latter found out that this was not unusual and one of the great things about NZ, the fact that you could be on a beautiful beach and be the only one there, fantastic. We set everything up and I started to play in the sand with Harry, now Harry had a bit of a phobia about sand, he didn’t like it on his feet. Now this use to do our heads in, basically we could walk down a beach, any beach and Harry would suddenly stop, sit down and lift his legs up in the air. You then had to take his shoes off clean his feet and put his shoes back on. Fine, but after 5 steps this would happen again, so it would take an absolute age to walk 100 yards. So we were on this beach and he started to do the same, I had to do something to get him out of the habit, so I dug a hole and buried him up to his neck in sand and left him! I know he is only two but what do you do, I had to try something! Well guess what it worked the phobia had gone and he loved being buried, cool!
That day was ace, I latter found out that it was one of the days that Sharon will remember she told me that she thought that NZ was quite good after all, just because of that day.
So our first week went quite fast and soon it was time for me to go back to work, we then had to start our real life and get out of the holiday syndrome as quick as we could.
Monday morning came and off I went to work, now I’d got the Carters deal so I moved on the Carters parent company CHH (Carter Holt Harvey) and started to find out who the main people where and who I needed to contact there, I knew that they had a lot of big factories and basically did a lot with wood and paper, so they would need bigger trucks and bigger truck meant bigger commission!
So that was me at work and happy with the job, and the role I played within the company, sure things could be improved and yes there was the odd idiot there but what company does not have any idiots!
The main worry was Sharon, I could talk to people at work but Sharon only had our Harry as company so for her it was hard, she did not even have her parents support. They refused to ring her giving the excuse of “it was her that left, why should they ring” now that was hard for Sharon, but you could kind of see it from her parents point of view, well sort of. I hoped it would get better with time but knew this would be a problem and just hoped it would not get to the point of having to leave NZ because of parental pressure.
Anyway the day came when our furniture would be delivered; we had gone with Anglo Pacific and to me had got a good deal. The lady that quoted us seamed to know what she was on about and everything had fallen in to place, until they turned up and started to unload our stuff. I could not believe how much was broken-
2 standard lamps, the car seat, the leather suite was ripped it was a nightmare, even the “flippy” thing for the front of the telly was broken. As you can imagine we were gutted but at least we had our stuff and could now go about making the house our home, it does make the settling in process a lot easier when you’re surrounded with familiar things.
I contacted Anglo Pafetic by phone and left quite a few messages, none of they were replied to, I emailed them and continued leaving messages for over a week. In the end the lady finally came back to me, now it had taken her that long because I latter found out she had sold us the wrong type of insurance, I found this out because non of our belongings were covered, it turns out that we did pay the right amount for the specific type of insurance that we requested, but they had gone with the cheaper option and pocketed the difference. In the end I took the matter in my own hand and wrote a letter to the MD, I goggled as many shipping companies as I could and took a note of there email address, I then wrote a long and well worded letter which was based on our experience with Anglo and threatened to send it via email to all the companies. Basically they could use this letter to sho prospective clients as it would put people off. After a day I received an email off Anglo’s MD with a request for our bank details and a large offer of compensation, he also stated that if I did send “my” letter he would take me to court for slander, yer right. I’d all ready been to a solicitor and my wording was spot on and was in no way liable. Anyway I did settle for the amount offered as all this was taking too much time and at the end of the day I had better things to do, well I was in paradise!
I few times after work I would come home to be met by a red eyed Sharon, she’d either been on the phone to her Mum and her Mum had said some comment which cut her up. Or she just missed the UK and could not talk to anyone with the time difference, it was starting to get to her and we’d only been here 3 months, I thought it was due to the hormones racing round her body and thinking about it I should have noticed quicker but I didn’t, I don’t think blokes do. So she was just over 4 month and we had to sort out a midwife that was a job for her to do while I was at work. The thing about being pregnant and on a work visa is money, everything costs; Sharon had chosen a midwife and had booked an appointment to see her. She was a lovely old Irish lady who explained to us that because we were on a work visa her costs had to be paid by us; if we had PR it would be free. Another thing was the delivery, yep that would cost as well and if she needed a cizzerium section well, that was big bucks. Fingers crossed we’d get PR before all this because I quickly worked the total to be well over $12K, worst case scenario, so much for buying a boat!
That night I contacted Claire at four corners, what we had done was apply for PR the same time as the work visa, we had enough points and everything was going fine, I just needed to know how long just to get an idea in my head and plan the finance side of things, at the end of the day it was five months away anyway so I could use my Carters commission to pay it, but it would be nice to get it for free.
I also phone HFIX and started to look in to bringing our money over, I wanted to leave 10K in the UK as a “just in case fund” this would pay for Callum and also pay one of the endowment’s we still had going.
Anyway, top tip here! When you phone HFIX make sure you know what the current rates are and make sure you know a few company names that are there direct competition, why? Well you ring them and ask for there best rate, when they tell you quickly tell them that you can get a better one! They will tell you that this rate is the best but they will ring you back if they can do any better (well they did with us) a few minutes latter they rang back and I secured a rate of 2.9006 which was good as a week latter it fell and only went back to this figure for a short time last year and then fell again, remember the NZ$ is the most volatile currency in the World so try not to plan changing money too far in advance as it will fluctuate.
So we had changed our money and things were going ok, not brilliant just ok.
I knew Sharon was not settled and deep down I knew we had to do something to settle her, but what?
What would settle a pregnant woman who was very home sick, yes buy a house!
That night we talked about it and agreed we would start looking at area’s and go to a few open homes just to see what we could get for our money, like everyone we wanted a nice area near the beach with a decent size garden. We quickly came to the conclusion that we would have to compromise on our “wish list”.
Sharon got talking to the lady who lived across the way, not the weird one but a nice lady who was a teacher at some school in South Auckland, she had mentioned that there was a fella there who was English and his wife was a bit home sick as well, she said that she would get there number and see if it was ok for us to contact them, a few days latter I phoned and it was arranged that we would go down to there place for breakfast the next Saturday morning, this was great we could talk about how we felt and hopefully they would change Sharon opinion of NZ as at the moment it was very clear that she just was not “in to it” and I didn’t want it to get to the point of her hating it. Being selfish I just did not want to go back to the UK but I knew Sharon desperately missed her Mum.
You see she was and still is very close to her Mother, very close; Sharon has an older sister as I’ve said before there two totally different people. Sharon’s said although Debbie is her sister if she wasn’t then she would not be her mate, she was set in her ways and too be honest was a bit strange at times, don’t get me wrong I did think the World of her and looked after her in so many ways, but with her not going to our leaving doo left a big cut and it would take time for this to heel. She had twin girls who are ace and quite rightly Debbie’s life revolved around “her girls” but it did get to a point when you just wanted her to change the record, she did not have a boyfriend and when she did her family were closed off from any contact with him, you know when she was going out with someone because her accent would change and you would not see her, she has picked some crackers, if there was a bad lad about then “our Deb” would find him and go out with him, she had an uncanny way of attracting bad men!
Anyway Sharon was close to her Mum and this had always been a sore point with Debbie, now with Sharon out of the picture and not calling round her Mum’s everyday it was the best chance for Debbie to be number 1 daughter, and God did she go for it, I’ll go in to more detail in a few weeks but talk of back stabbing and then twisting the knife in, you’d be shocked, this was sibling rivalry at its best!
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Old Nov 2nd 2007, 10:18 pm
  #14  
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

Originally Posted by Trixie_b View Post
I am really enjoying your story Ian...
Thanks, I have some bits of it that I want to alter before I post. I found my old diaries last week so I can now post how much things were costing each month, that'll give people an idea of living expenses.
Also everything i write is my own point of view I don't mean to offend anyone.
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Old Nov 5th 2007, 10:43 am
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Default Re: Got a bit of a story to tell..........

So Saturday came and off we went to Howick for our breakfast and a meet with this family, (I’ll just call them Sue and Ray) They were an older couple and nice, they told us how long they’d been in NZ and what they thought of the place, it was very clear that Ray loved NZ and Sue thought it was ok. I must admit it was the first time we had been to Howick and we both liked it, Sue and Ray had a lovely house but it was well out of our price range. But saying that you never know how much peoples mortgages are and its something you can’t ask. We did not want a mortgage, we had $400K in the bank and we set out budget to just under that.
Sue told us that if she could spend 6 months of the year in the UK and 6 months in NZ she’d be happy, FFS if I had the money to do that I’d be bloody happy as well, anyway after a few hours we upped and left. The plan was to go for a drive round Howick and look at the area and some open homes, if you don’t know an open home is were the family selling the house clean it from top to bottom (well most of them) and leave the house in the hands of the estate agent, so for an hour people walk through your house, its beats the UK system of showing someone through.
Anyway we went to look at a house and were told by the agent that this particular house had great “indoor outdoor flow” what was she on about, in the end I sussed out it had big patio doors and a deck, so that’s my interpretation of indoor /outdoor flow!
We viewed a few houses and I was shocked with the lack of garden, we laughed at the “Kiwi” mentality of making money, right you have a ¼ acre block what do you do with it? Well you build a house in the back garden, cut a driveway at the side of your own which will make your garden very small, in fact non existent. So what do you do with that? Build a deck, put some large patio doors in and hey presto you’ve not only paid your debts off but instantly got the “indoor/outdoor” flow, fantastic. But not for us, we did want some sort of garden. The thing is you either have a garden and a doer upper of a house or no garden and a lovely house that needs no work, well you could in our price range. We headed back to St Hillier’s and I knew then that we’d need a mortgage if we did not want to compromise our “dream home”
That night we’d been invited to a BBQ over the road, remember Pete the “Kiwi” bloke I talked too before I viewed this rental, well anyway he’d invited us over. We turned up with a bottle of wine and a few cans; we didn’t take a plate as I’d forgot to tell Sharon that one! I’d talked to Pete a few time’s, he was in his late 40’s and had lived and worked in Australia most of his life, at the moment he was doing up a house on the sea front which would net him a few hundred grand when it was finished. He didn’t brag about it, in fact he was seemed quite embarrassed when I asked him. Now after a few hours Pete disappeared and I asked were he’d gone, no one knew! So I thought I’d better go and look for him as he’d had a few and I just wanted to make sure he was ok. I went down some steps and in to a kind of courtyard type garden and then a spelt something very familiar, yep weed. Pete was sat there with the thickest joint I’d seen for ages. He was shocked to see me and tried to hide it but with a thick cloud of hazy smoke and the smell that is so recognisable he had no chance! I laughed and said I’d have not put him down as a “pot head” he said that he’d tell me, you see I then found out that Pete was in remition after battling against leukaemia for a number of years and the tablet he took made his appetite disappear, having a joint was the only thing that made him eat. I knew what he was on about I use to have the odd joint and have once eaten the contents of a box of coco pops, with no milk. Anyway I explained to him that I’d had the odd joint in the past and he gave me one of his for after, smart I’d have that latter on sitting on my “dick” watching the stars, that’s another good thing about NZ, in the day the clouds are white and fluffy, stuff the saying “Land of the long white cloud” it should be “Land of the extremely fluffy white stuff that you can see faces in every so often” but I guess that would be too long
And not a very good saying to get the tourists over. The sky at night was equally amazing and so clear, it is like a big dark lake that you could dive in to and those sunsets are truly stunning, I’d hate to be a sailor as red sky in a morning was a sign that something dodgy was going to happen!
Pete told me a funny story, years ago the police raided a load of “pot” growers up North somewhere, now in there wisdom they had to transport the plants too a place just south of Auckland were they were going to destroy it securely and safely. You’d think they would just use a lorry, but no they used the police helicopter and with every comedy of errors they waited until night and made the journey down south so no one would see, fine you’d think!
The only problem was the plants were just about to germinate, so the police unwittingly spread thousands upon thousand of seeds through Auckland and surrounding area’s, Pete said that weeks latter you’d come to a roundabout in the middle of Auckland and there standing tall and proud would be a pot plant. For the next few months Aucklanders were the “happy” people of NZ and the sale of chocolate bars and monster munch went through the roof!
So that night we went home Sharon went to bed and I went out on the deck, I got comfy. Drink in one hand spliff in the other and lit it, by Christ it was bloody strong. The last thing I remembered was taking my 2nd drag, the next thing was waking up at 4am half inside the house half outside with an unopened bottle of speights in my pocket.
The next morning a found out why it had wiped me out, it was just pure weed, no tobacco just this very strong green stuff. I’d like to say I put it in the bin and never smoked the stuff again but as I have said before this is going to be a very honest account of living the dream!
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