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Posts tagged ‘bush’

Auckland City Walk


Last Thursday we consulted our map for a local walk we had yet to explore. This was how we discovered Auckland City Walk. We set off from Scenic Drive down the Anderson Track and, after a couple of kilometres of relatively rugged bush track (ie the mud came with sound effects) the path emerged into acres of rolling parkland.

We were so impressed that we brought friends back there on Saturday. To distract The Jedster from eating wasps, I took him for a wander to take some photos.


Jed checks out Maori culture.


A rare moment of contemplation for The Jedster; his default setting is warp speed. He spends a lot of time with his ear(s) inside out.


Jed blows a raspberry

The woodlands unspeakably move him

These photos were taken on the Waitakere Dam Walk last April. I have only just figured out how to make a GIF file. I wanted to set this to the tune of “Gimme Some Lovin'” from The Blues Brothers, but Husband tells me that requires Flash and I’m not quite there yet.

By the way, Husband is largely recovered from his man cold. I’m incubating it; I can feel it in my bones

Freshly painted house

A very brief window of tidiness opened up today, and I seized the opportunity to take a few pics of our freshly painted house featuring Husband’s recently installed lights.

The kitchen from the balcony


Dining area at the end of the living room


The living room. Our furniture looks much bigger here than it did in Dubai


My office off the bedroom


There have been a couple of times recently when we’ve left the house and forgotten to close the garage door behind us.

“Oh crap,” I said, driving home from our walk this afternoon. “Did we close the garage door?”

“I did,” said Husband.

“Oh, good.”

“If both of us are going out,” said my husband, “I think the passenger should close the garage door.”

“Fair enough-”

“Except when I’m the passenger. Then it should be you.”

“Hey! Hang on a minute; basically, you’re saying it should be my responsibility.”

“Well, let’s face it: you are the most responsible party in this relationship.”

“Yes, but-”

“Don’t even try and talk your way out of it.”

“So, are you saying you’re irresponsible?”

“No. Just that you’re MORE responsible.”

Husband fully equipped for hiking (yes, that’s an umbrella in his right hand). Photos of Husband’s face are pretty rare; he doesn’t stay still long enough and he is also pretty mean about the photo ops

Niamh and the tree

Down by the river

Vaseline shot: me undaunted by Husband waving a camera in my face after a cryogenic swim

Husband down the laundry chute

This is also the colour of the interior walls of the house, as you can see if you squint at the photo below:-

Looking out the living room window

No mutant teddy bears

After days of viewing shacks we were almost resigned to living in someone’s garden shed for NZ$ 400/pw with $3 knocked off if we mowed their lawns. We had registered with every Real Estate Agent within a 100 kilometre circumference of Auckland, since Husband nurtures some idealistic theory that the real estate industry is in the business of sourcing the perfect property and matching it to the ideal tenant.

Having had more exposure to Real Estate Agents in my short-to-medium life I know their business is actually to test your reserves of patience and restraint. Therefore I continued to browse daily, conducting preliminary searches on rental property with keywords: ‘private’, ‘quiet’, ‘not in any way a hovel’, and further narrowing the search with ‘3 car garage’, ‘no mutant teddy bears’ and ‘cow-free’.

Trademe turned up a wide variety of options and after a while I became adept at deciphering the adverts. You might think a property listing featuring a single photo of a bathroom is simply bad marketing. So did we, until we viewed a couple of these places and found it was in fact good PR. ‘Fully furnished’ = a rusty toaster and range of three-legged chairs. ‘Incredible views’ = but the house is a squat. ‘Good TV reception’ = there’s a transmitter in your backyard.

One morning, I stumbled across the advert for Turanga Road. The pictures looked wonderful – not one toilet shot among them. As we drove through Waitakere, I knew the house would have to be a hole in the ground to turn me off (and if it was an insulated hole in the ground, I was in).

The house was about 4km up a dead end road surrounded by bush. Although on the edge of the Waitakere Reserve, it was only 20 minutes from the centre of Auckland. Husband remained non-committal until he saw the garage taking up the ground floor. He was so touched he barely even noticed the yellow and maroon colour scheme.

The landlord/caretaker, Darren, informed us three couples had offered on the house, with another three viewing it that evening. Obviously we were going to have to turn on the charm. This wasn’t a big issue for me, but Husband has a daily charm ration, which is finite within half an hour and better applied in short, intense bursts over extended periods.

Considering we spent three and a half hours conducting a xxx-rated full-frontal Charm Crusade, Husband did exceptionally well – I was very proud of him. My techniques involve tossing my hair around and blatant flattery. Husband goes for bribery and lashings of manly mirth (he also tucks his hands in his armpits, but I think that’s more nervous tension than charm specifically).

We had one fumble, when I asked Darren whether his friends/owners would have any problem with our repainting the house. I thought he’d be delighted, since the paint job was about ten years old and looked a bit patchy. And the colours were psychologically abusive.

Instead, Darren looked at me as if I were in the process of biologically propagating a horn in the centre of my forehead.

“Paint it?” he said. “Why- well, I- I hadn’t really thought about it. I mean, if you wanted to- you know, as long as you don’t paint it something horrible like- like black and purple. I suppose it would be all right.”

I’m thinking, “DUDE, it’s flaccid maroon and egg-yolk yellow,” but Husband stepped in firmly and said, “No problem, we love these colours. Don’t we Niamhie?”

“LOVE them,” I confirmed, nodding vigorously. “Sorry I even asked; I was deranged momentarily.”

After a couple of hours of chat, Darren agreed to let the house to us, which thankfully meant we didn’t have to resort to a headlock. We stuck around another while to sabotage the remaining hopeful tenants, and meet his wife, Ingrid.

Apart from the brawny colour scheme, the house is intelligently designed and eco-friendly. A self-contained water supply derives either from the roof or the nearby creek. There is a deck off the living room opening onto bush and glorious views of the Henderson Valley, and we have our own waterfall by the front drive! The encroaching bush and a colossal tree that must be over a hundred years old is held back by a retaining wall out front, which cost $75000 and apparently nearly finished the owners.

It is about as far from Dubai as you could imaginably get

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