Apologies for the length of time between the last update and this. You see, I’ve been back to the UK.
As soon as I bought my house in December of last year, I’d thought about going back to Blighty in order to sort my possessions out that were still over there. As you may remember, they were held in a storage unit because when I left for NZ, I didn’t know whether I was going to stay there or ultimately return. Once I had decided to stay, I wanted to get my stuff shipped over to NZ as soon as possible. The unit wasn’t cheap and the furnishing in my house here in Christchurch is currently pretty minimalist at best.
I flew back at the end of March, primarily to avoid having to negociate Heathrow airport in full Olympics mode in the summer. As the amount of time I had off from work wasn’t very much, I did the trip in one go: Christchurch to Singapore and Singapore to London. It’s a long way and I had forgotten quite how far it was. The journey from door to door (staying with my parents in Somerset) took a total of approximately 36 hours, of which I slept about 3.
The first week was spent suffering jetlag and sorting out my storage unit stuff: giving away some of the furniture and possessions that I no longer needed and preparing the rest for shipping. This primarily involved thoroughly cleaning the bikes that were going to be sent as NZ has quite strict bio-security rules about the state of cleanliness of items being imported.
I had arranged with a Kiwi company for my stuff to be sent from Blighty to New Zealand. They in turn contacted a UK company to pack the stuff up and put it into a container to be shipped via boat. The lorry arrived at the storage unit at the start of my second week:
The two blokes who arrived completely repacked everything – they took all the items I wanted shipped out of the boxes I had put them (rather haphazardly) into and repacked them in their own boxes. Here’s some of the stuff in the unit boxed and ready to go:
Here’s the stuff in the lorry:
The packing blokes did a great job and everything was loaded within a couple of hours or so. I shall next see everything in a couple of months, when I also find out whether NZ customs deemed that any items needed fumigating as part of the bio-security regulations. They charge you for the privilege if they do this!
I gave one of my UK bikes away but the other four are being shipped. Here they are prior to being packed, looking the cleanest they have for a long time:
The rest of my time in the UK was spent meeting up with various friends and included a big family get-together at my parents’ house on Easter Sunday. Here I experienced the possible highlight of my visit – South Petherton’s annual duck race:
It was great to see everyone again and I’d like to thank all those that I met up with, provided taxi services or helped in any other way. Also a big “thank you” to my Mum and Dad for putting me up and allowing me to pinch their car and drive around a lot of South-West England in order to see people.
Oh, and I ate lots of curry, too.
It was interesting to see that the subject of earthquakes was mentioned within pretty much every conversation I had with people and many enquired as to the current state of the city.
The return flights to Christchurch were similarly gruelling; I arrived home yesterday morning. I’m yet again in the depths of jetlag, having awoken at 3am this morning. I’m certainly not looking forward to the return to work tomorrow.
After three weeks of having nothing done to it, the garden resembles the depths of the Borneo jungle.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Christchurch had a few wobbles whilst I was away including a couple of magnitude 4 shakes.
Work on deconstructing the cathedral in the city centre has begun, even if some people think it shouldn’t have happened: link here.
The clocks went back whilst I was away, so it’s getting dark earlier and we’re about to plunge into another southern hemisphere winter. That said, the weather wasn’t too bad whilst I was away and it got to 20 degrees here in warm sunshine earlier today.
Hope all well / stay safe.