Auckland beaches

Okay, enough politics for now. Let’s get back to New Zealand (which, by the way, is increasingly feeling like an appealing place to move to, away from all the violence and insanity on this side of the world. If only it wasn’t so hot there…).

To finish off our New Zealand trip, we had two and a half days in Auckland. On the first of those days, we headed North to visit some of the beaches in the Auckland region. Our first stop was at Piha beach, which my cousin had recommended. A sign warned us not to get to close to any penguins… but again we were lied to, not a penguin in sight! Oh well, the beach was beautiful.

We walked all the way down to the end of the beach – and yes, it is as far as it looks in the second photo above! It was worth it though… while climbing around on some rocks at the end of the beach, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye then spotted some crabs hiding in the gaps between rocks. Not quite a penguin, but wildlife is wildlife. I’ll take it 😉

Crab in the rock

Next, we drove to Maukatia (Maori Bay) and walked a little way along the Takapu Refuge Walk to see the gannet colony. For those that have never seen gannets… they are loud! Pretty cool to see so many of them in one place though. Looking down the other way, towards Muriai Beach, I saw a black bird with a bright orange beak walking around on a large rock. Any guesses what he is? I have no idea! (Look at the last two photos in the gallery below).

We could have followed the refuge walk round for half an hour until we reached Muriwai Beach, but it looked busy down there and it was lunch time, so instead we headed back to the car and stopped off to buy drinks, snacks and sandwiches at a little convenience store before driving around to the East coast. Our final stop before heading back to the city was at Orewa Beach, where we watched the kite surfers for a while.

On the drive back, we realised it was still pretty early, so we parked the car in Devonport, took a ferry into the city and went up the Sky Tower. In case anyone doesn’t know, at the time of writing this the Sky Tower is the tallest building on the souther hemisphere, at 328 metres (1,076 ft) tall. You can jump from the tower if you feel that way inclined (attached to a rope, obviously!) but we just went up to the top. Sky jumps would have to be booked in advance anyway 😉

Back down on the ground, we returned to Devonport on the ferry and met my cousin for dinner… which I again failed to photograph. I had bangers and mash, in case you care. By the time we returned to the car – which we had parked by the Devonport ferry terminal – it was dark, so we finished the day with a photo of the Auckland skyline.

DSCN7855

And that’s it for today. Only one more post on New Zealand to go!

*New Zealand was my March 2016 trip for #Take12Trips 2016*

On a desert island in December

Well, I’m still ill, although my voice had come back slightly this morning. I still can’t stop coughing though. *sigh*
But this post isn’t meant to be another moany pity-me one. Instead I’m finally going to get round to doing that meme I’ve been going on about for days.

So, I was tagged by Katyboo and the meme is based on Desert island Discs.
For those that don’t know Desert Island Discs is a BBC radio programme in which guests have to imagine they are castaways on a desert island and choose 8 pieces of music to take with them. Then they can choose one book, anything but the Bible or Shakespeare, both of which are already on the island (strange island this). And finally, they can choose one luxury item, nothing to help them escape from the island though.

So, here goes. First my eight pieces of music.
This is quite difficult actually. I have favourite pieces of music for every mood, and what I feel like listening to sometimes changes within hours never mind days, but I shall do my best.

1. Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler – This is my all time favourite song, although it also makes me a little sad. You see, it was also one of my step mam’s favourite songs. I like to listen to it on days when I find myself wishing she was still around (she died when I was 12 those who are wondering). So clearly it would have to come to the desert island with me for her sake. Also it’s on the soundtrack to the film Beaches, which makes it pretty appropriate for a desert island don’t ya think?

2. Bad Day by Daniel Powter – For those days when I’m feeling all hormonal and miserable. Who doesn’t like screaming “cos you’ve had a bad day” at the top of their lungs on days like that?

3. Carnival of Rust by Poets of the Fall – It took me aaages to decide on this one. I knew I had to have something b y Poets, them being my new favourite band and everything, but it was so unbelievable difficult to decide which one. I’ve gone for this one because it’s kind of loud and rocky, perfect for jumping around a desert island too, and plus my boyfriend can play it on guitar so it would be something to remind me of him.

4. World by Five for Fighting – It was a toss up between this one and Devil in the Wishing Well. This one won out, but only just. I would put it on full blast, close my eyes and imagine myself a new world, just like the song says. The perfect way to forget about being stuck on a desert island.

5. Miserable by Lit – Another one for horrible days when everything seems to be going wrong. I’ll never forget the first time I heard this song. I was 18 and I’d just had a fight with my boyfriend of the time. A guitarist friend of mine offered to play a song for me, so I told him to “play something miserable”, which he did. This was that miserable song. I’ve loved it ever since.

6. Ha Ha You’re Dead by Green Day – Not Green day’s best song and not even my favourite, but perfect for a desert island. Another great one for turning up to full volume and screaming out while jumping around like a loony.

7. Tribute by Tenacious D – This song is hilarious! It never fails to cheer me up. Also, it reminds me of my group of friends from uni. The DJ would play it for us every week and at some point it became our anthem. It’s nice to have something to remind of those times now we’re all spread across the world.

8. Keep on Loving You by REO Speedwagon – My first ever favourite song! Obviously I had no idea what it was about back then. I would just sing along to the chorus and imagine how it would be to have someone telling me he was going to love me forever. There are other REO Speedwagon songs that I like, but for my desert island it would obviously have to be this one that came along for the sake of my six year old self.

Phew. That was hard! I just hope I’ve got all the links right. Now for the book…
Well, obviously it would have to be something long otherwise I’d be finished with it way too soon and end up having to read and re-read the bible until rescue came. The obvious one would probably be War and Peace. I’m a quick reader and every time I finish yet another book my boyfriend threatens to buy me that one for Christmas! I think that one would be too obvious a choice though so I’ve decided to go with Gone With the Wind. I’ve heard so much about it but never actually got round to reading it (or watching the film) and I feel like I should. A desert island would be the perfect opportunity. And it 960 pages for this edition it should take me a few weeks to get through it…

And finally, my luxury item.
Now I know people are probably going to laugh at this but I think I would want my cuddly Eeyore.
This Eeyore was a birthday present from my mum this year. (Yes I got a stuffed toy for my 25th birthday. And your point would be?). He’s some kind of bedtime Eeyore, which means he’s dressed in a blue dressing gown and night cap thing and, depending on which way you look at him, either looks unbelievably exhausted or as if he’s just woken up. One day, not long after Eeyore arrived in Germany, Jan decided he felt sorry for him sitting on the table looking like he hadn’t slept in days, so before we left for work he tucked Eeyore up under my quilt. By the time I arrived home I’d forgotten he was there. I’d had a bad day and all I wanted was to get into my room and relax. Upon opening the door I saw Eeyore snuggled up waiting for me and my heart just melted. He looked so cute lying there, and of course knowing my boyfriend had put him there made it even cuter. So if I was going to be trapped on a desert island I would definitely have to tajk Eeyore with me so I could leave him tucked up in my bed waiting to greet me when I returned from a hard day of gathering cocunts and stuff. I’m sure he’d be a great comfort when I got sunstroke as well, which I most definitely would. If I can get sunstroke in Karlsruhe I’ve got no chance on a desert island!

OK, that’s it. Now I think I’m supposed to tag people. Unfortunately just about everyone I would have tagged has already done it though, so I pick sleepyjane and anyone else who wants to have a go…

Things to do when you’re bored

My stats are telling me that those people that aren’t enquiring about Joachim Loew (please can someone explain to me what the obsession is?) mostly find my blog via Google searches for things like “I am bored”, “I’m getting bored” or “so bored now”. Unfortunately my blog isn’t very interesting, so all these poor bored Googlers probably went away feeling even worse than when they’d started. But just in case any of them does decide to stop for long enough to actually read something on my blog I thought I’d compile a list of things to do when you’re bored.

  1. Read a book. If you’re not normally much of a reader try getting hold of a book that a film you like was based on. The books are almost always as good if not better than the film. Stephen King’s The Green Mile for example is an excellent book, and one of the few I’ve read where the film actually stuck to the plot. If you’re female and enjoyed the film Beaches, see if you can get hold of the book by Iris Rainer Dart. Much, much, much better than the film.
  2. Go somewhere. If you have a bike go for ride, otherwise take a walk. Even in the smallest of villages there’s always somewhere you can walk. Take your mp3 player with you if you like and listen to your favourite music while breathing in the fresh air. Maybe you’ll find something else to do on your travels – a football game you can join in or a new shop to look in. You won’t be bored anymore and you’ll be getting some exercise. Double bonus!
  3. If you can afford it, try getting on the train or bus and going somewhere new for a day trip. You could even go by car if you have one. Take a trip to a nearby town that you’ve nevr been to before, take a look around and see what’s there. Or go to the zoo or sealife centre. Always fun, no matter what your age.
  4. Learn a new language. There are plenty of websites where you can learn the basics for free. To start you off here’s the URL for the BBC languages website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/
    If you don’t feel like learning one language properly try learning four words in a few languages: Hello, goodbye, please, thank you. Brilliant for impressing the locals on your next holiday! They’ll be so much more friendly if you can thank them in their own language…
  5. If you’re not interested languages there are plenty of other skills out there waiting for you to discover them. You could learn to knit, or the art of paper folding or even teach yourself to play an instrument. The possibilities are endless.
  6. Start a blog. Write about whatever comes into your head. Before you know it loads of time will have passed.
  7. Bake a cake. Always fun, and you get to eat it afterwards. The only part that isn’t so fun is cleaning up the mess you make…
  8. Write a letter. It’s all about e-mails these days and hardly anyone sends proper post anymore. Sending snail mail is guaranteed to brighten up someone’s day as well as making you feel less bored.
  9. Play a game. A board game or a card game. Get your whole family to join in. Games nights are a lot of fun.
  10. Take an Open University course. They have so many there’s sure to be something you’ll like!
  11. Go out ans get some exercise. Join a gym or a football club. Take salsa lessons. Go jogging or take up yoga. There’s bound to be some kind of sporting activity you’ll like doing.
  12. If you really can’t think of anything better to do watch a DVD or play a computer game.
  13. Take a nap. You can’t be bored when you’re sleeping…

That’s all for now. I’m sure there are many more things I do when I’m bored, but right now I can’t think of them. If anyone else has any suggestions feel free to leave them in my comments. Maybe the next time a bored person stumbles across my blog they’ll find something more interesting to do than telling Google how bored they are…