Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Kirsty Gunn on being a mum

Since being pregnant I've taken much more of an interest in the "Family" section of the weekend paper. All sorts of gems are contained within. Best baby slings or nightlights. Oh how my life is changing. There was a great piece this weekend by Kirsty Gunn (a kiwi living in Scotland, coincidentally), about the entanglements and possibilities of domestic life. Worth a read - especially the poem at the end.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What's wrong with ebay?

Well, for a start, everyone keeps outbidding me. Very inconsiderate, and at times bordering on the ridiculous. In the last week I have twice seen a secondhand skirt sell for just less than the new retail price (which adds up to be more, when you count the postage). Crazy! A. discovered yesterday that the search term "maternity" is most popular in London (closely followed by several other English cities, and Dublin). Maybe there's a baby boom going on. No wonder there's all that competition for an Isabella Oliver skirt.

Consequently, I decided to splash out and buy some new preggy gears - an important step, as otherwise I'd be wearing pyjamas to work. People seem compelled this week to make comments like "gosh you've suddenly got HUGE!" and "when I was 5 1/2 months I was hardly showing at all". I'm not taking it personally, nor am I particularly comforted by the thought that big babies run in my family.

In other news, our flat "closes" today at noon. In the Scottish real estate system - quite good for sellers, really crappy for buyers as you may remember if you're a long time reader - this means that all prospective buyers have to make their offers to our solicitors by that time. It's a sort of "sealed bid" auction - you just have to guess how much over the asking price the flat is worth, do some kind of impossible calculation about what the (11) other prospective buyers might be willing to bid, and then if you can sell your granny's jewellery to raise a bit extra and hopefully outbid the rest, do that! Fingers crossed for some diamonds.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

How Auckland could be

Some interesting, visionary and even some downright wacky solutions to Auckland's perennial transportation nightmares. Scroll down the blog post till you get to the pics and you'll see what I mean. A 20 min ferry link from the airport to the city, via canal. How cool would that be?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Edinburgh's pulling out all the stops...

...to charm us and woo us with her beauty before we head back to NZ. And I have to say, she's doing a pretty good job!

These are a couple of shots I took yesterday on the way to work, our first real snow of the winter. No new snow today, but a good hard frost to keep everything in the realm of fairytale.

We had a hectic first viewing of our flat last night - 10 separate people/groups. Most people seemed to like it. And in baby news, I seem to be growing quite a kicker in here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

living in a fairytale

Here's the snowy scene that greeted us this morning. Isn't it pretty?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Morningside op shops rock

Here's the latest treasure they've yielded - more kitsch Kiwiana than you can shake a stick at, in the form of this lovely tablecloth. And only £1.50 - what a bargain! The central plateau may not quite be in the right place, and "Mt Ngaurauhoe" has an extra letter, but other than that it's an excellent geographical resource and dining accessory.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

eating and drinking in Edinburgh and Fife

Who needs the Canary Islands when the east of Scotland can turn on a stunning day like this? We made the most of the winter sunshine with an East Neuk tiki tour, checking out the harbour and wynds in Pittenweem, gorging ourselves on fabulous famous fish'n'chips in Anstruther and pretending to be statues and students while dodging golfballs in St Andrew's. Good company (Kevin & Emma), good fun and lots of sun.

Today was a bit greyer, but not dreary enough to deter us from a brisk climb up Arthur's Seat - after all, it may be our last in a while. Wind and views to take your breath away. Ravenous after all that exertion, we stopped in at the new Khushi's for a 4pm curry feast. Why not? The restaurant is a lot more glam than its predecessor, but the food just as good as at Potterow. And being off-peak, we didn't have to wait...

Sticking with the food theme, Friday night we went to Blonde - a bit disappointing - and then down Leith Walk to the homely Boda for drinks (elderflower cordial in my case). Last night's watering hole (after a fab chilli miso salmon concoction chez nous, and ice cream at Luca's) was Bennet's, and tonight we left Kevin and Emma at the Bow bar. That's a whole lot of consumption in establishments mainly beginning with B.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The week I almost met Bill Gates

Pity about that "almost". But I was in the same room, within touching distance at times! That sounds a bit sad...

Gates was in Edinburgh to get an honorary degree from the University, meet some government officials, and to hear about some research - especially in stem cells & regenerative medicine. After all, he does describe biology as a hobby. This is the connection to me - I helped a couple of the scientists who did actually get to meet him and talk about their work to prepare for their presentations.

So what of the man himself? Very natural, very friendly and personable, and very, very smart. After just a minute or two of intro, he had some very sharp questions to ask that got right to the heart of the research and its implications. I was impressed - even if I'm not a big fan of the software.

In other news this week, we've been busily preparing to sell our flat - cutting out clutter and making things look nice. I'll post our schedule when it's ready next week so you can give your verdict...

And today the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and Kevin & Emma arrive for a weekend in Scotland. All is well.