Thursday, 17 October 2013

First World Problems and a Gideon Bible


You would think, would you not, that someone like me who lives a quiet, rural and semi-pious life would anticipate a weekend in our vibrant capital city with huge excitement and, truth be told, my suitcase was packed nights before with a ridiculous amount of clothes which had Cossack eye-rolling because he only packs extra underpants and socks.

As you know, Wellington is very unpredictable - would it rain? would it sun? would it blow? would it shake? would it freeze?  Every scenario must be catered for, in my opinion, and that is why Cossack skipped and I staggered to the car for our long trip south.

Anyway, here we are now, safe and sound in a semi-decent hotel, but several issues have reared their bothersome heads and I just do not know how much sleep to lose over any or all of them.

List of my Hotel -Worries

1) I don't trust the Spy-Hole in our door.

So, I got Cossack to stand out in the corridor and knock on our door. (Room 508 - but no point visiting because by the time you read this we'll be gone ) I peeped through the spy-hole and saw nothing at all except for a grey smudge which didn't resemble my Cossack at all.

The male out there muttered some stuff in a vaguely familiar voice but it didn't contain the right password
( Lindt Chocolate) so I refused him entry.

"If that IS you, Coss", I called through the smudge, "Look through this spy-hole from your side and see if you can see me? Perhaps some sicko in this hotel has turned it around for voyeuristic purposes".

Phew! The man out there could see nothing either but the verdict is sobering.

We have one very useless spy-hole. When Cossack goes to see 'Gravity' in 3-D tonight at the cinema, I am here, alone and vulnerable. I will put the chain across the door and clutch my Gideon Bible all evening.

2) There is only one Coffee-Mug.

There is only one coffee-mug for two of us so it became multi-purpose and, at various times, contained my coffee, tea, muesli and Cossack's toothpaste -water, but not simultaneously.

Should I ring reception and advise them that Room 508 contains only one mug and it isn't me?

3) High-Pressured Shower

The shower was fantastic with enough pressure to almost blast me down the plug-hole but one could not detach the shower-head from the wall so, because I did not want to wash my hair on the first night, I had to arch my head backwards in a most uncomfortable manner.

My concern is - will I ever be content again with our under-pressured shower at home where washing one's shoulder can take up to a week?

4) What Sign to hang on our door???

Before retiring for the night I agonised over which sign to hang on the outside of our door for the staff in the morning.

Should I put up, "Yes please, I would like a newspaper"?

After lengthy consideration, we decided we didn't. ( a mug would be nice though)

Should I put up, "Privacy Requested"?

Maybe, even though that might have the cleaner smirking out there while Cossack and I would actually be innocently sampling all the herbal teas out of one mug while flicking through the room-service menu to decide what we would order for breakfast if only we were richer.

In the end I opted for the sign which said, "We choose not to have our room serviced today", thereby forfeiting the luxury of fresh towels and sheets. The sign said we would be helping the environment so that was noble of us, I thought, except we didn't realise that by not getting our room serviced we also missed out on replacement teabags and coffee sachets.

Next morning, by sheer luck, the trolley that collects dirty laundry and replenishes supplies was right near the lift as we waited to go to the ground-floor so I gazed up at the ceiling to see if I was being filmed by a security-camera but no, all seemed safe, and I grabbed a handful of loot.

In my haste, however, I ended up with four shower-caps, one conditioner, no tea and only two coffees before the lift whisked us downstairs.

My heart is still palpitating and I wonder if my conscience is slightly over-active?

Now, I know there was a reason Cossack and I came to Wellington but it's escaped me. Um...hopefully I will know next time I blog.

Over and out.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Just Another Day in the Life of Me

With one ear full of ear-drops I walk with tilted head to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and almost knock myself out on the door-frame.

"Aha!", I think, "Today is going to be wonderful because look at how well it started".

I go to work and am required to drive the "Power-Pony", this mini-tractor-thing that pulls a trailer that carries eight crates to be filled with the oranges that we pick.

"No way!" I say, "I have never driven that thing and don't intend learning now".

'Get up", says the boss, "and I'll show you what to do". He patted the tractor seat like it was my friend. "Come on. Up you get!".

Hmmmfffff. Up I got.

Turn this key and press that. Push this lever down while letting that go slowly. And oh, don't get stuck in a ditch or go down the wrong row or you will have to take all the crates off and detach the trailer before reversing out and then put the trailer back on...

I made some awful, clunky, grinding sounds but then, to my amazement, zoomed off down the driveway like I was born on a tractor. I wave a royal wave to my boss's wife who hides behind the clothes line. Why is she looking so nervous?

She looked nervous yesterday too after she asked me to weed her very overgrown vegetable garden. I attacked it with this huge hoe-thing, swinging it up and down, back and forth, with huge velocity and brute force.

Some people would have been delighted at my rapid progress but not her. After only ten minutes she muttered, "Good Lord, Bernadette! Go back to the oranges now, please. No offence but I'll do this by myself."

Apparently I had demolished her baby carrots and dislocated some broad-bean plants.

I am now a professional orange-picker. The fruit is huge and our buckets fill up in no time and then the crates fill up and the trailer fills up and Bernadette drives the tractor back to the shed, proud as a peacock at having conquered yet another phobia. Only 43 to go!

With my little spindly arms, I manage to off-load the crates, then help Milly wash and grade the oranges by size and quality.

Grading becomes an automatic process after a while and we are able to fling oranges in this bin, that bin or the one over there while discussing how on earth Dynamo walked on water or why did those surgeons in China attach a nose to that man's forehead?

"You are a good grader now", Milly said. "When you first started here months ago, I said to Piet that night, "Oh, my God, what have we employed? She's not exactly the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, is she?"

"But", she went on to say, "You have got a lot faster, Bern. A lot faster".

I chose to take that as a compliment.  When a statement about your abilities could be perceived in a number of ways, it's kindest on your ego to always choose the most flattering possibility. Besides, it is sometimes a cunning idea to make a terrible first impression and then you can only go on to pleasantly surprise people thereafter.

Oh, I am doing some clipping and tying up of kiwifruit vines too. After hours of doing that, I had to wrap blue-tape around my thumbs and index fingers because they hurt. Also, because my hands are up in the air all the time it looks like I am walking along the row doing 'Praise-the-Lord' actions but in actual fact it is just another of those chores that those of us who failed Rocket-Science 101 are stuck with.

Que sera sera.