Narrowboat AREandARE

From the 2009 & 2010 tantalising tales, traumas and stunning photographs of Barry (photographer) and Sandra (writer) from New Zealand aboard NB 'Northern Pride', to the stories of their 2013 return journey, purchase of 'AREandARE', progress on sustaining their live aboard continuous cruiser lifestyle, and Barry's quest to gain residency and 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' in UK ...

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Contract signed ...

Our Hillview Terrace buyers have signed the sale and purchase agreement and will be putting their 10% deposit down on our house as soon as we get to see it and sign too - how exciting!  I'll be back in Gisborne on Monday 5th November, so we'll get it sorted and confirmed as soon as possible after that.

Barry came up to visit me on Sunday which was lovely - it gets a little bit lonely up here being on call 24/7.  However it's really not too difficult to stay and work here for a couple of weeks due to its stunning beauty - below are a couple of photos of Tokomaru Bay, taken from the road as I travelled back to Te Puia Springs from an antenatal visit this morning ...

You can see why they call NZ 'Aotearoa - Land of the Long White Cloud'

I've had a few people expressing an interest in being supported on a journey through Holistic Life Coaching with me, so I'm very hopeful I'll get my final three clients signed up in the next week or two for my Diploma case study hours.  I'll still take clients after those places are filled - they'll just not be at a reduced rate.

We're seriously looking at narrowboats now, and have had some communication with a couple selling their boat.  We're not sure it's quite what we're looking for, but it's certainly a lovely boat that we'll bear in mind in the coming weeks ...

Saturday 27 October 2012

Want to change your life or make it even better?

Fantastic that we've sold my TENS business, and now sold our house - the plans we've been working on for the past two plus years are all coming together.

Before Barry and I return to the waterways of UK on 19th March 2013, there's three more important things to do.
  1. Barry has to obtain his UK residency visa.  We can't apply until three months before, so that'll be sent off in December 
  2. Barry has to sell his shop 'ezimade' - he has an every increasing queue of people interested in buying it, such a cool way to work, so we don't envisage any challenges with that
  3. Completing my 'Diploma in Holistic Life Coaching'

On 16th March 2013, I'll be attending a graduation ceremony with  'Life Coach Associates Auckland'. However, I may not be able to actually take my Diploma certificate itself to the UK, as I need to have completed my 100 hours of client case study hours.

All I need is 3 more clients, each signing up to 8 one-hour sessions which can be weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or whatever suits the client and my availability. Face-to-face in Gisborne, or from anywhere in the world via Skype - so don't let distance put you off! I don't have to have completed all the hours before we leave, but it would be fantastic if I had all the clients signed up and being supported to live extraordinary lives while I'm living mine!

What is Holistic Life Coaching you may ask?

Well, the best sportsmen in the world would always have a great coach, supermodels would have their personal trainers, etc. For people who want to get the best of THEIR life, working with a Life Coach is a way of discovering what's stopping you and what you can change or put in place so you can - every day.

People who choose to see a life coach are not strange, they're everyday folk, just like you and I. They may:
  • be at a crossroads in their life and need some direction
  • find that they're repeating the same/similar patterns and going round in circles in their relationships or career 
  • be hitting a milestone age and feel that they haven't 'achieved' or 'done' what they thought they would have by then
  • have so many options open to them they don't know which one to choose
  • be so stuck with limiting beliefs from their past that they're too afraid to take risks or move forward/change
  • be so busy they don't have time to even think about what they want anymore
  • feel they're always caring for everyone else and rarely meeting their own needs, feeling guilty if they say 'no' to anyone
As we get older, we realise more and more how precious life is and that it's up to us to make the most of all there is to offer. It's not about working as hard as you can, for as long as you can, so that when (if) you get to the grand old age of 65 (or older), you may just have enough money not to starve. In the meantime you work long hours to pay for all the 'stuff' that if you really thought about it, you don't really 'need'.

I believe that the time to live is NOW, not waiting until we're old - though I certainly plan to be living a great life then as well!

So if you know of anyone who would grasp the opportunity of working with me as their Life Coach, or maybe you see the possibilities for yourself, please get in touch and I'll give you more information (see how to contact Sandra and Barry for my email address).

Awaken your life

Thursday 25 October 2012

Simply 'Sold' - so much to look forward to ...

It certainly feels like our plans to return to the waterways of Great Britain are working out very nicely indeed!

The lovely young couple who I showed around our home a few months ago, have bought it.  Their bank's valuation wasn't quite as much as we'd hoped, but it was $50,000 more than the government valuation of 2011, and as we wouldn't have to pay any Real Estate Agent/advertising fees out, and we won't have to move out of the house until we leave on 19th April, it seemed like a perfect deal for us all.  I believe that if you get too 'attached' to money, you block it from coming in.  We 'may' have been able to get another $10-20,000 at auction, but then again we may not!

We've yet to sign the contracts, but we'll do so in the near future with a 10% deposit and a settlement date late in January 2013.  The very positive difference between here and UK, is when you buy a house you go 'unconditional' which means once the contract is signed and the deposit changes hands, it's very difficult and costly to renege on the agreement.  There's no sudden changes of mind, and no exchange on the day of move like UK - that really is the most ridiculous process I've ever known!

We've said ever since we bought our gorgeous house in October 2008, how wonderful it would be if a young family bought it when we leave - and the law of attraction has enabled that to happen.  They have a two-year-old daughter and a baby due any day now, so they'll really be able to make the most of the size of the house and land.

It's not a 'posh' house by any stretch of the imagination, like those you see in the glossy pages of 'Home and Garden' magazines, nor does it have all the latest gadgets, Sky TV, a modern kitchen or the 'best' furniture and fittings.  Those 'things' have never interested Barry or I.  We believe we have much more valuable 'things' to spend our money on or save it.  Our home's beauty lies in its welcoming, comforting, spacious and homely feel, and the natural environment that surrounds us.  It's a place to relax and be yourself, no pretences, no anxiety about 'messing up' the expensive bits and pieces.

So we'll be actively searching for suitable narrowboats now - anyone know of any good ones out there?  We want one around 60 foot (no longer), traditional or semi-traditional, at least 4-berth, washing machine essential and log burner/heater, pump-out toilet.  There'll be more to add to the 'essential' list now we can really consider it seriously, and we've time to look around with the benefit of being cash buyers.

Having owned a boat before, we feel fairly confident that it'll be OK to buy sight unseen - though we'll be relying on someone in UK to check it out for us first!

We're both very, very, excited, and thankful for such a stress-free house sale - Barry says I should become a Real Estate Agent, but I'm not seeing that in my future at all for some reason?!

Here's the amazing, majestic and sacred Mount Hikurangi that I'm seeing a lot of as I drive up and down the East Coast visiting the women and families in the area until 5th November.  There's breathtaking scenery at every turn.

Other lovely things for me/us to look forward to:
  • Two of my three sisters are coming to NZ for a three-week holiday on 18th November
  • On 19th December I'm flying to Bali to meet my daughter, travelling from UK, for her 30th birthday (I know, what a dreadful wife, leaving Barry for our wedding anniversary, xmas and New Year!), but to make up for it ...
  • We fly to UK on 19th March, and on 23rd to 30th March we're staying in a beautiful house in the Lake District, with my three sisters and parents, to celebrate my mum's 80th birthday
  • After 30th March - we WILL be boarding our boat to begin our new life.
Wow!  So much to look forward to ...

Monday 22 October 2012

Two weeks of 24/7 on-call, and almost some house news ...

I'm currently up at Te Puia Springs once again, an hour and a half 'up the coast' from Gisborne, covering for the midwife here so she can get a well-earned break.  It's difficult to imagine for most people the commitment and devotion of New Zealand case-loading midwives (me included!). They truly are incredible, and the women here, in my humble opinion, have the best pregnancy and childbirth care and continuity in the world. I frequently hear the most awful stories of midwifery in the NHS in UK, and have absolutely no desire to work in it again - but who knows what the future holds - never say never just in case!

I started my on-call at 1600hrs on Friday 19th October, and finish at 0900hrs on Monday 5th November. It's not quite as onerous as it sounds, the caseload isn't too large, and it's one of the most beautiful places on earth with the nicest, most down to earth people you could wish to meet. We had a beautiful birth in the unit today (only 3 hours sleep so a little tired), and we'll have three visits tomorrow at Te Araroa which is just over an hour's drive north of here. That may put it in perspective.

I love that it gives me time away from Gisborne and 'real life' to chill, and catch up with all sorts of 'to do' lists. And the scenery driving around is just stunning.

I have a lovely senior student midwife working alongside me here from Bristol until the weekend, which gives me some company, and last Saturday we went to Tokomaru Bay for a walk. We were very surprised to see a family of Paradise Ducks, waddling towards the waves ...

The parents split up, and I think the above is dad - he's just letting the ducklings wander in the waves which kept almost taking them out to sea! It was nerve wracking to watch, but they seemed to take it all in their stride.

Right at the end of the road at Tokomaru Bay is an old wharf that people fish off - or take a stroll. How about this for the height of luxury. Nana takes her moko (mokopuna = grandchild) for a stroll in the sunshine. Absolutely delightful, I can't wait to spend time with my moko.

Now onto our house sale.  

Well it's very likely that we'll have some news tomorrow, but I can't say anymore than that at this stage - except that it is looking extremely promising and augers well for a smooth journey to take us to 19th March 2013 when we leave Gisborne to relocate onto the waterways of Great Britain 'indefinitely' ...

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Have we sold before we've even listed?

It certainly seems extremely likely - how fantastic! "If you believe it you can see it" is such a better thought and focus than "I'll believe it when I see it".

The story is:
Our neighbours house was for sale for a few months earlier this year, and one day I saw a young couple walking down the drive and said a cheery 'hi' to them.  We got talking and they were asking how much sunshine that property achieved, especially on the deck at the back.  I said I wasn't sure, but that ours got lots of sun as it came up over the hill and around the side of our house, then set in the late evening after enjoying its rays while chilling with a glass of sauvignon (or more likely Barry's home made strawberry merlot - delicious!).

I grasped the opportunity and told them that our house would be on the market in the spring if they were interested - they were!  So I offered to show them around our house and land, despite it being a mess and us being half way through renovating the bathroom - yikes!  It could've all gone horribly wrong, but ...

They loved it!  Hurrah!  I gave them our number to call if they were still interested in a few months.

In the meantime, he went into Barry's shop a couple of months ago and said they were still interested and left their contact details.  So we've phoned them up and they've been round again, this time with the house very tidy and the bathroom completed and they adored it even more.  So we have an independent valuer visiting tomorrow.  Their house isn't on the market yet, so they'll need to get a bridging loan from the bank and get their property on the market asap.  But the cool thing is it would mean:
  • No open homes to deal with (well Barry to deal with as I'll be away for all of them if we have to have them!)
  • No advertising costs (around $1,500 initially!)
  • No real estate agent's fees (we've had them written out of the contract as we already have them and nothing to do with an agent) which are 4% of the purchase price; AND
  • We could most likely rent our house off them until we leave on 19th March
So, although it's easy to think 'it can't possibly be that easy', maybe it CAN!  Why not?  Sometimes, when you're taking the right steps and making the right moves in the direction of your dreams, everything literally falls into place.

Here's a few photos of our gorgeous home ...

The updated bathroom - complete with brand new, only put up last night, blind

The sunny back deck - though the sun had just peeked behind the clouds!

It's a split level house - here's the back, with an extra room and a huge storage space under the house - the window above the silver car is the laundry/brewery/man cave!

The view from the deck - the country in the middle of town - idyllic

Further round on the deck ...

And looking up the drive - we're hidden from the road so it's lovely and private in our valley on Hillview Terrace!

Watch this space, we could be making an amazing announcement in the next few days ...

Saturday 13 October 2012

Better luck the second time ...

Having previously thought it wouldn't be a good idea to sign up with someone we know to sell our home, we changed our minds and arranged to meet up with a friend last night who managed to not only talk us into signing up with him, but also to agree to selling by auction!

No dates as yet, but likely to be late November or early December.

Selling a house in NZ is very different to UK where it's rare that you sell a house by auction, here it's quite 'normal' to do so.  There's purportedly various reasons why, and to be honest it'll sort the wood out from the chaff in relation to serious buyers.

We realise now we were foolish not to question the Government/Rateable Valuation when it came out in 2011 (this happens for all houses in NZ every three years I believe), despite knowing that they had valued our house way below its worth.  Of course it meant that our rates stayed low!  We've since discovered that our neighbours DID question their RV, and it was increased considerably so is now a lot more (and sold for just under that recently) - and our land area is much larger, plus we have a great driveway that runs all the way around our house, turns around and comes back up.

So it's going to be interesting to see how the sale of our house progresses.  It really is a beautiful home, in a unique location - a little bit of country in the middle of town set in a valley which provides so much shelter it has its own microclimate.  We'll be really sad to part with it, but you can't hold on to 'things' when you are moving forward or you just live in your status quo/comfort zone and life becomes boring and monotonous - we're going to be living on the wonderful waterways of Great Britain soon, in our own narrowboat, and spending time with my family and friends in England so it'll be worth all the 'letting go' of our home and Gisborne in the long run.

Photos to follow just in case anyone knows someone who may be keen to move to Gisborne ...

Thursday 11 October 2012

Anyone want to buy a hedge?

Well the 'Real' Estate Agent didn't quite turn out as expected bless her.  This was the photograph of our house on the front of the folder ...

Incredible!  Needless to say we won't be engaging her to sell our home - which lies on the other side of the hedge above.

The unbelievable part is that here in New Zealand, we not only have to pay for all the advertising costs, we also end up paying about 5% of the sale price to the Estate Agent.

Back to the drawing board, just a temporary glitch, we've already called someone else ...

On a positive note (I'd so much rather have a cup half full!), we have a gardener coming round on Monday to cut said hedge and the lawn, and take lots of garden refuse to the dump, so it'll all look tidier without Barry having to spend his one day off a week doing it.

Oh, and I have two new Life Coaching clients booked in for next week who are committed to finding ways forward to live extraordinary lives ...

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Next step - or a huge leap of faith

So the TENS business, including ten machines, has now left the building - in the capable hands of a midwifery colleague and a local childbirth educator.  They're so enthusiastic about taking it forward, whereas I've not paid it much attention for months, so that's great.

I'm loving the 'letting go' feeling and the decluttering!

I listed a few dresses that I don't want anymore (not much call for them on the canals, and I have to downsize my vast wardrobe!) on 'Trade Me' last week, and sold one for more than the reserve so that's cool!  I re-listed another one, and the one that didn't go I'll keep for now.  It's the first time I've sold anything on there, a site similar to Ebay in UK, and I'm surprised how simple it is - I can see how people could get hooked!

The next step is putting our house on the market.  We have a Real Estate Agent (not a 'pretend' one, lol - that's what they're called here in New Zealand, no use asking me why as I don't know) coming round on Thursday evening to chat about what the options are and look at how much we may get.  Of course, like anything, it's worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it!  We both believe we have a gorgeous house, with a fabulous large section of land, a slice of country in the town, that would be ideal for a young family.  We have a price in mind, but one never knows if it's realistic or not until it's put to the test.

So it'll be interesting what happens in the coming weeks.  I do love the fact that here in New Zealand you generally aren't in the house when people come to view - they have 'open homes' for half an hour or so, generally at the weekends, and people can just show up and give the agent their name and take a look around the property.  It does mean of course that you have to keep the place tidy which can get tedious.  Remembering the last time we did this with Barry's house in 2008, we recently engaged a lovely lady cleaner who comes once a week and brings flowers from her garden, so that'll make the tidying up easier.  And we're also just about to get a gardener to come and help out, mowing the lawns, trimming the hedge and taking away garden debris.  Bless Barry with only one day off a week, things have begun to slide a little.

Of course the more we get for the house, the better the narrowboat will be, so fingers and toes will be crossed!  'What you give energy to grows and expands' ...

Thursday 4 October 2012

Business sold!

Don't get too excited, it's not Barry's business, we haven't even put that on the market yet lol!

I have sold my Tens business that I set up last year, hiring TENS machines to childbearing women to enhance their labour experience, give pain relief in their labour and a heightened sense of control, and reduce their need for drugs that go through to the baby.  In UK around 25% of women use TENS in labour (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), but here in NZ no-one used them in Gisborne (apart from an ancient machine with pads that were re-used that stopped working years previously - yuck!)  and after trying to get the maternity unit or any of the self-employed midwives to take it on and buy new machines and pads, I did it myself!  The results and feedback from the women have been worth every second of the time it took to set up, and I'm so happy that the business is going to two lovely Gisborne women who will carry it forward.  Of course I've also got the money I paid out back and some for the set up costs so that's great.

So things are moving forward positively with our plans - watch this space as we progress on our journey back to UK ...

Monday 1 October 2012

Celebrating my birthday in New Zealand and other 'lasts'!

With less than six months to go now before we fly back to UK 'indefinitely' (assuming all goes to plan!), there will be a number of 'lasts' coming up for us.

As the saying goes, you have to close one door in order for others to open, so we're very pragmatic about these changes.

My 53rd birthday was a quiet one, it didn't stop raining here in Gisborne from the moment I woke up until the following morning!  Last year Barry and I had a lovely couple of days in Mahia and the sun shone, but this year he was working from 1000hrs to 1600hrs, so I hadn't planned much.  It was also our third anniversary of our wedding on board Northern Pride on 26th September - we celebrated by me working and Barry playing badminton - not very romantic!

I had lunch with a couple of friends, then visited another one out in the country for a cup of tea, had a sneaky snooze on the sofa for half an hour, Skyped with our grandson, went out for dinner with Barry, then called in unannounced to some friends for a game of darts!  So I still managed to fit some fun things in despite the rain!

Yummy dessert - a birthday treat!

On Saturday, we had a party at home, with a mixture of different groups of friends, as it will most likely be the final time we have a party before selling our beautiful home.

Barry regales some of the guests with his brewing techniques - or something to do with narrowboating I expect!

The bathroom is just about completed (hurrah!  I love it!) and we've been tidying up the outside of the house and garden.  There's a few more little jobs to do, though they won't prevent us putting the house on the market.  It's a timing issue now - will it sell really quickly and we'll need to find somewhere to rent for a while?  Or will it take ages to sell for a price that's acceptable to us?  Exciting aye, not knowing what the universe has in store for us ...

Two of my sisters are coming to NZ on holiday from 18th November to 7th December, so it would be really good to still have the house when they're here - but if someone came along and offered us a good price we wouldn't say no!

I've also recently booked flights to Bali from 19th December to 9th January. I'm meeting my youngest daughter Kimberley there to celebrate her 30th birthday on 4th January - how wonderful to have such an opportunity.  I'll be away from Barry for our 'real' wedding anniversary on 22nd December, and also xmas and New Year - but his children, Jamie and Tom will be in Gisborne, and it'll be lovely for them to spend their last xmas with Barry before he leaves for UK - though they may be celebrating in a tent on the beach if we've sold the house before then!

We're now seriously beginning to visualise how we're going to earn a small income whilst continuously cruising - so long as I don't have to work as a midwife I'll do (almost) anything ...