Aside from bureaucratic matters and familiarising ourselves with the area, our main concern since we arrived has been finding a house to rent.  Nice as the temporary apartment is, it’s not really suitable for a three year old as it has no garden and high balconies, Diane’s kayak has to be stored outside, and I have no workshop/modelling space.

The letting agents have a simple system.  They give you a list of the available properties with their addresses, and you’re free to drive around and have a look from the roadside.  This lets you quickly rule out places in a poor state of repair, iffy neighbourhoods or places that would be too small.  Returning to the agent’s office you can then take keys for properties you are interested in (if they’re presently unoccupied), and look round unaccompanied.  It’s a lot nicer than having someone making excuses for any issues you spot, and there’s less pressure to make any sudden decisions.  They do make a follow up call on visits, but if you’re as rude as I am you can just hang up on them or reject the call!

For all I liked the system, we have ended up choosing a property by one of Diane’s colleagues.  This cuts out the finder’s fee for the agent (meaning lower upfront cost), it’s furnished, and so if we don’t stay in New Zealand for more than a year it’ll save us money and hassle there.  The rent is more than we were planning to pay, but it’s offset by the value of the furnishings.

The run of good weather has ended for the time being.  After a fortnight of being generally sunny, it’s been raining since I got up this morning, and it’s so gloomy I can’t even see Somes Island.  I’m really hoping that it will clear up by the weekend, as it’s Wellington Folk Festival and the North Island Main Trunk railway centenary celebration.  Both would be spoiled somewhat by rain, although I’m sure they’ll both be fun anyway.


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