Karen’s Letter from the edge #2

Karen has been writing letters that have not been made public – she writes them and sends them to far too small a group of people. So I want to fix that: here are letters number 2 and 3 (never read #1 so have no clue what’s in it, but it is probably as good as these two). She also included a random selection of photos at the end. Bon appetit!


August 2011

Dear all,

Hello there, thanks for all the mails and phone calls, I really do appreciate hearing from you. By the way – I have a new Pretoria telephone number: 012 – 743 6464. If you call it – it comes through to me on SKYPE and you pay only for a Pretoria phone call – neat hey!! Just keep in mind that we are 10 hours ahead of you, so if I don’t answer when you call at midday you know why.

Here follows some more news and views re our little NZ adventure:

Shopping in NZ

Firstly – there is no Woolworths. (Actually there is a store called Woolworths, but it is not Woolworths, if you know what I mean). Besides Woolworths I also miss having different sized shopping trolleys – here you get big trolleys and if you don’t want that then you can use a hand-held basket. Only one place has an in-between-sized trolley. I miss Spar with their big trolleys, medium-sized ones, trolleys for one, two or three baskets. Somehow we cope.

I have been into a mall only once in the last month. Somehow I cope. I think because security is not such a big issue here – the shops are mainly stand alone shops in their own parking lots – or a group of shops around a big parking lot – kind of like the Waverley shops in the old days – just bigger. It all ends up looking rather untidy. I find it interesting because in SA now most shops are inside where it is easier to protect people while the cars are outside. Here both cars and people are pretty much outside. The one mall I have been into is quite a distance away and we were only in there very briefly. Jules had been there before and says it is enormous – much bigger than Menlyn. I will have to go back when IZZI comes to visit though because it has a game shop with Lord of the Rings stuff in it.

My favourite shopping area is Howick Village. Howick used to be an outlying village – many many miles from Auckland itself, but because of highways and especially because of bridges it is now in spitting distance, sort of like Centurion to Pretoria. Many people who live in this area (and I include us and Howick in ‘this area’) work in the city and take the bus, drive or take the ferry into the city. Howick has a main street – still its original main str from 1800+. The main str is called Picton str and the business area is demarcated pretty much by the 3 churches in Picton str – I guess the Catholics at the one end, Methodists in the middle and Presbyterians at the other – or some such combination. The two end churches are really pretty and picturesque and have little church yards with grave stones in. Imagine seeing that in Pretoria’s Church street today!

Between the churches you find a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker and just about anything else you need. There is a hardware store, a fresh vegetable store, 2 antique shops, a few coffee shops, some boutiques, some restaurants, a wool shop – in fact 2 haberdashery shops – a stationery store, a book store, gift shop, a florist, a pub, a travel agent, the bank, hairdressers, a lawn-mower shop, a Biggie Best shop, an ice-cream shop, a sweet shop, in other words – alles en nog wat. What is nice is that each store is small and you can walk from the one end of Picton str to the other in the time at all. At the far end is a largish grocery store, so I go in there for my other goodies.

Just beyond the top church is our doctors’ consulting rooms and there is even a funeral parlour right there. Yes, it does worry me a bit that they are right next to our doctor – but what with the florist only a few shops down – it seems like an irresistible one-stop-shop.

Family news:

Etienne is really enjoying school – he has quite a few friends – mainly Mat and Mathew. Mathews’ mum (not mom here) is …. Cathy, but their surname is not Miecklejohn, so not quite a replacement for Matty back in SA.

He does Scouts on a Wednesday night and Engineering club on a Friday afternoon. He spends lots of time between Fridays inventing stuff with his engineering Mecanno set – he has invented an elastic cutter and a toilet-roll fan – both soon to be patented and to be appearing on shelves near you…

Tomorrow we are manning a sausage sizzle for the Scouts – here they often do sausage sizzles (the NZ version of boerewors rolls) as fund-raisers. They also have specially packaged Oreos and chocolates that are sold to schools for fundraising purposes. Jules has been carrying boxes of Oreos around for the last few weeks and has made more than $100 dollars towards her trip to Wellington.

Juliette leaves with the MacLean’s choir on Sunday for Wellington for the choir nationals. She is doing well at school and has some very nice friends. Her school is huge, but it has a small feel about it as all the students are divided into houses and each house has its own structure. Each house also has, and this she likes, its own common room with a kitchen where you can make toast or coffee or heat your lunch in the microwave. They have the best view in the school – their common room looks over towards Waiheke Island. The view from the school is absolutely incredible, how they get any studying done is a mystery.

Steph is getting on with his Mandarin and is going to Hong Kong again in September.


The weather here was reaaaaally cold last Monday and Tuesday, with snow all over the country- all over the South Island and on the south of the North Island. Some people are even convinced that there were a few snowflakes in Auckland. It was rather drizzly here and very windy; so windy that one of the boats was washed onto the beach- and made it into the newspaper (so to speak). By Wednesday all was well, mild and sunny again.

This afternoon was so lovely – Etienne and I took a walk along the golf course towards Musick Point. The sea was azure and the grass emerald and the yachts crisp white – it is really so beautiful – goodness, I am getting quite lyrical! I hope I never stop loving and appreciating it as much as I do now.


Last week I was cooking – yes, cooking! Go and have a cup of tea and come back to finish reading once you have recovered….. Anyway, we have a set of really sharp knives. I was using the bread knife to cut a gem squash and it slipped and cut into my finger. It was not too terrible, but because of the angle of the knife, the serrations, and the force it cut quite a bit of a flap of skin and I was worried about dirt in it and therefore infection. So I took Etienne off to Aunty May and I drove myself to the A+E (accident and emergency). They cleaned it very well, gave me a tetanus injection and dressed it. I paid at reception and that was that. Today I get a letter in the mail – I quote:


 Dear Mrs Naude

Your injury is covered by ACC (I don’t know who or what this is)

We have received your ACC claim following your injury on 11 August. We’re sorry to hear about your injury and wish you well in your recovery.

 Because your injury is covered by ACC, we’ve already contributed to the costs of your initial treatment.  We did this by paying the health professional who treated you.

 If you need further treatment… (here I summarise) you can apply for further treatment and help like someone to help you in the house, if you need time off work you may be able to apply for help with weekly payments for loss of earnings


I never contacted them – at the A+E they must have sent through my details, so I think I can go and reclaim what I paid. I was there on the 11th and they wrote the letter on the 16th and it arrived on the 18th. I have a claim number as well as an ACC45 claim number – whatever that is. OK, I am not impressed by the shopping trolleys, but I am impressed by this. By the way this is on the Gvnt medical aid – we have no medical aid (called health insurance here).

Oh well, that is enough adventure for one week – speak soon, I hope.


Karen and The Klan

Farewell @ the airport - why do they all look so happy?

View from the bottom of our drivewayAnother sunset



Our little brown house

Jules and Et on Bucklands Beach with a shell heart

Whatever shoes

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