Farewell Sprout

After five years of us living in our house, the Cabbage Tree in the front garden grew a new sprout. Both Mr Pigalina and I were quite excited by this development.
Today we arrived home to find the sprout lying on the grass. It was too high for a person to reach and snap off and there was a longish white hair stuck to it. This has led me to the conclusion that the culprit is next door’s cat. Not satisfied with costing us money and sleep thanks to the beatings he dishes out to our cat in the middle of the night; he has now taken up tree vandalism!
I will attempt to plant the sprout in a pot tomorrow.

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Silverstream

In our effort to get out and see new places in our own backyard, the Pigalinas headed to Silverstream for a walk.
We selected a walk – we were to follow the little red symbols on the signposts and set off. The sign warned that the walk was “hard”. We went up hills, down hills – once with the aid of a rope and across two streams (carrying the dog thanks to the presence of toxic algae) and at one point Mr Pigalina feared we would be camping for the night under a blanket of leaves due to the lack of little red symbols and signposts.
We saw the most fantails we have ever seen in one place. I just about lost it at their cuteness and was over the moon to spot an all black one.
There are a number of other trails we intend to explore, but next time we will take a photo of the map!

Pigalina is Kiwilina

Although it was April Fools Day the Department of Internal Affairs made sure that my Citizenship Ceremony was in the afternoon – meaning it was unlikely to be an elaborate trick.

Yes, after 20 years in the country I can now officially call myself a New Zealander.  (It was purely slackness on my part, it usually doesn’t take that long.)

Here is a rare glimpse of Pigalina with Mayor Dave Cull.

citizenship

Seal Spotting at Taiaroa Head

We headed out to the end of the Otago Peninsula to investigate what is there, as it has been many years since we did.
Pilots Beach held a wealth of seals and they were not scared of humans – sunbathing on the rocks within feet of the many people. Living at the site of one of Dunedin’s most popular tourist attractions (the albatross colony) will do that to you.
The other side revealed steep cliffs with a view of the lighthouse and numerous nesting birds. We didn’t spot any albatross but I can confirm you can see some good sights at the end of the peninsula without spending any money.

Seagull Discrimination

It turns out it matters what colour you are if you are a seagull in New Zealand, and I’m talking beak colour.

There are three types of seagull in New Zealand – as far as I have determined – yellow beak big ones, red beak and black beak.  I am not sure which colour makes you the most important but *spolier* it’s not red.

Today on my way to work a seagull was sitting on the grass next to the footpath.  It didn’t make any attempt to move when people walked past so I knew something wasn’t right.  I went to touch the bird and it did move, and then I noticed that both of its legs were out behind it and it was “sitting” on its belly.  There was no way it could fly away as it could not push off the ground with its legs.

I called the Department of Conservation (DOC) hotline for injured wildlife.

“Do you help seagulls?”

“What kind is it?” they asked

“One of the ones with the red beak and red legs.”

“No, try the SPCA”.

I then had to find the number and call the SPCA “No we don’t, try DOC.”

“I just called them, they said to call you.”

“Tell them that you are in Dunedin, the Dunedin branch helps those kind.”

I called DOC back again and the lady didn’t sound very interested, I explained how the SPCA had said that the Dunedin branch helps them so therefore I had called back.  She asked if I could take the bird to the office – no, not without wrangling into my cardigan and carrying across busy roads and a few blocks.  She logged a job with them and said that they would call me back and instructed me to call the Dunedin office myself also.  I did.  They were shut.

Just as I was hanging up a young man appeared.  He asked if the bird was hurt and, as if to demonstrate that yes it was, it scooched awkwardly across onto the footpath.  I told him the saga and he said that his mum had helped lots of injured seagulls out so he would take it home.  He threw his jumper over the bird and said he would head home to feed it up on cat food.  After declining a ride he was gone, bird in arms.

DOC did not call me back until almost 40 minutes later when I was at my desk.  I would have been late for work, and would have stood on the side of the road for close to an hour.  When I told them that the bird had been taken by the kind boy the woman said “It probably won’t heal.”  “He will make it comfortable anyway.” I replied.  I know your game DOC, you would take my injured bird and kill it without letting it rest on a nice bed scoffing cat food before it goes!  At least it got taken in by a family that cares, even if its days are numbered, not left on the side of the road for hours by the organisations supposed to help creatures.

gull

Citizen Pigalina

Pigalina is British but has lived in New Zealand for 20 years next month. I already refer to New Zealanders as “us” and “we” so time to make it official.
This could have happened a number of years ago when the rest of my family were applying, but we all got way-laid and it was delayed for a year or so. Then, once it was back on track, I was informed that the previous offer to have the fee paid for me was rescinded – “You earn enough, you can pay for it yourself.”. Oh.
So, four years or so after the rest of my family, today I went to my appointment. I was out of there after ten minutes. I had expected it to take longer, especially with the questions in the form about if I have ever manufactured chemical weapons or been a member of a terrorist organization. Although I had ticked “No”.