Katherine Hayton | BLOG

I tuned into the weather report last night. I was once again scheduled to fly up to Auckland for a meeting of a couple of hours that effectively took up the whole day due to the extended travelling distance.

As a special treat I scheduled a bit of me time by travelling up earlier than I needed. I thought I could do a bit of work on the plane trip up, go shopping for an hour or two, and then go into the office for the scheduled meeting without feeling too put upon.

Yup. That was my plan.

The weather report assured me that it was going to be 26° and sunny. I pondered on the advisability of wearing jandals on a work day, and sadly wisely decided not to.

I did however, throw aside my work uniform in favour of slightly more summery corporate attire.

On the ride to the airport this morning my phone reaffirmed that it was a nice warm sunny day in the nation’s pseudo capital. I considered whether I should start with jewellery out shoes.

When I landed it was warm and calm and not sunny, but still a pleasant day all round. Forty minutes later as I was deposited outside the city office it was raining.

In Christchurch rain is a brief affair. Both in longevity and heft. It flutters around for a few minutes, maybe a half hour if you’re lucky, and then it heads off to play somewhere else.

Two hours later the Auckland rain hadn’t moved on. It wasn’t playful. Remember I mentioned it was calm? Rain splats straight down on you when it’s calm. Big warm drops of water. Not flurries. Drops.

I did try to go out in the end. I had only thirty minutes before my meeting, but I thought I’ll still give my favorite Auckland jewellery shop a visit.

My shoes squeaked and lost their grip easily on the pavement. There were crowds of people, inconveniently spaced due to their umbrella accessories.

I was on a hiding to nothing so I turned and retraced my footsteps to return to the office. Older. Wiser. Damper.

Thanks Auckland. Right back at ya.

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Welcome to the CourierPost Feedback Form. Please provide feedback in the field below. (*500 characters max.)

Dear CourierPost,

I have a signed agreement with your company stating that it’s okay to leave signature required parcels at our property and we accept all responsibility for them from that point.

Today I’ve received a Card to Call where this direction hasn’t been followed. I’ve tried to use your website but I can’t order a redirection because I don’t have a drivers license.

I attempted to contact you on your Customer Service number, and a computer-generated phantom voice relayed two minutes of information and choices culminating in an explanation that I could order a redirection on your website. Which I can’t. Because I don’t have a driver’s license.

I would like this item delivered again to my home address and left on the front doorstep if no one is at home, as per our agreement. If you don’t want to do that any longer then I would expect that the usual course of action from the company terminating the joint agreement is to – at the very least – inform me that this agreement is no longer in place.

If you’re not able to leave the package then perhaps you could explain why I’m not allowed to redirect my own mail because I don’t have a drivers license. It is rather odd to expect me to collect an item from your back-of-beyond depot when – to be perfectly clear – I don’t have a drivers license.

I haven’t chosen your service, the person sending the item has. I haven’t chosen signature required, the person sending the item has. And please don’t worry, I will definitely contact this business on your behalf to stress how much they have inconvenienced you so that they know never to use your service again. I am happy to do this small thing for you.

However, I must stress once again that I have already made arrangements for this situation because it does inconvenience me as well when businesses choose to use your signature-required courier option. These form part of the instructions on your ‘permission to leave items’ form which I spent time and trouble to complete correctly and sign thus forming a valid contract between us.

Please either drop my item at my address where I have already signed an agreement saying you can deliver without collecting a signature even when the sender chooses to use your signature-required option, or redirect this item to the following address
why are you reading this
you can’t possibly
believe I’d type in my actual
address in
where some lackie at reception will happily sign documentation to you heart’s content.

Kind regards,


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02 Feb / Exercise

Being a Monday, the traditional day of all dietorial and exerciserial resolutions, I was committed to walking home tonight.

It’s a nice walk home that I don’t do nearly as often as I should, and I have the current laboured breathing to show for it.

I was committed when I first sat down in the office. I was committed while I was eating my low-fat breakfast yoghurt.

I was committed when I felt like a snack at morning tea time, and I was committed when I remembered that I only had celery sticks and bravely decided to go without.

I was committed when I sat down to lunch and grimly chewed my way through konjac noodles and tried to pretend they were pasta, the same way the company that sold them to me had.

I was committed to it when I decided I deserved a Coke Zero and found to my horror that the machine still hadn’t been refilled since it mysteriously emptied out on Friday and I had to settle for a Diet Coke instead.

I was committed to it while I was walking to the door of the office…

And then someone said, “It’s hot out there. You won’t need your cardigan.”

I don’t understand where commitment goes. Perhaps it overheated and decided to go off somewhere and sit in the shade.

I caught the bus, but then for some reason my commitment came back.

Half an hour from home it jumped back in control and demanded that I leave the bus right then and there. I tried to explain to it how that would be totally impolite to the driver who’d steered us so well up to that point, but eventually I gave in and jumped down at the next stop.

The reason the someone said about the heat was because it was very hot outside. Even without my cardigan. 31 degree heat, and I was a half hour from home. I managed the walk, but I still haven’t cooled down. I decided not to heat my tea in the microwave in favour of eating it cold straight from the refrigerator.

I’m not sure that I’m committed to this tomorrow. We’ll see.

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My computer has been haranguing me today. It’s hot, and it’s getting old, and so it’s also starting to get slow. I’m personally looking forward to the day when I’m so slow that all of my laptop functions seem incredibly quick. Old-age here I come.

But the problems I’ve been having lately aren’t to do with its speed. It’s to do with the latest update, which I can’t install.

Not due to incompetence or incompatibility settings. No, I could have a reasonable crack at the second, and if I had the first I wouldn’t have installed any of the previous updates, or indeed be able to turn my laptop on.

The problem is that there’s one plug-in that I use that isn’t going to work in the new version. And, oh sure, they say they’ll let me know as soon as it’s been updated. They say these things. But what do they really mean? Where’s my forwards compatibility now Windows?

I have a range of plug-ins that I could live without. There’s a nice plug-in that I use to protect my computer when it’s visiting sites that it shouldn’t visit. And a double plug-in layer of protection for when my computer is visiting sites that it REALLY shouldn’t visit.

I could happily expose my computer to everything that the wild west deep web of the internet has to offer. But the plug-in that makes it a tiny bit easier to do a job ten times a day and which I could easily devise a workaround for if a put a little effort in?

I’m not into putting effort in.

So I laugh at your attempts to bully me into updating my system just by saying I’m old and irrelevant, Mozilla. You’re staying right where you are.

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It may not have hit the world headlines, but there’s a potato shortage in New Zealand. It sprang into sharp focus over Christmas when retailers weren’t able to keep their shelves stocked with potato chips. Dip sales fell in equal measure.

The whole country went into shock. We may not be Irish, but potato chips are one of our national foods. We have flavours that no other country would ever dream of having. And we still sell reduced cream solely so it can be mixed with dried onion soup to make a traditional kiwi dip.

I think there were a few happy nutritionists jumping around, but that was about it.

It’s not over, by the way. Every time we walk into our supermarket for our weekly shop we have to walk past the sign stating that due to a national potato blah blah blah.

And it’s not just the chips. The chips are just the bit that everyone worries about. There are very few new pototoes, and the ones there are aren’t very big.

All of this pretty much passed me by. Sure, I knew about it – everybody knew about it – but even when I’m not on a diet I’m not so far away from one that I indulge in potato chips. And I only need potatoes when we’re doing a roast, which is winter food.

But this morning it all hit home.

The reason for the potato shortage is that the weather has been inopportune for potato growth. Less potatoes, less crops, and the potatoes there are have a smaller yield.

Today I dug up my own home-grown potatoes. They’ve been sprouting and growing and flowering and growing and dying back and getting all ready for harvest. I was going to have a full-on potato haul in my cupboards tonight!

These are the results of my crop.

The teaspoon – yes that’s only a teaspoon – is in there for scale as otherwise you might believe that we grow rather big glad containers in New Zealand and the crop was fine.

It wasn’t fine.

Now I have to dry them off and store them for a really special occasion because after five months work I’m only getting one meal out of these suckers.

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30 Jan / Sales Desk

When our office moved last weekend I was left with a free desk in my pod. As my book was released on Monday I shamelessly purloined it to use it as a sales desk for my hastily assembled ‘Katherine Hayton Only Bookstore.’

Sadly I’m gaining a new staff member in my little team on Monday, so although I will be grateful for the assistance I’m losing my POS furniture.

For some reason my Skeletal teddy bears, and my posters, and my stack of unsold books, and my handmade sign stating that they’re signed by the author, just don’t have as much panache when they’re on top of a tambour instead.

I’m just going to have to try to harangue people that little bit harder. I believe it could go something along the lines of if you want help from the office QA then you just have to provide proof of purchase.

Damn. Just remembered that my manager is also back on Monday. That may not fly.

Thinking cap on then. I’ll see what I can come up with over the weekend. Or I’ll just sit down and start the next one. Whichever.

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Don’t you find it annoying when you accomplish something which you’ve found really hard, something you’ve struggled to do, something which you weren’t sure you’d ever work out how to achieve, and when you try to explain it to someone they crinkle up their nose and go ‘What?’

I know that I shouldn’t rely on the approval and regard of others for my self-worth, but when you do something that leaves you flabbergasted at your own cleverness it’s hard to have a one-woman party about it. You want a couple of friends to join you so the barman doesn’t point you out as the sad sack in the corner and whisper asides when newcomers arrive at the bar.

I could try and share it with you now, but I have a feeling that after typing in the words Sharepoint and Infopath your reading eyes would glaze over and the achievement would likewise be lost.

Or, worse, you’d perk up at the words and then be bemused at my inability to have mastered my achievement previously.


I certainly have a knack at plucking despair out of the jaws of victory.

Never mind. Tomorrow when I arrive at the office I’ll open up my computer and bring up my wonderful new list, and then pretend to enter transactions into my joyful new form. And be impressed all over again that I managed to get it to do the things it will do, even if no one else can share them with me.


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Yeah, okay, I didn’t really give it up for much more than a few weeks. First of all my Team Leader brought me a carton as a lovely Christmas gift. And after that ran out I would hold out for a few days at a time, and then give in and rush the vending machine.

This has become worse this week because we’ve been allowed to use the stairwells to access downstairs again, rather than trekking through the other building. And that’s with having one day off sick (unrelated to Coke.)

Today it seems likely that this is one addiction that I’m not ready to beat. I’ve found a new use for them.

Headache cures!

I don’t know why sticking a can of Coke Zero to my forehead should gently ease the onesided eye-watering head thumper that I get on and off. I can only affirm that it does.

The cold. The wet (it’s an old vending machine.) The thought that as soon as my forehead warms it up it’ll be ready to be drunk.

Ohhhhhh. So. Good.

I’m also betting that whatever evils the goodness of Coke is meant to bring to my body (thus far unproven) cannot possibly be as bad as the copious tomes dedicated to the evils that Paracetomol will bring to my liver, and Aspirin or Nurofen will bring to my stomach ulcer (proven.)

Therefore I am choosing to readdict myself to the wonders of Coke.

And I’m proud to say this is due to wanting my body to remain a temple of health.

Open happiness.

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27 Jan / Weight Loss

Well, the second day of dieting turned out to be a lot easier than the first. Usually that’s not the case. Usually the second day is harder as I no longer have the full stomach of the binge-before-dieting day to live off of.

However, this second day of dieting I had a marvellous stroke of luck.

At 7.30am I was working away, busy as a slow and lazy beaver, and wondering how much longer I could hold out before I really needed to eat breakfast. At 8.00am I was thankful that I still hadn’t managed it as my stomach chose that moment to decide to taste life on the outside.

I chewed grimly at a couple of crackers to see if they were going to make peace and part the waves of nausea, but they just gave my insides something to feel good about throwing back out.

One panicked phonecall to my darling later (there was no way I was going to make it a full bus ride) I was on my way home.

Sometime during the car ride (and thanks Bishopdale roundabout for choosing today of all days to close yourself off and force an interminable detour on us) my stomach upset made the decision to head south. I got in through the front door and into the bathroom just in time to catch off the basement delivery.

I’ve managed to keep a few more crackers down since then, and tomorrow I may even try for a full meal once more, but tonight I don’t think I’m going to push my luck.

Cups of milky tea to keep my hydrated should see me right.

I’m rather looking forward to the third day of dieting. I really think I’ve got the hang of this thing.

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