Posted by: Vallere | June 4, 2011

Friday’s Flipside Five – Annoyances

It might seem, by reading my blog, that New Zealand is all bunnies and buttercups and chocolate. And, in many ways, it is. But I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking that I have no complaints. There are definitely things here that are taking some getting used to, some things that I do miss about America, and some things that are just downright annoying. Here are five of those things:

1) Duvets

I truly despise duvets with every fiber of my soul. They are quite possibly the most annoying things ever invented and I honestly can’t understand why people here use them instead of just a quilt of comforter. For those who aren’t quite sure what a duvet is, it’s sort of like a comforter, except instead of the stuffing and fabric being sewn together to make one complete piece, in a duvet, the stuffing is a single piece, and the fabric slips over it like a pillowcase would a pillow.

I know that it sounds like it would be a good idea. Instead of trying to wash the entire comforter (which rarely ever fits well into a washer) you just slip the cover off and wash it – it’s the same as washing a sheet, really. And it would be easier to change the decor of the room. Don’t like the color of your bedspread? Just swap out the duvet cover.

But. And there is a BIG but here. BUT, once you put on the duvet cover, you just snap up the open end, and there is nothing at all to keep the stuffing piece in place. I can’t tell you how many nights I wake up freezing because somehow the stuffing got all wadded up in one side of the duvet cover and I’m lying there under just a thin sheet. And then you have to take the whole thing apart and shake it to get it straightened out.

Seriously, Kiwis…comforters. Or quilts. Or even afgans. But not the duvets!

2) Store hours

I know this is just something I’m not used to, and I’m sure if I had lived here since childhood I would be, but in New Zealand, stores just aren’t open as much as I’d like them to be. When 5 o’clock rolls around, things close. People here work to live instead of living to work like they do in the States, and I do love this lifestyle, but I have to wonder how a family with two working parents gets any shopping done. Stores seriously close at 5pm on the dot. The only things that are open later than that are the grocery stores (the latest of which stays open till 10pm – a far cry from out 24 hour Food Lions!), the Warehouse (which closes at 8pm – no 3am Wally World runs for college kids here!) and places to eat.

3) The right of way rule

I’ve mentioned this one before, but it bears repeating. In New Zealand, the right of way goes to the person turning right over the person turning left. In American terms, this would mean that if you wanted to turn right, you’d have to give way to the oncoming person turning left. It makes absolutely no sense. It’s also very confusing. I keep hearing that they are going to change the law, but it can’t happen soon enough for me.

4) No insulation

I’ve heard that houses built more than about 10 years ago are uninsulated. The one we are in was built in 1980ish, and definitely is uninsulated. Granted, the temperatures here are very temperate, and it doesn’t get terribly cold in the winter, nor terribly hot in the summer, but we have had a few rather chilly nights, and have noticed that if you let the fire go out, it almost instantly becomes cold in the house. On top of that, there are also no…

5) Double glazed windows

No double glazing on the windows means that condensation here can get pretty bad. In a few rooms you can see streaky marks on the walls where it has run down. I don’t know for sure that it causes any damage, but I can’t imagine all that moisture can be good for the walls or paint. Or carpet, for that matter.


I know all of these are very minor annoyances in the grand scheme of things, but they just go to show that nowhere is perfect for everyone!



  1. I bought a duvet when we moved to this house. It’s a pretty and simple design, but they are sooooo annoying. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I was thinking I’d make a fortune if I invented a gadget that kept it in place and didn’t annoy you when you sleep.

  2. I hate Duvets with every fiber of my body. In that we are alike. I do however like the store thing. I know it’s a pain but it must be so nice to know that if you work at a store you are going to see your family 🙂

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