Christmas washout 2011

Ahhhh the NZ Christmas I remember – potential rain ever threatening on the horizon to wash out the planned BBQ. The day started off lovely and sunny and to be honest there was only a short spell of a drizzle so in all we can’t be that critical. However, the days following this have been increasingly rainy. Darn, 11 days off work and so few sunny days to play in. You have to take those days when you get them.

We had an enjoyable family get together in Auckland where we indulged in pav and steamed pudding. Nigella’s steamed pudding I might add. There was not a crumb left to bring home. BBQ chicken, salad and lots of fun was had with the Secret Santa game.

I spent some more time with 2 mates on Christmas night and enjoyed some beach walks. It’s nice to remember the good things about where you have lived in the past. Auckland doesn’t really thrill me at all these days but it is nice to be reminded that there are gorgeous aspects of the city like accessibility to the beaches and friends there.

Steve has had his normal 3 days off this week but it has been a real downer that the weather has been so terrible. Gone were the plans to tramp up Ruapehu but we did do a short walk along the W2K track out near Kinloch. Stunning location and barely a soul to be seen out there. We stopped on the way back to the car for a hot drink (just because we could).


So this is spring?

I would say that I’m quite the wimp really. Our fire has been going since about April and here it is, already spring moving into summer, and it is only a week since we stopped using the fireplace. I am looking forward to the summer months of warm weather but I will miss the crackling sound and delightful colours of a hearty fire.

The clocks went forward for daylight savings a couple of weeks ago so the days are getting deliciously longer so more time to do those wonderful outdoor activities (once it warms up).

Things have been quite hectic lately with the recent passing of both my grandfathers. I am so thankful that I have had so many years with both of these wonderful men. If I was to think of the first thing that reminds me of both or describes them – for Grandad Sears he is the man from Snowy River and for Grandad Penney he is the sea. This will mean nothing to you but those thought evoke wonderful memories that I hold dear. If you think of a loved one what image, sound or smell is it that instantly makes you remember them?

Naturally at a time of loss you begin to ponder your own mortality and the legacy you wish to leave. What will each of us contribute? What can I contribute? Do I need to? I have no answers, just questions.

I will update on my 100km challenge another time. At the moment many other things are calling such as getting outside and enjoying the fleeting sunshine.

Mid winter here we are

Well to be honest it is well past that mid winter mark but winter feels like it has settled in for a while. When I checked the last time I did a post I was rather surprised. May! What the???

Since then I have visited my nephews in Melbourne, signed up for the Luxmore Grunt, attended the FC ball in Auckland, left FC and now have a new job as an archivist. The months have flown by.

In the meantime illness in our household continues to linger and given the change of job and general laziness of life we have well and truly slipped off the plan. I can tell you now that I can feel the effects of unhealthy eating, lethargy, tiredness etc. Today was our push to get back on the “wagon” as such. With my new role I can walk up to the local butcher but again he has no idea where his meat is coming from. Seriously people, how hard is this???? It’s rather scary to be honest, aren’t these people interested in where their food comes from, how it was grown, what went into it?
I have a hearty beef, vegetable and lentil casserole on slow cook for overnight. This will be a great lunch and dinner for tomorrow instead of mixed beans and tuna (can you say “over that lunch option”).

Anyway that was the small catch up for now.

Merry Christmas from Taupo

This is our first time in 13 years that we have had Christmas in NZ. At the moment is seems strange baking in the hot summer sun while tucking into Christmas fare of ham, chicken and salad followed by the good old Pavlova of course. When, on the top side of the world our mates back in Bristol are shivering away while the snow falls. Must say we have been watching the snow falling across the UK and wishing we were there! Love, love, love SNOW!

My mum and dad drove down Christmas Day to spend two nights with us. Getting up at 5am in the morning they were sitting down for coffee with us by 9am. The roads were incredibly quiet so they got a nice run through. It was awesome they came to spend time with us and they even brought with them even more boxes that we had left in storage with them while we have been overseas all these years. On top of that mum did a shop at Countdown so our fridge and cupboards have more food in them than they have ever seen since we moved in. Mum’s – you gotta love them! Thanks mum you’re the best! Dad got the car all fixed up and they brought that down too. Mmmmmwah! Good work dad.

They went home today so the house is very quiet. It was fabulous to spend some time with them both. We even got to talk to the nephews in Australia. Happy days.

So how was our first NZ Christmas. Relaxed, no over eating and just nice to sit, chat and chill.

It’s been awhile

How time has flown. We have finally made it to Taupo on a wing and a prayer. There was a mad dash down the line with, yet again, nothing but our bags of clothes, a borrowed car and my faithful IPhone with 3G to get ringing around those rental agencies. We had a bit of a hiccup with housing hence why the last minute dash. I was due to start work on Monday but as I have now discovered in NZ things take a little bit longer than anticipated. So it was a mad dash to Taupo ringing real estate agents on the way trying to book in viewings. By the time we got to Taupo though we had secured a place to reside. Hallelujah!

So now 3 weeks in we have the internet connected and a phone number (but no physical phone!) so that’s next on the list to purchase. No point having a phone number without something for people to ring you on! Not that I know what the phone number is as I still don’t have any mail advising me of this yet?

I have been in and out of Taupo with training for my new job so this is the first week where I have actually benefited from living here so far. That is, I have walked home from work 3 nights this week and walked into work today. This may sound rather pathetic but by the end of the day as a newie in this job you are rather catatonic and the thought of doing anything such as figuring out how to get home is not high on my list of capabilities. Steve has been incredible and when I get home dinner is cooked, coffee is on and the world is good again.

Also, the first day so far of not wanting to crawl under a rock and just vegetate. Seriously, changing careers is freaking hard work.

My birthday was last week. Thanks to everyone for your texts and FB messages. I really appreciated all the love! It was awesome to see my parents that weekend as well. They brought a bunch of stuff in a convoy down to Taupo for us which was fab. Mostly I just enjoyed seeing and spending time with them both as well as getting to spend some more time with K & R in Auckland. Thanks again guys for a good night in. We really enjoy our time with you both.

Anyway, I have some homework to do. I’m taking a product morning at the next team meeting so I must do some research on all things “LA”. Until next time. Cheerio pip pip.

Silence is golden?

It has been 3 weeks of mayhem here in the countryside of Maungaturoto. My brother and his two boys (4 & 2) were visiting for great grandad’s 80th and an extended holiday. They returned home to Australia yesterday. Let me tell you it was rather crowded especially when it rains so often and they can’t go outside, but boy did we have fun. The house is very quiet now and has somewhat been returned to its previous state of tidiness but I do miss the little tykes.

During their stay we
-went to the beach to pick pipis,
– went fishing and caught a Kahawai
– went to the park,
– had fun at Chipmunks,
– shopping trips,
– fed the chooks and collected eggs,
– ran around the rugby field,
– watched the lambs,
– made the cat and dog freak out,
– visited the grandparents,
– went to McDonalds (on more than one occasion),
– helped Grandad Sears work on the car and much more.

Six weeks and counting

Packed and ready to be collected. Strange how now I wander about wondering what to do. No books to read, no DVD’s. All this extra time on my hands and you forget to just enjoy not having distractions.

We did visit a nice pub last night called The Grain Barge. On the Bristol Channel up from the lock with a nice cider, or as the driver I get the unfermented apple juice 🙂

Flashmob – The UK Freeze, Bristol

On Saturday there was another flashmob event in Bristol. This time in the Broadmead Shopping mall. I went with my flatmate to take photos. There needed to be more people but it was fun to watch. If you have seen the Grand Central Station version on YouTube you will know what I mean by a Freeze. Everyone is walking around normally then a signal sounds and all those involved freeze in action for a set period of time. At the end of the period the signal sounds again and they continue doing what they were doing as if nothing has happened. Very funny to watch.

My flatmate and I also ended up on the You Tube video at 2 minutes 35 seconds (photographing the participants). Check it out.

UK Big Freeze Bristol

Trail Running

On Friday I bought a new pair of trail running shoes. I have been holding off on doing it for ages but my court shoes just weren’t doing the job. Using shoes for exercise that they weren’t intended for – just plain silly. I have ended up giving myself yet another injury to my calf muscle by doing heel strike running with court shoes indoor on a treadmill. The initial injury was from squash and I have been rather naughty and caused more stress to it.

So, my new trail running shoes are a nice shiny green pair of Inov8 Terroc’s. Really lightweight and with a great tread on them I can get through the mud with ease now. In my court shoes I would be slipping all over the place. It was a great day for a run on Sunday and managed to clock up 6.5 km’s. This is the furthest I have run so far non stop. I’m rather proud of myself at this stage but have a long way to go yet. I’m trying to take it easy by improving my distance while trying not to inflict any further injuries.

I also put a vege curry together this weekend. Yum!

Reindeer pizza – yum

Today is our last day in Finland and there has been very few internet connections available. A larger post will follow once we return home tomorrow. In the meantime, we have had an incredible week full of cross country skiing, snow, snow and more snow.
It hasn’t been as cold as we were hoping, today it is -18 but we were expecting -30 at the very least. No Northern lights as yet but not through lack of trying.
Anyway, I am back to my reindeer and blue cheese pizza for now. One great thing about the cold and all this exercise is no worries about the carbs. Excellent!