Long time, no hear!

It seems a while since I wrote anything so thought it was time to pen some thoughts. Life has been pretty hectic – work is full on at the moment, it is the middle of winter and it has been a busy term. This week was International Languages week so we were busy organising all sorts of activities to celebrate and promote language learning. Great fun but also exhausting; we made “crepes” on Tuesday for French day, Frankfurters on Wednesday, a Sumo wrestling contest on Thursday and Burritos on Friday. My colleague, Allyn who is the Spanish teacher seems to have boundless energy and ideas – despite struggling desperately with a horrendous cold, she had her students making Pinatas for all the junior form classes as well as persuading staff and students to come to school wearing “Sombreros y Bigotes”. There were some wonderful specimens; Lachlan went wearing the sombrero Nigel brought back from Mallorca and his friends provided him with a marker pen moustache ( he is still trying to wash it off!).

The weather is typically winter-ish, though apparently, this is the worst winter they have had in a decade! The drought of the summer has given way to floods of winter and the lakes that feed the hydro power are now so full that they have had to release water, which has raised the river levels and caused flooding! Some of the rugby practices and matches for Aonghas have been cancelled because the pitches are waterlogged, but poor old Lachlan has played every week in all weather conditions. The worst one was about three week’s ago when we played at a bleak, windswept town called Tokoroa. It is about an hour’s drive away from Hamilton and quite a lot higher. We were buffeted along the road by the wind, and the rain beating on the windscreen made visibility difficult, but we eventually got there, tipped the boys out of the car and then went to find a coffee! When we came back we found that the Hillcrest team was out “warming up” but no sign of the Tokoroa team. As the minutes ticked by, the wind blew harder and the rain lashed down; there was a wind chill factor of at least minus 3 degrees! The Tokoroa team emerged one by one from the changing rooms but at 15 minutes after kick off time there were still only 12 of them! By this team our boys were frozen, and we were shivering under the eaves of a very unsubstantial building, our umbrellas straining against the wind (several didn’t make it!). When the game finally started it looked like Tokoroa had called in some of their U15 players ( at least a head taller than any of our players and well developed (facial hair!)) and they ran through the Hillcrest boys to beat them convincingly. We didn’t know it but the referee had already declared that Hillcrest had won as Tokoroa didn’t have enough players and had not been on the pitch when the game was due to start. No incentive then for our boys to play to win even if they could have summoned up the energy to move since they were so cold. It was noted that Lachlan was the only one to keep on tackling and running at the opposition but that this was probably a good day by Cumbrian standards! He has certainly had plenty of experience of coping with bleak conditions – Kirkby Stephen and Penrith are pretty grim places in the middle of winter! Unfortunately, one of the boys was woefully inadequately prepared for the match – no breakfast, cotton tee-shirt, sweatshirt and rugby shirt, and at the tail end of a chest infection – and we ended up having to take him to Tokoroa hospital with mild hypothermia. Fortunately he recovered quickly once I had persuaded him to take off his wet clothes, gave him my fleeces and a hat to wear, and the hospital provided him with a hot meal! We ended up with half the team eating chips in the waiting area of the hospital before thankfully heading home. The most annoying outcome of all of this was that Tokoroa put in the scores to the league, claimed the victory and were awarded the points! The implications of this are far too complicated to narrate here but suffice it to say that it had a significant (negative) bearing on the overall outcome of our position in the league!

However, our team have played well and apart from that match have not lost until last week in the semi-final when they played Hamilton Boys High School Reds. Theoretically the same team that we beat the week before but which in fact bore no resemblance to them! Interestingly Hamilton Boys High School Black defaulted to Tokoroa on the same day in their semi-final….! A much bigger squad and definitely physically more imposing, they were aggressive and much more organised. Our boys put up a brave fight holding them to just two unconverted tries in the first half, but shortly before the end of the first half Lachlan was kicked in the wrist as he went to pick up a loose ball and he had to come off and go to hospital. In the course of the second half (information via text messages in the hospital!) four more of our players were injured (one seriously concussed and taken off to hospital in an ambulance) but only one more try conceded. A technical loss but no loss of pride!

Lachlan sporting full arm cast!

Lachlan came home sporting an impressive right angled full length cast on his arm! He has two broken bones – radius and ulna, and some damage to the growth plate. We were referred to the “bone doctor” for further assessment and there was some concern that he would have to have surgery, but the consultant decided that he would be okay. We have to go back for further x-rays on Monday and hopefully a smaller cast! As you can imagine Lachlan is pretty gutted – he had a busy sporting week scheduled with a duathlon on Tuesday, an outdoor ed taster day on Thursday and the play off for 3rd 4th place in the rugby league tomorrow, as well as volleyball training, swimming and the soccer module in PE this term. I think he has quite enjoyed the attention at school, especially from the girls but the novelty is starting to wear thin and he is certainly hoping that hewill get a lighter, smaller cast next week.

Otherwise, we are all fine apart from the usual winter coughs and snuffles, and spirits are a little higher since we had another offer on our house. The same price as we accepted before and this time we are keeping fingers and toes crossed that all will go through okay. Will let you know next post!

PS.

The boys played like superstars and beat Hamilton Boys 32 – 19 so we came 3rd in the league.  Tokoroa agreed to concede the points they had claimed so we won the round robin part of the league.  They conceded points too late for it to affect the draw for the top four play off positions so the results stand for the last two games. However we finished on a high and are looking forward to next season already!  Aonghas’ match was called off again due to bad weather so it looks like all that is left are the presentation nights. Don’t expect either of ours to get anything in the way of honours but they have played hard and done themselves proud in their first season of kiwi rugby!