We have just come into Autumn here but you wouldn’t really know – weather still beautiful though there has been a bit of welcome (for the farmers) rain. Sunday morning here and I am up to take Lachlan to tennis – I am managing his tennis team this season. Blithely ticked the “am happy to help out” when we joined the club and got a phone call before the ink was dry! Well, it gets me up on a Sunday morning! The boys have both trained as Ball Boys and did their first tournament last week – it was a whelelchair tennis competition and this weekend there is the ASB Pro circuit so they will do that, get a couple of days off school and meet some of the A list pros (about 200th in the world) who will be playing in it. One perk of being a manager is that Lachlan and Aonghas will get to be in the group that has a special session with some of the pros – a bit of a knock about with them, autographs and goodies. No idea if we will even have heard of any of them but they will have some fun.
Lachlan’s tennis has really improved with some regular, good and relatively cheap coaching at the club. He trains in the U16 development squad and plays at the club three or four times a week. He has even started to win some matches after a string of close matches which he lost with unflattering score lines!
The rugby season starts in a few weeks and Aonghas can’t decide whether to play soccer or rugby this year but he got a promotional letter from Richie McCaw last week (sent to all kids in junior rugby clubs!) and was quite impressed so he thought he might go for the rugby! Since then he has decided to go for hockey! However he is still a bit unsure as he would quite like to play football too. Unfortunately they all happen on a Saturday morning which makes decisions difficult, especially for a 9 year old!
Lachlan has just started pre-season training for rugby – looks like there may be some competition this year as there are a few more players than last year. I have “volunteered” to be team manager this year – I still can’t say “no”! I quite enjoy being on the sidelines though, chatting to other parents and watching the matches.
Over the summer the boys have both done the Weetbix Tryathlon – there are a series of these events around the country specially for kids to introduce them to triathlons. Last year Aonghas competed as part of a team but decided he wanted to do the whole thing this year. Lachlan also competed in the Waikato Schools Triathlon last week – a bit tougher than the Weetbix! Because of his Birthday he had to compete in the U16 race and also found that the majority of the other boys had road bikes rather than mountain bikes! Nevertheless he reckons he came in somewhere in the middle of the bunch so was quite proud of himself. The 400m swim was in Lake Karapiro – quite chilly but fortunately the day of the race was fine after a blustery cold evening the night before.
A few weeks ago he competed in the Black Stump Mountain Bike Race. We had had weeks of hot weather and sunshine, but the Black Stump is not known as the “Drought Breaker” for nothing! A couple of days before the race the rain started – the course is renowned for being muddy – thick clay-ey mud – and on the Saturday morning we woke to a cold grey sky. The temperature had plummeted from somewhere in the mid 20s to about 12 degrees C! I took photos and waited, shivering, for Lachlan to finish. It is very scary as a parent waiting – worse than rugby I think because you see all the other accident prone people coming back muddy and bloody and wonder when yours will come back! He finished in under two hours (18km) which apparently was a pretty good time for his first big ride! The Black Stump is supposed to be the toughest ride on the race circuit! I think he pushed/carried more than he rode but then so did everyone else and he came over the finish line covered in mud!
Aonghas has done a lot of swimming this year – he loves the water and we joined the Fairfield Swim Club at the beginning of the summer. Aonghas has been having two lessons a week and has also enjoyed competing in club swim nights each Wednesday. ( A lolly for every race you enter and spot prizes at the end are a big incentive!) Any way all the practice has paid off as last week he qualified to represent his school in the 25m back crawl. The big day was today and he went off proudly this morning. He came second in his heat but didn’t have a fast enough time to swim in the final. He had fun though!
On Monday he was invested as a Cub – on the waiting list since we arrived here last year, he now has his uniform and is loving cub nights. He had a great time at the National Mudslide day a couple of weeks ago then last week he got his swimming badge.
As the weather is still good we are all still cycling to work and Aonghas is enjoying a little bit of freedom cycling to school with his friend Adam a couple of days a week. We were a bit nervous at first about letting him cycle on his own but Nigel has been “training” him in road awareness and we eventually had to let him go! So far no problems though he still cycles with Nigel most days. Nearly everyone (kids anyway) cycles on the pavements here, there is much more of the ethos that cyclists and pedestrians “share and care” which makes us a bit happier about letting him go on his own though there are still plenty of roads to cross. The main ones have crossings and motorists really do stop at zebras here!
I am trying to keep/get fit. My shoulder is still crook – I have a torn fluid pocket in the Rotator cuff muscle which has kept me out of tennis and swimming ALL summer. Starting to improve now but daren’t play tennis – can’t do overarm stuff or any stretching behind me, so I have done a bit of one armed and very gentle two armed swimming. Can also cycle so have been cycling to work every day and doing the odd run with Lachlan. I did a Duathlon a couple of weekends ago and enjoyed that. It was only a short one 3.5km run + 10km bike + 1.5km run but my legs felt like sludge when I got off the bike and started to run and that last 1500m was murder! However I managed to do it in less than an hour so was quite pleased with myself. Since I had so much fun torturing myself I have registered to do another one in Rotorua in late April along with a couple of friends – better start some training as I would like to improve on my time. This weekend I am doing a 5km run in Cambridge with some girlfriends from school and then having lunch afterwards. (that’s the real incentive!)
I spent a day instructing Outdoor Ed at a Muslim women’s camp that a friend of mine organised last week – an interesting day. Some of the girls/women had never had the opportunity to walk in the bush, climb, abseil or even have a go on a flying fox. They had a great time. and I really enjoyed myself too. The camp took place out at Pirongia – a beautiful setting and a well organised set-up. Another spot to add to the list of places to go with the family as it is only half an hour away.
Next week I am away on camp with the Year 9s – the programme looks good but I have to get down to planning work to leave for the rest of my classes! Better get to it!