A new Year – a new school…

Third week in and I am starting to find my way around Dio, learnt a few names of both staff and students and almost feel like I’ve been there forever! Everyone is very friendly, and there is a calm atmosphere about the place.  It is strange only seeing girls around after a lifetime of teaching in mixed schools, but it is certainly a very different environment.

Spent 4 days at Year 9 Camp at Ngaruawahia which was great – fantastic weather – clear blue skies and glorious sunshine.  A couple of misty mornings in the valley but the cloud soon burned away.  I got a chance to have a go at Waka Ama – paddling a Maori canoe – we had a pretty stable Catamaran version with two boatsTeam 12 Waka Ama strapped together with 6 people each side.  It was great fun and my team of girls was awesome.  We held the best time for the race from the second session right through to the last day but were narrowly beaten in the end!  Raft building was fun and racing our rafts in the slimy, eel infested lake led to lots of girlish shrieking and fierce competition!  Blindfold climbing was a first but we all rose to the challenge, and Team 12 (aka the best team)  won the Camp Concert – a real team effort!

Nigel and I were invited to the official opening of the Piki Mahuta Arts Centre at school last week – quite an honour it seems as not many staff were extended the courtesy.  However, I think I was invited as I teach in there.  Piki Mahuta is the name that the Maori Queen (Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu) was known by when she attended Dio as a girl.  She died about 3 years ago which was when the building was in its planning stages which is why it got its name.  It was a very grand affair and my first official Maori event.  I was humbled by the fact that I understood little of what was said and it has made me even more determined to learn more Maori.  The singing from both the Kapa Haka group from school and the Maori Whanau was wonderful.  They have an amazingly sonorous singing style which such depth and strength.  At the beginning of next term I will have the privelege of going to stay at the Tainui Marae with my Year 11 form for a few days and am really looking forward to it.  We are welcome there as a school because of the links we have with the Maori Royal Family through Piki Mahuta.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Blog resumed 12/04/09

Holiday time again, so time to write and catch up!  I can’t believe a whole term has already slipped by!  As usual, I get to the penultimate week of the term and realise that I haven’t covered half the work I should have with my classes though we still seemed to have done lots in the lessons!   I suddenly panic that they are woefully under prepared for assessments….and they probably are!  Time just seems to run away from us, but another Easter is here and we’re ready for a break.

gardenNigel has Friday, Monday and Tuesday off so we’ll see what the weather does and try to get away somewhere.  There’s a place called Pureora just between Te Kuiti and Taupo that seemingly has some good mountain bike tracks suitable for beginners and old crocks!   Lachlan might need challenging but we could just make him do them as a time trial!  Not quite sure how we’re going to manage to get bikes and camping gear as well as children in the car – we’ll need more clothes too as summer has definitely drawn to a close.  The clocks went back last week and the evenings are dark and chilly.  Although it is nowhere near as cool as it would be in the Dales, the temperature seems to have dropped very quickly so I think we feel it more.

I am still trying to train for my second Duathlon, spurred on by success in a 5km run that I did with some friends from school. Much to my surprise – wasn’t sure I had heard correctly at the prize giving!  We only hung around because of the spot prizes – one of the good things about these mass events is that there is always the chance to win a bike or training shoes or sports kit just for being there!  It’s impossible to resist staying because just imagine if you went home and your name was picked for the BIG prize?!   Anyway, we were sitting there and my name was read out as the winner – yes, WINNER! Of ….. the 5km ……over 45s race!  Hey, don’t mock it!  I won a sports bra, pants and socks!!  And I’m pretty chuffed really – first time I’ve ever come first at anything!

Bought a new car today – we have put off the dreaded deed for several weeks now, but with the clocks going back and the promise of dark mornings and evenings, as well as wintry weather we decided we had to bite the bullet and hit the car sale yards.  We have all been trying to cycle as much as possible – partly because we enjoy it but also to keep petrol costs down, but after school activities, meetings and the onset of winter mean that we really do need two cars.  We looked at “little” cars and test drove a Toyota Vitz (Yaris in Europe) – not bad at all for an about town r"indoor outdoor flow"un around but very little leg room in the back for a growing 14 year old so we ended up with a Suzuki Aerio – a bit more space and a bigger engine without really compromising on efficiency (we hope!).

Also had a good clear out of the garage – emptied more boxes and sorted out rubbish to make space for the garden furniture and create a sort of indoor “rec” space for the boys.  The garden has blossomed (read “overgrown”!) – things seem to grow so fast here, but we have had a few days hard graft and got on top of the weeds. teenage boy We bought a shredder for all the prunings so Nigel has spent some happy hours feeding it twigs and branches and creating mulch for the garden.  We have been looking at what we can dig out, what needs to go and what needs to stay – whoever planted the garden had some great ideas but there are lots of large shrubs and trees very close to one another that need thinning and reorganising.  We also want to put in some vegetable beds so will need to create some space focub-investiturer them.  Aonghas was inspired and has planted the boxes outside his room with carrots and Marigolds as well as some Lavendar and ornamental grasses.  The carrots and Marigolds have already sprouted so he is quite excited! Lots to do but looking forward to the challenge.  The Camellias are coming into bloom and the roses just keep flowering so the garden is full of colour and we have been blessed with some beautiful early Autumn weather – quite crisp in the mornings but clear blue skies and a warm sun despite a nip in the air.

Easter Sunday today so the boys had their traditional egg hunt in the garden – Lachlan really thinks he is too old for that but he joined in all the same and enjoyed it despite himself! (certainly polished off the chocolate pretty quickly!) Talking of which – might just go and eat some of my Easter Egg …..

Oh, how could I forget?  Aonghas has finally got to the top of the list for Cubs and has been having a great time every Monday evening doing a whole range of fun activities.  He was invested a couple of weeks ago – a poor photo attached but the best I could get! He went on his first Cub camp last weekend and came back happy and exhausted! Mudslides, swimming, camp fires, exciting games and heaps of friends – a 9 year old’s dream!

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