other random acts of leisure!

150th Anniversary King Movement NgaruawahiaLooking back at my posts I guess you might be forgiven for thinking that all we are doing here is relaxing and having fun!  “It’s all just one long holiday!” I hear you say. Well, it does seem like that but we have punctuated our leisure time with quite a lot of hard work!  I have just taken on the challenge of being our school’s “Teacher IT Coach”  (Yes, Sue, I know I said I would learn to say “no”, but the habits of a lifetime are hard to break!)  So, the pressure is on to live up to the title and make sure that I sound like I know what I am talking about!  Good job I thrive on challenges!!??

Talking of challenges, Lachlan had a great time at the Rotorua Moon Ride; he managed 7 circuits and averaged 25 minutes per lap which was apparently pretty good.  He definitely impressed some of the more experienced riders in the MTB club.  He came back absolutely exhausted but very happy and pleased with himself.

I had a great time on a fishing trip to the Coromandel with my former sunset on the Coromandelcolleagues at Hillcrest High – another successful session with our full quota of 9 fish each – all Snapper – delicious!  I had been rather apprehensive the week leading up to it as there had been a severe weather warning for the Coromandel.  Visions of being uncomfortably nauseous both on the bus and the boat troubled my sleep, but luckily the day dawned calm if a little misty.  The ocean was like a mill pond, thankfully, and the misty day turned into a beautiful evening.Aonghas & Adam

I have also started playing hockey again – mad, I know, but training for the Duathlon has given me a bit of fitness and confidence to have a go.  My shoulder is still a bit dodgy but I am taking things steadily (really!) and just playing it by ear.  Lachlan and I have also joined the local squash club – after a 20 year absence from playing it has been good to get back into it!  Just like hockey though – I know what I want to do but the body can’t quite get there!  In my mind I am still that fit 20-something who can outrun anyone – well a girl has to have a dream!

The first week of Term 2 I was lucky enough to spend 3 days at the Turangawaewae Marae with my Year 11 Form.  Home of the Tainui and the Maori King.  The former Maori Queen was once a “Dio Girl” so the school has a strong link with the Tainui. It was an amazing experience and a very special one, we spent a day doing cultural activities to find out more about the Maori culture – flax weaving, Poi-poi, rakau sticks, history of the Marae, and exploring the symbols used in the artwork and carvings. It was fascinating and the girls all surprsied themselves by really enjoying it.  The Marae can sleep about 500 people in large, communal sleeping areas,  and they are experts at feeding large numbers too!

That week was the final week of the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the King Movement so the place was very busy!  On the Saturday I took the boys and Nigel back to Ngaruawahia to see the Waka salute to the Maori King.  steering the wakaThat was a very moving experience – the sound of the Haka as the waka come down the river is impressive.  You can well imagine the feeling of fear that the war cries would have caused when the Haka was performed in anger!  I feel very priveleged to have been able to spend time at the marae, meet some of the people who live there and find out just a little about the culture.  We were even more priveleged to be allowed to climb up Taupiri – a very sacred Maori burial ground. Joseph, one of the teachers at Dio, who’s family live on the pa, told us the story of how it became a tapu area.  I am always fascinated by legends and tales of how places get their names and the history surrounding them.

Well, back to work – Year 9 and 10 reports are due in a week’s time so I guess I should do something about it!

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Heading into winter…

So we’re settled into our new house, started to get to grips with the garden – even bought some plants, a shredder to mulch the prunings and the falling autumn leaves.  We have plans to create a veggie plot and swap some of the decorative perennials for fruit trees.  Aonghas has already planted some carrots and marigolds ( or marlegods as he calls them!) in the boxes outside his window.  The early Camellias are starting to flower and we have a carpet of deep pink petals in our garden.  Roses are still blooming but the trees are wearing their autumnal colours and looking glorious in rich shades of yellow red, red rosethrough orange to red.

Well, what have we been up to..?  Boys have finished summer sports and are training for their chosen winter sports.  Lachlan is continuing with rugby, but has taken up squash and, as he is in Year 10 he is allowed to use the weights room at school.  Aonghas has decided to try hockey this year and is enjoying that – he even scored a goal last week!  Lachlan is also running regularly and still cycling.  Next weekend he is heading to Rotorua to take part in the Moon Ride – a 12 hour mountain biking marathon.  He is riding as part of a team and they will take it in turns to do the 15km circuits from 10amAonghas playing hockey to 10pm.  We were down there a couple of weekends ago and all had a go on the tracks. The Redwoods is a great forest with masses of mountain bike tracks of all levels.  Aonghas coped really well with them and ventured down the Dipper which even I braved, though Nigel decided that caution was the better part of valour and chickened out!  (we won’t hold it against him!)

We were down in Rotorua as I was taking part in a Duathlon, we decided to make a weekend of it as it was the last weekend of the Easter holidays, and our friends Liz and Chaz were also there with their boys, Jamie and Josh.  Liz was competing in the Duathlon too, as well as a couple more of our friends.  We stayed in the Thermal Holiday park – the same one we stayed in when we Aonghas on the "Dipper"were here on holiday in 2005. We rented a self contained unit which, in estate agent speak, made good use of space – compact and bijou!  The advantage of the park are the hot pools, plenty of running around space for energetic boys, a games room as well as a television! After a couple of weeks of glorious weather we had a weekend of rain and wind, so the going was soft and muddy!  We set off with the wind and rain lashing our faces, but once on the way and into the forest, we soon warmed up.  The pressure was off as far as times go because of the weather conditions so we just relaxed and went with the flow.  Obviously a good move because I ended up with a time 5 minutes faster than the last duathlon I did and a top 10 finish!  We hung around in the cold and wet for the spot prizes because you never know ……. that $2000 bike might just have your name on it!  Sadly it wasn’t to be..maybe next time!  But, boy were those hot pools good when we got back to the holiday park!  A couple of hours later and nicely coddled we emerged to head back home!

We stopped off at what has become a bit of a regular, favourite spot for us – the Fat Dog cafe.  Huge portions of scrummy food and plenty of veggie options for Nigel.  Heaps of sald with home made burgers as well as BLATs, fries, wedges ….mmm,  my mouth is watering just thinking of it!