Easter Update

Well I never got round to finishing off our holiday blog – too much to do at the end of the Christmas holidays and I have hardly paused to draw breath since school started!  But now we are a few days into the Easter Hols, I have had a chance to catch up on my sleep and although the housework still needs doing, it will wait.  The clocks have gone back and despite some lovely, warm, sunny weather there is definitely a hint of Autumn in the air, and there has been for a few weeks now.  The farmers are still desperate for rain, all the cows are drying off early and there is little or no silage for winter feeds as there has been no rain, or not enough for the farmers anyways.  We aren’t complaining as it means we can get out and about.
It’s frightening how quickly kids grow up isn’t it?  Lachlan is now quite a bit taller than me and growing out of clothes quicker than we can buy them! He is also going through girlfriends like they’re going out of fashion – he’s the one that always gets dumped but he doesn’t seem to mind – just finds another one! He is starting to get into the party scene too and also keen to get his driving licence (they can get one at 15yrs old here – very scary!)  Anyway we gave him a challenge to get 10/10 on the on-line road safety/highway code tests 100 times in a row, which, of course he duly did, far more quickly than we had anticipated, but now he has to find out what to do to get his Learners Licence.  This will require a bit of legwork and initiative – we decided that if he wants his licence that much he will get it sorted, we’re not doing it for him!  If he’s old enough to drive, he’s old enough to find out what he has to do, what forms he needs to fill out and where to go to do it all!  There is a lot of talk about raising the driving age here in NZ, but to be honest there is so much opposition to it here as everyone seems to be married to their cars, that I can’t see it happening any time soon!
I had my first Dio camp in Week 8 of Term 1 – well the first that I had the responsibility of organising, hence not having time to breathe most of the term! As usual, the paperwork takes time to get together but also finding time to liaise with other crucial staff members and arrange meetings with outside providers is not easy when everyone is so busy! Despite some unpredictable weather, lots of damp clothes and girls, and some midnight wanderings, it all went well – phew!! That’s Year 9 down, now just Yr 12 and Yr 10 to come in Terms 3 & 4.

Aonghas was away at the same place we went to at his school camp in the last week of term and he had a great time.  The house was very quiet without him – mind you we are talking about a boy that doesn’t stop talking from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning until they close again at night, so it was quite peaceful really! He came back from his camp with some strange lurgey – probably cultured in the spa pool from the mud covered bodies of a hundred and odd 10 yr olds that bathed in there after a couple of hours of fun on the mudslide! It seems that the last lot of kids that went in the pool are the ones that have been affected, so they are all on antibiotics and being covered in calamine lotion! Oh joy!
I have just booked Lachlan and I two nights in a holiday park in Auckland as he is playing in a Squash Tournament up there this weekend.  He has been selected for the Waikato Development squad and this will be his first tournament so quite scary!  He only started playing 8 months ago and apparently is quite talented – excellent fitness and good strokes but totally lacking in court awareness as yet as he has not played very many matches, so this weekend should be interesting, possibly frustrating and very probably brimming with adolescent male emotional turmoil!  I’ll let you know!
Nigel and I are going up to Auckland tomorrow to see Dr John (Blues/Jazz guy – very old! We went to see Ry Cooder there a few months ago and when we walked in to the theatre we both looked at each other and commented on how old everyone was – then looked at each other and realised that they were all the same age as us – quite scary!!)  It’s quite good being only an hour and a half away from Auckland as it means we can get up there to see concerts and stuff if we want to, but can enjoy the less frenetic pace of life in rural Hamilton the rest of the time!  Aonghas is staying at a friend’s house and Lachlan is old enough to leave on his own!  For my Birthday Nigel bought me a Sky Tower Jump – I wanted to do it when we came here on holiday but we couldn’t afford it!  Should be fun just need to work out a day to do it.

I have done less running recently but have been doing a bit more cycling – even came 3rd in a 31km bike race last weekend – in the “mature” category (age 40 – 60), but 8th overall so I was quite pleased with myself – did it in 1 hour and 1 minute!  However, I also participated in a Duathlon in Rotorua – the same one as I did last year but this time I did the 20km bike ride in the middle of a 5km run and a 1.5km run.  The Real Duathlons are supposed to be non-competitive and they are great fun because there are all sorts of women who take part.  However, there is always a competitive element and I am sorry to say that I am part of it!  So I am pleased to announce that I came in first of the 70 or so women who did the 20km race!  No prize just personal pride!

I think I have already said that we have joined the Hamilton Mountain Biking Club  – they race every Wednesday evening during the summer and there are loads of categories.  This was our first year so Lachlan raced in the U17 boys Championship, I was in the Ladies Sport and Aonghas in the Fun Class. Lachlan succeeded in winning his category and has also had other mountain biking success this season.  You may remember that he raced in something called the Black Stump Mountain Bike Race last year as part of a team and for a first race he did pretty well.  This year he rode the 18km race as part of a team but also as an individual in the U17 category.  He won his age group but also came 8th overall, so he was pretty stoked and came home beaming with a huge trophy.  There is a sort of offshoot branch of the mountain Bike Club called No Boring Bits who do a mixtures of road and mountain biking.  They organise more social rides around and about and we have been down to Rotorua to the Redwoods with them a few times.  There are quite a few families with young kids  which is good for Gus, but also some hard guys who have taken Lachlan under their wings so that he can do the hard core riding that his pathetic Mum and Dad daren’t do!  Lachlan bought me a bike computer for my Birthday so we went out for a 70km ride with them on Good Friday to try it out!  I had a great time and am now looking forward to getting out a bit more – cycling seems to be kinder on my back than running but you do need more time…

I have also started Indoor Netball – some of the younger teachers at school play and entered a social team into one of the leagues. I played hockey last year and enjoyed playing but it rained every Tuesday evening and I never really got to know the rest of the team very well so I thought I’d go along and try out Indoor netball this year!  Variety is the spice of life!  For those of you in the UK where Indoor Netball doesn’t exist (well I’d never heard of it, though maybe  I led a sheltered life!) let me explain – Indoor netball is a bit odd – mixed teams, 6 a side, 2 attackers. 2 centres and 2 defenders. Played in 2 halves, with centres allowed anywhere but the shooting circles, defenders in their half and circle, attackers in their half and circle – otherwise all the same rules as netball.  Gets quite physical with men in the team!  We have won one, lost one and drawn one so far!  And at least one of the teams is not very sociable, I have to say! I am also continuing to play squash in a team – the people at the squash club are pretty friendly so we have got quite involved there – just taking it steady as the old muscles are not quite what they were – they tear a lot more easily, so I am making sure I warm up properly and stop if I get any twinges!

We went to the Night Glow again to see the Hot Air Balloons light up to music and the firework display.  Pretty impressive as usual, and the Hamilton Gardens Festival was also good this year.  The dawn showing of the Shakespeare play was excellent – this year it was in the amphitheatre next to the Italian Renaissance Garden which was just a perfect setting.  It was a “re-write” of Romeo and Juliette – rather tongue in cheek and a weird mixture of modern and old which gave it an interesting twist.  Juliette texting her friends and chewing gum slipped in seamlessly with the Shakespearean speak of other characters! We also listened to an amazing Chinese boy playing some pipes in the Chinese Garden.  Aonghas enjoyed creating his own music on a giant percussion set made up of industrial and houseware items – great fun and very noisy too!  It was just lovely to wander around the gardens in the sunshine and listen to the music, watch the plays and meet people.  Oh, and the cold beer in the cafe was pretty good too!

What else have we done? I have to be careful or these posts get too long – maybe I should be more organised and try to write a short bit each week?  However, I have never been that good at organisation and doing things regularly – I get bored too easily, so long and sporadic these posts will continue to be, I’m afraid!

Just had a great Facebook post that I just have to share with you – http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/3547793/Bottle-loving-baby-a-boost-for-the-breed/ Aonghas loves his furry baby Rhino that his Aunty Stephanie bought him when he was a toddler and it still goes everywhere with him so the Rhinos at Hamilton zoo have been a firm favourite when we visit.  When we visited with Aunty Margaret last October we saw that one of them was pregnant and now the baby has been born….aww!  Will have to go this holiday now!!

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