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!

Advertisements

…..the one that got away!

Report from Aonghas

Last weekend we went to the caravan and we went fishing. On the first day we went fishing on the rocks and no one caught anything. Then on the same day we went fishing at night on the wharf and I caught two little fish but no one else caught anything. The fish were too small so we threw them back in the sea. The next morning very early we went fishing in the boat and I caught two Snappers and Ernie caught a Snapper and a Gurnard but only one of my Snapper and Ernie’s Gurnard were big enough to keep. We ate them for tea and they were scrummy. When we came back on the boat Mum took a picture of me with my fish and I had to hold it – it felt disgusting – all slimy!

Beach bums!

Back to work and school after a short break at the ocean. Wow! We headed up to the Coromandel over the Easter holidays – just a 5 day break here as there are 4 equal (ish) length school terms. Great to have an extended weekend in the middle of the term though. We went straight up to Cook’s Beach on Thursday after work and put up the tent in the dark! Went to bed with the Morepork serenading us and the trill of cicadas ringing in our ears! After a relaxed start to the day we went off to the beach where we had an idyllic time body boarding, diving through the waves and generally doing what you do on a beach. Gus - a job well done!The Nigel - soaking up the sun(burn)!weather was glorious and Nigel ended up looking a bit like a lobster by the end of the day despite having slopped sun block all over whereas Lachlan just looks even more like a native! (Pleased to say that the redness has gone down and Nige is looking a healthy brown now!) Cook’s Bay is holiday home mecca – most of the people we have met in Hamilton have a “Bach” somewhere along the Coromandel coast – there are some fantastic properties and loads of sections being developed for sale. However there are also some very simple almost caravan type baches – just a place to sleep in between sailing and surfing. Very tempting!

Flaxmill BayOn Saturday we decided to try Flaxmill Bay – just 5 mins North of Cook’s Beach. The boys were initially disappointed as itNigel and Gus is a much more sheltered bay with little in the way of surf. However we planted ourselves by the stream flowing into the sea by the cliff edge and found we could wade out and round a corner to some large rocks and little bays. It really was beautiful and we could swim/wade through the channels between the large rocks and explore. It was a bit like above ground caving! The boys decided that it was a great adventure and had a lovely time pottering about. I went back for the camera and Aonghas persuaded Nigel to come too as you could wade most of it! The tide was going out fast and the water was barely knee deep most of the way by now. What a lovely place to swim and relax and just nose around!

Blues FestIn the evening we went over to Whitianga on the ferry from Ferry Landing to go to the Blues Festival. We had read on the website that no “professional” cameras were allowed so didn’t take the SLR and big lens, it also stated that no food or drink was to be taken into the area as there would be traders. However nobody checked our bags and then we found out that you had to buy tokens for beer and you had to buy a minimum of ten tokens at $3 each! (it cost 1 token for a beer!) Since we had to drive back we were a bit disgruntled that you couldn’t buy single units. Anyway it transpired that the beer came in cans so we decided that whatever we didn’t drink we could take back with us! Found some food – not a wide choice but it kept the boys happy and settled down to listen to some music. Keb Mo was playing on the main stage when we arrived and he was pretty good. He was followed by KT Tunstall who was great – very natural, and Aonghas was amazed that someone he has heard on a CD actually exists as a real person and he just stood and watched in awe! He joined in all the songs he knew singing loudly and enthusiastically. There was a bit of a wait then as the stage was rearranged for Ian Brown, by this time it was nearly 10pm and the boys were getting tired. They both curled up and went to sleep during what personally I thought was a pretty uninspiring set. Buddy Guy was the main reason we had decided we had to go up to the Coromandel this weekend and it was well worth the wait. He eventually came on stage at 11 o’clock -ish and just blew everyone away. Awesome! We woke the boys up and though still sleepy they enjoyed the music and the performance too. I tried to take some video with sound with my mobile phone – you get an idea of the atmosphere but the quality is pretty bad! What an amazing guy, so much energy and stage presence and just sheer skill. His “duels” with the pianist were exceptional and being able to see it on a big screen as well as on the stage meant that you could see all his facial expressions and the fingerwork on the piano. At the end of the show we made our way back through the throng to get the shuttle bus to the ferry and finally got back to the tent in the early hours tired but happy!

The weather turned overnight and Sunday was a bit cooler and cloudier, a few showers broke the day up so we took advantage of the change in temperature to go for a bit of a walk. We went back to Flaxmill Bay to walk over Shakespeare Cliff. Where there’s a trig point …..A pleasant walk through the bush up to a vantage point marked with a trig point and a stone marking the landing of Captain Cook in HMS Endeavour. We then walked down a track to the beautiful Lonely Bay. An isolated little sandy crescent shaped beach with huge rocks, rock pools, sea caves and arches. A brilliant place to explore; we paddled in the sea, climbed over and through rocks, swung on tree branches, explored the rock pools and the caves and I delighted in the array of shells which abounded. I spent quite a long time rearranging shells, seaweed and pebbles to create Goldsworthy-esque pictures in the sand – very satisfying!

Lonely BayLachlan testing himselfNigel - Lonely Bayshells!crab!my own little monkeys!

Then I realised that the boys and Nigel had disappeared so chased after them to the rock pools where I was startled by the scurrying and scuttling of a couple of large red crabs! Managed to get a couple of shots of them and then realised that they were everywhere! They were being washed into the spaces under the rocks by the sea and then finding their way into the crevices ntil the tide came back in to let them back out to sea. Caught up with the boys and told them what I’d found and we all went back to be fascinated by them – all sizes from tiny little ones to others twice the size of your hand! Some had yellow spots and some were red and some had stripes – really beautiful!

Once back at the car we decided to go for a coffee in a cafe called Eggcentric – it had a good write up in the Rough Guide. Lovely cakes and as the book said a quirky setting – some impressive sculptures decorate the gardens and the restaurant itself but we weren’t impressed with the service. To be fair we arrived as they were setting up for the evening session (about 5pm) but it was no excuse for their rather rude and unfriendly manner. Probably won’t go back!

We packed up on Monday morning and set off for home stopping on the way at a place called Onemana. Very posh holiday home spot – we’d decided on there because Nigel had seen some photos on Flickr with that tag and thought it looked nice. Turned out the photos he’d seen were of another beach just down the coast from there! Nevertheless we had a pleasant sea bird - to be identified!afternoon playing in the sea – big waves and quite a strong current. There was only a small area which was safe to swim in as there is a dangerous rip. The murk of the morning had passed and once again we basked in the sunshine. Whilst we were enjoying playing in the ocean Nigel went for a stroll along the beach and took some brilliant pictures of the sea birds. When the boys tired of the sea they dug a castle with impressive sea defences to keep the encroaching waves out! It didn’t last though – another lesson learnt about the power of nature!

Back to the realities of everyday life unpacking more boxes and work. I have an interview for a Maternity leave job in about an hour’s time so I guess I’d better go and get ready! Booked in for relief work for the next two weeks at the same school so no time to sit around ….. tum te tum! (Tiddle I po… as Winnie ther Pooh would say!)

P.S. Got the job!