Long time, no see (or write)

Image
boys playing card game

 

I don’t like to look at the last date that I posted here, it seems to have been so long!  Work seems to have subsumed all of us and when it hasn’t been work that has been taking up our time, it has been other stuff!   Like getting eldest son back from Canada after he lost his UK passport with NZ Residency Permit in it!  Or getting youngest son to hockey, football or squash trainings or matches.  Writing exams, presentations, going to conferences, replacing dead dishwashers, taming wild gardens, entertaining guests, working ….Pink Magnolia blossom

So, eldest son is safely back in NZ, has job, is treating house like a hotel, and youngest has finished winter sport and is now busy with summer hockey and mountain biking.  I am busy with the “end of year, you must be winding down now that seniors are on study leave, manic time” when we play catch up with all the planning we don’t have time to do during the rest of the year whilst still trying to maintain “valid and meaningful” programmes with junior students who are not taking your subject next year so couldn’t give a s**t!

Oops!  I am being cynical!  Having to write reports for my form class after a week away at camp at a rate of two an hour is a daunting thought, so I am procrastinating!  Glass of red wine in hand, DS106 on the radio and a full belly are not a good recipe for report writing at 10.30pm so I have given up and will go back “refreshed” tomorrow morning. Young man wearing climbing helmet ready to support a group

 

So what of this year?  Well, Lachlan has been away for most of it in Canada working at Camp Jubilee in British Colombia.  He seems to have had a ball and has been offered a “proper job” there next year from March to October.  He just has to earn enough money to buy his airfare and pay for his life saving qualification which is a pre-requisite of them giving him a contract.  Fortunately, he has managed to get himself a job working in an outdoor clothing shop for the next couple of months.  He also has the possibility of some work with the outdoor providers that I use for my camps – Bigfootadventures – early next year.  For the last week he has “volunteered” on our school camp at Raglan and has made a pretty good account of himself so Bigfoot are keen to have him on board for next year.

Image
at a rugby match. Boy with flags

Aonghas is nearly at the end of his first year at secondary school.  He has done pretty well – prefers anything that doesn’t require writing – and considering that he has done very little study, he seems to have achieved in most of his subjects.  Think we may need to pin him down a bit next year!

How do you get boys who prefer to be doing sport (or computer games) sit down and study?  We didn’t get it right with Lachlan and we are struggling with Aonghas!  Both bright but no drive to achieve highly.  I guess they need to have some clear goal to aim for?  I worked hard because it was what was expected of me and out of sheer pigheadedness; my Dad made some off the cuff comment at some point about their being no point in girls studying and going to university because it would be a waste of money since all we would do would be to get married and have children!  My boys seem to have no real idea of what they want to do and with no goal there seems to be no impetus to achieve more than is necessary.

school group in kayaks

However, we have really good feed back about how well Lachlan worked in Canada, he has survived, and colleagues and friends compliment us on his demeanor and the way he interacts and communicates with other people.  It is heartening to be reassured that he has the qualities that we hoped we had encouraged him to develop – honesty, integrity, compassion, a sense of what is right and what is wrong, common sense, flexibility…..

So, what have we done this year?  Looking back at our photos we have managed to get out and about but not very far…

January – Top of the South – holiday in South Island, Wairarapa and then back to school

February – Back to school, My first MOOC, Karangahape Gorge

March – saying goodbye to Lachlan, Raglan, Blue Lake

April – Dickey Flat & Akwakatting

May – Spain

June – hockey, football

July – Fiji, hockey & football

August – mid-winter sports

September – tourist visiting out and about

October – not much! gardening,

November – gardening, Yr 10 Camp

Time to make some plans for Summer!  Head north or south?  Gus wants to go to Oz. Lachlan will be working.  Me and Nige just want to chill – anywhere!!

So many options…. will let you know.

Boy beneath trig point on top of hill.  Clear blue sky

Happy New Year 2013

The Sun setting behind the mountains with the sea in the foreground.
Sunset at Collingwood

Happy New Year to you all!

From a tent in the beautiful Golden Bay. Unfortunately it is raining so I will write instead!  It is almost the last day of 2012 so I thought I should finally put pen to paper and record what has happened to the Robertson Family this year. This is the second Christmas in a row that we are not all together. Last year Lachlan and I were lucky enough to spend the festive season in Cambodia and Vietnam which left Nigel and Aonghas to travel to Greytown to stay with the Aunties.  This year Lachlan, at 18 and with school finished, exams over and a gap year in Canada planned for 2013, has a job at Rebel Sports (a chain of sports shops in NZ) and since Christmas is the busiest time of year in the retail calendar he has stayed at home to earn some dollars. However, he is flying down to meet us in Nelson on New Year’s Day to spend the last few days all together.

So what of 2012?

Aonghas’ last year at Intermediate school saw him head off on his school camp to Aongatete; it started with an eight hour walk in and then they had great fun river walking, orienteering, kayaking and playing fun games outside at night!  In November he went to Noumea in New Caledonia on a school trip and encountered blue and black striped sea snakes, colourful coral and fish, and spent thousands of francs!

picture of blue and black striped sea snake close to a drain in Noumea, New Caledonia.  The Sea snake is known as a Tricot Raye in French which literally translated means stripy jumper!
Sea Snake – Tricot Raye

He has had a successful season of hockey; his team won the Intermediate Premier Grade Cup for the first time in over 20 years and he was selected for the Waikato Development Rep team again for his age group and they were semifinalists in the North Island competition.  Next year, as a Secondary School student, competition for a place in a rep team will be much fiercer but he is determined to give it a go.

Aonghas shooting at goal with the goalkeeper in white and blue in the foreground.  The ball goes past his feet.
Scoring a goal for Waikato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lachlan has finished school, still awaiting his exam results but not holding our breath as he has struggled to maintain any

a cyclist covered in mud after a strenuous mountain bike ride
After “The Goat!”

focus or motivation!  He has no idea what he wants to do in the future so a Gap year working in an outdoor centre in Canada and gaining some valuable life skills is probably just what he needs.   As usual he has been fully involved in sports this year and his efforts were recognised when he was nominated for All-round Sportsman of the Year at the school Sports Awards and also for the Top Sportsman. Unfortunately he was pipped to the award by one of his friends!  He has continued to mountain bike, play football, squash, canoe polo and lawn bowls.  At the end of last year he was selected to play Lawn Bowls for Waikato and has competed in a few inter-regional competitions.  It is strange to see such an active boy playing such a sedate and measured game but he enjoys it – must get the bowling genes from his paternal grandmother who also played.

Boy about to bowl in bowling tournament.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nigel and I have continued to have very busy work lives and have struggled to do much else for ourselves once our second jobs as taxi drivers are done!  However we have managed to travel with our work;  Nigel has been to conferences in Australia a couple of times this year and I went to Fiji on a trip with school which was very interesting.  The boys and I had a flying visit to the mountains to ski in the winter and Gus went a few times with his friends too.

having lunch on the mountain. bright and sunny
Ruapehu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthwise we are all well – the operation I was due to have on my shoulder has been postponed as it seems to have improved and Nigel had his other ear taken off and cleaned out and now has sparkly new, modern hearing aids which are a great improvement on the last old and tired ones.  Other than the aches and pains of middle age, the results of overuse and misuse on joints and muscles from misspent but not-to be-missed youth and the inevitable effects of too much good food and wine, we are as fit and healthy as can be expected!

Just enjoying the sun now in the garden and trying to motivate myself to do some school work!   Next year our focus for Professional Development at school is Blended Learning and I have to lead some of the sessions so have plenty to do.  I also have a Spanish examination class for the first time so need to write my Scheme of Work and I have two school outdoor camps to organise in the first term – all a bit daunting so I guess I should get on with it!

Merry Christmas written in shells on the beach

The Story of the Little Boy and a Lost Dog

Well, it must be time for another missive.  It seems a long time since I had time to put finger to keyboard and, in truth, I haven’t really got time now, but since I have lots of more pressing, less interesting things to do, it seemed like as good a time as any!  I am frantically trying to get everything ready for yr 12 camp which is in two weeks time in Raglan.  It promises to be a great camp but the planning has been fraught with pitfalls and unavoidable delays and so I am not nearly as organised this close to the date as I would have liked to have been.  Never mind I am sure it will all work out in the wash, as they say in Yorkshire.  Mindful of the problems I have had with yr 12 camp, I am making sure that preparations for yr 10 camp are already well under way.  We’ll see what happens, sometimes when much of the planning relies on third parties, all you can do is do what you can and then go with the flow.

This weekend, was fortunately a relatively quiet one (just a squash tournament and Squash Development squad training for Lachlan, and two hockey matches and Hockey Development squad training for Gus), and so I have had a chance to get on with some work.  Wet weather also made it easier to stay indoors, although I was itching to get out on my bike each time I have looked out when the sun replaced the rain for brief periods.  I must get out, even if just on the wind trainer for some sessions as I have signed up to be in a two women 6 hour relay mountain bike race on the 11th September and desperately need some fitness.  I’ve had a sore knee for a while now so have been reluctant to do much even if I had had the time.  Must get to the physio and get it sorted….

The next few weeks are going to be hectic; Lachlan is also in a team for the Day Night Thriller in Taupo – he is riding with the Young Guns again in the 12 hour race, and then I have to take him straight to Turoa for the Secondary Schools Ski Champs before driving back for the yr 12 camp.  If it’s fine on the Sunday, I’m quite tempted to fit in a day’s skiing but that would mean a late night just before going away for a week at camp – not sure the old body is up to it!  That same weekend, Aonghas has rep hockey presentations on the Saturday and a rep hockey tournament in Auckland – Nigel will have to do that one!  Next weekend he has three hockey matches – always busy but having fun.  Lachlan had a good win in the tournament this weekend – a couple of losses first, the second of which he should have won and he knew it so was pretty cut up about it.  He just needs to learn not to dwell on mistakes, forget and move on – easier said than done!  In both matches he won the first game and then lost the next three, then when it came to the last match, he won the first game but maintained control and won the next two so came home a much happier bunny!  Gus maintained his goal scoring record to score twice this weekend for his school team– he has still to score in the reps, but has come pretty close and also set up goals for others to slot home, so it won’t be long.

Last weekend, I took Aonghas down to Hastings for his first squash tournament – that was a mad weekend following a crazily busy week.  High-tailed it out of work as the bell went to get Gus and drive down to Hastings for a Masters and Juniors tournament with some of the Lugton Park crew.  Stopped in Taupo for a Wild bean coffee, sushi and pie and then had to pull over for a toilet stop for Gus just before Napier.  Arrived in Hastings after a four hour drive with half an hour to spare – felt good, but then drove up and down the street and round in circles, looking for the squash club.  Asked in the fast food places if anyone knew where it was and drew a blank.  Eventually, spotted a couple sitting on their verandah having a smoke and asked them and they pointed me in the right direction – about 200m from their house!  Google Maps GPS had got me to the end of the road but didn’t go quite far enough!  Gus had change into his squash kit in the car so was ready to go as soon as we walked in the door – he literally went from the car to the court and played his first ever squash match – what a boy!  He made me so proud – just got in there, well outplayed by someone several grades higher but ran for everything and stayed positive.

However, the happy boy was not happy for long after we got to the motel to find that he had lost “dog”.  We searched the car, the bags, went back to every place we had stopped to ask the way but to no avail.  Gus was distraught – he has had “dog” since he was a baby!  He could be distracted from thinking about him for most of the time over the weekend especially when we went out for pancakes for breakfast!  But he had moments when he remembered and he just sobbed – what can a Mum do in the face of such devastation?!  Tournament over and we headed into Napier for breakfast on Sunday morning, constantly scanning the side of the road for signs of dog – call me mad but Gus was convinced we would find him.  It had been dark and raining on the way down and I really couldn’t remember where I had pulled over for Gus to go the toilet, but that was the only time dog could have escaped!  Gus, on the other hand, had a clear picture in is head – he had peed over a ditch, with a wire fence and a paddock opposite, just before we had pulled over he had seen a white church on a bend.  All I remembered was that it was wide enough spot to pull over. After a great breakfast – Gus had his favourite again – what else but pancakes? After a weekend of crap food and no veggies, I enjoyed Eggs Florentine with heaps of silver beet, tomatoes and mushrooms – yummy!  After brekkie we wandered along the sea front, arranged to meet the others at the Hole in one at Taupo and then headed back along towards Hastings on the same side of the road that we had driven along on Friday night – no joy.  I still wasn’t sure where we had stopped but Gus was still hopeful and so we set off back towards Taupo.  Driving along and suddenly Gus shouted out to stop – he had spotted the church and the bend and a wire fence and a paddock – he insisted that I turn around, so I did.  He jumped out and ran down the side of the road, definite that this was the spot, and then we saw a little grey lump on the ground, picked it up and there he was – wet, bedraggled and very smelly but it was dog!  One very, very happy boy climbed back in the car, wrapped dog up in a “blanket” (the windscreen cloth) and smiled all the way home!  We stopped in Taupo. Just in time to see Brendon and Chris trying to hit golf balls onto the  “green”  in Lake Taupo – they all veered off into the wind well away from the hole. Gus was desperate to have a go so I gave him $3 for three balls; the first two just made it into the lake but, with a bit of coaching from the experts, he hit the third perfectly and it just missed the green by a few metres!  Nearly as big a smile as finding dog!