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Long Bay Squad

A nice walk to Long Bay in the winter sun.  Blue sky, slight breeze, pleasantly warm.  Plus extra children.  Love this crew!

Some photos from our weekend trip out west to the wild and beautiful Muriwai Beach

Poop pooop, all aboard the Lucy express

Genuine excitement at such a perfectly formed sandcastle

A sandcastle fed dedication and love

A sign that apparently in some languages translates as “Don’t give a fuck about the dunes, just let your progeny destroy them. While you’re at it, kill a few sea birds and empty some barrels of oil into the gannet colony”

She’s dangerous with a frisbee…

Nice shot Emily!

Apparently a seal

You know you’re kids have outgrown the park when they find new and unintended ways to use all the equipment

Mahurangi West

It’s been busy lately.  So this weekend we decided to head up and out of Auckland to grab some quality family time in one of the beautiful regional parks.  Mahurangi West is a lovely park with a beach in a sheltered bay and a great orienteering track.  After trying to chill on the beach for a while (and building a half submerged sand R2-D2) we decided we need to relax by moving.  So we grabbed the park map and discovering the orienteering course headed off for a short walk.  Here are a few photos I grabbed along the way.

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As I sit down to write this post I reflect on the previous 40 years of my life.  It is the eve of my fourtieth birthday, a moment to celebrate!  Of course it is because it means something to me and to us (as in people in general).  I’ve managed to keep my shit together enough to last 40 years on this planet, an undoubted combination of fortune and coincidence and I’d like to think a fair bit of skill as well.  But it’s also not hard to take half a step back and look at any anniversary celerbation for what it is.  

An utterly arbitrary length of time.  

40 years?  Only on earth.  If I moved to mars the year is different because a year is nothing more than the length of time based on the orbit of a planet around it’s star.  Of course we’ve named our star and our planet and the unit of time – we call it a year.  But it’s not naturally chopped up.  As of today I’ve done 14610 days.  But that still doesn’t get us away from the fact that the day is based on the rotation of the earth, so still completely arbitrary.  Vary the size of the planet and rate of spin and the day becomes a different length.  

So why celebrate birthdays at all?  Is it simply because we have calendars?  Do remote tribes who don’t have calendars celebrate anniversaries of indiviudals like we do?  I realise google can probably find the answer  but I’m choosing not to find out at the moment.  I suspect not and I also suspect that they celebrate time related but not specific events like a hunter going on his first hunt.  That means something.  It marks a change in that persons capacity to particiapte in the tribe.  It marks an independce for the new hunter.  It marks the start of a journey as a learner down the path of aquiring mastery.  That sounds like something worth celebrating.

I suppose one question is who is the celerbration for?  When you take the example of elaborate parties held for infants who will retain no memory of the party it looks uspiciously like it’s for the parents, not the infant.

So am I a killjoy who shuns celebration and steadfastly refuses to participate in this tradition?  No of course not – I’m having  a party because it will be fun!  Surrounded by friends, music, dancing and a couple of nice drinks.

In case you are wondering how old I am take a look (approx)

14610 Days
21,038,400 minutes

350,640 hours

2087 weeks

40 Years

Happy Birthday me.

Race Day!

We’re very excited about Emily taking part in the regular ‘race day’ at Northern Arena Swim school.  A ton of kids turn up and get to swim against other kids, seeing what times they can turn in under basic competitive conditions.  Although there are no placings as such, you end up in a group of very similar levels of ability.  Emily chose to swim in the 25m Breast stroke and 25m Freestyle…  only then delighting all of us by coming first in both!  I have video of the breast stroke event.  Ignore the shouty parents in the background (no idea who they were… must have been shouting for a different Emily, ahem) the look on her face says it all.  The best bit was until I told her she had no idea she’d come first.  She was more interested in telling us that she was smiling all the way.  the video is a little hard to make out at the start.  She is in lane three, wearing a bright orange swim suit and yellow cap.

There was an old lady video

Easter at Piha

The wild west coast beaches were playing pretty nicely over Easter so we heard out to meet up with our lovely friends and do a spot of body boarding in the big waves.  I spent hours in the water with Lucy and then on my own just mucking around in the waist high stuff.  The beach certainly deserves it’s reputation for demanding care and respect.  The power of the water sucking out after a big set of waves is quite incredible.  Even if it’s just around your knees and thighs it’s easy to see how swimmers lacking experience and/or confidence can get into trouble quickly.  We saw the guys in the boat pull a few people out and drop them back at shore.  It’s good to know they are there watching over everyone.

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Guys! Guys! Guys!

The title of this post was the exclamation of choice for Lucy as we wandered around the always interesting and beautiful Brick Bay Sculpture Trail.  She clutched her trail guide like it was a very rare pirate’s treasure map, found in an attic behind a faded black and white painting.  For her and Emily it wasn’t just a trail map it was a detective game!  Perhaps the easiest detective game in the world because everything was in order and plain sight.  But a game nonetheless.  Hence the exclamation of ‘GUYS!’ every time she found the next ‘clue’.

I love and celebrate my girls ability to be entertained by art.  We don’t try to explain anything or make it into something it’s not.  It’s just a nice walk in amazing setting looking at cool and unexpected things that someone has wrought out of absolutely nothing into something.  One minute there was no idea and no sculpture.  Then the prototype of an idea formed and the act of bringing it into existence shaped that idea and guided it as the artist rendered this abstraction into this thing we laughingly refer to as ‘the real world’.

We made a coffee table at the weekend and the process is the same – The idea started the form taking shape and the emerging form directed the idea.  I’m not sure I could sell it for tens of thousands, but it’s a nice table made from leftover wood.  There’s a post about it on this page: https://fitzhughs.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/coffee-table/

Talking of tables the food that they serve in the glasshouse restaurant at Brick Bay (that you eat whilst sitting at a table – what do you mean tenuous link?)  is simply fantastic.  That’s all there is to say about that.  Go there – eat it. I cannot bring you the experience through words.  You have to put the Salmon pate in your mouth yourself.

As for the sculpture park here are a few photos of the day.

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Coffee Table

A quick days sawing, planing, sanding and screwing turned a few of these…

… into one of these…

Timber courtesy of a house up the road that was throwing a whole bunch of these dirty planks out with last years inorganic collection.   A quick rub with Danish oil to finish the job.

it’s fair to say that the value we get from our friends of the zoo passes is fantastic.

Good Friday here in NZ so we decided to head to the zoo and flash the plastic (laminated zoo passes that is) like some back stage animal groupies at a big concert.

The weather was glorious today, just that perfect warmth for t-shirts but without frying.  

The finest moment by far was the unexpected close encounter with a giraffe.  He was eating his meal one micro morsel at a time delivered up by a range of variously excited, nervous, curious and terrified adults and children.  We got in before the veg ran out and the zoo keeper was so very impressed by Josie’s extreme excitability that she pulled her back for a special photo – see below!

The kids followed the holiday activity – a detective trail in which you learn all about eggs.  Topical!