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Archive for October, 2010

Hobbit shmobbit

We are not fans of Hobbits. We are though, fans of New Zealand 🙂

So there was this actors’ union who kicked off about terms and conditions causing them to call for a global boycott of the Hobbit films, all set to be made in NZ. The big bad corporate sharks from Warners said get your act together Kiwi-land or we’re taking our little hairy footed Hobbits elsewhere. In rides John Wayne, sorry I mean John Keys who is lord and master of all things Kiwi, and marches the corporate sharks to his private residence for a bit of a chat. Meanwhile the public march across NZ begging the Hobbits to stay and radio stations call for Joe Public to offer acting services for free. Several hours of negotiation and Johnny-boy saves the day. The Hobbit films will be made in NZ and all it has taken is an extra $20m of tax breaks and an amendment to the law surrounding the treatment of employed and contracted actors. John is rewarded with a promotional video about our beautiful country to form part of every digital copy of the Hobbit films.

You could look at this in several ways. a) Little NZ rolled over to the demands of the big boys – true, a $650m investment in NZ is big enough for the PM to take notice and wade right in to try and salvage the deal by any means. b) Good old John, he’s got his finger on the pulse – he listened to the people, understood the fear and saved the day. c) Great news for NZ – the tourist spin-off from the last Hobbit film was fab for little old NZ and, with the expected success of the next two films, and the promotional dvd inclusion by clever Mr Keys, we’re set up to get a lot more of that.

Personally I’m delighted the films stay. Lots of people will work on the films or see trade increase as a result. Yes we, the taxpayers, pick up the tab and gift it to those greedy corporate sharks, but we also get the chance to showcase our lovely country. Better not do it too well or everyone will want to live here 😉

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60 hours

So, at  last the marathon is upon us. In 60 hours I will have done the whole 21.1km. I will have run over Auckland’s beautiful harbour bridge.

It has undoubtedly been a battle. It has taken 24 sessions of physio since 16th August to get me sufficiently mobile to run. I say run……it won’t be a race, I just haven’t got my strength back in all my muscles.

I have learned a great deal. For the first time in my life I have lived with constant, nagging pain – I hated it and want to take good care of my mobility in later years. I now have a far better understanding of my body – I know exactly what it feels like when my hip is out of position and am finely tuned into the workings of many of the muscles around my pelvis.  I have developed a far better grasp on my running pace – when to push and when to hold back, and I now run more evenly between hills and the flat. Despite the near- constant pain, I have managed to haul myself out running 42 times since my first physio trip, during which I covered 337km in just short of 35hrs – most of which has been achieved by leaving the house before 6am. I have swam 11km and spent 3 and a half hrs on core strength exercises. And I have spent hours and hours stretching my muscles and mobilising my back

So whatever happens on Sunday, and however disappointed I am not to be running the full marathon / running at full speed, I know I have reached the start line because of tremendous tenacity. I could have given up so easily, but I didn’t. I wait for that start gun with nerves but no real excitement. It is 21.1km I just have to complete before I spend some more time fixing myself. But this time next year, I know I will be a better runner in a better body with some fine races under my belt.

 

 

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It’s playtime!

Hooray, the sun, he is here!

After such a wet and windy spring we are now blessed with a sunny, hot, long weekend. It feels like Christmas! We got up, popped on our gnarly board shorts and rash vests, and walked down to our beach armed with buckets and spades. Base camp was established by 10:15 and excavation work began on project sandcastle shortly after. I chipped in filling buckets but basically Steve and the girls set too and made a fabulous island with ornate sandcastles. Lucy only destroyed two sandcastles – we were jolly impressed.

The weather was lovely. Warm enough to lounge about in a bikini but not too hot. The beach was very quiet as a lot of people go away over Labour Weekend but a few people were going out on boats and kayaks – it was all very relaxing. And as we played with the kids and admired our beach we both felt a tremendous sense of achievement. We did it – we were brave enough to throw our lives in the air and commit a big sum of money to see what life was like the other side of the world. Some days you know it was all worth it.

After a couple of hours mucking about we walked home, had lunch on the deck with a glass of wine and then all 4 of us had a nap! Rock n Roll! Struggling out of bed we drove down to Browns Bay to buy some meat, veg, have an ice cream and let the kids play at the beach-side playground. All in all a rather super sunny day was had by all 🙂

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Well Stevie is home and we’re jolly happy to be a family again 🙂 And we welcome two new members of the household – a bottle of duty free gin and a bottle of duty free single malt!

We spent the weekend catching up with each other and with friends. It was a superb weekend in fact. We have made some fab friends and the two parties we went to were simply splendid. Oh and we picked up Steve’s motorbike too which he kept stroking!

We also went to Ag (or Agricultural) Day at Coatesville which is a country village just out of Auckland. The kids at the school all rear an animal or grow a plant and they all get judged followed by family fun with bouncy castles, home made cakes, drench the teacher by throwing a ball to knock over a bucket of water, a coconut shy, and, even fight Darth Vader….I kid you not! It was a super family fun day and we went with my personal trainer / running buddy Stuart and his lovely wife Ro (who has been known to give me a super sports massage) and their adorable and stunningly well-behaved kids. Cracking weekend but blimey we were tired!

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My how it flies

I cannot believe we haven’t blogged for so long – 10 days – so sorry chaps. So we have had a jolly frantic 10 days.

The second week of the holidays was spent cramming in some beach time with friends, and I took the girls to the theatre in Takapuna to watch Puss in Boots. They loved it – it is becoming a regular thing every holiday now. Emily went on strike for a day in the holidays – couldn’t be bothered to do anything. In fact she was almost a teenager and in the end I just left her in her PJs and did some housework. She did quite a bit of swimming over the holidays and we all went to a very exciting swimming pool in Mt Albert. The kids nearly exploded with excitement at the wave machine, slides, spa pool etc. It was a gorgeous family afternoon and whilst we can’t afford the time nor the money to do it every day after school as per Em’s request, I should think we’ll go back once a month or so. It was particularly good for Lucy because the kids spa pool was hotter than a bath so she never went blue like she normally does in pools!!!!

I have been experiencing the NZ public health system which is a combination of paid for at the point of use and the NHS. It took 11 months to get a hospital appointment but once I finally got there last Wednesday /Thursday the care was great. Looks like all the tests I had are normal which is good although it doesn’t really help make it all better – sometimes you just want an answer and then a remedy. Anyway, I have a consultant appointment in early November to go through everything as there are still a few tests they are running. I won’t go into the details on the blog in case you are eating but will just say one thing….don’t panic!

Steve and I went to a 1990’s party for a friend’s 35th birthday at the weekend. It became apparent that fashion in the 1990’s in NZ was pretty much that of the 1980’s in the UK. In the end we just decided to go with UK 1990’s and dressed up in clothes from our wardrobes – in fact it was quite shocking just how much stuff I own than dates back to then, even my make-up! So we didn’t really look any different! The birthday boy had pulled together a band and they were playing 90’s Kiwi rock classics. It was hilarious. Steve and I didn’t recognise any songs at all meanwhile the natives were bouncing around in a state of utter euphoria! It occurred to us that we really are in a cultural bubble here – I’m not sure if we will ever truly fit in as a result.

Stevie has had an amazing ten days. He swam a whole 2.8km without stopping in the pool. He did it in just a few seconds over 1 hour. I am unbelievably proud of him 🙂 And he is pretty pleased with himself too. He has also purchased a motorbike – a Kawasaki 750. We have discussed this for a very long time. Basically at the moment he spends 2 hrs on buses getting to work and back each day – we only have the one car – and we’d like to spend more time together enjoying the summer evenings. It is purely a vehicle for commuting and it will give him the freedom to travel at times that suit him. I’m really looking forward to having him around for an extra 45-60mins a day 🙂

This week Emily has returned to school after two weeks off on holiday. She’s utterly shattered. We have enrolled in Torbay Athletics Club which will happen every Tuesday night. She wants to run like me and was over-joyed when she was given a Torbay Athletics running top to wear at club nights 🙂 In fact I have been taking her running. A couple of weekends ago she  did 560m without stopping and with a sprint finish! Last weekend was a full 1km but she did stop in the middle for a grump so I ended up doing some very serious cajoling / bribery involving daddy’s home made chocolate truffles! She’s very proud of herself though which is splendid.

Lucy is therefore back at creche and other pre-school activities. She’s also very tired but that is probably because she can’t sit still!

Stevie has been away with work this week in Brisbane. He is back tonight – in about 2 hours and 23 minutes hopefully. Crumbs we’ve missed each other. We haven’t had an overseas separation since I was in the early stages of pregnancy with Lucy, so over 2 and a half years. And of course the massive upheaval of moving over here has meant we have really become quite inseparable as we have relied so much on coping together. I just cannot wait to see him. And he sounded so miserable on the phone – the three hour time difference, plus his very busy work schedule – have made it really tricky for him to talk with the girls so he is desperate for a family cuddle.

So that is us – busy but happy. Oh and I have been glued to the internet watching the miners rescue in Chile. Amazing. I did though wish we had a TV aerial for such incredible moments. I’d also would have liked to have seen some of the Commonwealth Games. But generally the TV in NZ is so rubbish there is no need to consider getting it sorted. Besides, it will ruin our lovely new roof!!

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Barbecues and Beaches

We had our first barbecue after work just a few days ago.  Salmon in Teriyaki marinade, cooked on a coin-op public barbecue at Long Bay beach. It’s the school holidays and the sun has been out to play too.

The weekend has been a nice mixture of friends, beach and athletic achievements.  Josie is back up and running after all the recent hassles.  I had my second sea swim of the season this morning which went much better than the first.  Still lots of training to do, but every time it is easier.

A few photos of the last few days follow:

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