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Archive for February, 2011

House full of lovelies

It seems a life-time since Tuesday when we last posted.  Since then things have become rather busier around here.

We are really pleased to be able to offer a sanctuary away from the troubles of Christchurch to Paul, Abi and baby Zach.  Having arrived on Thursday thanks to AirNZ compassionate fares and extra flights, we’ve really enjoyed getting to know them so far and spending some time chatting about everything under the sun.  Baby Zach is a lovely little chap and we have snaffled a few cuddles already.

Welcome party!

Then today Nicky, Guy and Sophie arrived having booked their tickets last September.  Thankfully we’ve got plenty of room to fit everyone in.

It was fab to see them finally walk through the arrival doors at the airport.  We’d been waiting for quite a while in the end.  We arrived a few minutes before they were due to land, but then it took ages for them to process through immigration, baggage reclaim and security.  The time clashed with Lucy’s nap time and keeping her occupied was interesting!

Eventually the doors opened and it was our turn!  Nicky emerged holding Sophie and Guy followed shortly after pushing the trolley.  The massed crowds were highly amused by the squealing and over-excited nature of the greeting they received… and that was just Josie!  The  girls waved their New Zealand flags and we jumped up and down and it was very exciting to finally have them with us.

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Whanau arrive!

We treated them to a magical mystery tour of part of the city thanks to still not quite getting the route back from the airport correct.

We’ve just got to the tail-end of  a lovely evening of chatting and catching-up and discussing our plans over the coming days.  More on that tomorrow…

 

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Kia kaha – Be Strong

We learned a new Maori phrase today.  Kia kaha means Be Strong and it was said by a friend of ours for the people of Christchurch.

Being in Auckland we are a whole island and 762 kilometres away from Christchurch, but they are very much in the hearts of all New Zealanders today.  Having been spared any loss of life back in September through coincidence of timing (the first quake was early on a weekend  morning) today’s aftershock struck in the middle of a busy work day.  Although slightly lower in intensity (6.3 as opposed to 7.1) it was shallower and centered right under the middle of the city.  Possibly buildings had been weakened by the 5000 aftershocks the town has experienced since the September quake but whatever the reason it appears the damage today is far more severe and has had a much more devastating impact on people.

As I write there are a confirmed 65 people dead.  There are some major office buildings collapsed with many more likely to be trapped.  We all expect that number to rise.

We have friends in the city – all safe thankfully, but feeling very traumatised by this major setback.

The local reporting is available at the following sites:
NZ Herald
TVNZ
TV3
Stuff

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A new bed dawns

With the impending arrival of our most esteemed house guests (my sister, hubby and daughter) we’ve been scurrying around like little ants doing jobs to make their stay comfortable.  No job suited this description more than when we made a bed.  I don’t mean straightened some sheets and pulled the duvet tight.  We made an entire bed from scratch.  Well from timber actually, but you get the point.

The whole process tool a little over three hours (not including internet research time and agonising over the price of timber and whether it was going to be worthwhile doing – it was).

Click on the bed to see the full process in photos.

Time to get oiled up

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Even more Pirate-Shippery!

Pirate Ship Photo Page

So we’ve added a wheel, telescope, mast, flag and something to keep the loot in!

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Pirate Ship Update!

We have done loads of practical things in the last week or so.  I’ve replaced rollers in sliding doors, fixed new lockable handles to doors and finally got the pirate ship ready for safe playing.  Probably still keep doing stuff to it, but at least the girls can get out on it when they want without fear of toppling off the edge.

Pirate Ship Photo Page

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“More” what?!

I’ve started running at 5am several mornings a week. That is the only time Stuart my running buddy can really do now I have got so good at marketing his gym 😉 But actually it does mean mornings are more relaxed with plenty of time to have breakfast, get the kids sorted etc as well as get a run in. Anyway, I digress. You don’t really see a lot at that time of the morning, mainly because it is pitch black. But this morning I saw a Morepork sitting on a signpost – very exciting!

The Morepork is basically a New Zealand version of an owl. The sound they make is said to be like someone saying “Morepork” and its Maori name is Ruru. Anyway, we stood under the sign and watched each other for a good minute this morning before he flew off to eat a mouse or something – it was very, very exciting to see one in the wild.

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Dreams are made of this

Today, as part of my gradual return to PR and marketing consultancy, I went to see a friend at the business she owns with her husband. They bought Fraser Cars in 2006 and spend their lives hand-crafting the most beautiful Lotus 7 replicas. And when I say hand-crafting, I mean truly hand-crafting. I’ve just been through the factory looking in wonder at the individual components sitting in the machine room, all cut according to the hand-machined pattern pieces.

People who buy a Fraser can buy a kit, parts of a kit or the entire car. They experience real choice in the look and feel of the car so every car is unique, just like the owners. I was lucky enough to go out for a drive in their hire car. I am left, three hours later, with a smile on my face.

I think it is the awakening of the senses that I loved. The sound drives through you; the wind makes your hair dance; your body feels every twist and turn of the road. I cannot for one minute imagine the excitement to be felt driving in a car that you had helped build.

Somehow, jumping back into my perfectly respectable Mazda 6 stationwagon, knocking it into drive and pulling away from the factory with the air conditioning on was no match for a Fraser. I have discovered a truly inspirational business and a truly iconic sports car.

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So this week has been a back to reality week. Little Emily was packed off to school on Thursday. Now a big girl in year 2, she was faced with a new teacher and 15 new classmates – they mix the classes round each year and just five remained from her previous class. Apart from a little wobble the night before, she has trundled off very happily, delighted to have a new teacher to talk incessantly to.

Lucy has been back in daycare for two mornings each week for a couple of weeks. She is loving it and the staff at the new centre absolutely adore her. They love her funny little sayings and her infectious enthusiasm for everything, be it tidying up, washing hands, morning tea or playdough. No idea where she gets that from…. 😉

Stevie has worked very hard this week and is pretty tired. His efforts to return to swimming have been thwarted by a bad back. Having one leg shorter than the other has given him a lifetime of intermittent back pain and it has reared its ugly head once again, probably not helped by building scale models of pirates ships in the garden. He went to see our friends Ro and Stuart the other day so Ro could give him a sports massage – his upper back was in a terrible state and nothing I could do was helping – the list of problems they found runs something like this: every muscle in his back was as tight as a bow-string; some vertebrae were out of alignment; short pectoral muscles which were exaggerating his rounded back; and, an extremely weak left upper leg. Although he feels a bit of a wreck, Ro and Stuart are going to set to work on him. Both are sports massage therapists and Stuart is a personal trainer so he is in very capable hands.

It suddenly occurred to me that it isn’t long until my next half marathon and I should really get some training done. This week has been back to hard work. I’ve been up at 445 a couple of mornings for runs with Stuart. It has been lovely to see the stars and run in slightly cooler conditions – humidity here has been around 90% this week. He’s also been training me in the gym twice and I am doing some extra exercises at home to help my back. So I am aching with the sudden return to hard training but quite pleased to be back running and to have a new focus.

I’m also eagerly awaiting the publication of my first bit of writing in NZ. In return for all my personal training and massages from Stuart and Ro, I am helping them do the marketing for their business. I have an article going in our local magazine for Stuart – not quite the FT but a useful reminder that I have a profession! I’m also going over to see some friends about their business next week to see if I can help with their sales processes and website. They build gorgeous Lotus replica sports cars.

So basically life is back to normal after the summer break. It isn’t a bad thing. We quite like our life.

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News-splash

Emily can swim like a fishy!

Last Friday I took her swimming when Lucy was in daycare as a special big girl day out. After five attempts she swam a width of the kids pool in beautiful front-crawl without any floatation devices. She was all long and lean, head down in the water, blowing bubbles all the way. Gosh we’re proud and so is she. In just under two weeks she ran a 2km race, learned to ride her bike and learned to swim unaided. Bring on the kids triathlon series!

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