Friday, June 27, 2008

Rebecca's Birthday

We have a 12 year old in the house!!

Rebecca's birthday celebrations started on Wednesday when Ellie, a swimming friend, came over after school. The girls had a good time together and they made pizzas for tea followed by birthday cake. Ellie added a large round hedgehog to Rebecca's soft toy collection.
Josh added to Rebecca's book collection with 'The Killing' from the Cherub series and we added to Rebecca's cell phone fund with some money. We also gave Rebecca tickets to 'High School Musical' at the theatre and so Amanda & Rebecca will have a girls night out in London on July 5.

Tomorrow Rebecca & I head up to Birmingham to pick up Zara who is coming to stay for the weekend and so Rebecca is really excited about seeing a Dipton friend. She is also looking forward to taking Zara along to Youth Group to meet some of her English friends!

Rebecca has really enjoyed all the cards, emails, gifts and telephone calls which she has received. Thanks so much to everyone for making this a really special day even though we are so far away!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


We are really starting to feel at home here and Friday had the feel of being involved in the community and starting to be settled.

In the afternoon I was invited along to a ladies group from church, which is a social gathering which happens some Friday afternoons. Rebecca & Josh came along too, and there were some other kids there as the junior part of the Christian School have Friday afternoons off. It was good to meet some other ladies and have an afternoon out.

Then it was off the the Aquadrome for Rebecca to play waterpolo. She is really enjoying this, but is still a bit tentative as she is unsure of the rules - it won't take her long and then she will be in the midst of it all!

After waterpolo it was off to Lionel's work place where they were hold there summer BBQ. They put on an amazing spread of food and there was entertainment for young and old. The kids enjoyed this amazing soccer game where they rode on electic carts in the form of soccer balls, they were in an enclosed area and had to get a giant sized soft soccer ball into goals at each end. There was also giant sized 'connect 4' and chess, table soccer, and a coconut shy. Josh managed to knock 3 coconuts off and so we came home with them...what to do with 3 coconuts (anyone know how to open coconuts???) The kids were delighted to see the ice cream van arrive for dessert.

Unfortunately the English BBQ season is a bit like Southland (you can't always guarantee good weather), and after lots of hot sunny days it was cool and damp! Nevermind we made the most of it.

Rebecca is away ice skating with youth group on Sunday afternoon and then the week will begin again.
Josh will have cricket practice again on Monday night at Old Basing. It was his first time last week and he found it hard when he had to bat with all the gear on (gloves, pads and helmet) but with practice it will get easier. He & Lionel are currently sitting at the table working on a model tank which Josh bought - it is a very delicate process with lots of little pieces!

Tower of London

On Tuesday Rebecca, Josh and Amanda headed into London on the train - the fast train from Basingstoke to London only takes about 50 minutes and so it isn't a bad trip.

We have been wanting to go to the Tower of London and enjoyed our time here - the guided tour with a 'Beefeater' (Yeoman Warder) was very interesting. We were surprised how big the complex is once you get inside and we spent ages inside. Getting to see the Crown Jewels was amazing with lots of gold, silver and huge jewels and diamonds on display. We also enjoyed the armoury with huge displays of swords, rifles and armour. We walked up and down lots of spiral staircases and we explored the many towers and also had fun walking along the top of the walls.

We were all hot and tired at the end of our day in London and were pleased to get back on the train and head home!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


We have just had a fantastic weekend down in Cornwall with Steve and Margaret.

We stayed at the Golant Youth Hostel which we used as a base for the weekend. We drove down on Saturday morning and it took us about 4 hours to get to Golant. On Saturday afternoon we visited the Eden Project which has a group of huge biomes which are set up with different climates. The rainforest biome was very hot and humid and after 30-40 minutes in there we really felt as if we were in the tropics! The Mediterranean biome was a much more enjoyable temperature but the plantings and sculptures in the whole place were quite amazing. Josh was most impressed by the domes (mostly because they featured in one of the James Bond movies).
The Eden Project

Sunday was very busy with quite a bit of travelling. In the morning we headed down to Mevagissey and that was a beautiful little fishing village. Our main reason for going there was to see a model railway museum that we had read about - it turned out to be a very worthwhile visit and the adults enjoyed it just as much as the kids! It was really hot and so we stopped for an ice cream before getting back in the car.


Our next stop was Charlestown where we wanted to visit the Shipwreck Museum - this was also very good with lots to see and do. We had a bit of a walk around Charlestown and around the rocks on the beach. We had lunch at Charlestown - when in Cornwall you have to eat a Cornish Pasty and I have to say these were quite delicious!

We also wanted to visit Polperro where there is a Smugglers Museum. Polperro was on the other side of the river so we took the car ferry across to the other side - it only took about 2minutes and was a great adventure. 'Jane' (the voice on our satellite navigation) took us on the back road to Polperro and we went on some very narrow country lanes (the grass was hitting both sides of the car at the same time). Polperro was an amazing little fishing village built around the cliffs - lots of tourists though and unfortunately the Smugglers museum didn't live up to the excitement of its name! The kids were pretty tired by this time so Lionel took them for an ice cream while Steve and I went up to the cliff top for some photo opportunities.


Lionel Has A Job

On Thursday Lionel had his first actual job interview, and he has the job as an Interim Accountant doing budgets and forecasts for a commercial business right here in Chineham. It is a 6 month contract and he is really pleased with it as a first job in the UK - it will give him great experience and is an extremely good rate of pay. The best thing is that it is only a 10 minute walk from home and so most mornings Lionel walks to work and he walks home at night. The company he is working for is a Japanese Multi-national making compressors for car air conditioning units. Lionel is doing the budgets and forecasts for the European arm of the company, which is based in Germany.

He is pleased to be working again (after 8 weeks on holiday!) and it is good to have some pounds coming into the bank account. Rebecca is excited about that too, as it means she can start getting her allowance...

We are really pleased with our house - it is in Chineham which is a suburb of Basingstoke and has a really nice village feel to it. There are lots of wooded areas with pathways through them and we can walk down to the shopping centre without going on too many roads. The village hall has a large play ground and playing field and so we often take the cricket gear down there and have a hit around - this usually ends up involving several local boys as well and we have had some NZ vs England cricket matches (we did better than the Black Caps!)

Our house is detached (not one of those Coronation St terraces...) and has a small back yard. We have 4 bedrooms (so room for visitors) and 2 reception rooms (that just means a separate living room and dining room). The dining room has French doors out onto a paved area and the back lawn so we have plenty of space to spread out.

Monday, June 2, 2008

June 2nd

Hi, we are alive and well - thanks to those people who sent texts re our lack of is good to know you have been checking!

Unfortunately we still have no internet connection at home...this week hopefully (these things take time!) However the good news is that we have a landline connection now so if you would like the number just text or email and I will get it to you.

The last couple of weeks have been pretty quiet but Lionel has been busy chasing agencies and things are starting to happen now. On Thursday he has an interview for a job in Chineham - only 5 minutes from home so that would be amazing.

Our shipped stuff arrives tomorrow and so we are really looking forward to that - especially our bikes. Of course, the kids are looking forward to Maths and English resources arriving! School is going well and the kids computer skills are quite amazing as they explore different programmes - Josh has put together an amazing power point presentation on the James Bond cars and gadgets which we saw down at the Beaulieu Motor Museum and Rebecca has done a great guide book on Stonehenge.

We have had a second trip down to the Beaulieu Motor Museum when they had a Trucks & Troops Military Display. It was a fantastic day out with lots of military equipment (guns of all shapes and sizes) and vehicles. Josh got to sit in the commanders seat of a Leopard tank which he thought was pretty cool. Rebecca & Josh also got to dress up in camo gear and go out on patrol with some soldiers - they spent most of the day doing this. (Benjamin you would have loved this and Rebecca & Josh talked about you all day....they will write to you about it once we have the internet at home and send you some photos). We also got to see (and most importantly hear) a howitzer being fired - VERY loud.

It was really good to catch up with Steve last week - quite amazing seeing a friend from home, it really didn't feel like we were on the other side of the world! We are going down to Cornwall this weekend to spend some more time with him. While down in Cornwall we are going to visit The Eden Project and Polperro. There is a Smugglers museum at Polperro which the kids are quite intrigued by. I also hope to get them out walking along the cliffs on the South West Coast Path (hopefully the weather holds up.)

We have been to a couple of local churches and have meet some really nice people - some I am sure will become friends! I think we will probably make Christ Church, Chineham, our church family - not too different to what we have been used to at Balfour (just a bit bigger). Rebecca is right into the Youth Group which runs on a Sunday night - they have studies, worship times and party nights. It is run by a great couple and generally have about 30 young people aged 11-18.

I guess we have been doing more than I thought...we will get some photos up once we have the internet on at home.