Thursday, September 18, 2008

September 2008

The sun is shining today, which we are very pleased about...but there is a definite chill to the air in the mornings and the evenings are getting dark earlier and earlier - Autumn is here.
The new school year started last week and Rebecca is now attending a local high school - The Vyne Community School. She went down last week to sit entrance tests, then it was off to buy a school uniform and she started at school on Monday. Rebecca is in Year 8 and is loving the wide range of subjects that she is studying - English, Maths, Science, PE, Art, Drama, Music, History, Geography, French, Religious Education, ICT and D & T (Design & Technology). She came home very excited last night because they got to light magnesium over the bunsen burners in Science and their Science teacher had combined some other substances to make terrible smells (which they all thought was wonderful...)
Rebecca catches to bus to and from school and so she leaves home at 7.30am and is home again at 3.15pm, the bus stop is only about 3 minutes walk from home so it is great.

Josh is enjoying being at home, but the level of work has increased and I think he quite liked the idea of the science Rebecca was doing at school... who knows he may even go to high school next year when he will be in Year 7. We are off to Intech (a great science discovery place) next week and so hopefully there will be options for him to do lots of hands on stuff down there. Josh's French lessons started last week - a bit of a shock to the system but we will get there, and he has joined an athletics club which is on a Thursday night. Josh felt his lack of fitness last Thursday and so he and I have done a fitness circuit one day this week and went for a run yesterday (it will be good for both of us!)
Rebecca & Josh have both joined the puppet team at church which they are enjoying and they have two major events coming up - in October they will take part in a European Puppet Festival and in December they are going to be part of the entertainment at a birthday party, as well as being involved in family services at church and Christmas events.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lionel at Twickenham

This was one of my 'things to do' - Twickenham to watch the rugby. I had been hoping for it to be the All Blacks but a double header sounded good and it certainly proved to be.

The adventure really began when we changed trains at Clapham Junction, the busiest station in Britain, we can believe that after Amanda & Josh squeezed on to one train and Rebecca & I had to catch the next one. Fortunately for Rebecca & me the next one was a Rugby special and was virtually empty before our horde joined it. We got back together with Amanda and Josh at Twickenham Station, not before they would have watched hundreds of people go past. It was then time to flow with the tide of people down the closed streets towards the ground, the only gaps being people dodging the horse manure from the police horses. Past the scalpers, the Referees links sellers (yes you can get a radio link to the Referees microphone for five pound), stopping only to buy a programme and the obligatory bag search to enter the ground. Once in we grabbed some overpriced food and then made our way by Escalator to our middle tier seats in the South West corner of the stadium. The atmosphere of the fully enclosed stadium was grat as the London Irish supporters, complete with drums, filled our end of the stadium with sound. The view was pretty good from anywhere only interrupted by the constant flow in and out of people on a scale which I had never struck while the game was going on. It was obstructing because leg room was not great so everybody in a row had to stand up to let people in and out, which obstructed your view if you were within two to four rows of it. I'll put some of it down to the fact it was a doubleheader and supporters from all teams were mixed in together. It was something different from crowds I had been a part of in Australia and New Zealand.

To the contests - a good win for London Irish, who we expected to include former All Black and Southland Clarke Dermody (he must have an injury from preseason) over London Wasps, last season's champions 26-14. Then Harlequins (featuring Nick Evans) beating Saracens with Chris Jack 24-21. The rugby was certainly a better standard than the Air New Zealand Cup but not up to Super 14 yet but the difference is shrinking. I thought they can't have a bonus point system by the way Wasps played out the last 5 minutes but they do I discovered later. Therefore maybe its the length of the season that changes the express need to grab every point, as the competition that started today has its final in May next year.

London Irish v London Wasps at Twickenham
Crowd: 52,087

Friday, September 5, 2008

What's been happening...

Summer holidays are at an end for UK schools and weather wise summer is at an end too. According to the newspaper, August 2008 was the dullest and coolest in English record - oh yay!
In the last couple of weeks Rebecca, Josh & I have managed to get out and about along the roadsides and hedgerows and picked blackberries. We have found a great patch not far from home and so we have been enjoying fruit smoothies and apple & blackberry pies (yum).

Much to Lionel's delight rugby season is starting over here and so this weekend we are off to Twickenham to watch London Irish v London Wasps, it is a double header with Saracens v Harlequins to follow. It depends on the conditions as to whether we watch both games. We also have tickets for All Blacks v Wales at Millenium Stadium, Cardiff in November, unfortunately that will be the only All Blacks game we see as the price of the tickets was horrendous. Lionel is really keen to visit the major sports stadiums and so he is really looking forward to these games.

After much talking, soul searching and prayer we have decided that school is a better option for Rebecca than home schooling. Once we made the decision for her to go to school we thought it would be an easy thing to enrol her...NO. Most of the schools are over subscribed and especially schools with a really good reputation. After many phone calls (and again lots of prayer) I spoke with a school in our zone and they have a place for a Year 8 student and so we have a meeting there on Monday - we will see what happens...

Josh will continue with home schooling and we have lots planned for the term including French lessons, football (hopefully), scouts (on the waiting list), swimming and trips to various places including a great science & technology place with lots of hands on activities.