Thursday, October 30, 2008

6 months in England

It is 6 months since we arrived in England - hard to some ways it feels like last week that we left NZ (it was snowing then too!) and in other ways it feels like we have been here for much longer. I asked everyone what they missed the most about NZ and what they most like about being here, so here goes...
Everyone misses friends and family and we wish you were all close by, but we are also enjoying getting to know new people.
Lionel...misses the scenery in NZ and looking out onto the mountains, hills, river and paddocks BUT he is enjoying being able to go to places like Twickenham, Millenium Stadium and he loved our weekend in Paris. Of course Lionel is also enjoying the bookshops and accessibility to a much wider range of reading.
Amanda...misses the big, starry night sky BUT is enjoying being able to go to a variety of shows, events and places.
Rebecca...wishes that the people, the farm, the Oreti River and Lake Dunstan could be shifted over here so that they are close to her new friends and she never wants to shift again.
Joshua...misses the open spaces and the country side in New Zealand and he can't wait to go back to NZ BUT he does like the massive shopping malls (if not the crowds) and the good prices (especially of books and play station games).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our first snow!

Yes, we did go out for a quick walk yesterday but it was bitterly cold and this is what we woke up to this morning....our first snow of the winter!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's happening in November...

November is looking like being very busy - here are a few things we have happening...
* Oct 31/Nov 1 Rebecca & Josh are at European Puppet Festival
* Nov 7-9 Rebecca is at 'the edge' (youth group) camp
* Nov 8-9 Josh & Lionel away for boys weekend (Josh's 11year old weekend away)
* Nov 15 Amanda & kids at Haydock's farewell before they head back to NZ (Lynden Prebble's sister)
* Nov 15 Amanda & Lionel going out to Italian night at church
* Nov 21-23 In Cardiff for All Black vs Wales at Millenium Stadium
* Nov 27 Amanda going to Ladies Night at church - coffee & dessert and 'Mamma Mia' movie

That's just the extra things...we also continue with swimming (winter champs coming up in December), hockey, acting academy, fencing, running and school!

Daylight Saving Ends

On Saturday night we put our clocks back an hour and so Lionel is now walking home from work in the dark at 5.15pm!!! We have also had a couple of really good frosts this week - on Saturday morning I had to scrape the car windscreen before taking Rebecca to swimming at 7.30am. I thought that would mean a nice fine day (as in Southland) unfortunately it didn't turn out that way...We had another frost this morning but we also have clear blue skies and the sun is shining so we will get out for a walk this afternoon.
We are on half term break at the moment and so Rebecca is enjoying being out of the school routine. We went out to friends for lunch on Sunday (yes, another roast dinner...) and Rebecca ended up staying the night there with her friend Poppy (a church friend).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lionel's Birthday

Lionel is now another year older and another year wiser...

He decided that he wanted to spend the day in London and so on Saturday we caught the train up to London for the day. We had decided to walk through the parks from Waterloo Station to Hyde Park for lunch. We loved walking up through Green Park and St James Park with lots of green space and the trees changing colour for Autumn. Josh had great fun spotting squirrels and at one stage he had one come right up to him.

I love all the unexpected things which can happen when you are wandering around a place like London - much better than the crowded touristy events. My favourite unexpected event today was at Wellington Arch (near Hyde Park corner) when we saw the Household Cavalry riding up through the arch, after being at Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

We had lunch at a cafe by the boating lake in Hyde Park, unfortunately there was a cold wind by this stage and so we ate inside. Lionel loved being in Hyde Park and with it being so big you are away from traffic noise and you don't feel like you are surrounded by lots of people.

From Hyde Park we headed to Harrods - quite a different feeling as it was noisy and crowded! However, Rebecca wanted to take the boys to Harrods and the kids had some money to spend here. The choice was so huge that they found it quite difficult to make a decision about any purchases, but they both came home with something.

On Sunday we were invited around to friends for lunch and we were treated to a good Sunday roast and an afternoon with some new friends!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Rebecca played in a Hampshire Under 13 water polo tournament yesterday. She was in the Basingstoke 'A' team and played really well. There were five teams in the tournament and Basingstoke 'A' won all their games and so came away with the shield.

Here are a couple of photos of Rebecca.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Rebecca's Swimming

We went to the Reading B grade swim meet on Saturday night along with hundreds of others from the Hampshire area. This meet is at about the same standard as the A grade meets that Rebecca was involved in with Southland. She swam really well and came away with a gold medal for her 100m butterfly and seven personal best times!! Josh & I should have a gold medal for sitting in the REALLY hot pool for seven hours...

Josh & I went along to the Open Night for high school (The Vyne, same as Rebecca) last night and he begrudgingly thought it might be alright to go to high school next September! He had a great time in the Maths and Science departments and did lots of activities on the interactive white boards throughout the school. I was very impressed with the Head of Year 7 teacher and it is her specific job to visit the Year 6 students in their schools to make their transition to high school smoother. She is going to make an effort to include Josh in some of her Year 6 activities at the local school and any activities at The Vyne which would be suitable for him.

Friday, October 3, 2008

October 2008

Josh & I had a fantastic time at Intech last week and in the end I had to drag him away without 'playing' with all the activities. Intech is a large version of 'Science Alive' in Christchurch or 'Scitech' in Perth, both of which we have thoroughly enjoyed. We had great fun looking at the viscosity of different fluids and doing different experiments with a variety of fluids. We have also made contact with a homeschooling group who occasionally book science class shows at Intech and so we can go along to some of the group activites they do, so that will be good.
Josh & I have been out each week doing the fitness circuit at Eastrop Park (some parts of it get easier, but we hate the chin lifts!!!) Athletics on a Thursday night is great for Josh and really pushes him, his coach is fantastic but she will only continue with this group as long as there are the numbers and apparently the numbers drop off now that it is getting darker and colder.
Rebecca continues to love being at school (even with a grumpy geography teacher). However now that the mornings are darker and colder it is harder to get out of bed! She has an inset day (teachers only day) next Friday and half term break is at the end of October - then it will be the count down til Christmas...Rebecca gets 2weeks holiday at Christmas.
Rebecca has a B grade open swim meet in Reading tomorrow and so it will be great to see her swim in an individual meet and get some UK times recorded. We also have our club winter meet coming up in December and Rebecca is keen to enter the 800m and 1500m so that will be interesting.
We have been busy planning our summer holiday for next year...a long way yet I know but we have NZ friends coming over (Jane & Hannah from Invercargill) and we are going to Italy for 3weeks and so to book villas in Tuscany you have to be in early. So we are really looking forward to that and it will help us get through these cold, dark months as all our friends in NZ & Australia are enjoying the beach, lake, camping and sunshine!!!