Monday, April 20, 2009

One whole year...

Yesterday was 19 April....12 months since we left New Zealand. Wow, the time really has flown by and we have done so much in 12 months!
Saturday was 18 April...5 months until we arrive back in New Zealand. So much to pack into such a short time!

We had bad news about our house just before Easter - the landlord does want us to move out on 13 June and so that means finding somewhere else to stay for 6 weeks until Rebecca & Josh finish school. Our initial reaction was shock and disbelief that this was happening but we are pretty much resigned to it now and can see that it will make it easier to tidy up final gas, electric, phone bills etc. It is fairly difficult to find short term rentals but we have a notice in the church bulletin and keep checking the local newspaper - in the worst case scenario we could stay in a serviced apartment (pretty expensive option but it could be fun!)
On a more positive note it looks like Lionel will get some more weeks work at his current place so that takes the pressure off a bit! - Just waiting for the big boss to approve it.

Rebecca & Josh are back into school for the final term of the year. Josh has a busy first couple of weeks working towards his SATs which take place the week of 11 May, then he will enjoy a relaxed final few weeks.
Rebecca has had her exams and so she will just continue to enjoy all the opportunities that come her way...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Caen & D-day beaches, Normandy, France

by Lionel & Josh
The boys trip to France...Josh and I left on the ferry from Portsmouth, we had to be there by 7.15am so it was quite an early start (6.15am). Josh's first ferry crossing, and my apologies to those of you who have crossed either Cook or Foveaux Straits as this wouldn't count as a crossing going either way as the English Channel was as flat as a pancake. The only real motion was crossing a few ships wakes as we crossed the shipping lanes.
We had a great time, the D-day beaches tour was excellent and as we did this we realised that our ferry trip had retraced the path of a portion of the invasion fleet. We visited five sites, Josh's favourite was the Longues battery, which was on a point that could fire at both Omaha and Gold beaches and was disabled by naval gunfire on D-day. Mine was the American Cemetry at Omaha Beach where you see row after row of white Italian marble crosses with the occasional Star of David. That was amazing but it is some of the other things that encompass this sight, the huge maps showing D-day and the Battle of Normandy then another showing every attacking path undertaken by the allies in Europe in World War 2. Plus knowing that the graves of the 3 Nyhon brothers sit side by side, they are the true story inspiration behind the film 'Saving Private Ryan'. The thing that probably touched me the most was the memorial to the 1557 Americans who died in World War 2 whose bodies were never found. The memorial says those whose final resting place is known only to God. If you wander around it you see 10 little brass flowers beside 10 names - these men's bodies were found after the memorial was built in 1956.
Longues battery American Cemetry

After having a number of other stops and slow drive by of other spots we ended up back at the 'le Memorial de Caen' which is a very good museum that has exhibits starting from the end of World War 1 tracing the path and causes of World War 2. Through to the end of World War 2 and the development of Atom Bomb then continues through the Cold War to the fall of the Berlin Wall complete with a couple of pieces of the Wall and finally a peace exhibition.
On the Sunday Josh and I explored the Chateau Ducal in the centre of Caen where you can wander around the ramparts and get quite a good view over the city. Plus the height above the ground is quite impressive in places and the dry moat is huge. The other thing was being Easter Sunday there were very few places open when we went out looking for tea.

Now I have expanded my French vocabulary from yes, no, thank you, good morning to now be about fifty words but don't ask me to string too many together, plus it is amazing how many French words we use in English. There are quite a few English words which have become adopted in French, like Cheese Burger! However the last comment on my French goes to Josh. Dad, your French is truly awful.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Skiing in Italy

ABOVE: my skiing group.
BELOW: me at the end of the slalom race we did.

Yes it's me, Becca, again, mum's got me writing about my 'adventures' (her words not mine) on this blog again!
Actually this time adventure is probably quite a good word as I've been in Italy for a week, on the school ski trip!

We left on Friday the 3 April from my school (the Vyne Community School) for a 20hr coach journey...yes i DID say 20hrs! We were taking the EuroTunnel to get into France and we caught the train with no problems, on the train we were allowed off the coach to walk around etc.
We exited the Tunnel in France, watched a movie and then got ready for a restless night trying to sleep on the coach! We arrived at the OlympiCentre (our hotel) at approx midday on Saturday. We got assigned our rooms and got ourselves cleaned up before we got our boots/skis/poles fitted at about 3.
We then walked into the small village to have a quick look around before our evening meal at 7.15. Our meal was roast potato chips, pasta and breaded meat with fruit of your choice available for dessert.
On Sunday morning we got woken up at 7.30 for breakfast at 8, then we left for skiing at around 9 i think...not quite sure of the time. Our skiing lesson began at 10 on the Sansicario resort. My instructor was called Fabio and he was very good. Our lunch break was from 12-1 and then we had another 2hrs skiing before heading back to the hotel. That evening we had a quiz which my team came 3rd in.
Tuesday was the same as Monday except that we went swimming at a pool about 1/2 an hour away for our evening activity. That was fun, I raced a few people and won. :)
On Wednesday we took a trip to a neighboring mountain to try some new slopes, we
had a lot of fun! We took a gondola and 2 chairlifts to get from our hotel to the top of the other mountain. At the top of the other mountain it was very foggy...we couldn't see anything at all, everything was white, you couldn't tell the snow from the sky! The fog soon cleared however as the sun came out and we skied down the mountain. We had lunch as usual except on the other mountain (we got packed lunches from the hotel everyday) and then spent half the afternoon skiing on the mountain and the other half getting back to our hotel. That evening we went to a local restaurant and had a pizza. The restaurant and pizzas were both very nice and we had a great time!
Thursday was just a normal day like Monday and Tuesday and in the evening we were meant to be going to a disco but it didn't work out so we stayed at the hotel and had a nice relaxing night playing games instead.
Friday (our last day :( ) there was some frenzied packing going on in the morning before we went out to the slopes! On the slopes my group and I skied a black slope for the first time - black is the hardest sort of slope - we found it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
Back at the hotel we all rushed to have showers and finish packing before our early evening meal at 5.30. By 6 we were all cleared out of our rooms and ready to begin the long coach journey home. At about 5 past 6 we left for the 20hr ride home!
We all slept much better as we were a) used to the coach and b)very tired! we watched 3 movies (st. trinians (amazing movie), dumb + dumber and hairspray). Unfortunately we arrived at the EuroTunnel about 3hrs early for our train so we had a long wait there but once through the tunnel it was a short two hours home!
FYI there was a day we went shopping as our evening activity but I cant remember which night it was so although all the activities listed we did do we also somehow found time to go for a 40min drive to go shopping in France one evening! And we went shopping one afternoon in Italy as well but that was before our evening activity and I cant remember which day. Actually both shopping trips might have been evening activities... I really cant remember!

That was Becca reporting on the Vyne school ski trip to Italy... WOO! Oh and i would just like to say that my bestie Rachael was meant to be coming with me but she broke her arm a week before we left so everybody needs to think of her when they read this :)

Thanks for reading hope you enjoyed it blah blah blah all that stuff and SEE YOU...until mum thinks I've done something ELSE worthy of going on the blog and drags me back here again...

Love you all Becca =]

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


On Saturday (the first day of the holidays) me and dad took one of my school friends to Legoland, we had lots of fun. We went to the mini land which was created from 40 million lego bricks. Then we went on the Space Tower and had a good view over Legoland.
By Josh

Me & Tom on the Space Tower

Part of mini land showing some of London