Monday, June 29, 2009

Rebecca's 13th Birthday

It's hard to believe that 13 years has gone by since I was in Southland Hospital with a tiny (actually not so tiny) baby in the midst of all that snow.
We celebrated Rebecca's birthday this year in England with the temperature up around 28 degrees Celsius!
Rebecca stayed the night with her friend Phoebe and we went around on Sunday for a big birthday dinner and an enjoyable afternoon. Rebecca has a big party planned on 18 July as a combined birthday/leaving party and so we have hired the church hall for a disco and supper with lots of her school/swimming/waterpolo and church friends.
It is exciting (and nerve-wracking) seeing Rebecca grow up and continue growing into an independant young woman. We certainly do have our 'moments' but fortunately there are lots of good ones between the tough ones! I have discovered that having teenagers is good for your prayer life!!!

Rebecca & Rachael
Rebecca & Bekah Swimming mates

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lionel & Amanda in Paris

Last weekend was a real treat for me & Lionel as we got to spend some time in Paris together. Our wonderful friends, Vanessa & Andrew, came out from London to look after Josh for the weekend and he had a great time. He was delighted that they wanted to go to the movies and so they headed down to Festival Place and went to the new 'Transformers' movie which Josh really enjoyed.
Rebecca spent the weekend with Bekah, a swimming and waterpolo friend. They had a very busy weekend with waterpolo training followed by a school fete on Friday night, waterpolo all day Saturday at the Hampshire Youth Games (they won!) and a family picnic in London on Sunday.
Lionel & I spent Friday night in London as we had to be at St Pancras station at 5.45am to catch the 6.15 train to Paris. It's a great trip to Paris on the Eurostar and even with the time difference we were on the metro by 9.45am and heading up to Montmartre. We spent an hour or so in a local bar/cafe watching the All Black v France and enjoyed some interaction with the French rugby fans there.
We wondered around the streets heading up to Sacre Coeur cathedral and enjoyed the views over the city. We took the metro back down to Notre Dame and spent some time inside here - didn't go up to the top though. When we came out it was starting to rain and so we sat under the verandah of a cafe and had some lunch - a very yummy quiche and fruit tart! There was a real downpour for about an hour but then it cleared up and was a fine afternoon.
We walked around the Latin Quarter - past the Sorbonne, Pantheon and into the Jardin du Luxembourg. These gardens were lovely with a large pond, lots of statues, very precise walkways, a boules area and great kids playground. We walked and walked and walked some more on our way to find our hotel which was down near the Eiffel Tower.
After resting up for an hour or so we headed out again and went down to the Eiffel Tower and through the park there, where we sat and had a baguette and drink before walking along the Seine and back to the hotel for the night.
Sunday morning was a big buffet breakfast at the hotel and then straight to Gare du Nord station to catch the 11.15am train home.
A great weekend!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Moving house...

We are now in our temporary accommodation for 6 weeks. It has been a busy week of packing, cleaning and shifting as well as keeping all the school and other activities happening!
We have sent 21 boxes of stuff back to New Zealand - it's not as bad as it sounds as that includes our bikes and a bed, however the kids definately have Lionel's book habit! The guy from Crown Relocations came on Wednesday to organise that and we will see that stuff in 3 months.
Our temp accommodation is rather small with only two bedrooms (Rebecca & Josh are taking some time adjusting to another person in the room at night!) but it is in a central location and is a comfortable place to be. The people who own it live next door and Josh is getting on really well with their boys (who are 10 & 8), the only time we saw Josh yesterday was when he came home to eat! They have a large section with trampoline, bouncy castle, tree hut, flying fox and lots of other 'boy stuff'. There is also a public field through their back gate so lots of space for the boys to play.
We are in a state of mixed emotions about leaving at the moment - looking forward to getting to NZ but also realising that we have good friends here that we will really miss.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Nerja, Andalucia, Spain

Rebecca, Josh & I have just spent 10 days in the south of Spain with Mum & Dad (unfortunately Lionel was back at work and had to stay in England). We rented an apartment with a communal pool which was only a 5 minute walk to the beach (10 minutes back up the hill...) We had a very relaxing time and most importantly it was hot and sunny!
View from our balcony to the pool
Most days we spent at the beach, by the pool, reading, playing cards and wandering down to the beach front bars and restaurants to eat - I know, it was really tough!
Paella cooking at one of the beach front restaurants
Nerja is about 50 kms to the east of Malaga and is on the Mediterranean Sea, we swam at Burriana Beach which most days was really clean and calm, but the wind did whip the waves up at times, especially on the last couple of days. It also dropped away really quickly so within a metre or two of the shore it was really deep and we saw big fishing boats right up to within about 50 metres of the shore.
Burriana Beach
One day we took the bus up to Frigiliana which is an old white village about 8 kms up in the mountains. It was a pretty village with lots of narrow, steep streets and alleyways. Frigiliana

The day Mum & Dad left the kids and I went to visit the Nerja caves - it didn't look too impressive to begin with but then opened out into various large caverns with heaps of stalactites and stalacmites. It really was worth the visit. It was a cooler day and so we walked the 3 km back to Nerja and on the way went past a huge 19th century aqueduct which had been built to carry water to the local sugar factory.
We had an awesome holiday and came back very relaxed (and without our English whiteness).

Thanks for coming Mike

A couple of weeks have passed since Mike was here and I decided I needed to get our blog updated!
No sooner had Mum & Dad left that our friend Mike arrived from Auckland. It was awesome to see him again as far too many years had passed since our last meeting (in fact Josh was only 6 months old!) we had a great time together and promise it wont be another 11 years...
Lionel had the week off work and so we were able to do lots of touristy things.
Lionel & Mike went to the British Museum, Bank of England museum, National Gallery, Imperial War Museum, Cambridge and Duxford Air Museum.
Globe Theatre

Mike & I had a day in London visiting Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and Covent Garden.
Thanks for a great week Mike!