Monday, 29 September 2008

Some more photos



The first work day of daylight saving went OK, surprisingly. I even got to go for a very long walk tonight, up hill and down dale going to the local fish shop on the way. They had some really yummy brill/turbot in the window. I had to carry the white parcel up hill and down dale home but it was worth it as I tucked into this very delish and fresh fish for dinner. Where food is concerned, I am so easy to please. Add to that a large glass and I'm very easy to please.

Tonight I am sitting in front of the computer working on my photos, listening to music in complete peace and quiet. I have chosen to add two more of Roma here. The first is the Roma skyline seen from Castel Sant'Angelo and the other the Castel in the early morning light from Bernini's Pont Sant'Angelo. Di and I enjoyed taking photos in the early morning light, minus the tourists for the most part. In Roma, I could be a morning person. I just have to have the right motivation I guess. 

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Daylight saving and stuff

What are the powers that be thinking, daylight saving beginning in September! I hate day light saving, me and the poor cows who get milked an hour earlier than usual and the farmers who have to get up in the darkness to do so. Sam on the other hand loves daylight saving, means he gets fed an hour earlier, something that made his ears prick up tonight. 

Daylight saving takes an hour out of my sleep in, an hour where the sun streams through my bedroom window waking me gently. Tomorrow I have to go to work at 7am. I will have more daylight at the end of the day, apparently. It's still too cold to do much with that. I just wish  the powers that be would make it a little later in the year to start, maybe the first week in December. Then I might cope better. 

OK, so I'm not a morning person and daylight saving takes from my already scarce morning. Enough said, I've had my yearly rant. At least it shows that summer is on the way, not today though. The wind was freezing, the sun warm and I managed to catch some rays as I read a book in a nice sheltered part of the garden. Annie and the girls came home from their Europe trip yesterday so had a good catch up on their news, made my feet itch as they talked about the wonderful places they went in England and Italy. I can't wait to see their photos. 

We went out to dinner with Tim and Sarah and Terese, Sarah's mum, tonight. The Belgium beer bar was great as usual, although raspberry beer is no match for raspberry sorbet. The young man serving us was from Belgium, from a place near Meerhout where we stayed in 2004. He wondered what we were doing there, not a tourist place apparently. We were there supporting the NZ Athletics team in their bid for the Athens olympics. They were in camp and Nick was part of the team, they didn't quite manage the olympics unfortunately. 

We did have a wonderful time in Belgium, where else could I have beer with breakfast, after all. I just wish I could add photos of that trip but my camera wasn't the best and had a small accident in Pumakale in Turkey when I slipped and fell into a pond, should have been looking instead of watching really. The camera drowned, I was saved by a handsome young man. 

Walking down the street to the hotel, I was showing an Aussie girl my wet behind and telling her the story when a large Turkish man rushed out of his doorway. He told me to stop showing him my bottom. He didn't like my bottom, he told me he liked his women to have bottoms as big as a washing machine. He made mad gestures as well following us down the road, laughing, as the two of us hastily retreated, also laughing. 

Friday, 26 September 2008

The dancer

We have been checking out You Tube tonight. Tim and Sarah got hooked on So You Think You Can Dance when they were in Canada. Some of the clips are amazing, some great talent on show. This one caught my fancy. Robert Muraine didn't make it to the finals but see what you think. 

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Today




It arrived today, the much awaited new computer. I have been limping along with a computer not much better than the one that crashed so when our computer people arrived with a brand new one for me I was very excited. It's a newer version of my old one, much faster and with new software. I had a play today, loaded a new background and added my own shortcut keys. The new background is a photo of an amazing sunset from our building in Al Hitme. It's on Flickr so check it out there. Suffice to say when I start my computer, I sigh and remember that wonderful roof top and the friends I communed with there. It's so good knowing that my work is safe, between the new computer and the computer synchronising when I dock.

At the moment I am listening to the Once soundtrack from the website. I am down loading a couple of my favorite movies. Along with Once, Breakfast on Pluto is one of those. Cillian Murphy is an amazing actor and I enjoy most of his movies. I can't say I enjoyed the Wind that Shakes the Barley, far too traumatic for me. He has a new one out, the story of Dylan Thomas so can't wait to see that one. I am a go to the movies movie watcher, nothing better than the big screen for the first time viewing. 

Last night I sorted out some of my Europe photos. I ended up getting through only those I took in Rome by the time I edited them. I like iPhoto. It's easy to use and having a big screen on my computer allows me to see the big picture as it were. I am going to print some to frame for my walls and for gifts.  Looking at the photos made my feet itch. 

I have added three I have chosen to this entry. I liked the light in all of them, one taken in the early morning streets while searching for coffee and the others in the afternoon at Castel Sant' Angelo. Enjoy. 

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

More of Roma


Torture

Well, that will teach me for taking a week off the gym. I ducked away from work early to get to the gym, something that has been difficult lately. I can usually only go when the hunk brigade is there, glaring at this old chook using their weights and such. And no, I'm not leering while they're glaring, I'm much too classy and aloof. So today, the reports I had planned to get done completed, off I went.

What no one had told me was that the gym was closed for the next two weeks being upgraded. Normally that would not have been a problem, I could just go for a walk. Unfortunately for me there was a tide of women who swept me upstairs to the aerobics studio. Yes, I was surprised too that aerobics classes are still going and that people are keen to attend that form of torture. I thought they were a 90's nightmare of group exercise. Today it was BAT, apparently bums, abs and thighs. Even I think that I don't need to work on my thighs or bum, the abs well I am female after all. 

There I was, no getting out of it and retreating, I'd been spotted. To leave now would be churlish. I was wearing my new gym singlet too, armpits cleared and looking pretty cool, how could I leave. After doing the class, or rather the bits I could manage, I realised that retreating then may have meant retreating with some small scraps of dignity. 

Instead I tried to four cross step grapevine with a double pony at the end around the room grapevine squat up down hold add arms bring knees up back around. You get the picture, I ended up tangled up in my unco feet nearly taking out the lady next to me, also relatively new but at least co ordinated. I found that out as she managed to get out of my way in a hurry and looked at me pityingly. 

Then things got really bad. We had to lie on the floor, did I mention I hate group exercise except walking and cycling with friends out in the fresh air? Then the torture continued, raise your hips do unnatural things with your legs squeeze a ball between your knees lower up hold down change position and do the other side. I did get the giggles at one point, come to think of it the last time I tried group exercise I got quietly asked to leave with my friend Matt when we got the giggles. Yoga's a quiet thing apparently. 

So here I am at home, munching on chocolate biscuits with my coffee, consoling myself that at least I didn't know any of the people in the class. Not sure I'll go back. I will just have to find some other forms of torture to use until the gym opens again, sigh. Might get my bike out and hit the hills. Anyone keen? 

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Time

It's been a busy week so far, chasing my tail as I catch up on the lost files, the article that's now overdue and the meetings that people love to organise for the last week of term. I also had some left over visiting to do and PD to present, so all in all early starts and late finishes for the last week or so. Next week is term break, catch up time. 

Time to catch my breath and and start macro not micro focussing on things that need to be done. I have some out of term catch ups and appraisals to complete with individual teachers but somehow without having to fit these around teaching, everyone is more relaxed. 

I talked to Nick today and he's hoping to get a weeks study leave to come down and complete his thesis, in the right place to do that here. He will get all the TLC he needs, fed and supported. I hope I get to proof read his work, it's an interesting piece of work by the sounds of it. It's been great having Tim home and catching up with him for meals and chats so easily. Kez has had some news about an interesting cadetship he was interviewed for so I hope this works out for him. He has some wonderful skills so employing him will be their good fortune. 

It's been a warm and windy day, blossoms swirling in the wind. I had to raid the summer wardrobe this morning, took a risk and dressed for the warmth, good choice as it turned out. Funny to be wearing my Qatar/travel around Europe clothes here, gets me day dreaming and makes me smile. 

Sunday, 21 September 2008

A night out

Keri and I had a lovely night out last night, a spontaneous arrangement. We had a meal at Cafe Valentino to start. I love risotto balls and have enjoyed them in Italy as well as the delicious ones Tim and Sarah make. On the menu they were an entree, yes three were enough for me thanks. 

Keri bought a pizza. I wish I had taken my camera. Keri's eyes when she saw the size of the pizza she had ordered were worthy of a photo, Keri walking through the street from bar to bar complete with left over pizza box, priceless. We also enjoyed some drinks and then negotiated the steep stairs to the street.

We wandered through the relatively quiet city, people watching. Some amazing shoes out there, white ankle straps with very high heels, black patent leather shiny ones with very high heels. Seeing them modeled as they were made me hanker to go shoe shopping. I usually end up buying heels when I am looking for sensible shoes anyway so may as well go out in search of heels in the first place. 

We strolled into Fat Eddies, past the bouncer complete with pizza box. The bar staff commented, one offered to take the GST off our cocktails for a slice. He made us the yummiest cocktail, a Brown Girl in the Rain. Kahlua, Baileys, mint, ice. It went down a treat, very quickly.

Amazing how men comment when you have food. The two men at the table next to us eyed up Keri's pizza box and started small talk. "That pizza you've got in that box?" Not the best pick up line I've ever heard. Better than the worst food one I've ever had, "how'd ya like to come back to my place and cook me dinner" mmmmmm thanks but no. 

There was a duet jazzing away on the stage, Fat Eddies is a jazz bar after all, a bridal shower and a smattering of small groups like ours in the bar. It would have been rude to leave without checking out another on their extensive cocktail list. It was a tropical treat with Bacardi, strawberries and the like, also yummy. The duo sang my favorite, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It was a different arrangement, more jazzy, and well sung so enjoyable. 

A good night out, lots of chat, sharing of ideas and making sense of the world through the bottom of several glasses. We also did some more planning around the Qatar crew's visit. Shirley and I had talked about this earlier in the day. We are really excited about getting together again, sharing our lives like we did then so enjoyably. 

Friday, 19 September 2008

An insight

There are three things that a child can teach an adult:
To be happy for no reason; to be always busy doing something;
And to know how to demand - with all one's might - what one wants.

Paulo Coelho

I laughed when I found this quote, I was searching for another at the time. The child in my earlier post understood this. 
He was happy, he had had an adventure where he had met a new friend.
He was busy exploring this new and interesting place he had found.
He had demanded quietly what he wanted and took this for himself. 

Food for thought indeed on this fine Saturday morning as I wait for the next load of washing to finish and drink my coffee. For some reason, the wrong time stamp is on this post. It is Saturday morning, not Friday night. 

Reflections


I had a chat to Lyn last night. She lives in New Plymouth and is coming down soon for our inaugural Qatar reunion. I'm so excited, can't wait to feel as one with this special group of people again! I got to reflecting after our talk, reflecting on my life and about my blog. She said that I made my everyday life sound interesting in my blog. I have been enjoying reading hers too and checking out her new Flickr photos. 

I think my life is far from interesting. I read the blogs of others and long to travel, that's in my future I know. I am making decisions about my future and how those in my life at the moment fit into that future. I suppose it does make life interesting, that and the people I am coming into contact with. Old friends I haven't seen for too long and new ones I would love to catch up with again soon. 
Keri and I are going out tonight which will be fun. Rau and I have plans next weekend, another show to wander around. The term break is a week away so I will have some breathing space to get some of my loose ends tied up at work. I will hopefully also get some down time to sort my photos and load some more onto Flickr. 
Tim took this one of me in Sydney. I had just taken a photo of the lady you can see in the photo and her partner. They were pleased as I took some close ups as well as ones of them and the view. There is also a very close up one of me, too scary to include here.

A funny story

I heard a funny story the other day. Kirsty, one of my teachers, told me this story and she swears it's true. I will attempt to record it here, it deserves recording.
An early childhood education service decided they would take a group of children to the aquarium to further their interests in, I am assuming, fish. They were near the end of their visit when they noticed that they were missing a child, a teachers worst nightmare. That the child was a four year old boy with Down Syndrome, added to the worry. The teachers looked everywhere and finally found him, soaking wet complete with his back pack on his back and a big smile on his face. 
They were understandably equally delighted to have found him and cross that they would be late to the bus. They hurried him and the other children onto the bus deciding to change him when they got back to the centre. They didn't ask where he had been, just happy that he was safe. 
His mother was waiting for them and she took him home to have a shower, he was cold but still smiling. His mum put him into the shower and came back a short time later to hear him chatting with someone. Imagine her surprise when she opened the door to see her son chatting to a small and quite animated penguin! She phone the aquarium and told them that her son had brought home a penguin from his visit. 
"Don't worry about it, kids do that all the time" said the aquarium lady, not quite understanding. The mother explained exactly what sort of penguin it was, the live and kicking sort.  The penguin was returned to his mates, via the backpack he arrived home in, none the worse for wear. 
The moral of the story, when out with small children, always check their backpacks before leaving the aquarium. It does sound funnier when told, I can assure you, but you get the picture. 

Thursday, 18 September 2008

A farewell

 I had an interesting night out tonight, a farewell for my old manager Tricia. While I was away in Qatar things shifted at my work and my immediate manager, the person who inducted me into the job, resigned. It was a bit of a shock. She had been with the organisation for 31 years, heaps of institutional knowledge and experience gone with one person. 
The farewell was great, a gathering of people who don't get together too often. The wine flowed with the conversation and some yummy nibbles, including chocolate fudge cake. Yes it does go with chardonnay. It was great to catch up with many interested in my travels who I haven't seen since I got back. 
She liked the little bit of bling I brought back from Qatar for her. I have plans for coffee one day soon with Tricia to hear about her new venture, one I know I will be interested in because it means she can be footloose and fancy free, choosing what she does. 
I put a Coelho quote in her memory book. It fitted Tricia somehow. 

Each human being was given two qualities: power and the gift. Power directs us towards our destiny; the gift obliges us to share with others what is best in us.

Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Out and about in the sunshine





I worked from home today, very productive. I caught up with some report writing, replacing some of the ones I lost in the computer crash, very frustrating having to redo work. It was one of those lovely spring days, warm and sunny so I had the doors open with the breeze wafting in as I worked. The coffee machine was on and the music playing. The best work conditions I can have.

Later in the afternoon I took a brain break and took my camera for a walk. I had spotted some good photos the night before on my walk but the light was not right and my camera was at home on the couch. I took a pile of photos, spring flowers and things of interest. It's amazing what you can see when you are looking through photographers eyes, and when you have your glasses on if you are me. I tend to exercise without them, makes it interesting crossing streets in the dusk. 

I couldn't believe I found a tractor in dress circle Christchurch. It was sitting in the garden of one of those cool 1930s villas with an awesome overgrown garden, hence the tractor I suppose. I got some other photos as well but they need some work so added this one. The others are from peoples gardens. No one asked me what I was doing or chased me with a broom, a relief. 

I also met an elderly lady taking some flowers into the church for a funeral. They were spring flowers from her garden and I helped her take them into the church in return for photographing them. She enjoyed looking at the results, not that flash but she was impressed. They also need work before I add them here. 

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Some friends photos



These two are from Lyn's camera and I found them on a memory stick when I was looking for something else. One is on our 4wd trip by the Saudi Border and the other in one of our local restaurants. I am in between Lyn and Kerry, a standing joke when Kerry arrived as Lyn and I had shared so many things, washing machine, cooker, microwave. Poor Kerry was on the back foot from day one with six women to look after. I tried to impress a friend with a meal in these flash surroundings but I had picked a closed day, all that way in heels only to have to walk to one nearer home. 

Kelly is on Skype. She's back in Doha, in a better standard of accommodation and looking forward to Eid break. She's off to Jordan and Palestine for Eid, sigh. She did say I could come and stay...... Kelly's the one in the back pants in the first photo.

Sunday afternoon

I don't like Sunday afternoons, well that is I really like them until it gets to the sun going down time of the afternoon. Until the warmth goes out of the air and twilight descends. I went for a long walk in the hills this afternoon, walking and thinking as I do. The mountains looked special, too bright to photograph but the snow against the blue sky was wonderful to see. 

I have been thinking about my friends a lot lately. Cals and I hope to Skype today, I'm at the computer waiting for her to come on line now. I had a chat to Kim in London yesterday. I have also been chatting to Sue. She's having some tough times, friends are rallying around to help where they can. Contact with her is very important, as it has always been. I talked to my youngest today. He was in the mood for a long chat so that's what we had. 

Friends from the Coast also dropped in for a coffee on the way to thrash the shops. It was good to sit in the sun and catch up with the gossip. Easy when everyone knows everyone else, as happens in small town New Zealand and I'm sure in other villages around the world. It makes me feel my age when their lovely son tells me he's now 20. I remember teaching him when he was 7 or 8 years old. He's still the lovely young man he was then, bright and sociable. 

Yesterday Raukura and I went to the craft/food/art/photography show. It was wonderful to be able to take some time, forget about time, and just wander and look and taste and marvel at the creativity of people. I have been to similar shows with Tim. We have been in and out in 15 minutes in military like precision just stopping at the relevant stalls. Raukura's flat mate is the same, a female version of speedy Tim. She was relieved I went, it let her off the hook. We discussed this later at the pub watching the rugby and having a few quiets. 

So all in all a satisfying weekend of contact, friends and family and Sunday sunshine. I was even inspired to weed my herb garden, that inspiration didn't last long. 

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes

Last night I sat and watched the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. As I am writing this fried red tomatoes are in the pan for breakfast, along with mushrooms, yum. 

When I need a brain break I have a small collection of movies I watch. All of them make me smile and many make me cry, no matter how often I watch them. Fried Green Tomatoes is one of those movies. I first watched it at Di's place in Blenheim back in the '90s when my two youngest were intermediate age. We were invading Di as we were on a rugby trip. The boys watched it too, snuggled up on the couch with me and Di. It touched a spot then and still does. 

I had loaned it out and got it back last week. Friday night with a movie and a wine in front of a warm fire, who could beat that. Fried Green Tomatoes is a film about friendship and belonging. It's also about self discovery and the impact of people on each other. So a timely watch. And yes I cried, in the spot I always do, won't give away the plot by saying when. I am still waiting for my copy of Once to arrive so I can add that to my small collection, another movie with good memories. 

While I am writing I am also chatting to Kim in London on Skype, cold there apparently. Would love to take you up on the offer to come and visit, soon I hope! But right now my fried red tomatoes are ready so I will go and enjoy them. 

I'm off to a craft and food show today so should have some photos to add from that later. My friend Lyn has her blog up and running. Check out the photo of us in our gloriously green T shirts, such a good night out celebrating St Patrick's day.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Flower


I have been working on some spring flower photos but the rain and the cold spring means these have alluded me so far. I am working from home today and was taking a break outside when I spotted my lovely Gerbera on the deck in the sun. It looked good enough to photograph. I like that I also caught a small spider doing what spiders do. See if you can spot it. 
So sorry Annie, I will get some proper spring flower shots for you to enjoy when you get home from your travels. This will have to do for now. 
This flower is for Sue who is constantly in my thoughts at the moment. 

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Comments

I am often bemused at the the counter on my blog. It shows me that people do read my writing as it increases by several hits per day. What I would like is a few more comments. I would love to hear from those who browse, hear what you think of my blog. I enjoy writing it so I hope you enjoy reading it. 
I do get some good comments from my friends and family via email. One from Di today asked about the Kokatahi Band, a West Coast institution. Although I told her I would look on You Tube, I held out little hope of finding anything. But amazingly I did, just click the link and be transported back in time..... The band members were old when I last saw them ten or so years ago so I suspected they may have disbanded altogether, how wrong I was. The clip is from the 2008 Kumara Races another Coast institution, a big day out to rival the Wild Food Festival. Any big Coast event, the Kokatahi Band are sure to show, long may they continue to do so!


Scales

In Qatar Helen had scales, the type you weigh yourself on, electronic scales. We lined up for weigh ins like an episode of the Biggest Loser. I came home to woeful scales, a set that someone who had lived with us had left behind, on purpose to frustrate me I suspect. I had scales envy but I pulled myself up, got over it and made do as good Kiwi lasses tend to do.

When I say woeful scales, I should explain in their defence that it wasn't that they weighed heavy or weren't aesthetically pleasing. It was more that I couldn't read them without my glasses on or contorting myself to a much lower place. Even then, I couldn't really distinguish the calibrations, them not being electronic and all. On Helen's scales I could read the big numbers standing upright, much more dignified. 

Last weekend I decided to buy a new set. I had had an unfortunate incident with the old set, banged my head on the bath as I tried to read the numbers. OK, so I should take my glasses to the bathroom. I tend not to as I can see a much better image of myself in the mirror without them. 

Off I went to Briscoes, always a sale there after all. All I wanted were a set of ordinary scales, electronic ones I could read the numbers on. I tried out several and settled on a simple set. Then others noticed the sale stand. I am not the best shopper, get me confused with choice and I tend to leave without buying. Sigh, no scales this trip.

It was Fathers Day so we met Tim and Sarah, had lunch and a discussion on the merits of the various scales available over cream buns. The two blokes decided that I needed the on sale ones, the ones that had muscle mass, water content and were able to have a small army of people individually programmed into it's memory. OTT I said but they were the same price, give or take a tenner, as my simple choice. I gave in.

Don't tell the blokes, but I am having fun on my new scales. Not only can I weigh myself and read the numbers, after all the object of the exercise, but I can also see my muscle mass and water content increasing and decreasing. I have no idea what the numbers actually mean but I am average for my age apparently. Thanks for that scales, just what I needed to hear. Funny, I take more notice of what fits me in my wardrobe than my weight. Right now the gym is working, my summer jeans fit well and I feel fitter than I did, all good really. 

I may need to revisit Briscoes on the weekend. I hope they have coffee machines on sale, mine is playing up again. I am mean without coffee so a new coffee machine would be a good investment. I hope there's only one or two to choose from.....

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Bondi


I liked Bondi Beach. The beach was quiet and there were a few hardy souls in the surf. I could have lain on the beach enjoying the sun and listening to the waves. 

A funny week

It's been a funny week so far. I seem to be living in a kind of limbo, not sure what to do next with plenty on my plate, personally and professionally. I had a call yesterday and then one today with new work possibilities. That's three new possibilities to consider if I also count the one on Friday, two in New Zealand and one in the Middle East. 
What to do with all these choices. I opened my trusty Coelho book and what page should it open on but the one with this quote from Brida.

It is necessary to run risks, to follow certain paths and to abandon others. No one can make a choice without feeling fear.
Paulo Coelho

Too true. It's difficult to make decisions, decisions mean change and fear is a natural part of change. I know this because in my current job I assist others through change. It's the part of my job I enjoy the most, the human contact. Anyway, I'm sure it will all come clear in the near future. 
Right now, I have emails to catch up on, reports to write and an article to complete. I'd better get onto it.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

I'm bored

It's a cold sunday afternoon. I've got heaps to do but can't get out of my own way to do what's needed. Perhaps usual for a Sunday afternoon. 
Tim and Sarah shared some You Tubes they had enjoyed in Canada. Many were a bit rude to include here. This one wasn't. Although it's actually fathers day here in New Zealand, I really liked this one about a mother's role in life. Moms Song had us all in fits.


Dinner out in Canberra


We went out to dinner with Julie's family at their favorite Chinese, yummy food. Tim rehydrated on Heineken while we enjoyed several wines. I am ambidextrous so drank the red when the white ran dry. These are the two best photos, wine and photography don't always mix. The later night shots of the Canberra lights didn't work to my satisfaction either. 
For those who are unsure, clicking on the photos makes them bigger. A bit scary for some of the people ones.

The gift

I arrived home from Sydney to the best gift in my letter box. It was from Callie, my youngest sons ex from way back who lives in Singapore. I have written about how special Cals is to me in an earlier post so won't go on. The gift was a small book called Life by my favorite author Paulo Coelho. It contains a series of quotes from his wonderful books and I was pleasantly surprised to see many I have marked in my copies included. 
It's a very handy book, perfect for me at this time. It will also save me trawling through my library for just the right quote. I have already used one for the article I am writing on environmental education. It's from The Alchemist.

Everything on the face of the earth is constantly being transformed because the Earth is alive and has a Soul. 
Paulo Coelho

While I was in Rome I read Brida. Diane had brought it with her, I devoured it in a day or so. It's message was well timed as many things in my life are. There are many quotes in Life from Brida and as I read them I smiled, remembering lying on the bed with the warm breeze wafting through the curtains and the sound of the inevitable scooters hooning up via Vaticano, totally engrossed in the philosophies of Coelho.  

There is a long quote in Brida about gardeners and builders, the gist of which is that people are either gardeners or builders. Over time builders become hemmed in by their buildings while gardeners have a life of constant demands and these bring a life of adventure. Unlike builders, gardeners rarely rest. Callie is a gardener and by now should have read Brida, I look forward to our next conversation. The quote I have chosen for today is:

Go in search of your Gift. The more you understand yourself, the more you will understand the world.
Paulo Coelho

It seemed appropriate for this Sunday morning. I have heard from a gardener this morning by email and had a talk to my friend Sue, also a gardener, yesterday. I so value my friends, and enjoy hearing of their adventures. I do owe some of you emails, tonight I promise.
  

Saturday, 6 September 2008

More MTB World Cup photos














A light moment on the women's podium. New Zealand's Rosara Joseph is second from the left. 
Close racing at the front.
A fast and steep down hill.
An uphill grind.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Sydney.



We enjoyed some sightseeing in Sydney on Monday. David drove us to many of the top spots including the Rocks and Bondi Beach. We had some quick stops, just enough to get some photos. One is a wide shot of Sydney city and the harbor, the other a photo of me at the rocks. As you can see it's a warm day, a dose of sunshine much needed by this cold kiwi. 
Sydney is a busy place with some awesome beaches. The beaches are easily accessible although at times the traffic makes traveling across the city a bit of a trial.  I was tempted to break out the bikini and have a swim, well until I realised how cold the sea still was. We visited the venue of the Sydney Olympics and saw that it had been put to good use, an amazing facility for the people of Sydney. 
It was hard heading to the airport knowing that we would be going home, well that's how I felt. Tim and Sarah felt quite different, excited to be sleeping in their own bed after so many months away but more importantly to be seeing Sam again. He was waiting for them at their place, a warm and excited welcome by an old dog for his long lost masters. 

MTB World Cup


It was chilly in Canberra for the race. We arrived in the race village in time to see the woman's race finish. Well done Rosara for getting third, an amazing result for a New Zealander. The track was made for spectators although as I was climbing the hill, I was on the look out for snakes. Apparently they are still asleep at this time of year, not entirely convinced. I did see a couple of kangaroos hopping across the track, only in Australia. 
Tim had an OK race. He completed 4 of the 5 laps despite having a major dose of the flu. The flu you often get when you have flown long haul in recent days. In the photo he is in a world of pain, I won't repeat the words he said at the time I took this. 
It was a great event, enjoyed by the many spectators who lined the track. Roll on the next race in Canberra, the World Champs in 2009. 

Whanau


























It was great catching up with the whanau in Sydney. I hadn't seen one of the great nephews before and he sure kept me entertained, such a busy 6 year old and looking so like my youngest. The other I had met but many years earlier so catching up with him as a cool 12 year old was magic. He also has the family stamp, more like Nick than any other. 
There was also a nephew or two and their wives to catch up with. Julie, my sister in law, cooked up a storm and kept us all well fed. Add to that a wine or several and it was a great social weekend. We had the privilege of meeting Julie's whanau in Canberra where they kindly put us up and fed us when we were down watching Tim race in the MTB World Cup. Leanne and David cooked the most amazing breakfast. Bacon, eggs, fresh fruit, croissants yum. Better than eating out, with excellent company. 
We don't get to catch up with family very often and it's usually a rush trip or coinciding with a big family event so to have some time together without pressure was great. David and Julie live beside the Nepean River, a lovely spot and one worthy of photographing. I spent some time walking along the river path, listening to music, taking photos and enjoying the peace. 
The photos are of the three generations, Layne and Jake and Muzz and Jake walking along the river path. 

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

I'm back!

I got back last night, well more the early hours of the morning, from my long weekend trip to Sydney and Canberra. I couldn't believe the queue at immigration with three planes all landing at the same time, we were the last of the three hence the long wait. 
The approach to Christchurch was a bit dramatic with a good old nor'wester buffeting the plane. There were a few startled people and some loud exclamations as we pitched and rolled our way over the mountains into a speedy descent. I liked one of the air crew's comments over the intercom that we were getting a thrilling ride thrown in for free. It made me smile but not others I suspect. As we landed applause broke out, relief from those that thought we would be another bad news item in the morning.
I am in the process of downloading the many photos, not sure how I managed to get over 300 but the mountain biking was exciting. I promise I wont include all of them here, just a few key ones. I will write entries that link to the photos but right now it's wine o'clock and it would be rude not to have a small glass or two.