Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The Great Kiwi Summer
We have watched on the news images of bush fires in Australia and snow in the UK. Our summer has been pretty reasonable by comparison although it still feels strange saying that in February. I think perhaps the key lesson of the summer - (including the part we spent in the Scottish and American Winter) is the value of friends and the importance of encouragement. It has been great to connect with old friends, sense a deepening of relationship with some new ones and appreciate the fabric of relationship that we are privileged to be part of.
We have had plenty of opportunity to do things outside and also experienced a couple of deluges which seem to confirm that our house is now mostly watertight even if there is a fair bit of work still to be done.
I have been pretty busy with the start of the new academic year. This is a vital time of year for student work and we have been working hard on every campus to meet new students and get things started well. The Rongopai house in Wellington has 8 new students living in community and we also now have a ministry flat in Auckland. We are also getting "Catalyst": our new graduate, faculty and marketplace work going. I have been writing a Vision summary of the top ten challenges in New Zealand which will shortly appear on Cultural Connections. We still have no resolution on some of the staff with visa issues but believe that progress is being made. We have two new staff starting in the next few weeks in Auckland and Andy is starting to manage a few hours a week which is great. I am doing ok at the moment but could really do with a new PA as it is now some months since Liz left.
Ailsa's Auntie Ally arrived for a three week visit including meeting up with some friends on the South island. She lives in Vancouver but over the years we have managed to see a bit of her in Canada, Scotland and America. The boys have been pleased to see her again and we took her up Mount Victoria when she arrived.
Luke turned 15. It is amazing where the time goes. He is now edging ahead of Ailsa in the height stakes. He is a a good kid and is still loving Wellington College. He is planning on going on a Missions Trip with the youth group at church to Nelson in the Easter holidays to work with at risk children.
We had a couple of friends round to the house after school for tea and then took them to the Hurricanes game at the stadium. The Hurricanes ahve made a shaky start to the season given that they were one of he pre-season favourites. We managed to beat a poor Highlanders team in the last minute of the game which pleased the boys even if the performance frustrated the crowd.
Jamie got the chance to be a ball boy at one of the NZ v India internationals at the National Hockey Stadium. There was a pretty decent crowd and Jamie enjoyed lining up for the National anthems with the teams before the match. Wandering among the spectators made me realise how many people we have got to know in Wellington through hockey.
jamie always relishes an opportunity to wear a different shirt even if it is only or a day. It was also good to see some of his friends from the Hatch Cup team last year. Wellington College Under 15 training starts this Friday at 7.45 am. This is early for the boys but VERY early for the coach.
It was great to see two top teams playing. We are pretty privileged with sport at the moment because the Indian Cricket Team arrive tomorrow and will play a 20/20 international at the Cake Tin which I am taking the boys to with some friends and some students (not that those are mutually exclusive categories).
Craig has started playing Touch Rugby again after school on a Wednesday. It is a popular summer sport here and at the higher levels fast and skillful. Fortunately at the lower levels the games do not last too long.
I am not an expert on "Touch" by any stretch of the imagination but I can see that Craig has some idea of supporting the player with the ball - which is a bit unusual!
Ailsa and Ally have gone on a kayak trip to Abel Tasman National Park. This is a really beautiful part of New Zealand and they should have a fantastic time. They are going to the far end of the park and paddling for about 4 hours a day for 3 days and a couple of nights camping with "gourmet food" prepared by the guides.
This is their ferry heading out past Scorching Bay towards the Cook Straight. If hypothetically speaking, a wife, who was going kayaking for 4 days with her Aunt, answered her phone when her husband had driven round to wave at the point then it might have been possible to indicate out where they were on said ferry. Of course it's all hypothetical because said husband would not have wasted time on frivolous and futile romantic gestures.
This leaves me holding the fort. Not that we live in a fort as such but if we did I would be just the chap to hold it. This involves all kinds of responsibilities like cooking, cleaning and organising the children. So far I seem to be coping and the boys are being pretty good.
So it is important to record that just because Ailsa is away nothing is different and that absolutely everything is the same and there is no illicit behaviour of any kind taking place. After all it is very important that parents have the same standards for their children!!