Tuesday, March 03, 2009
The Adventurers Return
Ailsa and Ally had a fabulous time kayaking in Abel Tasman. They paddled for 50km over the three days of the trip. There were some rough seas in the first couple of days but they successfully piloted their canoe carrying all their supplies and tents in and all their rubbish out.
There were 8 in the group plus a guide. One of the couples was from Scotland visiting New Zealand for a year and they were able to find some friends in common. The guide cooked each night and the group were impressed with what he was able to whip up on a portable stove.
They saw a number of different birds, seal pups and dolphins and enjoyed hearing a bit of the history of some of the islands and bays. Ally coped fine with her arm still being in plaster and the kayak did not spend all it's time going in circles.
Ailsa really enjoyed the week. They had a night in Nelson either side of the Kayak trip and had fun exploring and cooking their own dinner on hot stones in a restaurant they discovered. Difficult to get the balance between "yes it was all fine" (running the risk of "you don't appreciate me") to the "it was awful" (running the risk of "I feel guilty about leaving you all"). In fact the boys were great at home and we all coped pretty well but we were all delighted to have Ailsa back again.
The last night before Ailsa got back we went to the 2020 cricket at the Cake Tin. It was a great evening and one of the best atmospheres we have been to there. There is not often much away support at the stadium but there was a huge crowd supporting India which was good fun.
We went with Andrew, Sam and Isaac and some students and friends. At the close we needed 16 of the last 7 balls and then 9 of the last 3. The Black Caps won on the very last ball to the great delight of the boys. (and to Gina Wong who was perhaps the most excited I have ever seen anyone of Asian origin!)
We took Ally up to the Kapiti coast on Sunday. This is one of my favourite places partially because it was where I spent most time on my first three trips to NZ.
It has been great having Ally visiting. This is the 4th country we have spent some time together in and she is a Great Aunt in both senses of that!
Eddie commented the other day how we always look like we are outdoors in New Zealand. It is certainly one of the things we enjoy about life here.
We are all starting to get into training for the new hockey season. Luke and Jamie will have trials for Wellington College and Craig at Hutt. I have done more pre-season training myself than I have done for about 20 years!
I had a pretty enjoyable birthday. Ailsa had got some pictures of Alcatraz framed and the boys gave me some Dukka and a book about the Olympics. Nicola had made chocolate cake ad they sang happy birthday in the office and a lot of people sent greetings.
We went out to Ichiban Tepanyaki for dinner which was Ally's first time at a food throwing Japanese restaurant.
I guess birthdays are a time to reflect and give thanks. I feel the first few months of this year have been significant. I have felt much more encouraged and supported by older and newer friends. There are still huge challenges but I feel that phase 1 has been completed in NZ and we are now pressing forward into a new stage of life and work here. I have also been feeling more creative. (which is always a little dangerous!)
I enjoy that on a beach you have things which wash up on the shore having been shaped by water and wind. They exist on the boundary for a fragile moment. Walking on the beach looking out you have the big inspiring vista but looking down there is also much to be treasured in the tidal debris. There is beauty in both and I enjoy shifting the perspective. Trying to get people to see small things in a bigger context has and continues to be a major leadership challenge.
The McEvedy Shield is an annual athletics competition held in Wellington between the 4 traditional boys schools. Wellington College, St Pats Town, St Pats Silverstream and Rongotai. It is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar for these schools. Selection is very competitive and Luke just missed out on the 1500m.
St Pats Town were the defending champions and led for most of the day. The noise the supporters make can be heard from some distance away.
Wellington College fought back to win the closest competition for years by 182 points to 173. With Stream third on 100 and Rongotai fourth on 83. Luke and Jamie joined 600 boys performing a celebratory haka. The other schools respond with their own hakas. The pride and passion is quite moving.
As I write I am somewhere over the Cook Islands. I have a couple of meetings with a few days between so am taking the opportunity to progress some writing projects. Gillian Wildgoose has had to leave NZ while her application for PR is being processed. We are very keen to have her back and it would be great if the process would move a little faster. Anna is in a similar situation and her absence leaves a big hole in the office. My ongoing lack of a PA is also an issue as is the global financial meltdown and its potential impact on our support.
This week Ailsa and Ally are hoping to visit the Wairarapa for a day and the boys are all participating in the Weetbix Tryathlon at the weekend. These things always put more pressure on Ailsa when I am away which maybe I appreciate just a little bit more in practice rather than just in theory having recently done it for a lot less time than she does on a regular basis.