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Apr. 20th, 2008


I have wicked netball skills

Went and saw The Hives on Friday night at the Brixton Academy. They rock. The lead singer is a complete showman but it works somehow without him coming across as a complete prat.
Anyway at the end of the evening the drummer went and chucked his drumsticks into the crowd - guess what I managed to catch with my wicked netball skills... Ok its pretty obvious but I managed to catch one of the drumsticks, I've decided that they make a much better souvenir than a t-shirt.

Oct. 17th, 2007



I saw my first live fox today! Almost mistook it for a cat at first but then proceeded to have a staredown before it ran off into the shadows.

Oct. 11th, 2007


No news on Edinburgh

Well I have not updated this yet with the accounts of my trip to Edinburgh a couple of weeks back. Unfortunately I have now left it too long to discuss in great detail all the happenings there because of the happenings last weekend. As I am currently in denial I find myself unable to utter the word beginning with R or those other two words beginning with W and C (all kiwis should know and understand). Hence I am unable to talk about my experiences in Edinburgh and Murrayfield.

However I may get organised enough to post some photos on the weekend and so will be able to converse about the rest of the weekend, not just about the performance of the A and B (being unable to say those two words either).

New trips planned - a day in Birmingham in November. Birmingham is the home of that most sacred place called the Cadbury Chocolate Factory which I'm sure I'll have time to worship.

Sep. 14th, 2007


Spring in the Southern Hemisphere

Well this blog was supposed to be about my travels out in the big wide world but somehow it is also turning into a blog about my parents ever expanding menagerie back in NZ.

Anyway seasons come and go and despite the complete lack of anything resembling a summer we're heading into autumn over here. Leaves are turning orange and falling off trees, nights are getting dark sooner but the temperature is much the same. Which says something about our summer.
This all means as well that on the other side of the world all of you down in the Southern Hemisphere are approaching spring. Which means lots of rain and lambing season. And yes my parents zoo has expanded again.

See Exhibit A for the cute and fluffy critters that were birthed to Flopsey who was renamed Gigantus before anyone realised that she was actually pregnant and not fat.

The black lamb has been given the very politically correct name of Goggy (after a childhood mispronunciation of Gollywog) and the white one is The Beard after Carl Hayman's Beard.
I suggest that if the All Blacks don't win the World Cup that my parents eat The Beard for dinner.

Sep. 7th, 2007


(no subject)

Latest trip has been a week-long pilgrimage by David, Doug and myself around Ireland on the quest to drink the perfect Guinness. My humble opinion is that the first one I drank in Dublin was the best, oddly enough the one at the Guinness storehouse was not the best although it did have the best view to accompany it as we were 7 floors up. The factory was rather cool showing just how Guinness was made, my particular highlight was the video showing how they made the casks. Photo below is of the 3 of us standing in front of the water from the same river that makes Guinness.

It wasn't all just Guinness as we also went to a microbrewery in Dublin and tried a few of their brews as well as drinking Murphy's and Killkenny when we were further south.
During our day or so in Dublin we visited Trinity College where we saw the Book of Kells, but I think I was most impressed with the Reading Room. It contains stacks of old books and tiny spiral staircases leading to the second floor of stacks of old books. It was just what I have always imagined a library should look like. And it smelled like a library should.
Otherwise I was very impressed with how good a cup of coffee you can drink in Dublin, actually throughout all of Ireland. Most of their coffee stores are little independent cafes rather than chain stores.

Anyway the road trip began after we hired a car in Dublin and drove to Cork for a night there. On the way we managed to think we were lost when we actually weren't and saw many tractors out on the road. Not in fields, out on the roads mostly taking hay somewhere. The countryside was gorgeous, hills with large purple patches due to the heather. Conveniently the weather behaved itself for the whole trip as it was mostly sunny with a few overcast periods.
From Cork it was on to Killarny (seeing more tractors on our way) which is a horribly touristy town with the most expensive meals. We stopped off on route to Blarney Castle where we kissed the Stone so now apparently I am terribly eloquent (have you noticed?).

We were in Killarney for a few nights so that we could drive around both the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Skellig (an extra bit on the end of the Ring of Kerry). The Ring of Skellig was probably a highlight of the trip as we found the western-most chocolate factory in the world where I managed to eat a lot of chocolate. This was a complete accident as I had no idea that it was there and so had no intention of directing us an hour out of our way just so I could eat chocolate. Really.
We did find a nice beach called Saint Finians Bay where we skipped stones, I think it may be the first time I got wet in the Atlantic. Rather cold so we didn't stay too long. The picture below is of the boys when we were getting our feet wet.

From Killarney we drove to Galway, again seeing many tractors out on the road. Stopped off to see the Cliffs of Moher on the way, rather impressive and a bit windy. Also went through the Burren and saw an old dolmen. The whole area there is just scattered with rocks, makes for a rather primeval atmosphere.
Galway is very cool although it made me appreciate how well sign-posted most places are back home. We found a few pubs with some live music, there was a band called No Banjo who unsurprisingly didn't have a banjo, and yet more Guinness. From Galway it was just another drive to Dublin, seeing yet more tractors, for our flight home (with a final drink of the black stuff at the airport).

This weekend we're off to visit cousin Sarah in Cambridge. She has been given the vitally important task of finding us a venue to watch the ABs game on Saturday so lets hope she comes through with the goods :)

Aug. 22nd, 2007


Whatever happened to summer?

Well despite it being August yesterday was cold enough to warrant pulling on my big coat and scarf to keep warm. Today is not much better. At this time of year its supposed to be summer!
At the moment I can see why the English spend so much time complaining about the weather as well quite frankly it sucks.

Aug. 20th, 2007


Grecian glory

Ok so a while back David and I made it to Greece and as I have been slack here is (finally) all the news and a few photos to remind you of what I look like.

So we did what hundreds of people have done before us and left buying plane tickets a bit too late so ended up flying out of Gatwick airport at 6am. This meant getting up around 3am for a taxi ride as it was too early for the trains. So after getting hit with a £70 taxi fare (still cheaper then getting a later flight) we end up at the airport to find our flight has been delayed!

Eventually arrived in Athens where it was a nice 35°C and managed to find our hotel. The next few days were spent wandering around various ruins and eating lots of icecreams and cold drinks to cope with the heat. The Acropolis was impressive with the white marble gleaming in the bright sunshine. The view was spectacular although I found the wind made the experience rather dusty and the crowds meant it took a while to get around. Also there was scaffolding everywhere which got in the way of any views and constantly reminded me that we were still in the 21st century not BC.

I felt that the ruins of Zeus of Olympia more easily conveyed what they had looked like back in BC.

The rest of Athens was spent alternating between ruins and stopping to have a cold drink because of the heat. Highlights were the food, buying leather sandals and being able to turn a corner and have yet another ancient thing to look at. The guards at Parliament were very cool and get bonus points for their funny little walk.

Mykonos was wonderful, partly as it was the first time swimming in the sea since we left NZ but it was all white houses and good times. Took me a while to work out how the white houses were different to the ones in Spain but there they were very square while here the architecture was more rounded. So apart from a day trip to Delos our time here was spent lazing by a beach while drinking strawberry daiquiris (me) or beer (David). We went out quite a bit, were rather amused when one evening we found that the small restaurant we were dining out was half-filled with New Zealanders, not what you expect on the other side of the world. We felt a little out of place as there weren't as many english people, instead a great many europeans who were incredibly tanned and we were feeling very white!

Delos was fascinating, its an island not far from Mykonos that was believed to be the birth site for Apollo and Artemis. As a consequence of this it ended up being inhabited by about 25000 people in 500BC and due to its geological stability many of the ruins are still in good condition. We're talking walls, mosaic floors, staircases, theatre and even a sewage system. You really got a feel for the size of city that it must have been despite only a quarter of the city being uncovered.

Anyway it was a brilliant holiday and I returned with a bit of a tan!

Jul. 28th, 2007


Music Stuff

Ok, well I have managed to see a few acts in the last couple of weeks (not Glastonbury but I don't know if thats a bad thing considering the amount of mud there) which have entertained me.

Firstly there was the O2 Festival in Hyde Park which is a bit like the Big Day Out but it runs for 4 days. David and I went to the Sunday only and didn't know many of the bands other than the Kaiser Chiefs. So we ended up picking bands to watch based on how interesting their names were, this meant cutting out most of the "The" bands but otherwise seemed a success.
Under the Influence of Giants had the best name and was probably the best act although Los Campesinos! from Cardiff were pretty close. Any band that has the lead singer playing a xylophone is pretty cool. Headlining was the Kaiser Chiefs who were brilliant and certainly knew how to work a crowd. They even had a guest singer from the Polysics who were a crazy band from Japan wearing orange boiler suits and doing star jumps all over the stage. Also I decided that the lead singer from The Editors shall henceforth be known as "clawman" due to his unusual singing actions while on stage.

Then, aided by Doug, it was off to the Windmill in Brixton which is only about 20 min walk from our flat. In fact it would have been much quicker to walk direct rather than take the tube in the attempt to get closer. Anyway this place turned out to be a dingy little dive with barely any signage outside. It did however have live music most nights and a couple of old geezers watching hurling on a tv at the back.
We had 4 bands of which the first started out country-rock before morphing into full country complete with harmonica. The third were the Outside Royalty who impressed me enough I'm now on their mailing list. They had a string section with both a violin and a cello. The main act was the Immacculate machines, a three piece from Canada who were brilliant.

Latest but not the least was going to watch the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club when they performed at Somerset House. This is an outdoor venue right by the Thames. Luckily the weather behaved itself and so we had a rock concert while surrounded by really old building that used to house the Inland Revenue department.

Plans for this weekend involve attending the Ben & Jerry's festival with yet more bands but most importantly free samples of Ben & Jerry's icecream. This is the company that has such wonderful flavours as Cookie Dough. I may not be able to face icecream afterwards.

Jun. 18th, 2007


Woolly issues

As some of you may know my parents recently moved from Auckland and are now living on a life-style block in Wanganui. They now have sheep. I have naming rights to a few of these sheep and so need interesting names. Unfortunately my first choice of Ughboot was declined (apparently the sheep aren't woolly enough for the name to fit) so any other suggestions would be welcome. I am considering Casserole as a possibility.


May. 2nd, 2007


Reverse of a Mastercard ad

Pink and white blossoms on all the trees, glorious.
Summer time temperatures so in t-shirts and shorts, neat.
Picnic at the park with cold beer and strawberries, wonderful.

Suffering from hayfever for the first time in my life...Priceless!

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