Category: Hamilton

Heading into winter…

AonghasHamiltonholidayleisureNZNZ Places

So we’re settled into our new house, started to get to grips with the garden – even bought some plants, a shredder to mulch the prunings and the falling autumn leaves.  We have plans to create a veggie plot and swap some of the decorative perennials for fruit trees.  Aonghas has already planted some carrots and marigolds ( or marlegods as he calls them!) in the boxes outside his window.  The early Camellias are starting to flower and we have a carpet of deep pink petals in our garden.  Roses are still blooming but the trees are wearing their autumnal colours and looking glorious in rich shades of yellow red, red rosethrough orange to red.

Well, what have we been up to..?  Boys have finished summer sports and are training for their chosen winter sports.  Lachlan is continuing with rugby, but has taken up squash and, as he is in Year 10 he is allowed to use the weights room at school.  Aonghas has decided to try hockey this year and is enjoying that – he even scored a goal last week!  Lachlan is also running regularly and still cycling.  Next weekend he is heading to Rotorua to take part in the Moon Ride – a 12 hour mountain biking marathon.  He is riding as part of a team and they will take it in turns to do the 15km circuits from 10amAonghas playing hockey to 10pm.  We were down there a couple of weekends ago and all had a go on the tracks. The Redwoods is a great forest with masses of mountain bike tracks of all levels.  Aonghas coped really well with them and ventured down the Dipper which even I braved, though Nigel decided that caution was the better part of valour and chickened out!  (we won’t hold it against him!)

We were down in Rotorua as I was taking part in a Duathlon, we decided to make a weekend of it as it was the last weekend of the Easter holidays, and our friends Liz and Chaz were also there with their boys, Jamie and Josh.  Liz was competing in the Duathlon too, as well as a couple more of our friends.  We stayed in the Thermal Holiday park – the same one we stayed in when we Aonghas on the "Dipper"were here on holiday in 2005. We rented a self contained unit which, in estate agent speak, made good use of space – compact and bijou!  The advantage of the park are the hot pools, plenty of running around space for energetic boys, a games room as well as a television! After a couple of weeks of glorious weather we had a weekend of rain and wind, so the going was soft and muddy!  We set off with the wind and rain lashing our faces, but once on the way and into the forest, we soon warmed up.  The pressure was off as far as times go because of the weather conditions so we just relaxed and went with the flow.  Obviously a good move because I ended up with a time 5 minutes faster than the last duathlon I did and a top 10 finish!  We hung around in the cold and wet for the spot prizes because you never know ……. that $2000 bike might just have your name on it!  Sadly it wasn’t to be..maybe next time!  But, boy were those hot pools good when we got back to the holiday park!  A couple of hours later and nicely coddled we emerged to head back home!

We stopped off at what has become a bit of a regular, favourite spot for us – the Fat Dog cafe.  Huge portions of scrummy food and plenty of veggie options for Nigel.  Heaps of sald with home made burgers as well as BLATs, fries, wedges ….mmm,  my mouth is watering just thinking of it!

Lachlan’s first NZ rugby match

Hamiltonschoolsport

Hi,

This is Lachlan writing for the Robertson blog about my first rugby match in NZ.

It was a pre-season friendly against a school from south Auckland. When we first saw the opposition we thought we were going to get smashed because they were really big and mean. Unfortunately we lost but it was our first match this year and it hurt! The ground was as hard as something really hard and I now have cuts and bruises everywhere L . My team played really well but got tired at the end and I think I made some good tackles. The holidays are coming up in a week so I can’t wait! We had an after match feed back at the school (we played at Marist rugby club) and we had cake and lasagne J. It was a fun game and I enjoyed my first taste of rugby for a while. Looking forward to more matches now!

We have furniture!.. and stuff!!

HamiltonHousesschool

unpacking the container

I am writing to you all now in a room full of “stuff!”. Wow! All our familiar bits and pieces transposed from Ingleton to Hamilton – it feels really weird but also very comforting!

New Zealand Vanlines arrived on Thursday morning with our container that I had last seen in the wind and lashing rain of a Yorkshire Dales winter.

container on A65

saying goodbye!

When we waved it goodbye as it set off down the A65 we couldn’t really comprehend what it was going to be like to greet it in NZ. We had no idea where we would be living, what sort of house we would have, what the weather would be like – so many unknowns, but things have a way of sorting themselves out. So, in the scorching heat of a Waikato summer our belongings were carried out of the container which had been their home for 8 weeks by a couple of burly Islanders. Where it took two Englishmen to lift my dining table into the container, it was hoisted single-handedly onto Mac’s shoulder and passed over the fence to his mate on the other side! They made short work of emptying the container and we were left with a house and a garage filled with boxes and packages.

the garage!We have had a busy few days, as you might imagine, unpacking boxes and discovering the delights of our belongings. It has been like Christmas! Mind you, we have also opened boxes and wondered why on earth we spent money on transporting such junk half way across the world! Having lived with the bare minimum for 8 weeks you realise just how much useless paraphernalia we collect as we go through life and how much you can just do without. However, all that extra paraphernalia is now with us and we will just have to work out how we can dispose of it before the kids notice we have thrown out all their toys! It’s a good job that boxes …there is a large garage here as the house is considerably smaller than Mount Pleasant and the attached photos show just how full it is! I think a garage sale is needed! the “al fresco” living roomThe weather here is really conducive to outdoor living at the moment and so we have created an extra room on the patio by the pool with a settee and table. It is lovely to sit out there in comfort and relax with a book and a glass of wine watching the children play in the pool! One of the particular delights of unpacking was finding the stash of alcohol the packers (I didn’t know anything about it, honest!) had deposited in the boxes! Zoco, 43, Champagne, Glenfiddich – (actually we haven’t found that yet!).

Brian & Nige hard at workAny way, many thanks have to go to Nigel’s Uncle Brian for the two 10 hour days he put in moving boxes from one side of the garage to the other (and then back again) to unearth the shelving units, rebuild them and then put all the boxes on them, braving a shower of ants, and still maintaining a sense of humour! Chris and Brian along with George and Barbara were our first real visitors and it was lovely to see them. Hopefully George and Barbara are now enjoying themselves in Bali before heading back to sunny Edinburgh. I say hopefully because their saga of cancelled, postponed and non-existent flights is a definite holiday scare story! (Avoid Quantas!)Lachlan having a break!

Lachlan spent a happy day reacquainting himself with all his belongings – it’s the first time he has voluntarily tidied his room anyway! Mind you he had to keep stopping to admire his work and have a rest!

To escape the mountain of boxes, C, B, G and B took us out for dinner on Thursday evening. We went to a place called Gengy’sGengys’s (Ghenghis Khan) where you pick the ingredients for your meal and then take them to the chef who cooks them on a hot plate. The kids thought it was great especially as you can keep on going back for more – George thought it was pretty good too! Aonghas was particularly impressed because he could have as many pancakes as he wanted for pudding! An interesting place to go if you happen to be in Hamilton (apparently there is one in Wellington too so I guess it’s part of a chain), good food, friendly staff, a pleasant though bustling and somewhat noisy ambiance and reasonably priced too.

By Saturday evening we had a reasonably functioning living room and kitchen – and we had found the Champagne so we duly cracked open a bottle and sat in our “al fresco” living room for an aperitif. Thanks to Chris and Brian for all their help.

Since then we have continued to “discover” all our treasures – Aonghas was overjoyed to be reunited with all his teddies!’ Nigel has got the computer up and running – not without some glitches but what’s new? Lachlan found his kicking tee so has been out practising his kicking in the park and I was pleased to get my bike so now I can get out and about on that.having fun in the pool

We still have a garage full and it is starting to look more organised however I am sure that much of the stuff will stay there until we move again.

Easter weekend coming up and now we have our camping gear (which, along with the caving gear was all passed ok by the man from MAF) we are hoping to get away somewhere, probably to the beach. Because of the organisation of the terms the boys only have a long weekend (Thurs to Tues inc) but it’ll be great to explore a bit further afield. Will let you know how we get on.

..and the wickets came tumbling down!

friendsHamiltonHousesschoolsport

covers on!Yesterday the boys and I went to see the ODI between England and the Black Caps (Nigel stayed at home as he is a Scotsman and good Scotsmen don’t do cricket!!). We set off on the bus after the boys finished school hoping to get the second half of the match but it had rained properly for the first time we got here, and as we approached the ground people were leaving in their droves! Typical! We come all the way to NZ to see a cricket international and it gets rained off!

super spongeEngland battingBut in true Brit style we sat there and watched the groundstaff working on the rain sodden pitch and the sun started to shine. The PA system boomed out all the weather related music it could find – “It’s raining men…”, “Mr Blue sky”, “4 seasons in one day”, “Here comes the sun”, and so on – you can imagine the rest! Play reccommenced at 6pm with England on 85-2 so things looked promising but in true English style 3 wickets fell in very quick succession and England were on the back foot, the Black Caps were merciless and England were soon all out for 158.

Black Caps supporter!

Aonghas by this time had bought a Black Caps flag and was waving it as each wicket fell! Lachlan bumped into two of his new found school friends – another Lachlan and Abraham. Abraham was sporting a daft England hat as his Dad is English but he soon changed allegiance to the winning side too!

kiwi kids cricketAt the interval there was a display of cricket from the Kiwi Kids cricket schools – loads of Primary aged kids playing which was great to see. Aonghas has signed up to play at school now so we’ll see how he gets on. When play resumed we were treated to a magnificent display of batting from the Black Caps and the banter in the crowd increased between the English and NZ supporters, all good natured but by now quite drunken! More opportunities for flag waving for Aonghas. He was amazed by the vociferous group of young men sporting a variety of fancy dress who heckled every English supporter who went past them! He was particularly worried about the young man who, sporting a rather fetching dress and wig of long flowing locks, made a frighteningly good go at being a woman!!

In the fieldmagnificent batting from the Black CapsThe inevitable happened at around 9pm – a bit earlier than scheduled – when the Black Caps made the run target of 164 with the loss of no wickets in 19 overs! I haven’t been to many cricket grounds but Hamilton seems a very pleasant place – mostly grass banking so everyone sits down with picnics etc and with the sun shining it made a great evening’s entertainment.

sunset over Seddon ParkThere is a full test match here in March so we may have another day out then, who knows?

Aonghas’ ready for school in his hat!
Back to school this morning though and we had to wake two rather tired boys! It is Aonghas’ turn now to have a little crisis of confidence. He was so eager to start school and is enjoying the daily swimming lessons and playing in the brilliant play parks every interval (break) but has realised that he doesn’t have all his friends, and is finding it difficult when the others go off and play in their ready made friendship groups. However, the other boys all seem very kind and are good at asking him to play so I think it will be just a matter of time before he forges some new friendships.

We are now starting to get to grips with the money a bit more and learning to compare NZ prices with each other rather than converting to pounds all the time to compare prices between the UK and here. Looking now to buy a car so we can get further afield at the weekends since there are no buses on a Sunday! Still no news on our house sale so if you know anyone out there who wants a nice house in Ingleton…..!

I am still washing all our clothes by hand as our washing machine is still in a container somewhere on the ocean (hopefully still in a ship!) which gives me something to do during the day apart from writing this, dipping in the pool and reading! The library is a five minute walk up the road so that’s really handy. The sound of the cicadas outside is constant and puts me in mind of mediterranean holidays. praying mantisThere is an amazing array of insects too – loads of grasshoppers, some big black/brown beetle type things about 3 cm long, praying mantis, moths, little green bugs, little bright yellow bugs, spotted shiny bugs and lots of spiders with really long legs. We hear a shriek from Aonghas about once every 10 minutes “Mum, come and look at this….aaaagghh!” He is coming to terms with them but we have to do a bedcheck every night before he will go to sleep! I think I’ll have to get a book from the library to find out what they all are.

Weet-Bix Tryathlon

friendsHamilton

Today I cycled in the Weet-Bix Tryathlon with Jamie and Mitchell. Mitchell swam and Jamie did the run. We had to get up very early and cycle to the University where we met Jamie and Mitchell. grabbing his bikeAt first it was a bit scary and I didn’t really know what I was doing! There were loads of bikes and I had to wait for Mitchell to tag me after his swim before I could set off. To start off with I couldn’t find my bike but I felt good once I got on my bike and started cycling but then the two people in front of me crashed into each other and I crashed into them! I fell on the grass but I got up and carried on.Gus in Tryathlon

There was a steep hill and I had to get off and push then I got on again and there was another hill – I cycled up it for a bit and when it got too steep I had to get off and push again! When I came into the finish area there was lots of noise and people were cheering the person in front of me but I went faster and overtook them.finishing line in sight

Jamie setting offThen I found Jamie and tagged him so he set off then I ran to the finish line and got a gold medal from Debbie Tanner who is a New Zealand Olympic Triathlete.

Debbie Tanner and Gus

We waited for Jamie to finish his run and then I ran with him to the finish line and had a team photo with Jamie and Mitchell.

all winners! Mitchell, Aonghas & Jamie

Breadhead and Harold the giraffeIt was good fun and I would like to do it again next year but hopefully it won’t rain next year! (It only rained a little bit and was still really warm – Mum!!) Breadhead and Harold the Giraffe were really funny and danced. My number in the Triathlon is 1126C and when they were giving away a bike as a spot prize they said 1127C – I nearly won!!

Aonghas

Barbecues

friendsHamiltonNZ

Our landlords – Colin and Judith – asked us round to their house for a barbecue on Friday evening. Not often that your landlord will loan you their car and invite you round for food! Kids were impressed as they could watch the telly! That’s a luxury that they are learning to do without at the moment.

On the Saturday we had a lazy day at the house then Liz – our relocation consultant – picked us up go for a bbq at her house. Liz has been excellent in everything that she has helped us with and has gone way beyond what her employer would expect her to do – thanks Liz!

Liz and Chas moved to NZ about 4 years ago from the UK so had lots of helpful hints about the transition. Liz has 2 boys, the eldest is Gus’s age. All 4 had a great time in their pool while we lazed about keeping refreshed on NZ white and Mac’s best bitter.

Moving In

HamiltonHouses

Moved into our new house. Feels pretty spacious as there is no furniture in it! Fortunately my uncle near Wellington has relatives who only live 20 minutes or so away from here. They’ve been out and dropped a lots of goodies off to help us live – like a bed and bedding, table, chairs, pots, pans, plates, etc. That’s been really helpful so a big thanks to Lorraine!

Have attached some piccies of the house, including our orange tree! Just click on any to enlarge.

Masters AvenueInside houseMasters AvenueMasters AvenueOrange Tree

Wednesday

Hamilton

Spent today being driven around potential rental houses by Liz from Crown Relocations. The University has paid for her to help us find somewhere to live and she is fantastic. By the time we finish we have narrowed the field down to four. Spend the evening reassessing and get it down to 2.

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