Fireworks and Everything Else!

Trip Start Aug 20, 2009
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Flag of New Zealand  , Auckland,
Monday, November 9, 2009

Well another week has passed in Auckland - only 6 and a half weeks left until Christmas (or so we're told!)

After Halloween comes Bonfire Night, or over here FIREWORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!  A great excuse to get together, eat and drink and then marvel at the fireworks without the cold wet weather of the UK! 

We spent November the 5th with Lou and Randel and their children, friends of Larissa and Brent.  We had a lovely time with people who we have got to know and have become comfortable with over the last few weeks.  After a great BBQ we went over to the park, where Randel and Jack let off a firework display.  All the children sat on the wall laughing and joking and squealing with the sparklers.  Just wish I had had my camera for this one :-(

This week saw Jeff spend his first days away with work down in Rotorua.  The children were gutted about him going away, but after a few tears and cuddles they were fine and were happy knowing he was coming back on Wednesday.  We tried to keep ourselves busy, which was fine when we were out and about.  It became a little more difficult in the evenings going back to the motel and our fabulous orange feature wall! 

We spent Tuesday evening at Maureen and Alan's for another fabulous meal and the children enjoyed spending some time with Issy and Emily.  Emily ventured into the outdoor pool, Lucy and Dan were desperate to go in, but I managed to convince them to wait until the water was warmer.  Emily tried to tell us it was ok, however, from the grimace on her face I think the water was slightly cooler than she was letting on!

Wednesday was spent asking Mummy, "What time will Daddy be back?" over and over again.  To take their mind off the situation we headed out for Titirangi to look at Laingholm School, to see what Lucy and Daniel thought of the place.  The weather was foul when we arrived, but the school was wonderful.  Everyone was extremely friendly and relaxed and we thoroughly enjoyed the tour around the school by some of the older children.  The children had so much space to run around in, playgrounds, playing fields, a secret garden, a sand pit and climbing frames...........a worm farm and class gardens.  We even got to meet Mr Heff, the principal of the school, who greeted us in his dinosaur slippers and a water pistol!  He seemed pasionate about his school and gave the same message about the school ethos as the staff and children, who we had talked to as we went around on our tour.  We have two more schools to look at over the next couple of weeks and we don't want to bulldoze the children into a decision.  Obviously we have to be happy with the school, but we want Lucy and Daniel's opinion too as they are going to be the ones going there every day!  However, the two other schools do have a lot to live up to!  Time will tell........................

Friday soon came around this week, and another day to go out and explore.  The morning was spent doing boring housey stuff, once that was done, we packed up a picnic and headed for Armour Bay, a beach about 5 minutes drive from our new house.  Once off the main road, we drove through beautiful parkland and even some tennis courts.  Once we arrived we found a picnic table and enjoyed our food.  The sun was gorgeous, it was just a shame that the wind was so cold.  We bumped into a lady and her little boy and shared our picnic with the little boy.  He then spent a couple of hours playing with Lucy and Daniel while me and his mum chatted.  She was originally from Bangkok but married a Kiwi about 10 years ago.  She obviously felt sorry for me and ended up inviting us to her house for a coffee!  I tried to convince her that perhaps we shouldn't, seeing as though we had just met.  However, a couple of hours later we ended up calling in to her a house for a well deserved coffee for me and hot chocolate for the children.  The kids ended up carrying on with their games from the beach, while we chatted and I admired the amazing views from their balcony.  I just wish Jeff could could have seen this house............  Once back in the car, Lucy asked me why we had gone to a complete stranger's house!  I couldn't answer her, but insisted that neither her or Daniel should ever do that without Mummy or Daddy being with them!  I'm not sure I would ever have done that in the UK, but everyone over here seems to be so friendly.  Manarose was a genuinely nice person and I really appreciated her giving some of her time to us to make us feel welcome.  We  swopped numbers and I plan to give her a call once we are settled in our new house just down the road.

Saturday was sent doing this and that in preparation for moving into the house next Thursday before going around to Maureen and Alan's house so that the children could have a swim in the now warm pool.  Alan had 'flicked the switch' after our visit in the week so the water was so much warmer.  They had a ball, swimming, picking things up from the bottom and jumping in.  It brought back memories from the time that I stayed with Maureen and Alan when I was 21ish and spent many hours swimming in the pool. 

We then headed off for the Ponsonby Primary Fireworks display and fayre down at Point Erin.  Once again it was one of those situations when we didn't know quite what to expect.  Obviously our experiences of Bonfire Night have involved cold, wet and muddy nights in the past, not a picnic and a glass of wine!  The school use this event as one of their fund raising events for the year, so there was food to buy, face painting, lucky dips, a bar etc etc.  There were so many people there, the grass completely covered with picnic rugs and camping chairs, strewn with picnic food and bottles of wine!  We had a ball, as did the children.

I have to say, not knowing quite what to expect stresses me out more than anything else we have encountered on our journey here.  Not knowing quite what is going to happen, not knowing what to take, how much to take????  We have loved being invited to so many places, by so many people but find the not knowing hard.  I am sure that after doing a year of the social events, we will be much more familiar with expectations.  We certainly don't want to look like a charity or appear stingy, but we don't want to go over the top either!!

We had a great end to the week with an adventure to Karekare beach up the west coast.  Yet another wild beach with black sand, amazing scenery and huge surf.  On the way we stopped at R and R Sport to grab some wetsuits for the children - a 60% sale so not to be sniffed at.  They wanted to wear them in the car, but we managed to convince them to wait until we could at least see the sea.  The journey there was interesting..............an extremely twisty road which was rather narrow in places.  Jeff told me to close my eyes, but that just made the rollercoaster ride even worse!  However, the journey there was worth every minute when we finally got there.  Considering the sky was cloudy the black volcanic sand was warm.  We found a sheltered place to sit and have our picnic and the children enjoyed exploring some ruins of a building and feeding the seagulls.  Lucy and Daniel were then desperate to get wet in their new wetsuits.  The sea surf was far too rough so we moved down to the stream, winding down the beach into the sea.  They played there for ages, having a great time covering themselves in the sand!  I had no idea just where you can find sand and the shower at the motel was full of sand once we showered them off when we got back!  We tried to get them to rinse themselves off in the deeper part of the stream, prior to us going back to the car.  Lucy played the game, however, Daniel was not so keen!  We called in at a cafe called Elevation on the way back for coffee and hot chocolate, which had stunning views of the city.

Roll on our move and another weekend to explore.......................



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