28.06.2010 - 04.07.2010 15 °C
We had heaps of reasons to celebrate this past week!
For some as yet unknown reason, Canada Day is not widely celebrated in New Zealand. We thought we’d change all that by sending Bronte and Jack to school with cakes decorated in a respectful depiction of that most revered Canadian icon. However, because Tim’s skills with the piping bag have much to be desired, the plans to ice the cakes in the likeness of Don Cherry had to be abandoned, and a Canadian flag was emblazoned on the sweet surfaces instead. Below you can see the next in Tim’s series of self-portraits:
As it turned out, both Bronte and Jack had “shared lunches” (potlucks) within their respective classrooms this week, so the cakes were part of the student’s larger party to celebrate the end of term.
Wednesday was Science Fair day at Bronte’s school – move over Earnest Rutherford! It was really, really impressive what the students came up with. The school hall was crammed with rows and rows of displays – too many to get through! Some of the winning projects included the invention of an avocado picker, a study of the relative saltiness of the sea water at various points around Tauranga, and the benefits of sea lettuce as a fertiliser. Bronte’s project was the construction of a jigsaw puzzle table, complete with a drawer underneath. We were awed by the quality!
Alas, Jack was not feeling well on Thursday when his shared lunch was held, so after sticking it out for the first half of the day, Tim picked him up from school early. Rather than take him straight home, instead they picked up Bronte from school and went over to Jenn’s school, Tauranga Boys College, where they were holding their 2nd annual haka competition. As with many other schools in New Zealand, TBC is divided into “houses” which compete on a number of fronts, including the haka. Apparently this was extremely popular last year, and the boys were out to win. As you’ll see from the video below, a lot of them really get into it! In the end it was Ngata House which took the honour. The video shows three different efforts – the first is from the male teachers of TBC, the second from Freyberg House, and the third from Ngata (the eventual winners). There are several more houses at TBC, but the video would be waaay too long.
The fun train kept rolling through the station on Thursday. Tim headed out to attend a dinner with his painting class, a marble cheesecake under his arm. Apparently the class has these themed dinners periodically, and last week it was a pirate and gypsy theme. Tim plundered his way through the meal, and growled a lot with a Canadian flag as a bandana around his head. No photos of that one.
Friday was a glorious day for all. It marked the end of term, and the halfway mark for school for ¾ of the Cronsberry family. With the end of term comes a two-week break, so we started ours right away. We headed to Auckland Friday night and had a lovely dinner at Wisconsin Burger (try the CCC – chicken, camembert, and cranberry). Saturday morning we rose at a respectable hour and slipped over to the airport to meet our friends the Allores who were in-bound from Canada. Just like when Jenn’s Mom arrived for a visit back in March, it was so great to see familiar faces walk through the Arrivals door. We were thankful that the Allores didn’t get busted by Customs while playing the role of spice mules for the Cronsberrys.
After a short reunion, the convoy started! Several hours and a barge ride later, we arrived at our gorgeous bach in Russell, which you can see overhead here. This place we’ll be staying in over the next week is extraordinarily comfortable, and made us not mind too much that the rain was pelting down for the entire day on Sunday. Feeling the urge for a piece of fresh fruit, we merely strolled down the steps to the front yard and picked a few mandarins off the tree! Here’s a couple of photos to illustrate:
Although we’ve only been in Russell for a little more than a day, we’ve seen enough to report that it’s the bomb! An extremely quaint seaside town, Russell has been described in many different ways over the past couple of hundred years. Did you know that it was the first capital of New Zealand? Well, it was. But only for a single year back in 1840 before the capital designation moved to Auckland (New Zealand’s capital is now Wellington by the way). Back in the day of its early development, it became known as the Hell Hole of the Pacific owing to the wild times involving much debauchery brought by sailors and travellers. On the more flattering side, Zane Grey described the area as the Angler’s Eldorado because of its game fishing (he caught a world record striped Marlin here – over 400 lbs). Whatever anyone else calls it, we’re calling it gorgeous.
Saturday evening after we arrived we strolled down to the wharf to watch the sunset. Bronte and Jack really enjoyed exploring with Ayden and Claire, and they found several starfish (live ones by the way) at the water’s edge. After checking out the rather massive tree in town, we headed back to the bach just in time to witness jet lag completely fell the Allores one by one.
We hope that you have an incredible week, and if by some tragedy you don’t, wait for the next post to see and hear about all the stuff this coming week will bring to us here. We’ve got intelligent mammals to see, expanses of sand, huge trees, and stunning walks to do. Life is good.