26.04.2010 - 02.05.2010 10 °C
As autumn marches onward here in New Zealand, we're being introduced to much cooler temperatures at night and the need to employ the combustion of natural resources to stay comfie. The fireplace in the lounge is treating us well! Additionally, we have a new best friend who sits beside us as we assemble this exciting prose - we like to call him the DeLonghi Sicura System. You can see a photo of him here.
What did we do this past week? On Tuesday it rained. But it was dry in the studio where Tim attended his first painting class. For at least six weeks, Tim will be attempting to learn acrylics from Paula Knight, along with a group of retired women. More likely, he will cause the instructor to give up teaching out of frustration. Tuesday's session involved the drawing of a glass pitcher with oil pastels - it was a bit of a train wreck by the end. This week might see some paint hit a canvas. Tim celebrated his foray into the visual art world by returning home in the afternoon and making pizza dough.
Bronte's training sessions for the literary competition in Hamilton are heating up like a DeLonghi HCA324FS. The team is practicing several times a week, and Bronte is loving it. The rest of the family even gets a question or two right that she relays when she gets home (like where does Tin Tin call home? Or, what was the name of the main male character in Wuthering Heights?) Bronte says that a lot of the questions are considerably tougher though - especially the ones dealing with Maori myths and legends.
Jack is still really enjoying school and all that it has to offer as well. He continues to attend Kapa Haka, learning Maori songs and dances (which he has taken to singing during our hikes), and he has joined the school choir. He has also really taken to cricket. I know, it's a confusing game to the unschooled like the rest of us. As near as we can figure from what Jack tells us, the most exciting part is batting to protect the wickets from the ball which is hurled with force by the bowler. I'd love to go watch a game, but we only have nine months left in New Zealand and I think Test Matches may run longer than that! At the next BBQ we attend we'll ask about centuries, overs, and what's up with the shin pads.
On Wednesday, Tim needed some mountain air, so he headed over the Kaimai range back to Waiere Falls (you might remember this from an earlier post). After snagging a geocache at the first lookout, he headed up to the summit, which had not been visited by the family on our earlier trip here. What a workout! Have a look at this photo taken from the lookout to see where Tim ended up (at the very crest of the falls - feet almost getting wet as the water plunged over the precipice):
On Friday, Tim and Jenn met for lunch at Bravo. It was an odd day at Jenn's school - the so-called "work day". The deal with this is that instead of classes, each student goes out and works some job for the day and gets paid $25 which they then give to the school. The school makes a good $30k from this event! Friday night we thought we'd try Kwang Chow for some Chinese food. It was unremarkable.
Saturday Jack's soccer team played the Otumoetai Galaxy and won the game 2-1. You can follow the league results here, although there is no off-track betting from Canada. Sorry. Bronte's team didn't play this week. It was raining off and on throughout Saturday, but that didn't deter us from taking in another bit of kiwi culture - the rugby match. The elite team at Jenn's school was playing the team from Opotiki, and they destroyed them 36-0. Our understanding of this game is a bit more advanced than cricket, but still only marginal. Rugby is not a game for the timid. It combines raw aggression with running skill and significant strength. Kind of like ice dancing. The object of the game, for those of you who have no idea, is to score a "try", which is like a touchdown in football (or "Grid-iron" as it is known here). The ball has to be carried across the end line and placed on the ground with intention (ie not spiked or dropped). That'll win you four points. Then you get to kick a convert between the uprights a set distance out, but at an angle matching the point where the goal line was crossed. Here's a photo:
We rounded out Saturday by going on a short hike at the Puketoki Scenic Reserve, which you can see overhead here. We almost left Jack at home for this one, until Bronte asked where he was as Tim backed the Capella out of the driveway. Chances of Tim and Jenn snagging that parenting award just flew out the window. The hike was OK - here's a photo as proof:
Sunday after Jack returned from goal-keeper training, we headed back to Otanewainuku (remember this kiwi bird area from last post). This time we did the other part of the trail to the Whataroa waterfall. We hadn't seen a new waterfall in several days, so we thought this would be a good one to do. The first part of this hike took us past huge Rimu trees, which the photos and video below don't do justice. After an hour of hiking, marked by a mildly concerning animal sound some ways along the trail (we think it was either a boar or a cow with bronchitis), we reached the waterfall which you can see overhead here.
Here are some photos and the now-typical video:
Steaks for dinner finished our week. And now as we and the DeLonghi HCA324FS move on to our next adventure, be assured that we're thinking about each and every one of you on a daily basis. Honestly.