Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Update 36

A very brief catch up for you all: It's been a busy busy busy time since my last update, which seems like yonks ago. A long weekend (Labour weekend) has come and gone and school is hectic with final preparations for seniors leaving/external examinations. I needed some physical labour so I decided to build something - photos tell all you need to know. I also moved 4 metres of metal for a new driveway (shucks - twernt nuttin). So now I'm not only mentally exhausted, I'm metally exhausted (oh dear).

I shudda put summit on the deck chair I now realise.

My pergola/pergoda type thing from two angles - pretty nifty huh!

The driveway looking from our front door.

Jacky is also cream crackered - her new job is meaning long hours, but we soldier on. Sports wise I'm guttered by the Arsenal result v Spurs (4 all!!!!!)then another loss (to Stoke) but Rochdale are doing the business at the moment - 2 wins in the last few weeks.

Jade is gearing up for her external exams and I'm gearing up for the next two weeks -prizegiving and farewell events for our senior students. Also coming up (finally) is the US presidential elections and the NZ elections. Next update will hopefully feature Barack Obama as the new Pres. Till then chickens -

Love and peace - W

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Update 35

I've finally seen a couple of films that are worth talking about/sharing. The two films are thrown into stark contrast (pardon the pun) by watching IRONMAN and being really disappointed with it. I was a huge comic book reader in my youth - favs Spiderman, Tarzan, The Fantastic Four, Sgt Rock, Thor, and Ironman and I have expectations that I'll enjoy the movies as well. Ironman is about Tony Stark who has no superhuman powers, merely a fertle imagination/brain. In the comics his suit was always having a last minute glitch and he had to muddle his way through. No mystery why I identified with him huh. The movie was junk (and yes I'm not expecting high art but is a decent story too much to ask?). Instead we get the usual computer generated images and yadda yadda yadda. So as a reaction I rented ONCE and THIS IS ENGLAND. I loved them both for making me think. Once entertained me with an unusual plotline - no romance here but some depth of relationship and some great great music. It's a likely Dumbo movie. This Is England has lingered long after the experience of watching it. About a 12 year old who is befriended by some harmless skinheads and then some dangerous white supremists - it has a wide range of emotions and the ending gives me hope! Not easy to watch at times but an important film. Here endeth the film reviews.

Finally - photo time and some more oldies but goldies - these are all Leigh-on-sea era photos. Starting with the semi-detached we rented in Victoria Rd. A 2 minute walk from the sea (the Thames estuary) in one direction and the high street (the Broadway)in the other.
These next few are from the aforementioned two minute walk to the seafront:

and the old leigh fishing village:

Love and peace - W

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Update 34 + Inspiration 7

A picture of Stratford's unique glockenspiel clock-tower leads off the latest update (dad asked about it and here it is - on Stratford's main road with the mountain in the background).

The inspirations are, of course, my sons and daughters. They may in fact be shocked by this news but they inspire me in a variety of ways - none of which I'll bore you with here (and embarrass them with as someone in Wichita Kansas may be reading this). I actually wanted to frame them on the right hand side a la Beatles 'Let It Be' cover but I lack the skill - they are four parts of a whole and they inspire me!

The second week of the term break has come and gone - and the place seems empty compared to last week. Jacky has started her new job - a specialist cosmetic nurse for a company called Skinforme - so it's been me and Jade for most of the week. She's been doing some study and I've been in the garden hacking through the undergrowth. Having Samantha, Adam and Jenna (et al) was great. Apparently the boys were looking forward to their photos playing with the stones - they are on Jade's camera so I'll need to get organised.

Adam's tea drinking prowess is legendary and he'd love the article I just read in the new Guardian Weekly; seems younger Brits are changing from coffee houses to embrace the old-fashioned high tea. I loved the quote from a lady who owns the High Down Tearooms in Worthing, East Sussex, where business is booming. She says, "We are finding that a lot of people are getting fed up with national chains of coffee houses. They realise that a pot of tea and a scone the size of a dinner plate is better value for money". Excellent news!! I took Jacky and the girls to a tea house in Dundar, near Edinburgh, - the teas were excellent and the range of pastries came on a three tiered platter. Heaven!!

It's heroic unlifting tale time: We had a torrential downpour during the second week of the break and, of course, the remaining pregnant sheep dropped their bundles. I decided to move the whole kit'n'kaboodle into a more sheltered paddock and as I did so I noticed a ewe standing fixed to the spot by the banks of the river that runs through our place. With the downpour the river had swollen in size and pace. When I investigated I saw that a new lamb (hours old) had fallen down the bank and nearly been carried away by the flood water. Luckily the bracken and toi-toi had broken its fall. Jade and I then moved the new lamb and ewe to safety. Without the ewe refusing to budge from her spot I never would have found the lamb. So she's a hero in my book!

What have the rest of you been up to lately? Well Annette sent me some photos recently of her 60th birthday and news that they have returned for summer in Mapua, Roger and Deirdre have returned from their UK trip, Adam and Jenna are busy planning their big academic adventure to Japan, Samantha got an A on her recent film synopsis, Keegan has some great photos on this site, other travellers returning to NZ safe n sound have been Denene and husband, Greg owned up to supporting Spurs (he has no shame!), Pete has an exciting web project underway that will make him millions, Sallie has sent her brood mare to the stallion, dad is working on DJing the jazz hour at the Maygrove complex (it's hardly a retirement village - people there are more active than me!), Ross and crew are catching 'possums and reworking their aquatic complex (its hardly a swimming pool....), Tom is preparing the album for world wide exposure and global domination, and Michelle and Gavin have been over to participate in a bonfire! And that's only about half of you.

More photos of recent times. These are from various trips to Scotland while we lived in the UK. Oldies but goldies.
We stopped at the border on a wet, windy, smudgy day and took it in turns to pose with either side of the rock - on one side 'England', on t'other 'Scotland'. Jade, Jacky and me photo by Samantha. My turn to take the photo of Samantha, Jade, Jacky and Adam. Driving around the Scottish Borders region we came across this suddenly!

Third part of the catch up will have some Leigh-on-sea pics. Take care until next time - Love and Peace - W

Friday, October 3, 2008

Update 33

My cup runneth over - well the house is certainly full at least. Samantha is staying with three friends from University (John, Mike are both from Vermont and Jesse from San Francisco). They (left to right: Samantha, Jesse, John, Mike) are pictured cooking up bacon/pasta feast But wait there's more - Adam and his gf Jenna are also in situ. Keegan is working so couldn't make the trip down.

The week has gone fast (first of my term break). The birthday was groovy - Adam/Keegan/Jenna gave me a cool CD - Raconteurs newie, Jade baked a cake and gave me a cool Star Wars clock, dad bought me the lastest 24 box set, Jacky provided breakfast in bed/the last Seinfeld DVD set for our collection and some Jaffa Cakes, Michelle/Gavin surprised me with a gigantic chocolate bar and a box of biscuits. Apart from all that I got heaps of messages via phone, email, txt (Nana Pat, Ross, dad, Samantha all called for a chat). Thanks for all of the kind thoughts from everyone!

I've had a great time on the tractor this week - used the back blade to grade the driveway, harrowed all the paddocks a few times - that kind of stuff - very relaxing! Apart from that it's been a trip to the dentist and gardening making up the bulk of the week. And I finally finished Edward Rutherfurd's 'London' - meant I could catch up on some Guardian Weeklys and Mojos. Jacky is pictured with the latest lamb (and cutest so far)

I'm going to load some older photos from the UK for the rest of this post and spare you all from football/music ramblings for a week (mainly cos Arsenal scrapped a draw and Rochdale lost at home).

Jacky crossing Abbey Rd. Adam Jacky on the underground. And me on the underground
In Trafalger Square
In the snow at Leigh-on-sea. Watching the gunners at Old Trafford.

That'll do it fer now - more old stuff next time. Take care in the meantime - Love and peace - W