30 December 2007

31 December 2007 – Errol’s reflections blog

Errol has started a new blog in which he is going to put up his reflections. The first of these entries relate to his future and the confidence that he has despite now entering a period of unemployment. As he says employment isn’t everything. You can find this new blog at http://kiwi-et.blogspot.com/.

30 December 2007 – Celebrations

What do you do when you have a distributed family of six children and two parents who are turning 80 in different years and about eight months apart? The solution for Marilyn’s family was to hold a birthday / Christmas celebration. Marilyn’s youngest brother, Malcolm and his family came over from Melbourne and with our daughter, Amanda, here from England, only one grandchild, one spouse, and two great-grandchildren missed the event. With spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, there were 39 people to celebrate Christmas lunch together and 80 years each for Marilyn’s parents.

Errol acted as photographer to record the event. This proved quite challenging as we tried to ensure that people didn’t go off and do other things. Some still managed to avoid the camera. The weather wasn’t particularly cooperative either so most of the formal photos were taken in the marquee. For the photographs, they wanted to restage two old photos; one of the immediate family taken 40 years ago, and another of when Malcolm turned 21 (22 years ago). How much does a family change in that time? There was a new spouse to add to the second photo.

Amanda came down on Christmas Eve, just missing the arrival of her husband, Phillip, in Auckland. He and the children celebrated Christmas with his parents and his brother, Mark’s family. It would have been nice to have had Phillip and the children down for the celebrations but for Phillip’s family, this was the first time that they had celebrated as a family together as well.

Midas wasn’t too keen on the trip to Foxton Beach but settled down well both there and on return. This was despite having to avoid five others in the house on our first night back.

22 December 2007

23 December 2007 – Home again

Hello, I’m Midas. Mum and dad are so busy that they’ve let me blog today.

I don’t like travelling much so I stayed under the bed on the first day so they couldn’t take me away again. However, it isn’t taking me long to get back to my old tricks. I make sure mum and dad are awake on time in the morning by going to their room and climbing into the bed with mum. If they aren’t awake, I meow to catch their attention.

So mum will remember me, I am making sure that she takes some of my fur to work and am leaving it on the chairs. Mum and dad both spend ages cleaning it off which seems a waste of time to me.

I have remembered how good the hall, lounge, dining room, kitchen is as a race track doing my usual sprints around the house and distributing the mats to the appropriate corners. Dad doesn’t seem too pleased with that as he keeps moving them back. He wasn’t very pleased with my attempts to drink from the filtered water tap. That isn’t very fair because the water tastes better straight from the tap.

I’ve managed to get outside for a couple of explorations. During the first one, I went under the deck and caused dad to have to hang around waiting for me. You would think that he doesn’t trust me. Yesterday, I went to visit one of the neighbour’s cats but it took off inside when I got to their back lawn. Mum came and collected me which wasn’t very fair. All I wanted to do was play.

Dad seems to be preoccupied with sitting at the computer writing and doesn’t seem to keen to come out and play. I sure wish that he wasn’t so busy. Mum being at work all day makes my life boring but I can have some fun looking out the windows and racing through the house.

18 December 2007

18 December 2007 – Alone again naturally

With Amanda and children departing for Auckland, we had an early celebration of Christmas. Matthew liked the Meccano set he received and Kathryn walked around like a little lady in her dress up shoes.

Their departure has left us alone again. Was it peace at last or simply quiet and emptiness? Something seems to be missing. It is six months since we left on our trip and we are now beginning to return to normal, well almost. We know that it will not be the same as Errol is working from home on his thesis.

Errol went to Auckland for a workshop for a research project that he is involved with. He stayed with Paul and Hayley and enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate Paul’s 30th birthday. He also included joining celebrations for 25 years of teaching at Unitec Institute of Technology and a visit to Amanda and children. Unitec is where Errol first entered the tertiary sector as a teacher in 1991.

As part of the trip, Errol collected Midas and brought him home so now we are all back together until the next adventure. Midas travelled back as checked luggage and has quickly resumed his place in the house. He played hide and seek with Errol on Monday but has been getting back into his old habits a bit too quickly. He seemed to enjoy his time in Auckland with the Reardons and seems that he became proficient at setting off their alarm system so he could get people around the house.

03 December 2007

3 December 2007 – Graduation

It is difficult to believe that we have been back in New Zealand for two weeks. Errol has been occupied with writing his thesis and doing things with Amanda and the grandchildren. His priority is writing but it is difficult to remain focussed knowing that Amanda and the children will be here for a very limited time. Marilyn’s work schedule means she is not getting quite as much time with Amanda and the children.

Matthew has continued to develop his photography skills at every opportunity including a visit to Stansborough Weavers open day and the Lower Hutt Christmas parade. Some turned out to be movie sequences as he turned the dial on the camera. The finger stays stuck on the shutter button at times as well.

Amanda graduated with her BInfSci in Mathematics. This proved to be a real family affair with four generations with Marilyn’s parents and Errol’s mother present. There were three generations on Phillips side with Amanda’s in-laws (the other grandparents) having come down to enjoy the occasion meaning the children were really spoilt for choice. Paul also came down from Auckland. This meant that we were able to get a big family photo taken.

The children enjoyed their first experience of a New Zealand beach and are keen to go again almost every day. Kite flying seems to have lost some of its appeal compared with playing in the sand and splashing in the sea.