Sunday Jayne came to stay. She was a friend of a friend of my cousins and as I'm staying at my uncle and aunts this is where she came to stay! We talked about her travelling south on the kiwi bus (she had a ticket on it already) and she asked if I was keen to go south. I decided it would be a great way to spend the week and see some of NZ that I love so much and see some great friends in Queenstown and see some new things as well! So Tuesday after having a filling put in at the dentist we headed south. It was raining as we got to the West Coast and Punakaiki was really not worth stopping at but we did anyway and got soaked in the process!! We drove on down to Franz Josef where we stayed in a backpackers, went to the new hot pools for a soak and then had dinner. Wednesday we went on a full day glacier hike up Franz Josef glacier. Our guide Tommy was awesome, we were in the fastest group so went more place and new places. Was cloudy and as we got further up the glacier we got right into the clouds and had heavy rain mist falling on us but the ice was awesome. A long but good day! Thursday morning Jayne got up very early and did a sky dive over Fox Glacier getting awesome views of Mt Cook and the glacier. We then walked to Lake Matheson but the famous reflections were not working that day and Cook had cloud over it too. Drove on down through the World Heritage Area that is South Westland and then across the Haast Pass to Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. Stopped at Wanaka and visited Puzzleworld. Next was the short trip up the Cardrona Valley and over the Crown Range and down into Arrowtown where we just happened upon carols being sung on the village green. We bought fish and chips and L&P and sat on the grass in the sun enjoying Christmas carols. After we walked through the village and then drove on down to Queenstown where we stayed at Lakeland Park--the camp I was manager of 3 years ago. Friday we got a free jet boat ride thanks to Kawarau Jet a company started by the same people who started Lakeland Park. I had been offered a ride 3 years ago and never took it so it was now time to cash in! 60 minutes of fun in the big boat! Famous for its 360 degree spins the jet boat is very powerful and goes up to 86kmh across the lake and then up the river. We did plenty of spins and if sitting on the edge you can get fairly wet too! I was on the side for the first half but then managed to make Jayne sit on the side and the driver got her wet on the way back. Friday nite we met up with Jan and Vicki and their girls Holly and Alice. They were great friends to m e when I lived there and was great to see them again. Holly was singing Silent Night on the town green for xmas celebrations so we listened to that--she has an amazing voice. Enjoyed a Thai dinner together and then a great evening at Jan and Vicki's house talking with them--even had a fire going!! Saturday we got up early hoping to fly into Milford Sound but due to cloud the plane was not flying. So we drove the 4 hours to Milford Sound-the scenery in there was awesome! Huge rock mountains with waterfalls all over them and we wind in between them on the road before descending through the 1km Homer tunnel and down to Milford Sound. It was even snowing on the tops! Took the 90 minute boat cruise past Mitre Peak and out to the Tasman Sea and back. When we got back to Queenstown around 7:30pm there was snow on the Remarkables (now known as the Incredibles) and Coronet Peak. After dinner we met some of Jaynes friends in town for some drinks and dancing. A late nite making us rather tired Sunday as we packed up and moved out. Went to the church I attended 3 years ago and caught up with lots of people. After lunch Jayne checked into a backpackers and I drove 9.5 hours back to Nelson. Was a brilliant 6 days, laughed loads, had new experiences, saw new places and made a great new friend. New Zealand sure is the most beautiful diverse country on this planet!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Summer is starting up here and I'm loving being barefoot again! Had 2 pretty full days in Auckland with my parents, my sister Priscilla and her 3 kids, Johanna, Jacob, and Daniella (and husband Sjoerd) and catching up with Jenny. Went to Priscilla's new property where they have just built a small house which they will live in while building a bigger house. The property is 25 acres with a lot of NZ native bush up on a hill near the Hunua Ranges south of Auckland. Thursday I drove south--so nice driving the WRX again! It was a stunning day in the middle of the North Island and Lake Taupo looked awesome with snow clad Mt Ruapehu in the background. Just south of the lake I picked up a hitchhiker and got out to help load her bag in. The road was so hot it was melting and now I have black tar all over the soles of my feet!! 7.5 hours driving and I was in Wellington for dinner and then crashed over at crazee Caths! Its now Friday morning and I'm on the Interislander ferry--the Kaitaki. I haven't seen this ferry before here in NZ but its disgusting. All the seats are old and dirty--they have gone seriously backwards! Previous ferries have been modern and clean and nice but this is a dump. And internet access is only available in a premium lounge which you pay $40 just to get into!!
Sure enough as we crossed to the South Island the sun broke through and in Nelson it was a hot sunny day! I went straight to the beach and played some beach volleyball--even got a bit sunburnt! Then I had dinner with my sister Joanna and husband Frank and Nikki, Melanie and Benji. Was so good to see them all again after 3 1/2 years! I'm now staying at my uncle and aunties in Redwoods Valley.
After a very hectic week living in W1, London and getting everything sorted at work for my 2 month absence I caught the express to Heathrow and boarded flight NZ1 to LAX. 11 hours on a smooth new 777 and I'm in LA and finding a hotel. Sunday I decided to rent a car for the day (alternative option to be bored at the hotel all day) and drive to Mosaic Church. 30 mins drive up the 405 and into Santa Monica and I'm at Beverley Hills High School which Mosaic use for one of their church gatherings. I had heard about Mosaic in 2004 while staying LA so always wanted to attend at some time. I'm about 35 mins early and people are still setting up-being in a school they have to keep everything in a truck and set it all up every week. A friendly girl starts talking to me and then introducing me to some of the guys that run it. They are all very welcoming and interested to find out where I'm from and why I'm there etc. I didn't tell them I was a spy just checking out how they do things! So then I'm standing in the lobby as its still well before service time when a guy walks towards me and says, "You look familiar, where do I know you from?" I'm thinking he's got me well mistaken as how would anyone here know me? So I say I'm from New Zealand. He asks have I been in the USA before? I say yes, in Missouri, Ohio, ... he interrupts with "Kanakuk Kamp". I say yes and he tells me his name is Chris Houghy. WOW-Crazy!! I hadn't recognized him but I remembered Chris from when we worked together in 1999!! I had also worked with his sister Rachel and their great uncle (Will Russell) attends my church in Nelson, NZ (we had found that out back in 1999 when we first met!). I had prayed on the way there for some cool people to meet and then hang out with after church and God had sure answered! Chris has been attending Mosaic for quite a few years and helps with some of there missions work. They are very focused on being missional in practical ways and organise and fundraise for a lot of projects around the world. The service was simple and modern with a Christmas flavour. The 2 girls singing had amazing voices! After church I met Angela who plays beach vball on the AVP and so she knows a bunch of the same people I know. Then Chris took me for some mexican with his girlfriend, before going back to his place to watch American football. I'm writing this as I wait to board my flight in LA for Auckland, this is the first time I ever remember flying home specifically for Christmas! It feels good and I can't wait to see so many people, family and friends over the next 4 weeks.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Ok so we just won the Rugby League World Cup final as underdogs beating Australia convincingly in the last 20 mins of the game. Then at the awards ceremony following they have the arrogance to award the man of the match award to Darren Lockyer--what a joke!! If winning the world cup final is the big deal it should be and your team are major underdogs and in the last 20 mins you blow the more favoured team off the park then one of your team has to win man of the match!! How can he possibly be man of the match when his team lost the biggest game in 5 years?!!! Man of the match should go to everyone in our whole team--they all outplayed Lockyer and took the biggest prize in Rugby League away from him!! Good stuff kiwis!!
Monday my friend Carla flew in from NZ for a quick trip through this land and into Europe. So I took Tuesday and Wednesday off work and here's what we got up to! Tuesday we rented a car and drove south west to Stonehenge on the Salisbury plains. This was my first time to visit the famous landmark and although impressive when you read the history of it its not that impressive just to look at! It's not helped by a £6.50 entry to walk around it from a rather far away distance. It was also bitterly cold with a strong wind whipping across the plains. Then we drove off towards Bath stopping at a nice country pub for a baguette lunch. Then on to Bath where we wandered around the city centre which is very quaint and old--more like a European city than an English one. And with the Avon river running right through the middle it is a beautiful sight. We were going to drive over the Severn Bridge so Carla could say she had been to Wales but it was getting dark so she would have seen nothing so we drove back to London. After a late dinner we met Carla's friend Jen at Euston station and I drove them on a tour of London by night, past all the main locations. London is a whole lot more beautiful at night than during the day! Wednesday we were up early to get the rental car back on time. We then walked up to Buckingham Palace and down Pall Mall to Trafalgar Square and New Zealand house. Then back to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard. What a waste of money!! In my opinion it brings more shame on the royal family and England as a country. I don't know how much a year they waste in paying those people to march around and ride horses looking all historical etc all for a few tourists to be shouted at by English policemen in high vis yellow jackets looking all modern and silly. The people are half climbing the fence to take pics of a ceremony that none of us understand or can hear or really know what is going on. England and the royal family would do much better to feed some hungry orphans or tackle some much bigger issues. Another example of British reluctance to let go of the past and move on. We then took a black cab to Harrods which has everything at crazy prices but also has a Krispey Kreme store! Next up we went to Camden Markets for lunch and browsing. Then home so the girls could have naps while I cooked them dinner and then we went back into London to see the Lion King. A brilliant show!! We had great seats--up quite high but central and all clear views. The music and costumes were amazing and was a great night out.
Monday, November 10, 2008
So its 4 weeks till I land in Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud for a much needed summer holiday. Here's my planned itinerary so far. Would be great to see as many people as possible so love to hear from you to meet up when I'm in your area.
Dec 6 flight from London with 1 night stopover in L.A.
Dec 9 land in Auckland
Dec 11 or 12 drive south to Nelson with possible stop in New Plymouth for beach vball tournament on Dec 13-14. If not then cross on ferry to south island on Dec 12. Can't wait to see everyone in sunny Nelson and enjoy the beach etc.
Dec 23 cross on ferry to Wellington for family reunion at Waitoke.
Dec 29 cross back to south island --back to Nelson
New Years --???
Jan 2 - 4 National Pro Beach Tour begins in Christchurch
Jan 6-7 Nelson Grand Slam Tournament
Jan 10-11 Wellington
Jan 14-15 Ohope
Jan 17-18 Mt Maunganui
Jan 23-25 Auckland
More details of the tour and results, blogs etc can be found on www.annasbeach.com
Jan 27 flight back to cold wintry London!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Well Monday was fairly normal although I had had a slight headache since our 6-2 win in soccer on Saturday. (2 assists for me from the right wing). Tuesday my throat was rather sore but I went into work anyway. Worked into the evening as it was Sofia's (one of the interns) first time on that event and needed to do some extra set up for the school concert coming in the next day. That meant I could sleep longer Wednesday morning to try and rest the throat which was getting worse and another intern- Maggy was looking after the group. I went in at midday in time for the actual concert to look official and help with security. Still worked more than a full day as finished about 9pm. Thursday I again slept with no alarm set and felt slightly better. Again went in at lunch time to start prep for the Saturday wedding. Thursday nite we hosted a DVD launch party with a preview screening (study series called Discipleship Explored) so I helped with that making another late finish. Friday was up early and in at work at 9am as we were hosting a press conference for an American bishop. After I sorted them out it was onto the wedding preparations as Lucy (the bride) and her mum and aunty and others arrived to start decorating. Spent most of the day working on the wedding prep as I was basically the wedding planner and was overseeing all the event management personally for this one. Lucy (the bosses daughter) and her husband Tom are a great couple and good friends so I was more than happy to go the extra mile for them. Saturday was a beautiful sunny warm sunny day. Started at 11:30 with 2 interns and finished the final setup. The church looked great for the ceremony which was very nice. Then there was a drinks reception downstairs in the hall which was also decorated. After photos in nearby Regents Park the couple made an entrance and cut the cake and 2 speeches. We also had a slideshow of photos on the big screen along with music. Meanwhile upstairs in the church myself and 3 others were working furiously to transform the church into a reception venue. All the remaining chairs were stacked to one side (we had stacked 250 the day before only leave 200 for the ceremony) and then we placed out 10 large round tables and 100 gold chairs and set and decorated the tables for a 3 course dinner reception party. We had exactly 3 hours to do the complete changeover. We also hung 4 large silk banners across the room from gallery to gallery along with fairy lights making a false ceiling. Next all the guests were given sparklers and everyone went out onto the steps again for more photos with the sparklers all going together. Tom and Lucy then departed by cab for a trip around the block. Doors were reopened for the evening guests to walk back into the church in its transformed state with live jazz music playing and a team of waiters and waitresses to serve a top class 3 course meal prepared by our own resident chef, Jack. Quiches for starter, lamb with a potato mash and gravy and green beans and peas for main followed by a mouse custard cream type dessert. 100 dinners all of a standard you would expect from a top restaurant. More speeches (meaning more great humour from father of the bride!) and then the "first dance". I got to sit down as a guest for the evening which was a welcome change from running around sorting things out! Everything had gone like clockwork all day however and we saw the couple off in a black cab while we all cheered on the steps of the church, (and I had to intervene and stop people throwing confetti inside the church, knowing what a mess I would have to clean up otherwise!!) The guests left and then began the cleanup and put the church back to right for Sunday morning. Lucy's family all stayed behind to help and 2 hours later (1am) you could hardly tell what had been there! By that time I had missed the last train so went with the groomsmen to the house for drink and food and then at 2am headed home. 90 mins later I crawled into bed and slept slept slept! 61.5 hours of work for the week so no, thankfully, not quite a normal week for me here in London!! But a great wedding well worth all the effort and God bless you Tom and Lucy in your lives together!!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
End of August and the end of the Beach Volleyball Season. (you can read all about my travels on the English tour by clicking here.) The English tours final event was held in Brighton and due to my partners injured leg we pulled out after our first game (which we still won!) But the very next day began the hard slog of preparing the Yellowave Beach Centre and the nearby street for the Junior World Champs. (under 21s) My initial voluntary position was that of court manager. In addition to centre court which was in the Yellowave Centre with 2000 seats of grandstand around it, there were 3 further competition courts and 2 practice courts built out on the street. In between my court manager training on Monday I was helping Mark with setting things up and building the post systems etc. Mid afternoon Mark came to me and said I should move from court managing to the operations team to assist Baz, an australian guy who flew in especially for the event. Tristan (wearing his lovely blue pyjamas) was then moved into our team and between the 3 of us we formed the backbone of the operations team for the next 6 days. Posts, Nets and lines were all perfected, centre court was built, scoreboards put together, safety fences put up, banners and flags, huge blow up SWATCH things, and many things fixed or made safe. Had many trips to B&Q to buy bits and pieces and come up with ways to fix or build things. Tuesday I even had to act as safety manager as the real safety manager was apparently having a day off! Along with Amy I spent about an hour keeping people away from a digger while it cleaned up a major thoroughfare on the site--there were some very rude coaches who couldnt see why they had to go around and not walk under the digger as it worked!! By this stage most of the teams were in town and crawling all over the site having training sessions on all the courts.
Wednesday the qualification tournament took place and yet we were still setting things up! Many challenges had to be overcome and Mark had to act as tournament promoter effectively as the real promoter didnt really have a clue. This put more strain on all of us and so as the tournament started for real on Thursday morning we were just starting to get things together. For me it felt like halfway through Thursday that we were on top of things and ready to start!! Unfortunately the weather packed in and was pretty bad most days. New Zealand had 2 teams in the qualification tournament--the O'Dea brothers won their first game but lost the 2nd in a cruel single elimination format. Kate Sheriff and Simone Head also won 1 and lost 1 in their pool play meaning they also just missed out on main draw. We then had Julia Tilley and Hannah Croad in the main draw but after pool play (3 games) they had lost all 3. I had a sore throat most of the week and Thursday nite awoke with high temp and feverish. Dr Wear (Lara) was our resident doctor for the week so I was able to get medication but had to keep working each day in the cold and rain--quite miserable when you feel sick. We also had a great osteopath there who worked on my back a few times using me as a guinea pig to teach the physio guy how to do backs!! Felt great!
Most days I was up around 7:15 to shower, put my uniform on, pack my bag, and grab some croissants and yoghurt at the restaurant on the way out of the hotel. (with a very sore throat eating was difficult!) To the courts in the Chrysler voyager, often taking players or coaches with me-I drove the Kiwis and the Canadians quite often). Open the storage shed and get out equipment needed for the day. Make sure all courts are good to play and then see what needs fixing or adjusting. Watch the kiwis play or try to watch a few other games here and there. Make sure trash bins have been emptied and the portaloo company has been to clean the toilets! Make sure the whole site is safe and keep cars out of the close up parking areas so tv and radio and VIP cars can have parking. Eat lunch and dinner whenever can get a chance to get in the warm food tent. Its a long busy day and don't seem to really get a chance to sit still. Someone or something is always needing your attention or help! Still its enjoyable (except for the weather and my health) and working with Baz, Tristan and Mark was great. Saturday nite we have a BBQ for all the players etc and then go to a Bar in Brighton. Its pretty much players only and has a dance floor and great music. The kiwi players were the centre of it with heaps of energy and craziness! Something about kiwis!! Was a good nite overall and then Sunday was the semis and finals. The rain stayed away but it was still overcast. There were some people in the grandstands and some good volleyball was played! Both finals were fairly 1 sided however meaning not very close or exciting. Italy won for the boys and the Netherlands for the girls.
After a big awards presentation it was all over and the players were soon all gone, leaving us to pack things down. Unfortunately we had to move all our equipment into a storage unit further away than the one we had used all week meaning loading the van and repacking everything into the other 1. I felt horrible and the evening dragged on as we sorted the stuff out. Finally about 9pm it was all done and I loaded my stuff out of the Chrysler and into the Dodge and drove back to London and bed. A huge week--about 80 hours worked following 40 hours on the 3 days before it and 37 days straight working between my normal job and volleyball every weekend.
Now we wait to see if we will get to host a World Tour event in London next July and on up to the 2012 Olympics.
Monday, July 28, 2008
This weekend was my first trip to Wales! Andrew and Joel picked me up at 8am and we drove up past Birmingham and across Wales to Aberystwyth. It was hot and sunny all the way until we got thru the hills to Aber where it started to rain! The hills in Wales were similar to NZ in places and of course there were loads of sheep everywhere although the sheep all had their tails! We found our campsite and set up camp and then explored the town. Its a quaint seaside town of about 10 000 with a large beach and waterfront area. We climbed up Constitution Hill on the north end of the town to check out the view. Back down for dinner in a pub opposite the train station called Top Nosh. Don't ever eat there as they cooked my steak well done when I asked for medium, and when I pointed this out the barman took it to the chef told him I had asked for a full refund (I hadn't even mentioned money!) and then they did nothing! I asked for the manager who informed me they had thrown my meal out as they thought I didn't want it! Unbelievable! They gave me a small sandwich steak instead which was so tough I couldn't eat most of it. Appalling service!! We met up with Reuben and his mates and cousins for some drinks at Rummers by the river and managed to scare Reuben by picking him up and threatening to throw him in the river. He was panicking a lot! Then we met some lovely locals so went for a dance with them at Pier Pressure which is a bit of a dive of a place on the Pier!
Saturday was Reuben and Hannah's wedding day. Brilliant weather, hot and sunny. The church is right in the town and right on the waters edge! Amazing setting! A Castle ruins on one side and a beautiful old building which is Wales oldest university on the other side. They had a great ceremony and Hannah of course looked stunning! Then it was off to the reception venue (after some photos) which was at a country hotel with a semi permanent marquee setup on the lawn overlooking the valley with sheep not far away ! A lovely meal and some great speeches. Reuben's was particularly humorous as he shared some stories of his attempts at being romantic going horribly wrong!! After the cake was cut, it was time for the first dance which Reuben and Hannah had practiced for. We thought it was going to be a nice slow dance together but instead as the music started they went into this routine they had choreographed themselves which was hilarious and very good! Reuben stole the moment tho when it was his turn in the middle of the routine to dance around Hannah while she stood still in the middle. As he did this he pulled 2 white handkerchiefs out of his pockets and swung them round in the air as he skipped his way around Hannah. It was a priceless moment! Then we all danced together before watching the happy couple drive away in a suitably decorated car!! After the wedding we went to the beach and paddled in the surf. Water was cold!
Sunday we went to St Mikes church service which is where Hannah works and Reuben will be working as student workers. Then a drive home, this time south through Wales to near Cardiff and across the new Severn Bridge back into England. A great weekend: enjoyed Wales, thoroughly loved the wedding, met some lovely people and would love to go back sometime!
Monday, June 23, 2008
A very cool weekend! The French sure know how to do a wedding!! Saturday morning I took the Eurostar to Lille (90 mins) where Juliette's cousins Berenice and Cyprien met me, took me home for lunch and to get ready for the wedding. Off to the old old church which was packed and overflowing and as we were a little late we didn't get seats but managed to perch fairly near the front. Of course the ceremony was all in French so I didn't understand any of it anyway! There was a lot of singing interspersed throughout the service with the old organ playing--a very traditional type service I think. After the ceremony all the guests leave the church first and crowd around the church steps to await the bride and groom emerging from the church. We had bubbles to blow at them too as they walked out to loud cheering and whistling! We then drove to the reception venue which was a very nice restaurant venue in the country with a large garden surrounding it. There was champagne and nibbles in the garden until the main reception started at 8pm. At one point a girl said to me, "Are you Dave?" It was Helene, a girl who had worked in Blenheim on the same program as Juliette in 2004 and she had stayed with me and gone down the sounds with us. So it was cool to see her again! Juliette has a very big family with many cousins. A lot of them speak some English so we had much fun talking and interpreting each other! Then at 8pm we went into the seated reception. I was at a table with some of Juliette's cousins and others who spoke good English. When Juliette and Alexandre entered they played loud music and everyone stood up and waved their serviettes around over their heads!! Lots of whistling and cheering as the couple ran a lap around the room in and out of the tables waving their serviettes! Speeches were made by the groom, brides father, and the grooms father and all were followed by serviette waving and cheering! Juliette's Dad mentioned me in his speech although I was unaware he was talking about me coming from New Zealand until her cousin sitting beside me grabbed my hand and waved it around so people knew who I was! (He was saying how people had come from far away and how good that was) Then we ate the first course which was a beautiful fresh fish with a scallop on top and a very nice sauce-reminded me of NZ fresh cod! Then Juliette's brothers and sister did a tribute with pictures of Juliette's growing up and talked about her--again not much for me to understand but there were pictures of her time in NZ and music from Lord of the Rings in the background! Dinner followed which was chicken and asparagus and potato and beans wrapped in bacon. More family member then made more tributes and comments--it is normal for the dinner part to go till about 11pm. We had dessert around 11:30 I think! Part of the dessert was a mountain of cream puffs which they stick together with toffee in a giant pyramid. They then paraded it through the room to the main table and then back to the kitchen with giant sparklers stuck in it burning and loud music and cheering and more serviette waving!! More guests arrived for the dance which began just before midnight. Rock and roll dance is the main dance and everyone seemed to know how to do it very well. Of course I don't so that along with not speaking much French were my two hindrances of the weekend! Thankfully they also played some non rock and roll music for some more normal dancing later on. However my ride left at 3am when the dancing was still going strong (they finished around 5am which is normal for a French wedding!) And the bride and groom stay all nite dancing with everyone too! Much more fun than the NZ/English wedding where everyone is in bed by midnite! So to my hosts house for the night (one of Juliette's uncles and aunts). One of her cousins lives in London and they offered to give me a ride back to London as they were driving Sunday nite so that meant i could miss my early Sunday train and sleep in and then go to a very nice lunch back at the reception venue for all the close family and those that had travelled. Again it was a very nice time--all the family were so nice and friendly. 6pm we headed off to Calais (I slept in the car), drove onto a train to go thru the Chunnel and then drove back to London and was home 5 hours later. An amazing weekend and quite possibly the best wedding I have been too!
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Friday I left work at 7pm, home on the train to do washing, eat, check emails, shower and pack up. 9:30pm and I'm off to the train and into London again where Mark met me and took me to his place. We loaded some stuff in the van, helped Mark and Gabby put a wardrobe together and then got just under 4 hours sleep! 5am we were up and soon on the road. Picked up some pop up tents and then headed south east for Margate. 2 hours later we were on the beach and setting up the courts. Margate is a quaint English seaside town--has a great waterfront with beach but everything is very old looking. There are a few gaudy buildings tho with lights all on them and inside arcade games and slot machines etc--Marvegas!! Saturday was a hot sunny day just perfect for beach vball. The students soon arrived coming from all over England representing their universities. Play kicked off at 9am, Mark and I were kept very busy all day doing the admin for the draw, tracking results, and then seeding the teams for the main draw. There were 45 men's teams and 25 women's so pretty good numbers and it was great to meet some really nice people! I also acted at DJ with my ipod but with little warning so I had no play lists prepared making it more difficult! They played till 8pm and then we went to our B&B and showered before attending the official party. Time to socialise and meet many more of the players. The free food was all gone so I went and found a kebab with Louise and Marina and from Bath. Some of us stayed out to dance and finally got to sleep for a few hours. Up early Sunday for a cooked breakfast and back to the beach to start Day 2. Overcast and dull but no rain all day and very little wind making for great beach conditions. Having so many teams meant we got behind on time and so it was another long day! I ended up doing commentary on all the semis and finals which was interesting! Thanks to my years on the NZ pro tour listening to Cowboys commentary I was able to use some of that knowledge to commentate here. And I got good feedback so must have done ok!! Men's final finished at 8pm (2 hours late) and then we packed up the van, leaving at 9:30 and arriving home at midnite! Rather tired this morning but what a great weekend. Next weekend is Skegness where I will be playing--its the first stop on the English tour. I will be blogging on www.annasbeach.com for the duration of the tour. Check out how I get on!!
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday the weather wasnt so good but after watching New Zealand collapse miserably in the cricket I headed out with a friend to a festival in Victoria Park. There were many strange and weird things and people there which made for a very interesting but fun evening! There was a large section of old steam driven fair rides and attractions--all very nicely restored and working! There was a dance tent which had a variety of music in it and a dance floor, lots of food stalls from all over the world and a main stage with live music. Then we discovered a circus act called Sensiozone (i think!). The 8pm performance was free as it was getting cold so we went along and this circus is one where you can interact and participate. The performers were a very weird group and they seemed to have made an act up that wasnt really anything--something out of nothing! After that we took shelter in the dance tent and even saw a midget doing tap dance!Then we got more hot chocolates and saw a mechanical life size horse that breathes fire and makes horse sounds etc! Finished the night off at the main stage with a band named Ska Cubano. Ska music from Cuba and Jamaica--they were really good and we danced away the cold. A fun nite!!
Monday, May 05, 2008
So yep in this funny ole country they call the public holidays bank holidays and this one has no particular reason for existing!! Not that I'll complain esp with weather like Nelson weather and a London Churches soccer tournament to be won! So it meant getting up at 7:30am--the 2nd earliest start for me this year!! (the only earlier start was the day I went to Italy and had to get to the airport) It was already feeling like about 17 degrees and after breaky i set off to Regents Park. Met the All Souls team and set up camp on Pitch 5 where we were to play 5 pool games. Each game being 12 minutes there were a lot of 0-0 draws. (7 aside soccer on half size pitches and half size goals) Our first game was a draw but then we started scoring and we finished top of our pool fairly easily. We then went into knockout playoffs. Final 16 which we won on penalties (I made mine!) 1/4 finals meant a change of pitch and again went to penalties (again I made mine). In the semi we went up 1-0 but they came back and it was 1-1. Then I was fouled in the box so was given a penalty. I stepped up but put it just over the bar--not happy with myself as this would have won us the game. So penalties again--again I went first and the keeper saved it. Not happy with missing 2 now. Its best of 3, they scored 1 and we scored 1 , then misses and saves so it kept on going. Our keeper Garth was phenomenal and pulled out save after save! Finally Benjamin put one in the back of the net and we were through to the final!! The team in the finals was probably not as tough as the team we played in the semi but the pressure was on and legs were getting tired. We had few chances and as they attacked on the break I tracked back into our goal box. The keeper was beaten by the shot and it was coming at me as I ran towards the goal. I got my body in the way and it deflected off my chest but to my horror went into the goal. The game ended 1-0 so I had scored the winning goal but in the wrong end. Gutted. We still got presented medals and enjoyed a very well organized day. It was a long journey home as my legs were sore and my bag heavy. But it seems May has brought summer here to London!!
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Stu Smith testimonial concert Saturday nite at the Indigo2 was incredible. 90 mins of Delirious? at their best with a mix of classics and new tracks in the intimate 3000 seat state of the art theatre that is the Indigo2. But after 90 minutes instead of coming back out for an encore the stage hands moved the drum set (it was on a wheeled platform) right to the front of the stage where Stu came out and began to play again. The rest of the band joined him and they played some more. Then to finish they played History Maker (of course!!) then they got Stu to say some words and presented him with a gift--a blue scooter! They left the stage and we thought it was all over and started to leave when they came out again and played Investigate. A brilliant 2 hours of music, worship and inspiration. Thanks Stu and I hope the new drummer can keep the energy up!!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Up at 5:45am and off at 6:05am to catch the train! Still dark and rather cold! Around 8am arrive at Stansted Airport and check in. 10:35 and the RyanAir 737 takes off--destination Parma, Italy. 2 hours later we land in Parma and are rushed through customs which consists of one man glancing at our passports--no machine reading them! Juliette met me with one of her colleagues who had a car so could take me into town. Juliette had to go back to work so I explored Parma! I was amazed at the small cobbled streets with high and very old buildings so close together. And there were so many bicycles--these bicycles were like Mums bicycle when I was 8 years old. No gears and very old school style! Even the new bicycles were still this style. So I figured someone must hire them out so I got a map at the information centre and set off. Walked thru a big green area and found some giant teapots!! I approached to photograph them and had a guy come up and begin to speak a lot of Italian to me. He then found someone else to translate for me and I found out he was asking me if I wanted to buy weed!! The teapots must be the location for that!! A bit further on by the river I managed to find the bicycles and for 70 cents had one for an hour. I biked thru a large park and then negotiated some crazy busy streets to find the football stadium. I had asked the rental lady if there were any rules I should know and she said "No, the bikes can go anywhere!" And yes they did go everywhere--sometimes coming at you on the wrong side of the road but often on the footpaths dodging the pedestrians. After an hours exploring I walked back to Juliette's apartment and fell asleep on the couch. After Juliette came home we went out for some wine-here they bring you many snacks for free to eat with your wine! Then home to make lunch for the next day and get some sleep.
Caught the train at 7:50am for the 2 hour trip to the coast. The trains are big and old--not like the English trains. We went thru farmland and then hills and along a nice river--through a gorge and then I fell asleep. We got off the train in Riomaggiore which is the first of 5 towns in the Cinque Terre. We then walked along the Via dell'Amore which is an amazing path high above the sea on the cliffs. This took us to Manarola which is a very cute little town with a lovely little harbour with lots of small boats. We walked on around the coast for another hour to the 3rd town Corniglia. Here we got on the train to carry on north. The trains run all the way up the coast mostly in tunnels but occasionally pop out right on the edge of the cliff. We took the train to the 5th town Monterosso. This one has a large beach which wasn't that clean but we found some large rocks to sit on and eat lunch right beside the sea. Then we walked back to the 4th town Veranozza. This 1 1/2 hour walk was up a lot of very steep steps and then along the cliff top and then a steep descent down into Veranozza. We walked thru a lot of terraces where grapes, olives, citrus trees and other things are grown. There were water pipes everywhere! Then we stumbled upon 2 fat cats sitting on the side of the track with a lot of cat food and a cat tent! there was a sign saying to please feed these homeless cats with the food provided. They didnt move--just sat there- I guess they were too fat to move. After that we began to notice fat cats in all the towns--lots of them! From Corniglia we took the train back to Manarola where we got Italian icecream and ate it by the harbour. This was probably the cutest of the little towns. It had very steep streets and pathways between teh buildings which we explored. We stayed here a long time taking photos and waiting for sunset. Just before sunset we walked back towards Riomaggiore where on the cliffpath there is a bar/cafe. Here we bought hot chocolates--they were so thick it was like drinking a pudding-sooo good!! watched the sunset and then walked back to Riomaggiore. Explored this town and decided on a restuarant (Pizzeria Da Ciro) for dinner. Juliette had pizza and I had Parma Calzone. Unfortunately it was a little burnt and the restuarant owner tried to tell me that was normal. After dinner we had to wait about 40 minutes for the train and the temp had dropped to 8 deg but it felt like about 2!! It had got up to 16 during the afternoon and in the sun we had got quite hot hiking. We jumped around trying to keep warm and then fell asleep on the 2 hour train journey back to Parma.