Published: April 30th 2006April 30th 2006
At last… we have got around to writing up this blog which is all about our time spent within the bosom of our family here in Hamilton.
Before we go any further we’ll explain who the main characters are in this tale of fun, laughter and occasionally sunshine:
Who: Alan’s mum Sheena’s brother, married to Sylvia, and joint best mate of Alan’s dad Joe.
Likes: Anything to do with fixing cars, and having his weekly spa bath at the thermal springs up the road in Te Aroha. Ian has recently embarked on a winter vegetable planting out the back of his new house and was an absolute gem fixing Beryl’s water pump when it broke down!
Dislikes: Going without his daily sweeties & chocolate!
Who: Married to uncle Ian, and mum to Ian and Campbell. Makes up the other half of the duo responsible for Alan’s dad’s best friend circle.
Likes: Tapestry (which she’s very good at and has some beautiful examples of work she’s done displayed on her living room wall) & attending her special Red Hat Club where a group of ladies meet up for dinner and other social events and all
wear a lovely red hat!
Dislikes: We're not sure........... she's a very jolly soul.
Who: Married to Liz, and dad to Dominic, Steven and Christopher (only Dominic lives in Hamilton - the other boys are currently living in the UK).
Likes: Flying model aeroplanes, hosting fabulous dinner parties where he gets everyone really drunk on red wine, port & wiggy, and selling Beryl for us (we hope).
Dislikes: Receiving delivery of his new 4WD Pajero the day before Easter, only to find that it’s got a big problem with the steering and can’t be fixed ’till the next Tuesday. Tsk!
Who: Married to Ian, mother of wee mad cousin Dominic, and displayer of saintly patience and wonderful ‘making us feel very at home’ skills!
Likes: Knitting (she can knit ANYTHING), Footballers Wives, decorating her beautiful new house, and enjoying a wee ciggy on her lovely back patio while the sun shines! Liz makes an excellent chicken curry, not to mention a superb lamb roast. We have eaten very well here, make no mistake!
Dislikes: Football and rotten weather.
Wee mad cousin Dominic
Who: Son of Ian and Liz, is aged 13 & therefore
full of cheek and loads of fun.
Likes: Pizza, Glasgow Rangers (Shazza’s sister would just LOVE Dominic), and his Playstation 2. Dominic has recently developed a penchant for fishing which he’s proven to be fairly adept at as you will see later in this blog! He’s also really good at mowing the lawn (for money, natch) and according to Alan makes a smashing cuppa. Just remembered - he really likes the girls too.
Dislikes: Glasgow Celtic. That’s about it. (again, Shazza’s sister would LOVE Dominic).
Wee cousin Debbie
Who: Daughter of Cousin Campbell and his wife Sandra, aged 16 and living a junior rock-goth lifestyle.
Likes: A band called Goodnight Nurse, black nail polish, Marilyn Manson, Emily The Strange, heavy eyeliner and fishnet tights worn over arms under a black t-shirt (hey - it’s the fashion!) and her car. Yes kids can drive at 16 years old here. I know - we can’t believe it either. Debbie also has a liking for gory horror films and currently favours such treats as House of Wax. Lovely.
Dislikes: School, Barbie type girls, Red wine (but that’s another story).
Who: Son of Ian and Sylvia, husband to Sandra, dad to
Likes: Fishing (much to Dominic’s delight), David Bowie, Horror movies (runs in the family) and cooking. Campbell is a top ‘home chef’, and you can only imagine how nice the chocolate éclairs were that he gave us one night!
Dislikes: Working too late at his new job!
Cousin Sandra (aka Sam, but we don’t know why)
Who: Wife of Campbell and mother to Debbie.
Likes: Popular music, especially the Diva’s of the world such as Celine & Anastasia but also Westlife, winning at a music oriented game called Buzz for Playstation 2, and another game for Playstation 2 called Singstar ( we tried this out at the Powerhouse museum in Sydney - remember?). Sandra also adores her garden spa bath.
Dislikes: Losing at Buzz. The UK.
So, where did all this New Zealand family come from then? Well, Alan’s auntie Sylvia and Uncle Ian actually moved here yonks ago, then came back to Scotland for a couple of decades, and during the last year or so they have returned to enjoy their retirement in New Zealand. Their son Campbell was born here in NZ and while he grew up mainly in Scotland, he moved back here with
Dom, about to score a strike?
Nope, cos he doesn't have the Irish Lucky Hat on yet.
his family a good few years ago, and completing the crew, Ian, Liz and Dominic headed out this way in 2005. During our stay we have been camping out in Ian and Liz’s spare room, but the piece of land which they live on has an adjacent lot where a new house for Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Ian has been built. Campbell, Sandra & Debbie Rock Chick live about 2 mins along the road, and all this is great because we get to visit everyone without having to drive any distance. Hurrah! There are benefits to them of course that they all live in close proximity, but we like to think that they sorted out these arrangements for our convenience before we arrived. Aye right!
So what have we got up to while we’ve been visiting? We arrived here a couple of weeks back - dropping in unannounced of course, just to keep everyone on their toes - and parked up Beryl in the enormous driveway of Ian & Liz’s house. It was great to find sanctuary in such lovely surroundings, and be welcomed with open arms by everyone! On the night that we arrived, we were taken out
Ian, looking like the most evil person in the world.
But he's not really - he's actually a big softie! It's a shame for him though as he can only score a strike when he wears the daft hat.
for a lovely dinner by Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Ian to a smashing steakhouse called Grillers in the centre of the town. It was great to catch up with them and we had heaps of laughs talking about all sorts of things familiar to us about home etc. Since then we have been out bowling, had a thermal spa jacussi thingy at Te Aroha, enjoyed a great family BBQ on Easter Saturday and a wonderful roast lamb dinner on Easter Sunday. We also took Dominic and Debbie away for a few days during their school holidays up the coast to the Coromandel Peninsula which was lovely.
1) Shaz is not very good at bowling. This is a fact which is demonstrated in her lack of ability to score a strike in any game in which she has ever partaken. That and coming last by a mile. All the time.
2) Alan cheats. We don’t quite know how he cheats but he does. This is a fact which is demonstrated in his ability to score many, many strikes without any practice whatsoever, and he’s only ever played about 10 times in his life. Alan puts this down to
before the bowling...
From the left: Cousin Liz, Cousin Ian, Mad Dominic, and Alan.
extremely high levels of what he calls ‘’skills’’.
3) Cousin Ian can sore 9 EVERY game but can only obtain a strike when he wears the Irish lucky Hat.
4) Cousin Liz is a helluva lot better at bowling than she chooses to let on, and our view is that she might be masquerading as a ‘bowl shark’.
5) Dominic is DEFINITELY a bowl shark, coming 2nd last behind Shaz in the first game we had, then rolling in at the top by a MILE in the second game we played. However, his performance was enhanced by the wearing of the Lucky Irish Hat.
As Dominic and Deb were off school for two weeks holiday, we decided to take them with us for a few days up to the Coromandel Peninsula. The chalet we hired out in Coromandel Town was supposed to be a Colonial Cottage built around 1890, however in reality it was just an average camping unit inside, painted fancy on the outside with a wee balcony and a car port. It was fine, but we were a teeny bit disappointed as we had thought we were getting something special. The swimming pool
At 9pm all the lights in the bowling alley went off and the 'disco bowl' started.
It was slightly disconcerting as we couldn't see the dots at the start of the lane - so we were all crap after that.
was dirty and although they had advertised Table tennis, the net was broken and Shaz and Dominic had to mend it with a needle and thread before any games could be played. Dominic tried cleaning out the swimming pool, but dropped the net into the water, so we hightailed it from the crime scene sharpish, citing blame on the owners for not having their facilities ready for use in the first place. Hoho!
Alan and Dom took a sea fishing charter one morning at 6am (the earliest that Alan has been out his bed for about 3 months) and thoroughly enthused about their time on the boat that took them out among the famed mussel farms of the Coromandel Bay. Dominic was absolutely delighted to come back to the cabin with his 40cm snapper caught with his own fair hand! Alan caught one too but it was a wee bit smaller, and in the absence of any preparation capabilities, we popped off to the local butcher to have the fishes smoked for us - at a very fair price of 10 dollars! In the afternoon we played mini golf (again, Shaz was last and Alan won - what the
Mother and Son, awwwww!
Dominic and Liz share a moment at the bowling alley.
flaming heck is going on???!!!) and afterwards took a scenic train ride up into the mountains on a miniature railway where the line route was bedecked with various pieces of local art and pottery sculptures.
The weather was great while we were away with the kids and on our second day we went horse riding in the morning. It was great fun, with the trip lasting for approx 2 hours. The horses were beautiful and the scenery just stunning, and even though we had never been on a horse before, we got the hang of things fairly quickly. Although we must admit ……. OUR BACKSIDES HAVE BEEN ACHING EVER SINCE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Later that day we drove to the popular Hot Water Beach on the opposite coastline (a 45 min drive) in the hope that we might dig our own spa pool in the sand (that’s the main attraction at Hot Water Beach you see) only to find that the tide was in and the spa zone was completely covered by the ocean waves! Undeterred, we tried once more the next day only to find that we got the time wrong again and we were too early for the low tide.
Ach…. We just hung about the beach instead reading our books and Shaz & Dominic rented big spades and built a sandcastle (which was poorly executed and promptly fell apart 10mins after it was built). The other thing we did on this trip was to visit a Waterworld Park thingybob. This consisted of lots of water oriented points of interest, swings and roundabouts and flying foxes etc. This place was a total laugh and we stayed there for quite a while.
One last thing we’d like to say about our trip with the kids was that we have NEVER watched as much Chewing The Fat in our life. We now know chapter and verse of every episode ever made. Who’s yer favourite? Has to be ‘Ronald Villiers’ of Whiddicombe and Pump. Or maybe the gammy wifey who works in the shop, on her own, day in and day out.
Ian and Liz have looked after us so well, and we are really very, very apreciative of this. Apart from the Beryl Bus maintenance and sales dept, they have absolutely made us feel SO at home, putting us up, and providing wonderful food and excellent company. It's been great.
On the way to Hamilton
We spotted a Ginormous corrugated iron dawg at the side of the road...and we had to stop and take a piccy.
We also spent a lovely evening round at Campbell & Sandras place, where the highlight of the evening was when Shaz scunnered Sandra by beating her 2/1 at BUZZ, which is a great music quiz game for the Playstation. Sandra was a bit gutted we think as she has been, until now, reigning champion. But it was all in the name of fun. Or was it??????????
Right then…. We are off to Rotorua tomorrow for a swatch at the geysers et al. We’ll be away for about three days or so, and we’ll give a much more prompt update upon our return, than that of late.
See ya, widny want ti be ya!
Al & Shaz (and al the clan!)
There are more photos below