Introducing Harold P. Mantis

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February 11th 2008
Published: February 15th 2008
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Fireworks over Auckland HarbourFireworks over Auckland HarbourFireworks over Auckland Harbour

To celebrate Auckland Anniversary Day, we were treated to 3 nights in a row of fireworks. Lucky for us, we could see them from the comfort of our own balcony. On the left you can just make out a row of lights above the ref Vodafone sign. That's the harbour bridge!
It seems like a long time now since the last blog entry but that could be down to the fact that life is just plodding on without the major exciting news we're hoping for. Glynn has had 3 interviews and I've had one. We've lots more lined up so we're naturally keeping everything crossed that things will turn out positive for us soon.

The good news is that we still love being here. The people are laid back, the sun has been shining almost every day (only 3 overcast/rainy days since we arrived!) In fact, it was raining yesterday when Liz and Allard took us to the open air Miranda thermal pools, and we got mega sunburnt. How do you figure that works?!!! I'm actually feeling very tender in all the areas my swimsuit didn't cover as a result and Glynn is just glowing pink, bless him.

We've had some fun over the weeks too, including meeting the dad and extended family of our friend Michelle from Christchurch. We were invited round to dinner and had a fab night. I don't think I've ever been to dinner at someone's house who I didn't know, so it was great that
New Kiwi FriendsNew Kiwi FriendsNew Kiwi Friends

Our newest Kiwi friends; l-r - Glynn, Sharlene, Steve (Michelle's dad) and Steve (not Michelle's dad!).
we all hit it off so well. Hope to see you all again, Steve, Steve and Sharlene!

We've also been out and about enjoying some special local events. A couple of weeks ago it was Auckland's anniversary day and there were fireworks by the harbour 3 nights in a row which we delightedly got to watch from our balcony. We went down to a big party area on one of the days with a fun fair, lots of street performers and live music. There was a fly-by of some military planes doing loop-the-loop and an aeronautical display team followed by a demonstration of tug-boat dancing. It might not sound exciting but it was pretty impressive manoeuvering and not something you get to see much of in Birmingham or Swindon!!

Last Wednesday was Waitangi Day, another public holiday although this time to commemorate the signing of NZ's founding treaty between the Maori and British settlers. We walked a very long way along the sea front to Okahu Bay to join the free party. It was heaving with locals dancing to live reggae bands and there were stalls and amusements in abundance. My favourite bit had to be Old McDonald's
S&M BearS&M BearS&M Bear

Jish gets some grown-up advice from his new chums, the Bondage Bears.
travelling farm which allowed the city kids a chance to feed and touch real farm animals. Glynn also bought me a giant cowboy hat from one stand although I'm not convinced that it really suits me. You be the judge.

Finally, I would like to introduce you all to the newest member of the Harris clan. A few days ago, Glynn spotted an unusual insect perching on our clothes horse on the balcony. On closer inspection, we discovered it was a tiny little praying mantis! We quickly fashioned him a new home from a jam jar and have christened him Harold. He's already shed his skin once and grown about a third bigger but he's still just a small thing and I can barely feel him when I hold him. Glynn won't touch him though, the scaredy-cat!

Harold also has a companion in the shape of Tom the caterpillar who we found in amongst our broccoli on Saturday. I don't think Tom will be around for long though as he's attached himself to a leaf and is undergoing metamorphosis! Maybe we'll have a wee butterfly in the next few days!!

Well, that's about it for the moment
Auckland Harbour Fly-byAuckland Harbour Fly-byAuckland Harbour Fly-by

A military plane zooms past the harbour on Auckland Anniversary Day.
but I do have one request - please send us your emails and let us know what's going on in your life. We miss you all 'heaps' (that's how New Zealanders say 'loads') and love to hear your stories too. Leave a message on the blog if you need either of our private email addresses. Thanks everyone. Speak to you all again soon!

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Tug Boat DancingTug Boat Dancing
Tug Boat Dancing

A demonstration of the manoueverability of these little boats. It was actually more fun than it looks!
What a load of SkyteWhat a load of Skyte
What a load of Skyte

The ever-present Sky Tower, which we've nicknamed Skyte for short :-)
Tauranga TimeTauranga Time
Tauranga Time

Liz and Allard drove me along the coast one day to Tauranga. It's a very pretty place with both an inland shore and a sea front beach but the town is a bit too resort-like for my tastes.
Tauranga Sea FrontTauranga Sea Front
Tauranga Sea Front

Nice beach, giant waves to splash about in and as you can see, not too many people to spoil the view!
Poor Little PufferPoor Little Puffer
Poor Little Puffer

I found this poor puffer fish washed up on the beach in Tauranga. It still amazes me just how different the wildlife is over here!
Waitangi Day PartyWaitangi Day Party
Waitangi Day Party

Appartently it's also Bob Marley's birthday on 6th feb which explains the link with all the Reggae music! The atmosphere was really vibrant and I couldn't help moving with the music even though it's really not my thing!
Three Little PigsThree Little Pigs
Three Little Pigs

Jish considers a change in career as these piglets at Old McDonald's Travelling Farm seem to do nothing but sleep, despite all the Waitangi Day merriment.
Howdy, PartnerHowdy, Partner
Howdy, Partner

Jude's new hat. What do you think?

The Auckland CBD skyline as seen on the way to Okahu Bay. Those big cranes are for the docks. It's fascinating actually to see all the big container ships coming in to port and at least once a week, a huge cruise ship pops in to drop off a million tourists in town.
Miranda Hot SpringsMiranda Hot Springs
Miranda Hot Springs

Allard, Liz and Glynn relax in the giant pool at the Miranda thermal springs, north of Auckland. I'm not sure what they're all loking at though...
Giant JacuzziGiant Jacuzzi
Giant Jacuzzi

Jude enjoys herself in the giant thermal jacuzzi. It was so toasty and relaxing, she didn't want to get out!

16th February 2008

Love your stories
Hi to you both we are enjoyingyour blogs it seems you are loving the life out there. We would love to do what you are doing but it is hard when you have so many commitments, especially eldery relly's. It is particularly hard when you are the only one like me. Hope you get fixed up with a job soon. Today the sun is shining really bright but it is cold and frosty. UK does not seem too bad on days like this. Dom is off to karate soon he has the English championships coming up in April and he needs to sharpen up his fighting. Alex is off to the Adephi club tonite to see a band and we are off to visit his top three uni choices in the next month. Keep talkin! Love us all

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