Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Taupo to Napier

the Taupo to Napier race was this weekend, and Scott and Debbie came down for a few days, as they were heading this way with the race...
Scott raced in the B grade, and was pushed into the grass median strip just meters before the finish line, putting him off his sprint line, and resulting in him coming second, but still happy with his time and the prize money more than paid for the petrol to come down from Hamilton...

having them to stay has done wonders for my motivation to get back on the bike, (it hurts too much trying to keep up to them these days, that I'm going to have to do something about the training so that I don't get left behind by them on their tandem...) and they are enjoying making me hurt far too much so it's about time I got fit again.

Scott is on target for competing at the nationals in a few weeks time, and hope he does well. (I'm sure he will...)

After riding down from Taupo on Saturday, Scott was up for sunday bunch ride sunday morning in the fog at 8am, (which subsequently cleared to one of the nicest days we have had recently) and we rode 110km together with the bunch, around Middle road, to Elsthorpe, and back including once around the Tuki circuit. (and home via bay espresso to pick up more coffee!)
then monday Scott and Debbie went and did Apley road while Ella and I did errands in town, and Tuesday Scott and Debbie dragged me out in the wind (ok so i was probably more keen on the idea than they were, but i only get limited chances to ride, so have to take the weather as it is...) and we went around valley road, (bridge pa) circuit. 60 km in the wind being buffeted around was not all that much fun, particularly given that i suffered most of it and had to resort to hiding behind the tandem for shelter... (I need to get fit...)

They are off home tomorrow, so I wont have that rubbed in too much, but like i said, it is good motivation to get going on the bike again. roll on daylight saving, and longer days. maybe that will help.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Home from holiday (Fully updated)

Had an awesome time in Hong Kong, then London and France with Friends and family. still trawling through the 600 odd photos and weeding out a few good ones to put here. has been a busy couple days getting back into the swing of things here, straight back to work with Ang on nights, and Ella and I have been laying low and keeping out of the house.
will add more hopefully tonight, but here is a few pictures to start with.

Busy, but getting a bit more of the holiday post written up now. you will all have to keep on checking back over the next week or so, as it may continue to be updated and corrected over the next 10 days...

Ella learned on the plane that when the pilot puts the seat belt sign on that we all have to put our seat belts on. That includes Molly the dolly, and she was so good at this by the end of the trip, that she kept reminding Daddy to put his belt on too, see the pilot has put the light on so you have to Daddy... yes thanks Ella I'll get right on that... apart from her need to jump up and down on the seat and constantly bug the poor passengers behind us with peek a boo games, Ella was a gem on the flights, she slept for a few hours between NZ and HK, and then as we arrived in HK late in the evening, she got the chance to sleep for another 6-7 hours once we arrived which was good. then we had a great day in HK, did a bit of shopping in the central city, had a great Indian lunch with Narly and then went out of town to the cheap clothing markets, where we got a few tee shirts and skirts for Ella that looked strangely like the main street shop clothes but was only a fraction of the price... Daddy also got a treat as his (equally cheap, i mean top quality) golf clubs turned up that evening, and Narly and I went down to the basement of his apartment building and had a hit in the converted squash court/golf driving room, where you can smack golf balls into a net to your hearts content... (or at least till the girls got sick of watching us...)

Here is Ella just chilling out, laying on the window seat, 15 floors up in the 30 odd story apartment building that Narly and Rachel live in with their cats Ben and Poppet. She didn't seem concerned about the height at all, I was not so keen about her jumping up and down on that couch...
somewhere in the center of Hong Kong, and the streets are busy, the people are 5 deep on the foot path all the time, and generally all you see is tall buildings and billboards.

and although it doesn't look too bad as you are walking around, you really notice the air pollution when you get out of town a bit like where Narly lives, and then look back towards the city, over the harbor and find it hard to make out detail that must be less than a few km away, through the misty smog that hangs over HK quite a bit of the time by all accounts. makes for nice sunsets, on the positive side.

Ang did get her upgrade, (long story about a sick passenger on the NZ to HK leg, that Ang looked after till we landed) on the leg between Hong Kong and London, the plane was packed and over booked, so we were offered one business class seat, which of course I made Ang take, obviously a well rested pregnant wife, who has had a nice lye down flat bed in business class for 12 hours with her choice of nice food and wine, is much preferred to a tired and sore wife who has endured another 12 hours sitting in a cramped cattle class seat... Ella and I managed a good sleep anyway, so we were all in ok shape when we arrived in London, and we only had to survive from 4pm till 9 anyway and then we could go back to bed in a nice comfortable bed at Mandy and Dean's place.

This was taken on the Tube, not much better as far as air pollution gos, (brings back memory's of black snot etc, that you get when you ride the tube with any regularity). at least it is dry inside the tube, (you'll never guess, it was raining when we got to London) Needless to say Helaney still convinced us to go for a long walk around the nearest park,
Hampstead Heath in the pouring rain, and we had a great time catching up with all her news, (Ella of course slept all through lunch and all of the walk tucked up snug and mostly dry under the rain shelter over the buggy) which was good, as she would have enjoyed the mud and puddles had she been awake, and we didn't have that many spare clothes on this particular day...

Madelaine and Ella playing in the park at Harpenden, this play ground is just to the south of the town center and is part of Harpenden common, which stretches from the shops in the town centre for more than a mile to the south, encompassing a total of 238 acres. Mandy and Dean live just a few minutes walk from the 'nicky line' (an old disused rail line, that is now a cycle way, and footpath) see link here

After the park, Ella and Madie enjoying the ginger bread man cafe, where the childrens menu far out does the adults menu, and the service and decor is all aimed at the younger customer...
Madie and Ella playing with some of Madie's toys, just prior to their modeling Photo shoot.
Yes, Ella and Madie ended up in a advertising Photo shoot, when the owners of a play frame company paid a visit to Mandy, to take photos of the play frame Mandy and Dean recently added to their back yard.
and then of course any visit to the UK would not be complete without a Pub lunch and fish and chips. (this one at 'The Fox' just a few km down the road from Mandy and Dean's house.

Ella wearing a life jacket on the first few days of the trip, (which was not worn so much later on the trip, as Ella showed a healthy respect for the edge of the boat, and not once was interested in trying to go swimming...)

Ella's bed on the boat, nice and comfy

visiting a place that is pretty special to Mum and Dad... somewhere in Paris... not sure what that tall structure is in the back ground...

Helping Barry drive the boat. (lucky we were stationary in a lock at the time...)
One of the many stopping points for lunch, on this occasion I had to ride 2km up the road to the nearest Boulangerie for some baguette's.
This afternoon Ang and I went for a bike ride, and Ella stayed on the boat with Grandma and Barry.

looking down the boat from the lounge, the kitchen, with bathroom out of site to the left, looking down the hall to the end bedroom (where Ella is playing) and there is another double bedroom on the left half way down the hall.

the trip home was pretty good, we caught a train (Fast TGV) from Remis straight to Charles de Gaul Airport (Paris) checked in, flew to HK, went into town met Narly and went to his place for showers and a rest, then back into town for drinks/dinner and then back out to the air port to fly home. Ella was good on the flights home. sleeping for 5-6 hours each leg.

and that is that. till next time!!

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