Home again … Home again …

… I always thought Auckland was incredibly, unbearably hot during the summer months, but after living in Sydney for two years I have decided that Auckland is in fact very pleasant (or at least it was over the last few days).  After being home for 1 whole half hour, I have had to put the electric fan on to quell the sweat drops dripping down my back and upper lip – there you go, way too much information, and a visual you definitely did NOT need haha.

Before I forget, thank you so much for all the birthday wishes – the day itself was very low-key thanks to a continued bug in the system.  I did go to lunch, though, and watched Katie and Jenny eat a steak sandwich and chips while I sat and slurped through my lunch of a soda, lime and bitters.  My birthday dinner consisted of a bowl of steamed rice haha.  Oh well, I made up for it the next day, as Wednesday my appetite came back with a vengeance and I splurged on a delightful beef and mushroom pie with a bit of mashed potato (their mash at Cafe Lucca is to die for) and steamed veges … I was in culinary heaven on Wednesday!

I managed to get away from work early on Wednesday and caught the train straight from work into the airport terminal – had no problems getting on the plane, which is great, so I had plenty of time to sit and relax airside before the flight finally departed.  Sydney International duty free is now HUGE, and it was really fun wandering around for an hour sussing out bargains.  I think the bargain of the day was perfumes for AU$20, which I got for AU$16 after I took off my discount – woohoo!

All-in-all it was a nice trip home – a lot more sombre than other trips, partly due to my still not feeling entirely well, and partly due to the sombre occasion of Erin’s memorial service.  Carl’s eulogy to Erin broke a few people down – and the finale of James Blunt singing Goodbye My Lover broke the rest of us down, including the tough policemen friends.  The service itself was really lovely, held in the Manukau Botanical Gardens.  A friend read the service itself, then people were given an opportunity to say their own farewells and tributes before wandering off to visit Erin’s memorial plaque on a seat overlooking the water in the gardens.  It is an incredibly beautiful spot, and one that I’m sure many of us will visit again in the future years to come.  To finish off the day we went back to the Weymouth Cosmopolitan Club (aka the “Cozzie Club”) for a bite to eat and bevvies for those who wanted to partake.  Here are a couple of photos of Erin’s seat and the lovely view it has.

Erin's plaque 19Feb10

Trying out Erin's seat 19Feb10
Mum, Dad and Danial checking out the comfort level

View from Erin's Seat 19Feb10
The view from Erin’s seat, complete with a duck pond for
Auntie Anne when she visits 😛

The next day we were invited to join the family to scatter Erin’s ashes, but we declined that one – I felt it was more appropriate for the blood family to be there, and instead Mum and I drove over in the afternoon and spent a few hours in their company afterwards.  We laughed and laughed at the kids’ antics, and as always found something else to laugh about – usually my Mum!  It’s always a great time when we go to visit “the Smithies”, although the next time we see them in October will be for a much brighter occasion, that being Mum and Dad’s 50th (Golden) Wedding Anniversary.  Here are a couple of photos of the kids that I really like … Cameron never sits still, so I think these photos are just ‘him’ to a ‘tee’ – even the camera couldn’t keep up with him! haha.

Liam thinking, “OK, who put this ball here in my way?”
Liam who put this ball here 20Feb10

Liam – “Oh well, maybe I’ll just rest my head for a while
until someone kind comes to rescue me!”

Liam OK I'll just rest my head a while 20Feb10

Liam – “Hmmm, let me check what special dates are coming up soon”
Liam reading 20Feb10

And poor Liam is definitely having the following photo edited when I get the time – he keeps holding his legs and arms up off the floor and makes me think he’s got a little parachute on … either that or he’s missing his cape and he’s flying off to help some damsel in distress! LOL
SuperLiam_aka Parachute Boy 20Feb10

Cameron doing his usual thing – getting his body in motion – that kid is the human version of the Duracell Bunny, I swear it! He tires me out just watching him – although he makes me laugh at the same time! I love to watch him running around 🙂
Liam and Cameron in motion 20

Cameron the Duracell Human 20Feb10

And a boy’s never too young to learn how to play soccer LOL –
this was taken just seconds before the yell “take it outside please” was uttered 😛

Take it outside please 20Feb10

Rather than fill this post with a squillion more photos, I’ll split the visit up into several posts, as there are quite a few photos yet to come …

Back to sweltering Sydney

After a whirlwind trip back home to Auckland where I froze my buns off, it’s back to Sydney and the hottest day in the history of April since time began apparently … oh yay, LOL (sorry Zeb, I only got your email when I got home Sunday afternoon, so didn’t get chance to catch up – will definitely give you a holler the next time I come over, though, so we can arrange a meeting!).

It was really lovely to go home again and Dad was happy that I managed to clear out about 2 suitcases full of clothes to go to the Salvation Army plus about half a big wheelie bin full of soon-to-be-shredded papers.  Ah, I so love going home for a holiday haha.  The weather was shocking, so we didn’t get to go sightseeing at all around Auckland – and unfortunately the flights were really full out of Wellington, so at the 11th hour Mum and I cancelled our flights, as it had the potential to be an extremely costly trip … of course we forgot about Easter and school holiday traffic … doh!

I didn’t get too much stitching done, although I did stitch up my April Christmas ornie for the ornie Challenge … and I’ve since started the Acorn Needle Book by Periwinkle Promises, which is a kit I’ve had in my stash for way too many years now.  It’s been really fun doing every stitch except XS so far in this piece, although I’m a bit wary of the upcoming acorn cap completely made up of french knots {{shudder}}.

Prairie Schooler-Snowy Night
“Snowy Night” by The Prairie Schooler
from 2008 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue
stitched on 32ct Merino hand-dyed linen by Countrystitch
with recommended DMC threads

Acorn Needle Book 1
“Acorn Needle Book” kit by Periwinkle Promises – first WIP photo

Acorn Needle Book 2
A bit of rice stitch, satin stitch, double holbein stitch, double back-stitch (or long-armed XS), and finished with a smidge of normal back stitch

Mum and I managed to catch up with my Auntie Trudy (who’s not actually an Aunt, but a family friend that I’ve grown up with in NZ), and it was lovely to see her again.  I came away being spoilt with a lovely blue scarf she knit for me, so I feel very special 🙂

The highlight of the trip (and our final night) was a visit to my fave family, the Smiths … Auntie Heather (again an extremely close family friend that I adore) has known me since I was six weeks old in the UK, and our two families have grown up together when we both emigrated to New Zealand.  There are only a few years difference between the age groups of myself and their two children, Tracey and Carl, and now they both have their own children and we have our own “Granny Smith” (she hates being called that!).  It turned out to be Danial’s birthday during our visit, so we were able to visit on Saturday afternoon/evening on his birthday – it was great fun!  Tracey and Glen live out in the country south of Auckland, and it was great to finally visit their property and play with all the animals.  The only ones I didn’t get to pet were the cows! 😉

Here are a number of photos from our visit – including some very special Easter bunnies, that were part of Danial’s birthday present.

Danial's birthday 2
Danial, Bradley and Heather (with stickers on her forehead compliments of youngest grandchild Danial!)

Danial's birthday 3
Tracey hard at work in the kitchen preparing dinner

Danial's birthday 5
How many men does it take to put together a racing car set? Four, apparently! ;P

Danial's birthday 4
Maybe we should read the instructions, Grandad!

Danial's birthday 7
Easter bunnies country-style

Danial's birthday 8
Awwwww……. Somebunny loves ya Heather!

Danial's birthday 9
The Dragon having a bunny cuddle

Danial's birthday 6
And this bundle of fun I just couldn’t wait to have a cuddle with, I love him to death … poor Dodge got so excited that he kindly peed on my leg … I think that means he likes me! haha – he’s such a soppy soft dog you’ve gotta love him!  This is him begging me to come outside to play with him – I kept leaning out the window to give him a pat! 😀

Danial's birthday 1
And to finish off, here’s the birthday boy with his icecream cake – with Dad (Glen), and the Dragon (Mum)

Now it’s back to the heat of Sydney, and I’m over it already after 48 hours!!  Will summer never end??  Bring on those cooler autumn days with blue skies … keep your pelting rain and humidity!  Oh well, at least I can laze around at home over the next few days indoors … inbetween going to gym sessions each day this week … I’ve finally joined a gym to get my fat A into shape and feel a bit healthier.  Going to the chiropractor all these months has been wonderful, and I’m ready to make a healthy change – going to the gym will hopefully help me reach that goal … I just need to get back into the routine of going regularly before work!

Anyway, I’d better skedaddle and put some laundry washing in while it’s still daylight and the laundry nazis don’t chase me out (we have to be out by 8pm sharp!) … can’t guarantee there’ll be a stitching finish any time soon, as I want to put a few hours into Mirabilia’s Winter Queen (thanks to me joining a UFO challenge group) and also get some decent stitching time into Nicki’s Quaker RR 😀

Look forward to catching up on your blogs over the next few days as well … ah, the joy of still being on holiday!! 😀