Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Holes by Louis Sachar

Today I spent the morning at Puahue School teaching the Year 5 and 6 class. They are all students I have taught in the past year or two. Last week I noticed their teacher was reading the book Holes by Louis Sachar to them. Ironically I had just bought the book at a second hand book fair ten days earlier. It's a story for young people that I had wanted to read for a while and finally got around to doing so. It's a clever story with a straightforward writing style. I liked the way all the pieces of the storyline, from a hundred years in the past to the events of the present, were linked together. The children, every one of the 30 of them, were thoroughly enjoying the story. They have been learning to write letters so today they each wrote a letter to Louis Sachar. I found an address for his publisher in New York so hopefully the letters will reach him and he can enjoy the children's opinions and maybe answer their questions.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Masses of Mandarins

I've had a bumper crop of mandarins this year. Although the tree is no taller than I am it has produced a huge number of mandarins. The tree looked quite droopy for a while as it sagged under the weight of its fruit. I'm eating at least half a dozen a day and I've given lots away. They are Clementine mandarins and they're very sweet and juicy. Delicious.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Winter Holiday

I've just spent a very enjoyable few days catching up with friends and family in the lower North Island. It was fun to try out Dean's four-wheeler motorbike and go zipping up and down Waitarere Beach.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Molly's Murmur

Molly has had an on-and-off runny nostril for a while so I thought I'd better get it checked out at the vet. She has had the problem before and although it's never been definitively diagnosed a round of antibiotics helps clear it up. Today the vet also discovered that she has a heart murmur. The valve in the right side of her heart isn't working properly and she needs to have some blood tests and an x-ray. She's 11 years old so she's getting on a bit. She was trembling with fear in the consulting room. The vet clinic is a very scary place for a scaredy cat, poor old thing.

Trivia fact: When I got Molly from the SPCA and chose her name I had recently moved to my house. I didn't know at the time that one neighbour had a cat called Holly, another neighbour had a cat called Polly and my immediate neighbour called her car Molly.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Only In New Zealand

The latest news from Auckland, from Newstalk ZB and on Yahoo New Zealand News.

A taniwha appears to be in the way of Auckland's planned $2.5 billion CBD rail link project.
The revelation has been made by Maori Statutory Board member Glenn Wilcox at an Auckland Council Transport Committee.
Councillor Cameron Brewer says the issue should've been put to bed with Ngati Whatua by now.
"The fact that the 'T bomb' was let off by an independent Maori Statutory Board member yesterday without anyone aware of the taniwha was disappointing."
Mr Brewer says Mayor Len Brown has been let down by his advisors.

Yahoo really knows how to stir up their readers with some of their 'news' stories. In the four hours since the news item was published on Yahoo NZ there have been 230 comments posted. Such as this one from Lorna:
'The French have trains that can run at 575km/hr and we have taniwha.'

And there are quite a few people who think a Waikato taniwha has just moved north.
According to 'Politically taniwha are not to be treated lightly.
In 2002 Transit New Zealand moved part of State Highway 1 after Ngati Naho of Meremere claimed it was cutting through the domain of one eyed taniwha Karu Tahi.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wonderful Weird Warm Winter Weather

I am not a winter person. I feel the cold in the air as April turns to May and by June my attire is all about keeping warm not fashion. But this year I'm still waiting for the cold. I thought it might be because I don't have to get up in the cold, pre-dawn to get ready for work. One of the major bonuses of my student lifestyle is getting up in the morning when I want to. But last month was the warmest May for 100 years and today, June 5th, it was 21 degrees. I had the doors and windows open and it was a lovely balmy day. I'll make the most of it while it lasts. I'm sure Jack Frost will strike soon and the squash ball will bounce like a stone, the Impatiens will droop and die and a beanie will be my favourite item of clothing.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Great Read - Dolci di Love

When workaholic Lily Turner finds a laminated photo hidden in her husband’s golf shoe her world turns upside down. The novel moves quickly from New York to Tuscany and that’s where this delightful story really starts. The Secret League of Widowed Darners, who mend hearts rather than socks, are a spirited group of ancient Italian women who work behind the scenes to find a happy ending for Lily. I loved the setting and humour in this story and I especially loved the wonderful old Italian widows who help weave all the pieces of the story together.

About Sarah-Kate Lynch: "She usually lives in a cliff top house on the wild west coast of New Zealand but likes to escape whenever possible for "research" purposes to far-flung spots in pretty parts of the world where she enjoys the local cuisine and the odd glass of wine."

The Pacific Pearl in Vanuatu

I discovered that the Pacific Pearl has a live cruise cam that sends images to the P&O website via satellite. It's updated every 15 minutes. This photo is from Port Vila, Vanuatu. I hope you're having a great day in the tropics Dad.