Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cheese Making

Yippee, it's the spring school holidays at last. I spent this afternoon making cheese with a couple of friends. Fortunately Mary had some experience with the cheese making process and she had the equipment, ingredients and recipe ready. Unfortunately we made a mistake in the first step! However we continued on with the process and hopefully we'll have some edible brie cheese in a couple of weeks. The photo below shows the the partially finished product.  It still needed to be turned a few times, soaked in brine and left to mature. We also made some ricotta cheese with the leftover whey. It was quick and easy to make and tasted good with crackers for afternoon tea.



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In Front of the Camera

Every now and then you have to do something that terrifies you. Today was that kind of day.  When someone says they want to shoot you coming through the door that's pretty terrifying - even if it just means shoot as in film.

Some time last term I agreed to take part in a film being made by the National Library about 21st century school libraries. Suddenly it wasn't just a note in my diary for some future date, it was today, and I found myself in front of a GIGANTIC camera. Me, the person who hides behind the camera was in front of one for two whole hours. Okay, maybe the camera wasn't gigantic but it was a big one like they use for TV not a handycam.They filmed me doing typical things around the school and library, and then they did a one-on-one interview with me about the Amesbury School library. I also organised groups of students to do various activities in the library and a couple of other teachers were interviewed too. The film crew were at school for five hours and by the time they left I was both exhausted and exhilerated.  They said they were really pleased with the the material they had which was a relief. After they had filmed me working with children one of them asked me if I had a background in performance arts. That took me aback for a moment but then I realised that all I had been doing was normal teaching stuff and interacting with children as usual. I guess teaching often is a kind of performance as you're always thinking about the way you present yourself to children to engage them in learning.

So despite my nerves and fears that I wouldn't say the right thing or express myself articulately I ended up feeling pretty good about the whole thing. They will have hours of film from about four different schools and in the end I suppose there will only be a few minutes of us at Amesbury. Hopefully those minutes will be a true and worthy reflection of Amesbury School library - the place, the people and the learning.

Mike, the cameraman - agreed that he couldn't object to me taking a photo
of him after pointing the camera at me for so long.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sharon's Visit

I was delighted to have my friend Sharon from Hamilton come and stay for a few days. Not only is she a good friend (so we had a lot of talking to do) but she is also a children's book author. On Friday she spent the day at Amesbury School. She spoke to all the students and took a group of 15 students for a writing session.  They were thrilled to work with her and afterwards made comments such as "I'm a better writer than I thought I was" and "I can write confidently now and not be afraid to put my ideas out there and know I can do it".

Here are some related links:
Sharon at Amesbury School
Sharon Holt (on the Book Council website)
Te Reo Singalong website - these books are just great for using Te Reo Maori with young children in a fun way.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

About Time for Another Post

Oops, another month has disappeared and my blog is looking a bit neglected.  Work is busy, busy, busy. One of the teachers I work with went to a meeting at Parliament today to talk about a submission made by Amesbury School to a select committee inquiry into 21st century learning environments and digital literacy. One question they asked was how many hours a week she worked. I wonder if they were surprised when she told them the facts - daytime, evening, weekends - and certainly not just 9am to 3pm. I wish I could work 9 to 3 and enjoy 12 weeks holiday a year!

The school library is also busy and it's great to see the children coming and going during the day.  Most of them can issue and return books independently using our RFID scanning system and we now have a dozen netbooks, some iPads, iPods, Android tablets and eReaders.  Some of the children still need adult help of course. One five year old approached me the other day and asked how to spell her last name. "Why do you need to know that?" I asked. Her reply was, "My parents have secrets and I want to use Google to find out their secrets". Priceless!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Matariki

Time gets away on me and suddenly it's the winter solstice and I haven't posted anything on my blog for a while.  Today is also Matariki (Maori New Year) and I went to a Matariki celebration at my nephew's school last Saturday night.  The show included the school kapahaka group, the Police College kapahaka group and a band called My Golden Soul. Zak is a real fan of Matiu who fronts the band and also teaches the school kapahaka group.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Graduation

I officially graduated with my Post Graduate Diploma in Information Studies on Wednesday. I decided to go to the graduation ceremony even though I didn't study on campus and I was glad I went.  Alison, Dad and Robert attended and celebrated with me, including a lovely meal at a Mexican restaurant afterwards. I sat next to another woman who had studied online and was in some of my classes so we compared notes about what we were doing now. It was quite special to have a karanga and haka as we entered the auditorium and although my time on stage was fleeting (a few seconds amongst a large number of graduates) it seemed a fitting way to complete my studies.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Amesbury Officially Open

Although we opened our doors to students in February yesterday marked the Official Opening of Amesbury School complete with an opening ceremony, VIPs, speeches, concert, and in the evening a disco for the kids. Hekia Parata, the Minister of Education, formally opened the school then was taken on a school tour by students.  She visited the library and showed great interest in what the children were doing and why.  The children in turn explained what they were doing and answered her questions.  She ended up rather behind schedule at the end and had to hurry off in time to catch a plane to Christchurch.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weta Workshop

Our school staff visited Weta Workshop this afternoon to meet with Richard Taylor (I mean Sir Richard Taylor).  He began by talking about the development of Weta and the movies Weta have been involved in making.  But most interesting was a discussion about creativity, how to encourage and develop creativity in children, and the creative people who work at Weta. The emphasis was on artistic creativity (not something I possess) but the ideas could apply to other types of creativity such as writing or scientific inventions. When he employs kids (his words not mine) he looks for four things, the top three being passion, enthusiasm and tenacity, followed by talent. Many young people have talent but he believes they need the other three characteristics to succeed.

School groups and others sometimes do a tour of the workshop but they are finishing a highly confidential project - The Hobbit? - so we had to stick to the conference room off the entrance foyer.  Not many conference rooms are as interesting as that one however.  A glass cabinet stretches the length of one wall and it is chock full of collectibles such as Lord of the Rings miniatures. There is also an impressive collection of industry awards including the Oscars and BAFTAs shown in the photo below.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Art Unveiling at Amesbury

A magnificent piece of art was unveiled during a ceremony at school today.  The art work was commissioned by the building consortium and gifted to Amesbury School. The work, by artist and sculptor Jeff Thomson, is made of corrugated iron. The outline shape is New Zealand but it is made of many small parts in the shape of meccano pieces printed with illustrations of flora and fauna of New Zealand.  It was interesting to talk to Jeff afterwards about how he creates his works. The printing, similar to screen printing, is done onto flat pieces of metal that are then corrugated and assembled.  It was a lengthy process to make the individual 'meccano' pieces but only took two days to assemble the whole 'country'.


 Now I know why Jeff came to the library yesterday to request a map of New Zealand.  They were attaching the art to the wall and needed to make sure that the islands were positioned correctly. 


Detailed view of the pieces. The corrugation and overlapping give the work a wonderful 3-D look. 

Part of the ceremony included the boys performing the haka for the first time. 
They were fantastic - loud and enthusiastic. 

video

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Museum Visit

Today I was a tourist in my own city. Actually it stills feels strange to think that Wellington is my home now and although the Northern suburbs are very familiar I still feel like a tourist when I go into the central city. Today my mother and I were tourists as we visited the Museum of Wellington City & Sea. It's a collection of some important, quirky, tragic and interesting items and records of Wellington's history. Mum was particularly interested to see the Wahine disaster display and documentary.

Something that I found funny was the account of the first car journey in NZ and how it ended:
Cars first arrived in New Zealand in 1898. They were imported by William McLean, a Wellington businessman and politician, who bought two of them in Paris. One he named Lightning, the other Petrolette. On his inaugural drive he set off along Kent Terrace, one of Wellington's widest and straightest streets. McClean failed to take the first bend and crashed into the Basin Reserve fence.

The most fascinating display was probably the holographic telling of a Maori legend. The holographic characters looked so real - like miniature people performing on stage. The little boy beside me was genuinely perplexed about where the narrator had gone when she appeared to disappear into thin air on the stage. The video below is from YouTube. It flickers a bit and you don't really get a feel of how real the 3D images looked but it gives you an idea of what it was like.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter

The first 9 days of April, and heading into mid-autumn, have been the best weather-wise in the three months since I moved to Wellington. The weather forecasters predicted bad weather over most of Easter but they were completely wrong and Wellington has sparkled under blue skies.

We celebrated the end of the first term at Amesbury School by going out to dinner at a restaurant at Queens Wharf. We watched a Cook Strait ferry arrive as a full moon emerged over the harbour at dusk - beautiful.

On Good Friday I spent an hour and a half at Wellington airport catching up with a friend who had a stopover on her way back to Australia after a visit to Christchurch. For once I was happy about a flight delay as her plane departed Wellington half an hour later than scheduled and we fitted in a little more chat time.

I went up to Raumati South yesterday for some family and chocolate time. Alison and I hid 59 little Easter chocolates around the deck area for Zak and her partner's son Bronson to find. The final tally was one chocolate to the dog, 56 chocolates to the boys and two chocolates still missing because we couldn't remember where we hid them all. Oh well, 56 chocolates was more than enough, especially as Zak had already demolished most of a large chocolate rabbit after his bowl of cereal at breakfast time.

After some backyard badminton and a fresh from the tree, crunchy apple each (a token gesture at something nutritious) we headed down to the beach. I shivered just at the thought of the water temperature but the others, all hardier souls than I, went swimming, while I enjoyed people watching and the view. The South Island was clearly visible in the distance and from Raumati Beach there is a beautiful view up and down the coast and across to Kapiti Island.

Ears gone, five minutes later only legs left.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Powerless At Amesbury

Our 21st century school which is so reliant on technology was powerless for most of today. It was a dull morning anyway with low cloud hanging over the hills but I thought it strange that the reception area was so dark when I entered the school. When I flicked on the light switch in the library and nothing happened I realised there was a power cut. The school was strangely quiet until the children arrived at 8:30. There was no background hum of computers and other machines. The coffee machine stood idle and a couple of coffee addicted staff members drove to Johnsonville to bring hot drinks back for everyone. The power was off in most of Churton Park and while I was supervising road patrol I helped a neighbour lift her garage door so she could get her car out of the garage.

There was a quick re-plan for the start of the school day, which ended up being a complete re-plan as apart from a brief return of the electricity mid-morning we were without power until 2pm. So it was back to pencils, paper and books for the day. The iPads, iPods, interactive whiteboards and touchscreens were abandoned as good old fashioned handwriting and drawing on paper was used. No books could be issued from the library although I set up a fun treasure hunt type of activity so the seniors could practice some library skills.

The biggest challenge of the day was going to the toilet. The staff toilets were pitch black, you couldn't even see your hand in front of your face. At least I already knew where the toilet roll and hand basin were as the only way to find anything was by groping around in the dark.

Staff Toilet

Monday, March 12, 2012

School Library Blog

I haven't posted anything on this blog for a over a week because I've spent the past few days setting up a school library blog. Some of the girls were busy at lunchtime today finishing book reviews to post on the blog.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Shelves At Last

The library shelves have finally arrived! Well, most of them have. After a six week wait the shelves arrived at school this morning and installation began - only to discover that several of them were missing! Fortunately the installer hadn't sent the original incorrectly painted shelves back to the manufacturer yet. They are sitting in his shed so he was able to retrieve some and they will be installed temporarily until that problem is sorted. At least the non-fiction books will have something to sit on other than the floor. The mobile picture book shelf isn't quite right either and nor is the proportion of sloping display shelves to flat shelves. Ahhhh! Who knew that shelves could be quite so complicated? One good thing is that the kids are excited to see shelves in the library. We almost appreciate a few pieces of wood more than iPads and touchscreen computers at the moment.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Arcane

One of the reasons I was looking forward to living in Wellington was to enjoy events and experiences in the 'coolest little capital in the world' (as Lonely Planet recently described Wellington). Today was a gorgeous summer day and my sister, nephew and I spent the afternoon at the waterfront in the heart of Wellington. The harbour itself was busy with watercraft from yachts to pedal boats, and even dragon boat racing. We bought lunch at Pandoro Panetteria (a bakery that I now highly recommend) and then watched a fascinating and unusual performance in Waitangi Park. The New Zealand Festival of the Arts is on at present and the performance by Arcane is best described by the Festival website as follows:

With two wheels that look like they’ve been pinched off a giant’s bicycle and two fearless French performers, this is the jaw-dropping acrobatics of Arcane.

Performing perfect flips, spins and somersaults on a nice steady platform would be difficult enough for most of us. Make that platform a moving, rolling structure and you add an entirely new level of complexity and skill.

Invented by trapeze artists Maxim Bourdon and Sebastien Bruas, Arcane’s wheel is much more than a mere prop. Like two spiders on a huge web, the daring duo clamber over the structure, expertly propelling it around the stage. As the performance progresses, the tricks get riskier as the wheel becomes the inspiration for excitingly dangerous and original feats that will transfix the crowds in Waitangi Park.


After Maxim and Sebastian finished their performance two more bare chested young males climbed on stage to emulate the acrobatics - see photo below!




Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Library at Lunchtime

I walked into the library at lunchtime and found that even without shelves children were making full use of it. Kids were reading, drawing pictures, using netbooks, browsing the temporary shelf and issuing books to each other. None of these photos are posed - it's exactly as they have decided to do their thing now that the library is open for them at lunchtimes.






Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Brownies

I spent this morning supervising two groups of Year 4 to 6 children making brownies. We had the recipe on the iPad and six kids at a time taking turns to measure, melt and mix. A bit more practice in reading instructions is needed but with some good teamwork and regular reminders to 'read the recipe again' they produced delicious brownies that are a chocoholics delight.

This is the recipe from JoyofBaking.com :

Ingredients:

150 grams of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
113 grams of unsalted butter, cut into pieces (we used salted butter, it was fine)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 large eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a nonstick cooking spray) an 8 inch (20 cm) square pan, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment or wax paper.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder and sugar . Next, whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Finally, stir in the flour, salt and chocolate chips (if using).

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a little batter and a few moist clumps clinging to it. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled. These freeze very well.

Makes 16 brownies.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Squashing Again

A couple of weeks ago I had some strange dreams about squash. I'd turn up at a club and for some reason be unable to play e.g. the courts had missing walls. I was either going through some strange sort of squash withdrawal or my subconscious was telling me that something was missing from my daily routine now I'm back working full-time at school. So I located the Tawa Squash Club, paid my subscription and went to their Club Night the following night. I had three really good games that evening. My muscles suffered for it the next day but the strange squash dreams disappeared.

The people I met at the club were very friendly and I've organised a couple more games. The main challenge may be court availability as it's a very busy club with only three courts. There is an online booking system and you can book up to a week ahead. I'm not sure what time most people get up in the morning to book a game in advance but one woman told me the advantage of her job (she is a nurse who works night shifts) is that she can reserve a court when they become available at midnight!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Still Waiting

The books are ready, the computer system is ready, and the borrowers are ready. But the library books are sitting in piles on the floor because the library still doesn't have any shelves. Today we completed the processing of 99% of the starting collection of books and I'm going to teach maths this week. Oh well, when the shelves are installed at least the library will be up and running straight away.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Waitangi Day

Today we had a street barbecue and Wellington even turned on a calm, sunny day. The neighbours dragged their barbecues and picnic tables to the carpark opposite my house and we had a fine time chatting, eating and getting to know each other. It's handy that one side of our street is a park as it's a nice setting for an outdoor get together.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Blu Tack

I finally had time to unpack three boxes of ornaments last night so I started filling the china cabinet and placing ornaments on shelves. I carefully made them a bit more secure by blu tacking them to the surface they sat on. Half way through I ran out of blu tack. But I wasn't too worried, I mean what were the chances of an earthquake before I could get to a shop today or tomorrow to buy more blu tack?

The chances were very good apparently because at 7 am this morning there was an earthquake in Wellington. Just a small one fortunately and not enough of a shake to disturb the ornaments. However blu tack is now at the top of my weekend shopping list.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Amesbury School is Open!

Yesterday the construction workers left and today the children arrived. Amesbury School, the first new state school in the capital city for 25 years, is open for instruction. There was a formal welcome to students and their families (the official opening of the school will be on May 8th) and the remainder of the day was spent on fun activities for the children and staff to get to know each other and their new surroundings.

Foundation students, Amesbury School, February 1st 2012


First activity in the libary - making bookmarks.



Monday, January 30, 2012

The BMS

Today we received instructions about the BMS. I wondered what the man was referring to but apparently it is the Building Management System. Basically we learnt about how the security, access, heating, lighting and ventilation systems work. A lot of it is technical and technological, with computer systems operating it. For example, in some rooms there are motion sensors and the lights come on automatically for a set period of time. There are also air sensors and some of the windows open automatically to let fresh air in. At six pm some of the external doors lock automatically. But is seems that the library is the one space that is not automated - it still requires a human to lock doors, open windows and turn the lights on and off!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Furniture at Amesbury School

The learning suites have a variety of furniture from some quite traditional tables and chairs to funky beanbags and even 'wobbly' stools for children who find it hard to sit still.







Friday, January 27, 2012

Creating a Brand New Library - Part Three

We made good progress in the library today. The internet connection was reliable and we've now got a couple of hundred books catalogued. The volunteers have been busy taping and covering books and we've got so many volunteers they are almost working faster than we can provide tasks for them to do. We had a major tidy up in the library this afternoon as the children who start at Amesbury School next week came to visit with their families this evening.

There were a variety of activities set up for the children to do. A lot of them enjoyed drawing their faces and writing their names on the windows. There is much more glass than wall space in the school so the children will be able to write and draw on the glass. We have special pens that write on glass like a marker pen but wipe off as a powdery substance.

No one who visited the classrooms asked where the desks and chairs are. Actually we don't have classrooms. The learning areas are two large 'hubs' each with multiple 'suites'. The suites are open areas that flow into each other. Large sliding glass doors can close parts of suites off from each other but we don't think the doors will be used much. The furniture consists of tables, stools and chairs in a variety of styles and types. It's a bit hard to describe some of the more unusual styles so I'll take some photos of furniture soon. The intention is that the children will choose to work at or on the furniture that suits them best and that they will move around the space rather than have an allocated desk or table. The library is the most central room in the school which is great as it will be an integral part of the school.

A couple of older children and several adults commented that they wished they could go to primary school all over again and I heard a boy say "this school has everything". One Year 6 girl said she wants to do Year 6 twice to get more time at Amesbury. It was reassuring to get positive feedback from the parents and children, particularly as the furniture and physical set up of the learning spaces is quite different from a traditional school.

The library is very much a 'work in progress' but it also received a positive reaction from the visitors. A couple of girls are already enthusiastic about becoming student librarians. We had a table full of books available for parents to buy and donate to the school and we sold over $300 worth.


Foreground: books for sale. Background: catalogued books temporarily on the display shelves.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Creating a Brand New Library - Part Two

Chaos reigns in the library. Actually the picture makes it look worse than it really is. As far as processing the books goes it is organised chaos with piles of books in various stages of preparedness. We have a wonderful group of volunteers who are helping to process books. Some of them will have children at Amesbury School but several helpers have no direct link with the school and are generously donating their time.

The main problem we have at present is our internet link. There is all sorts of sophisticated technology being set up in the school, including several large, wall mounted, touch screen computers. You can see one on the library wall in the photo. All of the empty touchscreen boxes and some other boxes of resources ended up in the library today to add to the general chaos.

We need the internet to catalogue the library books but it is soooo slow and several times we've lost the connection altogether. This is a problem for two reasons. First, we are supposed to be a high tech school and we can't even get a decent internet connection which is kind of embarassing. Second, it is causing a big delay in processing the library books. However the tech people are still working on our IT infrastructure so hopefully it will all be sorted before the school opens next Wednesday.

Fortunately I am familiar with AccessIt, the library management software, because my brain is spinning with all the software I'm learning to use this week including My Portfolio, Knowledge Net, QR codes and RFID. However it's all very interesting and the biggest challenge so far was finding the On button on the desktop touchscreen, all in one computer!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Creating a Brand New Library - Part One

Imagine being let loose in a children's bookshop to buy enough books to fill the fiction section of a library! Eight of us visited the Kilburnie Children's Bookshop to stock the shelves of the Amesbury School library with novels.

There is a slight problem however - plenty of books but no shelves. The shelves were supposed to be assembled last Tuesday but the manufacturers made a mistake with the finish on them (it was supposed to be a wash over pine to maintain the wood appearance but they were painted instead and they look ugly and metallic). The company admitted it made a mistake and now the shelves have to be remade. So at the moment I have a library with hundreds of lovely books - all in boxes. On the positive side there are some other exciting things in the library including fluoro orange bean bags and a Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Emergency Preparedness at Amesbury School

We had a school Emergency Preparedness session that was very useful and is clearly taken very seriously in Wellington. Even before the Christchurch earthquakes it sounds as though Wellington was taking emergency preparedness seriously. The organisation that Amesbury School is undertaking makes some schools seem woefully underprepared for emergencies. We will even be having fullscale practices where the parents come and collect the students as if it were an emergency situation to check that we have workable procedures for releasing students. There will be drills that include 'shelter inside' (e.g lockdown, chemical spill) or 'evacuate' (e.g. fire, earthquake) and drills in classtime and at break time. Arrangements are also being made to evacuate off-site to a nearby community centre if need be. Fortunately Amesbury is not in the tsunami zone so we don't have to worry about that. I did learn that if you're at Te Papa and there is a tsunami warning you should stay there - it's built to withstand tsunamis apparently. All Wellington schools have been rechecked for earthquake soundness and Newtown School has had most of its classrooms condemned. There are a whole bunch of relocatable classrooms being used there. Amesbury has been built with a high level of earthquake soundness so I feel quite safe there.

Image of Te Papa from Through the Humours Blog

Molly Moves to Wellington


A six hour journey to the Kapiti Coast, overnight in a strange house then another drive south to another house in Wellington. Molly coped just fine with all that upheaval.

I thought the transition from Te Awamutu to Wellington had gone smoothly but then the problems began. Molly threw up on the carpet (it's fairly new) three times. So I was torn between despair over the carpet and despair over my poor suffering pet. She's now fulltime on a liver management diet which she doesn't particularly like but has settled her digesitive system.

The main problem now is that she's finding the catflap a challenge to use. It has two magnets (one on the base and one on the flap) to keep it flappable but not flapping in the wind. Molly is pushing feebly at the flap and it won't open for her, although in one strong gust of Wellington wind it blew open then swung back and hit her on the nose.

So I rigged it up to make it swing open one way only so she could use a gentle push to get in. However at 4am on Saturday morning I woke to the sound of Molly hissing and when I investigated I saw a feline intruder who had entered through the catflap then couldn't get out again. The cat saw me, ran headlong at the catflap, bounced off it, rushed across the room, leapt onto the sofa, climbed up the curtains and dangled off the curtain rail. I opened the front door and the back door but it just charged madly around the house and then head butted the catflap again. Finally I got the catflap open and it fled. Hopefully that's the last we see of that mad beast. Today I've put Molly on a catflap training programme by putting her outside and wafting canned salmon in front of the catflap. The lure of salmon was enough for her to put a bit more effort into pushing the catflap open and she received several rewards of canned salmon. Now I'm just hoping the salmon treats don't upset her liver and digestive system again ...



Friday, January 6, 2012

Ten Things I'll Miss About Te Awamutu

Flowering cherry trees - the main street is beautiful in spring time.

Regent Cinema – a wonderful collection of movie memorabilia and so handy that I can catch a movie if I leave home 5 minutes before it starts.

Teasdale Street – my home in a tranquil spot yet only a short walk to the main street.

Te Awamutu Library – helpful staff and crammed with books (literally crammed with books, put some money into more space for this great community resource please Waipa District Council).

Mandarins – masses of delicious, juicy fruit from the tree in my garden.

Waikato weather – lovely warm summers.

Puahue countryside – enjoying the scenery and changing seasons as I drive to work.

Te Awamutu Squash Club – great facilities, friendly members, good times.

My friends.

My Mum.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Today is January 1st 2012. It marks the first day of the year, my last week in Te Awamutu and next week I'll start a new life in Wellington. So it's a happy/sad time for me. I've enjoyed living in Te Awamutu for 14 years and I'll miss my friends and family here. But it's time for a change and I have great job opportunity in Wellington.

My year of study is almost complete, I'm finishing off the final paper during the summer semester. In two weeks I start a new job in a new city at a new school. Well the job and the school are brand new but the city has been around for a while, it's just new for me. I'll be the library based teacher at Amesbury School in Churton Park, Wellington. The school opens for the first time on February 1st 2012 and I expect it will be both exciting and challenging to be a foundation teacher at an innovative new school.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2012.