Saturday, February 25, 2012


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


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 :


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.