Category Archives: Diary

Home for Christmas

For the first time in 7 years Ian & I spent Christmas at home with our families, I can’t begin to describe how great it was to be back. We took a month off, arriving on the 13th December and not leaving until the 12th January, and as luck would have it the weather was awesome.

The first couple of weeks were spent chilling out with family, meeting new family, Jayden my nephew, Sarah my sister in law & Clinton her husband, catching up with friends and christmas shopping. It’s funny how things stay the same but are different too.

Christmas day was spent firstly with the Bulloch family for lunch and then dinner with the Barnes family and with the usual plentiful food, wine and laughs. A long standing tradition in the Barnes family is the Boxing Day Outing, this year being the 20th anniversary something special was called for, so a few days away at the Koura lodge in Rotorua was organised by Neil. Sadly Ian’s aunt died Christmas eve so some had to return to Auckland for the funeral, Deb had been unwell for sometime so Ian & I felt grateful we were able to see her before she passed away.

As a little time out Ian & I camped at Hahei for a couple of days, we had a excellent camp site one row back from the beach. We swam every day, walked to Cathedral Cove, went over to hot water beach (where due to geological activity you can dig holes in the sand which will fill up with hot water – natures own spa), ate proper fish & chips, played cards and relaxed.

Much to both our parents relief being home also gave us the chance to go through all our stuff we had stored with them and get rid of a good proportion of it which was much harder for Ian I think!

Dad took us out fishing on the Manukau harbour we had a great afternoon catching sharks, pity they were only babies, my hammerhead was impressive though. Dad did catch a good sized Gurnard which he cooked for Ian & I as an entree before dinner. 

Sarah & Clinton recently brought a new house in Blenhiem so Ian & I flew down to spend a few days with them, Sarah works for Montana wines so we were able to have a tour and tasting while we were there. We also spent our time fishing (Ian was the only one to catch anything and that was a sprat), visiting wineries, sight seeing, playing cards, .

All too soon it was time to come back to the UK, and to winter.

Christmas Do

Both our departments combined together for our Christmas do as there was only 3 from Ian’s department. It was a fairly simple affair with a few drinks at the Old Fish Market then dinner at Tantric Jazz followed by a few more drinks at another bar. Tame by previous years standards but none the less a good night.


Went to see Sia tonight at the Theckla, She’s an Aussie singer who worked with Zero 7.  Really good atmosphere and a small venue which made interaction between her and the crowd great.  Sia’s one crazy person. Excellent gig.

RWC 2007 – NZ v France 1/4 Final

How could we have lost!

We met up with Thornton and some other Kiwis before the game for a few beers then headed into the Millennium Stadium, Ian & I were sitting apart from the others unfortunately surrounded by the French.  At the end of the game getting patted on the back as we walked down the stand, a fellow kiwi somewhere in the crowd yelled out “don’t let them see you cry” just what you need to make you laugh.

Foo Fighters

What a great gig!

The Foos are one of my favorite bands and to see them live was awesome, Dave Grohl put on a great performance, even Ian enjoyed it and he only went to make me happy. They played a mix of everything from the latest album to the first, and most of the classics which had me singing along without a care. After a good number of loud fast tracks a small stage dropped down from the roof into the centre of the arena and the band did a bit of an acoustic set before moving back to the main stage to finish off loud and furious.

Definitely the best gig I’ve been to in a long time.

Foo Fighters

Amy MacDonald

Glaswegian singer/songwriter Amy MacDonald was in town and although we only new one song we decided to go and check her out. She has such an unusual voice, quite deep and raspy especially for such a young person. She was really good, just starting out so not as polished as some artists but I kind of like that, most of the songs she wrote herself but did do a cover of the Killers “Mr Brightside” which was excellent.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall

To mix in a little culture with all the rugby Ian & I went into London to The Royal Albert Hall to listen to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Barry Wordsworth.

They played three pieces:
Smetana – The Bartered Bride Overture
Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No 2
Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade

The last being a favourite of Ian’s since he was a kid and definitely my favourite of the evening. It was a really nice evening and the music beautiful, we must go again.

J’s Birthday

Great company & a great meal!
Richard & Jenny joined us for Dinner at Hotel Du Vin, and a lovely evening we had. It was a very good mix of posh and comfortable (although Ian did have to wear proper shoes). My favourite part of the meal was definitely the cheese board, with 21 local and French to choose from I was in heaven. After the meal we retired back to the comfortable couches in the bar for a night cap before heading home. The experience was wonderful with excellent service and quality food.

Washing Machine Woes

Rear seal gone – bearings rusting on a 3 year old machine used by two people. Ariston Margherita 2000 ALD12S UK. Apparently that machine has had three different sets of bearings and seals. So to order spares, I have to take apart the machine and measure them. Not ideal as I would like to have the parts ready so I can do the whole lot in one go, not leave the machine apart while I wait for spares to arrive in the mail.

Whatever idiot thought that was a good idea at Merloni should be fired!!!

Access Panel Removed Pully Removed Rear Bearing 2 Rear Bearing 1