Switzerland

7th to the 11th March we spent an event filled long weekend in Switzerland. Taking off straight after work on Friday we flew to Geneva, caught the train into the city, found our hotel, checked in and hit the sack. 

The next morning we were up and out walking around the city & lake taking in the sights such as the Jet D’eau, the worlds tallest water fountain at 140 meters before catching the train to Lausanne. We spent the afternoon walking around the lake front before heading up to the old town to see the old gothic cathedral & Chateau St Maire.

Sunday we caught the train to Yverdon Les Bains and the a connecting train to Sainte Croix to visit the music box museum, unfortunately it opened at 2pm and we were there at 11am although a lovely place there was not a lot to do and it was a bit cold so we caught the train back to Yverdon Les Bains and walked around even visiting the thermal pools as a warm dip sounded lovely. As we did not have our togs or enough time we didn’t get a swim but headed back up the mountain (the train ride was very cool) to Sainte Croix where we had a tour of the music box museum in French. We brought a Reuge music box, which is quite special being brought from where the are made, it’s a 72 note with 3 melodies by Grieg including “In the hall of the mountain king”. For dinner that night we had a tradition cheese fondu which even Ian liked (he’s not quite the cheese fan I am) have to admit I couldn’t eat it every night but it was good!

On the Monday we headed back to Geneva and to CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) to look round the interactive museum, unfortunately it was too late to book a tour through the actual lab but we are thinking about going back to do this. In the afternoon we caught the bus to the French boarder as just on the other side is a cable car up a mountain with a great view of Geneva, unfortunately on the winter timetable it only opens on the weekends so we headed back for a little shopping. For dinner we had another traditional dish where you have a fondu pot of smoking hot oil and cook chunks of beef in it at your leisure, which was great fun abd a very sociable way to have a meal.

On our last day we wen to the 78th Geneva International Motor Show, the size was incredible (so was the number of mid life crisis men). There were this years new production cars, lots of “green” cars, concept cars and of course the sports cars – even I was impressed. Finally it was time to head home, we found Switzerland a great place to visit, it was easy to get around, the people were friendly, there was lots to see and the food was delicious.

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.

Sia

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.

Jeanette and Ian have found their way Home