For all you Stalkers…………

…….an update on how things are going in not so sunny Britain!!

Having spent most of our 1st week in the “Frozen North” (which it quite literally was but that was fine with us….nice to get back to the cooler climate!) we headed south at the weekend to Dan’s parents’ house in Devon.

We arrived on the Saturday night (after a much shorter 6hr drive than the 8 1/2hr one at Xmas!) just in time for Mothering Sunday the following day – this was celebrated with a Winchurst family lunch (including Dan’s Uncle Clive and Aunty Avril) at the local pub.

On Monday we went to Liskeard (via Bodmin Moor) for a bit of nosey round and then on Tuesday we ventured to Port Isaac – for those of you who watched “Doc Martin” when it was on, Port Isaac is the real name for the fictional Portwenn and so we were able to see a lot of the places we were familiar with from the show.

Wednesday we packed up the car and headed towards Eastleigh in time for Dan’s interview on the Thursday – we stayed in the “New Forest Lodge Hotel” which was actually in Landford, 9 miles out of Salisbury on the A36 (in case you were wondering!).

Thursday was D-Day (or should that be I-Day?) and whilst Dan was busy, Isabel and I wandered round Eastleigh, looking in shop windows and investigating the house prices (just for future reference!). Dan thinks the interview went well, so it’s just a case of waiting to hear back from them.

We are now back in Devon for the next few days – we’ll have a better idea of where the wind will take us next week once we have a decision on the job front.

Isabel has continued to be snuffly and, therefore, pretty grumpy at times and she definitely seems to be going off being in the car-seat for any length of time – I’m doing my best to entertain her (and let’s face it, I am pretty funny!?) but sometimes it just isn’t enough and the only thing that will placate her is the chance to get out and run round like a loon until she gets grumpy again and falls asleep!

The eagle has landed

Following approximately 42 hours of travelling, we finally arrive in the Lake District, where we will be staying for the next few days.

Unfortunately, as mentioned in the previous post, Isabel’s sniffles developed into a full blown cold, meaning she is very bunged up and feeling somewhat sorry for herself. This meant the 13 1/2 hour flight from Singapore to London was very, very long and tiring. It was also not helped by the fact that the woman sitting in the seat in front of Isabel had her seat back as far as it would go for virtually the entire leg. This meant that even with her short legs, Isabel couldn’t straighten them so settled instead for kicking the back of the seat causing the woman to look round and frown on a regular basis.

Not having flown with Singapore airlines before we were expecting great things but I, for one, was rather disappointed. I had heard great things about the quality of the customer service but apart from the hot towels (which I have to admit were rather refreshing) and the amenity kit including a toothbrush and toothpaste, I wasn’t particularly impressed. And I have to say although the seats weren’t too bad as far as comfort was concerned, the lack of space between your seat and the one in front was a real pain. When the guy sitting in front of me reclined his seat back (which he did approximately six nanoseconds after the fasten seat belt signs had been switched off) there were only about eight inches between my chest and the back of his seat. This meant it was very difficult to see the screen on the entertainment system, and it’s a good job I didn’t want to use my laptop as there is no way I could have angled the screen to see it.

Still, we landed, at last, at just after 5 o’clock in the morning, and happily made our way off the plane. The Munchkin rucksack, which we’d checked in at the gate, was taken by mistake to the main baggage carousel rather than being left as you get off the plane. A very helpful Heathrow baggage person, though, went and collected it for us and brought it to where we were standing. He then took the car seat up to the baggage area for us, to save us having to carry it ourselves. All this meant that, although we had to wait 10 minutes or so to get the rucksack, it did mean we were then able to head straight to the baggage reclaim, pick up our stuff and head straight through customs and immigration in no time.

The temperature when we left Wellington had been around 18-20 degrees, and as previously noted, was 30 degrees in Singapore. When we landed at Heathrow it was …. 2 degrees!! However, we were both glad to get back to the cold, especially as the plane felt it was about 50 degrees at times (which didn’t help Munchkin’s mood, as she gets quite irritable when she’s too hot).

We left Heathrow and picked up our hire car (good job we hired an estate with all the baggage we had!) and made the journey up to the Lake District, which is where we are at the moment. The journey was extremely straight forward, with the roadworks on the way fairly limited, and proving fairly feeble at slowing us down!

It wasn’t long, and it started raining. Oh well – two degrees, grey and raining. Welcome back to the UK, Winchursts!!!

Hello from sunny Singapore!

Well, it would be sunny if it wasn’t 8.30 at night and pitch black (not to mention it being 30 degrees (86 in old money))!! We have successfully made it through the first two of our flights, with just the minor matter of a 14-hour or so flight from here to London still to go!!

The day started early with us getting up at just after 5am to do the final bits and pieces of packing before our lift arrived to take us to the airport. (Very big ‘thank you’s to Uncle Paul and Auntie Rachel who got up at stupid-o’clock in the morning to come and get us!)

Air New Zealand were their usual unhelpful selves. In order to make sure everything was going to work smoothly Kate had specifically checked with both the Air New Zealand travel centre and the Air New Zealand call centre that we would be able to take the car seat onto the plane with us for Isabel (that is, after all, why we paid extra for a child ticket) and she also had some pages from the Air NZ web-site clearly stating that if you were taking an infant on an Air NZ flight you were welcome to take a car seat on with you. However, the lady at the check-in desk had other ideas and refused not only to let us take the car seat on the plane with us, but also made us check in the baby rucksack meaning we had to carry Isabel to the departure gate. Luckily this isn’t very far, and we didn’t have to wait long to board.

Fortunately, the Singapore airlines people could not have been more helpful when we checked in at Auckland. They said that of course we could take the car seat on the plane with us and that, although we would need to check-in the rucksack, we could take this up to the gate and hand it in as we boarded the plane. Hoorah!

So here we are in Singapore airport at 8.45pm local time awaiting our 11.20pm flight on to London. We’re all a bit tired, and very hot and sweaty, and it looks like the girls are both developing a fine line in snotty noses!

For those of you in the UK see you soon. For those of you elsewhere in the world see you next time.

PS the Hurricanes have won both their last games, so are still well placed in second place on the table. I don’t want to jinx them, but it’s looking good for a semi-final place at this stage. Fingers crossed.

And so it begins…………

Today is moving day – although actually that’s not strictly true……….today is moving day for our belongings and we will follow in a couple of days!

This morning, Dan delivered the Munchkin to Jodys house (where she is apparently having a lovely time having “who can shout the loudest” contests with Madeleine!) on his way to work and I waited for the movers.

At 9.30am, 2 chaps and a VERY small van arrived – I did panic momentarily and say feebly “I don’t think everything will fit in your van” which they found very amusing and went on to point out that there was, in fact, another van coming and they were just going to be doing the packing part!

All was going swimmingly even though we had already established that the previous days estimate that they would be “done in a couple of hours” was not quite true, and we were eagerly awaiting the BIG van at about 1pm.

That was until the phone went.

A few people hadn’t turned up today and would I mind if the 2 current chaps finished what they were doing and buggered off and could I wait in for a couple of hours till the big van arrived…..hmmmmm, not quite the speedy turn around we had hoped for but what can you do!?

So, here I sit, in amongst a mountain of boxes and packing equipment waiting for the reinforcements – and if they aren’t here by 3.30, I’m going to unroll all of their bubble wrap and roll around on it!! (that’ll teach ’em!)

Little gallery

Kate had some time on her hands today (well, it’s not as if she’s got a baby to look after, a wedding dress to make or a house full of stuff to pack!) so has added another gallery of some recent photos of Isabel. There are a dozen there for you to enjoy. Add plenty of comments, as we always enjoy reading them.

Click on the photo on the right to go to the galley.Isabel18/DSCF0278.jpg

A Walking She Will Go!

It would seem that Isabel is now a fully fledged walker – and very proud of herself she is too if her doing circuits round the front room last night is anything to go by!

Having started out by taking a few steps, falling on her bum and then continuing on her way in crawling mode, she will now tend to walk everywhere – and if she falls over (which she still does pretty regularly!), she just gets back up and carries on her merry way!! (This is often helped if there is a furry creature for her to pursue!)

She also has a strange fascination with cat food – I’m not sure that it’s quite what the Plunkett Nurse meant by “solid” food, but if it keeps her happy (and it does, much to Mummy’s dismay!) then who are we to argue with her!

She now has hard soled shoes as well but isn’t so keen on these yet – I guess they must feel pretty odd when you’re used to being bare foot or just in your socks, but I think she’ll soon learn to love them when she discovers it’s the only way she’ll be allowed to walk around outside once we get back!

Oh dear

Hurricanes' logo

A disappointing performance against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein this weekend has seen the Hurricanes lose their first game of the season, and drop to second place in the table. In my completely unbiased and objective (yeah right!) opinion the Hurricanes shouldn’t have lost the game. The Cheetahs had a player sin-binned in the first few minutes for a high tackle, but then somehow managed to avoid having another player sin-binned for an even worse tackle a few minutes later. Then, with 10 minutes to go, Ma’a Nonu was sin-binned for a very inocuous tackle, meaning the Hurricanes had to defend with only 14 players. This gave the Cheetahs a chance to use their (illegal) “truck and trailer” forward drive to perfection to score the winning points.

Still, the Hurricanes managed to get a bonus point for losing by fewer than seven points, and are still in second place on the table. Unfortunately for us, the Crusaders won, beating the Blues (now there was a tough game to know who to cheer for!) moving into first place.

2006 Super 14 standings - week 4

We’re coming home!

As many of you will already be aware, we have decided to return to the UK when our New Zealand visas expire later this month. We have had a great time here, and thought long and hard about what we were going to do, but in the end decided that we want Isabel to grow up knowing and seeing her family regularly, not just every couple of years, and that means returning to the UK.

We know there are lots of obvious questions – where will we live? what will we do for work? when will we be flying back? what will we do with all our stuff here in New Zealand? how will Isabel support her team in the 2011 Rugby World Cup in NZ? We have answers to some of these and are busy working through the answers to the others. We will keep you all posted.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here, and will miss lots of things and lots of people. We will try to post some of our highlights, lowlights and other musings when (if) we get a chance over the next couple of weeks.