It feels like it's been a long Winter, but I guess by UK standards it hasn't been all that bad. It was a lot less cold than last year and we've had plenty of sunny, fine days all the way through. The last month has been really rainy though and it's been dead stormy the last couple of weeks. It sounds like the roof's going to blow off and our lawn is covered in grapefruit that have blown off the tree. We can't even give them away fast enough to keep up. I know I should be making them into marmalade or something but I'm not quite that domesticated yet!!
Twpsyn is of course still the centre of our world's :0) He's seven and a half months old and a whopping 26kgs (nearly 4.5 stone) already. His feet are still too big for him so I guess he's still got some growing to do. He's entering adolescence and so has the odd moment of rebellion but is generally pretty good. One all of our favourite things is to go on "pack walks" with all our friends with their dogs. Ned is his favourite doggy-friend. He's the size of a pony and Twp follows him around adoringly. You can just tell he's thinking "I want to be like you when I grow up" :0) He's about to start "advanced" obedience classes but he's definitely still a "work in progress" and would rather run around with other dogs than do what we tell him to!!
We had our first dog holiday, which was fab. We stayed in a little wooden cabin on a huge farm in Colville, North East Coromandel, and did loads of bush walking and exploring. We all loved it and have lots of dog-friendly camping adventures planned for when the sun comes out. We had a dog-less trip away too (Erin dog-sat for us) in Auckland, where we stayed in a flash hotel because we had vouchers to use up (we obviously wouldn't pay to say in a four star hotel!!). We made the most of being in the city and had lots of meals out and drinks in swanky bars and stuff. It was lovely but we both agreed that we enjoyed hanging out with the pup in a log cabin in the sticks more than hanging out with the swanky folk in suits in the big smoke. Mind you we made the most of the all-you-can-eat breakfast. In fact I had to have a lie down afterwards!!
We've finally (after being here a year and a half) found some friends who like to party. We even went to a fancy dress 80s party recently. I can't believe how much I loved wearing purple leg warmers and pink ear muffs!! Ben looked like a member of GLC in his shiny shell suit :0) Erin even found a rara skirt. One of the many highlights of the evening was when she opened a bottle of champagne and then stuck her thumb in the top to try and stop it spilling. Of course, instead what she succeeded in doing was squirting it all over herself. Classy :0) The trouble is I've acclimatised so well to the kiwi-style early nights that the big nights out kill me now!
Another fun thing we did was go to see a Wales v All Blacks rugby game. I borrowed a Welsh rugby shirt and went clutching an inflatable daffodil! Surprisingly, the Kiwi rugby fans were all really quiet and seemed genuinely horrified by all the shouting and singing of the Welsh. I didn't let it deter me though! Other than that we've been making the most of our new abode and having lots of dinner parties. Now when I say dinner parties, what I actually mean is having people over two at a time because you can only fit four around our tiny dining room table!!
Our other big news is... We have a cat now too :0) Dotti belongs to Bob and Jane who own the house we're in, so she was an added bonus! She's not your regular cat though. She spends about 20 hours a day in bed (our bed) and for most of the time is actually under the covers! She's a bit lardy, I presume bacause she doesn't move much! She hates the dog and avoids him like the plague. I'm sure he only wants to be friends, but admittedly his friendship might involve putting her in his mouth! Fortunately the cat spends her time upstairs and the dog downstairs, so she just has to run the gauntlet past him a couple of times a day!!
So what else should I tell you about? I feel like it's been a quiet few months but then it has been Winter time and everyone 'round these parts goes into semi-hibernation! Work's fine, I won't bore you with the details. And we're still hopeful for Ben's postcard empire :0) He's keeping busy with photography and computing work and has moved his office home, so I'm jealous as he gets to stay home with the dog much more than I do!
We've got a holiday planned for a couple of months, have Ben's sister and her family coming for Christmas, then my folks are back again in January. But they all sound like future blog posts so I think I'll say goodbye for now. We miss you all but are still loving life in New Zealand :0)
Photos can be found here, here and here!