Scooter design

Megan impressed me this afternoon on the way back from swimming lessons this afternoon, with an accurate description of a scooter and how it works, and how it stops!

Normally she likes to pretend she knows nothing of such matters, and stays very much in the shadow of her elder brother, but today she forgot she was supposed to plead ignorance and volunteered a very good explanation!

Taking off from Glasgow Airport

This is me pulling my suitcase at Glasgow Airport.

This is me and the air hostess. There were two air hostesses, a man and a woman. Here I am with one of them – the other one is taking the photo! I spent a lot of time talking to them during the long flight.

This is a photo looking outside the plane, near the “B” door.

This is me at Singapore. I was on the climbing frame at the airport.

This is the important thing that you need to look at when you’re on the plane. It’s the rules to follow if you have an accident.

Here is the flight map on the TV screen, and the stars in the ceiling.

This is our plane – we’ve now landed in Auckland airport!

We came from Scotland to New Zealand and were tired and we are asleep!

(Aidan dictated the text of this post.)

Aidan’s Big Adventure!

Hi from New Zealand!

– Aidan wearing his school uniform on the first day of term –

I’m now living in Manapau Street, which is in the suburb of Meadowbank, in Auckland. Auckland is the biggest city, but not the capital of New Zealand. Meadowbank is quite close to the centre of Auckland, but when you see my walk to school, it doesn’t look like Glasgow or Edinburgh at all! It’s all so green!

– The walk to school –

I started going to Meadowbank Primary School. It’s quite a big school, and most of the buildings only have one storey. I go to the Junior side of the school, which is where years 0, 1, 2 and 3 are. Year 0 is like Nursery school, for when you turn five. You start school on your fifth birthday in New Zealand. Then you start Year 1 (Primary 1) in the January following that. I’m in Year 1, in Room 20.

– Aidan’s classroom –

To get to the Junior side of the school I have to walk through the senior side of the school, then down one side of a gully and up the other side. The gully has a special trail made in it, and we sometimes go down there with our teacher to go on bug hunts! There are lots of bugs here (especially cicadas 🙂 and mosquitos 🙁 ).

– A cicada skin –

My new teacher is Miss Coster (but once or twice a week I have Miss Bracewell instead), and there are 24 children in my class – 12 boys and 12 girls. I wear green shorts, either a green and white striped poloshirt or a red one, sandals, and a bucket hat when I go to school. And of course, sunblock! It’s summer here, and if we want to play outside we have to wear our hats.

Everyone takes a packed lunch to school, and we eat it outside sitting in the shade. Then we’re allowed to go and play – we have a great climbing frame just outside our class room! Every second Friday some of the parents from the PTA get together and do a Sausage Sizzle for lunch – I had this on Friday – it was yummy.

– The playground –

I’m learning lots of the same kind of things I learned in Scotland – how to read and write, and we go to the school library once a week, and have news time, music, and P.E., and assembly.

I really like my new school, but I miss my friends back in Scotland too.

Aidan x


[post written 15 April – it’s surprisingly hard to find broadband connections in NZ!]

or, more to the point, Megan-out-of-the-cot… yes, Megan has learned how to climb out of her travel cot. She acquired this technique at 0445 yesterday morning, when I was greeted by her walking towards me as I went in to her room.

This morning, in an echo of her Uncle Jonathan (Grandma used to waken in the night to find him standing beside her bed), Megan appeared beside our bed…

Auckland has a yearly inorganic collection where, in the two weeks prior to the collection, everyone puts whatever they are getting rid of out on the street and it is then available for anyone else who wants it, before what is left is taken away. It is the turn of Uncle Martin and Aunty Heather’s area at the moment and, on hearing a description of our new jack-in-the-box, Uncle Martin offered to go and get us some chicken wire that a neighbour was throwing out. It’s tempting, very very tempting…

However, before going to such radical lengths, we are currently employing the well-known, tried-and-tested Pick-Up and Plonk technique. This involves picking up said small girl, and plonking her back in her cot with a firm “No”, and “You’re not allowed up until 7am”. Seventeen turns later and the chicken wire is definitely becoming a more appealing option…

In other news, we’ve had a busy few days. The weather hasn’t been too great, so we’ve been looking for indoor activities. On Thursday, we took the children to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which has several interactive sections specifically designed for children – from natural history-type things, to treehouses, to musical instruments. Megan loved playing the huge glockenspiel, and Aidan assembled a cow and played with “fossils”.

On Friday, we went to MOTAT which is a semi-indoors science and engineering museum, built around the old Pumphouse which housed the old water wheel which used to provide water for Auckland many years ago. It also has a super interactive area, which entertained both children (and us as well!). There was a shadow wall which Megan loved, and a build-your-own arch bridge which Aidan had lots of fun with.

Yesterday we finally made it to Muriwai. Muriwai is the northernmost of the West Coast beaches located in the Waitakere Ranges just north of Auckland. It was a very windy day, and Aidan was fascinated by the quantities of foam blowing in from the sea across the beach – the jury’s still out on the origin of the foam, but Aidan had lots of fun playing in it! Muriwai is also home to a large gannet colony – we climbed up the cliff (on a board walk) and were able to view it from above.

Later today we’re setting off on our tour of the North Island. First stop is Wanganui…

PS there hasn’t been a moment to get any photos up, but we should have some time in Wanganui, and we’ll get them up soon after.

[Sadly we didn’t have time or an Internet connection… but do stay tuned!]