Sunday, 30 September 2012

Week 20 - National Shake out - duck, hold & cover - and visitors from Auckland!



Hello Everybody!
It's been another quite busy week and weekend, with sunshine, visitors from Auckland and a national earthquake drill! So let's get right to it....

On 26/09 at 09:26 (we what they did there? - clever eh!?) - there was a planned 'National Shakeout'! For days leading up to the event, there were news articles, motorway signs and emails throughout the work place telling you that at 09:26, everyone in the country was supposed to 'duck, hold and cover' ideally getting under a desk, or if not near a desk or table, crouch and cover your head... On the news in the morning they were broadcasting from schools where the kids would happily demonstrate everything.... I was not at my base, (where our health & safety rep was blowing a duck whistle as a signal to everyone to get under their desk), but I was at a nearby base waiting in the reception area. So at 09:26 the receptionists hit the floor, and so did I! (I felt a bit of a fool), but guess it's good to think about what yo would do if an earthquake actually happened. I wonder how many people in the country actually did do it? It's certainly the first time I have been involved in an earthquake drill as part of my job! 
A local 'diver' on the wharf!
After a very busy week at work, I was more than happy to welcome Tony & Monica (a friend and former colleague from my time working back in Manchester, UK), who I visited in Auckland a few weeks ago. I was grateful for the chance to return the hospitality they showed me. We met up on Saturday (another beautiful day here), and headed to the popular Oriental parade for a paddle in the sea, though not before a full cooked Bristol at hotel Bristol in a sun drenched Cuba Street! 

Tony on the beach 
Me & Monica paddling in a freezing cold sea!
 ...before heading up to Mount Victoria for a full view of Wellington and the surrounding areas. Fair play to Tony & Monica for managing the all the walking that day. A few coffees, and the odd pint along the way definitely helped! So, the night rolled around quite quickly and I was keen to make the most of having some drinking buddies and off we headed into town (after another tasty meal at a Thai restaurant). As with previous visitors, the 'Library' bar gained the nicest comments, as it offers a very relaxed atmosphere... see below...
In the Library...
Cheesecake!!!
Yes that is cheesecake in my hand and I'm in a very retro 1970's looking set up! If you come here to visit me, I challenge you not to like this place! Having enjoyed some fun and random chats with locals in a few bars and had a good and proper catch up, Tony & Monica went to bed and I hit the 'Four Kings' Pub to watch the Arsenal vs  Chelsea game... which is becoming a Saturday night habit. The pub decided it would not sty open for the 02:00 games (including the Liverpool game - again). So I headed back to my flat and watched the game on the computer - Well worth the wait! 

Sunday started with a bit of wind.... no not from the previous night's beer, I mean the infamous Wellington wind! It arrived to clear the cobwebs off us all, and after another heart breakfast (just $8 - though paying less does not always mean value for money), we met up with Faye - a former colleague of Tony and a new colleague of mine. Amongst our afternoon adventures was a little trip to a place called the WETA CAVE - a small house/building showcasing WETA film production memorabilia! My favourite bit was the Gollum statue! See pictures below! 

My Precious
Look who's behind me... I mean Gandalf.....
Faye with an orc... and yes she checked out what was underneath!
Ye shall pass!
'Middle Earth'
Weapons from the upcoming 'Hobbit' movie...

Quite the afternoon adventure!

I should mention one other little thin I did this week - I wanted to do some volunteering, so I went to see one of the 'Wellington Special Olympics' groups, the basketball one at the brilliant ASB sports arena. This is a brilliant organisation for kids and adults with intellectual disabilities, and I can't wait to get more involved in helping out the coaches and learning from the athletes themselves. There will be more to come about this soon!

Hope everyone in England & Spain are safe from the floods and things settle down around the world. I feel a little detached from world events here, (as you often only get passing headlines in the news bulletins)..
Regards from New Zealand!
Dan

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