Fun with .. Cardboard

We had our fair share of rain at Hahei last week, so one day I ripped open a cardboard box, attacked it with scissors and cellotape and made Paige this fort to play with.

Well boys would call it a “Fort”, she called it a “Fairy Princess Castle”. It was a TOTAL HIT. Pretty much the whole day was spent dabbling about with it using chess pieces as Princes and Princesses. Great fun, and FREE !!

It was the little details that seemed to make the difference. e.g. the gate made P’s game-play much more involved and introduced rules Kym and I had to to follow on no uncertain terms, oh and I built some wall-walks around the top of each wall thinking this would be defensive places for guards and archers but no … turns out these were to be seats for watching the dancing performances that ensued in the courtyard !!! kids are funny

Pre Baby Preambulation

Seeing as Kym and I are only a handfull of hours away from a life-changing exercise, ie Kym having our first child, it seemed like a good idea to post something from our relatively calm and peaceful environment, and later contrast that with a tired and weary first time parents view a few days later.

Of course, Kym may have other ideas about just how much time I will have available to spend at the laptop writing blog posts, but I’m picking she’ll be tired enough at the odd time when I’ll be able to sneak down to the lounge. My flight-simming days though are seriously numbered. In fact I’d say their number is approximately one-half of a day (I’ve got a desperate last minute flight underway right now from Tokyo Narita to Auckland which should touch down with a couple of hours to spare :-)

Kym is being induced at 7pm tonite, which is a bummer in one respect coz we were both hoping things would pan out naturally, but in another way its actually kinda good that there is a plan now, we have an idea of what the procedure will be, its almost like Kym has a little more control. Of course that’s not quite the way she looks at it. Like most mothers she worries about the extra added complications of what is basically an intervention into something that should be happening on its own accord.

Anyway back to the previously child-less and blissfully ignorant view of what’s in store for the two of us, if you are a parent you’ll be laughing now just like every other couple we know has done as we near the big day.. “You just dont know what your in for” … followed by an evil cackle pretty much sums up the common reaction, and no doubt that’s true. My strategy has pretty much been to ignore the feedback and more or less pretend its not happening. Whats the point in worrying about things that are unavoidable until they actually hit you, especially if you’ve done pretty much all you can do to prepare. Ok so “prepare” is probably a stretch, we did go to ante-natal classes though (or anti-natal as I called it)

So here we are. Bags packed, snacks and comfort foods ready, a good stiff brandy learing at me from the shelf in the kitchen, us waiting patiently and keeping nerves at bay as 7pm approaches. I promise I wont be posting any gorey pics here later, but I will try and post something as a post-birth-father-traumatic-stress syndrome sufferer.

Wish me luck !!!

Me, and Willy, and a few Ducks

wilfred.jpg Just now I was wandering back across campus to my office after another thrilling meeting and had one of those flashback moments. It’s a beautiful clear blue winters day in Hamilton today. It wasn’t quite a frost early on but its cold and still even now at midday. The suns shining and warming just enough so you can only really feel the chill on your face and neck as you physically walk through it at pace.

What sprang to mind, especially being the first week of May, was memories of goin duck-shooting with my granddad Wilfred Stringer (or Willy as everyone knew him). When I was about ten years old I started shooting with him every season. A couple of years earlier I’d begun shooting with my Father and his brother on one of the swamps near Ohaupo but I think I turned out to be too much of a liability for them. It was a bloody dangerous access-way wading out across mud flats in the pitch black to get to their maimai, plus I’m a hopeless shot and having three guns in one posse just ain’t right.

So it was that after a year or so I was dispatched for subsequent seasons down the road a little to the convivial lake front spot that Willy shot from.

We could park the car and walk down a nice solid farm race to a paddock near the lake, duck under the electric fence and creep silently across the dry grass to the waters edge, and calmly and safely slip up the gangway and into the posse. There was no risk of falling into the water or being drowned in the mud by slipping off the make-shift death-trap manuka gang-plank down at the swamp that Dad shot at.

The thing I loved about shooting with Willy didn’t have anything to do with actually shooting ducks. It really didn’t matter too much to him or I exactly how many ducks we bagged during the day. Some days we’d shoot a few each, on others maybe none. The beauty of it was just sitting in the maimai, just me and my pop, him quietly telling me endless hard-case stories about shooting days gone by, things that happened on the farm, horses he was gonna bet on, birds and wildlife and plants we could see from the posse and me sitting there greedily taking it all in.

Some days the weather would be like it was today. Clear blue skies and a warm sun striking the cold early morning lake, steam lifting lazily off the surface of the water. Pukekos screeching at one another around the lakes edge, and the occasional plane in the distance taking off from Rukuhia airport.

On those days there wasn’t a hope in hell of shooting a Duck, but we simply didn’t care. The two of us would sit there in our warm dry socks and gumboots, sip away at the thermos of hot tea, eat the roast-beef and pickle sandwiches Nan had prepared the night before, and ponder the fortunes tomorrow’s shooting might bring.

Ahh..the simple life. Good memories