We’re Moving to New Zealand!

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Milford Sound
Now that all of our notifications to our employers have been officially made, we can finally start to talk about our next adventure on here. Yes – there is a good reason why we suddenly started updating this website after a few years of down time. Earlier this year we began looking (seriously looking that is, after a long time of hypothesising!) into moving to one of our favourite places from our travels.

Our flights are booked, visas are approved and we are in the midst of a hundred boxes as we pack our lives up yet again.

Next month we will fly to Kathmandu (a close second on our list of favourite places) where we will meet with friends and family for a few weeks. Then we are heading to the mountains to go back and do the complete Annapurna Circuit.Picton

Finally, at the end of October we will be heading to New Zealand. Taking advantage of the end of our twenties, we are going out on Working Holiday Visas, which will allow us to live and work in NZ for the next 12-23 months while we test out life over there. Although the WHV process was a breeze, I’ve been jumping through many hoops to register as a teacher, something which I’ll go into more detail later for anyone in a similar position.

Hopefully it will all pay off, and we will love it there as much as we did when we were just flying through in 2010.

Belgium, Battlefields Trip

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One of the perks of being a teacher is the school trips. Well, it’s a perk for me anyway; I know plenty of teachers that would struggle to think of something they’d like to do less. For me though, any excuse to travel is fantastic, even if it is just up the motorway, or a quick hop across the Channel.
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As it is the 100th year since the start of World War One, my school had planned a remembrance trip to the Belgian town of Ypres. We took just over fifty students for three days to explore the towns, cemeteries and trenches of the region.

For many of my students it was the first time they had left our county, let alone country; one adorably intrepid traveller even had to check with us which currency to use at the Stansted services.

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It was such a valuable trip for all of us though, and was a great reminder for me of why travel is such an important part of my life. It enables us to see into others people’s lives, both those living now or a hundred years ago, and learn from them. I am not a historian and knew very little of WW1 apart from the poetry, so it was fascinating to learn about the lives and deaths of the men who fought in the region, and about the Belgian people who returned to rebuild their lives afterwards.

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The exposure to a life, so devastatingly different to their own, had a profound effect on many of our students, and I was so proud to see them acting so thoughtfully. Getting a teenager to explore their empathy is no easy task.

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Camping in the Lake District

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Last May Rob and I went camping for my birthday weekend at the Skyeside campsite near Brothers Water in the Lake District. It is one of my favourite parts of the country – hills and lakes, walking and whisky. I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday. We were joined by two of our good friends, Matt and Katie, who Rob went to school with.  It was such a brilliant weekend, we decided to go again this year.Brothers Water refletion

The campsite is basic but has a shop and a really good pub, ideal as rainy days are inevitable in the late spring.

We are planning to do some more hiking this year(more on that in a few weeks), so thought that the six hour trek up to Hart and Dove Crag would be a great way to warm up for the summer, and give me a chance to use my new walking poles (thanks Nim!).
Near Hart and Dove Crag Top of the crag

The route was steep, gaining elevation quickly until we were walking right along the ridge opposite the campsite, looking down onto Brothers Water and the tiny dots of tents. The ancient looking wall drew a clear path along the top for us until we reached the bases of Hart and Dove Crags where we stopped for a very windswept picnic.
Brothers Water from above

The trip also gave me a chance to try out my new camera, the lomography Konstruktor which I built myself. It was a birthday present from Rob and I love shooting on film again after a break of years. It was so much fun that we’ve just purchased a pair of old Pentax SLRs so that we can get out and have even more film fun. (Konstruktor photos below)
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Girls go to Whitby

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Girls Holiday, Whitby

The girls and I are making the most of another wedding year and every excuse to spend quality time together; catching up, planning, grounding. This time it was my turn to host the party in Yorkshire and I planned a magical mystery tour of the North Yorkshire coast for us to explore.

Whitby is the town that so many of my kids and colleagues visit every holiday and weekend that the sun is shining. I had heard a lot about it but not been since I was a teeny child, promised fish and chips by my Gangan and then getting upset when it was served with mushy peas. I was apparently very easily upset by food as a child. This is not the only story of me loosing my cool 2014-04-15 11.35.39 1over food disappointment.

Eager to avoid such culinary drama I looked ahead and found a hidden woodland lunch spot, Falling Foss Tea Garden.

No tears there, just a beautifully restored cottage serving yummy things in a fantastic location, surrounded by forest and waterfalls.

Our stop for the night was the YHA within the Whitby Abbey grounds, much to the surprise of the girls as we drove through the Abbey courtyard. It was the perfect location for visiting the Abbey, and for walking the 199 steps down into the cobbled town.

Girls Holiday, Whitby

We made the most of the fantastic weather and headed out on a replica of James Cooks’ Endeavour, heading out of the harbour into the choppier waters for some fantastic views back of the town and its Jurassic Fossil Coast. The sailing was a highlight for me, something I’ve not done for a long time, but not so fun for Liz. We headed to the pub afterwards to rest our sea legs before watching the sun set with a take-away Fish and Chips on the steps.

Looking Back on 2013: Devon

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We ended the summer holidays with a trip to the west country. Two birds with one stone; a chance to see our friends Laura and Dave, and a surprise appearance at my Nana’s 80th birthday celebrations.
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Rob and I got the train down a few days before my family were due to arrive, and explored Laura’s corner of the world. Beautiful beaches and warm sunny days. I can see why she likes it there and Rob and I have added Devon to our list of places we might one day like to call home.

There is definitely a different pace of life down there.

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My parents and Nana drove down and stopped off for a drink at a National Trust just around the corner from Laura’s house, where we turned up to surprise her (gently). We then headed off together to the big house by the sea that my family had rented for the week (we were just there for the first couple of days – my Nan had several surprise guests over the course of the week, including my uncle and aunt from USA!). It was such a beautiful spot that we really did not want to leave but work was calling us back up north. Not before some serious relaxation on the beach though, enjoying the very last of the summer sun.

Devon 2013