Sunday, July 13, 2008

Schoolies week

This last Friday's theme was back to school (it was only a matter of time.)

Everyone was dressed up in school uniform except for Principal Wilkinson. Then for a bit of extra fun, we headed out at lunchtime for Sports Day! :) Luckily we managed to find the only 60 mins on Friday during which the sun came out and it wasn't pouring with torrential rain. There were egg & spoon races to be had, and a car came down from one of Oxford's local radio stations, Jack FM (incidentally, one of the morning crew is an Aussie Sheila!) to monitor events and give out prizes. The prizes were pretty cool, some Wallace & Grommit paraphernalia, although I question whether they were just some items they've had lying around the station for ages that they wanted to get rid of. One of the prizes were some Wallace & Grommit episodes... on video cassette!

Hopping relay
Alas, we came last, but I managed to hold my own in the hopping stakes!

3-legged race
I was partnered with Angela, at least we didn't come last!

2008 Class photo
I was always made to sit in the front row... things haven't changed I see.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Kungfu Panda - A review

Kungfu Panda: 4.25/5

Cast: Voices of - Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, etc

In a nutshell: LMAO

Brief synopsis: An enthusiastic clumsy and somewhat overweight panda must learn kung fu so that he can save his village

It has been a while since I have come out of the cinema feeling satisfied, so Kungfu Panda certainly hit the spot. It only marginally loses points for a few minor considerations. The animation as not quite as sharp and the premise not quite as original as some of those other CGI movies out there. It didn't evoke as much emotion as I would have liked, perhaps because the characters, in particular the evil dude, are a little stereotypical and not meaty enough. But these are minor quibbles. The charm and the non-stop laughs make up for anything that might be missing. Jack Black is fabulous as the Panda, reminiscent of the fun that Robin Williams brought to the Genie in Aladdin.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Work Shenanigans

When I first started working at RM every Friday was a bit of a treat - casual day. But for the last couple of months, since the 'hot' weather started and our busy period (June GCSE's), we have been wearing casuals every day. I think it's great. I like waking up in the morning and throwing on a pair of jeans. It has also meant a great reduction in the amount of ironing I've had to do. Bonus!

So, as a bit of fun for the busy period, Fridays are now dressup day : )

Week 3: Flowers & Flares
Peace man...

Week 2: Heroes & Villains
Hmmmm....I have to confess, that's not really us.

This is us...
yes really it is :)

Week 1: Ahoy me maties!
Believe it or not, this was a work related theme.
And of course the pinata is the most piratey animal of them all!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Postcard from Northern Ireland

Way back in February it was Gideon's Birthday. One of his presents was an Adventure Smartbox, a voucher to be redeemed on one of many Adventure type activities around the UK. Eg. horse riding, rolling down a hill in a big ball (called Zorbing in NZ), 4x4 driving, wind surfing, etc. Gideon chose to go with an introductory scuba dive lesson in Northern Ireland. The perfect excuse for a weekend away!

I must admit that I was not expecting much of Northern Ireland. Perhaps it was the perfect weather, the scenery, the peacefulness, the company or the lack of mishap that normally accompanies us on our travels (ref. Darwin to Broome, Iceland). Whichever it was, it may well be my favourite weekend of the last year.
On Friday night after work we caught a Ryanair flight (so budget that there is no magazine pocket on the back of the seat in front of you, and the safety card is actually a sticker on the headrest in front of you) to Derry to spend the weekend exploring the Causeway coastal area. We stayed in Portstewart at the Anchorage Inn, a hotel/pub/restaurant/nightclub in the middle of town. For a hotel above a pub and a nightclub, it was relatively luxurious! Recently renovated, you could still smell the paint, our room felt like an executive suite... very nice. The thoughtful staff even provided earplugs on the nightstands for those who might be kept awake by the bass being pumped from the nightclub. For those clientele who prefer to be in the midst of the pumping bass, free entry to the club! Needless to say, Gideon and I were there on Saturday night dancing the night away. :) Sun+scuba+views+food+dancing = the perfect weekend.

Here are some photos from the beautiful northern coast of Northern Ireland (apologies to those who have already had a squiz at these photos on facebook):

Near Portstewart Strand, not a bad piece of property.

Saturday morning: the scuba dive
Ummm...the zip goes at the back.

Yep, better start again.

Push, that's it... push,....


Gideon getting kitted up.

The Dominican convent & college in Portstewart

Breathing practice

...and they're off!

The incredible Giant's Causeway.

...from a bit further away...

...a bit closer in now...

...I can't stop taking photos... it's amazing!

Gideon thinks so too!

Along the stunning Causeway coastline

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Spans a 20m wide, 23m deep chasm

Don't look down!...oh no, too late!...Doh!

"Piece of cake" says Gideon

Dunluce Castle
well, the remains of.

A Northern Ireland soldier uniform from the 'olden days'

Musket & Archery demonstration at the castle

Reminds me of London Bridge

Could you imagine having to scale the rock to attack the castle?

Outside the Mermaids cave beneath Dunluce Castle

We're off to see the Mussenden Temple & Downhill Demesne

But first, as stop to smell the flowers :)

Mussenden Temple
Originally built by the Bishop of Derry in 1785 as a library, based on the Temple of Vesta in Italy

Mussenden Temple (and a stray arm)
...hmmm... perhaps I should have photoshopped it out.

Oh beautiful day!

Amongst the ruins at the Downhill Estate mansion, where the Bishop of Derry once lived.

Hard to believe people lived in this place less than 60 years ago. After the World Wars, the people who inherited the building could not afford to upkeep it and instead, stripped the building of what they could to sell for money.

From the front, you get an impression of the grandeur that the mansion once had

Relaxing at a lovely stream in Roe Valley Park on our way back to Derry airport.

*Sigh* what a splendid weekend!