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Monday, 29 April 2013

Lord of the Rings

With no functioning camera at the moment I dug up 2 posts I did on my other blog. As many of my current readers have only recently become followers I thought I should show some wonderful Kiwiana. Here is a revised look back at those posts.


Two summer holidays ago I had the good fortune of touring Hobbiton, the starting point to the Fellowship of the Ring.

I myself, I have to admit, am not the biggest Lord of the Rings fan but our children have seen the movie numerous times. Kate has tried to educate me in the intricacies of the plot. We were all blown away by the splendid and magical setting.





Our guide was amazing! He was knowledgeable and extremely funny. He told us some incredible stories of how fanatical some tourists who come to Hobbiton are.

One man had bought an $800 Hobbiton gold ring and chartered a plane over Mt Doom and threw in the ring to destroy it as was talked about in the movie.

Another couple of tourists had learnt elvish and one of the couple would interpret what the guide said and translate it in to elvish for his friend.

There were many stories and wonderful information we were told about the owners of the property, upkeep of the grounds, filming details and the significance of parts of the set. A must visit for any Lord of the Rings fans.













 
This post brings back fond memories. Must take Lea, Bianca and Caitlyn for a look. Like me I'm sure they will find it an incredible experience.

Are you a Lord of the Rings fan? I wasn't but I will now watch the movie with a lot more interest!



Saturday, 27 April 2013

Liebster Award

Thank you to Marleen Swart from Live Life with Us who awarded me with a Liebster Award.  I really enjoy Marleen's blog as she is such an inspiration with her fitness and healthy living.  She has come a very long way and has made incredible progress - an inspiration to many!

Here is how it works:

The rules:
  1. Thank the person who awarded you the award and link back to their blog.
  2. Post 11 facts about yourself, answer the 11 questions you were asked and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  3. Nominate 11 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.
  4. Display the Liebster Award logo
  5. No tag backs
11 Facts about me:
  1. My favourite TV show from when I was a kid was 'All in the family' - I'm so excited it is coming to Sky in the next month!
  2. I am a fitness fanatic.  Here is a little video clip to share with you - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJyerlMQQng
  3. I enjoy travel and have been fortunate to visit most of Europe and have a special attachment to London where I worked for 2 and a half years and made some good friends.
  4. Spent a year in America where I found the people extremely friendly.  They wanted me to keep talking because of my accent.
  5. My favourite car is a Jaguar XJS.  I owned one when I was younger, but sadly had to sell it.
  6. I love chocolate (more than I should...) and found it difficult to control my obsession when working for Cadburys.  My friends affectionately named me the Moro Man as I got special deals for them... by the box-full.
  7. I am extremely shy amongst strangers, but put me in a room with people I know well, I can talk up a storm! :-)
  8. I never say uhm or ah when I have a conversation.
  9. I can't stand it when people lick their finger before passing a page / document to me.
  10. I prefer the company of a few close friends.
  11. I struggle to sleep a whole night through and often seem to wake up around 3am with my mind working overtime.  I've tried various remedies but yet to find one that consistently works.
11 Questions asked:
  1. If things had gone differently, where would you be?  Stuck in a rut with no future.
  2. Do you recall one defining moment in your childhood and what was it? Finishing 9th in the school cross country at the age of 10 and not being satisfied.
  3. What did you want to be when you grew up and what are you now? I wanted to be a Catholic Priest and ended up a teacher.
  4. What was the one promise you made to yourself that you still strive to achieve? To be happy and live for the moment.
  5. Are you happy? Working on it and getting there.
  6. Whats on top of your bucket list this year? Gettg a medal at the road relays later in the year and finally competing in the Taupo Cycle Challenge.
  7. Who is your bestest family member? My brother Vincent.
  8. What sport are you into? Running and cycling. 
  9. What time do you go to bed?  Usually aim for 10pm, but often much later than that.
  10. What is the last thing you do before going to bed? Switch the lights off and lock the door.
  11. When last did you take a leap of faith in something or someone?  A few days ago at the auction for our new house.
Here are my questions to the people I will be tagging:
  1. What is the last dream you remember?
  2. What is your favourite relaxation activity?
  3. What style of music do you prefer?
  4. If you and I spent the day together what would we be doing?
  5. Do you prefer hot or cold drinks?
  6. What is your favourite indulgence?
  7. If you could achieve one thing this year, what would it be?
  8. Are you patient or impatient?
  9. If you could spend 24 hours with someone famous who would it be and why?
  10. When are you at your happiest?
  11. Lastly, looking at yourself in the mirror which part of you are you most proud of and why?
I now tag:

Mrs Micawber (http://mrsmicawber.blogspot.co.nz/)
Fundy Blue (http://selkiegrey4.blogspot.co.nz/)
Librarian {http://librarianwithsecrets.blogspot.co.nz/}
Valerie [http://allsortsforallsorts.blogspot.co.nz/]
Jane and Chris (http://swiftsuresongbird.blogspot.co.nz/)
Maria (http://thenextstage-maria.blogspot.co.nz/)
Flowerlady Lorraine (http://thecontinuingjourney.blogspot.co.nz/)
A Normandy Kitchen (http://www.anormandykitchen.com/)
Kay G (http://georgiagirlwithanenglishheart.blogspot.co.nz/)
Ellie (http://elliesplaceintheworld.blogspot.co.nz/)
Kay http://travelerswife.blogspot.co.nz/

There are so many good blogs I follow and it was hard choosing just 11. Please excuse the messed up font - Blogger is acting up a bit tonight!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Highest Bidder

That's us! We're now proud owners of a 4 bedroom brick house 2005 model! Well that is not entirely true! The bank also has a large share in the property but in 15 - 20 years it will be all ours!

Lea, Bianca, Caitlyn, Kate, Alice and myself are very happy owners as of now with a move in date of July 22.

I'll give you a quick run-down of proceedings.

Last Sunday on a wet miserable day we drove the streets looking for a house after some internet investigations. We had looked at quite a few houses over the previous 2 weekends but had not found anything that ticked all the boxes. I had ignored any properties on Auction as I was unfamiliar with the process and did not like the uncertainty of not knowing the value of the property. Well we passed a house I had looked up that was on auction and thought it was worth a look based on the photos that were used in the agent's promotion. It was love at first sight!

After a careful deliberated tour we quizzed the agent who said the vendor wanted between 480,000 and 530,000 and the auction was on Wednesday. I quickly got a builder's inspection that gave the house a clean bill of health and I impatiently waited for Wednesday to arrive.

Knowing that the owner was in need of the sale and the agent's confidence that there was no-one else she knew who could put in an unconditional offer I hopefully approached the auction room.

After a brief chat with the auctioneer on etiquette prior to the auction I put in a bold but cheeky bid at 450,000. This was never going to win it as the house was valued at 530,000. The Auctioneer and I bid in lots of 10,000 to get a bit closer to the vendor's reserve. After the Auctioneer bid for the vendor at 500,000 I upped him 1,000. Time for negotiation!

Quite quickly the Auctioneer said ''For 530,000 the house is yours!'' I was taken by surprise, took a deep breath and thankfully had the composure to stick to my guns and didn't make the jump from 501,000.

To cut to the chase over the next 2 days after a lot of to and fro-ing we came to an agreement with a figure of 519,000.

According to the agent we got a really good deal on the property and we can't wait until moving day.

Would like to share some photos with you now of our new home!


Back view from the kitchen


Plenty of playing area for kids of all ages









Bathroom with spa bath



Looking out front door

Master Bedroom
Rural view from Master Bedroom

En-suite Bathroom

Bianca's Bedroom as her favourite colour is blue

Caitlyn's Bedroom...room to spread out




Unfortunately no photo of Kate and Alice's room!

Apologies to my loyal followers who have been starved of comments from me. I plan to rectify the situation tomorrow.

Off to bed now for me! This house buying is exhausting!


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Paragliding

As you know not a lot has been happening with me of late as each day rolls into the next. The only thing that tells me that it's weekend is that Lea does not have her alarm going off at some ungodly hour.

Yesterday was action packed. I hopped around on my crutches and made myself useful. I did some washing but taking it out to the clothes line required a slow methodical process of a few steps and a drag of the basket...got there in the end. After doing a post which accidentally didn't publish until 12 hours later and a few comments I tackled some weeds in the garden which proved equally as challenging. Late afternoon I prepared spaghetti bolognaise for everyone else as I had a boys' night out. Before you jump to conclusions I had Lea's blessing, in fact she almost kicked me out the door, should I be worried? It was an Indian dinner which was really tasty! Since these days are particularly quiet I will recount a recentish exciting experience.

You might not take me as the paragliding type, nor did I but I can now say I've done it, the paragliding that is! It happened like this in December, 2011.


During my many years of visiting Queenstown I had watched with envy and admiration the brave souls paragliding off the top of the gondola in Queenstown, in the bottom central of the South Island of New Zealand.

When we arrived in Queenstown we checked into our backpackers' accomodation that was situated near where the paragliders land. Once again I watched them come down finding excuses not to do it. Money was always my number 1 excuse but it was a disguise for the real reason being too timid. One late afternoon I decided I should have a go.

We checked out at the Tourist Information about cost and availability. The man said Now Was Good. I took a deep breath, put my hand in my pocket and got out the $230 for the jump with photos and video.

From there I had an apprehensive gondola ride to the top of the hill above Queenstown and was weighed at the desk and my weight was put on my hand. I suppose for the pilot that is useful information.


I waited for 45 minutes for the next available pilot. Gavin escorted me to the grassy slope that we would soon be jumping off. He gave me some important take off instructions. The proceedure was walk, power walk and run.



After a few minutes of hooking up and going through safety checks we threw ourselves off the cliff. 
Strap yourselves in for a thrilling ride into Queenstown.


















Without any doubt it is the most amazing thrilling experience I have ever had. The relief of successfully getting off the cliff and the floating effortlessly in the air is something that will stay with me forever. On safely arriving on firm ground I felt a great sense of achievement. It is definitely something I would love to do again.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Old Friends

As you know the last 5 weeks have been extremely quiet here as I recuperate. It has been appreciated to have friends around when you are down in the mouth and if you're like me predisposed to self pity. Unfortunately I haven't been great company lately but I'm certainly well on the mend and feeling better every day. Hopefully I might even be able to walk unassisted within the week.

I've digressed! Tonight I have been invited by a friend to a dinner put on by the Whirlwind group that fosters brotherhood amongst those who suffer from mental illness or maybe recovering from a break up or dealing with hard times. I'm really looking forward to it!

On the theme of friendship I recently met up with an old school friend that I've known since the age of 10. We have been friends ever since.

We had a beer together in the University part of Dunedin where we both grew up. We discussed our school days, in and out of friendships, sporting successes and failures, old girlfriends, what's happened to some of those we grew up with and our recent dentistry. This was all over shooting some pool in which I was luckily victorious and he was gracious in defeat. We talked about favourite teachers and not so favourite.

Here are the lyrics of a song I wrote on Friendship. Unfortunately could not download the video!

School Age Friendship

Respect each others' rights to be
Able to choose as they please
You'll find that course can sometimes be
A source of pleasure and being free

Chorus
School age friendships come and go
For reasons often not well known

Fighting over what to do
Where to play... and with who
Trying to be the one
Needing a chance to have some fun

Chorus

Listening to one another's ideas
Willingness to give and share
Be yourself and show you care
A person to be liked and near

Chorus

Teachers trying to keep the peace
As children hassle...taunt and tease
Sorting out who's right and wrong
Frustrations high...what can be done

Chorus


I believe the strength of the friendship is largely in the length of time and common experiences. It's reassuring that you can have a friendship that survives through quite seperate and different lives.

I wrote a song that expressed my special close friendship with Lea that many of you would know became quite a lot more. A few of you may have heard it before! It's called Empty Vessel. Sorry only have the chorus lyrics.

An Empty Vessel I am for you
I'm all yours what you choose to do
 
Would love to hear any long term friendship stories. Can you beat 43 years? I know some of you would be disadvantaged by age in answering that question. You have youth on your side!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Rolling Hills 2

I'm doing this post while watching footage of the horrific scenes at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. As a keen runner these bomb explosions at such a wonderful running event has particular significance.

Had a wonderful weekend in Napier with Lea, Bianca and Caitlyn. We spent time with Lea's mum, her brother and family.

On returning home Sunday afternoon we looked through some Open Homes. Here is a link to one of the houses we were particularly interested in. Only concern is that the advertised 4 bedrooms is really only 3.

On my previous blog I did a sequel to Rolling Hills about my early life so here it is. Thank you to my followers who commented on my last post.

Continuing the theme of music in the Forster family during our growing up years! When I was 11 and my sister Margaret was 8 my mum made a decision that I am extremely thankful for! She thought it was important that she had a professional recording done of us for posterity sake. Now on listening to these recordings I have a real appreciation of the gift that Margaret and I had. I am really happy to be able to share these sound clips. Would love to have some feedback! I am personally in awe of how Margaret and I could at such a young age put difficult harmonies together in such a true fashion! The last sound clip is the only sound clip I have of my mum. It was done unofficially in the Mayfair Theatre and unfortunately the sound quality is not great!

Click here to listen to Paul and Margaret singing Dream Seller

Click here to listen to Paul singing Smugglers Song

Click here to listen to Paul singing Bonnie Wee Thing

Click here to listen to Paul singing Five Eyes

Click here to listen to our mum, Noeline singing Euridice

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Rolling Hills 1

A short time ago I did a post Getting To Know You and had some great feedback. On this theme I thought I should dig up a post from my last blog as it gives more insight into my beginnings and what makes me who I am. When I looked it up I discovered that of my current followers only Becky has seen it or commented on it. Hope you find it interesting. Please comment with any of your own early experiences that came to mind when reading the following entry.

I was born and brought up in Dunedin. A city that will always hold a special place in my heart!
From Left to Right [Catherine, Margaret, Bernard, Vincent, Paul]
The oldest of 5 I often felt an over burdening responsibility as peacemaker in a troubled household. Our dad was the rock in a tumultuous relationship and sadly due to my mum's ill health was the brunt of verbal and at times physical attacks. Having said this though there are many happy memories and experiences I look back on during my growing years.
A fond early memory is when my sister and I got our first bikes and dad taught us how to ride them. We would often go out around the neighbourhood and at the local park to work on our riding skills.

I was most fortunate as a young lad to be given opportunities in music and speech that would ultimately shape my life. It was a regular school holiday event to be involved in local competitions for speech, singing and piano. I was extremely talented and hard working and won countless cups. There were so many that my parents finally gave up replacing them with miniature trophies on their yearly return. My sister and I were that good we invariably won everything we entered. We were especially good together singing duets that you will get to hear on another occasion.

One of the most memorable successes was when I had the lead part of Hansel and the girl I had a crush on got the part of Gretel. They were happy but somewhat scary times on stage in front of hundreds in the old Mayfair Theatre. The gingerbread house with real lollies that Hansel and Gretel got to nibble on sticks out as a highlight of the show. Also cuddling up to Gretel in the song Evening Prayer has special significance. I mean to say I was a normal hot blooded young boy. Trying to hit the high note in Rice Blamange mostly unsuccessfully caused some worries and upsets and in the end it was decided to speak it instead.

Thanks to our mother us children had been given opportunities to perform and develop our musical talents. She instilled a passion that has remained with me all my life. Music is an essential part of who I am and has impacted in countless ways to shape decisions I've made and directions I've taken. To you mum I will be eternally grateful!

Click here to listen to Rolling Hills from my musical Seems Only Yesterday