Bates Family South Seas Sabbatical travel blog

The Duffys on their gracious verandah

Family Bates under metal pineapple

Too old for the playground

The Merlion

We have made it to Auckland after some very, very long flights, but with a fantastic airline that had seat back choice of 60 videos and loads of computer games which kept the boys amused for at least some of the time.

Singapore was very hot, steamy and hectic. Our hotel was right in the centre and we had superb views of the main city and harbour from our 10th storey window (complete with electric curtains! And air-con that was totally freezing)

We spend a good amount of time with Andrew, Caroline, Sam, Barnaby and Harrison who were in great form, despite having had a seriously hectic couple of weeks before our arrival, including moving house and changing jobs, but the most exciting time was the Night Safari- an evening trip to the zoo where all the animals are lit up by artificial moonlight (they don't seem to question that it is a full moon every night!) and were all quite active. It also reduced you seeing any cages/ security to keep people and animals separate, so that made it even better. It was sad not to have had longer in Singapore as we barely scratched the surface, but will have to go back.

Now the boys are in bed and we are trying to stay awake long enough to be respectable- we failed to deal with jet lag in Singapore and all the mad rushing around was made far worse but the fact that we didn't get up until 11. Our hotel tonight and tomorrow is far less salubrious, in fact, hicksville is a term that keeps coming to mind, but it is near the airport and the camper van depot which is where we shall be on tuesday collecting the rig. It really will be delightful if this weather continues, intermittent sun with exceptionally heavy rain in between. AND Lawrence Delaglio is in hospital- disaster. We have made contact with Gillian and are seeing her and the family tomorrow, but have not yet mastered putting photos on the website- sorry, but too much to do to sit and fiddle with gadgets!! Perhaps next week.

The boys are coping incredibly well with the changes in routine/heat/time/food but Gordon says if Gully continues to practice his whistling 24 hours a day, he will not be making it home. Kings now has one front tooth again, but he still looks and behaves like an urchin and tiredness just makes him more manic, meaning he nearly had a giggling fight with a very large Maori taxi driver this afternoon. "All Blacks, Boo Hoo" wasn't really something to keep repeating whilst he controlled the vehicle we were in at high speed down a dual carriageway.

Hope all is well in the UK, we still can't really believe we are here or what we are doing. Seems fun, though. Lots of love Ness x

Ness's typing is faster than mine but a very tight editorial policy involving me looking over her shoulder ensures a consisteny of opinion. I have two things to add. Firstly I am wracked with guilt as I suggested the New Zealand leg of our tour and it really is b****** cold. It may be several degrees warmer than the south island but that is not saying much. I suspect I may have to purchase lots of warm clothes for us all to see off the inevitable complaints from my nearest and dearest. Secondly the trail for the rugby tickets has gone very cold. No emails since the money was forwarded and our contact was not answering the phone tonight. Help!

Love to all Gordon

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