Winter snow arrived early in 2010 and the snow was still with us in January 2011, at times so deep that it was impossible to go anywhere. This all made building snow teddy bears
and musing at tyre hearts on the street, the main activities.
But luckily we had other plans and by the end of January we had swapped the chilly snowbound UK for sunnier climes.
After 12 hours on a plane waiting at an airport for a connecting flight can be daunting. But there is one airport I really quite like, because it seems to have been designed with human beings in mind...
This is Singapore Airport,
where there are carpets and trees, an outdoor swimming pool, a butterfly garden and you can go for a shower or even hire a room for a few hours sleep between flights. Most civilised.
When we arrived there was even a chap playing gentle jazz on a grand piano as if he was in the lounge of some top hotel.
Flying on we landed in Brisbane airport and took the train south to meet friends on the Gold Coast.
It has been a strange time with disasters hitting all around. Our trip had been planned before the dreadful floods hit Brisbane and we saw little of the devastation that had hit the city and further north, by then the floods had mostly subsided.
Arriving in Auckland we were met by Wayne Mills who is the quiz master of the Kids Lit Quiz . Wayne was about to leave for the quiz heats in South Africa and then he was off to the heats in Canada where they were joining in the quiz for the first time this year.
The World finals are being held in New Zealand This year and in July the national finalists from all over the world will come to Hamilton NZ for a fabulous world final event and a chance to see some of the amazing sights in New Zealand. Teams from two schools, Cockermouth School and Bristol Grammar in the UK will be there!
The next highlight of our trip was a wedding. The kiwi bride was beautiful and the setting an amazing stone built family chapel and there was a contingent of Scots there on the groom's side, the men resplendent in their kilts!