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2001 June 27 Summer has finally arrived! Sun from 5am to 10pm, short sleeves, blond hair, white skin becoming off white, Hot tubes. We got away for a rental car break down to Southampton, New Forest, Christchurch, Bournemouth, Dorset for a long weekend. Was great to get out of London and see some really nice places with lots of trees and beaches. We have been getting out on our bicycles a lot lately and Steve has even threaten to start cycling to work and maybe even visiting the Gym he has membership at. We have a wedding to go to this month (the first in a while!) A really nice couple we meet through the Alpha Course. Kara is contemplating doing an IT course later in the year and doing a career change as she is not finding radiography challenging enough intellectually, so Steve may become part time IT Tutor. Amazing that half this year is over, time is flying...
2001 May 31 May Bank holiday we scored a great LastMinute.Com Holiday special to Brussels (Belgium). The deal got us First class Eurostar tickets to Brussels from London and put us up for 3 nights in a First Class Hotel!. We had a Fabulous time doing the usual city bus tour, visited the Atonium (the big Atom looking structure), Mini Europe, Royal Palace, Grand Square, Museums. The Chocolate here was yummy and trying all the different food at the supermarket was nice too. Summer is finally making efforts and we have had a few great warm spells. Steve's sister Deborah has announced she is pregnant and due in November. We have booked tickets to return to New Zealand for a two week holiday arriving in NZ on Christmas Eve. Look forward to catching up with as many family and friends as possible. We will stopover in Singapore with our friends Zeek and Audrey fro two days. We have kitted up with cycle helmets and reflectors to ride to work on a frequent basis and joined gyms near our respective work places. So we can keep fit and young!.  Steve's brother Andrew is looking at coming over to train and work in October which will be nice.
2001 February 20 Happy Valentines Day! We had a special lunch together & had New Zealand lamb chops, a good place to go for reminiscing! Had a very cold week-end away on w-e  of 10,11th. Went to Folkestone, which is just before you can cross the Chunnel to France. We went with the home group leaders from our pastorate from Church, was good fun, even though all we did was watch videos & keep warm near the fire. Some of the girls went for a 9 mile run in training for the London Marathon! Kara starts her new job, hopefully next week, just waiting for a start date, currently having a no work week! This week-end we are helping with child care on an Alpha week-end at Chichester, should be an interesting time!
2001 January   We had New Years Eve with another of Steve's cousins, Sean & Julie in Asheville, NC. The weather was about -7degrees centigrade, so pretty cold for us, we were able to see spectacular fireworks from Sean & Julie's balcony along with a good champagne!!! We enjoyed driving on the spacious roads, staying in big houses & seeing (&spending) in huge shops. We also visited Shawn & Angel & Lane in Tennessee. We arrived back in London where the cold weather seemed quite warm compared to the States! Steve is still working for Foreign Colonial & enjoying it! Kara resigned from working at the Heart Hospital after 18 months there & will move on in a months time. Wishing Everyone a very prosperous New Year 2001!!!!
2000 December   Happy Christmas! We flew to Atlanta , Georgia on Christmas Day, left Heathrow at 7am, flew via Frankfurt, Germany, & arrived in the US of A at 3pm local time! (we had Christmas in three different countries!) We stayed with Steve's cousin Rosalie for the 1st few days, then visited cousin Colin & Carey & their boys Dom & Sebastian in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 
  November   We did something but can't remember?
  October   We did something but can't remember?
2000 September 17 Hope you are all well & enjoying September whether you be in Spring or Autumn!
We have just had an amazing 2 week holiday in Israel & Egypt! We would encourage anyone who ever has the opportunity to go, to take it!!!!!!!
It was really an eye opening experience meeting people who live real lives, learning about the diversities between the Jews, Muslims, Christians & Orthodox Jews & Christians. & also being in a land which is so politically unstable. We visited the Golan heights area which is under dispute at the moment, it is now easy to understand why both Israel & Syria want the land!
our 1st few days were spent in Jerusalem which is a very noisy, busy & quite dirty city, not quite the picture which we paint in our minds from the Bible! While we were there we saw the Jewish Holocaust memorial museum, quite a depressing site of the loss of so many innocent lives!
It was quite a unique experience while being there to think that that was where Jesus used to live!
We had a very HOT 2hour walk thru the dry Wadi Qelt which lead up to Jericho which is the oldest & lowest city in the world.
Our bus transfer to Egypt & over the Suez canal was long & hot & from the Israeli border into Egypt we travelled in convoy with 3 other busses & had  police escort vehicles. & a security guard on our bus ( very comforting!)
Cairo was quite an experience! The most suicidal traffic we have ever seen in our lives! the pyramids( not to mention the abundant jewels & goods that were put inside to help the deceased person in their afterlife!) & the Sphinx were quite impressive & we had the experience of a camel ride in the dessert at Sakkara.
The Dead sea was really cool! & it is true that you can float & cover yourself in lovely 'therapeutic mud'. Also swam in the Red sea which has huge coral beds, so quite dangerous for the feet!
we spent about 3 nights at Tiberias which is on Lake Galilee, this was our favourite spot as it is the region where Jesus did a lot of his ministry. Great place for swimming too!
a very busy & entertaining holiday after which we need a nice quite seaside holiday for 2 weeks, just to catch up on rest & let our stomachs recover from the wild experience!
It has made us think more about the purpose of our lives & our daily routines, as we met people there who live in fear because of their belief in Jesus Christ. We have such a free & easy life in our liberal society. Another great aspect of being there was that it wasn't just a nice holiday venue, it is where our history began!!! & where some of our family fought in world wars!
  August 28 It's been a busy month work wise. Last weekend we took and over night train up to Edinburgh to go to the Festival and see the 50th gold anniversary Military tattoo. We went with Judi Adams and Christie Flemming. the trip only cost 40 pounds return. We had to sleep in First class chairs though and not proper sleepers like the majority of the other passengers. Edinburgh is such a lively place during the august festival. We stayed with our friends Amanda and Aaron Cleland.

Tomorrow we are off the the Middle East for two weeks with a Christian tour company called Oak Hall. We will fly in to Tel Aviv and make our why through the Holy land to Egypt and then back up to Tel Aviv via Mt Sinai. We are really excited to see a land we have learnt so much about of the years. We will be travelling with our friend Shirley Patterson. We will be sure to take lots of photos.

  July 31 We finished work early on Friday and jumped on a train and went to Northern Wales, to a place called Blanau Ffestiniog (the Slate capital of the World, the town is literally surrounded by slate mountains). We stayed two nights in a nice B+B. On Saturday morning we got up and took a train and a bus to the bottom of Mount Snowdown where we caught a steam train to close to the top of the mountain. We then climbed the peak and walked (the hard way) down the mountain via an alternative route (3 Hours) caught the last sherpa bus back to a nearby village, where we dined. At 8:30pm we went to the train station and waited for the last train back to the B+B, but it didn't turn up and we realised that the last train was actually a bus! so we then had to walked 11 miles to via the road to the next town where our B+B was. It took us 3 1/2 hours to get home and nobody would give us a hitch until we were just 1 mile to go, but it was going to be the most painful mile!. The next day we painfully rose and went to an amazing slate mine where we went under ground 300 feet, in a maze of slate caverns, where we witnessed a history of the mining town. We then caught a steam train to a place called Port Madog and back, but we didn't see any mad dogs? We then had to take 6 trains back to London. 
  July 24 Took Kurt on a weekend break to Geneva, Switzerland. Was a beautiful weekend together. Had Dinner with Uncle John and Aunty Jean Bell at Larraine and Dave Porteus place in Wokingham and celebrated Steve's Dad's Birthday together.
  July 7 Cousin Kurt is now with us for 2 weeks. The Keiller Bros. ( & Rebecca & Marie) have gone to Paris for the week-end by Eurostar fast train!300km/hr, 
  June 17 Well we've settled back into work and feel like a holiday again, but we'll have to wait till the end of August to go to Egypt and Israel. We have finally finished our year long Bible overview course, and really feel we've learnt so much more about our faith and we recommend to anybody do a course like it. We went to the beach at a place called Broadstairs last weekend, it is just north of Dover. It was so nice to get out of the city and have sand under our feet and sun on our pale bodies. Kara has begun training in Cardiac Angiography at the Heart hospital and is doing well at it and enjoying the new challenge. Steve gets a week of training on internet security this coming week and will have to travel one hour by train to a place called Reading (pronounced Reding - English language for ya) each day which will be a nice break from routine for him to. Steve's cousin Kurt is visiting in a couple of weeks for two weeks which will be nice to see more family we haven't seen for a while. Cousin Leroi has been in Hospital recently with a reoccurring infection but is out now thankfully. Some of the hospitals here are so old with Leroi's hospital being built in 1123AD. Summer is finally warming up but work keeps us from the best of it for now. Daylight starts at 4:30am and finishes at 10:00pm, which is great so long as you don't want to sleep in!. chow 4 now.
  May 8 Easter holidays!  We Flew away to Switzerland where we meet Steve's mum 'Ruth' in Zurich and spent 6 days on a Swiss Rail pass training away way through beautiful mountains and lakes. Our itinerary was Zurich, St. Moritz, Zermatt, Interlaken, Lucerne, Zurich. We had lots of good weather and even had a snow storm. We loved Switzerland and will try to publish some (well) scanned pictures soon. We then flew up to Scotland with Steve's mum and spent the bank holiday weekend going from Glasgow, Perth, Inverness, Isle of Skye, Inverness, Fort William, Loch Lomond, Glasgow, Edinburgh. A lot of miles but Steve's mum got a good taste of Scotland. Congratulations to John and Denise Buckley on there imminent multiplication. Happy 30th Wedding anniversary to Kara's parents 'David and Judi Schnell'. Steve's mum leaves this Friday from the USA where she will visit most of the American Family before arriving back in NZ on the 2nd of June.
  April 9 We have finally moved into our own place, Yahoo!. Cousin Jason & Rebecca Keiller have arrived and we are setting up home in our new apartment. Check our contact page for details. We will publish some pictures soon. Still so busy moving in so will update you all more fully shortly.
    19 Steve's finally had some weekends and we have visited Winchester with our mate Lady Anne Robinson. We are going to put our names down at the NZ embassy to try and get invited to one of the Queens tea parties. We have put a deposit down on a house in Rotherhithe and are waiting for our references to clear ok, all going well we will have the place to rent from the 7th of April, the same day Jason and Rebecca arrive. We have had to turn down Ash's request for Steve to be his best man as we are all out of annual leave now that we are both permanent employees and we have already paid to go to Israel and Egypt later in the year. It's Daylight savings next weekend and we can't wait to get that extra sunshine!
  March 3 Steve hasn't stopped working since we got back with no weekends, etc had done 49 hours overtime in three weeks. We have been hard at work looking for a nice good value place to stay when Jason & Rebecca arrive. Congratulations to John and Angela Chapelow on the September expected baby. We are finally getting a weekend together tomorrow so we are going to Winchester with Anne Robinson. The daffodils are out and lot's of blossoms appearing on trees with is a very positive sign. Congrats to NZ on winning the Americas cup 5-nil!. Also, happy birthday to Miharo our oldest nephew, One years old already.




We left New Zealand and arrived in Brisbane staying with John Lovegrove 2 days. Apparently after we left NZ, Steve's sister Deborah went into labour and made Steve an uncle again (thanks Phil) the next day (Baby boy's name was Miharo). We then flew to Sydney staying with Terry & Tanya Kew. Sydney was great. We also caught up with another friend Kim Redstall.

    6th Arrived in Cape town South Africa. Hired a car and spent three weeks visiting family (Hi Nick) and friends, attended Karen Jerrards (now Styles) wedding in Queenstown. We also stayed one night in Swaziland.
    27th Entered Zimbabwe with Karen and Marc Styles and spent two weeks driving around Zim clockwise. Highlights were: Motopos, Hwange NP, Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba, Mana pools NP, Harare, Vumba, Hot Springs and the Zim Ruins. W e then drove down to Johannesburg and flew direct to London. Africa is something you must see.



We Arrived in London. Very chilly at the time. We stayed with friends John and Denise Buckley for three weeks in Barnes. We took an absolutely amazing double deka bus tour around London, what a day that was. After weeks of searching we found our own spacious place in Fulham. Kara found work quickly as a radiographers aid and has been working at Middlesex Hospital near Oxford circus. We also bought new mountain bikes. We visited cousin Lorraine Porteus in Reading with cousin Mark Wood. We found a really nice Christian couple to share our 2 Dbl Bdrm house with. There name are Julie and Gary Lawton. We also visited the Cotswold area.




We both jumped on the train at kings cross and went up to the city of York. We meet Rachel McBride there. The journey only took 2 hour. The train traveled at 100mph. Very Fast. The first thing we did was take a double deka bus ride around the city so we could decide where we wanted to tour. Highlights were York Minister Cathedral (the biggest Cathedral in Europe) this was quite a site to behold. We also visited Castle Howard about 1/2 an hour out of town, it the castle off 'Brideshead revisited' if you know the TV series.

    20th Kara finished her assignment at Middlesex hospital and has know been placed out near Uxbridge, which takes her 1.5 hours each way. We are still waiting for her radiography registration to come through, please pray for this. Steve got to a third interview stage with a Japanese Bank, but just missed out on the position. Kara is also thinking of changing profession and training up in the IT profession doing Web Page design. Kara's cousin Paul Schnell is here in London doing this very successfully and is looking at starting his own business.
      21st Steve had an interview with Foreign & Colonial (Funds Managers) today and has a second interview tomorrow. Please pray and stay tuned... This position looks good. Steve is sick of staying at home being a house husband!
    24th Steve had a great interview with F&C on Friday. They are going to ring sometime today (Monday) to inform him whether he has the job or not. We basically spent this weekend shopping at Kensington High Street and a huge shopping centre at Dartford SE London with John & Denise.
    30th F&C are still undecided and haven't said yes or no to Steve yet, so suspenseful times. Another company is also very interested and both should be putting offers forward this week. We both went up to Cambridge for the day with Jon & Denise and had an enjoyable day, picnicking and punting in the canals, very beautiful there.
  June 7th Steve missed out on F&C but has jobs lined up with the following: EMI, Chase Manhattan Bank, Euromoney & Conrad Riblet. Obviously Steve would like the job at the bank first (prayers appreciated). We attended the stag/hens night, wedding and reception of Paula Young and Miles Cunningham this past weekend. These were held at Henley on Thames/Windsor, Marlow, Egham respectively. Also friends Liz and Jason staying with us for a week plus.
    11th Steve got a job with a property investment company and we bought return tickets to fly to Orlando, Florida on Virgin Atlantic Airlines. We flew out on Friday the 11th @ 2:30pm from Gatwick Airport in London and arrived 6:30pm Friday at Orlando. We hired a rental car and drove to Lakeland and stayed the night at Shawn & Jeana McIlroys place the night. the next morning we drove 8 hours north to Atlanta, in time to join the American Collins family reunion. We spent two days in Atlanta staying with Cousins Rosalie & Jim, we then drove up to Ashville, North Carolina for 3 days and stayed with Cousin Sean & Julie Collins before returning back to Atlanta for one day and then driving back to Lakeland, Florida for 2 days. We went to New Smyrna beach, at enjoy the sun and sandy beaches, something that doesn't exist in England. We had a really great time catching up with our American side of the family and seeing this beautiful part of the world. Shopping is the best in American and we made the best of the conversion rate of the pound to the dollar and the low costs of living. We definitely want to come back here to visit and to live a while.
    21st We arrived back after a sleepless 8 hour flight very jetlagged. Steve received a surprise call from Foreign and Colonial offering him the job that he applied for one month ago. Since this was a much better job, he told the bad news to the property firm and accepted the new offer. He starts sometime next week. Friend Judi Adams has arrived in London from South Africa and is staying with us until she gets her feet on the ground. Kara's Registration has finally come through, so she can now practice radiography properly and get a big pay increase. The agency has also found work for her real close to home (Earls Court) so she won't have to spend 1.5 to 2 hours traveling each way to work work in Uxbridge anymore
    30th Steve is waiting to have his reference check by Foreign & Colonial before he can start (hopefully next week), Thanks for all your prayers that have got him this far. Kara has started at a hospital in Chelsea that only takes her 30-40mins to commute to. The hospital is almost solely a cancer hospital and so the work is very much the same chest/breast type work so she is going to see if she can be transferred to a Accident and Emergency (trauma) Hospital where the work is more varied and exciting. We attempted to go to Wimbledon on Monday but it wasn't worth queuing for 3 hours to get in. Kara is applying to get registration to practice Radiography in the USA and has sent her application off. She will have to fly to the USA in October to sit an examination. We were blessed to find out on our last trip there that as of August the 1st, no radiographers who trained outside the USA can apply for registration anymore. We hope to live and work there for a while in the future, and having this registration will help us attain a Green Card. The sun rises a 5am and sets at 10pm at the moment which is great!. We finished our Alpha course at Holy Trinity Brompton tonight.
  July 4th Well the only independence day we had was our own. Four of us (Kara & Steve, Rachel McBride and Judi Adams) hired a car for the weekend (cheaper than 4 train tickets) and early Saturday morning drove to Bath (The place!, we do clean, really) and toured this very historic town by Double Deka Bus. We then drove through Bristol, over the Severn bridge to Cardiff, got lost found the YHA who had now beds for us so we drove inland into the black mountains of Wales to Brecon and stayed over night in a very old orphanage. The next day we drove to Swansea, had breakfast on a golden sand beach (very rare). We then drove via Cardiff, Newport, Gloucester to Oxford where we again attacked the sights via Double Deka Bus, we then drove via Windsor back to London. A grand total of 550 miles. We had a fabulous time seeing all the beautiful country side, well publish the pictures in our internet photo album soon.
    11th Steve has started his new job at Foreign & Colonial (Fund Management company) based by Liverpool St. Station. He works on the 7th & 8th floors of the office and has an excellent view of central London. Traveling to work takes an hour or so, due to the fact that home is on the south western side of London and work is on the eastern side of London. Steve has tried a few scenarios of getting to work and has decided that taking the bus over the Wandsworth bridge to Clapham Junction, then train to Waterloo station, the underground (& river!) to Bank station to change tubes and head to Liverpool St. station.  This weekend on Saturday we looked around north and east London at possible places we could move to, to reduce work transit times and possibly rent too. On Sunday we took the train out east to South end to discover what England's east coast beaches look like. Shock horror (or should that be rock horror!) the town was backed with people, lots of amusements, but the beaches were just brick banks with stones and mud and people seemed to love it having not experienced NZ beaches (or Australian/South African Beaches). It was very amusing seeing all the crayfish too (White Englishmen turning red under the sun). Summer has really been summer here in England with weeks on sunshine so far, so were soaking it up while it lasts.
    19th Steve's work has been good, he has subsidized meals there and has some very nice lunchtime meals, although the excitement of working again is wearing off. We took off for the weekend by train with Judi Adams down to Portsmouth and jumped on the fairy to the Isle of Wight. This island was the nicest place we've been to in England yet with beautiful houses, gardens and sea views across the English channel, we went right round the island on what else but a double deka bus, and we stayed the night at a B+B and spent the whole of Sunday relaxing on the beach watching all the ferries and liners crossing the horizon, all under the excellent summer we've been having so far. We even went swimming a couple of times. On our way back we jumped on a train that took us back to London via Brighton. The train system here is excellent. Kara is getting very brown with all the sun were getting, meanwhile Steve is looking more like a leopard.
    28th Another Beautiful summer week. We went down to Worthing near Brighton on the south east coast to attend the Wedding of our friends Pete Collins and Megan Wood (Photo's on the web page soon). We stayed the night down there in a combi van. We meets lots o friends who had flown in from Japan (Al Ferris), USA (Paul & Eileen Salter) & of course NZ (Vera Wood, Vivian & Howard Wright & Davina). We had to say Bon Voyage to our friends Jon & Denise Buckley as they set off to travel around Europe for 1 month before heading back via South Africa to NZ to live. Kara is finishing her locum at Royal Brompton Hospital next Friday so please pray she gets a close and good new posting. We have had our friend Al Ferris staying with for a week now with has been real fun. We saw 'Miss Saigon' at the theatre with him last night which was very good. Kara has been approved by the US radiography board to sit and exam allowing her to practice there in the future, so we will be going over in October for Kara to sit the exam, so Kara now has a bit of swatting to do. It's been good to be a kiwi with the rugby and cricket going so well at the moment.
  August 1st Yet another great week of weather, worked all week and enjoyed Saturday at a BBQ with all our new Alpha Course friends and we spent the evening with Heidi Bartels. Sunday Steve had to work and Kara  went to Greenwich with Rachel McBride. We have Al Ferris still staying with us, which has been nice. Anne and Heather Robinson have gone to Eastern Europe for a month, so were a bit down on the Kiwi friend numbers.
    10th Well we have finally had some rain this weekend to soften the ground and feed the worms. Great to the All Blacks take it easy on the springboks. Kara Has finished up at the Royal Brompton Hospital and has now started at the Heart Hospital between Regent and Bond St. tube stations. It is a private hospital with fully computerized equipment. We Went to a church called 'His People' on Sunday, it is 80% full with South African people, It was nice and modern as opposed to the Anglican based churches here. We are all booked and looking forward to traveling to Paris this weekend on the Eurostar. We decided to have a romantic weekend to celebrate our birthdays (Kara 14th, Steve 16th). We both have Monday off, so we'll make a 3day weekend of it leaving Friday evening and returning Monday evening. Steve is on a training course for three days this week which he is enjoying and it is good to see the company investing in him this way.  Au re var.
    18th Bonjour!, Paris is such a must to visit, we absolutely loved it. It only took 3 hours to get there from London and the train cruised at 300km/hr. It only took 20mins to go under the English channel. We did all the tourist things like: climbed the Eiffel tower and Arc de triumph, Seine river cruise, Visit Versailles (Louis the 14ths palace), Visit two museums and saw lots of great art like the Mona Lisa. There are monuments galore everywhere with beautiful gardens. There were clothing sales so we bought each other a leather jacket each as birthday presents. We slowly picked up some French and could decipher the restaurant menus by the time we left. We will definitely go back there again. There is a national holiday next weekend so we hope to take off an extra day or two and go to Denmark before summer disappears.
  September 4th Hey Jimmy!, Aye, tis us again, and you'll never guess where we've been now!, we been to wee bonny Scotland man. Denmark worked out to expensive, so we decided to head up to Scotland while they still had summer there. We tried getting train tickets with no joy as it was to be a bank holiday weekend. So we searched the Net and found some really cheap tickets via (return only 30 pounds) Our friend Judi Adams came with us, we all took Tuesday and Wednesday off as well, so we we had five awesome days traveling round Scotland in a Peugeot 106. We got up 4am on Saturday morning, walked up to road 15 mins and then caught a bus to Liverpool street station, where we then caught the train to Stansted airport. We flew in a Ryan Air 737 for an hour to Prestwick airport just south of Glasgow. It was beautiful looking out the window to see how the land changed from patchwork England to the flowing hills and then mountains of Scotland. Once we arrived we were met by our friends Jason and Liz Trimble who live just east of Glasgow. We drove down to Ayr had breakfast and bought a 3 man tent to save on accommodation costs. We then drove up through Glasgow to Stirling were we lunched and saw the first of many castles in Scotland. we then proceed via Perth to Beautiful Inverness where we stayed the night in a cheap B&B that was only really one B. We got to see the house where Steve's GrandMa Isabella MacDonald-Kennedy was born. We then drove down the western side of Loch Ness until we got to Invergarry (sorry no sighting of the Monster) we then headed northwest to Kyle of Lochalsh, stopping at the famous castle Eilean Donan. We then contemplated going to the Isle of Skye or going north, North won and off we drove up round all the mountainous rocky lochy coast line. we stayed Sunday night in a place called Lochcarron in our tent. Monday we drove right round the north western coast along the beautiful coastline to Thurso where we stayed the night there. Tuesday we drove to John O'Groats and again contemplated whether to take the ferry to Orkney Islands, but the weather was unsure so we decided to head back down the eastern coast to Inverness stopping at most of towns on the way, we saw heaps of oil rigs out at sea of the coast. We set up tent and went into town and did a lot of shopping as things were surprisingly cheaper, especially food. we had a nice pub dinner and then went to the movies and saw 'Mickey blue eyes'. Wednesday we drove down the eastern side of white capped Loch Ness and onto Fort William where we planned to go up the chair lift to the top of Ben Nevis (the Highest peak in the UK) but the cloud was to low and we decided to do it another time. So we drove on to Glasgow via picturesque Glencoe and Loch Lomond route and then onto port Glasgow and round the western coast to Prestwick. We we dropped off our rental car having done 1009 miles. It was a much enjoyed trip though our scenic family old country.

Steve's boss at work is on holiday for two weeks so he is now acting 'Network services Manager' in his absence. Kara has been offered a permanent position at the Heart hospital which she is really enjoying working at so she is thinking and praying real hard about that (please pray for her decision). This week weekend we have decided to stay home for a change and catch up with friends John & Denise Buckley before the return home to New Zealand for good. We will miss them heaps.

We became Aunty and Uncle again as Steve's sister Sharon gave birth to a son Caleb in the back of an ambulance in Whangarei.

  October   We flew to Toronto, Canada, primarily to sit an American Radiographers qualification for Kara so if we get the opportunity and get the urge we can go work there. We spent the first weekend with Sam Dilece and his real hospitable Italian family. Steve had made friends with Sam 8 years earlier when he visited the States and Canada with his grandparents for 4 months. We were fed some delicious varieties of Italian food. With Sam we went up to places like Barrie, Midland and we did a cruise on Lake Huron,   Georgian Bay and visited a beautiful place called Thousand Islands. The Autumn leaves were so colorful (check out our photos). We then stayed with Steve's other maple leaf mate Diane and her Portuguese family. Diane drove us all the way up to Montreal for 3 days where her family had a nice mountain retreat. We visited Mont Tremblanc (a European style ski resort) and did the touristy thing in Montreal, did lots of warm clothes shopping and did a hour Horse and open carriage tour round all the old inner city sites all under a huge sheepskin blanket. We also went in the amazing Notre Dame Cathedral and lit some candles for all of you. We then returned to Toronto and the next day headed of to go through Niagara Falls to Buffalo where Kara sat her 3 hour exam. We stayed the night in a Comfort Inn and the next day went full out shopping at all the outlet malls. We then went back to Toronto and stayed at Diane's again.  We then met up with Steve's Cousin Victoria and had lots of fun with her, we went up the CN Tower (Worlds highest) and went to Planet Hollywood together. We also briefly caught up with Steve's other cousin, Elizabeth & her fiancÚ'.


  November   We had a week-end visit to Berlin where we stayed with Joanne & Martin Gieson. We had a great time with them & they showed us around Berlin & we got to see where the Historical walls, which divided East & West Berlin, used to stand. 

Kara has since passed her Radiography exam!

We are now "house -sitting" for Kara's cousin for a few weeks before we head to New Zealand for a brief visit at the end of January 2000. London is getting progressively ( or should we say regressively) colder, but it's still a novelty dressing up in long warm coats!


  December 8th So sorry for the absence of updates. Steve's Laptop was out of action for 2 months. We are back online now and have the use of a  scanner so look out for the new pictures real soon (promise). We'll also try to back date our diary to were we last left off.

We will be touching down in Auckland on 26th Jan, will have 2 weeks to 'catch up" with everyone as well as try to get a bit of sunshine to see us through London's winter. We will be stopping over in Orlando, Florida on our way to New Zealand where Steve's cousin Sean & Jeana will take care of us & hopefully get to see Disney World & some Shopping Malls! On our return to London we will be stopping in Tokyo, Japan where we will see Al Ferris for a few days & he'll show us around his current home turf - should be fun. So by the time we get back to London we will have circumnavigated the globe!

  December 25 Merry Christmas - We Hired a Ford Transit Van and Drove up to Carlisle in the north west of England. We found nice bed and breakfast for the night and meet up with our South African friend Shirley Patterson at the train Station. We sleep well with gale force winds out side. On Christmas day we decided to go Touring all along Hadrian's Wall the old wall the Romans built to keep the wildly Scots out. we nearly got as far as Newcastle on the east coast but decided to head north into Scotland. We stopped at a really ancient tavern for some liquid refreshments and the locals gave us all the history of the wall and we learnt that the Bell's of the regain one of a few notorious clans called reavers we battled well in the area for right price for the right side. We through some hills and stopped in the middle of a snow storm and enjoyed our white Christmas. We then made our way back to Carlisle to get Christmas Dinner but all we could find after an hour of searching was a inn on the out skirts of town (sound familiar) that in modern English times you would call and Inn dian Takeaways. Yummy curry in my tummy!, thank you Lord!. The next day we departed and headed towards the beautiful Lake District just to the south. This place was so picturesque. Nice flowing mountains like the Marlborough region in New Zealand. They were all snow covered with bracken brown shaded bottoms and still as lakes below. It was so nice to be there with all the old English houses etc. We stayed two night in a B&B in Ambleside named appropriately named. we found a nice Pub that was serving traditional Christmas diner and pudding. Yummy roast lamb in our tummy's. The next day we went tramping up a local mountain/hill and were rewarded with 360 degrees of beautiful views and decent descent. we then felt more adventurous and took the van over a mountain pass, parked at the top in the snow and climb to the top of the nearest slope covered in knee height fresh powder snow and then preceded to descend 400m on our waterproof backside until a few stray stones made an entry in Shirley . What a day what a sleep that night, what a sore behind in the morning. We departed the Lake district after a typical kingly breakfast heading south via Blackpool the down the M6 and M40 until we got to London. Definitely going back to the Lake district again. check out the Photos on our photo's page.
  January 1 Happy New Year- We both work through every day of New years for some really good money. but we did get to go down to the Thames on Christmas eve to see the new year in at the River of Fire Fireworks display that lasted for a brilliant 15 minutes. We found an excellent posse 2 stories up on a high veranda between London Bridge and Tower bridge. It was a very timely occasion being just up the river from Greenwich and we had no mean time.
    17 Bonus - Wow work surprised Steve with a very generous bonus and Pay rise probably to make sure we return from our three week New Zealand holiday. Thank you Lord!
    21 Bon Voyage London - Hi there Florida - Today we head off to Florida for three days on our way to NZ. We stay with Steve's cousin Shawn & Jeana McIlroy and family in Lakeland where we hope to go to Disney World for one day and shop the next. We then drive down to Miami stay the night in the airport hotel before getting up really early to catch a Qantas flight Via LA for a ten hour stop over where we hope to do a quick bus tour before departing for an overnight trip to NZ to arrive at 06:05am Wednesday the 26th, 2000. It tip for stopping over in LA for a day. it only costs 50c t take a bus to Santa Monica Beach to shop and hang out on the beach.
    26 Welcome Home StephenKara. Yah back home in Auckland for 3 days
    29 Blue Mountain Lodge for Auckland anniversary weekend with heaps of family and friends doing outdoor pursuits for three days. We went Rafting on the Wanganui River and the Tongarero River, and went gorging down the Whakapapa River. It was so great to spend adventurous time with friends and family. 
  February 1 Hawkes bay for the week at Kara parents, and spent two days at the batch in Waipatiki.
    6 Sunday afternoon flew back to Auckland to and celebrated . 3 more days to catch up with friends and family in Auckland
    10 Fly 6:30pm Auckland to Sydney stop over for 7 hours and get to have diner at the airport with old Elim church Friends living in Sydney, Australia. Kim & Lisa Redstall and Terry and Tanya Kew and cute babies. We then depart for an overnight flight to Tokyo, Japan.
    11 Tokyo -> Yokohama to visit Al (C3P0) Ferris for two days. Had a fantastic time, we found Japan so advanced and developed. We look forward to going there again.
    13 Tokyo 12:30pm British Airways back to London 4:30pm the same day! This was a mammoth 12.5 hour day time flight, we flew all the way across snow covered Russia.
    14 Back to work.. Doh! We are staying now staying with a good friend from one of the churches we go to (St. Helens) in. He lives in Rotherhithe. He has a nice two bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor looking right over the river Thames. We can see Canary Wharf to the east, Natwest tower and Steve's work to the north and the London Eye Ferris wheel to the west. Very nice of Nic to let us stay with him till we find a place of our own.
    23 Jason & Rebekah Keiller (Steve's Cousin) are coming over to London on the 7th of April to live for a while, so we are going to find a nice 2bdrm place to share with them and help them settle in. It will be nice having a few more relatives around when we are so far from home. Congratulations to Darren & Emma Tolmie who are expecting a baby in September 2000. And Congratulations to Ashtrin Hiamona and Debbie Dunlop who are engaged and get married in September also. It would be nice to be back for both events, hopefully, maybe.