Letters home, 2000, Oct 8

8 Oct 2000

Dear Mum and Dad

Thanks very much for your letter and the cutout from the magazine. John L Tearle, who wrote the book “Tearle, a Bedfordshire Surame,” is adamant that Tearle is not from Tyrell, although he is not certain exactly where it came from. He thinks it is a corruption of a French word, but he doesn’t know which one.  Alec Tearle, though, said when he was living in Germany that the Germans always knew how to pronounce his name (the English and the French certainly don’t) so he thinks it may have been German.  In other words we may have Saxon roots that predate the Normans who came here in 1066.  Our ancestors could have been in England from as early as 500AD.  

That reminds me – a couple of days ago I saw a programme about the Salisbury Plains that said that England had been heavily cultivated since 5000BC and that in 2500BC there was as much land under cultivation as there was in 1914.

When I went to put away the wrapping from your previous parcel we saw the photos you had sent. By that time our last fax had gone to you, so I didn’t say thank you. Well, let me say it now! The photos are really good. Mum looks a lot better than she sounded earlier this year, but she still looks a bit wan. I thought you’d have a RED scooter, but grey is cool and the mode of transport, with its tall flag certainly looks … shall we say … suitable. And you look very happy. Getting out and about is good for the spirit.

It is not a pleasant thought that neither of my parents will be in their beautiful little Hahei house after Christmas. I guess that you will be going to Matapa, too? When you are selecting things please remember that all I want is the painting that Ella du Cane gave Sadie and any photos and family documents. They will be very well looked after. I am taking Grandad Dawson’s watch into the jeweler this weekend for a shower and shampoo. The English make a most attractive, hooped stand/hanger thing for fob watches, so this watch will be nicely presented and out of harm’s way. I’ve been thinking about the date on it – 1926 – Mum would have been about 5yrs old when her father bought it! She would have seen him with it all her life, since she was often with him when he went to train the horses. Wonderful.

I ran the Cabbage Patch 10-mile last weekend in 71 min 45 sec, so I am pleased with my time, but I am working on getting it closer to 70 min. However, there were a LOT of people who finished after me. About 1/2 an hour after I’d finished and we were getting into the car, there were still people on the other bank of the Thames about 1/2 a mile from the finish. At that stage it rained like crazy, so we decided not to go exploring around Twickenham, but the track I ran went through Kingston, where earlier this year Elaine and I had caught a ferry to go to Hampton Court. I recognised the island the boat had passed.

The organizers presented me with the Cabbage Patch 10 t-shirt and I gave it to Elaine as a supporter’s shirt. She loves it. On the day, she actually wore the Garden City 10 sweatshirt she bought the day I ran that race and she looked really good … lots of people talked to her and she had a really good time. It’s quite a nice course through the streets of Twickenham, Richmond and Kingston-upon-Thames. To get there we drove right past Chubb house, a tall, rounded, very heavy-looking concrete building close to the road where Shayne had been just the day before in Sunbury.

Everything around there looks the same, just roads and houses wall-to-wall with nothing to distinguish one town from the other, so the Cabbage Patch pub was a bit tricky to find and wasn’t particularly unique anyway, although it looked like an old pub and must have had a bit of history to tell. It was the biggest race field I’ve been in so far and the track itself through the streets was fast and picturesque. My time of 71:45 made me about 30sec quicker than I was in the Garden City 10 three weeks previous.

I had three guys who passed me whom I couldn’t catch, but on the other hand, I did pass a lot of runners in the last mile, including many who had passed me earlier, and those three guys finished just a few seconds in front of me. For the first time, 2 women in my age group finished in front of me, one at 70min 56 sec and the other one a whopping 67:44.  It will be a while before I can beat her!

I have also received the official results and I am quite pleased.  I was 251st out of a total field of 751 finishers.  I was 27th out of 140 runners my age or older, but 25th out of 112 finishers of my actual class, M50. For the first time, too, I have an official age ranking.  I am age graded at 70.73%.  If a representative sample of all the M50 racers in Britain were gathered into a field of 100, I would finish a 10 mile race in 30th place.  Now that my 8-mile time is 55 min, it won’t be too long before my 10-mile time dips below 70 min.

About now, Genevieve starts her new job as Assistant Production Manager, Cultured at the NZ Dairy Group Plant at Takanini. She has been going really well this year with her promotion and has passed two uni papers in Spanish with A+ results. Not bad when working full time, playing netball mid week and commuting to the skiifields each weekend. She has now done a bungy and skydived from 12,000 feet in the last few months as well as skiing the west ridge. She set herself some stiff targets for the year with us being away and has been ticking them off one at a time. Some things she gets into are scarey!!!

As you will have heard, we had a fuel crisis on here. Fortunately neither Elaine nor I ran out of fuel because the sort of fuel our little cars use was the last kind to run out at the petrol stations. That meant that we earned right through. However some of our friends were not so lucky and had a week or more out of work and not paid. When the fuel arrived again all through Luton the garages were cordoned off by police and only those working in essential services were allowed petrol. In St Albans when the fuel arrived it was available on the open market so we were able to fill up and carry on as usual. There was some stockpiling but not by us. It is all over now and we are back to normal.

We were really delighted when we were finally able to send off the money for our airfares and hold the price. We now have confirmation from the bank that the money has been taken from our account so all is well. All we have to do now is to wait for the tickets to arrive.  Below is our airlines itinerary:

Thursday 14 December 2000

  • 3.45pm Check in at Japan Airlines Terminal 3, Heathrow
  • 6:15 pm Depart on Japan Air Lines Flight JL 422
  • Flying Time: 12 hours 5 minutes
  • Friday 15 December 2000
  • 3:20 pm Arrive Osaka – Kansai International Airport :
  • 9:00 pm Depart on Japan Air Lines Flight JL 98 (An Air New Zealand Boeing 767 )
  • Flying Time: 10 hours 50 minutes
  • Saturday 16 December 2000
  • 11:50 am Arrive Auckland Airport
  • Saturday 13 January 2001
  • 8.00am Check in at Japan Airlines counter at Auckland Airport
  • 10:00 am Depart on Japan Air Lines Flight JL 97 (Air New Zealand Boeing 767 )
  • Flying Time: 11 hours 25 minutes
  • 5.25pm Arrive Osaka – Kansai International Airport. – accommodation at
  • HOTEL NIKKO KANSAI AIRPORT Tel: (0724) 551 111
  • Osaka Fax: (0724) 551 155
  • Accommodation has been confirmed in a twin room – breakfast is included
  • Sunday 14 January 2001
  • 9.45am Check in at Japan Airlines at Osaka International Airport.
  • 11:45 am Depart on Japan Air Lines Flight JL 421 (Boeing 747-400)
  • Flying Time: 12 hours 35 minutes
  • 3:20 pm Arrive London – Heathrow Airport : Terminal 3

We have been having great fun watching the Olympics but have seen virtually nothing of NZ. I really wanted to watch Rob Waddell having been his mother’s HOD in Piopio and was delighted with the coverage we got of his races. Elaine was equally interested because she had taught Rob for three years in Piopio Primary.  We got to watch his wife Sonia race too.

There was a lot of screaming coming out of our flat that night and at the end of the race Genevieve rang – she was watching too – and we were all so excited that Rob had made GOLD!!!! We know now it was the only gold medal NZ won. We have bought a nice card to send home to him and his family this week. Fortunately we know his parents’ address. We saw his Mum Sue on TV here too. They gave lovely coverage of Rob after the race – much more than for other athletes even from Britain so we were very lucky. Elaine heard the following day that the staff and students from her school were watching at their homes and cheering for Rob too.

We’ve had Shayne Bates here this week, doing some business for his company, Securenet. He didn’t like it here … thought the place was backward and said he hated London. I suppose that’s logical because I lent him my car and he found the London traffic and road conditions very trying. I never drive in London, but on Friday, he had to go to Chubb House in Sunbury-on-Thames and took the road through Central London to get home. He rang me to say he had been to Harrods! He had even found parking for 7GBP per hour. It took him 3 hours to get home from there, in Friday traffic, so I don’t wonder that he hates London.

However, the high point of his trip was on Thursday when he went to London by train to see someone in the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall. Since that’s near NZ House we advised him to drop in there, too and see if there were ways that he could get some high-level assistance. From there he could also get to see some of the most famous sights of London so we also advised him to leave home early to give himself plenty of time to enjoy himself after the business was done. He rang me about 4:00 to see if Elaine and I would like to catch the train to London and meet him in Trafalgar Square. You never have to ask us twice to go to London. We met Shayne in Trafalgar Square and he wanted a sushi meal. There was the most beautiful Japanese restaurant called the Tokyo Bar on the edge of Chinatown where we had a 4-course meal in little boxes for 10GBP each. Wasabi, sushi, yummy salmon, the lot.

By the way, NZ House was no use to Shayne at all. We’ve been there, too and it was no use to us, either, but I thought that was because we were just little fish of no interest to a giant trade organisation like NZ House. It seems it isn’t their job to help NZ businesses to expand, either, so they shunted him out unceremoniously. It would be nice to know just what it is they do in there.

It’s the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Iris was telling us this afternoon that she was 10yrs at the time and used to stand outside on the lawn and watch the planes fighting each other overhead. Some childhood.

We are just back from Nick Trout’s 40th birthday bash at the Time Out Bar in Horsham.  We went to West Sussex yesterday morning to meet Nick and Sally again, had a very loud night’s dancing then drove the 1.5 hours back home.  We arrived here about 2:00am.  It meant that we didn’t have to spend our Christmas money on accommodation in Horsham.  Nick and Sally Trout are the two hitch-hikers we befriended in about 1989 on their world tour and we have been good friends ever since.  The highlight of the night was when Sally came out into the disco as Marilyn Monroe in that white dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and sang Happy Birthday in the breathy way Marilyn did for President Kennedy.  Sally is an angel and a blonde bombshell at any time, but as Marilyn Monroe she was sensational.

Christmas – we went to Frost’s Garden Centre in Woburn Sands, just up the road from Woburn village, to have a wander around and get a few ideas for our garden when we go home.  The English do garden centres like magical palaces.  Everything is themed and there are the most complex and beautiful displays of plants and gardening things you have ever seen.  But Christmas is a wonder that takes your breath away.  

They had two very large rooms decorated for Christmas with trees, ornaments, lights, grottos, music and all sorts of displays.  We were stopped dead.  Why Christmas so early?  It is because most people in England get paid monthly, so there’s only this month and next month’s pay and then it’s Christmas, so I guess it’s best to get people inspired early.  Woburn Sands is just a tiny village, but Frost’s there is very big, about 5 acres all told and about 2 acres in buildings, so it’s all nice and warm in the cool weather.  With the beautiful displays and its own very good restaurant, it’s actually a very good afternoon’s activity to go there and just have some fun wandering around.  And we did – it was great.  It reminded us that the last thing we will do in England this year is the Carols by Candlelight evening in St Brelades Place, just up the road from us behind Blackberry Jack, on the night before we fly out.  It will be freezing cold and we shall love it.

Well, thinking of Christmas reminds me that it won’t be long before we shall be seeing you and Mum again, and we are very much looking forward to that. Our NZ itinerary looks like this so far:

  • 13 Dec  Last day at work
  • 14 Dec  Fly to NZ
  • 16, 17 Dec With Joni in Auckland
  • 18-21 Dec In Otorohanga with Elizabeth and Ross Marshall – check the farm
  • 22-28 Dec In Pauanui
  • 29 Dec  Go to Hamilton
  • 6-12 Jan With Joni
  • 13 Jan  Catch plane to England
  • 15 Jan  Back at work.

We hope you keep in good health until then and we look forward to seeing you again.

Lots of love

Ewart and Elaine.