One thing about New Zealand is that it has amazing amounts of naturally generated energy, mostly from hydro-electric and geothermal sources. This was brought home yesterday when we went to see the dam open just north of Taupo – an almost empty, serene little pool suddenly transformed into this raging white water torrent, an act that is repeated five scheduled times a day over half an hour. Having said that I wasn’t in the best way to appreciate it having had a heavy night out in honour of a) St Patrick’s day and b) having a new nephew.

Yes, Nathanael James has finally decided to come play in the outside world (although it has been chilly in Britland of late so you can’t really blame him for wanting to stay warm and comfy in my sister, Georgette, for a bit longer). Although Nathaneal isn’t actually a Paddy’s day baby (by the mere matter of an hour) I got a text when the celebrations had already kicked off down here in New Zealand. One bottle of champagne and numerous toasts later Louise and I were well on the way to a suitable frame of mind for the yearly Irish celebration. I’ve now been enjoying slightly too large emails from my family, who will be getting free tutorials on email etiquette and image compression when I get back home, to see Nathaneal’s wrinkled little face for the first time. I’ve uploaded these to my photo site if you fancy a look for yourselves – ah, bless.

So now the family titles have been extended – I’m an uncle, my older sister is a mother, Abigail is an aunt (at 12), mum and dad are grandparents (and will be reminded of it regularly) and nan is a great grandmother! Feel like I need to get a ‘Dummies guide to being an uncle’ to understand what my uncling duties should be… Have to have a chat with my own uncle, Steve, to find out what he thought about that. A quick search of the web seems to reveal nothing relevant so maybe I’ve found a niche in the publishing market. I’ll file that with my idea for make-up that contains multi-vitamins so you look healthy and feel more healthy at the same time (copyright 2003, Matt Hobbs TM).

Right – enough family stuff (for now). I’m off out to enjoy the delights of the Cormandel Pennisula, including its famed hot beach where you can dig your own spa around low tide due to thermal heat under the beach. Crazy. Think I’m getting addicted to spas now which is worrying. Had a great time on St Paddy’s day hiking up to some falls north of Taupo and stopping for a swim in the beautiful, freezing, clear river, before sitting under the hot spring that flows right into it. Ah…

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