Monday, June 28, 2010

Most probably my last post from Australia!

As a little bit of a break from packing, I thought I'd just say a quick hello before I head off to Fiji tomorrow!

I sent off a good 25 kilograms worth of stuff back home this morning which should arrive in about 12 weeks, give or take! I think I might actually have spare room in my pack when I've finished! I'll let you all know!

So, this time tomorrow I'll be midway over the Pacific Ocean (easily the best ocean I've been in!) on my way to Nadi in Fiji. For those that are interested I am staying at the Seashell @ Momi resort where I plan to do lots of surfing, lounging on the beach and that kind of thing. Expect some awesome pictures.

From there I head off to Hawaii on 9th July, and, interestingly, I arrive a whole day before I leave... A lot more surfing and a trip up to the volcano will then follow. After that I head to LA for an overnight stop before landing back in the UK, a year to the day since I left, at Heathrow Terminal 5 at 11.45 local time. Goodness knows what time I'll think it is.

Whilst it is still a tad premature to reminisce and all, it has been a truly incredible year so far, one I am sure will only get better! I have so many amazing memories and have met some great people (two or three of which I'll probably be at Uni with!). Thanks to everyone back home for putting up with my lack of communication and what not, not long 'til I'm home now and I am looking forward to seeing everyone.

For the last time in Oz, cheers and G'day. xxx

Friday, June 11, 2010

There was no appropriate title for this; I tried about three before I settled on this.

The three week mark has now passed. That is until I leave Australia, there is another two after that. I spent this week at Finniss, the school's outdoor education centre, on Year 8 camp. I had a pretty torrid time of it and I am now very thankful for the (very) long weekend we have off at the moment!

Today will be spent not doing an awful lot, besides some indoor soccer this evening and, of course, the start of the World Cup which I am most excited about! Tomorrow, after coming on in the second half last weekend (and, I might add, scoring a conversion) I am benching for the Second Grade against the Barossa Rams, which I am really looking forward to. There is loads of rugby on this weekend too. Speaking of which, I might be heading over to Sydney next weekend to watch England take on Australia! What a way to finish my time in Oz!

On Sunday I might be heading down to the coast for a spot of bodyboarding, but I am waiting on confirmation of that. Then, on Monday, I would imagine I won't do very much at all!

Whilst I was away the 1st XV here lost to PAC, who I may have mentioned before as being the huge rivals. Suffice to say I am not too happy. Doubly so because they're off to Melbourne on a tour this weekend...

Anyway, I don't really have too much to add. My last few weeks in Australia will be spent playing rugby, going to the St. Peter's bakehouse as much as I can and trying to save some money for my trip off to Fiji, Hawaii, and now, LA. If anyone has any suggestions for what I can do, let me know. Also, if you're really bored, you can now "follow" me on Twitter! (twitter.com/peterjskinner)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shoulders, Shenanigans and Sh... what else begins with Sh-? Alliteration is hard.

So, only about eight weeks until I land back in the UK! I realised as I was watching the Antiques Roadshow (on every afternoon on Channel Nine here), that I could simply type stuff on Microsoft Word and copy and paste it with my five or ten minute quota time on the blog. Speaking of which, sorry for the lack of hyperlinks detailing what I’m on about; the filtering means it is a simpler version of the blog site and I have to encode them in HTML format which I have no real idea how to do!

Hopefully mu shoulder will have fully recovered by the time I get home. For those that don’t know, I’ve slightly torn the AC joint playing rugby. This is not too bad; a full tear would have put me out for a good six weeks meaning I wouldn’t get another game in Oz. As it happens I’m having physio and treatment and should be back in a couple more weeks. Still, it is really frustrating, especially never having been injured before, but I guess it had to happen some time. The most frustrating part is watching and losing fitness, especially after such a good pre-season and start to the season. Such is life.

The school’s First XV is going well, we recorded our second win of the season yesterday, though they worked rather harder for it than they needed – after scoring first we then had 15 unanswered points scored against and left ‘til the last fifteen minutes to do anything about it! We clung on for a good 19-15 win though. Real test next week when we take on Pembroke, the team with all the ex-pats and foreign coaches; definitely the team to beat.

What else is new? I’ve picked up even more work now in the last few weeks before mid-term exams tutoring and scribing for a few boys in the run up as they prove too much to handle for teacher’s trying to get people ready before these tests! My laptop is really on its last legs, having been infected by the school internet and now they refuse to do anything about it claiming it’s not their fault and recommending outside help, which seeing as I am trying to save is not ideal. (Sorry Mum and Dad, probably not the best place to announce it…). Aside from that I am trying to keep myself out of trouble, and like I say, trying to save for my little trip home. I’ve been in touch with the travel agents and there’s no need to worry about ash clouds, apparently they’re flying round them now… I’ll let you know how that goes!

I best sign off and get to ready to head to the club for some fitness and ultrasound treatment (don’t worry, I’m not pregnant, the sound waves help promote healing in the shoulder). Hope everyone is well back home. Cheers for following my blog so closely!

Pj xx

Is Goldilocks a juvenile delinquent?

Sorry there's been no news for a while! I did have something typed up and ready to post but the school have made it nearly impossible to get on here and write because they've imposed a quota time.

All is well down under though; mostly the usual day to day thing whilst trying to get ready to come home.

Until I get chance to sort something out and type something properly, here is a little something I had a bit of fun with the other day in class. One of the boys I help is in Year 8 and as such learning to write essays properly. So, Mr. Hopewell set them this as their question given that they all know the story.
I hope you like it!


"Is Goldilocks a juvenile delinquent?

The age old fable “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” has long been regaled to youngsters but it does raise questions of morality. As such, its relevance and benefit as a fable are thrown into question. On the one hand, Goldilocks is a simply an innocent young girl who stumbled across an empty house with some delicious porridge on the table and a comfy bed in the bedroom. However, on the other hand, her actions show an inexcusable disregard for the law and set her, like many of today’s youth, on a slippery slope towards more serious crime.

The beginning of the story sees Goldilocks come across the Bears’ unlocked front door and curiosity get the better of her, which culminates in her trying all three of the bear’s porridges. Many have argued that this constitutes “breaking and entering” and therefore she is in clear breach of the law. Whilst her actions are probably questionable, it is an over-exaggeration to label them as illegal. The door was unlocked and being a curious young girl, her intrigued mind simply got the better of her. On the contrary, Goldilocks has undoubtedly trespassed on another’s property. What possessed her to do this we are not told, however, the fact she was left to her own devices in a forest first thing in the morning highlights an abject failure on behalf of her parents. This therefore gives some credence to Goldilocks’ case: how can she be expected to know the moral repercussions of this when she is quite clearly a product of what David Cameron, the British Prime Minister calls “a broken society”? Surely Goldilocks is not at fault for simply being a product of her society?

Goldilocks’ subsequent actions; breaking Baby Bear’s chair and falling asleep in his bed – the two that were “just right” – do seem to show a lack of respect for other people’s property, something society dictates as wrong. However, as we have seen, Goldilocks, being a young girl is unlikely to have much of an understanding as to the demands of society, she was simply interested in finding the bed that was most comfortable. As such, it is fair to argue that Goldilocks’ actions are not those of a juvenile delinquent, simply those of an innocent and curious young girl. Moreover, who can blame Goldilocks for falling temptation to what is obviously the house of a loving and caring family? The comfort of her surroundings is indicated by the fact she actually fell asleep in Baby Bear’s bed. Can we honestly assume a juvenile delinquent would be relaxed enough to do this? I would attest that this behaviour would be highly unlikely from someone who had broken and entered and whose actions were calculated. Furthermore, it is reasonable to assume that a juvenile delinquent’s actions, and reasons for entering, would be somewhat more malicious. The naivety of Goldilocks’ actions highlight they are simply those of an intrigued and curious young girl.

However we look at this story, whether with harsh cynical eyes, or with a liberal forgiving outlook, there is undoubtedly evidence that Goldilocks was in the wrong. Where the disagreement lies is in the extent of this wrong doing. We have seen the arguments that defend her actions as those of a na├»ve youngster with a curious mind on the one hand and the accusations that that argue she is a delinquent with serious issues that will continue to be a burden to society on the other, despite the timeless nature of this story. When we look at this in the context of Goldilocks’ family, who have clearly abandoned her and left her to fend for herself in the forest; her actions are hardly surprising. With such a blatant parenting failure, is it any wonder Goldilocks’ moral compass is somewhat skewed? Many would counter this with the argument that we have an intrinsic sense of right and wrong and Goldilocks’ actions clearly contravened this. Our sympathies, however, must lie with the protagonist. We must allow her the benefit of the doubt; all youngsters make mistakes and Goldilocks is no exception. Wild accusations of “evil” and juvenile delinquency are misplaced and a gross over exaggeration. Whilst she is undoubtedly troubled and needs professional help, her actions were by no means calculated and pre-meditated; they were simply those of a curious and innocent youngster crying, perhaps, for help."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Beginning of the end...

An ominous sounding title, I know, but given how quickly the first three terms have flown by, appropriate nonetheless!

My Easter holidays improved markedly in the last weekend; I had a good surf down at Middleton on Friday and again on Monday. The one on Monday was followed by the greatest pie of all time: a cheese, chilli and mince one. And a superb custard tart. In between I had a superb brunch on Sunday morning up in the hills at the Stirling Hotel and came home via Mount Lofty with some superb views over the city.

I've emailed my application to vote by proxy home so hopefully I can bypass all this volcanic nonsense and get it in on time. I've been keeping track on things from afar (remarkably little coverage over here) and it looks really interesting, shame I couldn't be home for it really!

We had the first school rugby session of the term today. Lots of work to be done, but I am really excited to be helping out with the First XV and doing some more coaching; this is definitely something I'll be pursuing when I get home. Unfortunately I won't be able to go on the tour to Melbourne on the final weekend of the term; the teacher's get first priority!

We have community day this Saturday. I can't remember if I've mentioned this before but basically it's all the house sports and a big barbecue and school get together. I have a fairly busy weekend ahead; I'm refereeing some football in the morning, then got a rugby game, back to the boarding house then I'm on duty on Sunday which will involve getting up at the crack of sparrows for the dawn service for ANZAC Day, which I am actually really looking forward to. Speaking of which, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hank's latest collaboration, "The Pacific", is showing in Australia at the moment. It is in a similar vein to "Band of Brothers" and is really superb.

That's all for now, there's not too much to report since my last blog. I hope these more frequent updates are assuaging for the lack of contact earlier this month!

Till next time, cheers.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Easter Holidays

Hello All,

Once again apologies for what has been far too long since the last blog. I don't really have a good excuse. All that needs to be said is I got stuck in a bit of a rut doing nothing the last couple of weeks and the blog, like a lot else, has suffered. So apologies to you all.

There hasn't been a lot happening though. The rugby pre-season competition has kicked off and my club, Old Collegians, has two teams in. Unfortunately the seconds got thumped last week and so we're in the plate competition. We play Port Adelaide this week, and after a solid performance last week and working my socks off at training tonight I should be starting (I think) on Saturday. Despite toying with a switch to hooking, I am still playing breakaway up at the Senior level. Sorry, slipped in to Aussie speak there, that's flanker.

The holidays have been pretty quiet, aside from a trip to the Cathedral on Easter Day, a little trip up to Pine Point (a tiny town on the Yorke Peninsula) for a night just to have a chilled day with friends and what is now shaping up to be a pretty good weekend, heading down to do some surfing tomorrow and Monday, with a nice lunch up in the hills on Sunday.

I have been a bit of a plonker recently, and I apologise to everyone for this; things have been pretty hard after eight months and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again. Having said this, I am conscious not to wish the time away and I think as a result have actually ended winding myself up a bit... Short story: sorry to everyone for a lack of contact, being a Juan Pablo and, to use an Australian-ism, generally being a bit of a bad bloke. I will try hard to make this up to everyone in the next few days.

Cheers.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Footy!

The footy season is well and truly upon us. All forms of the game that use the wondrous thing that is the oval ball have returned. The AFL season begins on Thursday, there is a local seven's competition this weekend and the pre-season cup starts the weekend after Easter, hopefully.

Whilst the cricket season isn't entirely over (the longest running continuous cricket match in the world starts this weekend; unlike Eton and Harrow (don't click on those please, they are ridiculously pompous and annoying websites), Saints and PAC didn't stop for the war (which in my opinion actually doesn't make it something to boast about...)), my boys have a tough job to do against the old enemy this weekend having been set 209 to achieve in 45 overs, and following the epic rugby seven's this weekend, I really have decided that rugby is easily the best game in the world. And that is actually a fact.

The Seven's truly was awesome, Samoa won in a shock final against the USA on Sunday. I took some boys from the boarding house that day and it was awesome; we sat on the hill and enjoyed a great day of awesome rugby. The day before was my opportunity to exploit the free tickets I had blagged for working with the Aussie team all week and so, with Soltaire adorning my face, Scotland shirt worn proudly and a builder's hat to protect me from the sun, I watched Scotland... lose every game. And even me belting out Swing Low and God Save the Queen when my other country played the Aussies didn't help. What a day though!

Next week I'll be playing in a game of Aussie Rules Football! I'm quite excited, especially as it's against the Saints First XVIII! I'll let you know how it goes, though I reckon I might get penalised for tackling too well. I'm playing for SPOC (St. Peter's Old Collegians) F.C. and it's an Under 21 game, so I know most of the guys playing, so it should be a good laugh. I will take some pictures and get them up!

Then the rugby season starts in earnest at Old Collegians RFC, with the, I am told, "traditional" pre-season pub crawl! Friday nights is when the pre-season competition starts then in May the season proper starts, meaning I get around 6 games before I leave. I will certainly be making the most of them!

So bring on the collective "footy" season!

And apologies for my use of parentheses earlier, I got a bit carried away!