Pussa, the elderly tabby cat from next door, decided to move in with us this year. Finding our house more to her liking than Sarah's, she upset Sarah by abandoning her for the more plentiful laps available in our house, greater ease of access (we have a cat flap), and central heating.
The move was made possible by the departure of previous cat Sam a couple of years ago. Sam is now fertilizing a rare White Rata tree in the back garden.
In February, Andy finally became bi-national at a citizenship ceremony in the town hall in Wellington. This means that he can't be thrown out of New Zealand any more, a big responsibility for his adopted country.
A major feature film trilogy, Tolkein's Lord f the Rings, has been filming in Wellington. Directed by Peter Jackson, NZ's most famous director, it stars Ian McKellan as Gandalf, and Andy in a series of major roles (soldier running across set, soldier holding pike in background, orc in background). Watch for Andy in the 2nd of the trilogy, due out at cinemas in 2001!
Filming was interesting, the costumes fantastic- very realistic even close up in real life, and the set at Avalon studios (the ruins of Osgolith or something) were incredibly realistic old stonework- that is, until you touched them and the polystyrene squashed a bit! The films will be excellent if the sets and costumes are anything to go by. Food on set is also good- must be hard for full time actors to stay slim! Working on a hot day in neoprene orc prosthetics is a bit of a trail though- like wearing a wet suit in the sun.
Andy, Chris and Kris have also been hob-nobbing with the film's star, Sir Ian McKellan, at parties (can you spot us in the photos?) around town in the last few months - and found him to be a very charming and unaffected person. He has lost his Lancashire accent though.
Andy had to sign a non-disclosure agreement about the filming of 'Lord of the Rings, so now you've read this, he'll have to kill you.
Andy left his permanent job on Boxing Day, to take a month off in the South Island. New Year will be spent with Chris and Kris at The Gathering (sort of like the Glastonbury Festival) and at Autumn Farm in Golden Bay. Then Andy is booked on a white water kayaking course in Murchison, after which a couple of weeks as a paragliding bum are planned (taking in the Wanaka League competition and the Nationals in Nelson). Kris is also doing the Nationals.
Further ahead, Andy will head to England with Chris, hopefully to make an obscene amount of money doing locum work over the English summer. Flights are booked in April, arriving in May in the UK (a three week interlude in San Francisco, Yosemite and Vancouver is planned).
Kris is holding fort at home, but he may join Chris & Andy for a holiday, (provided he can fly Business Class!)