I rose ridiculously early on Saturday, not in the best mood for the ridiculous reason of not being able to find the right trousers. After a quick breakfast, it was down the hill to Pomare station, a 20 minute walk because the car was off the road, from where I caught the train to Waterloo. Why no bus? Too early. On arrival at Waterloo, it was a short walk to St Bernard's, where I was picked up and taken to St Patrick's College, Kilbirnie. That was the venue for most of this year's Shield, starting with debate. The debate was an excitement in itself: SBC were opposing "The world's international organisations are serving us well". The absence of a team member and a substitution at very short notice was mitigated by the late arrival of the adjudicator. As it was, SBC lost the debate but still scored a 5 (top mark available is 6) for their performance.
Off to the staffroom for morning tea, where I started talking to a meteorologist who turned out to be a specialist in tropical cyclones. We had a fine time talking about Vanuatu and Fiji and our memories and rumours about Betsy/Fran, Kina/Nina, Bola, Eric/Nigel and Uma, among others. By the time we had done that, Junior Prepared Speech was under way, but I was there in time to hear most of the speeches. The standard, I felt, was not as high as the previous years. After lunch, it was the big one: section B of the Oratory. Chris was first off, with support from school and family. To his credit, he scored a 5 too. Well done! He was obviously very pleased with this, as was I. The main disappointment was that Oratory was run in two sections simultaneously, meaning that nobody could watch all of it. Impromptu speaking ran alongside it too, which also meant that the audience was smaller than would be hoped.
After those, there was a gap in proceedings. Craig, Mike and I found a wine bar in Kilbirnie that fitted our requirements and sat in there for a while, before Craig and I decided it was pizza time. While we were waiting for it, we met a crowd of SBC boys and ordering another pizza seemed the only way to keep our one safe.
By seven, we were ready for Religious Drama, usually the high spot of the weekend. i'm sorry to say that the standard here was disappointing too, which was shown by several marks as low as 2. SBC tied for top place with the home team, although both still only scored a 5.
Home time - to be picked up at 7:45 Sunday morning. Much better than the dire timings on Saturday. First was Scripture Reading. Have the standards dropped in everything? Pretty soon, the whole thing was nearly over, and only the Mass and the awards ceremony remained. Oh, and lunch. Don't forget that the food was good.
The Mass was almost indistinguishable from one of our services, with such popular songs as "Shine, Jesus, Shine", "Shout to the Lord", "Shout to the North and the South" and the Millennium prayer.
The awards followed lunch, with the two St Patrick's colleges picking up first and second overall. Back home with Mike, calling in at another wine bar on the way home.
It's Mother's Day in New Zealand, so we went off to Mr India for supper, just the five of us, where we had tandoori combo and onion bhujee, mango lassi, goat curry, paneer palak, which is cheese and spinach, and butter chicken. We also had plain naan, chese naan, garlic naan and roti.
Now that we're home, the boys have gone to bed and it will be coffee and bed for us two pretty soon.
The typing in this and subsequent entries may well be less than perfect, as our keyboard is past its best.