Friday, June 20, 2014

A Curling We Go!

Here at Otautau Medical Centre, we work hard. And in an effort to reward ourselves for the self-proclaimed excellent patient care we have provided to the good people of Southland, we went on a group curling trip.  Yes, curling. As in funny olympic ice sport with brooms and dramatic sliding. 


Doug and Dulcie were in the row ahead of where that first picture cut off. And there was still another row ahead of them for the driver! It was a big van.

But it doesn't matter how big of a rig you have when it's mustering time in New Zealand. Sheep yield to nothing.

Once that traffic jam cleared, it was smooth sailing until we got to lunch!
My only rule for roadtrips is that I get fed frequently, and at least half of the food should be pure sugar.
Check out that crazy ice cream cone! And the photobomber in the window.

With bellies full, we headed on to our destination of Naseby, NZ: Home of an international curling rink. Naseby has a population of something around 100 (that's probably generous), but it not only has the international curling rink, but is also home to the southern hemisphere's only ice luge track.
Respect, Naseby. Way to embrace your harsh winters.

Upon arrival to the Royal Hotel and Pub, we got all unloaded and settled in.

The pub/hotel is apparently 151 years old.
but it doesn't look a day over 125.

Clearly it isn't a busy street: they built their deck right out into the street, and I don't think anyone is concerned about that.

Anyway, after dropping off our bags and a quick tune on the piano, we had to head on over to the curling rink
Guess what song just happened to be on the piano (you won't guess).

It was The Kerry Recruit.  and if you know anything about Kerry, you realize this was FATE.
Nothing would have made her happier in this moment.

Quick drinks before heading over to start our curling adventure.

We got shuttled over, and the first order of business was to head upstairs for an informative video on the basics of curling. Since none of us had ever done it, that was a good way to just put the rules out there. Also probably the only way to get everyone to sit still and pay attention.
Glory awaits.

The on-ice tutorial. Turns out, you can use a handle to push the...curl??? block? puck? hmmm. disc? I don't know. 
But I do know that each one weighs 40-something pounds, and they slide across the ice like butter across a hot skillet.

Here's the crew getting into it. You'll note various forms - all of which are textbook, I can assure  you.

Kerry opted for the deep lean.

Margaret perfected the funny face side winder.

Anita did the hand-to-knee heave-ho.

Dulcie tested out the mopping approach.

I attempted the dramatic slide. Pip got a video. I pretty much fell over. I forgot a very important part of the dramatic slide:
The sliding sandal. They give you rubber grips for your shoes, but then you're supposed to put on this slippery sandal when you want to glide across the ice before letting the 'curl' go, gently to its resting spot across the arena. So my slide was abruptly ended by my rubber grippers. Oh well. next time, I"ll remember the slipper.

Curly had it down.

And Doug was looking like a pro.

And Pip was really good at it. She and I were direct competitors the whole time. We had to 'pitch' the first few for our teams each round. When the shooter lets it go, the rest of people wait at the other end, and they have to use those brooms to sweep as fast as possible right ahead of it as it approaches the target. The brushed speeds it up so it will go farther. If it is coming in fast, the opposing team has to wait til it reaches halfway across the target, then they can try to sweep ahead of it to make it pass on through the target. Very tricky. Pip had a soft touch, whereas I pretty much overshot it every time.

But I couldn't be too mad, even if she was a better curler than me.

We were getting pretty decent. the fern is the very middle. I'm pretty sure my team was yellow. but I'm also pretty sure that right after this picture was taken, Aaron sent his discs down and knocked both of these out. He did it every time. So frustrating! I think Natalie threw the one in the red. Mine might have been the one in the white.

Curly is helping sweep this one right on out of there. I should have been helping him, but felt the need to take this picture, apparently. He did a great job anyway.

And this is the whole crew. Everyone was pretty impressed with curling. It's a lot like going bowling - nobody is very good, but it's still fun.

And these are the people that actually work at the clinic:
Dulcie (front office), Me, Anita (Front office), Margaret (housekeeping), Natalie (manager), Rebecca (accreditation liaison), Aaron, Pip (nurse) and Kerry (nurse). We were missing one nurse, Nicola, on the trip.

And after the curling, we headed back to the Royal, and had tea and drinks. Watched the rugby, and just enjoyed eachothers company until bedtime.

Next day, it was more roadtripping with several stops along the way:

Chatto Creek pub. check out that sweet old rifle! It was here that Aaron and I decided that we plan to build New Zealand pubs into our future basements.

the three amigos.

Pip basically set up a massage station at this pub to address all the sore shoulders from curling the evening before. 

Then we stopped somewhere else for lunch. 
And then an apple market for some fresh Otago apples.
and then a pumpkin stand for some wholesale fresh-off-the-vine pumpkins (to eat...not for decoration) and some plum preserves. I think some people found some pickling onions too(not as terrible as they sound)

And of course, there were plenty of snacks to keep me quiet and happy:

And That's A Successful Roadtrip!

It was a fun weekend with a great team of colleagues.

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