Friday, 17 January 2014

A summery holiday

What a wonderful holiday we had! Apart from a couple of trips to the Wairarapa, our post-Christmas holiday was the first we have had in many years and I admit I was a little nervous. Sleeping the kids in strange beds is never entirely successful and holidaying has not really been on my radar. But wow, what great experiences there are to be had!

We timed our holiday in New Plymouth for my grandmother's 96th birthday, and went with my Dad. Well, he drove and we took a shortcut by plane. Cheating a little, but it made it all so much more do-able. I've been visiting family in Taranaki all my life, and Reuben has been a couple of times before Esther was born, so it was lovely to have them both in a place where I feel we belong.

Treats in Gran's garden

When I made the decision to go I was so pleased. It suddenly felt so right and so important to have Reuben and Esther and their Grandma all in the same place. However long they are in this world together, there will always be that link; Reuben and Esther will have been in her home, stood at her knee, chatted to her, ransacked the stuff in her garage and got to know her. Esther will have fallen asleep on her Grandma's spare bed, lying on the bedspread and beside the furniture that I know so well. Seeing all this moved me more than I ever expected.

Happy Birthday Grandma

It has to be said that we needed to do a little more than just sit at Gran's knee and check out all the cool stuff in her garage. And as it happened, there was so much to do. We celebrated her birthday, visited my cousin's farm, went to the Pukekura Park lights (via a mini train ride), went to Puke Ariki, drove to Oakura Beach and went to Pukeiti. I know, we packed it in.

When my brother and I were young we stayed at my uncle's (dad's cousin) farm in Taranaki a few times. Many family legends were put in to place. My elderly aunt looking out from her nearby home to see a very little me bossing around the cows with great confidence. Me riding on the back of a motorbike, me wearing giant blue overalls, me hosing out the cowshed, and best of all the highly successful eeling trip with our cousin Andrew.

This time round the next generation had a turn, as we took Reuben and Esther to Andy and Tania's farm...

Reuben was desperately keen to see the cows, so once he got Grandad to stop talking with the rellies we made the trek across a couple of paddocks to have a good look. But a gaze from the gate wasn't enough for Reuben, he wanted a proper close up look. So Andy suggested he head in by himself. And he did. Dad and I couldn't quite believe it. He's a pretty cautious little guy. But off he went, slowly making his way, while the cows slowly backed away. On it went, until the cows finally thought he looked harmless, stopped, and let him come a little closer, though by this time they were all a long way from the gate.

Thinking, eventually, "what harm can a four year old boy do?" (are they crazy?), the cows decided they needed a closer look, and they all quickly crowded around. How amazing it was to see that little boy out there!

Grandad wandered out with Esther at this point, and I think Reuben was probably quite pleased to see him, though he never showed a flicker of fear.

"I think I might just go back to Grandad now"

Beautiful baby blackbirds in a nest in the front garden. I've never seen anything like it.

As well as eyeballing a few dozen cows, we saw a most amazing nest of tiny baby blackbirds, and a few days later at Pukeiti we were shown a beautiful frozen Kereru (native NZ wood pigeon) that had died when it flew in to the Lodge window. The promise of seeing a dead bird didn't hold much for me when it was suggested, but gosh what a perfect and beautiful thing it was.

We all had so many amazing experiences on our holiday. I know Reuben and Esther did and saw wonderful things they have never come across before. And perhaps for me it is as they say - you really do get to see life through different eyes when you are a parent, and the wonder of the world hits you once again.

Pukekura Park lights (rag doll Phoebe was the only one who remembered to wear white, I must be out of touch).  


  1. What a lovely holiday! Looks like you had a happy time. I've been thinking about you a lot so thank you for sharing this. Your photos are beautiful!

  2. Love love love this post!!!!!! :) I can't believe Elsie is 96! Amazing! Many of your memories are also my memories, albeit slightly different, so this post just makes me smile so much. The Naki is a very special place and I feel privileged to know that. The photos are beautiful, as always. My favourite is Esther trying to climb the fence. :)

  3. Aww what a beautiful post, such gorgeous natural photos, and I love hearing about the lovely memories alongside the new adventures! Way to go, Reuben, very cool! :). xxx Ngaire

  4. What WONDERFUL photos! Thanks for all the stories and pics. FAB!

  5. Not only the mother and the children enjoyed it - so did Granddad. The trick was to do things at the pace of RJ and E because everything was new. Cows and tractors belong in books - or do they? Hmmm, these were real cows that ran away and then came back ! And the grass was so long it tickled their "you know where". Mind those thistles. Yep, we must go back sometime - there's a mountain to be climbed.