Christmas and New Year's in New Zealand is shut down time. Schools break for their summer holidays and there are four days of public holidays so lots of businesses close their doors for a week or two as well.
We traditionally break out the tents and sleeping bags and go camping in an Uncle's paddock. The extended family all come to stay and sometimes friends too. At one stage this year we had 13 kids running round.
This is the little creek at high tide. I learnt how to operate the dinghy so I could zip back to Cerego if I wanted to. Living tied up to a dock meant I hadn't needed to use a dinghy yet and it hadn't even crossed my mind that I should learn. The first day we were up the river, Hubby took his runabout sized boat to work, leaving me on Cerego with the dinghy. Fat lot of good that was because I didn't know how to use it! I had my freedom curtailed and I didn't like it one little bit. I made sure I had my first lesson that afternoon, and actually, it's pretty simple.
The weather before Christmas was a bit grey and dull but it slowly got better and better until we were having the most beautiful days. The temperature would get up around 27 degrees Celcius, hardly a cloud in the sky and the water temperatures went up too.
This is our sixth year camping in this spot. The kids look forward to it so much. There is so much for them to do and now they are getting older and older, they require less supervision and have an even greater range of activities...like mud bathing.
And horse riding. That's my Uncle in Law leading the horse. Marshall is a bit of a famous horse whisperer in the area and there are ten or so horses on his property. It's very relaxing in the evenings watching the horses graze on the hill behind our tents.
This year was the year of the flounder. The kids discovered they could find flounder in the creek during daylight (usually you go flounder spearing in the evening with lights) so they made or found flounder spears and went hunting and they were surprisingly successful! And it's the funniest thing to see half a dozen kids crowded round a frying pan devouring a freshly cooked fish - gone in seconds and none left for the adults.
It's becoming a tradition to build one of the Aunties a birthday cake on her birthday. I say 'build' because we pile up pre-made goodies like pavlovas, eclairs, fruit and we've even tipped out a whole container of ice-cream to use as a base. That whole tray got eaten with none left for seconds - our annual sugar fix!
Whipped cream shenanigans!
And the top deck was also the perfect place to jump from when swimming!
The water was warm and clear.
And everyone swam.
Now we are back home safe and sound and restored.
I am preparing for my next adventure which is a week away at the Manawatu Quilt Symposium. I have a four day class with Texan quilt artist, Sue Benner and I'm totally excited. I intend to use mostly my own hand dyed fabrics and the requirements list says to bring 40-60 different fabrics. I needed to restock my hand-dyes so I used my lazy days in the paddock to dye about 25 yards of fabric all in fat quarter sized pieces.
So hopefully I'll be back to a more frequent style of blogging, and I'm hoping I'll manage to squeeze in some interviews at Symposium for my podcast - watch this space!