Another town day.

I decided on rising this morning that we would go out for breakfast.
So got the troops packed up, called Christine and invited her to join us.
We crept along Lincoln Road amongst the rush hour traffic into the city to meet Bri & Nathan at 9am.
They were a tad late so Bri was running for class.
We took Nathan and his gear, drove into the city centre, found a park and walked to Drexels.
We enjoyed our delicious breakfasts over a lot of hilarity – Christine arrived and there were funny stories flying around the table in between little folk having to go to the bathroom – why do we always put them at the back of the booth so we all have to move out every time they need to go?
Christine took this pic of us all outside the restaurant before we parted company.
We were all totally replete

I then dropped Max & Brooke off at the museum with the two wee ones.
Brooke has just sent me these photos so I am updating this entry to fit them in.

The famous Paua House from Invercargill has been moved to the museum.
They were very delighted to see all the pretty paua shells and trinkets.

Nathan and I zipped out to Kaiapoi to pick up a book.
Then back across town to Tower Junction to sort out a problem with my Postie loyalty card.
Nathan was needing some new jeans so we were both delighted to find some that were long enough, fitted well and were on a 30% reduction.

From there we headed over to Kilmore St to have a cuppa with my niece Maria.
It was lovely to see her and her flat.
The others had been to the Arts Centre for hot chocolate which Mahalia had managed to spread all through her hair and over her top!
They were very impressed with the decorations on the top of their drinks.

They met us there and there we debated and discussed as to the difference between a flat and appartment, among other topics!

The children enjoyed seeing Maria again.

Azzan was totally fascinated with her beautiful naturally curly red hair so there was a long discussion with her about it and also about piercings and tatooes etc.
He seems to have a fixation at the moment.
His constant question is ‘When can I get my nose pierced?’

I think he is learning to get a rise out of his mother at a very early age

We had to leave soon after 2pm cuz my parking meter was expiring and I had also arranged to pick up Madeline from school at 3pm so she and Mahalia could have a couple of hours together.
Brooke & Max loaded up with all their gear and headed off into the sunset.
We had to finally say au revoir.

That is way better than saying goodbye cuz it means
‘to the seeing again.’

And I am sure we will be seeing them again.
Mahalia couldn’t quite get a handle on the fact that we wouldn’t be seeing them again in the near future.
She was sad
So were we all

We picked up Madeline and went to Northlands Mall.
I got them all an ice cream or smoothie.
It was nice to sit down still for a while.
I was rather weary.
All this city driving to and fro is rather taxing.

Dropped Madeline back after 5, said hi to Louisa and then headed back to have dinner with Vonnie.
Our route took us past Starbucks at Riccarton Mall so Nathan kindly zipped in to get me a pick me up.
Sweet lad

Nathan helped cook dinner – it is so good to have simple fresh salads.
Very refreshing.
Then we watched Coronation St with Vonnie.
First time I have seen it in centuries!!

Last night here so we will be packing up in the morning to begin our journey northwards.

A shopping day

Today we popped around the corner to visit Neroli.
The children enjoyed playing with toys and trying on the girls cast off shoes, most pairs which have found their way into the Safari to go home for dress-ups!!

Then we picked up my cousin Sue and we went to Riccarton Mall for lunch.
As we came down the escalator we found this character entertaining the passersby.
Azzan and he got along famously.

He made Azzan a white balloon sword and Mahalia a balloon posy.

Azzan ended up with his hat and then after the clown showed off some tumbles and cartwheels
Azzan did a real good handstand too – impressing his new friend

We had lunch at the foodcourt and then drove off to Hornby Mall.
Mahalia found some cool clothes for her doll and we found some amazing bargains for the children at Postie’s sale.

We came back to Tower Junction and browsed a few shops and then went to find Max & Brooke.
We then dropped Sue off, got some food for dinner and came home.
It was a long day and we were weary.

Max made a very yummy meal of salad and eggs.
It was really good after eating out all day.

Brooke read the children and then she and Max repacked and sorted all their gear.

Tonight has just been a nice chilling evening with Vonnie and Alvin

Sunday pt 3 – Alvin’s birthday

We all met up at Lonestar at 5:30pm for dinner to celebrate Alvin’s birthday.
It was great.
The food was fantastic.
There is a Lonestar chain in the USA – our NZ Lonestar’s are not linked with them at all.
They are totally Kiwi.
According to Brooke & Max it was 100% better than Lonestar in the States.
I had steak and it was done to perfection and was absolute melt in your mouth!

The cuzzies – Alvin, Vonnie and me

Azzan spent quite a while writing on his colouring sheet – he was very proud of his writing.
He made it all twirly ‘like old fashioned writing’.

He gave Alvin a birthday massage too.

He also loved spending some smoochie cuddle time with his big sis

Nathan was rather pleased with his iced chocolate but not so pleased with me taking photos of him

We had such a great night.
Brooke read another chapter of Azzan’s ‘Magic Puppy’ book to him as we drove home and then another once he was all ready for bed.
He really loves those stories.

Sunday pt 1

We had a very laid back morning.
Vonnie had to go to work by 8am and Alvin arrived back from his bowling tournament at 10am.
Brooke & Max went for a walk to get some groceries and a coffee.
The children played and I pottered.

When B&M got back from their walk the kids reminded them very quickly of the promised trip to the playground.
So they went and got rid of some energy down there for half an hour while I caught up with Alvin’s news.

When they finally returned we loaded up and headed into the city to meet up with Bri & Nathan.

We left Brooke & Max at the internet cafe and we wandered off down to the Art Gallery and then to the Arts Centre.
It was a beautiful day so rather pleasant to just wander for a while.
But Bri was busting to get to the beach.
So we cruised off back to the vehicles and she loaded Nate, Hali, Brooke & Max on board and headed off to Taylor’s Mistake.

Azzan and I walked back to the Arts Centre.
It was nice to have time to just browse.
Azzan found a stall which was painting nails with a computerised lazer printer thing.
So he had two nails done and then I decided to have all of mine done just for fun.

By then we were both very hungry so went to The Dux de Lux and ordered some lunch.
It took forever to come.
Sarah came down to join us so we chatted as we ate and then he walked back to the parking building with us.

A socialising sorta day

We set out on Saturday morning for Dress Mart.
I haven’t been there in years.
It certainly has grown!.
We could’ve spent days and heaps of money there
I only wanted to see if Max had anything worth looking at cuz I have this rather large voucher to use there.
Nothing I liked fitted – actually this time the pants were all too big and they never had my size, so in a way that’s gotta be good
Brooke found a real good deal on a jacket so she was able to whittle back the voucher by a few dollars – great

Then we headed off westwards to find our friends Bruce & Kathy who have just recently moved back to NZ from Minnesota.
They and their family are working on a dairy farm near Kirwee.

On the way we went past this road sign.

Brooke was fascinated to see it so I had to back up to grab a pic.
I am guessing it is around this area that Tim’s grandmother’s family came from.
Her surname was ‘Anson’ – that is who our Anson is named after.

We got there just in time for the children to go help bring in the 500 cows for the afternoon milking.

Mahalia has been asking me for ages now if she can see how a dairy farm works so here was the golden opportunity.
So off they went with Kristie on the 4 wheeler to bring in the cows.
Then after lunch Bruce had to go down to the shed to begin the milking so he took Brooke & Max.
I stayed back and chatted with Kathy.

Then all too soon it was 3pm and we needed to keep moving.
We packed up and Kathy loaded Daniel, Luke & Kristie into her wagon and we zoomed off further to the west and spent the rest of the day with Emma, Wayne & family near Oxford.

The children had a wonderful time.
They all dressed up as robbers and were running around like total mad things, expending a heap of energy.
My kids love it there cuz they have a mountain of dressing up clothes.

Mahalia soon found the bikes and she and the girls were zooming about.
She has become very proficient very quickly – maybe this might side track her from her horse

I took my computer with me to show Emma our wedding photos – so she was delighted to see them all.
It didn’t take the day very long before the clock was showing 7pm.
So we dragged the troops apart and headed off back to Christchurch.

We were all tired and I couldn’t face thinking of what to cook for dinner so we drove straight into the city and found Spagalimis. It is a great pizza place – been there for years. It was also the time of the ‘save the world’ turn off the lights for an hour thing – so by the time we got there it was all sorta darkish and we ate by candle light.

Graham came by and chatted with us while we ate.
It was good to catch up with him.

We then headed back here and crashed out.
I sat up and watched a movie while waiting for Vonnie to get home.
It was really good.
Must look out for more of Jon Cusack’s movies.
Enjoyed it immensely.




Packing up again and into the city

We had quite a load to pack up this morning.
It was done care to make room for a passenger in the very back seat.
We said our farewells to Ed & Jan and bumped over the gravel road to the gate.
By the time we got there Azzan was getting submerged.

So we did a quick resort and Azzan & Brooke changed paces.
At least if stuff fell on her she wouldn’t get buried so easily!

As we were driving towards Christchurch Nathan was being rather cheeky.
He is very quick witted and he and Brooke were sparring in the back.
Now she is not officially his teacher anymore he calls her ‘Woman!’
I was having him on as to why he wanted to come with us as he normally would opt to stay at home with Dad.
I said I reckoned he only wanted to come on holiday so he didn’t have to stay back and grub weeds with Dad & Anson.
‘Too right’, he said.
‘It would’ve been total torture having to work with Attila the Hun and Ming the Merciless’!!!! 

As we neared Amberley we got slowed by road works and whilest sitting chatting he mentioned he would quite like to go stay with Bri. So I text her and we took a deviation to our planned route and dropped him off at the Wenborn’s.
It was a good stop as we were also able to drop off Damaris & David’s engagement present.
So that stop meant a LOT more room in the Safari for the rest of us
It was nice to see Bri too but we didn’t dally as we had a lunch engagement.

We then called Ross & Lenore and arranged to meet them where they were having lunch in the city.
When we got there I thought we would have to go a few blocks away to get a park but as we drove by the Oxford on Avon Max spottd a park right at the front door!
What a blessing that was as we were quite late for lunch.
Got inside and discovered it was Omar’s graduation celebration and Cyrus was also there.
So that meant the last engagement present could be off loaded.
We had an enjoyable time there with them all and were also able to watch the boats punting up and down the river.

We then wandered down the street to Starbucks for dessert.
The lady serving us took a fancy to the children and gave them stickers and foreign money from the donation box.
Azzan thought he was in heaven.

We then drove across town to Mokka and caught up with the rest of the Wenborn whanau – nice to see most of them there en masse – we didn’t expect that so it was a bonus.
Then we fought our way through the traffic to find Kathmandu cuz there was a big sale on and I wanted to get a sleeping bag.
Ended up getting two at 60% off – one each for Nathan & Seb – they need the l-o-n-g bags so I am going to buy Nathan’s old shorter one off him and he can have the new longer model.
Then we found Hunting & Fishing so Brooke could shop for her young cousin.
Then it was into the nearly 5pm traffic and out of town to Alvin & Vonnie’s where we are staying for the next few nights.
On the way stopping to pick up groceries.
Azzan did not want to get out of the car so Brooke sat with him and read stories.

We have had a lovely leisurely evening and dinner.
It is now way past my bed time but I wanted to get this all caught up now while I had the peace and quiet and internet connection.

Island Hills visit

We all had such a good sleep and woke to another beautiful calm day.
Mahalia was in my room fossicking for clothes as soon as she woke up.
She said to me
‘Brooke is right. If I start to wobble I just need to pedal faster.’
Then she was back outside pedaling faster and faster and zooming around the paddock like a pro.

We had breakfast, packed a picnic and drove up to Island Hills.
Dan had asked Ed & Jan if they could draft up a mob of sheep for him as he was busy.
So we all got in there and got them sorted.
It was a bit dusty and we had to get the gates sorted but we soon got them all done.

Then we went and explored.
Saw all the alterations and improvements Dan and Mandy have done over the past few years.
It is great.
Loved the museum they have put together of all the old things found around the farm.
So cool.

Dan & Mandy have taken over the farm since we were last there and have put in a huge amount of time and energy into developing the Hurunui High Country Track.

We had lunch in the sun at The Cookhouse and then loaded on board Ed’s Toyota truck and headed off towards the Bush Hut.
We took their wee granddaughter Amalia with us so she created lots of fun as only a nearly 3 year old can.
We met up with some walkers so stopped to have a chat with them.

We got to as far as the truck could take us so we set off on foot towards the Bush Hut leaving Jan with a sleepng Amalia.
It is the last night for the walkers but we only walked about half an hour in there on a slightly different route.

When we arrived Nathan was already there – in a heap on the ground – complaining as only a 13year old lad can – with a big smile on his face

It was great to see all the improvements that have been done without loosing the charm of the place.
Well done everyone

When we were ready to leave we all of a sudden realised Mahalia was not any where to be found.
We had thought she was with Brooke and Max but she wasn’t.
So we had a very worrisome time searching for her.
I eventually found her way ahead at the river crossing playing with Jan & Amalia who had walked in to meet us.
She hadn’t thought to tell anyone that she was heading back – she now knows that is NOT the way to do things when out in the bush!!

The children stripped off and had a great time in the rather chilly water.
It was so hot that they really didn’t mind though.
Amalia thought Azzan was just the bees knees and kept on wanting to follow him around.
She couldn’t get a handle on his name so just kept talking about the big boy with the wet pants

I love this photo of Ed in his element.

When we got back to the homestead Dan needed some more help with sorting sheep so Ed, Brooke & Max stayed back to help him and Jan & I took the children home.
They were hot and tired.
We couldn’t keep Mahalia off the bike.
She was racing around for all she was worth.

Finally got her in and popped them into a bath and then they all settled down to watch a new movie Azzan & I had bought the day before.
‘The Waterhorse’
Then it was dinner and bed.

We watched ‘Strictly Ballroom’.
It is such a funny, carazy Australian movie.
I enjoyed it as much the 2nd time of viewing as I did the first!!

Travelling southwards

Wednesday morning we were up bright and early and the Safari was loaded to the gunnels.
We went into the city to drop off some of the presents and fuel up.
Last week I had opened the mail bag and out came a child-wrapped present – all scrunchy with lots of sellotape and a big white label that read very simply ‘Sophie‘.
Mahalia had sent it out in the mail bag the previous Friday.
Gorgeous child hadn’t thought that maybe the mailman might need an address and some postage to actually get it to her wee friend!
So we delivered it in person along with her big sister’s engagement present.

We met up with Clark & Nathan at Matthew’s place.
He had kindly offered to take Clark to play golf with him.
It was sad to finally have to say good-bye but it was a beautiful day and we all had places to go and things to do.
In the hour that we had been gone Phil & Clark had jacked up a fishing trip for the weekend so Clark was pretty rapt about that.
So it was good to leave him smiling

We did some quick grocery shopping and then headed over the hill to drop some stuff off at Phillipa’s.
The children enjoyed a brief sojourn there while we had our lunch.
They had two new kittens.

They were also having a heap of fun leaping off the trampoline onto a pile of mattresses.
Here is a kid sandwich!!

We were having such a lovely time there but reluctantly drove off around 2:30pm cuz we still had about 4 hours driving ahead of us.

We stopped briefly at Murchison and said gidday to Ruairidh.
He is wwoofing there so he can do some kayaking courses.
Azzan was sleeping so I didn’t want to turn off the engine, so we chatted for a few minutes and then carried on.

We stopped a bit later at the Maruia Falls.
It was so pretty there we had to wander down to the river.

Finally a photo of Brooke and me together.

A blissful place for children to play.
Azzan started gathering rocks like he does where ever he goes, but I had to tell him only one small one cuz we just didn’t have room.

We then hit the road and carried on non stop till we got to Culverden at 6pm.
Max had been waiting there for 2 hours.
It was a lovely sunny day so he was relaxing in the park with his ukelele and book.

We loaded him in – it was getting quite a squash by this time but we didn’t have much further to go.
We finally found Ed & Jan’s place.
They welcomed us all and we unloaded and sat out on the deck and chatted before dinner.

Ed found a bike for Mahalia and Brooke spent a wee while helping her to learn to ride.
All of a sudden she was away.
She was amazing.
All these years and she just would not even try and here she was just going for it.
We were gobsmacked!

Here she is giving Ed a race back to the house.
She won!

Tuesday – the leaving day

We were all up and gone at 6am.
We were very privileged because Anson got up to say good-bye

Brooke saying her farewells in the morning – she reckoned that we couldn’t see her crying in the dark

Nathan drove out with Clark and we all met up at Starbucks so we could sort out our days activities.
Well, that was a pretty good reason to meet there I thought
I took the two wee ones and zipped around the Tahunanui and did all the jobs I could while Brooke & Clark did a heap of catching up at the internet cafe and Nathan went browsing the shops looking for boys toys!
I off loaded a heap of shopping at Alan & Eare’s for Tim to pick up when he comes out next week.

We met up for lunch at The Falafel shop and then split again for a while.
I shot out to Richmond and saw Rachel.
Then we all met up again, did the grocery shopping for dinner.

Brooke thought Azzan might enjoy a roll of pet meat!

The boys & Hali took the food back to Cousin Phil’s while Brooke, Azzan & I went to visit Estelle.
Azzan was most taken with her very large rabbit which was hopping around her balcony.

We had a most delicious dinner and enjoyable evening with Phil.
We all spread out mattresses in his conservatory and slept marae style.
It was fun.
Brooke read the children’s new magazine stories to them before we tucked them in to bed.
Clark and he ended up with their heads until late into
 the night discussing fly fishing and all that goes with that sport.

I spent the evening wrapping up a heap of engagement and birthday presents.
There seems to be an epidemic of engagements lately – lovely news, and a great reason to go shopping