Friday 30th May – part 2

We followed Nathan around to Synergy Parkland.
It would have to be the best kids playground I have ever been to.
Fantastic place.
No commentary needed really.
We just wandered and enjoyed.
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Finally it was time for us all to leave.
We said goodbyes.
harder this time as only God knows when we will meet again.
Love you guys – thanks for coming down to visit with us – been a special couple of days xxxx

I navigated my way home with the Gamin & iPhone maps.
I much prefer being able to see the bigger picture as well and the Gamin doesn’t do that.
It is very helpful but sometimes I feel like I am driving blind.

Jesika & Seb had just gotten home from watching the sunset at the beach.
Hazel cooked a delicious dinner of Chicken Kiev and an onion, tomato & fennel dish.
Very tasty and appreciated.

We were all weary.
Blobbed in front of the box and watched a movie.
All slept well – except Murray who got attacked during the night by the cat!!

Friday 30th May

A much warmer morning today.
Murray & Sebastian left soon after 6am to go north to pick up Murray’s new boat.
Jesika had an 7am client so she left early too, but she came back to have breakfast with Evan afterwards.
She dropped Evan off at the train and then went to her next client.
Azzan & I got ourselves ready for the day and waited for Phoebe & Sapphire to wake up and get themselves organised.
We loaded the buggy in the boot and the necessary gear you have to take with a baby.
I took the gorgeous girl out to put her in her seat.
Love her new hat 🙂
We had several things we needed so after dropping Seb’s suit in to the dry cleaners we found the Rockingham Mall and Azzan & I ducked in and zoomed through Woolworths and then ran up to the other end to Boost to get some smoothies to take with us.
Phoebe stayed in the car with Sapphie.
It took me a bit of fiddling around but I managed to make the Gamin work and we followed ‘her’ instructions all the way to Kings Park.
Arrived there at 12:30pm, parked up and went to have lunch at the Botanical cafe.
Food was pretty darn good.
Beautifully presented, nutritious & good value.
I ordered Rocket & feta, quinoa, roast pumpkin salad.
They presented me with a huge plateful.
Azzan & Phoebe ordered the Prime beef 180g burger, swiss cheese, beetroot & tomato.
Azzan didn’t want his chips so I intended to eat them as I thought the salad would not be very filling!!
Phoebe ordered extra guacamole & egg and devoured the lot 🙂
Sapphire was sure that the tray of food was for her!
Nathan & Errilyn arrived with the boys just as we were finishing so they went off to have their picnic snack outside.
We meandered out to find them.
Exploring the park as we went.
Fraser Avenue was planted originally in 1898 to honour Queen Victoria’s jubilee.
This replacement avenue of red flowering gums was planted in 1929.
Found the picnickers – what a glorious spot.
There are wonderful views of the city and Swan & Canning Rivers from the park.
Loads of really interesting flora & fauna are represented in the park.
South-west Western Australia is famous for its unique mix of plant and animal life.
It is Australia’s only global biodiversity hotspot and is of world conservation concern.
This region has a third of Australia’s 25,000 plant species, many of these are found nowhere else on earth.
This 750 year old boab tree was transplanted and transported 3200km from Telegraph Creek in Northern WA in July 2008.
The construction of a new bridge on the Great Northern Highway required the tree to be removed so the Gija people of the East Kimberley gifted the Jumulu to the people of WA.
The soft green rolling lawns were so inviting Azzan lay and tumbled about on them.DSC00946DSC00955
The elevated walkway and glass bridge is so super cool.
Nathan was in charge of the buggy.
He decided to show us how to transform it into a boys derby cart.
Errilyn thought he needed some assistance in the braking department but she was quickly moved off that duty!!
He went scooting off down the path narrowly avoiding other tourists with Josiah in the rear seat and Malachi trailing behind.
Beautiful water areas.
Memorial to Australian Women’s Suffrage.
You find all sorts of weird and wonderful artworks in this park 😉
There was even a wedding underway which delighted Errilyn who loves brides 🙂
The Acacia Steps.
The Pioneer Womens memorial area is so restful and beautiful so www took time to stop and sit and relax and enjoy.
The fountain plays to honour the pioneer women of WA.
The figure symbolises their courage, strength & tenderness.
Mother & child move through the bushland of surging jets towards their destiny.
Errilyn took a turn with carrying Sapphie.
We then meandered back to our cars and drove around to another part of the park.


Thursday 29th May

I managed to sleep till just before 4am.
Then was woken by the cat yowling in the hallway.
Got up to see if the door had been closed, but no, it was open.
It had just decided that we all needed to be awake :-/
It continued to yowl for about an hour.
I was so tired and feeling really melancholy.
Tears surged quietly from the depths of my spirit.
I lay and and just let them soothe my soul for a while.
I was thinking about the article I read about a Papua New Guinean man who commented about how sad it was that white peoples houses with separate bedrooms for each person  must be incredibly lonely.
How right he is.

I gave up trying to sleep and got up around 6am.
Jesika & Evan were up soon after as they both had work.
Hazel went to work early but came back a couple of hours later as she was sick.
Nathan & Errilyn arrived mid morning.
Seb hopped in with Nathan & the boys and the rest of us drove in my car.
We headed down to Mandurah.

We stopped off at the Forum and the boys went to the beach.
In hindsight we should’ve done that too, but we needed some girl time.
Azzan decided to come with us.
We went straight to the food court and got drinks.
Sapphire enjoyed her first encounter with Boost Juice 🙂
We wandered along the mall checking out the various shops.
Found this wonderful foot and calf massager.
If only I had space in my luggage to take it home.
It was amazing!!
After we had been there a couple of hours we were all totally malled out.
We stopped in at Coles to see Evan but he was too busy to socialise so we made a beeline for the car and drove to the waterfront to find food.
We basically followed out noses and eventually got to Dolphin Quay.
Phoebe found a shop with interesting dresses.
I took Sapphie in the pushchair while Errilyn helped her i the trying on process.
The guys were back by this time so they parked up and walked over the pedestrian bridge.
We were planning to eat at Sharkey’s but by the time we got there the kitchen was closed so we went further along to Nino’s.
Seb & Phoebe finally joined us.
Seb got fish & chips and Azzan a hamburger.
The rest of us bought wedges and I got bruschetta.
Seb took his fish & calamari back as it was undercooked and smelt almost putrid.
They refunded his money!!
Azzan ate half of his burger and then felt very unwell.
A seagull pooped on him from above and while he was in the bathroom cleaning his clothes he vomited several times.
Needless to say, we will  not be returning to that restaurant!!
Despite all of the above we had a pleasant afternoon with Nathan & Errilyn.
Malachi spent most of the time scooting about on his wee bike.

Finally it was time for them to head north so we all said our goodbyes and drove homeward.
Couldn’t resist capturing the clucky couple enjoying their wee cutie  🙂
Aunty Jesika was happy to spend some time with her wee niece.
Entertaining both Sapphie and Brandy.
Phoebe made a stir fry for dinner with Azzan’s help, we ate it with the left over butter chicken and sausages.
It was so cold tonight that Hazel offered to light the fire for me.
Didn’t take long to warm up the living room.
Evan was home early tonight.
There was considerable teasing and Jesika was in fits of crazy hysteria.
We realised that it was 9pm!!
Her bewitching hour :-
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We were all in bed at a reasonable time.
We all had sleep to catch up on.


Wednesday 28th May

Hazel off to work around 5am and Jesika left after 7am.
We Kiwis were up around 6am and spent the morning chilling.
We all meandered through the showers.
Evan squeezed his in between us and left for work on the bus and train around 11am.
I was last so by the time I was dressed and ready to go Seb & Phoebe had taken Sapphire for a walk to the beach front.
Azzan and I followed and went walking along the beach.
Azzan likes beach combing – just like his Dad did 🙂
He found ‘one of those cuttlefish things that Shanni used to feed her birds’.DSC00853
Then he found these and was playing with them until I suggested that they might just be a poisonous jellyfish type critter.
That made him head to the water to wash his hands!
The water was cool but warm enough to be pleasant to wade in.
We walked right along the beach to a memorial picnic area and then walked back along the pavement.
I’d belted my knee quite badly on the Auckland airport transit bus on Monday and it was really sore today while walking :-/
We got back to the house and crashed out for a while.

Errilyn & Nathan arrived with their boys a couple of hours later.
They had left Kalgoorlie around 4am and arrived here at 2pm.
The boys were very happy to get out of the truck and run around in the garden.
Azzan played hide & seek with them.
Errilyn wanted to take the boys for a walk and release some of their energy.
So they all went with Seb & Azzan for a walk int he park at the end of the street.
Jesika had just got home from work so she joined them.
Phoebe & Sapphie went to have a sleep.
I have been feeling absolutely wiped out.
Body achingly weary since I arrived.
So I opted out of the walk and went to lie down for a while too.
Got up around 4:30pm, in time to see Errilyn & Nathan before they left to find their base for the night.
Azzan helped Jesika make meatballs for dinner.
She made a delicious tomato sauce and zucchini pasta.
It was a really scrummy dinner.
Seb & Phoebe were picked up by John and went to have dinner with him & Bex.
Hazel went to yoga and she got back for dinner around same time as Murray got home from work.
Azzan & I were off to bed around 9pm.


Tuesday 27th May

My body clock was very much on NZ time this morning.
I was awake before 6am.
Got up and crept out to the living room and did some work on the laptop for a while until Azzan came out.
Murray was already up as Hazel is on early shift this week and had gone at 5am.
We pottered about most of the morning.
It was raining off and on most of the day.
Some pretty heavy showers at times.
Murray cooked up some breakfast burritos for us.
Very tasty.
While we ate Aunty Jesika babysat Sapphire in the garden.

Murray took Seb & Azzan to his favourite tackle shop and then for a walk to Point Peron.
Phoebe wanted to give Sapphire some time and peace to adjust and get over the long days of travel so she stayed put here for the day.
Seb bought Sapphie a Buzzy Bee the other day cuz all Kiwi kids have gotta have one of those!
Making friends with Brandy.
Having piano lessons with Aunty Jesika while Seb & I were trying to Skype with Ross.
Her response to the request to turn it down a tad was, ‘why don’t you take the laptop outside?’!!

Evan is on late shift this week so he headed off to work around midday.
Then Murray left for his afternoon of work too.
I drove Jesika, Seb & Azzan to the Rockingham Mall and we wandered around for a while checking out the shops before getting groceries.
It was hilarious fun.
Shopping with Seb who each time he wanted to buy something would be told by me or Jesika how much sugar it contained.
We had such a laugh.
He reckoned he was afraid to ask for anything!!
There were some unprintable comments about ‘what food can I eat then’???!!!
Then as I rounded the corner into the personal items aisle I heard Jesika say to him with a big laugh, ‘and this area is full of sodium laurel sulphates.’ 🙂

We called into the Malibu fruit and vege shop and got the last items.
Then back home.
I was absolutely knackered.
We collapsed for a while.
I told Phoebe about our hilarious shopping escapade and she commented that she had been wondering how it was going to work with Seb pulling packets off whatever shelf he wanted, Azzan checking out all the weird and wonderful items and the Sugar Police!
Seb immediately opened the packet of muesli and scoffed down a bowl full because he ‘just had to have some sugar’ 🙂
Jesika took Azzan across the road to meet some local kids, they got on famously.
The mother decided upon meting Azzan that he should be called Sheldon 🙂
I really must watch The Big Bang Theory sometime and then I might get the joke!
We enjoyed a delicious dinner cooked for us by Hazel.
Butter chicken with rice and a very yummy salad.
Jesika followed that with an instant ice-cream made in the Vitamix.
Jesika, Phoebe & I sat abd chatted inside.
Murray & Seb talked in the outdoor area and Azzan watched tv with Hazel.
I have been working off and on most of the day trying to get Jesika & Evan’s wedding photo book completed.
Am just waiting for it to finish the upload now and then I will be falling into bed.


Monday 26th May

I was awake around 5am.
So decided to get up before the alarm and take my time getting ready before waking up the troops.
Woke them all around 6:45am.
They just had time to have breakfast, do final packing, while I packed up the car.
Then we waved goodbye to Elizabeth & Robin at 7:30am and drove around to meet up with Seb & Phoebe at Oxford Road.
Nicky drove us all to the airport.
Nathan & Mira took my car and headed into the city to go shopping.
But I discovered my sunglasses and Azzan’s man bag were still in the car so they swung by the airport to give them to me.
We left early because we were warned that the traffic into the city on a Monday morning was often bumper to bumper out to the Rangiora over bridge.
As it happened we missed the early rush and the later rush and made it in to the airport in less than half an hour.
We were trying to do an electronic check in when a flight attendant came to help us.
She was concerned that Seb should have a seat to fit him so she adjusted the seats and gave him an exit seat which left the three of us sitting back further and Phoebe had a spare seat to spread out on.
Worked well, plus she had a lovely lady from the Sounds sitting near her to chat with.

Nicky & Jasper decided to stay and hang out with us for a while.
We got a table in the food court and all went in different directions to satisfy the varying dietary wants and needs.
While we were sitting there I noticed the view seemed somewhat grey through the far windows.
Wondered if the windows were tinted, and then Seb came over and commented that it was snowing outside!!
The boys sat in the window and watched the flakes falling.
Then they sat near a plug and charged my phone for me.
But they couldn’t help themselves from playing on it as I found out later when I discovered a heap of selfies on it 🙂
Nicky had to leave as her parking ticket was expired so we cruised through immigration and wandered to the departure lounge.
We met my cousin Steve as we were queuing, on the same flight, so we were able to have a few minutes to talk which was lovely.
The flight to Auckland went smoothly.
Views of the Southern Alps were spectacular as they are covered with snow now.
Didn’t have to worry about our bags as they were consigned directly through to Perth.
We chatted with Steve again and then caught the free bus over to International and meandered our way to the Departure area.
We had time for some more food.
The guys were concerned they wouldn’t get enough on the plane!!
I was feeling a bit squidgy so just had a mochaccino, but it made me feel worse :-/

We were rather pleased to find that we were all seated in the same row when we boarded.
I knew Seb & Phoebe were to be in the bassinet row with Sapphire but was expecting for Azzan & I to be quite a way behind them.
However we were just across the aisle so were able to take Sapphie a few times to ease the load somewhat.
It was a bit of a giggle though, she was too long for the bassinet so that was a bit of a waste of space!!

I made the most of the time on board and watched two movies I have been wanting to see for a while now.
Saving Mr Banks’ was excellent.
Intense and emotionally absorbing.
Loved it through the tears.
’12 Years a Slave’ was also very intense.
And extremely moving.

I had a very interesting companion in the seat between me and the aisle.
He slept most of the way, but we chatted whenever the food came around.
He was a NZ marine engineer flying into work at Barrow Island.
He also had an insatiable appetite so was very happy to clean up all the food that Azzan & I couldn’t manage to eat!!
We had a few laughs – fun 🙂

We landed right on schedule, but it took ages to retrieve our bags and then get through immigration.
They cleared us pretty quickly – most handy having baby and Azzan with us as they shove families through quite fast.
I was just turning on my phone to message Jesika when we walked out into the airport and there she was – waiting to greet us all with open arms and big hugs 🙂
Evan was waiting further away at a free parking area.
It took ages to get the rental car sorted.
Even though it was me that picked up the phone to call for an attendant to the rental booth once she arrived I got pipped at the post by a very large extended Singaporian Chinese family who barged in front of me :-/
I was so tired by this point.
The others went off to find fresh air and toilets etc while I waited.
We eventually got sorted and made our way out to find our car and meet up with Evan.
Jesika drove me & Azzan in the rental and Evan took the other three in their car.
Its close on an hours drive south to Rockingham.
We beat them back because they took a different route.
Lovely to be greeted by Murray & Hazel.
They had only just purchased this house when I was last over so I had not yet seen it.
We sat around talking and eating for a while.
Seb enjoyed discovering the contents of Uncle Murray’s man shed 😉
Sapphie was just happy to not be travelling.
She had done incredibly well but finally packed it in, so Phoebe gave her a shower and tucked her into bed.
The 4 hour time difference was telling on me though as I was nodding off.
So packed myself off to bed and left the others to talk longer.

Sunday 25th May

I was awake at 7am so got up and had a shower with the intent of sorting photos and catching up on my blog.
However, after breakfast I received a devastating phone call from David.
He was calling to let me know that our cousin Hayden had been killed at 2am this morning.
He was only 34 and the father of two lovely wee boys who he just loved to bits.
My heart just broke for the wee men & Jane.
I then spent the next hour calling my kids to let them all know, talking/crying with Hanne, and finally managed to get through to Val.
It was really good to talk with her.
Val & Lloyd are my aunt and uncle but are so close in age to me that Lloyd was like the older bro I never had.
And their kids are the similar ages to my older ones, so we cross generations a lot.
Just all too much really.
So gutting and heart wrenching.

Nathan & Mira surfaced sometime later in the morning and eventually some decisions were made re plans for the day.
Mira was peopled out so wanted to stay put.
Azzan & I dropped Nathan off to spend time with James, and we carried on up to Loburn to have lunch with the Wenborn & Lupi clans.
They were cleaning up leftovers and celebrating Bethany’s birthday.
It was freezing cold up there.
Definitely feel like you are under the mountain there, and it is only 20 mins from Rangiora.

We socialised for a while.
I showed Beth and the others the videos I had taken, just wish I knew how to load them on here!!
Will get that figured one day.
Then Azzan & I drove back to Rangiora after 3pm.
Stopped off to say a quick g’day to Emma and then I left Azzan at the house while I went to fuel up the car.
It was blowing a gale and so incredibly cold.
Zipped up to Andrew & Christine’s to give Seb & Phoebe their flight details and then back here to have dinner, shower and pack.
Nathan & Mira went into the movies with James at The Palms for the evening.
They arrived back just before 9pm.
We are all packed now and ready to throw everything in the car early in the morning.
Just praying that tomorrow will not be so feisty in the weather department.

Saturday 24th May – part 2

There was a huge marquee set up in front of the house.
Seems strange to be coming out here without the Wenborns in residence.
But Beth has married Mark, and his family own the place now, so it is sorta still in the family, in a roundabout sorta way!
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I was delighted to see on the guest list some friends of Anson’s.
Anson & Angus both boarded with my friend Chris in Blenheim during high school days and then they ended up shearing together in the same gang in Northland.
Lovely photo of Angus & Ratapu with their two wee darlings.

I took some photos randomly throughout the evening.
Nicky & me.
Not bad looking girls for being grandmothers of 18 wee poppets.
Lizzy and her precious wee Amelie.
Such kissable wee cheeks.
She is just 5 weeks older than her cousin Sapphire, they are so alike.
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Nicky with Sapphire.
Entree was crayfish and mussels,
Cat & Beth – friends for years,
Main course, mutton, pork & venison with lots of veges
Cutting the cake
Good excuse for another kiss 🙂
Mira enjoys desserts 😉
Dancing the night away.
It is at times like this that I miss Tim even more.
I loved to dance with him even though he only did the slow shoe shuffle!
It was just nice to have his arms around me.

I caught up with a few people during the evening.
The temperatures were dropping and even though there were a lot of braziers burning our feet were turning into icebergs so we said our goodbyes around 11pm and drove home.
Dropping Penny and Stephen off on the way.
Azzan was still conscious when I got back so I snuggled him down and gratefully crashed into bed.

Saturday 24th May – part 1

We had just enough time to get ready fairly leisurely and be out the door just before 10am to go pick up Mira & Nathan.
Dropped their gear back at the house, tied Nathan’s tie for him (mothers are useful creatures at times 😉  ) and then we were off up the street to find the church.
It was a lovely old wooden church.
We were all seated around 10:40am as instructed on the program.
The groom and his best men were waiting patiently up front.DSC00744
And finally, in total Bethany style, she arrived at 11:15am, looking absolutely stunningly glamerous, on her father’s arm.
We were sitting to the side so our view was hindered slightly but I love this photo I took of the bridesmaids through the gap.
Almost looks like a mirror.
The kiss!
Some of my family 🙂
Cat, Leeann, Azzan, Nathan & Mira.
We emerged out into the sunshine. and milled around meeting and greeting
and admiring Bethany’s gorgeous gown.
Mark climbed the grave stone to get our attention for the photos.DSC00765
Aunty Bri with Sapphie.
The extended Wenborn family.
The lens is having to get wider angled each wedding 😉
David & Nicola with their tribe plus Mark.DSC00780

Seb & Sapphie chatting with Paul and Amelie
Seb & Phoebe with Sapphie
Lizzy & Paul with Oscar & Amelie.
Elizabeth is the designer and creator of all the gowns and mens ties etc in the wedding party today.
Mira fussing over Sapphie.
After the photo session we al headed off in various directions.
I took Azzan back to Elizabeth & Robin’s as he was not feeling well enough to last the afternoon & evening celebrations.
Nathan walked home with James, and Mira & I went off to Artisan Bakery for some quiet peaceful vegetarian girls time 😉

Afterwards we drove to Wenborns and socialised for a while until it was time to drive up to North Loburn.
The day was getting chillier and the closer we got to the mountains the greyer and colder and sleetier it got.
Thankfully I had some blankets in the car to wrap around Mira as she was frozen.

Friday 23rd May

I worked all night on the photo album I am making of Jesika & Evan’s wedding.  I got so engrossed in it I didn’t notice the time slipping by!
After only 2 hours sleep I zipped through the shower, packed up the car and left Azzan in the care of John & Sally who were going to deliver him into the city to me later in the morning.
I had several things to do, and an hour up my sleeve to do them.
Managed to get everything completed with no hassle or stress and be at my counselling session 15 minutes early.
That gage me time to sit in the car and phone Vodafone and sort out an issue with them over our ship phone.
They were great and we got it all sussed just as I was walking in the door at 10:15am.
Had a good session.
Was able to clear the air and articulate to my therapist how she had upset me the previous time.
That is incredible progress for me.
I have never been good at confrontational communication, and tend to go hide in a hole in an emotional mess instead.

From there I had to go straight to my dentist appointment.
It was good to have half an hour horizontal 🙂
Azzan was waiting there for me when I came out and we zipped down the street to Noel Leeming to suss out my damaged camera.
Then Azzan raced over to get some hot potatoes for lunch and to the Sushi shop for some dumplings for himself.
We picked up Nathan & Mira and were out of town before 1pm.

Had a good drive over to Blenheim, although I realised as I was nearing Blenheim that I had forgotten to fuel up in Nelson.
Thank goodness I had just enough to get us there!
A quick couple of stops to fuel up, and then to the bank, and we were away again.
We had chosen to drive the coastal route as Mira wanted to see the seals.
I stopped at the carpark to take her up to see the baby seals at the waterfall and discovered she had never been there before.
She had only seen the adult seals on the shore so it was a lovely surprise for her.
The day was closing so it was quite dark at the waterfall under the bush.
Nathan stayed back at the car.
I don’t like leaving it unattended with all our gear in it.
Sad, but too many break-ins occur at carparks like this.
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Azzan went back to the car so Nathan walked in to meet us.DSC00723 DSC00727 DSC00730It’s only a 5 minute walk in off the road but it is so pretty.DSC00738 DSC00741
We carried on to Kaikoura.
It was getting quite dark by now and we were all feeling somewhat peckish so we stopped at the supermarket and got some chicken, salad & ciabatta buns.
Nathan sat in the back and filled the buns for us.
They were very delicious.
I was quite weary but managed to get us to Rangiora by around 7:30pm.
Made very good time actually.
I dropped Nathan & Mira off at their motel and then I drove a couple of minutes up the road to Robin & Elizabeth’s where we are crashing for the weekend.
Was soooooo good to get out of the car and collapse with a cuppa before crashing in a very cosy bed.