I have just seen a photo of our front yard taken a year ago.
And here it is beside one taken today.
The forest has been removed, the deck has been altered, the garden has been replanted, the fence has been relined.
I often feel that I am not achieving much, that things are not being done fast enough, but when I stop and look back on the photos of a year ago I realise we have done a lot!
I stress about the boxes still left to unpack, the ‘mess’ they make stacked up in the kitchen, the front entrance, the hallway.
It really gets me down at times.
I have developed a method of coping with it – turn a blind eye!
But I can only do that for a time and then I ‘see’ it all again and it depresses me.
I just seem to manage to have enough energy to get through the days normalities without adding in sorting stuff.
But then I stop and realise, its only been a year here.
And then I take another step back and think, it’s only been 2 years and 9 months since my world was tipped upside down and the earth exploded beneath my feet.
2 years and 9 months and 9 days.
It seems so long but yet it is such a small amount of time.
And in that time we have done so much.
Admittedly most of the first year was spent in a stunned bubble, the second year running away, and now this third year has been spent putting down new roots, making a new start, building a new normality and trying to make sense of life as it is now.
No wonder this year feels so long and yet so short.
It was a weird day.
Very windy with grey heavy threatening clouds hanging over the hills.
I was on pager all day but it was quiet so I just pottered around.
Azzan came in from school and after a snack biked off to youth group.
Mahalia walked to rowing training at the gym.
Shoshannah packed up and drove out to Bridge Valley to a youth group overnight camp.
The weather really packed a wobbly later in the afternoon.
I shot into the cinema to pick up tickets for Azzan and his friends for tomorrow’s movie date.
I then zipped to the library to suss out something I’d been trying to do for weeks.
A very cold rain began to pelt down just as I was running into the library.
It’s funny, when we lived away we would spend all our time in the library.
It was Azzan’s favourite place to go.
Now we are in town we hardly ever come here.
But the website I needed to suss out is only accessible via the public library system – crazy!
I got a 15 minute computer and quickly found what I needed.
I was just finishing up when Mahalia text to as if I could pick her up.
I nipped down to the gym and collected her and then headed back home.
Mahalia cooked a delicious macaroni cheese for dinner.
I had to laugh when I saw how much she had made.
We just don’t seem to be able to make small amounts of food.
It is ingrained in us from the days of cooking for multitudes on the farm to make copious quantities.
It is good though cuz it lasts for several days so we don’t have to sweat the cooking process to often 😉
I got busy out in the garden while Mahalia cooked.
The rain had stopped and the temperature was very pleasant to work in.
Azzan was under a threat of no movie night if he didn’t pull finger and get his assigned chores done.
So he was working under duress.
He didn’t really achieve all I wanted a=or needed from him but he did do something I guess.
I really got into the swing of things and planted out everything I had bought.
The garden it looking so much more productive now.
I got Azzan to help me lift some sleepers over as temporary garden edging just to contain it all until I can get the edging I want built.
So interspersed with he feijoa trees I have planted tomatoes along the back and marigold in front.
I made a basil garden at the base of the bird bath and added some verbenas around the edges of the triangle piece.
The two zucchinis I planted over in back of the section near the pumpkins that Shanni planted.
They are doing great there so I figured the zucchinis might too.
I placed the picture frames around them so they won’t get stomped on while they are still small.
Behind them in the old washing tubs I have mint and spinach and a raspberry which are all doing well despite being quite dry.
By the time I had finished it was late and dinner was ready.
So I cleaned up and headed indoors to join the kids.
Felt very satisfying.
I woke at 5:35am and as per normal I wandered into Mahalia’s room to open her curtains and check she had gone.
She was still asleep.
Some quick dressing and fast food and we were out the door.
I was racing down Weka Street when I realised I had left my pager at home.
Prayed there would be no call out in the 15 mins I was away!!
I had her to rowing just in the nick of time.
The novices had just finished their core strengthening time and were just heading off to the boats.
They did some readjusting and assigned her to a boat.
The moon was dramatically huge and sinking into the western hills as I left.
I came back home and seeing as I was up and dressed already I made Azzan’s lunch and breakfast.
After he left for school I decided to head into the city to suss out a sale at Cache.
I just wanted to compare something I had seen elsewhere with what they might have.
But alas, I got my dates wrong – sale is one next Thursday, not today.
I was in a bit of a ‘I need some space just for me’ mood and as I had nothing pressing to go home for I decided to go for a coffee.
I have been really missing Nathan in the past days.
It has been very surreal that he is not here.
I guess I have just gotten so used to having him around over the past months that is absence has been playing tricks on my mind.
I keep looking out the kitchen window expecting to see him walking across from his sleep-out.
But the sleep-out has gone and so has he.
Yesterday I was about to call him to ask if he could pick up some bread for me.
I went to Cafe Affair but they were not quite open yet.
Leita called me so I sat on a bench and had a lovely morning catch up with her.
Then after 9:30am I ventured into the cafe.
I have always loved this place.
It is consistent with service, value and quality.
But today something was missing.
Nathan, it doesn’t feel right here without your smiling face to greet me.
I was only going to order a mocha but the menu called my stomach to attention as it remembered the lack of breakfast.
So I also ordered a salmon eggs Benedict.
I sat in the window seat and read the Dom Post and savoured my breakfast and enjoyed the calm of the morning with just a tinge of sadness.
Arrived home to find Caspian had gutted his favourite toy all over the lawn!
Phillipa messaged so I wiped back into town and met her at Yaza Cafe.
It was really nice to have some unlimited time to hang out with her and catch up on the past few weeks.
We carried on over to Briscoes and did some shopping.
Then to finish off the afternoon we called into Content to see what treasure they are currently stocking.
Mahalia walked Caspian and then went to hang out with Sophie later in the arvo.
Quiet night in.
Just what was needed.
A calm in the midst of the storm.
Mahalia was walking to NMIT for a final lunch with her classmates so I took Caspian and walked part way with her.
There is always wonderful displays of colour along the way.
I came back along the river and decided to call into see Karel as I was alone and had no pressing engagements.
Since it is almost a year since she came bearing cake to greet us in our new house I figured it was way past time to stop by.
It is so crazy that I haven’t found the time to visit with her till now.
She had been busy cleaning up after guests at her B&B so was glad of some time to sit and chat awhile over a cuppa.
She gave me a tour of their establishment.
It is absolutely gorgeous.
Finally I headed back up the street.
We diverted into see if Mary-Anne was at home but to Caspian’s distress she wasn’t.
He whimpered all the way back up her lane.
Back home and I sort myself some lunch and crashed out for a rest while it was quiet.
I watched a movie called ‘The Family Stone’.
But as per usual, as soon as I find a few quiet moments then they get shattered fairly quickly.
Mahalia arrived back, then Azzan, then Glynnie popped in to visit right at the very end.
I had to zoom once it finished.
Mahalia was cleaning the bathroom but vacated long enough for me to shower.
Then while I got myself ready for the evening out Glynnie sat in my room and talked with me.
I tore out the gate around 4:45pm and headed up to Nelson College.
The day was so hot I was having problems keeping the sweat under control!
I arrived and on checking my invitation discovered that the function began at 5:30pm, not 5pm – duh!
Oh well, I parked up and went for a wander and sat on the boys lunch seats in the shade for a while.
It was quite pleasant out of the sun.
The college has some gloriously large old trees scattered about the grounds.
The sun was lowering in the west and was glistening spectacularly through the branches of this gnarly old moss & fern laden tree.
Finally it was closer to the expected time so I headed in to the Crush Hall where the Sponsors & Supporters ‘Thank You’ Function was being held.
I was a bit lost so had to ask the way from two people I found in an office, that was a very amusing encounter.
I was greeted by Jarrod who is the teacher in charge and behind the Kickstart project to raise funds for the development of the Nelson College Business School which I have helped to sponsor on behalf of, and in memory of Tim who was an old boy of the college, and in anticipation that it will also benefit Azzan as a prospective student.
Jarred took me on a tour of the new Business School and talked me through the developments, of what they have already achieved and what they are working towards.
It is really interesting and incredibly inspiring – makes me wish I was back in school if I could’ve been given educational opportunities like this!
Fantastic to see and hear what some of the students from the current & past couple of years have already achieved.
Back to the hall which was by now an incredibly noisy thronging mass.
Rather daunting actually.
But I soon found another lone woman and struck up a conversation, and we were soon joined by several others.
It was lovely to meet them, all very interesting ladies.
They work at the College so good to get some insight into life here.
Towards the end of the evening I found myself encircled by the amusing man from earlier and a couple of his friends.
We got to talking and I discovered they were old boys and one would’ve been there at the same time as my two uncles and one when Tim was there.
But they didn’t remember them specifically.
Plus his grandson is in Azzan’s class.
Anyway, it was a very entertaining encounter to finish the evening 🙂
I headed off home with a lighter step.
Had some dinner and then opened the gate to welcome Shoshannah home.
She had flown in this arvo and gone straight out to Youth Group.
Lovely to have her home again after her week away.
Annoyingly when I could’ve slept late I woke far too early at 7am.
Stayed in bed till mid morning and then decided I really should make a move.
So packed up my gear, tidied the house, fed the elusive cats, and said goodbye to my lovely wee hide-a-way.
Tracie, you can go away any time you like if I can come stay – love your cute, private, quiet, peaceful, interesting, wee home xxx
Drove around the corner and spent some time with the rellies who were still on site.
Soon after I arrived Lloyd & Val left to go socialising before catching the ferry back home.
This bowl of dove eggs proved to be a great source of fascination last night.
Some refused to believe they were not chocolate!
The kids needed some outdoors time so Tahi, John and Sara walked the four of them to the reserve nearby.
Before she left I quickly got a photo of we three cousins – Vanessa, Tahi and myself.
Vanessa & I carried on talking for some time.
Then she & Myles had to leave with Roland & Jenny.
They dropped me off at the Kaitaia Reserve and I wandered down the hill to find the others.
It was a glorious day – rather warm, I was wishing I had packed some alternative to my jeans.
We reclined on the grass while the kids played int he creek and enjoyed a really interesting discussion on many topics.
It is such a beautiful area.
Next time I will have to make time to explore further.
Sarah & Jon went off to find the kids as it was far to quiet.
They had progressed their explorations around the bend in the creek and were having a ball.
There was major resistance to going home 😉
Sara piggybacked Fern along the creek and up the hill and John brought Bruno back playing games along the way, Zion & Zeke followed us all up the hill.
On the way home we admired flowers and gardens as we walked and talked.
We saw the most glorious display of red poppies.
Bruno, in his delightful 3 year old chatter, mentioned them being like the biscuit soldiers.
Tahi quickly caught his drift thankfully.
He was connecting ANZAC biscuits with the ANZAC day poppies which we wear to commemorate our fallen soldiers on ANZAC day.
So in his mind the biscuits we refer to as ANZAC biscuits naturally connected to the poppies.
I so love the way his mind works 🙂
I just had time to say goodbye to Owen & Hanne and then I was off to the train station to meet Tracie.
She had flown back from Christchurch and had taken the train in from the Wellington airport.
It was nice to have a little time to catch up with her.
She took me to a delightful shop called Paula’s.
Wow! What an amazing inspirational treasure trove.
We had a wander around and admired and dreamed, then as I was hungry Tracie drove us to Mitre 10 and we had a quick late lunch and chat before she dropped me off at the Kapiti airport.
It was a slightly bumpier flight back to Nelson but the skies were clear enough for us to have spectacular views.
I managed to reach across the lady next to me and catch a view of home as we flew by.
Port Ligar is very recognisable – the bay in the centre with West Entry, the long spit, curling across the entrance.
A little tuft of white cloud marring a view of Waterfall bay but the highest point, Crichton’s Hill standing clear.
I whispered my love to Timmy as we flew by.
On arrival Tracey was waiting for me.
We loaded into her car and caught up on the weekend as she drove me home.
Thanks Tracey – really appreciate your taxi service xxxx
The kids were pleased to see me.
Katherine and Azzan had been having a great time.
They had biked around to Tahunanui and enjoyed fellowship with the congregation at St Stephens.
Azzan had also been mountain biking with some friends on Saturday and had taken a tumble into a pile of gorse.
His arm and torso were a mess of red sores – I had no idea that gorse would infect like that.
After dinner he had a very long soak in a bath with Epson Salts and rose petals then I smeared the sort with Pawpaw ointment.
That worked as the sores were almost gone the next day.
Mahalia had been in the wars since I left.
She collided with the bridge on her bike as she was heading to Friday training and scraped & bruised her knee badly.
Then during Saturday training she was put in coxswain position.
As she is much bigger than a normal coxswain she had to really squeeze in, and after 20-30mins when she got out her legs had gone to sleep so when she stood up to get out they wouldn’t work properly.
She fell in the water cutting her elbow on something as she fell.
Loads of blood, quite a deep sharp cut, but Katherine fixed her up with butterfly dressings etc.
So when she headed off to Sunday’s regatta of on the Wairau River she wasn’t sure if she would make the grade.
However, the wind proved to be too brisk for them to row on the river so the boats were reloaded and they raced indoors on the erg machines.
Apparently Nelson won!
Margaret called by to pick up Katherine.
I unpacked and got several loads of washing on the line during the evening.
The kids were off to bed reasonably early.
Mahalia had an extra training session this morning cuz she’s excited to be racing in a double on Sunday.
I was up around 6am and repacking because the weather is just not stable and I have no idea what to take.
I had enough time to make lunch for the kids.
Got Caspian’s food all sorted so Mahalia could leave him ready once she flies through after training.
It is her last day of the year at NMIT today.
Most exciting the other day cuz she came home with a certificate and a gift of hair products for coming top of the hair section of her course.
I was literally flying when Tracie text to say when was on her way.
Last minute hugs & instructions with Azzan as I ran out the door.
Tracey offered to drive me to the airport which was wonderful as without my two licence chauffeurs aka Nathan & Shanni, I was a bit stuck.
She had me there in plenty of time.
I checked in with Sounds Air and then sat back to wait for boarding.
It was a bit of a yucky wet & windy day so I was praying for a good and undulated flight.
We boarded a bit late due to the incoming plane punching into the wind on approach.
But with a tail wind the pilot promised an expectation of earlier arrival into Paraparaumu.
The flight was calm, couldn’t see a thing below due to heavy cloud, and the only bumps were in the few moments before landing.
We were greeted by a wild tempestuous Kapiti Coast day.
I made a fast trip across the tarmac and into the terminal, picked up the car keys and very quickly was loaded into Tracie’s car.
She had graciously left it last night, along with her home, for me to use while she is away.
I plotted my next leg of my journey into my iPhone maps and was soon off and away away down the highway south.
Half an hour later I pulled up outside Anneke’s studio.
It was so lovely to spend some time with her this morning.
She is preparing for an exhibition so after a cuppa I helped her put up some tables.
If you are in the area next weekend then pop in and check it out.
She is world renown and a long established part of the NZ pottery world and I am very proud to be her neice 🙂
I left her around midday to get on with her preparations and drove all the way back north to Paraparaumu.
Popped into the mall, can’t believe what a massive mega centre there is here now, since I last came it has exploded in size!
Did a little shopping and then bought a delicious mocha and a not so delicious panini from Butlers Chocolate cafe.
Drove on to my next destination which was Tracie’s home.
Found my way in and was wowed by her incredible interior design.
She has turned a very basic little house into the most incredibly beautiful home.
It is outstanding.
Girl you are so wasted in the bank – you need to be home decorating!!!
Come visit me my friend I need your help 😉
I chilled out for a wee while and then because it was beginning to rain drove back around the corner.
Hanne met me and we chatted while she made tea.
Then I sat and talked with Owen while he carved.
It was a really nice time to catch up without myriads of others around.
My dear uncle was like a big bro to me as I grew up as he is only 11 years older than me.
He is world renown for his art/sculptures and has created some incredible beautiful pieces over his lifetime.
He has recently carved the most beautiful Pectoral cross for the Wellington Bishop, it is full of symbolism and beauty.
Along with Hanne’s jewellery they have a very vibrant creative environment here.
Tahi arrived back with Fern & Bruno.
They had been shopping too and had come home with some Lego which kept them both busy for some time.
I stayed and had dinner with them all.
Nice relaxed catch up time.
Presented Owen with his 70th birthday present – a bottle of Azzan’s homemade Blackboy peach wine 🙂
A very acceptable gift 🙂
I was really weary so left around dusk.
Zipped down to the supermarket and stocked up on a few basics before coming back and blobbing out for the rest of the evening.
Nothing like a quiet night, relaxing in front of the banality of random tv shows, munching on chips and dip followed by a dessert of chocolate biscuits 🙂
A busy morning getting us all away on time.
Azzan was first out the door.
Oops! No I forgot.
Mahalia was off to her 5:30am rowing session so officially was first out the door.
Anyway, Azzan headed off well before 8am.
He has been getting his lunch prepared the previous night lately which means him mornings are very calm and he gets away in good time.
Around 8am I suddenly realised the seminar I was going to today started at 9am, not 9:30am like I had stuck in my brain.
It was all go then.
Mahalia arrived back so need to make her lunch and another breakfast.
I tore around getting my breakfast, hanging out the washing, getting Caspian sorted.
I dropped Mahalia off in town and got to the Rutherford Hotel by 8:35am and pretty much got one of the last free parks which was the main reason I want to get there early.
Otherwise it is a major hassle to find somewhere you can leave the car and not have to worry about fines and towing.
The seminar was run by Compass Seminars and was entitled ‘Working with Maori with Hana O’Regan and Nathan Mikaere Wallis’
There was around 100 of us attending.
I met up with some really interesting people during the day.
The seminar was probably one of the best I have ever attended.
It was honest, thought provoking, challenging, educational and incredibly interesting.
Definitely material that can be used in many situations.
Hana was passionate and before morning tea shared some very personal stories which I must admit almost had me in tears, and I wasn’t the only one.
I was especially interested in Nathan’s explanation of the development of the brain and how trauma affects it in the early stages etc.
Some very nutritional food was provided for lunch and morning tea.
It was a full on day finishing at 3:30pm.
Mahalia messaged me to see if I could swing by the hospital and pick up Emma.
So I did.
Brought her home for a visit.
Sandy arrived soon after I got back.
It is SO incredibly good to see her again.
It has been 18 months since she left and we had so much to catch up on it was crazy.
We talked so much there was barely had time to have a cuppa!
She cut Mahalia’s hair for her, she was delighted as the ends have been getting very ratty.
I had to get Emma back by 6pm so the girls hopped in the car, I said a quick goodbye to Sandy after arranging our next lunch date, and then we whizzed Emma back to the hospital.
It was a quick visit but good for the girls to have some time together.
And Sandy made this visit much more entertaining 😉
We whipped up a quick dinner, Azzan cut up carrots and I made a starry which was ate with last nights left over cheese potato bake.
Got word that Nathan had landed safely.
He is now safe and sound in Salzburg with Mira 🙂
I had quite a few things to organise tonight so was later to bed than I had hoped.
Had to pack my bag as I won’t have much time in the morning.
Weather is so changeable it is hard to know what to take with me.
Its been a good day though so I am not going to worry about that trivial matter – wear layers and pack light and hope for the best 🙂