Only a week left to complete for our 2010 journey, I don't think we'll string it out until the end of October! Barry's been upsetting himself looking at narrowboats for sale, and saw an almost perfect one the other day called guess what? 'Moonshine'! It ticked every one of our essential boxes apart from one, and made us feel impatient to be coming back to live on the canals. Never mind, on the bright side we were reassured that we can get the boat that's in our vision, and time is slipping by so quickly that 2013 will be upon us in a flash!
It's been pretty cool here in the late winter of New Zealand, with Auckland and Wellington getting some rare snow falls - luckily it missed out Gisborne, apart from a good cover on the hills that surround the city. Our next blog will show some stunning photos from our recent trip to Queenstown, where the week after we left they had a huge 'dump' of snow - I'm not sure if I was sad or glad to have missed that!
Today we can feel spring in the air, the sun is shining and the blossom's blooming, snowdrops are flowering and there's a few daffodils around. The most wonderful things for me in the spring here, that I've missed out on over the past few years, are the wild freesias that grow along the dunes at Wainui beach. I walked there with my dear friend Therese a few days ago and picked some - they smell divine and are sitting next to me as I type.
Friday 22 October to Monday 25th October
We drove in our rental car down to the New Forest in England for a 'Walsh' family long-weekend away. We'd previously spent four get-togethers at an amazing place called 'Northmoor House' in Dulverton, Somerset, in the Exmoor National Park, but as our family has grown considerably since our last visit in 2008 we didn't think we'd all fit in so decided to try somewhere different. With parents, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as husbands and partners, there were 29 of us with just one person sadly missing as he wasn't feeling too well - shame you missed it Rob, we'll get you next year!
Sadly the place we chose wasn't a patch on Northmoor House, but we had lots of fun and laughter anyway. Barry and I have booked to return to England for just under three weeks in March 2011 and I'm so excited that we have discovered we CAN fit all our family into Northmoor House if we book the Lodge as well - yahoo!
A walk in the woods with Kim and Lisa - and guess where Christchurch, NZ, got its name from?
Photo opportunities around every corner - a relaxing waterfall ...
... and a stormy sea
We'll all just watch the waves, no sufers amongst us!
Some brave folks were making the most of the swells
What a great photo of Kim, Sandra and Lisa
Two of the additions to the Walsh family - Phil and Ria-May
Across the sea is the Isle of Wight and the Needles
A spot of lunch for 15!
A rather affluent area with some delightful cottages
The obligatory family portrait, Barry just managed to organise everyone by dusk!
Saying goodbye to Kim at the station
The ferry to the Isle of Wight
Loads of money around at Lymmington!
Imagine if these all went out to sea at the same time?!
A family walkabout - shame for Sandra's parents, at 77 and 91 they still hold hands
Quaint, colourful buildings in Lymmington
And a rather old street light still survives ...
... possibly a similar age to Sandra's father? What an amazing man ...
... after having four daughters he gave up and bought himself a train set!!
A rare get-together for Katherine, Linda, Sandra and Viv
It was certainly a full-on weekend, Barry's first with the whole of my family, and he coped admirably - only taking off down the pub the once on the Sunday and leading a few of the other males astray (I recall having a little trouble getting them to return to eat, which didn't go down too well!!). We played 'sardines' where someone has to go and hide, then whoever finds them has to hide with them until the last person makes it - hilarious in tight spots but not nearly as fun as it is at Northmoor in a huge stately home! We also had a fantastic quiz night, that my niece and nephew organised, and we all played in different coloured teams.
The house we stayed in was actually three houses together, so it was a little fraught at times and we're all now looking forward to March 2011 ...