Thursday, December 25, 2014

Annual Christmas Epistle - Decemer 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014
When is a highlight not a highlight?

So it is my turn yet again to be creative with words and stuff. It certainly has been an interesting year! First up – Reinhold had fun packing a friends van – to the rafters. We had a practice run a few days before Christmas, then celebrated the holy day here. Roger and Julie came for dinner and while the ladies cooked and chatted the boys packed. It was literally packed to the rafters. That included 6 laptops and several desktop computers and LCD screens. Yes, yours truly was responsible for setting up and running an Internet cafe during the Jamboree. So with the van packed we left the next morning bright and early and drove to Picton to catch a boat to get to the North Island. We bunked down at a friends place in
Wellington and then had a ball at the Scout Jamboree held in Feilding. 10 days later we were exhausted and had to drive back to Christchurch – we got back just after midnight having been another 12 plus hours on the road. While driving up to Feilding we tallyed up the miles we would have done together and got way past 10 000 km of sharing the road in Roger's van. My boy just dryly asked if after all this time together in a van – did we still have stuff left to discuss / say to each other?!?! You bet we did!! You may be pleased to hear that this years jamboree was mostly a dry affair – not like the last one we had there in 2005 where we had major floods to contend with.

We just caught our breath from that and then the highlight of the year hit us – yes my cousin
Doris and her lovely hubby AND a good friend of ours came for a short holiday. We took  them on a long tiki tour through the bottom half of the South Island. Naturally it has been a busy time with seeing lots of places, exhausting, exhilarating as well. We ended up, between the four of us, taking over 6000 pictures. Which to print – which to leave out???? Hokitika / Lake Tekapo / Queenstown / Te Anau / Invercargill / Catlins / Dunedin and back to Christchurch – a total of 3000km plus. We had a great time and missed them after they left for Austria again, yet we have lots of happy memories.

We sent Grandad out to a senior cooking class where they were supposed to learn about cooking for yourself a single meal. On his second time out he had a fall and we took him to the gentle people in white – or do they now wear blue uniforms?? Anyhow – they poked him – prodded him and hooked up various cables at various body parts – and long story short – at his right young age of 80 years they fitted him with a pacemaker. Supposedly he now can step out in rhythm!!

After that little episode both Reinhold and Pam had a thrill of a semi life-time – we flew up to Auckland and saw Michael (not our boy) Buble in concert!! He's such a major Babe (and as a man I am confident enough in my own being that I can say that like that)!! We had fun bobbing and rocking to his tunes! The concert by the end almost ended up like a massive Kareoke session!! Songs well known and loved – 20000 people singing in tune – awesome!! Sadly it soon came to an end and we had to go and find our place of bedding – and catch up with a dear friend!! I took us longer to get out of the car park building than to drive across Auckland City!! Actually we hit the famous Auckland traffic congestion from the Airport to the Concert venue – a trip that should have taken no more then 30 minutes at best took actually almost 80 minutes. At times walking would have been quicker.

June rolled round and the mad boy that I am – I took a group of scouts again across to the
Westcoast for the annual camp over there. We visited Steve again and carved our own Pounamu (NZ Jade). Roger and myself again acted as mules - carting all the gear in his van. It was a relaxing camp as one of the leaders took on the role of running said camp and I was just there in case things went pear-shape!! Chris did a fantastic job and he will take his group across again next year – without me – so that will be a weird feeling. I have however been conned in taking another group across – so will still be involved with Scouts then.

Arguably another highlight – every parent dreams of THAT moment – when the kids leave the nest happend. After looking for ages – Michael and 2 lady friends he gets along very well with managed to find a 4 bedroom place in town for rent and so he moved out from our home around beginning of August. Yesss!! His 'new' place is older then ours and had some earthquake damage (which has been fixed) and he is a happy chappy. One of the girls he flats with had since then had a boy of her own – so he is getting a front row lesson in early baby birthing/caring/etc!! Michael is coming every Saturday Night (bang on 5.30pm) for tea and a catch up with his family – so we tend to hear his news then!

The next (and some say – THE most important highlight) was celebrating Pam's birthday in
August, so we decided to treat ourselves and booked a few nights at our favourite South Island spot – Lake Tekapo. Part of the treat was actually being in a hotel – so no cooking was involved – even breakfast was served and of course no doing dishes – after all what would be a 51 st celebration if you have to do your own dishes!!!. Wohoo!! My waist line certainly took happily on the extra nice food on offer!! It was great to be there in the middle of winter and yours truly this time REMEMBERED to bring with him a tripod – so had two nights down by the lake frontage where the Church of the Good Shepherd is and took some night shots –
until the battery got to cold and gave up!! Regular readers of will have seen some of the night photos I took. We also had day trips – to Lake Pukaki and saw the famous Mt. Cook – where – yes – we did the traditional thing with wine and salut!! We also bought some salmon from the local Aoraki Salmon farm!! yummmm!! Lunch up at the Mt. John Observatory with sparkling clear views of Lake Tekapo!! Too soon it was time to come home again and do the mundane everyday
thing – called work!! Just as well – we need the extra cash in order to repeat these special holidays!!

Reinhold (being a good scout that he is) had the opportunity and work during the general
election for New Zealand's parliament. He ended up stationed at his place of work – issuing votes to the public – then after close of time count all the votes. The team of 6 there had one healthy person on the night and the rest at various stages of illness – so extra counters were brought in and – so the story goes –we posted the second fastest result for the night. wohooo

The next highlight – yes another child left the nest. As I type Jonathan is on his way to Canada on a years adventure. The first 5 or 6 months he is stationed in the middle of absolutely nowhere and is “employed” as a ski lift operator! After that he hopes to be able to travel around or maybe find some more work in Vancouver. He may also choose to go over to Europe for some time – so keep your eyes peeled!! Walking home from work today – I realised that I have moved from being a 'home-dad' for 25.7 years to being – just – a DAD. We wish him well and know he will have a blast!! We did put on him one condition – given the family history – that he had to give us 4 weeks notice if he intends to marry a Canadian girl (so that we can book ourselves in for his wedding – in Canada). Turns out the girls over
there adore the kiwi boys – so he is having a good chance . . . . . Michael dryly commented that he now has to ring us before he is coming round, given that the two of us are now home alone he never knows WHAT we might get up to. Ahhh his mental images – need straightning out! :D

Highlighting Christmas this year and yours truly will be away again with scouts for 7 days ( I will be running a Photography base) and then we have booked a camper van in Australia early March. This IS a treat, as we celebrate 30 years of marriage in February – so we will fly into Brisbane and have 10 days to find Sydney. Mamabear plans to spend a whole day on a Gold-Coast beach doing nothing but having her feet in the sand/surf - while reading her e-book!! ^^ We might make a detour to the Hunter Valley famous for its wino-fino and plan to catch up with a couple of people we got to know via Scouting. This is not only a treat but also a test, to see if we can survive 10 days in such an enclosed space. Ultimatley we plan to buy a large caravan and do one years worth of travel around NZ = but that highlight will have to wait until we can afford to retire.

Well – I am working on another highlight – of finishing this letter and get it printed. Should really add photos . . . . hmmmmm WHICH ones to pick????? When is a highlight not a highlight?? When you have too many and we sure had a few this year!

Merry Christmas and a decent 'rutsch' into 2015

Mamabear & Papabear

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