8 or so weeks on the run…

No sniping ....... yet
No sniping ……. yet

I am enjoying the wonderful absence of urgency and stress. We have had two weeks at home after the trip to New Zealand and there is plenty of time to do anything that needs to be done, but nothing seems particularly important.  I love lazy mornings with slow starts, problem is my lazy mornings can easily run into the afternoon.

Make new friends but keep the old

One is silver and the other gold

This old refrain keeps echoing through my mind. These eight weeks have been full of precious new and old friends and family. The intensity of the delight in reconnecting with people has surprised me.

We have had many conversations with friends about how much you need to work at our stage of life.  Could work look differently than it does now? Longer leave periods? Part time? Less stressful jobs? Can you retire too young? How much money do you really need to retire? How do you have Continue reading

Warming my heart by the fire of a long burning friendship

P1070897It is such a rich experience to stay in a friends’ home, rather than in the anonymous blandness of a hotel. Friends delight in introducing you to the best of their world, the places that mean the most to them and the people who give meaning to their day to day lives.

We have just spent four nights with our friends Suzanne and Darryl in Puketurua, a tiny place in the middle of the North Island, New Zealand. I met Suzanne and Darryl when I was about 18 years old, with my ex-husband. Our relationship was full of the laughter, passion and intensity of two young couples in love and at the threshold of their lives. Over the last forty years we have only seen them a handful of times, nonetheless they have embraced Steven and when we catch up it’s as if we saw them yesterday.

Here are four of the diamonds from their lives that they shared with us:

P1070808The Table on the Deck: We ate all meals in this beautiful rural vista, fresh country food accompanied by the sound of cows lowing. These were joyous meals full of laughter and great conversation. Despite some tough times this couple has maintained a great passion for life, and each other. Suzanne and Darryl reckon that lethargy and joylessness Continue reading

More than a family barbeque

P1070662My niece Melissa was born when I was 19 years old and working in Queenstown, just before I headed to Australia. I remember queuing up to use the pay phone in downtown Queenstown so I could ring home and find out whether my sister’s baby had been born. That’s how you kept in touch before mobile phones. I was very excited to be an aunty for the first time. I had been diligently knitting a baby jacket and booties in a soft mint green. In those days you had no idea of what sex the baby would be so mint green was a safe colour, appropriate for either a boy or a girl. For some reason I thought that the beautiful and delicate layette should be finished with a hard dark brown ribbon. Maybe this was my clumsy gesture towards hoping that Continue reading

The Kindness of a Sister

P1070804 (3)I value kindness, that old fashioned virtue of helping out another human being in a gentle and unassuming manner. Simple acts such as picking up a toy dropped unnoticed from a pram, giving directions to a stranger, checking on a neighbour or giving a heartfelt compliment can make such a difference to the recipient’s day, way beyond the magnitude of the act. More profound acts of kindness take time, effort and commitment. As a psychologist I have heard many sad stories where small acts of kindness would have made a significant difference to someone’s life. Kindness can be contagious and I like to imagine that even the smallest kind act can Continue reading

And so the adventure begins

Sometimes, despite the planning, things don’t quite go the way you envisaged. Anne and I have been working toward running away for a number of months, and today we set off……on a bus, and 5 hours late.

imageA bus was not part of the plan, but it became a late inclusion when last night Vigin Australia advised us that our 9.15am direct flight to Queenstown today was cancelled…….”but do not fear Steve, we have booked you on a flight from the Gold Coast to Christchurch at 5.45pm, with an overnight stop, continuing through to Queenstown on Thursday morning, arriving at your final destination at 9.50am”

Great I thought – that  means I only miss 18 hours of my holiday, a night out with friends in Queenstown, and the bus to connect with our 4 day Otago Rail trail bike trip.  mmmmmmm take a deep breath.

After a long wait on the phone, we finally saved the Otago Rail Trail bus connection, getting an earlier flight out of Christchurch and arriving in Queenstown at 7.50am – still a long night ahead, but hey – it’s an adventure.

We followed Virgin’s instructions today, and caught a cab to the Brisbane domestic terminal (a little early because that’s how I like it), only to be told…. “sorry Steve, you should have gone to the International terminal…. you were given the incorrect information last night…. here’s a ticket to catch the shuttle bus to the International terminal”. So dutifully, we headed back outside and caught the shuttle. Arriving at the International terminal, where we were met with nothing… the place was deserted!  Still holding things together, we found a cleaner who was very helpful….” go up there” she said. So we did. From up there, we were directed, back “down there”. Gee, this is great. Finally, we found a little Office with a Virgin sign outside, so I knocked. A young lady directed us back “up there…… someone is on their way to assist”. We didn’t find that person,  At 2pm, when the bus was due to depart, we were still lost, when our names were called over the airport public address system……. asking us to hot foot it to level 2, as our bus was waiting. Finally, acknowledgement that we were expected.

imageI’m writing this blog on my iPhone (that’s interesting…. I need my young eyes on for that) sitting on the bus from Brisbane to the Gold Coast to connect with that Christchurch flight, looking forward to a Bloody Mary (our favourite holiday starter).

I’ll see you on the trail…..no doubt starting out with less sleep than we had planned.

If everything else from here on in goes to plan, this is just a hiccup. What’s your worst travel planning story?

 

Wedding Rings and Canoe Paddles

imageI love a good wedding, and Felicity and Job’s was one of the best. It was a spectacularly beautiful summer’s day as they married in the chapel at Sanctuary Cove. The glorious weather was truly appreciated as the day before had seen a deluge of rain resulting in closed roads due to flooding.

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How wonderful to see families and friends come together for such a joyous occasion. The chapel was full of children laughing and smiling, I’m so glad they were included.

It’s such an honour to be invited to a wedding, to share that special time when a couple make their commitment to each other. Felicity and Job had written their own vows and the heartfelt expression of their love for each other, and their hopes for the future, ensured many tears Continue reading