Monthly Archives: December 2013

That Was The Year That….

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
Alfred Lord Tennyson,   Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland
August 1809 –  October 1892

And now this is the last day of the year.  The sun is shining brightly after several days of dreary rain, and we are looking forward to the New Year.

This has been a year that has been very eventful for me and will be long remembered. A snap decision to sell the house and travel, meeting a new special person (again), adventures in Florence, the excitement of melding two families and so much more.

The decision had been made to go away – if I didn’t do it now when would I? And having no idea how long I would be away it was decided to sell the house and put my belongings into storage rather than buy another house.

Sold

Packing up the house to put everything into storage went well.  My son and daughter have their own houses and didn’t want my furniture, except one particular chair that went to my daughter-in-law (she had always wanted it) and a desk and a sofa table that went to my daughter.  All the rest was packed by the removers and taken to storage.  That was interesting.  I had downsized considerably when moving into that house and was very surprised to note that I needed three storage units to house my belongings.

During the decision making to move and go away on an extended trip, I met up again with an acquaintance from years before.  We spent a lot of time together during the sales process and when the settlement took place, I was invited to join him in his house in the beech forest.

House in the trees

Then it was time to start my travels.  Three grandsons and my daughter came to the airport to see me off.  None of us knew how long I would be away although I did have a return ticket for February 3, but my family were used to my going to visit my sisters on the other side of the world and changing the return date

Wellington Airport

How fast and how large they have all grown

I had a lovely time spent catching up with my younger sister in London.  The plan had been for her to come to Florence with me but that didn’t work out as she had a health scare that meant she couldn’t fly.  But we had a lovely time visiting friends and family and revisiting museums and places of interest, not as a tourist but as a returning Londoner.

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2013 090

And then it was off to explore Florence on my own.  I rented an apartment out of the centre of town in an area where I appeared to be the only English-speaking resident.  But how happy to help me were the Italians I came across when I used my faltering Italian to communicate with them.  In all the time I was there I encountered only one surly bus driver who couldn’t or wouldn’t help me.

Duomo 2

But as often happens, homesickness or rather the longing to be with friends and family again, overtook me and I decided that it was time to cut short this adventure.  So back to London for another week with my sister and then I returned home to New Zealand.

And what a happy homecoming that was.  I was met by my special friend in Auckland and we drove together down the North Island to Wellington stopping on the way to catch up with friends in Taupo.

http://www.greatlaketaupo.com/new-zealand/interactivemap/

Then a new phase in this long and happy life began.  It was decided that we would spend the rest of our lives together, both having had long and successful marriages cut short by the death of our spouses.  So I moved into this house in the forest and we set about making memories of our own.

House

The new house is almost complete – well the roof is on, doors installed and the glazing is in.  But of course, this is holiday time here in NZ and all the builders and contractors are away.  It’s very peaceful without them but we will look forward to their return on January 6.

Breakfast Pinehaven Style

Breakfast Pinehaven Style

But we are making use of the new house already. G & Ts taken looking into the forest and the photo shows breakfast cooked on the barbecue yesterday and eaten in the almost complete house.

Sisters

Sisters, sisters

To round off another eventful and adventurous year, my younger sister in London has taken up my invitation to come and visit us.  She has never been to NZ.  In fact, none of my family has, and so I am looking forward to showing her where I make my life; introducing her to friends and reintroducing her to her niece and nephew and their families.  So this will be a great start to 2014.

Christmas came and went in a flurry of activities as usual.  Friends have called in for drinks, barbecues etc and on New Year’s Eve, we shall have dinner with my Special Friend’s son and his partner and their two little girls.

What a fantastic year 2013 has been for me.  I hope you can all say the same and if not, my wishes for a fabulous, healthy and safe 2014 are sent to you all.

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Happy Holidays to all

Pohutakawa tree

Our own New Zealand Christmas tree. Image via Wikipedia

It’s Christmas Eve as I write this blog and even though I have been absent from the blogosphere for several weeks again, I have been reading some of your interesting posts and keeping up with my blogging friends times and travels.

Presents are wrapped ready to be delivered and as my daughter and I are going out to a hotel for lunch tomorrow there is no last-minute cooking and preparations going on.

It is supposedly summer here but today has been dull and rainy and decidedly chilly.  We thought summer had arrived this weekend.  We had a roof shout on Friday – do you know about roof shouts?  These are held with all the builders and contractors and other trades people once the roof is on the house.  It was a glorious day and we enjoyed a fantastic barbecue with 20+ others in the new house.  As well as the roof being complete, the front door and garage door are in and able to be closed, and the glazing is in place.  So once the builders return from their summer holiday work will begin again and soon the house should be habitable.

On this day last year I posted the New Zealand version of the Twelve Days of Christmas and I thought it worth repeating.  So here goes, you know the tune – enjoy our version.

On the first day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A pukeko in a ponga tree

Pukeko

via Wikipedia

On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Two kumera
And a pukeko in a ponga tree

On the third day of Christmas
Three flax kits
and so on, until…

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Twelve piupius swinging
Eleven haka lessons
Ten juicy fish heads
Nine sacks of pipis
Eight plants of puha
Seven eels a swimming
Six pois a twirling
Five – big – fat – pigs!
Four huhu grubs
Three flax kits
Two kumera
And a pukeko in a ponga tree!
Eight plants of puha
Seven eels a swimming

pois dancing

Picture via Wikipedia

Definitions

Pukeko = type of bird found in NZ
Ponga Tree = a fern tree that grows in NZ
Kumera = a yellow sweet potato with a purple inside core
Piuspius = a skirt made from strips of flax. They look like hula skirts. They’re worn by the Maori (indigenous people of NZ) during certain dances and special celebrations.
Haka = war chant/dance
Pipis = small shellfish
Puha = a type of sow thistle that is eaten as a vegetable in NZ
Pois = Maori word for ball – they’re two balls on the end of two ropes and they’re twirled around making patterns during some Maori dances
Huhu = a small edible grub or beetle found in NZ.

So now for all my friends out there may I wish you a safe and happy holiday period whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Eid, Yule or any other.   If you are in the northern hemisphere keep warm and everybody take care when driving.  We all know that there are plenty of crazies out there behind the wheels of cars.

Happy Holidays