Earthquakes, Christmas and fishing

In the middle of the night I woke up and pulled my curtain aside to see what the weather was like. Above me was a sky full of twinkling stars. I looked directly at the two pointers and the Southern Cross. It was a sight to take my breath away. This morning, when I woke, there was high cloud scattered across the sky and it was painted a delicate salmon pink colour by the rising sun. Yesterday we were feeding ducks at the lake and we came across a mother duck and eight tiny ducklings. They were fluffy and gorgeous and she protected them diligently, spending her time swimming around to keep them close and chasing other ducks away. Three examples of nature at its loveliest.

Christchurch experienced nature yesterday too. Yet more earthquakes. Three fairly powerful shocks through the afternoon, two over 5 and one 6 on the Richter scale. Christchurch is a city in the South Island, on the banks of the River Avon, very English and graceful. It used to be full of beautiful stone buildings, but they’ve had some major earthquakes since the first one Sept 4th 2010. One in February killed nearly two hundred people and much of the central city has gone. Out in the suburbs they are, yet again, coping with liquid streets and no power and aftershocks. My heart goes out to them and I can not imagine what the stress must be like.

Well it is the day before Christmas! Today I have to bake some biccies and then the boxes will be complete and ready for wrapping and decorating. The presents for the kids are wrapped. I have some dessert to make – a stunning fruit salad and a pav. Very organised this year!

For the last four days I have had Lucas all day, or I should say “we have” because Nana T has entered into the fun of it all like a teenager. Tuesday we went to Auckland (a two-hour trip full of dinosaur songs, sung and conducted with gusto by all three) and left Nana T with her sister, Nana M. Lucas and I went to Butterfly Creek. We stroked a baby crocodile and eyed it up, as it eyed us up. We stood in one spot and got covered in tropical butterflies, one was so keen on us we had to put it on a flower before we left the butterfly house. My goodness it was hot in there! (polite way of saying it) We saw two HUGE salt water crocodiles which didn’t move much. We saw several very large tarantulas but Lucas was more fascinated by the locusts because they moved. We told the cockroaches all over the model house that we don’t like them at all, but the giant wetas were rather graceful, in a weta kind of way. We held bunny rabbits that licked our fingers and fed goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs, chickens…we rode a very cool train around a wetland area and saw birds.

Then we went back to Nana M’s and had a swim in her pool, played on her ‘electric chair’ and had chocolate cake. Nana M gave Lucas a massive curled ram’s horn that she has had for close to 60 years. He strode around the room blowing it and telling the walls to crumble. It is on his ‘fragile shelf’ at home and he treasures it. On the way home he slept in the car seat and woke in time for an ice-cream from the shop in Pokeno that sells 50 flavours. We have been stopping there for ice-creams for as long as I can remember.

Wednesday we went to the local lake/park and fed the ducks and walked around the lake. There were tyre tracks in the mud and on the grass and we became detectives to solve the mystery of what made them. Too big for a car or a motorcycle, too small for a truck, we settled on a tractor. Then we found a long piece of willow and Lucas discovered fishing. We sat beside the lake on a beautiful sunny day and discussed life, with a ‘fishing pole’ in the water.

Thursday we went to the local playground, swings, slides, a steam roller, a flying fox, trees to hide behind and play at ‘T-Rex stalks the Diplodocus’ and then we made glorious, chocolately Rocky Road for the Christmas boxes. A little less Crunchie bar made it into the mix than planned, but who cares?

Yesterday we took a picnic lunch and Nana T and went back to our favourite lake. I had made him a fishing rod out of a piece of wood, string and a bent hook. Did we catch anything? Of course not. But man, we had fun! We fed many birds, from sparrows to ducks to pukekos. We helped the mother duck protect her young, we played “pooh sticks” off the bridge…then we went to a new playground and he climbed a climbing wall all by himself and celebrated at the top with a glorious “yeah!!” It’s been many years since I’ve climbed and clambered through tubes and slid down slides and pushed a child on the swing. Some of life’s best experiences are the most simple. Then it was home for a popsicle and a movie (Ice Age) before a very tired Mummy picked him up for the Christmas/New Year break.

So, tis the day before Christmas and all through the house no-one is stirring, not even a mouse/cat/Grandma…all that remains is for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings to all who don’t celebrate it, Happy Chanukah to all my Jewish friends.

Many of life’s problems would melt away if we all did more of this…

Here fishy wishy

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