Sunday, January 25, 2009

On Holiday at Home

I am really enjoying being on holiday at home. My days are very relaxed but they feel full too. When I wake up, I check my email and potter around doing a bit of housework. Every second morning I go for a run. The rest of my day is a combination of gardening, getting jobs done around the house, listening to Radio NZ National, and reading and writing.

Tessa and Josiah mostly do their own thing: reading, writing, playing, baking, climbing, computer activities. Tessa has attached the garden hose to a pole, creating a sort of outdoor shower to play under when it gets hot. Some hot days, we go to the beach or the river in the late afternoon for a swim. The kids don't seem to be showing signs of boredom yet; I guess they are recharging too.

This is how I always imagine holidays at home will be, but usually the kids end up with a stream of social engagements and the holidays turn out to be as busy as term time. It's lovely that hasn't happened this time.

Don't know how I will fit homeschooling in come February!

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Ride the bikes more. I think the way to do this is to plan errands and shopping trips in advance rather than waiting till we run out of fruit or till the library books are due back and having to fit the errand into an already busy day.

Work in the garden regularly. Regularly enough to make it feasible to have a vegie garden and more fruit trees and vines. Currently, our garden is overrun by weeds but I have already made some progress since getting back from holiday.

Go completely vegan. I'm not sure I'm ready for this. I still enjoy a sweet treat every few days. With the exception of dark chocolate, I haven't come across vegan sweet treats to buy. I get bored of dark chocolate and struggle to find time to cook meals, let alone bake treats. However, I was horrified when we visited Pupu Springs in Golden Bay, one of the most pristine freshwater environments in the world, to see that the neighbouring farmer has a cow paddock that comes within about five metres of the springs. My understanding is that despite extensive fencing on dairy farms, toxic run off into our water ways continues to increase. It might be time for me to choose between including dairy in my diet and taking my future grandchildren river swimming.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Summer Holiday

We are just back from two fabulous weeks climbing in Golden Bay. The kids really pushed themselves ... and their parents. I think Josiah was a bit bemused when he he succeeded at 1080 and the Letter G, one of Paynes Ford's classic climbs, about half way through the trip. Didn't take him long to set himself a bunch of new goals though; he spent his evenings pouring over the guide books. Here he is hanging from 1080 on his first attempt at the climb, during which he did all the moves but took some breaks hanging on the rope.

Tessa must have had a secret goal of improving her mother's endurance. She dragged me along for two marathon sessions: "nine climbs on the ninth" (of January) at Seagrass Wall, Pohara, and, on our final day, all the climbs on Little Lost Wall, Paynes Ford, except Lost Soul (too hard for now) and Knicknack Paddywack (too scary), which left eleven climbs! She didn't choose easy climbs either. The "nine on the ninth" included Tessa's hardest outdoor climb to date, a grade 19, and two or three grade 18s. I couldn't keep up, only attempting eight of the nine, and falling off climbs tired on our final day.

A bonus of staying longer in Golden Bay this trip than we did last summer was meeting other climbers and feeling like part of the transient but very friendly Golden Bay summer climbing community. One day, Tessa had a group of Germans cheering her on and giving her suggestions; on our last couple of days, she exchanged climbing tips with two Finnish climbers. Several groups of climbers stayed at our campground, including three lovely couples from Palmerston North, Christchurch and Korea, and Wellington. Here is a photo one of them took of Tessa.

We camped at Takaka Camping Ground which is far superior to Pohara Top Ten Holiday Park where we stayed last year. Takaka Camping Ground is small and therefore peaceful. We enjoyed sitting under the trees on hot afternoons when we returned from climbing or walking. They have the best campground showers ever! The facilities were clean and sufficient for the number of campers (in stark contrast to the situation at Pohara). And the managers were very friendly and helpful. We look forward to seeing them again next time.