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New Zealand Christmas 2011

January 8, 2012

So, once again, it was off on Air New Zealand to the other side of the world to be with our son and his family, staying at Finnimore House again with the lovely Willy and Kathleen as our hosts.
As last year, the first full day there was also the girls’ Christmas Playgroup session and this time I got to play Santa.

Again, as last year, the weather was cold, damp and windy in Wellington for the first few days until the Southerly winds died away. Suddenly there were clear skies and dangerously bright sunshine. I had taken along a UV meter; in the UK level 7 is regarded as the dangerous maximum UV level. The first time I switched it on it read 14 and rose to 15 in the early afternoon, with a recommended maximum exposure time of 12 minutes. Time for high factor sunblock and a hat.

I’d remembered a surprising level of detail of Wellington’s roads and didn’t need the SatNav at all while there. We visited several beaches on our own or with the family. The water was cold but many locals were also enjoying the sunshine.

We went along with Tess, her Dad and James for her 20 week scan. Everything looks fine and it’s going to be another girl. Thank you, Tess, for those precious moments.

Christmas day began, of course, with much opening of presents by and for the girls. Lunch was BBQ porterhouse steaks (thank you, Pete) etc in the garden making use of the new furniture (including the essential parasol) we’d bought them.

 

Last year we visited South Island. This time we all drove up to Hawkes Bay. We stayed in a Motor lodge while the family stayed with Tess’s Nan.  Other members of the family came and went. It’s a nice town; we did some shopping and pavement café dining, picked strawberries and visited a very busy water park and spent a day in nearby Napier – a town on the coast which was virtually destroyed by an earthquake in the 1930s and rebuilt, much of it in the Art Deco style of the time. Well worth a visit.

  

By now, Mollie’s listlessness and lack of appetite had made itself clear as a bad case of Chicken Pox. Strangely, Summer was showing no such signs and still isn’t as I write this. Mollie’s potty training was made more difficult by her sickness but success was growing.

Back in Wellington, we took the girls to local parks and the swimming pool and, on the last fine day before the fine weather broke, to Zealandia – a nature park close to the heart of the City. A whole month’s rain in the next two days put paid to any more outdoor activities and, all too soon, it was time to leave.

All the photos are on Flickr and several of the places we visited have been reviewed on Trip Advisor.

Happily the house central heating, left on low, hadn’t failed and the weather was mild for early January so it wasn’t too traumatic to be back in the UK.

Until next year!

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