(Please NOTE: All photos used in this post - except the one acknowledged as my own - are from Fickr. Click on each one and the photographer's name will appear.)
We arrived back last night from a short holiday in Queenstown.
After a Christmas morning breakfast of bacon and eggs, followed by a traditional-to-our-family port and slice of Christmas cake, we opened our presents to each other. Then ABM and S and I travelled through to Queenstown, ABM's home-town. M &K remained behind; they'd organised themselves to cook Christmas Dinner for a friend who had no other means of having a Christmas meal.
Queenstown has gone from tin-pot town at the head of the lake in the 1950s, to international tourist resort.
We, however, are lucky to be able to escape this madness, and relax in peace among the pines and gum trees. This photo I took a couple of years ago shows the view we look out on from my in-laws' home.
The highlights of the holiday were:
(NOT the weather! Which was mixed - but still better than the weather back home in Dunedin ...)
* The food: Trout caught by a marauding, boat-y, band of brawny, young-adult, male cuzzies, then victoriously hauled home and smoked on the b'b'q. The Christmas Day dinner of mutton roast, new potatoes swimming in butter, beans, white turnips etc. followed by trad. Christmas Pudd., trifle, pavlova etc. Another meal another night, of Pork roast with trimmings ... And on it goes. (Do I need to explain that ABM's family are foodies!? If you knew what their surname is, you'd laugh as it's rather appropriate.)
* The walk: along the lake's edge to where a new lakeside township is being constructed, along with a fantastic, made-to-order golf course. ('Vairy' exclusive: Hollywood stars buy here. Think: pluty, pluty, pluty.) What a site. Just look at the view.
When us plebs walked around the empty sections, we could hear skylarks. I wonder if it will ever be that quiet again once the houses are built and the 'privileged populace' actually move in? Apart from that 'site'; as we walked, there was the even more impressive 'sight' of the lake and mountains. I was once again impressed by the flora - such as the wild flowers; lupins, daisies, foxgloves, poppies; and the cabbage trees. But no camera to record the sights, as S has borrowed it for his jaunts.
* Son. number 3: Seeing C again after he arrived back in Queenstown from Milford after his stint guiding on the Milford Track. But it was a swift Hi and Bye, as now he's off to a musical festival on the West Coast.
* The trip: from Queenstown over to Wanaka to visit the family I used to be nanny for. They are holidaying there. I hadn't seen them since they moved to the top of the South Island in July. And how I've missed them! I got lots of hugs and greetings. It was especially wonderful to see the youngest boy M. again. I looked after him from when he was six months old until he was two. To get to Wanaka, we drove over the Crown Range, a winding mountain road,
with - once again - wild flowers galore. Especially lupins.
And glorious smears of purple and pink lupins beside the road.
* The car-ride: With ABM and my mother-in-law (who is recovering from a serious operation, but recuperating well thankfully) up to the top of Coronet Peak - which in winter is a ski resort. What a stunning view from the top.
* The visit: On the way home, dropping in to see my brother and sister-in-law and as usual having a good laugh with them before we carried on our way home to Dunedin. What was especially good was them offering to take the car we had to leave at their place on the way through, to a mechanic friend at their local garage. (Yes, car troubles on the way to Queenstown on Christmas Day, meant we had to leave the Alfa at their place, which fortunately for us is halfway between Dunedin and Queenstown. We were also lucky in that we were able to travel the rest of the way to Q'town with S who was driving behind us in the other car.)
It is ABM's birthday today. To celebrate, the five of us had a leisurely lunch at Glenfalloch Gardens where we sat outside. Tall, established trees sheltered us from the pesky breeze chopping up the harbour.
As we are still on holiday, we are enjoying having the time to do such things as listen to cds (KT Tunstall, J.J Cale, Eric Clapton, Nillson, Neil Young, the cd called ' Mad Dogs and Okies' which S gave ABM for a birthday present ...) and watch ABM's Christmas dvd - 'Coffee and Cigarettes'.
I've also got a pile of holiday reading to get through - so far though, I am not making good progress. I am 100 pages only into Haruki Murakami's short story collection, 'Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.' I don't know if this slow progress is good or bad. It probably means that I'm more active than I'd anticipated.
It's good to be back home. Even if a trifle cold (because, after a glorious morning and early afternoon, it is now a mite chilly.) ABM is cutting kindling for the fire. We are planning a 'night in' watching dvds and reading by the fire. Ummm... remind me again - it's summer, right?