We went on holiday this past week, our annual family holiday. This is the second year we've done this. After being married for over 5 years, and realising we'd not really had a proper holiday 'just for us' (you know, the sort where you go somewhere alone, and spend time as a family unit, without using your annual leave to either move or visit family?!), we decided this needed to change. Last year we headed out to a bach by the beach, and played table tennis, visited some friends, and generally had a lovely time. This week, we headed to a forestry block on the Coromandel owned by my extended family, just a couple of hours drive from Tauranga. I was horrified to realise that it has been seven years since we last visited. It was fabulous. No internet. No telephone. No tv. Not really any power for that matter (it runs on low voltage solar, with gas for stove, hot water, and fridge). Limited cellphone coverage (if you stand in the right spot outside, you can get texts...sometimes. Or you can hike to the helipad at the top of the ridge to use the phone...we found that out by accident affter hauling ourselves and the stroller up there!).
There's an old piano that Munchkin and I spent some time playing. We paddled in the river down in the valley one day, went to visit Cathedral Cove further north another, and paddled at Tairua another day. I found it amazing how refreshed we felt after just four nights away. I think it has a lot to do with being so far removed from our daily lives. We actually came home a day early to avoid some rough weather. I'm hoping we might be able to head back to the forest for another few nights later in the year, as it was so enjoyable.
We went out pine-coning. This was the thing I was most looking forward to. I remember times spent with my family during childhood collecting pinecones around the Wellington area for our fire. There's something nostalgic about it for me. It is very more-ish. Almost obsessive. My mother agrees with me on this. You just keep thinking "I've just got to get this last one," and then you see another last one, and another! I think I enjoy it so much now as we don't have a fire so therefore don't actually NEED to collect pinecones. We can do it for the fun of it, and give them to my parents for their fireplace. I must admit to enjoying past-times that produce some form of useful result. Grin. Boyo and I discovered that the best way to collect pine cones with a small son is to have one person forage, and throw the cones somewhere near the stroller. The baby thinks the plonks as they land is great fun, and enjoys 'chatting' to the second person who is collecting the thrown cones and popping them into a bag in the bottom of the stroller. By the time the bottom of the stroller is full, the baby is ready for a new occupation and we head home, to repeat our expedition a few more times over the coming days.
The highlight of the whole trip for me is the pile of pinecones I discovered on the front door step the first day we were there...Boyo (who is not a pine cone collector at heart by any means) had collected them for me while I had a nap. We had been talking about trying to make our relationship more affectionate and romantic. It wasn't until a while later that I went and had a closer look:
What a lovely man I have! He couldn't have given me a better gift right then. He also got me some kanuka stakes for the vege garden too - a very productive hour he had while Munchy and I slept! I decided to return the thought, although the pine cone touch really should have been replaced with licorice or something he loves equally well for full effect, but I had to stick with what was available.
An interesting development was seeing how they changed over the coming days. What had been tightly closed cones when collected, gradually opened in the warm sun to drop their seeds.
Aren't they beautiful?
Saturday, 29th January, 2011