Some friends from Dunedin came for a visit on a weekend in March. We took them down to the riverbed for a picnic. It was a perfect late-summer day, and the children enjoyed playing in the water, as usual.
It was a wonderful day!
The Sunday after Christmas, we went to church in Reefton. We had a friend with us, a young woman whose family we spend a lot of time with. She had never been to Pancake Rocks, so we decided to take her there. Since we were in Reefton, we drove to the coast via the Buller Gorge, which she had also never been through. We hadn’t been through there in several years, either, so it was fun to see that beautiful place again.
There is some farmland along the Buller, where the valley widens out enough. The colors were so vivid that day!
This place is always fun to see, where a single lane has been carved out of the highway. It may be hard to believe, looking at this picture, but about a month or a month and a half ago, when we had a lot of rain, the level of the water was up to the road there at the cut-out! I saw a picture online of the floodwaters swirling around the guardrail.
We stopped at a roadside picnic table to eat lunch, and went down to the river. See how the grass is laid over, way above the level of the water? That’s where the water was, when the river was in flood!
There was a small, beautiful creek there.
When we reached Westport, we turned south and drove along the coast. This was the first time I’ve ever seen the mountains along this route; the other times we went through there, they were covered in clouds.
There was no action in the blowholes at Pancake Rocks, since the sea was so calm. We got some good family pictures, though! Here I am with my beautiful daughters.
Unfortunately, we chose too shady a spot for our family picture. We’ll have to try again another time.
The Nikau palms were in bloom.
We got a picture of Gayle with our handsome (?—look at Simon!) sons.
The second (or third or fourth) try went better. What clowns!
The next day, before our friend went home, the children walked with her down to where the Ahaura and the Grey rivers come together.
Our family Christmas tradition, since moving to the Southern Hemisphere where December is the beginning of summer, is to go on a picnic. Usually, we go away from home somewhere that we don’t often get to, such as the beach. This year, no one felt like going away. We took votes, and all but two of us voted to stay home! We decided to go down to the riverbed below our village and have a cookout beside the creek that flows into the river down there. Gayle and the two little boys went down ahead and started the fire; the rest of us went down when we were ready. The big boys loaded their barrel boat onto the trailer and took it down. We let them off at a place where the creek and road meet, and they loaded our food and other things into it, as the easiest way to get it all to the picnic site. Esther and I then drove on to the parking spot while they floated and poled downstream. Here they come around the bend!
When we were stopped at the ford where we loaded everything into the boat, I let Miss Joy touch the creek. She wasn’t sure about the cold water, but soon loved it!
Off they go! Mr. Diligence laid back in the stroller and had a luxurious ride.
Once we reached our destination and unloaded, the boys went across the creek to cut sticks for roasting sausages.
Miss Joy got to taste a carrot stick—what fun!
Mr. Sweetie broke his arm last week, so he has it in a sling. It’s a greenstick (or hairline) fracture an inch or two below his shoulder, so they didn’t put a cast on it. He’s looking forward to not having to wear the sling next week! It hasn’t slowed him down much, though.
Simon took his air rifle along, so after lunch he boated Esther and I across the creek and we got to try shooting. I never hit the target, but felt better later when he said that he had discovered, after we went home, that the scope was a bit off.
Simon bought himself an air rifle a few weeks ago. This fulfills a dream he has had for a long time, as the first step towards getting a gun license and learning to hunt, which is a dream he has also had for a long time. Now, at least, he can learn to aim! He has taken his brothers down to the riverbed several times for target practice, as well as some friends.
Mr. Diligence takes aim.
Little Miss running ahead toward the vehicles. That’s the rail bridge up ahead.
This was another evening. The friend who came along this time has three little boys. Two of them are here, playing with our children. Isn’t that a great sandbox!
Our friend helping his oldest aim.
Mr. Diligence wanted to have a cookout down by the river for his birthday, and invite some friends. We decided to have it for Sunday dinner a few days before his birthday, and invite everyone from church plus a few other friends. I think we ended up with a total of 36 people! We spent all afternoon there, roasting sausages for lunch and eating them along with many other treats that people brought. The children played in the creek all afternoon, and we all went home sunburned and tired, but it was a great day!
I apologize for not posting last week. I sent my camera with Gayle when he went to the States for his mother’s funeral, so wasn’t taking pictures. I was also away for four days, so didn’t have time to write anything anyway. Now, I need to buy a new camera, as mine got lost along the way somewhere. I’m thankful that Esther will loan me her camera!