Autumn is fully upon us here in New Zealand. The temperatures are still warm and the days mostly sunny, just noticeably shorter. Like most of the world our country is currently ‘in lockdown’ as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our surf boards and other wet play gear is all laying redundant in the garage, despite the weather still being beautiful for surfing.
The mountain bikes are missing the trails and our daily exercise is kept local and often done from home via online workouts. Thankfully our local area is beautiful, with hills, coastal scenery and bush trails – but it’s strange to have to give everyone such a wide berth and not linger on benches to take in the views.
So, whilst I have this enforced ‘down time’ I’m going to enjoy looking back on some of our summer highlights and hope that my UK friends and family get to see their own ‘lockdown’ lifted in time for them to enjoy their summer.
Our lighter evenings started in September and we enjoyed a mild spring, leading up to the long summer school holidays and Christmas.
The school year came to a close at the end of November, with our oldest daughter having had a very successful year 12 and been awarded first in her year in Materials Design, Photography and Art, as well as achieving in the top 10 in English, Statistics and Physics.
She headed off to New York for a 10-day trip with her Dad, on the 30th November, watching half a dozen Broadway Musicals! What a way to finish the year and belatedly celebrate her 16th Birthday! Lucky duck!
She really had a fantastic year academically and personally, spending hours singing, performing with her school choir and orchestra, and in her school musical, so the reward was well earned.
Whilst she was enjoying the highlights of Broadway with her Dad, we were back in Wellington enjoying the warmer days. Our younger two daughters continue to be home educated.
The older of the two – aged 13 – had a great year of activity, getting into surfing and mountain biking, along with ‘free running’ (like Parkour, but with more style!). She attends a local gym twice a week, as well as helping the coaches for two hours on Monday with younger students. She loves her weekly drama classes too, performing in three different Shakespeare events in 2019. She always has her nose in a book and happily home educates herself in maths and physics (her level is beyond mine – I’m just so thankful to be living in a time with so many excellent on-line learning resources!)!
Our youngest daughter, who turned 9 early in 2019, is a creative dreamer, always drawing, playing imaginary games with friends and loves her weekly drama classes too, appearing in a Shakespeare production ‘Twelfth Night’ as Malvolio, in a fun scene where she had to wear yellow tights and totally rocked them! She loves to listen to music and memorises songs from musicals with ease.
Both of our home educated daughters participate in a weekly ‘STEM’ class (Science, technology, engineering and maths) which they love very much. I’m forever having to buy odd items from stores to facilitate their creative and engineering ideas!
Hubby had a change in work toward the end of 2019 year, deciding to go out on his own again – embarking on a new start up with a couple of former colleagues. After a few months off – mountain biking, snow-boarding and enjoying time with our girls, he got his mind into gear to put ideas into action! Watch this space! He took our 13 year old for a long weekend of snowboarding fun in Wanaka, as well as taking the younger two daughters on a trip to Mt Ruapehu for a week of snow fun, whilst I was visiting my family in England in September. Our oldest was busy studying for her NCEA L2 exams.
We spend a heap of time enjoying the beautiful outdoors of the greater Wellington area, as well as in our own backyard, throughout the summer months. We love to walk in the native bush.
And play at the beach.
Summer is always one filled with time in nature. There’s always something on in the city of Wellington and the regional towns, from free concerts in the Botanical Gardens to dragon boat races on the harbour and summer sports.
I’m often happiest outdoors, walking the dog or running the hilly trails of Wellington – keeps me sane! I ran the Queenstown Marathon in November 2019 and the Tarawera Ultra Marathon in February 2020 – so spring and summer involved a lot of running for me!
We spent some time in the rural bliss of Martinborough, in the Wairarapa, over New Year and January.
And around our home, on the south coast of Wellington, we were treated to the sighting of Orca one evening!
It was magical to watch them swimming so close to the shore.
So, there’s a quick round up of some of our high lights to the second half of 2019 and start of summer here in New Zealand. We’re now in April and full swing into Autumn – so plenty more hours to enjoy the night sky! The photo below was taken by my hubby one summer evening in Martinborough.
Take care everyone and see you on the other side of this ‘new normal’… when the new airport control tower in Wellington may be of use once more (it’s so eerie for there to be no planes flying overhead – but also kind of blissful!).