Christmas in the garden & at the beach

National Jandal Day couldn’t have asked for better weather. Wellington was bathed in sunshine with collectors reaping the rewards for Surf Life Saving NZ.

National Jandal Day NZ 2010

Charlotte spent most of the day with her entire school at the fabulous Wainui Summer Pools, whilst Sophie, Alice and I had a quiet morning at home and in the garden.  Sophie enjoyed drinking a home-made fluffy in a Christmas mug, whilst passing Alice cuddly reindeer and pushing her on the swing (great multi-tasking!).  Alice has recently started the ‘Let’s drop this over and over again and see who will humour me and pick it up for me,’ game (just look at those eyes)!

Christmas fun in the garden

Both Alice and Sophie are still full of summer colds, so they appreciated the rest. We had a lovely time in the garden watching the sun glistening off the glitter balls we’ve hung everywhere.

Reflections of flowers from a hanging basket

This is the first year I’ve really felt ‘Christmassy’ in New Zealand (and I’ve been living here since 1997!). The children, of course, help and I’ve also grown accustomed to summer signs of Christmas approaching – like the fresh berries in the garden and the first red bloom of the Pohutukawa tree (which we saw today!).

First Pohutukawa bloom of summer in Wellington

Fairy lights are beautiful, but there are very few dark hours to enjoy them in the middle of summer;  so instead I decorate to suit the season and enjoy watching the sun dancing off crystals, disco balls and tinsel.

Disco balls in the garden

In the afternoon we caught a bus into town.  Sophie was so excited.  We’d usually drive in, but Dan had taken the car this morning.

It was so much fun.  A bus ride in Wellington is like a fair ground ride – holding on for dear life as we were swung around sharp, tight bends and dangling over the edge of steep drops admiring stunning views.

We made it safely into town with Alice sleeping all the way there.  After a short play at Waitangi playground we met up with Frances and Charlotte (Frances had gone along to Wainui pools and driven Charlotte back).  We all had the most perfect, amazing afternoon.

Waitangi Park & Playground

I haven’t been into the city in what feels like ages. I’m not a ‘city’ person, but Wellington doesn’t feel like a ‘city’ in the conventional sense, especially on a scorching day with jandal and bikini clad bodies making their way along the waterfront.

We hired a croc-bike for half an hour and peddled the girls along the waterfront, stopping every 20 yards or so to cheer on a brave young person taking a huge plunge into the cool harbour. We laughed at a couple of real ‘bros’ who’d reversed their ute so that it was hanging over the edge of the harbour to make an impromptu diving board. They were spending their lunch-break diving into the harbour in a display of macho coolness – showing off with back flips and muscles rippling (not that Frances and I were complaining and I actually felt a little return of my libido that has been non-existent since Alice’s arrival – poor Dan!).

Anyway… moving on quickly! Half an hour was more than enough for our leg muscles (of cycling that is) and we were glad of the opportunity to take a break and hand the girls some coins to throw in the surf life savers collection bucket.

The girls all sat in the front, enjoying the view and singing ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ and ‘Jingle Bells’, with Alice sandwiched between Charlotte and Sophie, who protectively put their arms around her.

Croc bike

Alice waved at all the passers by and smiled charmingly with that ‘Royal’ look that babies have mastered. They were all adorable.

Alice giving the royal wave on her first croc bike ride

We visited the huge ‘Telecom Christmas Tree‘, where Sophie (in particular) kept going into the telephone box to make numerous calls to Father Christmas… I heard her wishing for a new drum-kit (last year’s $20 bargain buy didn’t last very long), a pony (maybe one riding lesson?!), a pet goldfish (we have enough of them already!), a metal detector for her sister, a new car radio for Frances and to see Father Christmas ‘for real’!

Telecom Christmas Tree

There wasn’t much shade under the ‘tree’ and with the sun blazing down the girls decided it was time for a dip. Fortunately we had togs and towels at hand so we headed round to Oriental Beach to join the crowds. It was a fabulous Friday evening.

Oriental Bay

Dan would have loved to have joined us, but there were leaving drinks at work for a colleague.  He invited us up to the office. Sophie was very keen to join her Daddy for Friday beers. Charlotte, Alice and I dropped her off, and then headed home to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet!  At the time of writing it’s past 8pm and Sophie and Dan are still out (grabbing a curry the last time we talked to them on the phone!). The rest of us are camped out on my bed. Alice trying to take over the keyboard, which is making typing difficult. Charlotte nearly nodding off next to me. I’m going to give up typing and add in the photos in half an hour when they are asleep!


Gone 10.00pm now.  The house is quiet and Sophie had a fabulous time at Dan’s office – they got in just before 9.00pm, with a curry!

So much for the quiet ‘Christmas movie’ night I’d planned when I wrote out the Advent Christmas Countdown. It’s nice to have plans, but great to be flexible and go with what the day provides too 🙂