ADVENTURE this week for The Gallery

Our family is home after a holiday in beautiful Picton and Nelson, New Zealand. We had a blast, especially with Grandma & Granddad over from the UK. As for an adventure? Well, perhaps not so much for us oldies (given we had young children stopping us from too many extended, wild adventures), but more of a special time to enjoy each others company and play with the children (and try to keep sane – fortunately there were some good breweries, cafes and and vineyards in close proximity!).

We did look at maps wistfully, imagining ourselves tramping ‘The Heaphy Track’, kayaking the ‘Abel Tasman’, walking ‘The Queen Charlotte Track’, exploring Nelson Lakes National Park and remembering our adventures before children. The closest we got to any adventures was through the wonderful imagination of our youngest daughter, Alice (nearly three).

Pirate Alice on deck the Interislander

The most apt photograph of the week’s holiday, on the theme ‘Adventure’, was taken by Granddad – (read the sticker on the case closely):

Adventure before Dementia

In case you can’t read it, it says, ‘Adventure before Dementia’.

On the other side of the scale from dementia, young Alice kept us in check – reminding us of life through fresh eyes and how adventure can be everywhere and in anything – if you have a vivid enough imagination!

This rocket ride in Picton was the talk of the holiday (and after two consecutive rides the operator threw in a third for free – as she was attracting customers with her delightful squeals and banter of ‘adventuring to the stars and the moon’!).

Rocket to the moon!

There was also a little train ride (which Alice insisted her older sisters and Mummy accompanied her on)…

Train ride at Picton

And of course the ferry ride on the Interislander, from Wellington to Picton (and back again a week later) was definitely an adventure for young Alice.

Here comes the ferry! Alice and Daddy waiting for it to dock in Wellington.

She had us all in stitches with her tales of pirating adventures and singing, ‘I’m a pirate princess, who sails the seven seas….’ (Jake the the Neverland Pirates we have to thank for the inspiration!).

She was pretending to dig for gold doubloons on the steel deck of the ferry (and of course I had to act along with her…), much to the amusement of the childless passengers enjoying a beer on the front deck.

Our older daughters had adventures of their own – mostly in active pursuits on (and in) the water – with Daddy and Granddad joining in.

Charlotte, Sophie, Granddad & Daddy

But, my personal ‘adventure’ highlight of the week was a walk with my oldest daughter, who will turn 10 this year. We snuck out one evening, to escape the post dinner madness of her younger sisters (and doing the dishes – erm, thanks Grandma!). It is so rare that we have one-on-one time together away from the daily norm. We jogged out the holiday house and raced each other down the steepest hill, to the tidal mudflats of Atawhai, Nelson. I followed my daughters lead and we walked out on the mudflats, sharing the evening with herons, shags and gulls.

Enjoying a walk with my eldest daughter

I felt energised by the release from the house, the running down the hill – without any thought to where we might explore, how long we’d be and what the weather might do. We had no refreshments with us and no raincoats in case of a down-pour. We simply ran out of the house and away – feeling the air in our lungs and opening our senses to whatever met them.

Atawhai tidal mudflats, Nelson, New Zealand

As two weather systems met in the sky above us, and the sun’s light slowly started to fade from the day, there was the smallest sliver of ‘adventure’ in the air.