Summer Saturday on Wellington’s South Coast with family

Today was all about water. It started with a bath – when Miss 2, Alice, discovered an old Thomas Tank Engine bath toy (in much need of a scrub) and persuaded me to run a bath (and scrub the toy), which we then wallowed in for half an hour. After the bath she wondered into Grandma & Granddad’s bedroom and came out with a sparkly, pink top… which some how transplanted us into the 1920’s flapper era, when the rest of the attire ended up looking like this….

Alice in her 1920's Flapper Era get up

Somehow, in all the dancing frenzy that followed, I forgot about breakfast and when, ‘I am a gummy bear‘ started blaring out of the TV (Alice was scanning through YouTube songs) in French… and then German… I really needed a strong coffee.

Dan, Alice and I nipped down to Queen Sally’s Diamond Deli for a strong brew, taking a moment to take in the beach scene and play the harmonica (leaving the flapper era in the dust and going for a more Californian look with the rainbow hat)…

Lyall Bay beach playing the harmonica

before returning to home and gearing up the family for some water action at the beach.

Dan and I lifted the kayak up on the car, loaded up the togs, towels, beach toys, sunscreen etc. etc… we’ve got it down to a fine art (as Alice sings, ‘What’s gonna work? TEAM WORK!’).

I decided to push Alice in the buggy to Island Bay (needed the exercise) and Granddad joined me… but we got side-tracked at the play-ground within five minutes of our walk – and then picked up a child (Miss 7, Sophie spotted us from the car window on the way past). After some pirate shanties and games we persuaded our charges to head to the sea in search of treasure. I ended up jogging – behind Ali, Sophie and Granddad – pushing a redundant buggy. Alice ran with ‘Zola Budd’ feet all the way to Island Bay with incredible speed and energy for one so young. I loved watching her shadow next to her Grandfather’s jogging along, chattering about treasure and pixie dust.

Jogging to Island Bay

As we approached Island Bay we spotted Dan out on the kayak with Miss 9, Charlotte. Grandma had found a sunny spot on the beach.

It wasn’t long after we met up with Grandma that Dan and Charlotte returned with treasures from the island – Paua shells for Grandma to take home.

Paua shells for Grandma

Granddad then took his turn to be explorer and kayaked off to the island (after having done fine sand castle / volcano / something building with Sophie and Alice… whilst Grandma and I had nipped off to get a coffee from the wonderful and super friendly ‘Caravan’ opposite Shorland Park).

Granddad the fabulous!

I can’t say enough how wonderful it is to have my folks here in New Zealand. This is the second summer in a row that they’ve come over for a six week stay and their company is always the best (only the glass recycling bin gets a little too overworked, hee, hee!). It fills me with absolute delight to see my father enjoying his retirement with such energy and renewed vitality. He really is awesome!

Granddad the explorer

After a fantastic morning at the beach we loaded up the car and headed home – whilst I jogged Alice back in the buggy (unsurprisingly, she was asleep within minutes).

The afternoon was just as fine, with a chilled glass of wine, crackers, dips, fresh fruit and a leisurely soak in the spa pool. Dan and I even managed to sneak away for a moment’s privacy before heading out for dinner at ‘Gasworks‘ in Miramar with our fabulous neighbour and her delightful children.


We returned home to find a couple of hens pecking around in the garden – which Granddad and Dan swiftly guided back home (Granddad has decided herding chickens is ten times easier than herding children – especially his granddaughters!).


The evening ended with a final chill in the spa pool and eventually quiet children asleep in their beds… at 10pm!

Looking forward to more sunshine in Wellington this week and thinking of friends in the UK who have been suffering with near freezing temperatures for a couple of weeks.