Easter heralds autumn

As Easter approached, the sprogs were all busy with rehearsals for a dance display at one of the local village halls. For the first time in a good few years, all four are taking classes again and it was good to see all of them in a show together. With hair scraped back and makeup liberally applied, they all looked marvelous and danced their pieces beautifully.

The fifth birthday of No.4 was celebrated in style on a bright sunny day with fun & games on the tramp and an outdoor birthday tea. The guest list included just one brave lad who, undaunted by the 7 to 1 girl/boy ratio, held his own against the pink masses all afternoon.

It’s pink, was made with heaps of chocolate and things, has heaps of chocolate buttons on top and had five candles on it. The look says it all – why on Earth would anyone in their right mind want to share this heavenly cake with their family, let alone friends.

Though the natives say that this year’s Easter Show at Auckland Show Grounds was not as good as in previous years, we still had a fun day out. No.3 was adamant that, despite having eaten a large cone of chips just minutes before, the mini-bungee was a great idea.

SWMBO is a great lover of horses and has spoken of happy childhood evenings spent watching the Horse Of The Year Show on television, so she was keen to take in the eliminator final of 1.40 metre showjumping, which proved to be an exciting jump-off.

Sadly, the same couldn’t be said of the Madagascar stage show we queued up to watch. With the usual tacky merchandising and actors in suits miming to a soundtrack of B-side pop songs, it didn’t take long for the children in the audience to tire and vote with their feet.

The week after Easter, I took my first few day’s leave from work. We loaded up the trailer and headed North to Waipu Cove where we camped for the first time as a family, just a few metres from the Pacific. It was a great place and we plan to return there next summer.

While friends in England are enjoying the flowers and warming weather, here we are slowly moving into autumn, leaving for work in darkness and arriving home at dusk. Our evenings are now spent in front of fires made with tea tree and pine, which we chopped and stacked in our garage before the autumn rains began.

More than seven months have passed since we flew into Auckland from the Cook Islands. With the routines of work and schools, our lives are moving from those of unsettled people in transit to people who live in and are part of a community. Our days are gradually taking on a comforting semblance of normality. We rarely stop to convert everyday prices, our accents are taking on the trademark Kiwi upward inflection and our terms of reference are slowly changing with the help of new friends and acquaintances. There are a good many things that we miss and friends we’d love to see but these feelings are balanced by the sense that the lives that we are building for ourselves are good and worth the efforts we’re taking.

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