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Archive for the ‘Summer’ Category

It was a good week last week. It kicked off on the Saturday evening, when we visited friends, we sat outside on their deck in their gorgeous garden surrounded by tree ferns, overlooking their stream, and drank prosecco, before the cooler temperatures drove us inside to dine on a delicious meal they had cooked on the barbecue.

I finally sent off photos of all my mother-in-law’s jewellery. It was costume jewellery, but I wanted her daughters-in-law and granddaughters to have a chance to inherit some things, so photographed over 100 items, numbered them all, and sent them off for requests. The requests came back. A few double-up requests from granddaughters, as to be expected, but nothing that will cause any problems. (As The Husband says, “I am the final arbiter!”) The best thing was that there were requests for more than I had expected, which was lovely and meant that my efforts were worth it.

We had several days working out at my father-in-law’s house. Most of the sorting-through-stuff task has been completed, so I began the cleaning. Both in-laws kept the house immaculate. At almost 60 years old, the house could and probably should be looking much the worst for wear, but is really just showing a few signs of ageing, as in the last few years they were unable to maintain, and then finally even unable to clean in the same way. Over those years I kept the wolf from the door in terms of cleaning, but this time really got stuck in. It took days to finish every surface in the kitchen, but I think it is finally done. Then the bathroom was a chore too. The rest of the house requires attention to the wooden window frames and windows, but not much more. It’s such a relief. Then we signed on the dotted line (or rather, The Husband did) with a real estate agent, and now there is a real timeline for all this to end.

All this cleaning even inspired me at home, as I had to find room for the foil/baking paper etc I was bringing home from the in-laws. Drawers that got messy over time are now beautifully organised, still have plenty of space despite the new arrivals, and reminded me of possessions I’d forgotten I had!

On Monday, the weather was warm and settled. Surprisingly for New Zealand (as an island in the Pacific Island, our weather does not have that continental stability you may be used to), and particularly surprisingly for Wellington, the next three days were forecast to be warm and settled and calm. So you’ll imagine our amazement that we actually were able to plan ahead and offer to cook friends dinner on the barbecue on Wednesday! This meant we were able to brush off the deck (a lot of pine debris from the tree-disaster incident), dress up our outdoor furniture with padding and cushions, and table mats, and actually cook and eat on the deck! It was a gorgeous evening, we hadn’t seen our friends since last year, and they spoiled us with some nice bubbles and we spoiled them with lamb sandwiches and salads, and my homemade passionfruit ice-cream with fruit salad.

Thursday night we went out. It was our wedding anniversary, not a notable one, but once you get above 25 or 30 years, every one feels like it should be notable. We tried a restaurant we haven’t been to for ages, and thoroughly enjoyed it, looking over the wharves and the water, happy and maybe even a little surprised we still have plenty of things to talk about when we go out.

On Friday I received a Holiday card from the US. I’ve received several this year, all in the last week or two, and they all made my day. I intend responding to each person individually, as I was bad and didn’t send any out this year. I feel if I respond now rather than in that December rush, I can take my time, write a real letter, and show my appreciation.

And by Sunday, we were once again out at the in-laws’ house. As I clean I listen to audiobooks, so the time feels productive. Then friends made the trip back over the hill to go through my FIL’s tools. M took away more than we expected, which delighted me, as I had worried he’d come all this way and not find anything inspiring. FIL too would have been happy, to know that the tools were going to a good home, and especially that they would be used to inspire another generation. Even a huge rope from the Wellington wharves (yes, the same wharves where we ate dinner, and where FIL spent his 40 year career) will make its way to the olive groves and a children’s tree house. Perfect!

A week of hard work. A week of organisation. A week of catching up with friends. A week of good food and good wine, and passionfruit ice-cream in the freezer. A week when summer showed its face and decided to stay for a while. February. It’s pretty good in New Zealand. Come and visit some time.

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I went on a lovely walk one morning last week, when the temperature wasn’t too hot and wasn’t too cold, and I wasn’t in a hurry, and there was only a light breeze, and everything felt just right. I was enchanted, as usual, by the pohutukawa flowers which are still vibrant on many trees, but not for much longer, as the feathery stalks of the falling blooms were carnage on the footpaths and in gutters.

I was equally enthralled by the beauty of the weeds, the way they swayed in the uncharacteristically gentle wind, their size and very existence creating a pleasing, relaxed, everyone’s-on-holiday degree of overgrown unkemptness. (Yes, I’m inventing words).

Appreciating what we have, even the weeds, I snapped a few photos with my phone.

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  1. Long, light, evenings
  2. Strawberries and raspberries, and summer desserts like trifle or pavlova (to go with the strawberries and raspberries)
  3. Walks in gardens and parks or on trails to (begin to) work off all the pavlova and trifle!
  4. We can escape outside if we start to feel too cooped up
  5. Lazy afternoons in the sun/hiding from the sun under a tree with a gentle breeze and a good book
  6. Boxing Day on a yacht in the water
  7. Swimming – if you’re brave enough to enter the NZ ocean! (Note: I wasn’t, so walked around the coast!)
  8. Left-overs and salad make meal preparations easy
  9. Ice-creams in lieu of lunch
  10. It’s really the start of our summer – or at least, our summer holidays – so there is no anti-climax when it is over.

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