At the end of October, Tall’s little sister married her lovely fiancé in a wonderful ceremony at The Farm. The day we arrived was wet and windy, and Tall’s mother was a little bit stressed…but the wedding day dawned sunny and bright, and the weather held out for a beautiful day. Our biggest was a very proud, and very handsome, page boy, and our littlest looked pretty suave in his shirt and tie.
I married a man who was raised on a cattle farm in South Taranaki. Prior to meeting him, I hadn’t ventured to this part of the country (except for a brief breakfast stop in Palmerston North on my Dunedin-to-Northland journey a number of years prior); almost ten years later, I’ve been at least once a year, bar the time we were living and travelling abroad. I love taking our boys to The Farm; I love that Tiny thinks Pops doesn’t do a very good job of shifting the cattle unless he is there, and I love that they get to see a variety of animals in their natural(ish) state.
Tall went to boarding school in Palmy, and he hates the city with a passion. It bores him, and having spent an afternoon shopping their when pregnant with Tiny, I have to agree. I’m sure it has some redeeming features, and it has no doubt improved a whole lot since he was at school there, but for us, it is merely the city we fly in and out of. Because I’ve never actually explored much more of the city than what I’ve mentioned, I think it’s only fair that I provide you with a link so you can find out for yourself whether it’s somewhere you’d like to spend any time.
Tall’s sister lived and worked in Feilding for a year or so, and we visited her there when Tiny was about 18-months-old. We went to the A&P Show and Tiny had his fill of tractors; apparently the Farmers’ Market is very good.
In all honesty, I much prefer Whanganui to Palmerston North, and actually think the council have done a great job of prettying up the city in recent years. The main street is lined with trees and flowers, with cafe tables spilling out onto the footpath. There are sculptures dotted here and there (including a beautiful one at the entrance to the city), and it just looks more inviting. We’ve had a number of lunches at Element Café and Big Orange (lovely meals and decent coffees), and played around at Splash Centre which is great fun. I will admit that seeing Moutua Gardens (famously occupied by members of the Whanganui iwi in 1995) for the first time was disappointing (it was so small!), and the colour of the river is pretty foul; still, if you fancy a boat ride, you can board Paddle Steamer Waimarie and have a rollicking good time. Virginia Lake is really pretty, and you can wander through the trees and flowers, feeding ducks and swans as you go.
Tall was raised in a tiny village* in South Taranaki that has become a virtual ghost town since devastating floods in 2004. There are a handful of houses still occupied, and the pub-slash-post-office-slash-dairy does a roaring trade. His parents sold their farm there and moved to a smaller, easier, windier-but-better farm ten minutes further west, which is where I’ve spent most of my time. We’ve been to the races at Hawera (I saw Spiderman! True story!), and driven all over the district for various reasons. It’s pretty, and rural, and I really love going there. One day, I’m going to stop at Black Sand Studio in Maxwell, and take Tiny to Ashley Park petting farm. And who knows? We may end up moving to the farm if and when Tall’s parents decide they’ve had enough.
* I am being purposefully cagey about the exact location, purely out of respect for my husband and his family. Soz.
We’ve been back from our holidays for just 24 hours, and it already looks as though a bomb has gone off in the lounge. The Christmas tree is packed away and the bags have been unpacked, but I’m staring down a basket of laundry that’s demanding to be folded and ignoring the pleas of the load waiting to be hung, because there’s a glass of wine on the coffee table, and lots of photos to look through and share with you.
Christmas at The Farm was lovely. Tiny loved spending time with his Nana and Pops, and they loved taking him out to do very important farming jobs. Pickle decided to cut his first tooth, and struggled with the heat, but he also charmed the pants of his aunty and the rest of the rellies he met for the first time.
There were carrot remnants to be giggled over,
freshly-cut trees to induce wicked hayfever,
presents to be unwrapped,
paddling pools to be filled,
great-grandparents to be be met,
cattle to be moved,
sunsets to be admired,
and Christmas cuddles to be stolen.
We saw in 2013 in Wanaka – Tall at a pub with two friends visiting from London, me…the following morning after crawling into bed well before midnight. 2012 will be a tough year to beat, but every year seems better than the last, so I have high hopes for another good one. Hope yours is off to a good start!!
Linking up over at Elizabeth’s for her new weekly-round-up linky
Wherever you are, however you celebrate the silly season, I hope you have a wonderful time with loved ones and enjoy every moment of your Christmas celebrations.
We’ll be surrounded by Tall’s family up at The Farm, and will be drunk with merriment from the moment we step off that plane, such is the excitement of spending this time with family.
So from me and mine, to you and yours, I wish you
a very happy Christmas and a wonderful start to 2013!
See you on the other side xxxx
Last month, Katie over at Mummy Adventures put out the feelers to see if anyone was interested in taking part in a Christmas Cracker swap.
Now, I see swaps all over the place and always wistfully decide not to join in because I’m not as creative and crafty as everyone else, and don’t like the idea of letting a swap partner down with an inadequate swap. However, the idea of a cracker was so appealing, and there was no requirement of me to sew/crochet/stitch/knit/macrame anything, which was the best part.
My swap partner was the lovely Widge; Katie matched us together randomly, but it’s been quite funny learning that we have a lot in common (non-existant earlobes, a love of all colours, a need for coffee in the morning…). And it’s always nice to “meet” someone whose blog you already think is the bee’s knees.
I suggested Widge open the cracker I sent immediately, as one of the gifts I sent would be better enjoyed sooner rather than later. And because
I love presents I’m impatient we’re heading to The Farm on Sunday and want to pack as light as possible, I decided it would be best to open mine immediately too.
I was thoroughly blown away by the two – yes, two! – crackers Widge sent me. Loved the personalised cracker, and the obvious thought that went into absolutely everything inside.
Thank you for spoiling me and making my first swap so much fun xx
Here is the cracker I sent:
Larger than usual, due to needing to accommodate some of my favourite coffee beans from the best coffee shop in Dunedin; I split a cardboard roll in half, and fashioned it in to one big fat cracker. Tiny helped me decorate it…his gluing skills leave a bit to be desired, but I’m hoping most of the stars were still attached by the time it arrived.
Check out what other people gave and received
After our five-day pre-wedding-moon in New York, we were excited to be flying home to New Zealand; it had been almost two years since we left, and we were both ready to see our friends and family.
First stop was Auckland, to attend the wedding of Tall’s best man. We had a fun time in our country’s biggest city, and the wedding was great; it certainly put us both in a wedding state of mind! We giggled at how small and quiet Auckland seemed after London and New York (and countless other cities in between); I told Tall that I felt like I wanted to pat the city on its head and tell it there was plenty of time for it to grow up and become a Big City.
After a few days in Auckland, Tall headed to The Farm, and I headed home to Dunedin to begin the massive task of finalising things for our wedding in less than two weeks.
Needless to say, my time in Dunedin before the wedding wasn’t exactly a holiday! I spent most of my time visiting with the service providers I’d contacted via email when in the UK, confirming and re-confirming flowers, hair, make-up, photography, menus, equipment hire etc etc. I also spent a lot of time trying on various parts of my wedding dress as my mother stumbled through creating it without a pattern.
Tall arrived one week prior to the wedding, and in true Tall-syle, strolled in to a suit place and got the boys’ outfits sorted in one day. He came with me to choose his buttonholes and finalise our sit-down menu, and even spent a couple of hours tying ribbons around napkins.
Our wedding was awesome, and everything we hoped it would be. Sure, there were a couple of minor hiccups, but no one knew (or cared), and we had an absolute blast with family and friends. Apparently it drizzled during our outdoor ceremony, but I didn’t even notice, and apparently we had far more than our “allowed” bottles of wine on the reception tables, but no one batted an eyelid.
A few days later, we flew back up to The Farm, with my parents, as Tall’s mum had organised a “second wedding” barbecue for the family and friends who hadn’t been able to make it down south (or hadn’t been included in the guest list!). We enjoyed another party with more family and friends (most of whom I didn’t know!), and it was wonderful to feel like our wedding went on for a whole week. It was also nice to relax, finally, and just enjoy being home (albeit briefly), and enjoy being married.
And then, our brief visit back home was over, and we once more packed our belongings into a couple of backpacks and headed off on honeymoon.
~ holidays away with my boys, especially when they involve family, friends and a whole lot of relaxing (for this pregnant lady, anyway!) on The Farm.
~ four whole days of sunshine, heat, and no wind – the first time we’ve been to the The Farm where the weather has actually come to the party!
~ the personal style choices of a two-year-old…
~ not worrying that morning tea each day over Easter was an ice cream (but secretly, being glad that he preferred the cone to the ice cream!). I figure that Nana and Pops don’t get to see Tiny very often, so the least I could do was sit back and let them spoil him if they so desired.
~ Tiny’s sudden attachment to “Cat” (purchased in Valparaiso, Chile, when pregnant with him). Until now, “Cat” has just been a toy that hangs out above the change table, but now….he’s the “fraveritt”. I love him, and am glad that Tiny does too!
~ my little Easter Bunny, complete with grazes on the face after earlier “hopping” down the back step to bring me my wellies!
~ this blog post about mums and our desire to be “perfect”, when all our kids want is to be loved and played with. It really struck a chord with me; check it out if you have a spare five minutes….and then turn off your computer and go play!
Linking up over at Kristy’s place