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Published: January 2nd 2009
Glynn and Jude celebrate thier one year NZ anniversary with a giant hug.
Can you believe that today, we have been in New Zealand for one whole year? I honestly don't know where the time has gone but it's been quite a journey so far, I can tell you. In these last 12 months we've lived in 3 properties and each had 2 jobs. the culmination of all this though is that we are very happy with our lot - a nice home in the suburbs and decent jobs to boot.
As if that wasn't enough, summer's officially here and we've been treated with yet more glorious sunshine. We had a quiet start to the New Year with a relaxing day at home, enjoying an early evening session of badminton in the back garden once the heat of the sun had eased off a little. It was just what we needed to recharge our batteries.
Deciding not to spend another gorgeous day at home, we planned to go to the beach today and as luck would have it, so did Liz and Allard. A phonecall late last night sealed the deal and off to the Northland (the chunk of New Zealand that's north of Auckland) we went. It was raining pretty heavily
View from up the hill overlooking Martin's Bay. the beach is hiding behind those flowers!
first thing this morning and for a while it looked as though we might be stuck with enjoying a nice long drive but not much more. By the time we passed Auckland CBD, the rain was pretty much all behind us. On the way across the harbour bridge we passed not one but two good smash ups that had all but closed the southbound lanes and the traffic was backed up for miles. Thankfully, we were northbound and once the traffic in our lane stopped rubbernecking, it was free flowing all the way.
Our destination today was Martin's Bay in the Warkworth region, where Liz and Allard will be going to on holiday in February. Martin's Bay is a very popular spot and there were families and boaties (people who own boats) galore lining the shore. While the kids splashed about in the sea, every man and his dog seemed to be launching boats into the water. In fact we had trouble parking in Martins Bay due the sheer volume of tractors and boat trailers taking up all the spaces and all the grassy verges too.
The beach and the sea looked mightily inviting and after tucking in
Looking out from Martin's Bay. Nice, eh?
to a nice picnic lunch, Liz, Glynn and I wasted no time in getting our togs on and heading straight for the water. The rain held off and we were grateful of overcast skies as none of us had remembered to pack any sunscreen - naughty! The sea was much, much colder than any of us had expected but one by one we braved the temperature and submerged ourselves in the sea. Once we were in though, there was no stopping us. We had a nice long swim along the coast and back again in one direction followed by a leisurely stroll along the beach and back in the other.
By about 2.30pm there was a frenzy of tractor activity as boat after boat came into shore and demanded to be returned to dry land. At one point, I saw at least 11 boats queuing to come in! The reason for all the activity became clear when we wandered across the carpark to investigate why so many people were suddenly gathered in one spot - the day's fish catches were being weighed, measured and recorded as part of a fishing contest! We watched as the eager boat owners queued
Life's a Beach
While Jude braved the cold sea, Glynn wisely chose to play camerman back on the warm sand.
patiently to display their prize catches, some of which were pretty impressive. I'm no fan of fishing but have to admit there were some good looking big snappers vying for the star prize.
We didn't stay to see who won as our tummies were demanding ice-cream so off to Warkworth we went. We took our cones down to the riverside and watched as a catamaran launched from a mooring close by. On our way back south, we popped into the Honey Centre where Mia and Isaac had acquired the boysenberry honey we were given for Christmas. We sampled all the honeys and decided to pick up a strawberry flavour one but alas they were out of stock. I had to make do with a bag of manuka honey fudge instead - yum!
As ever, it was wonderful to be out and about enjoying this beautiful country. Happy New Year eveyone!
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