Wishing I'd listened more to grandad in the garden.

Wow, been back in NZ for 3 weeks now. Lots of days at work (some good, some not so good) and seem to spend the rest of the time getting lost in the garden. I picked my first crop of broad beans - the excitment was incredable. Though marred slightly by finding some for sale in a small posh supermarket thingy. You see, I decided to grow broad beans because last year I couldn't find any to buy. The discovery of these small posher supermarkets places has been good though so I'm not moaning more smirking at the irony.

I was, however still delighted, like a child opening christmas presents (who am I kidding - like me opeing presents - I love presents), when I popped opened the pods and squeezed out the beans. Some were a bit young and small and I only had enough to make a very small portion of Nigellas Broad Bean Bruschetta (the reason I was looking for broad beans in the first place as it is soooo delicious). Well it was a wonderful small portion, helped by adding freshly picked mint, as all the herbs have burst back to life.

I now know to wait a bit longer before picking the next batch - there are quite a few begging to be picked at the moment, but I'm waiting for Adam to return from Perth.

39 Things

My wonderful friend Em, who keeps me sane and insane at the same time has propelled me into several computer related hobbies - well flickr and blogs. So in my travels of these I have come across lovely pictures and stories. One such blog has inspired me to commence making more lists (I make enough I know so any format or excuse will do). The idea is that on your birthday you make a list of 'things' to do in your year. Now the blog of inspiration uses the number of her birthday, but Em has always maintained that, OK we're 38 years old, but we are entering our 39th year on the planet and so the list should have 39 things on in the lead up to being 39 - have I lost you all yet. To add to confusion, both my friend and the author of the blog where I borrowed this idea are called Emma! Anyway...the list.....
    1. Go skiing in the south island
    2. Have a surfing lesson
    3. Canoe the Puhoi River
    4. Sell something
    5. Stay in a tipi
    6. Get better at jogging and be able to jog all the way around Cornwall Park
    7. Get Adam on a horse
    8. Find a dentist
    9. Admit to myself that I've lost my glasses, get over it and get some new ones
    10. Write more letters to folks and friends
    11. Do the local kayak course
    12. Get a poster made of our Rome photos
    13. Plant more
    14. Have a big BBQ
    15. Toast marshmellows
    16. Sleep in the VW van
    17. Plan an exciting winter holiday abroad
    18. Do more that scares me
    19. Join a book club
    20. Have more balloons in my life
    21. Make postcards
    22. Create a scrapbook for Lizzie and Jane
    23. Get my own scallops from the sea, cook them on the beach and then eat them
    24. Climb a tree
    25. Lay in a hammock
    26. Sleep on a beach
    27. Get a tatoo (have had a long chat about this and may strike it from the list)
    28. Create some homemade pickles
    29. Get stronger arms
    30. Keep a diary/journal to start on my birthday for a whole year
    31. Print more photos
    32. Create a canvas print
    33. Send joy in the post
    34. Watch the clouds
    35. Find a hairdresser I can talk to and knows how to cut curly hair
    36. Make a will
    37. Watch an international cricket match (Duncans picture on canvas an optional extra)
    38. Read more
    39. Smile

      Ending Unplanned

      I have now returned 'home' to New Zealand. So what is home, where is home. Is it friends and family, is it where I lay my hat (though I never look good in a hat). The trip to the UK has made me question this. I make my home wherever I am. I like making a home. Cosy stuff around me, bits and pieces, pictures, food, candles...the list goes on. Yes, New Zealand is home, forgive me if that makes me disloyal to my family and friends and the UK in general but there it is. The thing is who knows where home will be in 5, 10 or 20 years time. We don't know what will great us each day. I live each day and am thankful for all I have, can do and can enjoy during that day. I like to plan but I also appreaciate tragedy and sorrow can strike at any time. we have one life, we should grab each day. A bit cheesy I know but there you have it. What I'm saying is that I don't know how long I'll be in New Zealand or where my road will take me next.

      But on with the story. It was great seeing people again, it was like I had only been away 2 weeks. Good friends and family are worth their weight in gold and I am very blessed.
      My gorgeous brother was there with my mum at the airport to met me, not dressed as Darth Vader but the thought was there. Wonderful, and he had Duran Duran ready to play when we got in the car. I have one brother and he is perfect.

      I had a day out with my Dad at Brogdale Farm. It was the start of some fabulous summery weather. I packed for Autumn - the wet windy grey type, but heh ho I got a tan instead. Our trip was followed by the first of many meals and trips to pubs. My dad has eating out and going to pubs down to a fine art and knows his stuff. However I have obviously become a complete lightweight and I think disappointed him in my inabilty to finish a meal or keep drinking! However, he did not disappoint and that night I got to see his band play. Charlie Boot and the Footsloggers - I think the title says it all. They are wonderful and I was sorry the jet lag forced me to leave before the end. I loved the CD I was sent and it was all the better for seeing them live.

      The main purpose of the return was to attend two weddings. Both were special and I was so so glad I had made the trip. I would have hated not being there and being able to share the days with such great friends. Another bonus of these weddings was that I had the chance to see and chat to loads of folks. I felt very special, mentioned in speaches and everything.
      There were too many special moments to write about them all, I have heaps of thank you letters to send. I was treated to food and drink, given lifts, had a special afternoon tea and experienced wonderful hospitality. The champagne in the hot tub takes a lot of beating but everywhere was great because I was so warmly welcomed.
      It was a bit mental living out of a suitcase for three weeks, no more than three nights in one place before moving on to the next location. So yes, I was tired, forgive me for those times when I couldn't stay awake, couldn't really talk or came across as rude. It was hard going with little time alone.

      England does some things very well, country pubs being high on the list. So the Queens Head at Icklesham got two visits, always one of my favourites and lovely that the weather was good enough to sit in the garden for lunch both times.

      Of course the history cannot be ignored and I managed two historic sites, Leeds Castle, a warm and glorious day with my mum. Battle Abbey was and is one of my favourite places in the world, a entertaining walk round with Sharon and Molly. However my first trip was to Dover Castle with Jane, my godson Rowan and his little sister Marcy. They are 4 and nearly 3 and climbed all the way to the top of the keep. Most impressive.
      Another voyage that was needed was to Flat White, a coffe shop in Soho recommended by coffee staff in NZ. You see, Kiwis love their coffee, and NZ coffee is very, very, very, good. I'm sorry folks, nothing came close. So the mission to find Flat White was essential and I was grateful for the company of Emma who also took me into the Tate Modern and complete a pie mission at Borough Market, all without a map (well almost).

      There was cricket, pubs, Star Wars, cider, family, champagne, chocolate fountain, lemon cake, singing sons, gypsy tart, problems shared, walks on the beach, strong tea, Robot Chicken Wars, Salvation Army, photos, singing, laughing, crying are you suprised I felt tired all the time. It was full on all the time and I don't think there is any other way of doing it.
      Kids are wonderful and there were plenty in the mix. Plus I managed to go to not one, but three primary school, got locked in the play ground at one and saw and assembly at another, not bad going eh?

      To end this witter waffle and hope I haven't offened anyone my missing out something what struck me during my time back in the UK is that it isn't goodbye. I had a draining time saying goodbye to folks before I left 18 months ago, and here we are again. Yes I miss people, miss special  the like, but the internet has a lot to answer for and staying in touch and part of people lives is possible. It isn't goodbye, it's see you later.

      Thank you to all who made my stay so memorable.


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