One thing we appreciate a lot is spending time with family and friends in New Zealand.
For our kids, it’s more than just a chance to catch up with a cold drink, a cake, BBQ bread or biscuits (cookies), it’s often also a chance to play in a real garden, a treat since we don’t have one at home.
At my cousins’s place in Christchurch there are more interesting bits and bobs to take in, explore and have adventures with than an excited Little Mr. can manage to fit into an afternoon, but to give him credit, he did try.
Cousin “P” counts mountaineering as one of his many talents and could very seriously give Ray Mears and Bear Grylls a run for their money when it comes to survival skill knowledge so when Little Mr. spied some timber, sticks and rope, Cousin “P” was only too happy to teach him to set up his very own improvised bivvy.
Now I’m not too sure how much of the work Little Mr. did, because they were busy for quite a while… but even if he wasn’t the main architect he was very involved as “project supervisor”.
He even tried it out for size and helped “P” dismantle it all completely afterwards. I loved the finishing touch of the “campfire” just outside the door. This is where our kids get the opportunity to get their hands dirty, a chance to be like Kiwi kids instead of like the Dutch city kids they are the rest of the time.
Santa had given “G” (my cousins wife) a set of specialist garding tools for Christmas yesterday and to my amazment Kiwi Daughter took a shine to a trowel-like thingy that has a spike-thingy attached to dig out weeds that have long roots.
It’s sure to have a proper technical name but sadly I have to confess that my gardening knowledge extends roughly as far as knowing the difference between tulips and roses and if you can’t grow it to eat it, I get distracted quick anyway.
No-one ever accused me of being green-fingered. I love flowers but no one in their right mind would leave any in my care as I rely on the “when they are lying down on the ground looking severely pathetic” method of remembering that they might actually be, at that stage severly begging for water.
I used to get allocated the job of weeding as a kid, a job I liked because of the instant gratification of seeing progress. It did however mean that no one ever showed me the basics of learning to grow stuff, …my parents did that with my sister as she complained a lot about doing weeding.
Now I watch as Kiwi Daughter happily digs out weeds with said gardening gadget and makes steady progress as small mound starts to pile up beside her. Curses for us that our balconies at home only get late afternoon sun … pity, because learning to grow something together might actually be fun.
Once we have prised our offspring away from the tree-house in the garden, it’s time to head back to the B&B… we have a car trip to get ready for … so it’s quite literally time to “up sticks”…
Suspicious signs that serious gardeners may be close by…