Local Heart, Global Soul

February 26, 2012

A Weird Day of Extremes, Slithers Past…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is a continuation of yesterday’s BBQ post.

The Christchurch, New Zealand kids we are visiting have a stream running past the end of their back yard, and they often paddle in it, canoe on it etc.

One thing the kids like doing is feeding the wildlife… and apparently the most interesting wildlife are the eels.

A favourite way the family like to thoroughly use every part of their chop bones is to put them onto the stream bed and watch the eels come out to pick them completely clean.

You  then retrieve the bare bones afterwards and put them into the household rubbish container.

The Kiwidutch kids listened to this story with wide eyes… their faces a mixture of excitement and apprehensive uncertainty as they thought about the possibility of feeding eels.

Of course we had just polished off an ample supply of lamb chops, so what better moment to test the theory and educate the Kiwidutch kids?

Our friends’s daughter waded in and put the bones into a good spot in the stream and the rest of us all got as close to the edge as possible without falling in to see who could spot an eel first.

Fortunately for me I could cheat and sit a decent distance away and use the zoom lens on the camera instead. You know me and accident prone… let’s not tempt fate here.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It took only a few minutes for the first eel to appear, the Kiwidutch kids were suitably impressed and started pointing out more ‘eels’  in the shimmering and shaded water.

Several of Little Mr’s ‘eels” were exceptionally stationary and looked for all the world like river-bottom sticks, but that mere detail didn’t seem to deter him from the excitement of his “discoveries”  … and he finially looked a fraction more relaxed after this afternoons earthquake meltdown, so I certainly wasn’t going to be the Mama to  pour cold water on his “eel” finds.

Getting a photo in the late evening light, with the dappled shaddows of the trees and the ripples of the water was harder than I expected but if you look hard I did manage to get some photos of (real) eels in the water.

One of our kids asked what eels were like to touch.. it was a general question, but before they knew it our friends daughter ran off and returned with a net, sprang into the knee deep stream and started enthuisatically chasing eels.

It took some doing but she had done this before and to the Kiwidutch kids amazement, suddenly with a whoop that denoted success, the net was handed back over onto the lawn and out wriggled a long, fat and very slippery black eel.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our children shrieked and took a quick step back, watching from a safe distance.

For some reason the eel than got a little disorientated and started to slither quickly towards a patio area away from the stream, and knowing that there was no good place for him to survive there our friend’s daughter proceeded to try and grab it on the run and get it back onto the grass.

More shrieks and giggles ensued before she was successful and our kids got to see an eel up close.

Little Mr. even summonded up enough courage to come over and touch it.

(yes I know… behold my wonderful photo editing technique LOL).

Since our children are apartment dwellers and we have no garden, they never really have the opportunity to get their hands dirty, so the wonders of nature are several steps removed from their childhood existence.

You can only dig in the sand of the sandpit of the local playground after all…. and there are no worms in that. These are the bits of the “Kiwi experience” that I hope our New Zealand trips will be beneficial in  filling some of the gaps in their concrete and brick cobbled  childhood so far.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Mr. is still very clingy and nervous,  close to tears whenever he thinks of the possibility of another quake, and still begging us to pack up, drive to the airport and come home to the Netherlands, …but at least we have managed to turn a very frightening afternoon into a less frightening evening and taken our minds off the scary bits for a while with great food, fun, good conversation and excellent company.

As luck would have it the next really decent aftershock  happened on the car ride home, and whilst Himself and I had our suspicions we said nothing  just exchanged simutanous looks.

Such are Christchurch’s now bumpy roads and due to the amount of insulation that the tyres provide  we wen’t totally sure if it had been our imaginations or not.

It turned out that we were not mistaken, there had been a 5.1 quake but the kids were none the wiser and we chose not to enlighten them now that they were finially less stressed.

Luckily too that both were so tired from the excitement and stresses of the day that they fell into a deep sleep back at the B&B and slept through a constant supply of long rolling aftershocks and short sharp jolts in the night that kept me awake as I typed a blog post about the day and messages to family and friends to confirm that we were ok.

What a day.. from the tranquility and laughter of this mornings pea-picking to the terrified screams and tears of the afternoon, and then the new experiences of the evening. New experiences all of them… and a lot to take in for a kid in a single day.

It’s been a long,  rather weird day of extremes, a hard day… The beginning and the end of the day were great, I just wish that the middle section of  it had gone by faster, slipped on by   … as slippery as an eel.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The water is beautiful, but hard to get decent photos of eels with this kind of light…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The theme of today appears to be “bravery”….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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