With Christmas behind, and our summer break ahead, boxing day, Nineteen Eighty, our wheels are rolling again. With lots of exploring along the way, our final destination is a family wedding being held in Auckland. Being seasoned travelers, the kids have their list of favorite, stopovers ready.
They insist on, swings at Pahiatua’s Aeroplane park, visits inside the Mangaweka Aeroplane, rides on the miniature railway at Hasting’s ‘Fantasyland’, and up the road a bit, a visit to Clive’s Kids’ Zoo. Fascinated, when a live possum is pulled out from the hole in a tree where he lives, everyone braves their fears to stroke its fur.
While at Clive, we parked up under the bridge, beside the riverside, to cook up our sausages for tea. Sitting back enjoying the scenery, while the portable gas fired cooker sizzles away, our peaceful summer’s evening is suddenly shattered. Preceded by the roar of motorbike engines, a mob of rough looking dudes pull into the picnic area, dismount, and begin brawling with each other.
Shocked, the husband takes a quick look at them, laying in to each other with much yelling and cursing, and decides we need to beat a hasty retreat. We all leap inside the van quickly, and in his hurry to leave, the now threatening scene, he reverses over the abandoned cooker, sausages and all. So, our evening ended up turning into, a fish and chips for tea night, at the next town, Napier.
Napier had absolutely the best of the kids must sees. They would never let us pass through there, without a visit to the Dolphin’s show, at Marineland. Our delighted kids, joining the other holidaying families, squashed into jam packed stands, to watch as the dolphins, sea lions, otters and other ocean going critters did their performances, for fishy rewards. Being able to go downstairs after the show, and view the dolphins swimming, noses right up close, to the big windows in the side of their pool, was also a really amazing experience.
On arriving in Auckland, we visited Kelly Tarlaton’s under water world where the children got to view multiple species of sea creatures all swimming in the same tank. Looking at a fairly large shark and stingray go swimming past, through the glass, got me wondering, how come, they never dined on each other or the smaller tank residents.
At the husband’s wedding rellies’ house, we set up our tent camp, among the vines of their hillside plantation of grapes. In between all the wedding festivities going on, we spent hours, swimming, wallowing in the shallows or just lazing on the sand at the Murawai beach, just down the road. The husband, enjoying his time off so much, said he wanted to stay and never go home.
When Easter time arrives, the shearing work has slowed down and we are spending our lovely autumn days off, working outside in the garden. The husband seems bent on catching up all the odd jobs. While the children and I go out to buy Easter eggs and they choose the hugest chocolate bunny for their dad we can find.
He prunes the trees, tidies up the large grounds and garden, and replaces the fence post that one of the children smashed, hitting it with the car. He also takes his little six year old girl’s brown leather boots (she had picked out by herself) to the boot repairer to get the broken zips fixed.
Still on holiday, the husband joins me on our bikes, with the little toddler on the back, to ride to her afternoon play group in Lansdowne. On the ride home, returning across the bridge into the Queen Elizabeth Park, we are amazed by the carpet of beautiful, multi-coloured, fallen autumn leaves covering the paths.
Feeling very happy and contented on our return, the passing years had only deepened the crazy heart stopping love I had, my husband returns to his garden and I go inside the house. About a half hour later, I hear the back door being flung open and rush out to see him coming staggering inside, mumbling incoherently he crashes down onto the couch in the lounge.
Panicking and not thinking properly, I ring our doctor who tells me to call an ambulance immediately. When the St Johns ambulance arrives they maneuver him onto a stretcher, and sirens wailing take him away to the Masterton hospital. I am left with a ghostly silence in my happy house, a pit of sickness in my stomach and unbelievable fear gripping my heart.