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Archive for April, 2012

Lucy decided this morning that I should call her Bottomley-Potts.  Why? well take a look for your first clue:

If you are familiar with the story of Hairy Maclary, from Donaldson’s Dairy, then you’ll also know about the spotty dalmation Bottomley Potts.

You’ll also remember that he is covered in spots.  Which leads me to my next clue:

Ok, so it’s hopefully not taken the wit of Miss Marple to work out that Lucy has chicken pox.  It’s going round a lot here (and back in Yorkshire from what I can gather) and Lucy undoubtedly got it from day care, who have been hammered by it.  It must really put a dent in their takings because if  a child doesn’t go they don’t pay.

She got her first spots on Wednesday which was ANZAC day.  Josie had to finish some work, so I took the girls rock-pooling in the hope of avoiding all human contact.  I think we managed it (apart from the ice cream shop at the end) but try explaining to a 3 year old why they can’t play on a playground full of kids…

Thursday night was pretty awful and she didn’t settle at all – little sleep was had.  Friday we got some BRIGHT yellow bath goo that helps dry up the spots and a bottle of children’s antihistimine that makes them drowsy.  5ml of that and she slept right through to 8am!

It’s heartbreaking to see the little pickle in so much discomfort and all agitated but it only lasts a few days.  She’s done pretty well with not scratching.  She’s taken the heads off a few, although mostly in her sleep.  Hopefully we’re into the home straight now and she’ll be back in circulation by mid-week latest.

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We were delighted to wake on day three having had a great nights sleep.  After the fatigue of the day before we really needed to recharge our batteries.  Power drinks and a sense of being on a mission had kept us going the day before, but there’s only so much sugar and caffeine can do before you crash completely. Waking up in the Ahipara campsite was very pleasant.  The only sounds were the gentle rustling of the tall trees all around us, and the gentle swoosh of the surf breaking on 90-Mile beach just outside the campsite.  We knew we were heading into very sparsely populated areas today, so we had breakfast and made a pack-up so we could be as self-sufficient as possible. The plan today was to head all the way up to the very end of the road.  Cape Reinga is not the most northerly point of New Zealand, but it is the most easily accessible northly point.  To go to the true holder of that accolade involves a fairly decent hike off road or path – not for us today. The drive was easy enough and we excitedly took note of the turning for the giant sand dunes at Te Paki on the way up, as we planned to visit on the way back down again. The last ‘end of the country’ I went to was Land’s End in the UK.  This couldn’t have been more different.  For a start you don’t get charged an extortionate fee to get ‘in’.  Second there are some modest improvements that complement the experience, not an over-developed wanna-be theme park. And so on…  It’s a lovely place.  There’s something quite compelling about driving somewhere until the road just stops.

The short walk to the lighthouse at the end of the path is sprinkled with information signs about the significance of the place to Maori culture and information about it’s general history and geography. After spending a while there, we headed back south and turned off to the sand dunes.  Emily was fit to burst with excitement by the time we’d got there.  We spent most of our time on the  smaller slopes, but decided we couldn’t leave without tackling one of the bigger slopes. How best to convey scale?  These dunes are ginourmous.  There that did the trick.  Emily led the charge to the top of the first one, with Rob closely in tow.  She fearlessly hurled herself down having barely reached the top and went like a rocket.  She absolutely loved it, right up until the point that she bashed through a clump of sand and it all went in her eyes.  By in her eyes I mean in around, under there eyelids everywhere.  So she and I walked back to the car – she was a real trooper, this was no time to flap and I was calm and she was calm.  It took a good five minutes of walking to get back where Dr Daddy had to administer improvised eye-wash station (squeezy bottle) in his improvised clinic (front seat of the car).  Eventually we managed to get all visible sand removed and although there was still some discomfort (most likely scratched eye lids) there was no lasting damage.  The others made their way back shortly after and we decided the lesson of the day was that it would be good to wear goggles!  Even though the sand detracted from the experience a little, Emily still had tons of fun and would still do it all again. The rest of the day was an uneventful drive back down the east coast to find somewhere to sleep for the night.  We found a very kiwi campsite at Hihi, functional and home made.  We sat up talking late as the wind knocked the trees around a bit.  Around 11pm the owner dropped by to tell us that it was going to be ‘a bit windy’ tonight so we lashed the tent down tight.  It turned out that a weather bomb was forecast for a bit further south than we were, but we were still likely to be on the edge of it.  Not knowing this we listened to the roar of the wind in the trees around us grow until it peaked at 1am to the point we genuinely considered getting into the car or sleeping in the kitchen building for fear of broken tree bits squashing our tent and us with it.

Whilst laying there trying to remember when the last big storm had been (and therefore when the last time the trees would have had a good clear-out of dead stuff) and considering the not insignificant logistics of transporting four peoples sleeping equipment a hundred yards through high winds we fell asleep.  I hope that doesn’t sound blasé, seem negligent or make us bad parents, but we were just so tired that we dropped off.  By the time we’d woken the wind had reduced a lot and we were able to stand down the plan to move elsewhere.

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