Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

46th Anniversary trip away.

My son working on one gate we made in our fences.
From left, daughter-in-law, son, my wife and grandson during afternoon "smoko" break. 
One fence completed.
Much more interesting from behind.
The house with timber fences we made on each side. 
Tekapo when we arrived on Monday. 
The weather closed in. 
Snow on the hill tops when we awoke this morning.
Last Friday just after lunch time we headed for Christchurch, nearly five hour's drive away. Our son and daughter-in-law live there and we planned to spend Saturday and Sunday doing some work on the section around their house being built. We booked into a cabin in the local camp ground and by mid morning on Saturday were at work on two fences my son wanted, to make the backyard of the house private and secure for the family.  I enjoyed the next two days working with my son. He is doing an adult building apprenticeship and I have had years of building experience with Habitat for Humanity. We work together well. I have had special times of doing DIY projects with each of my children and with them all we seem to work together well. My wife also enjoys joining in doing various jobs, she too has had lots of Habitat for Humanity experience. 

The Sunday was a special day. Here in New Zealand it was "Mothers' Day" so my wife received messages from our children. - My son in Auckland sent a cake of chocolate with his love, along with a book he had just finished reading. In a note he said that he thought his mum would enjoy it too - but - "I might grab it back off you when you are finished with it."  But Sunday was also special for us because it was also our 46th wedding anniversary.  On Saturday when we were talking about Sunday's work, my son said, "But its Mother's Day and your anniversary and you're going to spend it working around here?" We assured him it was OK. In actual fact where else would we rather be than spending time with and helping family on such a day. We worked well and achieved all we wanted to do. My wife and I rushed back to our cabin, showered and went out for an anniversary dinner. 

We left there on Monday morning, and drove to a beautiful area in the middle of the South Island of New Zealand, Lake Tekapo. The lake there is blue because of minerals washed off the rocks in the surrounding mountains and hillsides. There are also some heated pools there. They are not geothermal heated pools like some in New Zealand, but these are connected with an ice rink on the site. They use lake water for both the rink and the hot pools, but they use the latent heat from the ice making process to heat the hot pools. It is really nice lazing in these hot pools amidst lake and mountain scenery. So we booked into a comfortable motel (expensive for pensioners) and enjoyed the rest of Monday and part of today there, before driving the nearly four hour trip home. 

I went away knowing that my St John Ambulance friend in the hospice may die and that I may have to make a quick trip home to attend to his funeral arrangements. Also while away I received and sent emails and phone calls related to the Night Shelter. (I am chairman of the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust.) It feels like when I have "time out" I can't switch off.  That has been the case for years, but now I am meant to be retired. Maybe there will be a time when I ought to retire from my voluntary positions also so that I can visit family "guilt free."  I woke up in the early hours of this morning at beautiful Tekapo and began dreading the prospect of coming home. Emails had reminded me of responsibilities and challenges I have to attend to in the next few days and they will once again fill up the hours of every day and take me out of my comfort zone.  I love doing building type work. Physically it is challenging but Night Shelter politics and challenges are, for me, anxiety producing and full of things I cannot control.

I love spending time with family. I enjoyed our wedding anniversary weekend. During my career as a minister, family and marriage often came down the list of my priorities. In retirement surely that ought not happen.

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