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the closest thing we have to a family ritual at christmas time, is staying away from the hype. we don’t buy each other (or anyone else) gifts. not because we don’t love and appreciate our friends, we simply find other ways – at other times of the year – to show them.

instead, following in the footsteps of Nic’s parents, we usually find a place in nature to explore. last year we spent it in our new island home, swimming and bbq’ing turkey.

this year we walked the routeburn track (more on that in later posts). spending time together like this – no cellphones, no internet, playing outside – feels like a truly amazing gift. i want to remember our christmas day for years to come – waking up in a doc hut, shared with 20-odd other people, hot coffee and tiny christmas mince pies before breakfast, the views as we climbed up and above the treeline. how it felt to be standing on the top of conical hill – as if supported and surrounded by friendly giants. the walk down to the falls hut and the screechingly-cold water i took a dip in at the end of the day..

we stayed in a hotel in queenstown on either side of our routeburn walk that serves the most delicious and nourishing food; so now i am home again, putting my own spin on things that we ate there.

three things i am truly thankful for right now are my island home, my husband (who loves a good adventure as much as i do) and friends who send lovely emails and cards in the post. and i am grateful for being home again now, so i can bake bara brith, make bread & butter pickles and have a go at a couple of new sewing projects.

right now, our our beautiful wanderlust-loving cat is doing just that (again). he took off on boxing day, whilst my parents-in-law were here and he’s not home yet. this weighs heavy on my heart but, since there’s a storm brewing, we are hoping he will decide to come home tonight… that would make the start of 2016 really great for us.

today being thursday, the last day of the year, sunny and a day begging to be got out in, we put on some walking gear grabbed our towels and drove to stony batter at the eastern end of the island. we were headed for the small bay just east of hooks beach which we thought might be good for a swim.

the route markers took us down through through hilly farmland, past a few wooly clumps of wary sheep and the sun-bleached bones of a couple that met with some untimely demise.

the final descent through huge pohutukawa, just now coming into flower…
then a bit of a scramble to a rocky bay that we didn’t feel at all like swimming at…
so, after a bit of a rest, it was back up the hill, through the sheep to the car.


This is my wish for 2016 for you all…

Let it be a year with more friends and less Facebook. More loving and less liking. More long walks and mad love-making. More art and less artifice.
– from Let it Be by David duChemin.

»» Read the whole article by David here. I could not have said it better myself.