Sleep, yes, I remember that…
I hadn’t banked much sleep that week due to last-minute pre-guest, pre-Christmas preparations: freezing lasagnes, cleaning bathrooms and getting packed for the big pre-Christmas trip.
I failed to sleep properly till after my in-laws arrived from the UK on the 13th…around 2am-ish?
Tiny woke me at 6.30am the next day. Ugh.
The following night MY parents arrived from the UK similarly late. By the time we were all in bed it was gone 3am. The airport taxi was booked for 7.15am. Ugh.
At 3.30am I heard breaking glass and shuffling about downstairs. I resolutely ignored it. (It was Mum dropping her water glass).
But despite the tiredness everyone was cheery in the morning as we left for Queenstown.
And the flight down, which might have been considered a necessary evil, emerged as the highlight of the day. Clear skies gave us scenic views over New Zealand the likes of which many tourists pay royally for: over the glaciers and Mount Cook and all down the West Coast. Heaven.
In Queenstown, we headed up the gondola for spectacular views over The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. I felt great pride in showing off the beauty of this country to my parents on their first ever day in New Zealand.
And despite having only been in the country a few hours, my mum had caught a tiny taste of NZ adventure-fever and agreed (to my surprise) to ride the luge at the top of the gondola. But it was only a mild fever; she proceeded to take the course with dignity and control. IE SLOWLY. Back straight, serenely gazing straight ahead – she only caused minor traffic jams.
Whereas I was acting like a deranged rally driver, hollering at 8-year-olds to get out of my way.
More adventure lay on the road to Te Anau. Our beautiful journey was unexpectedly punctuated by a driver two cars ahead of us ploughing into an electricity post and bringing the line down across the road.
We ground to a halt. Our hearts sank. The baby woke up and got fractious. And to round it off, the detour took us on the unsealed back roads. We rolled along in a dust cloud, holding our breath as we squeezed past buses haring in the opposite direction, along a narrow track which was clearly only designed to take Farmer Doug on his quad bike (and perhaps a car or two…).
But we emerged unscathed, so we counted our blessings and turned our minds to the urgent matter of dinner. Fearing our delay would mean shops might be closed in Te Anau, we found a small roadside store and foraged.
We didn’t have high hopes for dinner, if I’m honest, what with our eclectic food purchases…but it was delicious. Pan-fried lamb with boiled potatoes, asparagus and an avocado, tomato and red onion salad.
Plans for an early bed met with no resistance!