Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily!

15 November 2018

After a good night’s sleep, we enjoyed breakfast outside, overlooking Lake Taupo. What a way to start the day! It was a bit chilly, so we were wrapped up (well, Bugsy had her cardigan on over her pyjamas!), but that did nothing to prevent us from enjoying the experience. Cornelia had porridge this morning, flavoured with the plum jam from Pieter in South Africa. We sent him an email and a photograph to show him how much we were enjoying it!

After we had spoken to Brother Matthew and Nanny Enid, we spent the morning playing on the pebble beach, piercing holes into the pumice stones (which is VERY satisfying!), looking for unusual rocks (we found some amber and zebra striped stones) and Cornelia made friends with a little dog who belonged to a nearby canoeist. The two ducks from yesterday were also still hanging around and Cornelia was convinced that they were here because they liked her. She made strawberry ice cream for me out of seeds and grass, and it was wonderful to just sit and relax and enjoy the view, without having to pack up and be on the move again. It was cloudy and slightly windy in the morning, but the cloud had lifted by noon as had the temperature.

Although there is no pool here, there is a play park, so Ian took her off there while I made us a small picnic lunch before joining them. We sat on the grassy bank overlooking the park to eat our sandwiches, although Cornelia wasn’t particularly bothered by hers and decided not to eat it, even though it meant she wouldn’t be having any snacks that afternoon, which included a chocolate ice cream. She just shrugged and said that she didn’t really want one today anyway! Words failed me!!!!

I went to reception to book the kayak for us, and we all traipsed back to Ki-Bell to get ready for the 15:00 drop off. Rob duly arrived bang on time, and pushed us off into the water. We were on a triple kayak, me in the front, Bugsy in the middle and Ian at the back. Ah, it was so beautiful and peaceful as we paddled gently out and around the headland to the next bay, where teenagers were taking turns to jump off the high rocks. It reminded us of our wonderful time at Crater Lake.

We trailed our hands in the water, and pretended we were a pirate ship, and sang Row Row Row your Boat several times, before turning around and heading back. It was Cornelia’s first time in a kayak and although she was disappointed not to have her own paddle (could you just imagine her with a paddle?!! 😳) she loved the whole experience.

When we returned to shore, I was totally up for going for a swim and once I’d collected my goggles, ran straight in. It was invigorating but not nearly as cold as I thought it would be. Rob, the guy who organised the kayak, said the temperature was about 13 degrees, but it felt a bit warmer than that. I swam out a bit, before hitting a dark patch, where I suddenly remembered that Rob had said it drops to about 100m depth. It’s not often I’m freaked out by things, but it made my nerves jingle and I decided to stay close to the shore instead.

Rob returned to collect the kayak, so I swam back in, and the three of us chatted for a bit, before he left. Lake Taupo was created about 26,500 years ago following the collapse of a volcano, said to be the largest eruption over the last 70,000 years. It is dormant, rather than extinct, due to the various geo thermal springs in the vicinity and steaming rocks!

Once Rob had left, Ian and I hung out on the beach, trying to throw one stone then hit it with another before it landed. Turns out that, after (many) attempts, I became a bit of a dab hand at this! In the meantime, Cornelia took herself off for some time in her Kindle. Ian’s back and neck have been troubling him for weeks, and I finally convinced him to let me rub some Ibuleve gel on and massage it in. But then, the temptation to cover his back with warm stones was too much to resist, even for Bugsy who then tore herself away from her Kindle to join in the fun!

The water looked so inviting still, and I was annoyed with myself for letting a slight fear stop me from doing the swim I’d planned, so I headed back in, now that Rob had reassured me that there were no suction holes or whirlpools that would drag me under the water. And hurrah! I had a fab swim, out to the red and white buoy, to the boat jetty and back along the shore to our pitch. Ah, I was so glad I’d done it, even though my feet decided to play dead for an hour afterwards!

That was enough to get Ian out for a run too, and while he pootled off, I made supper (chicken in tomato sauce, potatoes, broccoli and carrots) and had a gin. There’s no way that bottle will last three weeks…!

Supper was a happy affair – it was really tasty, and Cornelia ate the lot, as she was particularly hungry after missing lunch! She was brilliant again this evening (as she has been all day). We had a lovely shower again (she has been pretending to be a lost rabbit for the last couple of days, and I am her new owner 🤷🏼‍♀️) and I read her the new glow worm book while Ian did the washing up, then we cuddled until he came back to tell her a Mumfi story. She settled really well and Ian and I have had our usual gin/beer and chocolates and are currently planning our Australia visit! The end seems so close and yet we still have ten weeks left until we return to “normal life”. Gulp!!

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