Off to the glaciers

30 November 2018

Bang. Went Cornelia’s head on the floor, as she fell out of bed at 02:15. I picked her up, while she was still upside down, and she was understandably distressed and worried that she had cut herself. I popped her in bed with us, thanking God that I hadn’t allowed her to go in the top bunk as she’d requested. She settled down quickly, but that was not the case for us, as she squirmed and wriggled getting herself comfortable, and making us both very uncomfortable at the same time! An hour later, as I was almost falling out of bed myself, I suggested to Ian that he move into Bugsy’s bed so he could sleep without being kicked, and I rolled Cornelia over into his space, so we all had a bit more room. It didn’t really work out, as she just climbed on top of me again, but at least I was no longer in danger of falling out of bed!

Her first words when she woke up in the morning were “Is it morning now? So can I go and play with Thomas?” I explained that the quicker she showered and ate breakfast, the quicker she would be out to play – that did the trick!

But when we went over to the park, although we could see Thomas at the coffee kiosk with his mother, when we approached, she told us that he wasn’t allowed to play as he was having a punishment. Poor old Cornelia was quite upset about it, but the woman wasn’t very friendly, so we left them there and went to play anyway, although Bugsy’s enthusiasm was dampened somewhat. As anticipated, she was a bit whiny from the lack of sleep, so I allowed her a bit of leeway, and tried biting my tongue on a few occasions! While she scampered around, I admired the snow-capped mountains in the distance. It must be quite unusual to be able to see them from a beach!

At the park, I got chatting to a woman with two kids – an eleven year old boy and eighteen month old daughter. She said she also had a teenage son, who wasn’t quite as loving towards the baby, unless it was to impress the girls!! She was in temporary accommodation in Greymouth at the campsite, waiting for permanent housing, and said that she had never imagined that one day she’d be homeless in Greymouth with three kids and living on a campsite. She was very positive though, and seemed hopeful for the future once she crept up from 14th on the waiting list for emergency accommodation. I found it difficult to know what to say – we are in the opposite situation, being fortunate enough to have a lovely home back in the U.K. and travelling around the world – so I didn’t say anything about that, and told her what a wonderful son she had, looking after and playing with her baby, whom I had been watching earlier. We wished her well, and hoped that she would soon have her own place to call home, and I hope they manage to have a happy Christmas together.

We were going to visit Shantytown, an old gold panning site where you were taken back in time, but it was pretty obvious from the outset that Cornelia was too tired and would almost certainly find it difficult to enjoy herself, so we decided to crack on towards Fox Glacier.

We had a quick stop off at Lake Ianthe so Cornelia could go to the loo, and I started chatting to a couple from the U.K. who were travelling around New Zealand for a while, and whom we would be following to Fox Glacier and Queenstown! Cornelia was not feeling very social, and the couple were very understanding when I explained the lack of sleep affecting her mood today! 🙄

On Highway 6 again, we went off in search of coffee and lunch, stopping at Franz Josef, pulling up directly behind (unintentionally!) the people we had met an hour or so previously. We had lunch in Full of Beans and despite the slow service, the meal was fantastic. I only had a bowl of tomato soup, but it was probably the tastiest I’ve ever had! Equally, Ian had a Caesar salad and said it was probably the best he’d ever had. During lunch, I suggested to Ian that he might like to go off for a walk by himself for an hour and a half, well Cornelia finished her lunch, had an ice cream, after which I would take her to the wildlife centre she had spied on the walk to the café. It took Ian about 40 minutes to get going, but it was good for him (and us!) to have a bit of time to himself, especially as the problem he’s having with his Achilles means he can’t go running.

Cornelia’s excellent lunch eating meant she was allowed a chocolate ice cream for pudding, which she ate very nicely (only one lump dropped!) and then we walked around the corner to the Wildlife Centre. This was a funny place and on reflection, I’m glad she was free, as it would’ve been an expensive experience that wouldn’t have been worth it. We were both excited to see a kiwi, but as they are nocturnal, the room was completely dark, which freaked out Cornelia a bit, and in which I could only just make out the shape of a bird. I would never have known it was a kiwi, if we hadn’t been told! Suitably unimpressed, Cornelia asked if we could “get out of this room”, and we moved on to the next area, which contained lots of information boards and a video about protecting the rare Rawi kiwi. But the video kept freezing, and again Cornelia lost interest pretty quickly.

She did enjoy the iceberg / glacier room, largely because it had a giant plastic glacier she could walk through and in which she could play hide & seek, as well as an interactive snowflake, and some colouring papers.

She kept doing botty coughs, so I knew she needed the loo, so we went to find the restrooms only to discover they were closed for cleaning. I asked how long they would be shut for, and the woman that was meant to be cleaning them came running out of the back office saying “Oh, sorry, I’ll just be five minutes!”. So we sat and waited and I became increasingly annoyed as I could see her, through the doors, standing still and chatting on her mobile. I held the gaze of another sales person working there, then moved our gaze to the “closed for cleaning” sign, then up to the non-cleaning cleaner. She moved the sign and let us in. Relief, in both senses of the word!

While we’d been waiting, I spent the time wisely, looking in the gift shop and buying Bugsy a new Travel Buddy activity book, who was then very excited to go back to the car and start it. 🤓

Ian came to find us in the cafe area, and had enjoyed his stomp up the hill and back down and a bit of time away from the chaotic demands of a four year old!

We decided to detour to Franz Josef Glacier on the way to our campsite at Fox Glacier, and I instantly regretted not wearing my running kit, as the walking routes would’ve been quite manageable, to run. Cornelia was impressed by the blue ice, but enjoyed jumping over the stones more, of course!

Finally, we reached our campsite at about 18:00 and I set about cooking Cornelia’s tea. She was knackered from her lack of sleep last night, and I really wanted to get her into bed early. She was in bed, asleep, by 19:30. Result! I really hoped she would have a long deep sleep and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. I too was very tired and actually wasn’t feeling very well at all, but although I had intended to go to be early, I was absorbed by getting Cornelia’s scrapbook going, now that I’d finally found one. It took a long time, of course, and I made it about halfway before my eyes were stinging from tiredness and went to bed!

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