Slightly earlier for us on this side of the world than it would be back in the UK.........
Have had the most incredible few days. Christmas day was a ball, starting with a huge slap up breakfast on the terrace for 14 of us, with bucks fizz, freshly baked croissants, bacon and eggs, pancakes and more. Exchanging gifts then, for those that wanted, off to the beach. Spent a good part of the day enjoying the surf with several others from the house, the boys are really good surfers now so headed much further out into the bay, how exhilerating to catch what felt like huge waves right out in the sea. Am so glad that i left my bodyboard here last year as it's getting loads more use..... and allows more people to enjoy the waves. Chilled for a couple of hours in the late afternoon sun before returning home to a massive Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, went to bed fat, full and glowing from an amazing day.
Glen and Lauren, the Canadians had a car, and we spent a day touring round the area, stopping off at all the tourist spots to clamber through the bush to scenic viewpoints overlooking secluded bays and tracts of native forest, watch cheese being made at a local factory, with the obligatory tasters, wander round Akaroa, the local town, with its recently rediscovered historical French connections and take a miriad of photographs.
A day out in the harbour fishing was so much fun and we came back with enough fish for several big meals, some of them look familiar but they have different names, Mokie, Blue Cod, Red Cod, Snapper, all delicious but none as good as the huge crayfish that Michael, the younger son, came home with after a days diving with some friends. Two cray fed eight of us really well, they were massive and so so tasty. He also brought back Paua and mussels from another trip, these can only be caught when snorkelling, to conserve stocks, and are often 8 + meters deep so not the easiest things to catch. They also hang on pretty tight.
The other Helpx people have all moved on now, and my hosts John and Julie headed off this morning for a couple of days away, leaving me house sitting for the New Year. I have a good book and a beautiful view, plenty of food and drink and a good pub just down the road so should be just fine.
Looking forward to a couple of days chilling before i head off into the nearly unknown, and a market garden further down south to learn about herb and salad production and sample a bit of the good life for a bit.
So, farewell 2007 and a big Hello to 2008. Hope you all enjoy the celebrations welcoming in the New Year and hope that all comes good for you in the coming year. Big love to you all, see you next year. S