I'm not a runner. I never liked to run - it was hard, and nasty. But once there were two boys to look after, it was the easiest, quickest way to fit in some exercise. Unlike anything else, I could be exercising the minute I left the house, until the minute I got home. Which meant that I could nip out for 20 minutes and have 20 minutes exercise. Plus, no costs. So I did it.
Once we got to New Zealand, I ran a bike path route a few times. It was nice, but then got boring. Turns out, the biggest issue I have with running is being bored. So I listened to some podcasts. Helpful, but only for a few more laps. Then my husband persuaded me to join him on a trail run - a track I'd usually consider fit only for cautious walking. A track winding through the native bush - up, but also back down. And I loved it.
Suddenly, running had a new purpose. I could get to places I really wanted to see, but quicker! Instead of trying to find 2 hours to do a hike, I could find one hour to do a run. The trade off is the need to drive to the run (I don't have any tracks at my front door), but its one I'm happy to make. And now we're in Tasmania, I'm sticking with it. Its a fantastic way to explore the bushland, have some time to myself, catch up on podcasts and get a bit of exercise.
(First photos are from New Zealand, last two are from Tasmania)
We went camping on January long weekend. Turns out it still gets might cold at night in January in NZ. But the flax flowers were outstanding, and the Tui's that come to feed from them were equally engaging.
We have a season pass to Zealandia - we can get our Tuatara fix any time (both animals and beer sometimes!).
NZ wool - Utiku yarns. Bought a while ago, but now wound and half knit into a boy jumper for winter (yep, the cold camping experience got me thinking). B's not super keen on the colours but I'm loving it. Its a lovely yarn to knit with - good stitch definition, soft but definitely woolly. Pics soon.
Swimming. Despite the lack of summer so far this year (to be fair, it often looks like summer but is ludicrously windy), we have managed the odd plunge. Or paddle, in my case. I have been fully immersed on two occasions, and it has been lovely.
One of the things I was looking forward to about living in New Zealand was being closer to the coast and closer to wilderness camping. Its nice to feel like we are finally doing some of the things we had in mind when we turned up a year ago (yes, a whole year!). I'm hoping we kick into summer gear in the next few weeks and can really make the most of it. I have big plans for our new fishing rods.
I have been waiting and waiting for B to be ready to read 'chapter books'. Not because I think there is anything intrinsically good about them, or bad about other sorts of books, but mostly because they are the books that I remember reading most clearly in my childhood, and I've been looking forward to the excuse of revisiting them.
Somewhere along the line between England and New Zealand, I bought a second hand edition of the Adventures of the Wishing Chair, by Enid Blyton.
I think this is one of the earliest books I can remember loving, and I definitely read it a lot (along with the Magic Faraway Tree series). I don't think my edition had any of these covers, but there is some fantastic cover art to the Enid Blyton books over the years - enough to occupy more time on Pinterest than I can justify!
Anyway, we went camping last weekend (more on that another day I suspect) and I'd taken this book just in case - it seemed like lots of story for your size/weight ratio - very important with the car packed to the gunnels. And on the first night, as the rain pattered on the tent roof and the kids tried their best not to explode from excitement, I suggested we read a chapter.
It went well. We read another. And another. Then I had to stop as the night drew in. The boys went to sleep. In the morning, B woke (after sleeping in - yay!) and the first thing he asked for was another chapter! Since then, we've been reading 2 chapters a night, and loving it. I love coming across chapters that I remember - recalling mental images of parties where you wished for the food and it appeared in front of you. Of a magic chair made invisible, then visible again with paint. Of fairies and pixies and gnomes and wizards and witches and lemonade and ginger beer.
Most of all, I love watching B as we read. While I revel in my memories, he is caught in the story, pulling the blankets over his head at the scary parts, sitting with his hand over his mouth at the tense parts, laughing like crazy when it all resolves, and looking forward to another adventure.at the end. Initially I wondered if the stories were a little dull - they are certainly nothing like the 'adventures' he is presented with on TV, internet or more modern children's books. While his friends talk about Hobbits and Harry Potter, I thought he might find pixies and magic chairs a little...old fashioned. I was so wrong - this is perfect. It is captivating, but not worrying. There is little he doesn't understand conceptually, but the language is beautiful and challenges him (I think his vocabulary has been much improved by a little Blyton!).
Spectacles. In a trice. Wickedly. Most unpleasant. Perfectly wonderful.
We are both having a ball.
Did you read Enid, or other 'older' children's books, or do you read them to your kids? If so, what would you recommend we put on our list?