We are home with a great bunch of memories tucked firmly into our hearts. It’s a bit of a trick looking back over these photos and realising just how jolly far away England, and life there is, from here. I mean, what chance is there for Albie to walk on cobblestones with a duffle coat on here in New Zealand? Hmmmm? Nearly no chance people – nearly none at all.
But seriously, it was a trip of awesome. The best part of which, far and away, was witnessing Albie spend time with his family there. Getting to know his Grandma and Granddad, his Aunties and Uncles and his cousins. Whiling away time over cups of tea (many, many cups of tea), watching Albie play, looking at old photos of Marcus and his siblings – connecting him with a great smacking part of who he is.
We stayed at The Mill – the idyllic home of some of Marcus’ closest friends. I did a super-shonky job of taking photos there, so you’ll have to rely on my words. An old mill, great acres of woodland and garden, a river – and beautiful, beautiful, BEAUTIFUL people. Albie cooked alongside his Uncle Sam (completely oblivious of course to his Michelin Star training), played happily with Hazel, Jethro and Jack, and we chatted away evenings there with Ben and Rosie and Sam and other treasured pals. One thing I look forward to, when I think of going back to the UK, is going back to The Mill. It’s a special place. Except for the stinging nettles. Yeah – the stinging nettles were some kind of fierce anti-gardening warriors – and boy did they sting me good.
Albie got a play Saxon broad sword. I had idealistic notions that he wouldn’t get any weapons as toys but they got over-run by finding ourselves in a lovely gift shop at Furness Abbey selling a sword that was both wooden and historical and clearly the apple of our boys eye. Albie couldn’t believe his luck,and thought it was the Best. Day. Ever. And surprisingly, I found his enamorement totally captivating – there’s at least twenty more photos like this of a boy with a sword. Should you want them let me know. 😛
I saved taking photos of Albie with his Granddad and Grandma till the last day we were there. Good idea right? It wasn’t Dennis’ best day, and Albie was distracted and all I got was a flurry of blurry toddler head against a backdrop of a sleepy Granddad. Brilliant. Albie did stop long enough to give Granddad a toy car – and in that wee moment it looks as though he is reaching out to hold his hand.
How I do hope he gets the chance to do so again.
So yeah, we’re home in New Zealand. Keen to move back there though, at least for a while – and figuring out the best way to make it happen. When we were on the flight home, I had dreams of selling all our belongings and getting straight back on the plane out there. But Marcus thinks a more moderate pace is probably called for. He reckons a job to go to, or some re-established savings to back us up, would be a good idea. Details, details baby, I say. Details, details.