I’m back. It’s good to be in my own home after a couple of weeks spent in hotels and other people’s houses. I’m still not quite convinced that Wellington is where I want to be, but every arrival gets easier.

My brain’s not all that functional after a night sharing a single (twin) bed with Petra in the north Canterbury heat (it was 29 degrees still at 9pm), followed by a morning’s driving (during which Petra got carsick for the very first time (ah rites of passage!) and puked all over her car seat), and an afternoon spent queueing for the (delayed) Picton/Wellington ferry before slowly crossing (a thankfully calm) Cook Strait.

So just a couple of random thoughts.
First: unexpected signs passed on the way up. At Maheno on a blackboard outside the local garage – “Marriage is an adventure, like going off to war.” Just north of Oamaru on a huge metal scarecrow – “Oamaru: steampunk capital of New Zealand.”

Second: Petra had a fabulous time doing Christmas. She unwrapped presents with Olivia on the Tuesday before Christmas – Father Christmas made a special early delivery for Olivia who was leaving for Wellington before Christmas Day.

And she unwrapped her own presents from Father Christmas on Christmas Day. It was lovely to watch her excitement. Her voice rose higher and higher as she unwrapped and showed off each gift. By the time she reached the doll’s house, she’d reached a pitch audible only to dogs and babies.

In fact, Petra was so much in the swing of getting up to open presents that yesterday morning she asked me when the next Christmas was going to be and was horrified when I told her that it wasn’t until next year. She sat down on the kitchen floor and wailed a bit to let me know just how disappointing my answer was.

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