We have always made a point of taking holidays away from home. Partly just as a change of scene, partly to ensure the girls saw a little of the world, and knew there was a wider world than the humdrum day-to-day, and partly because we have always had a wish to explore and enjoy New Zealand.
So we have documented or recorded a number of our trips:
In 2016 we're going to Europe for 5 weeks. Initially as a part of a group from the Hutt Valley Irish Society to commemorate the Easter Rising of 1916, and then to tour Ireland. After that, we're on our own - London to see Sarah-Rose & Pip, the continent, trains, gardens, and World War 1 memorials.
You can see where we're going, and keep up-to-date.
In 1994, we were invited to attend a wedding in mid-1995 - in Northern Ireland. So we accepted. And decided to go for 10 weeks - a full school term.
This was a major undertaking with 3 young girls; Sarah Rose was 12, and Jayne hadn't yet turned 4!
But we did it, and all lived to tell the tale.
In 2001, four of us (we were missing Sarah Rose) went to Australia for 2 weeks.
In simple terms the plan was: a few days in Melbourne; a few days visiting the Victorian goldfields towns (Bendigo, Ballarat), and then a week in Tasmania, which would include a tour of part of the island.
See for yourself the results.
In 2012, Melbourne hosted a major exhibition of European art works from the inter-war years. we decided, that, as Jayne was enoying studying Art History, and we both were interested in the art of that period, and like Melbourne, so that the solution was obvious!
Family history has long been abiding pastime for us. Our girls have often been driven to distraction by seemingly pointless stops at cemeteries, or having to listen to what they saw as interminable stories about people they didn't know.
And much of our family comes from the 'deep south' of New Zealand - Southland and Otago in particular.
So in January 2014, Desiree and Bryan went on a 'southern tour' - part holiday, part family history visit. Great fun.
We've long hankered after a tour within New Zealand in a campervan, but never got around to doing it. So in 2015, we decided we would try it, with a view to extended tours after we retire in a few years.
We decided that it was a long time since we had toured the northern half of the South Island, and in fact we had never been through the Lewis Pass between the East & West Coasts.
So off we set, in April 2015.
We're not the only ones who tour, however.
In 2015, Sarah Rose headed to London (again) with Pip, for an extended stay.
And Charlotte & Gareth went to Europe in mid-2015 for a family wedding (notice something of a pattern there?), and took the opportunity for some touring as well.
And then later 2015, Desiree and Bryan decided that the winter was proving hard on our health, so a break away was called for. We had never been to the Coromandel Peninsula, and we had managed to book a house for a week of the school holidays.
And that was all the invitation we needed. Whitianga, here we come!