Our stay in New Zealand

6 Dec

After one month in London we were called home unexpectedly to be with the family when Dennis’ father, Fred, suffered a major stroke and subsequently died.  It was a privilege to be able to return quickly and spent almost 6 weeks in New Zealand.

It was such a precious time to be together as a family, we were so thankful that we had made the return trip to Masterton.  Spending time with extended family from Sydney, Auckland, Tauranga, Motueka, Dunedin and Westport was a welcome bonus.   It is very comforting to have met some of Fred and Nola’s friends in Masterton and realise that these people will be a blessing to Mum when we have returned to the U.K.  It was a healing time to be able to be there for Dennis’ Mum, completing odd jobs in and around the family home.  There are so many small things that need to be changed when one person in the couple passes on.  Changing the banking, bill payments, etc, as well as the legal work.  All these thing can be stressful for the surviving spouse so it was good for Dennis to be at hand, along with his two sisters.

Another special time was when we planted a tree to commemorate Fred’s life.  Sally organised the site and we scattered his ashes and planted a “mighty” totara tree on the spot.  It will be great to return to over the years and see how it grows.

It did seem strange to be in our home suburb, Wainuiomata and not be able to actually go home!  Our house is rented out so we had to be content with just looking up the hill when we drove along the main road.  Strange.

Oh, and while we were home Dennis was able to see the final of the Rugby World Cup.  It was always a disappointment to him that he would miss the atmosphere of this grand event while in England.  And who do you think won?

The weather was beautiful in NZ, spring cum early summer.  We enjoyed the regular walks with Sally, her friends, Chris and RC, and the dogs around Henley Lake.  Our dog, J.T. was pleased to see us and we were astounded how Sally has trained him in one month!  She was able to have him sit, along with two other dogs, in the back of her car with the back door wide open, while we enjoyed a coffee at a cafe!  It was all I could do back home to keep him on the property without tieing him up!!  In fact it has cost me a lot of money retrieving him from the Council Pound!

While in Masterton we were happy to share in the 25th Wedding Anniversary celebrations of my youngest sister, Jo and her husband Warren.  Happily my brother Ron and his wife, Sandra came down from Auckland for it as well, so we had a neat time catching up. 

Jo, Warren, Amy and Robyn

Jo and Warren

It was excellent to return to our new Church (Gracenet) in Karori from time to time during the six weeks in Wellington/Masterton.  We feel so at home there and enjoyed the renewed fellowship.  We tended to stay with Anna and Lynton on weekends so we could combine visiting them, attending church and visiting with our Wainui friends as well.  Busy, busy…. Dennis and I were thrilled to join Anna and Lynton viewing the second scan of their first child.  The detail of the scan was fascinating, right down to inspecting the four ventricles of the heart, along with the working heart valves.  So interesting and very exciting to see this child moving continually throughout the entire scan.  Even sucking its thumb, after trying and missing a few times.  It’s great to see Anna keep up the family traditions of vegie gardening and keeping chooks, with Lynton’s expert help of course.

Even though we had only been away for a little over a month, it’s amazing how little kids grow and develop over that time.  Matt and Eliza’s youngest, Christian, is a prime example.  He had his first haircut which really transformed a cute child into an even cuter wee man!  And spending time with Elke is always rewarding!

Proud Pop and Christian


We ended up extending our return flights because our daughter, Kathy, was 10 days late in giving birth to Pania Ruth Turner-Bartlett!  And we were so glad that we waited.  Poor Kathy had spent a miserable 9 1/2 months, vomiting her way through-out the pregnancy.  Then during the last month or so had many periods of contractions only have them stop again. Kathy had asked for Anna and me to be at her home birth, along with Terence and the midwives.  One Sunday evening I was called down to her from Masterton, but after 10 hours of decent contractions it all stopped!  So frustrating for her, but I thought confidently it would be “any time” so I stayed with them in Newtown.   But it wasn’t till the following Saturday that I was woken early in the morning and then it was obvious that today was the day!  Two hours later and Pania finally joined us, weighing in at 9.5lbs!  And what a cutie!  And an Isis look-a-like as well.  It was the first time that I have actually stayed with Kathy as we have up to now had our own house to go back to, in the same town after visits.  That was a precious experience as well, living with Terence, Kathy, Isis and Pania. 

Waiting, waiting...

Proud Pop and Pania

And Richard was staying with them as well, in between staying with the Occupy crowd at the Civic Centre in Wellington.  He is the Public Relations Spokesman for them and had been on nation-wide TV, interviewed on several radio shows and in the papers.  He was pretty happy with how this demonstration was working.

It was sad to leave Masterton and Wellington again, but we flew down to Christchurch to spend some time with James and his new girl friend, Rachel, before leaving the country again.  It was excellent to meet Rachel and see how happy James is.  Once again we stayed with Andre and Anita and they once again were very hospitable towards us. 

James & Rachel

But oh, I found it so hard to leave NZ again.  It just seemed so poignant to leave the family behind.  Knowing that Mum was going to have a hard time adjusting to life without Fred, knowing that Sally would necessarily be the one to shoulder the task of supporting  Mum while grieving herself, knowing Kathy was needing help with a new baby in the house, and knowing Anna would be having her baby without me being near,etc, etc.  Last time it was all looking forward to our big adventure but this time it felt more like looking over my shoulder back at NZ.  It’s a good job that we have the assurance that God is sovereign and in control of all things.  Anyway, Dennis and I left NZ bound for Hong Kong on Sunday, 27 November at 11.59p.m……..


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