We headed up to Taranaki leaving bright and early at 7am on Saturday morning, and made good time to arrive at GeeGee's by 12.15pm, and just in time for lunch. As the weather had taken a turn for the worse mid-morning, we decided to make the most of the afternoon by visiting the Taranaki Transport, Aviation and Technology Museum. This was really just a collection of old (freezing cold!) sheds manned by a lovely elderly gentleman. However, walking into them it was apparent that the memorabilia had been lovingly collected over probably 50-100 years, and I think pretty much everyone in Taranaki must have donated something to it, such was the variety! From farm implements - old tractors, harvesters and mowers, we moved on to the next shed complete with a working printing press where a lovely man explained how a line of typeface would be set in lead - he even made us a line of lead that said 'Noah' to take home. From there we went into a room filled with old gramaphones and thousands of old records. We had great fun having a go at working the old telephone exchange and printing press, rushed off to fight a fire in an old fire engine, and the boys even got to sit in the cockpit of an old Harvard plane, Noah was in his element!
We were all rather frozen by this point however, as there was no heating and it had been pouring with rain the whole time we had dashed between the various sheds so we headed back to GeeGee's for a cuppa to warm up!
Sunday morning we all took a walk down to the supermarket to get our daily dozens and some milk, but we hadn't gotten very far before a bitterly southerly blew up and the sky turned very ominous forcing Mark to race home to get the car to meet us at the supermarket. Unfortunately, Nana and Poppa had to head home before lunch on Sunday (Poppa's work demands calling) so the three of us and GeeGee headed out to Kauri Cottage in Egmont Village for a nice hearty lunch of burger and chips.
The temperature gauge was only registering about 4.5 degrees outside at this point so we made the most of the warmth indoors to spend the afternoon jumping around on GeeGee's furniture, making caves, building towers etc! It was rather nice to be away from the Internet, housework and the pull of other 'things to do' around the house, which made for a very relaxing couple of days.
We kept a firm watch on the weather forecast after seeing reports that there had been snow in the hilly suburbs of Wellington and that there was 5-15 cm forecast overnight for both Mt Egmont and the central North Island. With the possibility of the Desert Road being closed we thought it wise to make an early start home in case there was lots of extra traffic diverted our way as well as the usual delays faced by long weekend traffic getting back into Wellington, so we shipped out by 8.15am. The first sight that greeted us was an amazing amount of low lying snow in the farmland foothills under Mt Egmont. Had we been less concerned about getting home, we may have tried to divert to see if we could see some 'real-live' snow up close, and that is still a dream of mine for Noah to play in the snow, but in reality there will be plenty of other opportunities to do this!
All the worry of the trip home was unfounded, and we made extremely good time, arriving back at 1.30pm. After a spot of unpacking and tidying up, our lovely antenatal friends Judith & Hamish popped around with Grace (Noah's buddy from the early days) and their new 3-week old baby, Kate. It was lovely to see and hear how much more relaxed second-time parents are, which will be something for us to aim for in a few month's time!
A short week ahead, and it looks like the sale of M-co to NZX will go through sometime during the week. We have a final staff dinner out to celebrate the end of a real era on Thursday night, and it is bound to be a nostalgic evening. I have thankfully been able to secure some additional assistance at work to try and cope with the mounting workload of tasks that must be done during the settlement of the sale to NZX, i.e. accounts, final payroll etc. Neil (my old manager and current director of M-co) has kindly arranged a secondment with Grant Thornton so that Jackie could come back to help out us get through the volume of things to do. Knowing that also helped me relax a great deal more this past weekend!
Noah was in fine form this weekend, which made a pleasant change from a few trying evenings this week. As much as he is enjoying being with the older children in the 'over threes' of daycare, because he is still so young we are noticing that some days it really takes it out of him, the additional brain stimulation and energetic play really draining him by the end of the day.
My final thought for the week was of a precious moment this morning. GeeGee was most delighted when Noah, after waving a vigorous goodbye through the car window, said to GeeGee 'I'll miss you GeeGee....have a lovely day!'. Moments like this are what makes life so very special.