Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Day After Arrival

A few days have passed now since the departure of my brother and he is safely back in England now (hopefully bragging about New Zealand to all and sundry!) I feel normality is slowly returning and I'm due back at work on Sunday so I guess then it will truly be business as usual!

Over the coming days, I will be posting daily (or more, if I'm able) with pictures and stories from our travels over the last couple of weeks. Today, I thought I'd write a run down of Brendan's first day in New Zealand.

I'd booked a punt down the River Avon for 10am the day after Bren landed and was slightly worried this would be a little too early to rise for someone suffering from a jet-lag induced head cold. But Martin assured me he'd be well awake by then. He was right. And I was over the moon I wouldn't have to cancel since I'd been dying to show him around the Botanical Gardens, my favourite place in the city.

After arming myself with a bag full of bog roll to stem the brother's constantly running nose and some painkillers, we set out. I've only been punting once with an ex-flatmate who took us for free so I'd missed all the commentary. There were so many things I didn't know about the gardens! Spread over an area of 52 acres, they were originally commissioned by Queen Victoria and designed by top English landscapers. On 9th July, 1863, an oak was planted to commemorate the wedding of Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. It is one of the many majestic giants that call the gardens their home. Others come from Asia, South America and the Mediterranean, most over 120 years old.

We drifted past a black swan sitting on her eggs on a giant nest made from mud and branches, sailed under a bridge where a swallow flew back and forth from her nest, feeding the chicks, saw a male Paradise Duck (AKA a shell duck) trying to rid the Avon of Mallards in an attempt to protect his female from unwanted attention and came under the scrutiny of the yellow eyed diving duck.

An experience which probably should have ended with a relaxing afternoon spent on the banks of the river. But being the pest of a little sister I am, I decided to take Bren on a walk around the city, probably somewhere around 3km, to my favourite cafe - Black Betty - for lunch and a drink. Remarkably, he managed to finish his bacon and egg pie; quite a feat since jet lag tends to render you appetite less.

I remembered how I felt when we first arrived, body tired but mind racing, wanting to explore and see new things. I suggested we take a drive to the seaside town of Sumner and have a sit on the esplanade, looking out to sea. Brendan readily agreed, after I'd made a flask on lemon and honey to take with us!

By the time Martin arrived home from work, Brendan was nearly asleep on his bed, with me sat on the edge wittering to him in a vain attempt to keep him awake. Sometimes you just have to succumb to sleep....while others go get pizza :) You snooze, you lose.

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