It’s a long weekend in New Zealand.
On the fourth Monday in October, we observe Labour Day. As a statutory paid holiday, it celebrates the struggle 175 years ago, for a universal eight-hour working day, though many still don’t have that protection. It also tends to mark the return of the golden weather. And so it has been this weekend. However our weekend began with our own little ray of sunshine – granddaughter Maggie who will soon be 11 years old, came for a sleepover. Yesterday, with guidance form her grandmother she made bread rolls to accompany a picnic lunch planned for later in the day.
In due course, after the rolls had been allowed to prove for the required time, they were committed to the oven, and duly emerged as small masterpieces.
We went to the Catchpool Valley in the Rimutaka Forest Park and laid claim to a suitable picnic spot in the shade of a nice oak tree.
For most, the Catchpool Valley is the starting point for much longer walks heading towards the Orongorongo river, but the area surrounding the car parks are widely enjoyed as a picnic area and camping ground. I am pleased to see the provision of stainless steel gas-fired barbecues in the park. They are everywhere in the parks around many Australian cities, and usually free. Here, perhaps because the hot plate is gas-fired and not electric, they are coin-operated.
Anthony and Sarah took the kids to a lesser known swimming hole through a long disused trail through the bush and some of them braved the chilly water. I was not one of them. It is easy to be fooled by the bright blue skies into thinking this is really summer. As I made my way back through the bush, I encountered a kereru which looked nervous but was way too lazy to interrupt its siesta unless real danger was imminent.
May the sunny days continue, preferably without the wind.