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I went to Australia in search of family and I am happy to say I found them. Older, definitely taller and so much more settled than I had dared to expect. We did lots of things together. Some were expensive and some were not. I was a wuss at Sea World. I held the bags and saw lots of fish but I only did one ride (okay it was SpongeBob but you do have to be over a meter tall to get on it). I also didn’t give up the ghost at the Mall which to anyone who knows me knows that was a major accomplishment. I bonded with the dogs and took them for a walk or two and I also watched two horse-riding lessons and fell in love with Vince (Pronounced “Veence” – he’s a little horse). I came home stronger and wiser and with a broken suitcase for which Air New Zealand have offered compensation. All up, a pretty good holiday and that’s without the memory of sitting in the boat listening to gentle waves lap on the hull while watching the sun lower in the sky and drop below the Glasshouse Mountains. I am so grateful for the opening of borders and that these guys will be in NZ soon to see everyone else.

But it is cold here. Everytime I mentioned to the kids it would be cold when they come in July they rolled their eyes and said things like, ‘We know that!’ but they don’t at all. Cold to them is having to pull up the light duvet at 2am or thinking about wearing a cardigan when they go out at night. It’s not spending an extra half an hour getting dressed because there are so many layers to accommodate. Apart from seeing the rest of their family they’re looking forward to skiing and to seeing Central Otago. I suspect the credit card will take a hit in the first few days as cotton is abandoned and merino and quilted duck down become the favoured fabrics. One thing about it being cold is that it gives license to eat. Yummy vege soup (from all the vegetables still in the fridge when I came home!), roast pork, bacon and egg – the list goes on.

And then this afternoon I heard from the rest of my family who live in Thailand. They are still housebound and over it. I can see the frustration but I can also see how much those girls too have grown. The two year old claiming the phone (and us) to herself caused a ruckus and I thought ‘this must be what it’s like to be an interactive TV programme.’ We are not real to her and probably only a flaky memory to the five year old. The parents are looking forward to getting their vaccinations and getting on with life. I too am looking forward to my vaccinations but it seems we are at the mercy of people who could not organize a celebratory drink in a brewery. My sources tell me it’s the bureaucracy and I believe them. When this country has quite literally thousands of trained and licenced vaccinators and no-one in the MOH can work out how to effectively use them and distribute an admittedly slightly temperamental vaccine, you do have to wonder what they actually do for their money.

So that’s what I think about my Covid world experience. In Queensland they’re good at social distancing and never use their Covid App and in New Zealand we jam together as though nothing has happened and I am one of the few checking in everywhere I go and liberally spraying my hands and my shopping trolly. I want to be around for a while yet. I’ve another book bubbling in my head that’s almost ready for the thrashing it’ll get when it hits the page and I have friends to catch up on. And in a few weeks time Ruby and I will team up again and beat everyone at Sequence. And you know already that if we lose, I’m blaming the eleven year old.

Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com

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