Five things in July, and more…

We have a bumper edition of five things! One where there will actually be ten things because I completely didn’t realise I didn’t do one for July, and now it’s the end of August! Ah August has been a total cluster, what with ski trips and finishing jobs and unexpected lockdowns. We do what we can…and what we can do now is list off ten good things, because cluster or no, I have a bunch of fun things to talk about and share!

1. Spring blossoms

Tomorrow is the first day of spring in New Zealand, and you wouldn’t know it if you were to look outside right now – but look at some of what we’ve been getting in late winter! Amazing blue skies, warm sunshine, and the most beautiful spring blossoms. There’s a whole group of these trees planted together and watching the birds play in them is so delightful. This bird is a tūī – a New Zealand native that loooooves sugar (me too, tūī, me too). They flit around all spring and summer sticking their beaks into every sweet tree flower they can find. They’re beautiful birds, and a lot of fun to watch!

2. Vaccinated!

I’m now fully vaccinated against Covid-19! The rollout in New Zealand has definitely been slow compared to other countries, but we also haven’t had Covid in the community here for most of the last 18 months so it felt fine (recent events excepted…). I had no side effects, apart from a sore upper arm for about a day, and the shot didn’t hurt at all.

I feel much safer knowing I’m vaccinated, but I’m also very keen not to risk Covid (and not to risk my family – Hayden’s had one shot so far, and Amelie obviously can’t get it yet as it’s not authorised for small children yet). I have faith in the vaccine and am interested in what we discover about what might be needed in the way of boosters, etc. going forward. There’s a good article in The Spinoff here about what we know about the vaccines and boosters so far.

3. The Olympics

Did you watch the Olympics? Our family loved watching them, even with the cognitive dissonance of enjoying them but also thinking they shouldn’t have gone ahead…particular faves were the diving, kayaking, rowing, canoe slalom (which we’ve never watched before, but we all loved it!) and Amelie was also really into the fencing?! It made for some lovely weekend mornings, starting the day slow with coffee, the newspaper, and the Olympics on in the background, and some fun afternoons at the Chateau, in the interregnum between skiing and going for dinner – we’d have a drink and slowly get ready while the Olympics played and it was just such a nice pause in our usual rushing around ways!

4. Trevor Noah’s stand-up comedy

Have you watched any of Trevor Noah’s shows on Netflix? We’ve been really enjoying watching stand-up comedy as an alternative to a movie on the weekends. Sometimes you just need to laugh, and Trevor Noah is the best I’ve seen for a while. I literally had tears running down my face the last time we watched him. Such a fun way to have a fun time!

5. Our new boardwalk

A bunch of volunteers have built the most amazing new boardwalk! It connects up what was formerly a dead-end track with the other end of the road (closer to the Village), meandering out across the estuary along the way. It’s such a great addition to our community! You walk out across the water, then cut back in, through a small section of forested bush walk, and then through the grasses you see above. It’s a few kilometres long I guess? I walked it and ran it a few times before lockdown, but haven’t been back since as I suspect it’s quite popular at the moment and it would be hard to avoid others on it…as soon as I can I’ll be back!

6. Lockdown walks in the sun

Just a girl in her best country clothes, taking the cat for a walk. Our neighbours have some new lambs in their paddock so when we all need a breather, we go for a family walk to see the lambs. Cuper counts himself as part of the family, as you’ll see…he’s pretty scared of the sheep though so that marked the point where he went back! Walking our country lane is very much keeping us sane at the moment but also I can’t help thinking of this article every time…

7. A.P. Bio

Have you watched this? Hayden and I just saw it on Netflix and decided to try it one night and turns out we love it?! Its premise is absolutely ridiculous – a former Harvard philosophy professor moves to Ohio to live in his dead mother’s house, teach biology at a local high school, and plan the demise of his professional rival – but somehow it actually works and it’s hilarious. It’s been going for a few years now but it’s new to us!

8. Just, like, lots of good TV to be excited about

As well as A.P. Bio, we’re watching The White Lotus (like everyone right now, but more slowly) and we have a pretty long list of things to try after we finish both of those! This article from Cup of Jo was the source of quite a few things on that list. We haven’t seen anything truly good in what feels like forever so it’s so nice to have something to get into – we don’t watch a lot of television, so it’s nice to have it be so enjoyable when we do! If you’re looking for something good to get into, I can recommend both A.P. Bio and The White Lotus, but if you’re not years behind like we are, you’re bound to find a recommendation over at Cup of Jo (make sure to read the comments as well!).

9. Surprise sunshine

We’ve got typical late winter/early spring weather going on – it’s cold, very rainy, and generally pretty dreary. Every so often, though, we have a day, or even just a few hours, of glorious sunshine, and it’s a portal into another world for a little while! It’s like seeing the future for a moment and remembering that summer is just around the corner (I can’t wait).

10. Zoom ballet

Feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but this has totally been a highlight – remember we’ve been in lockdown for two weeks. This could actually be extended to be general gratitude for any activity that’ll keep Amelie occupied during lockdown! It was pretty darn cute. We signed Amelie up for a Frozen ballet class through Outschool to partially make up for all the ballet classes she’s missing out on right now. It was a nice chance for her to interact with some other people and get to do some ballet, and the fact that it was Frozen (which has been a big hit in our house for over a year now – Amelie was obsessed before she even watched it due to knowledge acquired through her school friends!) was really just the icing on the cake. It wasn’t cheap – I wouldn’t want to do it too much – but it was worth it!

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