Well, we have to keep pinching ourselves to believe it's true but here we are, all unpacked and happily settled in our dear little house in Whangamata! Everything went extremely smoothly in the end. The fish all survived the trip, the cats are coping well and already know the place like the back of their paws (mind you, it's not hard to find your way around a garden the size of a postage stamp!) Hubble and Minnie arrived from the boarding kennel and whilst somewhat bemused they willingly went off for their first walk on the beach. Hubble, being a seafaring dog from way back had seen it all before but for Minnie it was a totally new experience and she threw herself into the spirit of things immediately, joyfully chasing poor unsuspecting seagulls and oyster catchers and sploshing into the waves with her fluffy teddybear feet. So far everyone has adjusted well to the confines of their new yard but I have a feeling it could be the fact we live next to a large park and around 6km of beautiful beach that has something to do with that!
The boys are absolutely exhausted but started their new school this week and are thoroughly enjoying getting to know their new classmates and teachers. On arriving home from his first day of school Ali informed me of his decision to change his name. 'I don't feel like an Ali any more. I want to be Alistair', he explained. 'After all, that is my name!' Indeed it is. It just might take me a while to get used to after 12 years!
Life seems to have suddenly become so much easier it's almost too good to be true really! It takes the boys just 10 minutes to walk to and from school, so no more twice-daily trip for me dropping off and picking up. I've never had so much time on my hands before! I cleaned the house from top to bottom in around 20 minutes flat yesterday. Our old house used to take me six hours to do the same! Mind you, even after all our decluttering we still arrived to find that there was a lot of things our new home didn't have room to accommodate, such as a wall unit, a coffee table, a single bed, numerous shelves and even one of the removal men was delighted to be going home with a smart new sofa bed! Talking of new beds, it looks as though Noel and I are going to have to get one. These days beds are made with a base which can be split into two pieces but ours is practically antique and we found to our horror that we simply couldn't get it up the hall! So it was a very happy Liam who spent his first night in his new home sprawled out on his newly acquired queen size bed!
We were delighted to find that the garden is even better than we remembered. 'Look, they've even planted my garden for me!' said Noel of the previous owners, pointing out a large raised vege bed planted with tomatoes, potatoes, silverbeet, lettuce and cabbage. With the parsley, mint and strawberry plants dotted around the back door too, it was just like being at home! These days we jokingly refer to putting scraps in the waste disposal unit as 'feeding the chooks' but old habits die hard and I still find myself trotting out to put them in the compost bins instead. Already Noel has found a likely looking spot to build another raised vege bed so he's happy!
As for me, I'm happy just to step outside and breathe in the sea air every morning. I'm not used to hearing seagulls when I put out the washing! The bird life here is also amazing; in fact I think there are even more birds here than at our old place! I do miss the dear little fantails darting about but the huge bottlebrush tree in the garden is a popular meeting place for tui and the sound of their chatter always makes me smile.
Since we moved here six days ago I haven't used my car once. Instead I've been riding my bike to town to do my chores. It's so much fun and so liberating! No hopping in and out of the car, no fumbling around for keys; just hop on your bike and go! On the positive side there's no way I can buy more than is absolutely necessary because if I load my back pack up too much it absolutely kills me and I wobble unsteadily all the way home! The only down side is walking into the shops all sweaty and with helmet hair but hey, it's worth it! Will post some photos soon - just as soon as I can find my camera!