6 Feb ’13

On Friday afternoon we headed up to Trev’s bach at Mangaweka for a weekend away.  We had no particular plans in mind, just hoped the weather would continue in its glorious, sunny vein so we could take the kids swimming on Saturday.


It did, so we did!  After a leisurely morning at the house and a “fix your own sandwich” lunch we packed up the car and headed out.  Trev’s neighbour had loaned us the key to a gate allowing access down to the Kawatau Stream, to a new swimming hole that we’d not visited before.   Wow – perfect.

A shady spot under the old manuka trees, right on the river bank, perfect to set up our picnic table and chairs.  Always the table and chairs – why not picnic in comfort, I say. Slathering sunscreen on the kids is becoming increasingly time consuming. Half a tube (almost!) is required to cover Jake’s back, and I just about need a step ladder to reach his shoulders.  So once they were all coated and protected from the sun, in they went.  I regretted not having brought my own swimming togs.The water was the perfect temperature, having meandered for miles over sun-warmed rocks.  And crystal clear, much clearer than I’ve ever seen the Rangitikei River, just around the corner at Toe Toe Road.

Kawatau, Rangitikei

Kids in the Stream

As the kids splashed and swam about in the company of their father and under the watchful eye of their Grandad, I took the opportunity to head up to the quarry for a mini photo walk on my own. The stone crushing equipment makes for some interesting shots.

Quarry equipment

Stone crushing machinery, Stand clear

It is HOT when you’re surrounded by dust and piles upon piles of rocks just soaking up all that sun and radiating it back on all sides.

Cattle standing in water

Cows in the stream

The cattle, ever friendly, followed me about for a while then decided it was just too hot and went for dip themselves.

Too hot for me, too.  Back to the shade of our picnic spot and time for a chilled glass of wine.  The kids remembered there was food, so it was out with the snacks.
A flock of geese came swooping through, all honking and hollering their displeasure at being disturbed by the landowner and his dog.  It was quite a sight, but I wasn’t quick enough to get a decent shot.  One of those times when the image will live only in our memories.  I did manage to get a picture of the dog though.
Dog in the river

Boxer dog in the water

All three kids were having a great time, with hardly a cross word said.  Which is really nice.  Maybe they are growing up.
I decided I needed to set up a “One – two – three – JUMP” shot.
There was a bit of goofing around as they waited for me to wade in across the stream…
And then a couple of takes were required to get the shot.  But I really don’t think they minded too much.

It really was a lovely day out with the family.  Good clean fun, sunshine and fresh air.  And later that evening we toasted marshmallows over the fire.

roasting marshmallows

Toasting marshmallows

Browned pink marshmallow

Toasted marshmallow

It is times like these that I reflect on how very lucky we are as a family.  I know it’s a cliché, but clichés become such because they are true. We live in a country that abounds in natural beauty, with wonderful parks, rivers and beaches that are free and easily accessible.   We do not have to worry about the threat of starvation and war that afflicts so many parts of the world.  We live in a town where I can allow my kids to walk to school and to visit their friends without any qualms. We have the support of family and community,we live  a comfortable, happy and relatively carefree life. I truly believe we are blessed, and we all should stop to count our blessings occasionally

While I was Googling around to check my facts for this blog I came across a beautiful water colour painted around 1872 called Kawatau River at the junction of the Rangitikei River.  Check it out.

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