Like yesterday, today was a beautiful spring day with glorious sunshine, very little wind, not too hot or too cold, and not a cloud in the sky. The last week has had a lot of those, so I’m making the most if it while I can… read: totally overdoing it while I feel ok.
Yesterday, we took our flatmates’ 3 year old to the park. Today I spent the day in Akaroa with family (my husband, my dad, dad’s partner, my older sister, her kids).
We met for coffee at my sister’s place just after 9 am and decided on a plan, then we travelled in convoy to Little River, the half way point, where we stopped for brunch before continuing on. The drive to Akaroa is about 100 km from my house. It takes a good 90 minutes of driving, much of which is along twisty hill roads that wind through the craters of 2 extinct volcanoes. It’s a hard trip for everyone, but it’s beautiful.
Over brunch, we talked about scientific research, geopolitics, the economy, sculpture (the cafe is also an art gallery), and the horrors of dense croissants. Ryan and I ate lovely, giant, flakey croissants and cake, with a lot of earl grey tea, while the others had quiche, brownies, cheesecake, muffins, and samosas. There was no cell signal at all, even for phone calls. I can see people staying there deliberately for that alone.
We arrived in Akaroa, found somewhere to park, and headed to the waterfront. We wandered along the main road, looking at shops, chatting, and enjoying the weather, then headed off in search of ice cream. Irish comedian, Dylan Moran, talking about travelling with children, says all you want is a public toilet that serves ice cream. That sounds about right to me.
I decided it would be best if I took my wheelchair, as Akaroa is a sprawling village, long and narrow, wrapped around a large harbour. I knew we’d end up going for a walk from one end to the other, because that’s what you do in Akaroa, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to manage that by foot. Luckily I have a wonderful husband who can help me propel the chair (or rather, he pushes and I help on hills or particularly off camber paths), or it would be only a minimal saving, if anything. Indoors, the wheelchair makes a huge difference, but on the street it can take more energy than walking.
We walked from one end of the town to the other, and back again. Then the kids went canoeing while the adults painted, talked, and went to a cafe.
I left my phone in the car, so I didn’t get any photos until we were leaving. Instead I did a watercolour sketch of the harbour. It doesn’t do it justice, but it was a nice exercise.
The chip shop was closed by the time we got there, so our discussion of whether fish and chips could work as high tea was moot. Instead, we returned to our cars and drove back to the wee ferry warf (it’s the one in the painting with the wee red roofed building – I think they run wildlife cruises from there) to look for somewhere to eat before heading home.
I didn’t realise how tired I was until I had to drive back. The visual stimulus of driving at speed on hills was quite challenging, so I’m pleased I had left something in the tank for that. We have a joke in my local CFS/ME group (it may be more universal): “no one ever says ‘I wish I’d waited longer before getting my wheelchair.'” They really are a lifesaver. I was far more able to budget my limited energy, and leave enough for the drive home.
We got home a few minutes before 7 pm, unpacked the car and fed the cat. I lay on the bed to check my Twitter feed (I just got a new account for this blog: @loremipsumlife, I also have an instagram with the same handle) but instead I immediately fell asleep. I fell hard and couldn’t wake up, even with the help of the cat slapping me, for 2 1/2 hours!
It’s nice to spend a day doing something that’s a thing, even if it’s only “doing nothing” with family.