Return to NZ

If we lived in Oz (Australia) this would make a far better title!

As we make our final drive south towards Heathrow and a plane to take us halfway around the world and home I feel I owe you an apology. A comment on a recent blog commended me on my discipline and for not fading halfway through. A confession: the last post covers events in early October. Time has beaten me. I spent more of it out and doing rather than in and reporting. I have no excuse other than this. Although there were a couple of times I was ready to post and a shonky Internet connection had other ideas. Words don’t take much juice but sometimes it was just impossible to get any pictures uploaded. I know many of you like Neil’s work as much as (more than?) mine so I didn’t want to short change you. (I’m filing this in Heathrow airport so, sorry, no chance of any pictures – wifi here would struggle to upload a line drawing.)

I hope you’ll forgive me and stick with me – we have a lot of words and pictures to share and I promise we will, it will just seem a little out of sync. At the risk of sounding pretentious, let’s call it a retrospective. As if!

For now I’m focused on the tetris puzzle that is packing, cramming our belongings into bags rather than chucking them ad hoc into the car. They arrived here in these bags so it should be easy, right? They seem to have expanded since we arrived, maybe enjoyed the free-flowing air around them for the last few months as they languished on the back seat of the car. (Or maybe it’s the half dozen bottles of French wine I also have to fit in…) Then there’s the challenge of leaving two pairs of hiking boots easily accessible so they can be inspected by NZ customs – our boots are rarely as clean as they are returning from an overseas holiday! 

Finally there are the farewells. It doesn’t get easier. In fact, it gets harder. I’m not a great one for crying in public but the tears are never far below the surface and will creep out when I’m alone. It’s the paradox of having a foot in both hemispheres: I look forward to returning home but I cannot describe how hard it is to leave loved ones behind, not knowing when I will see them again.

It’s au revoir for now, to loved ones but not to the blog – I promise I’ll post again very soon, and it will be much sooner than my return to the northern hemisphere. Still to come, the Lake District, Scotland and Northumberland. And, of course, more Yorkshire and the Peak District. Plus a Christmas special.


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