Fia has had a very successful 4th birthday party with friends old and new, and now can proudly say she's going on for 5. Nine delightful children, their very pleasant parents and a delicious birthday cake made it a very happy afternoon. I think she enjoyed the party more than getting presents, which seems like a nice attitude for a little girl to have.
I'm heading off tomorrow, first to stay with friends for a couple of days, and then to New Zealand. I had my first major bookbinding lessons at the Auckland Institute of Technology and Bill Downie, the first of two wonderful teachers, set a very high standard. I saw Bill and his wife on my last trip to Auckland and he remains one of my bookbinding heroes.
The first half of my month in NZ will be spent in the South Island in the Marlborough Sounds, at Picton, staying with friends of many years, who own The Portage Resort Hotel in Kenepuru Sound. One of the most beautiful places on earth. The Marlborough region is famous for its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wines, and I'm looking forward to trying new labels developed since I was last there. I'll also visit Nelson, and track down some blogging and Facebook friends. Then I'll catch the Interislander Ferry, a 3 hour trip in a very large car ferry, hopefully on a calm sea, which will take me to Wellington, capital city of NZ, on the southern tip of the North Island. A quick plane trip will take me back to Auckland.
The second half of my holiday will be spent in and around Auckland with bookbinding friends, some of whom I met all those years ago at Auckland Inst. of Technology. We have a lot planned, people to see, places to go, and I hope a little book making thrown in. My hosts live at Muriwai Beach, another beautiful place - one thing you have to say about New Zealand, each place is prettier than the next. Do click on the link to see this wonderful beach and the Gannet Colony - just spectacular. I'm taking my new camera, lots of art materials, and just a few clothes. Something to do with priorities.
I'll be home on 30 March, with all batteries recharged I hope. I'm leaving my Secret Garden in the hands of my capable family. I'll be glad to get back to my garden but even more to see the little children again. And then I have books to make, and even more books...