Well, we’ve survived the first few days of the visit. The Outlaws are almost over their jetlag, I’m almost used to sleeping on a camp stretcher (we’ve given them our bed, so we’re in the spare room on stretchers), the cats are almost used to having strange people in the house, and the weather has held out pretty well so far (it’s been raining this morning, but looks like it’s starting to clear).
MrPloppy took the Outlaws into town yesterday so they could do all the practical stuff like change money, buy a mobile phone (Father-Outlaw worked out it would be cheaper to buy a cheap pre-pay mobile out here than to use roaming on his UK mobile), buy stamps for the vast number of postcards Mother-Outlaw has promised to send, and get metrocards for the bus (swipe cards that you can use for paying bus fares around the city, which work out much cheaper than paying cash). Then last night Father-Outlaw and I sat down with maps and refined the vague itinery he’d worked out, and I wowed him with the power of the internet by booking all the flights, ferry trips etc on-line.
The plan is that they’ll have the rest of this week to fully recover from the jet lag and explore Christchurch a bit (hence the metrocards), while I’m still at work, then at the weekend we’ll pick up the campervan and head south down to Alexandra, stay at Mum’s for a night or two and pick up their big tent (which added to the campervan will give us enough room to be comfortable – 4 adults in a tiny campervan for two weeks could be a bit cramped!), spend a few days exploring round Fiordland and the Catlins, then back up to Christchurch for Easter, when Dad’s coming up to visit (for various complicated reasons of timing etc it’s easier for him to visit us than the other way round, even though we’ll be in Alexandra anyway). After Easter, we’ll go over to the West Coast for a few days, then back to Christchurch again at the weekend to return the campervan. Then we’ll take a train up the coast to Picton and catch a ferry across to Wellington (the ferry is enormously cheaper if you don’t have a vehicle), then hire a car and spend a few days in the North Island, finishing in Auckland (possibly with enough time for a quick visit with my brother – don’t think we’ll have time to visit the Kimis, though), from where we’ll fly back here, just in time for me to go back to work on Monday.
It’s going to be a very busy three weeks!
Currently reading: Ratha’s Creature by Clare Bell