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Santa and his grotto

As we wind down from 2022, and look forward to 2023, I am excited to be with three of our four children staying in Elwood, Victoria, Australia for the Christmas period. We left a wet and windy Kaukapakapa in Auckland, New Zealand, (which I thought was unusual for this time of year), and found it lovely to sit on the beach in Elwood and soak up the sun rays. I certainly have had no time to get homesick, as a few blocks away from Elwood, we came across, three streets named in Maori, Remuera, Rotorua and and last but not least Takapuna!! I could not believe, my small hometown where I grew up featured just around the corner from Elwood....Check out the Takapuna photo!

After a day of gadding about, when we got back to Elwood, I wasn't feeling very well, my daughter who is a nurse made the diagnosis I was suffering from heat stroke, it was surprising how quickly it crept up on me, as I thought I was doing everything to avoid it. I think perhaps we can become blazé as New Zealander's travelling to Australia, I believe Melbourne has a similar climate to Auckland, with the strength of our sun, we can quickly get in trouble. Fortunately, my daughter had it sorted!

The lead up to Christmas, as I am sure it is for many people, has been incredibly busy, and more so, as we now have little Luna our first grandchild in Japan. I wanted to be creative and make her lots of goodies, as I believe Christmas is all about kids and being with your loved ones. Our son, Luna's dad, lives in Japan, and presently their yard is covered in snow, with Luna being 6 months old it is a perfect age, for me to be able to knit, paint and sew cute little Winter gifts for her.

Leading up to Christmas, in Kaukapakapa we had been in a weird weather pattern, not sure if it is typical of the New Zealand Spring in December, definitely more wet than dry! we have had two of our mother chooks and one of our mother Indian Runner ducks have babies, I always find it a little challenging with baby critter's and the weather, I fret that they will not survive, and constantly question the grass too long? are they warm enough? is there enough water? do they have enough food? are the hawks preying on them? I know it is survival of the fittest, but still a little sad for me, when I have to bury five baby ducklings or two baby chicks in one day. I am fortunate my neighbour Bev is a bit of a chicken expert, so I love it when we have a chat, she advises and helps me. Bev was visiting this day when Mumma hen was teaching her baby chicks how to have a dust bath, see the little video clip.

As we have had so much wet and warm weather, the garden has been growing like triffids, it has been difficult to get out and maintain the growth of the plants and weeds because of this, coupled with the fact we spent a month in Japan earlier on in the year, contributed to making it difficult to maintain our jungle. The last few days before leaving for Melbourne, Martin a very dear friend of mine came up from Havelock North to Kaukapakapa, a six hour trip to surprise us, he totally gave our hedges and garden a huge haircut, he also gave me some invaluable pruning tuition. Martin spent a solid two days in our garden, pruning, mulching, advising as well as us sharing some wonderful conversation. At this time of year, when you can be frazzled, to have this love and friendship in your life is a blessing, and I hope all my followers will also share love and friendship, especially over this Christmas period.

To wrap up, I would like to wish all my A Deer Cottage guests and followers, a very safe and happy Christmas. May 2023 be one of love and joy, I would like to especially thank you for your custom, it has been a fabulous year at A Deer Cottage, and I am very grateful. If you wish to find out more about A Deer Cottage, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To book you can do so through the A Deer Cottage's website click here

We look forward to catching up in the New Year.

With love and best wishes Angela & Te Kani 🦌❤️🦌

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