Friday 22 January 2016

Christmas/New Year activites

I haven't been blogging much recently: as all my energy's gone to spending time with some very special visitors then recovering from their visits!

Firstly, my brother and his family came over from Scotland.  I hadn't seen Keith for three years, and I hadn't seen Carolyn or their children for 6 1/2 years!

On one of their first days here, Martin and I joined them for a swim.  Here the adults are resting on the beach, with the kids still enjoying the water.
Aidan and Megan got me started with learning to marble paper.

Christmas Day at my parents' place.  We've had that Christmas tree almost as long as I can remember!  This year it had a theological theme, decorated with lights (symbolising Jesus as the light of the world), chains (the chains of sin that Jesus broke for us) and fruit (the good things Jesus brings).

Again, Christmas Day at my parents'

We got many lovely presents, but I think this lamp from Megan was my favourite.  It's now high up in the corner of our room: I loves the stars it throws on the ceiling.  Something about it means that my little tea-light oil lamps burn really cleanly in, too, which is nice :-)

All of us together.

A day or two after Christmas, we returned home.

The 'Hope Bears' Martin's Aunty Elspeth made us a few years back hanging in our bedroom.

Our dressing table, decorated for Christmas with an advent wreath and Christmas tree.

Our main tree in the living room. The lights are actual candles: the holders were given to my mum by my German great-aunt many, many years ago (my mum now has half and I have half). They take very slender candles that are tricky to find, so I've taken to making my own from old candle-ends :-)
My mum's birthday is just after Christmas.  She came to celebrate at our place, along with my brother and his family.

Aidan made her these super-cool felted flowers.  He showed me a bit of how he does it and, while I really like the effects he can create, I think it would be too physical for me to take up.
Megan and Aidan presented me with this mirror: a memento of  our trip to the beach earlier in their holiday.  It features a border of shells they collected that day.  I was super-touched - it makes me smile every time I look at it :-)

Overlapping with my brother's visit was a visit by Martin's Thai sister, Nok, and her husband, Nut.  Nok was fostered/informally adopted by his family when Martin was 2 and she was 9.  I'd never met her before and was really looking forward to it, although I was also a bit nervous about how we'd communicate as I'd heard her English was limited, and my Thai is non-existent!  However, I needn't have worried.  We managed to have fun together, learn a bit about each other's worlds and even talk about some quite big stuff, with occasional translation help from Martin and his parents :-)

Martin met pi-Nok and Nut at the airport and had a snack with them before they headed up to Whangarei to his parents house.
A few days later, they came to stay with us in Auckland, along with Martin's parents.
One day Martin's cousin, Andy, came to visit.  Here he is getting Mum to help him demonstrate one aspect of Kiwi culture.
pi-Nok was interested in our door-mat, which is made from strips of old T-shirts braided together.  She wants to make one for herself sometime, so I had a go at showing her how to do it.

I came to really love pi-Nok.  I'm so pleased to have met her at last!

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