Saturday, January 03, 2009
We flew back to Scotland via Hong Kong for Christmas. For Ailsa and the boys it is their first trip back since we went to New Zealand. We spent a very enjoyable day with Ben and Jen Carswell in Hong Kong on the way over.
I managed to add to the excitement by getting us to check-in later than was strictly sensible. Air New Zealand kindly provided someone to run with us to the gate. Ailsa was a bit emotional about the possibility of missing her family celebration. Once we were on the plane she asked Luke if he had been worried about missing the plane. He replied “I was not worried because Dad was not worried”. This made me smile.
We went straight to Dunbar to celebrate “Christmas” with Ailsa’s family. It was good to be all together again. We had the traditional family photographs on the couch which is starting to feel the strain of the 8 children.
I had a good chat with Fiona who has been volunteering as the Pacific Partnership Trust Administrator about how we can improve communications in 2009.
Overall being back all together in Scotland has felt quite strange. In 1985 Patrick Duffy left his role in the TV show Dallas and his character Bobby Ewing was killed. As ratings fell in the subsequent season Duffy was persuaded to return and at the start of the ‘87 season the whole previous season where he had been missing was explained as a dream that his wife had had while he was in the shower. We feel a bit like this! In some ways it feels like we have never been away.
It was good to get texts on Christmas day from friends in New Zealand and even Australia but their warm weather greetings seem a bit dreamlike here. The sun here seems to have been replaced with an energy efficient light bulb and some days it never seems to get properly light.
We have been to church four times now. It was quite emotional all being there on the first Sunday. The boys obviously felt very at home although there were a lot of comments on how much their accents have changed. It is not something we have noticed particularly as I guess it has been gradual.
But I do notice they call the minister Jirry now! It was great to see so many families including a number of grown up children back for the holidays.
My parents came out to Dunbar for Christmas day. This was our 3rd official celebration of Christmas. We played some games and watched Doctor Who and Wallace and Gromit.
Heather and Brent had given the other cousins a morning Rock climbing at Ratho. They had a good time climbing, abseiling and completing the 100 feet above the ground Aerial Assault Course.
A space opened up at the last minute so Ailsa decided to join in.
Ken and Fiona came to visit from Newcastle. It was very good to see them again and Jamie especially enjoyed meeting baby Jamie the new addition to their family.
Ken was living with us when Luke was born and he was rather perturbed to find Luke catching up with him heightwise.
We also managed to have lunch with Colin and Ailsa who dropped in to visit us in Wellington last year and Peter and Jenna who are planning a trip.
And had a lovely time in Glasgow with Sophie and Alastair and Matthew who were back from Amsterdam for Christmas and are also planning a visit with their new baby later in the year.
We feel very fortunate to have been able to see all these people but are conscious of many that we have not managed to connect with and feel that the time is flying by.
We had a meeting of the Trustees of the Pacific Partnership Trust at Graham and Ruth’s house. We are privileged to have so many people who take such an active interest in us.
At the moment we are staying with our very good friends the Marshalls and the kids are all getting along as well as ever. Wherever we are with Stephen and Nina and family we always feel very much at home.
Susan managed to come through for the day. I think she is the 27th person that we have seen in Scotland who has visited us in NZ. The weather at the top of Cockelroi was a little different from the Marlborough Sounds when we were last altogether.
An additional bonus was being able to go to the dedication of Jonathan and Naomi Anderson’s baby, Chloe. Jerry spoke of the heritage of faith that has characterised both families. I have been struck by the maturity of a number of those that we have seen grow from children to adults and the value of friends in that process of growth.
I hope our boys will grow into fine young men. I am sure this time spent in the company of our Scottish friends can only help but am conscious that our South Pacific friends are an important part of their development too.
Which is just as well as left to their own devices they would probably kill each other. But would have fun doing it!