A Time to Remember

I know many of you have followed along with my recent adventures courtesy of those more organised bloggers, Laurie over at Life on The Bike and Alys at Gardening Nirvana who put up posts of such loveliness all I could do was hit the ‘Re-Blog’ button and call it done.

Feb 27 selfie

We had talked about a reunion ever since our first meet up in 2015 and seriously planned this adventure for a year.  It seemed a comfortable way off, but fortunately, at the six month mark I had chosen the holiday stay venue, booked the house and settled in to start making ‘welcome to New Zealand gifts’.  Two months later of course various accidents pulled me up short and curtailed my arty crafty activities and then time curled itself into a ball and hurtled past me into the future.

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And suddenly there I was standing early one evening at an airport gate searching the exiting passengers for a tiny Canuck who was arriving via Australia.   The following afternoon there I was again, searching through another lot of exiting travellers for the weary Americans who had missed their connecting flight in Auckland – due to some doggie treats that some surly, inhospitable customs officer had decided to study in minute detail.

Feb 26

Just like that, there we were, feeling as if absolutely no time had passed since we last threw ourselves into each others arms in warm and elongated hugs.  Friends of the heart – nothing to do with proximity or commonality or any of the other usual ways of making friends.  Just four women who started off reading each others blog posts, liking, commenting, following each other around other blogs, sharing stories, deepening this growing, random connection over a period of months, morphing into years.

Feb 26 Dinner

Back then, in those early days, someone suggested a face to face meeting on Skype.  It turned into a voice to voice meeting, as Skype was uncooperative on that particular day.   But there were other group video calls and individual calls and letters and cards……  All interspersed with blog posts and comments which built into a long, ongoing conversation and burgeoning friendship.

It’s a modern form of pen-pals really isn’t it.  Blogging and video calls make it easier to reach beyond the old pairing of pen-pals to include a small group.  Reading blog posts soon informs how you relate to the writer.  One of us was told surely you can’t trust what people write, they could be pretending to be anybody.    Not so – we are women of some life experience – it’s pretty easy to pick up when there are inconsistencies, falsities or pretense.  Our intuitive alarm bells will ring when something jars.  There was no ringing of alarm bells – well not for me anyway.

So I went off to America in 2015 to spend a couple of weeks with these gals.

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When it was their turn to come to me on what they all referred to as ‘a once in a life time trip’ I wanted them to meet my small family, see something of the beauty of my country and also get to do what we all wanted to do, which was spend time together.

If we had some fun while doing so, so much the better!

My eldest daughter and her partner Steven arrived via a drive down the West Coast with his E-Bikes attached to the car and his shortwave radio gear stowed in the skybox.  My youngest daughter Danella opened her home to the travellers as mine is too small to accommodate any more than it already has.

JO and Dan LB

I gave them all a couple of days in Dunedin to get their feet on the ground and heads on relatively straight and then whisked them off to a spacious rented holiday house in Wanaka, four hours away from the coast, up in the mountain plateau, near to The Adventure Capital of New Zealand, Queenstown.

We had another eight fabulous days together and were joined by Alys’ husband Mike for the last four days.    My daughter remarked that the group felt complete when he arrived.

Alys and Mike at gondola March 4

We had endless fun

After dinner dancing

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and then, all too soon it was done.

Alys and Mike flew off for a brief visit to Auckland before returning to their home in San Jose.  Laurie stayed another two days in Queenstown before flying to Melbourne for a week in Australia.  Joanna and Steven drove back to Picton and the ferry to Wellington to return to their home and Kelly hopped a plane back to Canada after a month away from her home and kitties.  Danella returned to full time work – still sometimes on crutches, still with two metal plates and two screws in her leg, but getting stronger all the time and I returned home to Orlando who was in complete meltdown over being abandoned into a cattery for ten days and who is determined to never let me out of his sight ever again.

And Siddy went to bed.

Though the reunion is over, the warmth, the love, the friendship, all lives on.

Which all goes to show, we never know what might happen when we start to blog.  These friends, and all of you who gather around this blog, are dear to me and enrich my life in so many ways – thank you all, I am so very glad you are here!

*Photo credits belong to various members of the group.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

123 thoughts on “A Time to Remember

  1. Pauline, this is such a lovely, lovely post. Full of love AND laughter which we need both of in abundance. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to thank you enough.
    I still can’t believe that I am home and that our trip has ended. Thankfully, the memories are so incredible and so strong that I feel the love and happiness every day.
    XOXO

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    • These things are always over in a flash aren’t they – yet they leave a little pocket of contentment curled up in our memories and hearts that shine a little light into future days, despite the fact that normal service has now resumed 🙂 It was a wonderful interlude!

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  2. It was a pleasure to see the joy here and so glad you had this generous and thoughtful time together! Your daughters and son in law, along with friends traveling to see you from afar. . . All surely help to show what a truly beautiful and loving person YOU are! Sounds like an awesome visit and so happy you (and friends) captured this time well spent for us to see.

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  3. Orlando has one pissed off expression going on!!! Oh wow. Maybe you could leave him with a daughter next time ;)! This looks like so much fun, Pauline! I am so happy for you being able to spend time with blogger friends!!!

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  4. Oh Pauline, having seen a few pics on FB, I am delighted to read the whole story – well, most of it! – here! What an absolutely fantastic time you all had. Having met several bloggers at the Annual Blogger’s Bash in London, I absolutely agree with you that blogging friends we make those strong connections with are as real and as authentic as their words. What an amazing itinirary you picked. I was sorry to read about some accidents before hand though, I have obviously missed something here, so sorry. Glad Danella is recovering. And I feel for sweet Orlando, having to put poor Eddie in a cattery for 5 weeks which almost finished me off, never mind him!! Awful. He also doesn’t leave my side. But I am thrilled to read of your adventures with your dear friends. And I am blessed to call you my dear friend too…and who knows, never say never, right? Love and hugs from me to you 🙂 ❤

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  5. Well what a lovely adventure… lots of wonderful memories 🙂 Poor Orlando does look somewhat disheveled, not his usual gloriously haughty and regal self. I’m sure he’s back to his best with your undivided attention. 🙂

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  6. I loved every word. Seeing all the friends I follow and read here shows me how small our world really is, especially now. It takes only the common thread of kindness to bring us together. That’s what I see here. Everyone that reads your blog and stays, comes with a gentle heart. They are drawn to you and the others that collected in your home. I felt like I was right there with you. Thank you for taking us along. I don’t think I could have pulled off such a massive endeavor. (No, I’m certain I couldn’t have). I love seeing how close your girls are to each other. It’s a good thing animals let go of stresses quickly. I know it was hard on you to put Orlando in the kennels and glad he has recovered. Glad you and Siddy are recovering too. Which direction are you going next time?

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    • It is lovely knowing there is this big warm hearted community wrapped about us in this blogging world Marlene. My girls are so very different to each other yet such good friends – do you remember how Joanna dropped her life and flew in to help care for her sister when the leg broke? That’s a fairly typical response between the two of them. I love it!! As to where next, I have no clue. Many ideas are being bandied about at this stage………

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  7. It certainly was A once-in-a-lifetime gathering and here you’ve all been able to do it twice! I can’t tell you how much it warmed my heart to read about your visit and how much fun you all had. It is fantastic when such special people enter our lives and we are all blessed beyond our wildest dreams when it happens. Thank you for sharing this awesome story. I loved every minute of it.!

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  8. Pauline, I read this through twice, trying to commit it to memory. It’s been wonderful reading about our visit from so many perspectives, sharing stories, photos and the grand adventure of our time together. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that we are all so different, yet wonderfully connected to each other. I’m sure their is a wonderful metaphor here about how everyone might be able to get along in the world. Perhaps they should let us bloggers have a crack at running the show on the Common Sense Party. 😉

    Thank you for organizing such an amazing holiday. All the logistics for rides to and from the various airports, the big trip to Wanaka, grocery shopping, meal planning, car-loading and un-loading, all of it took time and effort and planning. You and your daughters put us all at ease.

    From the thrill of the motor trike, to the quiet moments side by side on couch, I can’t imagine a more special time. Thank you for making the magic possible. xo

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    • Awww, thank you darling, I just did the organisational bit – after that I did very little really, I’ve noticed how absent I am from all those kitchen activities photos 🙂 I am very, very happy that everyone had a good time and that we all got to spend quiet moments together too. The ‘girls’ were also intent on making it a memorable event for us and they were just fabulous! As to ‘car loading’ I heard a rumour that had it not been for your exceptional organisational skills we might all still be waiting for the cars to be loaded. There was even a slight whine heard as we were packing to leave the house on our final morning “Where is that Alys when we need her….” 🙂

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  9. Thank you for sharing your wonderful time with all of us. It was fun and interesting to read all that you did. The pictures and the posts captured the camaraderie and fun. Hope Orlando is getting over his shock.

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    • There will always be those with no understanding for what life is really about making money from the innocent, the trusting, the guileless and gullible – but there are far more good people in the world, who when they realise their combined power will make change happen……. I’ve been saying this for years and I think the movement has begun.

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  10. What a wonderful adventure and endless fun, Pauline. I think this is such a wonderful thing to do. You’ve created memories to last a lifetime, or two. I do love those dreamcatchers in your banner and at the end of your post too. Gorgeous!

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  11. What a wonderful, heartfelt summary of your time spent together, in feelings and photos which make a lovely epilogue to the various blog posts we’ve been treated to along the way. Thanks so much for sharing your reunion with us!

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  12. Wonderful to catch up on your lovely gathering. I have been out of touch for a couple of weeks. Jack spent those two weeks at the kennels which he actually loves but you wouldn’t know that by the rapturous greeting I got this morning on his return home.

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  13. Your overview is wonderful, Pauline! The focus on friends and feelings really captures the reunion. That gif (is that what it’s called?) cracked me up–happy friends, being silly together. It’s good to know that Siddy has caught up with himself but poor Orlando! Ten days?! He must’ve been awfully happy to see you but, being a cat, he probably won’t admit it!

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed the gif Kerry – though as Google put it together for me I’m not sure if it can claim that acronym. I’ve only just begun allowing Google to store all my photos (due to having lost everything prior to last Christmas when my previous computer crashed without warning) and if they find a run of shots featuring movement they make a gif – this one I thought was quite amusing and summed up the kind of things that could be happening at any moment in the house.
      Orlando is back to normal thank heavens – and really, really happy that his mumma and even his puppy are home again 🙂

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  14. Hello again dear Pauline 😀 I tried to sleep but couldn’t, so came to my safe place where no GIF blunders can transpire.

    This post fills me up. With love, greatfulness and pure happiness. I’m so thankful for my time with you, your wonderful family and of course, Alys and Laurie. During our travels, we’d tell people we met on excursions that I was off to NZ next, to meet up with girlfriends. One who lives there is hosting and the others live across America. The next question was always, “wow, how did you all meet each other?” Everyone was always surprised. Then, one person ask, “so, you all blog about the same thing?” I explained, “nope, not at all”. That’s when it really hit me, the wonder that is.

    Is it some kind of cosmic dust that blew across each of our paths in life and swirled us all together? I don’t know, it’s one of life’s little wonders I suppose. Now tucked in my little home again, I am in owe that it really happened. We flew across vast oceans, over hill, over dale to collect and celebrate our amazing connection. I’m so thankful. xo ❤ Love you dearly x Kelly

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    • I just this minute sent you an email and saw you had left this comment – and of course I had to laugh at the GIF blunder – who hasn’t done that!! I agree, I’m often to be found thinking of something and then shaking my head over how did this happen. We are so very fortunate to have stumbled into each other and have this lovely friendship even though we are all so very different – maybe that’s the secret of it. I don’t know, I just feel really lucky! I need to go off to bed, I missed most of my beauty sleep last night and am pretty done in. I hope you can get to sleep soon too little night owl! xoxo

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  15. I had fun following along and reading your dear friends’ blog posts, and now have enjoyed your wonderful round-up of the get-together and the wonderful memories you all have stored away. On another note, I always use a house sitter when I go away so my animals can miss me in the comfort of home 🙂

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  16. Is Siddy still recovering from all the excitement by still sleeping?

    You have read my words more than once – The majority of the world is good! – You know that is one of my mantras, and for me, this gathering (along with your trip to the US) helps demonstrate my point. Thank you!

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    • Well said Cheryl! It has often been said by Alys that we began as bloggers who became friends and turned into friends who blog. We can’t meet up with everyone, but I know for sure there are other friends commenting here who also blog!! 🙂

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    • Thank you Jodie, I’m glad you like them. They are four individual little mixed media pieces on 300gsm watercolour paper, backed with black cardstock. There’s all kinds of bits in there for added texture and shimmer too which the camera hasn’t picked up.

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    • I know – it was really special and a lot of people had to be prepared to undergo long journeys and commit financial outlay to make it happen. Which makes it even more amazing!! Orlando has forgiven me I’m pleased to say. He has put on weight again, is back to his usual routine and no longer follows me around anxious that I might disappear in a puff of smoke again. Poor fellow was really stressed despite the best efforts of the cattery people. I have to come up with a different solution if I ever want to go away again.

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      • Max went to the kennels for three nights last week. We were really concerned about him, but he actually seemed to have rather enjoyed himself and the staff had made a huge fuss of him. I’m not sure that he will survive until our holiday to Scotland (he is very frail), but if he does, I won’t be too worried about another visit to the kennels.

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          • We’re going in May. We have a few days at New Lanark World Heritage Site and source of lovely wool and then we’re off to the west coast where I shall meet another crocheting blogger (I am simply hooked) as we are staying in her holiday cottage – happy times!

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            • Well I hope you have a wonderful time – it will be summer then of course, so no snow 🙂 Sending good wishes for your little Max – it’s hard knowing they are wearing out! A big bag of yarn has been delivered to my door late this afternoon – your gift is SO generous and SO appreciated and I can’t wait to ball all these hanks up and then get to work!! I’ll do a post especially so you can see all the goodness xoxo

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  17. Oh Pauline, Orlando looks positively peeved by the whole event. Poor kitty, I’m sure you’re making up for lost time.

    What a lovely holiday you gave your friends, so many memories created. Yes, blogging friendships are like 21st century pen pals. I have made some wonderful friends and even been lucky enough to meet several. The internet is a wonderful thing.

    So have you all started planning the next get-together?

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