Wednesday, March 7, 2012
I delight: New fun
If two years ago someone had suggested that I would choose to treat myself after a particularly stressful week by heading off alone at the crack of dawn to kayak for several kilometres, I would have said "Er, I think you have mistaken me for another Deidre." (And if someone had told me I would one day own a pair of jandals, I would have guffawed...)
And yet that is exactly what I did this weekend. Monday was a public holiday. I awoke at 6am to a bright blue and perfectly still day: yet another that promised to become a scorcher. My daughter was finally on the mend after two weeks of illness including 4 days in hospital, my partner was finally back home after a week away, and I was shattered after minding another off-colour child and keeping up with work from home throughout it all. I needed a treat.
Had I still been living in London, Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, then the form of my treat would have been quite different. It probably would have involved gallery-hopping and vintage shopping, but to do those things here I have to travel for hours - and that always feels somewhat desperate. So here, in a place that is surrounded by water and where it is hot for much of the year, I now treat myself to other sorts of fun.
So I loaded up a car and drove literally 2 minutes down the road to Novara Beach on the Peel Inlet. Within minutes I had parked in the deserted car park, had unloaded my gear and was gliding northwards across glassy water with not another person in sight.
I saw the usual line-up of wildlife. As I rounded a point I saw kangaroos watching me from the edge of a reserve. A group of pelicans flew over me, which I love; when I see pelicans fly I always think how the seemingly impossible can sometimes turn out to be not so difficult after all. I saw crabs and blowies,
and magnificent darters, one of which elegantly chased fish directly under my boat. I saw dozens of cormorants.
After a while I turned back and rather than hugging the coastline I cut straight across the bay, taking a route that is further from shore but only marginally deeper. In the distance I saw dolphins, but for once resisted the urge to take dreadful photos and just watched them. I saw several groups of early morning crabbers far from shore but barely thigh-deep in water.
By the time I reached Novara again, the car park was already half-full of vehicles and trailers. The wonderful early-morning stillness was gone, replaced by the sounds of motors, the excited chatter of people setting off for the day and the shove of boats' wakes.
By the time I came ashore the sun's rays were already harsh and by the time I got home they were fast approaching vicious. I unpacked, rinsed down my boat and retreated to the cool sanctuary inside our house - to find the rest of my household still sleeping. As I put the coffee on I wondered whether I should try to convince someone to come on a vintage shopping expedition with me.