Christmas at the Henson's

Trip Start Sep 21, 2009
Trip End Apr 10, 2010

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Where I stayed
Uncle David and Aunty Annalie's

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Well Christmas - where shall I begin. We arrived back in Ashburton to a relatively calm Henson house on the 23rd. On the 24th all manner of madness broke out. I won’t go into detail about who was there because for most people reading this blog it won’t mean much. Suffice to say the house exploded into a frenzy of activity focused mainly in the kitchen on the preparation of that evenings epic feast. As the day progressed numbers increased to about 20 or so guests. Aunty Annalie had already been baking and the cupboards were filled to bursting with treats galore, but no amount was too much and so the food stock kept growing. Freshly baked bread, sweet potato salad, beetroot and pomegranate, a large rump, sweets and treats, etc, etc, etc. Besides the food, the other treat for me, and test of memory for Gem, was coming face to face with so many long lost relatives, some of whom I’d last seen when I was less than 10 years old. So so good. When Gem and I had started going out I'd had to memorise her aunts and uncles and their various associated appendages. Gem’s turn to work out who the relatives and their relative relatives was Christmas 2009.  

The seasons festivities and present swapping were focused on the Christmas Eve meal and to save people money a Secret Santa type scenario had been arranged. The food was fantastic and in terms of gifts I ended up with a puzzle cube - something that has proved to be more of a frustration than a joy (so far) - and Gem received some girlie smelly thing or other. All in all it was one of the best Christmas’s I’ve had.

The following day we went to a church meeting and sang Christmas Carols, followed by the eager pursuit of the necessary sluggish behaviour expected of a group of people who had possibly over-indulged in good food a little too much. The sluggishness was greatly helped by the soaring temperatures that must have reached the late 20s.

The day after that I went on a cycle ride with Sarah (cousin of a cousin), Emma (cousin of a cousin) and Stevie (cousin). Unfortunately Gem was unable to join us because of the cold she’d been nursing since Queenstown. The ride turned out to be more hardcore than we had expected and we arrived back exhausted and dripping with fragrances. Fortunately for us there just happened to be a hotpool in the garden - it’s a hard life (and Gem could join us despite the strenuous nature of hotpooling).

Come evening we played games, teaching the 1-100 dice game as a furthering of its worldwide evangelisation. In return we were taught a game of deception and general sneakiness called ‘Mafia’. Gem amazed all with her keen demonstration of these key qualities - claiming she was clueless and confused - playing the innocent and pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. So let me issue a warning to anyone who decides to challenge Gem or the love of her life (me) - she's very very sneaky!

At this point in the retelling I’m losing track of what happened when ... so I’ll cut to the chase. Next stop Hokitika, Aunty Anne and further explorations of the West Coast. See you there ...  
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