Oh the humanity…

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So I find myself on the annual family holiday at a remote location devoid of cellphone coverage and thus Internet… Oh the humanity.

For some this would be the whole idea of a holiday – the absence of interruption, the solitude. Not me. I get enough solitude thanks. I like to be connected. Oh and I have two teenage daughters who feel the same. Katie the 5 year old is always connected but in a 5 year old way… she’s connected to her new soft toy puppy and her Polly Pockets and her Barbie…

It was bad enough, according to Annie, my 15 year old daughter, that we were leaving Sumner at New Years and leaving her friends… but to take her somewhere where she is unable to txt them is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment. I wouldn’t be surprised if her friends stage a Navy Seal-like rescue in the middle of the night… all flash grenades and Black Hawk helicopters. I hope there’s room for me.

Katherine, my beloved wife of 22 years had always intended to marry a farmer, as she frequently reminds me. I could never have been a farmer. I need city living. I like neighbors and noise. I relish walking to the coffee shop(s), cinemas and supermarket. I am well and truly a city boy.

On those occasions, such as this, when I am in a rural location I find the absence of noise novel. Though even as I type there are six cousins all talking over each other at the table while they make origami thing-a-ma-jigs.

My plan (and if you are reading this, my plan has worked) is to empty my head into the trusty MacBook and then drive a few kilometres up the road in order to connect and update you all on my imprisonment.

The postings are designed to allow me to share what has become something of a family ritual. We head away at least once but occasionally twice a year with Katherine’s family. We have 13 of us here at the Huruni River Mouth. We are staying in a lodge that amply accommodates us all. We have bought tents as well but the weather is decidedly inclement so they may stay in their bags for a day or so yet.

We drove here this afternoon and I enjoyed listening to Katie singing the chorus to the song on her iPod… “just passing by” (she was listening to Rolf Harris’s, the court of king characticus). She would hum along and then burst into the chorus…

One of the hallmarks of a Robb family holiday is the jigsaw puzzle. Egad I hate jigsaw puzzles. The highly successful NZ Transport Agency advertisement ‘Legend’ has a scene where the surviving youth has to live with the victim’s family. He is stuck at a table where a nerdy sibling of the deceased proudly and enthusiastically announces “Puzzle Time”. I found it the most disturbing scene of all the road safety campaigns ever.

I have a lot of reading to do and plenty of thinking to do as well. One of the annoying effects of the earthquakes we experienced in 2011 is that I have had difficulty finishing a book. I was previously an avid reader and would chew through a novel easily while on holiday. A five-day-break like this would see several consumed. Since February however I have struggled to complete a handful. I’ve picked up plenty and started them only to lose interest and to cast them aside.

I am hoping to break this curse this weekend.

I have also plenty of thinking to do. I want 2012 to be better than 2011. And by this I don’t mean an absence of earthquakes, they are well and truly out of my mortal control. I suppose the best way to articulate it is that there were plenty of things that happened in 2011 that I didn’t like. It’s very much a case of me learning to change the way I react to these events. I can only change my behavior not that of others. So I shall have a wee think about how I might make this happen.

I think I shall also start a Bucket List. I have an appetite for living and I plan to do a bit of it in 2012 (for the whole year is the plan). I intend to seize any and every opportunity for new experiences in the New Year.

I tried hard to do some new things in 2011 and if anything have added a whole series of experiences to my repertoire. Whether they’ll count for much in the long run and whether they have made me a better person will not be for me to judge I guess. That’ll be for those who read my eulogy. And I wont get to hear that so I care not a jot.

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