Saturday, 3 January 2015

Christmas in the Park

I know it’s a little late but I have to make mention of our Christmas day in the Bay. Four sisters (Mum is one of them) and their extended families had Christmas Day at Eskdale Park in Hawkes Bay. Eskdale Park is a lovely large park with plenty of huge shade trees located on the banks of the Esk River at the Napier end of the Napier-Taupo Road. It’s a very popular park especially during the summer when families come to picnic and swim in the river.

Two of the sisters have motorhomes, one arrived early so we could get a good site under the trees away from the hot Hawkes Bay sun, and also very near the cricket oval where the children could play.

We arrived not too far behind the others and backed ‘Out There’ in to form a large gathering area beside the vans. Out came the BBQs, chairs, tables, Christmas crackers. presents & most important of all, the food!

Over the next hour or so a steady stream of families arrived, cars full of children clutching newly acquired Christmas presents & bursting with excitement. Once the adults had finished with the Christmas greetings, kisses, hugs and handshakes all around we sat down to catch up and have a celebratory drink.

This is a large extended family, along with the four sisters there are another four siblings, two have sadly passed on and the other two had prior Christmas arrangements and couldn’t make it. Most live in Hawkes Bay and it has always been a close family so family gatherings like this aren’t unusual. Females rule in this family, right through the generations they outnumber males probably 4 to 1 (without counting) although the 4th generation males are starting to make inroads into the statistics.

After the gift opening within the separate families and with the hams- and salmon in one case-cooking on the BBQs it was time to set the tables and prepare the remainder of the food. It was great having the fifth-wheeler on site, all the preparation could take place inside. Our traditional Christmas fare is new potatoes, beans & carrots from Dad’s vege garden to have with the ham along with various salads followed by pavlova, trifle, fresh strawberries & blueberries & cream. The beauty of having Christmas Downunder in the summer is the fresh produce!

I’d like to be able to show you each of the families having their Christmas lunch but surprisingly (for we really do belong to a noisy, extroverted family) they are very shy when it comes to photos. But needless to say we all enjoyed a fabulous Christmas lunch and a day of fun out of the hot Hawkes Bay sun- although a few had to move into the sun as a chilly wind blew through.

By late afternoon we were all packed up and ready to roll; the three vans were heading across town to the Tukituki River out the back of Havelock North where we were going to be camping for the next six days. I know the drivers were looking forward to setting up camp and being able to sit down and have a cold beverage or two.

Arriving at the river

Eskdale Park, Hawkes Bay

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