Happy birthday houses

Oh hiiiiiiiii. It’s been ages.

So much has happened, yet as I go to write about what that was, my is blank. Oh, I changed my hair colour which is a nice change.

But I guess the main thing is probably that I turned 41 since my last post. Like most years, I feel no different. But like most people in their 40’s, I do still wonder how it happened. Little by little, day by day, until you realise all the little moments add up and you complain about being old. Only you’re not old really, 40 is nothing, but everyone of similar age joins in the joke because no one actually wants to talk about the fact it starts a realisation of aging and mortality that’s no one knows quite how to deal with.

I had a lovely birthday. Woke up in my van, by myself, in the middle of the mountains, surrounded by low-hanging mist giving the campsite an ethereal feel. No signal, no road noise, and few people. I stretched out, enjoying waking up slowly and lazily, tucked up all cosy in my duvet. No rush to be anywhere or do anything.

By the time I got some water boiling on my little camp stove for a [birthday] cup of tea, the sun was breaking through the mist. ‘Hi there! Good morning!’ shouts a voice. I look up, and there’s a middle-aged man looking down at me, looking concerned. ‘Are you OK?’

‘Good morning! Er, yes thanks, lovely morning isn’t it?’ I shout back.

‘Do you want a hot drink?’ He asks.

‘No, I’m OK thanks, I’ve got a cup of tea on the go,’ I reply, gesturing to the pan on the stove.

‘Oh.’ He looks confused, and there’s a pause. Then, ‘You’re in the shade.’

‘Yeah I know. I’ll be sitting in the sun soon though,’ pointing to my chair that’s in the sun, but wondering why it matters.

‘Righto. Jolly good.’ He waves and wanders off. I’ll see him later on the walking track near the campsite where he’ll tell me he was going to ask me, his campsite ‘neighbour’, to join him for a walk. I’ll politely laugh and continue on alone, enjoying the peace and quiet.

At lunchtime I met Charlie at Maruia Hot Springs where we had facials and lounged around in the hot pools. When I got there she was already outside on the deck, because I was about 15 minutes later than the rough time we’d plan to meet.

‘Oh my god where were you? I thought you might have got lost in the wilderness or broke an ankle or something and I was about to have to come looking for you!’

I laughed. ‘Of course not. I was just cruising,’ I replied. ‘I’m having a very leisurely day.’ She looks at me and I realise we have slightly different viewpoints on meeting times.

We lounged, talked and laughed before heading to Reefton where more friends came and joined us for bubbles, shots, dancing, food, walks and good times.

Then on the Monday I look at a cottage for sale on a whim and decide to buy it. In terms of birthday presents to myself, it’s the biggest one yet.

And so here I am, two weeks later, half way through the process of buying a cottage in Reefton in rural New Zealand, 3.5 hours drive away from Christchurch when I had no intention of even looking at house buying until at least towards the end of the year. Desperately hoping that it all goes through OK and there’s no last minute issues that could make it fall apart (still possible) because, my god, am I in love with this little character cottage.

The house buying process is very different here to the UK. It’s much, much quicker, which is just as stressful as how long it takes to buy a house in England. It was very much a ‘fuck it, do it’ decision and work out the actual details and logistics later, and later is still to happen.

But it’ll be fine. I’m sure I’ll figure it out and make it work. (Pray for me, ha)

Published by Paps

I love running, writing, travel and adventure. I'll give anything a go once, and am always up for a laugh.

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