The Claridge's annual southerly migration!

It's that time of year again, yep the grandparents are on their way, and just in time too! Every year, whenever they decide to come, late november or january, they are getting a reputation for missing all the REALLY bad weather, it always seems to snow hard back in South Wales, while they are here. This time it's been a bit of a close call, my home region was under a red severe weather warning and got 30cm of snow today (check out the news reports), on the day the folks had originally planned to head up to Heathrow! Fortunately they had advanced warning and made it halfway to Heathrow yesterday, and with luck their flight to LA should be fine for tomorrow....however, there is more whitestuff forecast for sunday!
Fortunately, from here it all seems like a rather hazy dream! It get's a bit chilly in july granted, but I can't quite remember what it must be like to live somewhere where the temperature remains below freezing during the day. Before I get too smug I must add that we are also enjoying a yellow alert for heavy rains, forecast to last until tuesday, so the folks may have to battle the elements once more to get to us from Tahiti!


Ia ora na i te matahiti api 2013!

We've been in the midsts of our january celebrations, so it feels very much like the holidays are still in full swing. Thursday was the last day of the TERE, which consists of each of our three villages, in turn, hosting a collective island tour, starting and ending at the host village. Thursday was 'Auti's turn. The participating cars (or at one time horses) are decorated and the whole affair makes for an excuse to get dressed up. Here are the girls and our car looking rather festive for Moerai's tere last week.
In each village, the cortege of a hundred or so cars and numerous motorbikes stops, and the village offers refreshments and the participants are invited to try their hand at stone-lifting.

There are other stops at important historical landmarks around the island, each tour chooses their own orero, who recites the history of the island en route, upon arrival once more at the host village the tour is finished but the same evening there is a feast and show held in the village, with much revelling and dancing until 3am. It's a lot of fun, though I had to limit lmyself on the revelling, being almost eight months preggers and looking fairly round now!


Onion rationing and other festive past-times on Rurutu!

The festive season has kept us busy enough, though my plans to take lots of pics was scuppered by the disappearance of my camera! I rather stupidly left it on the car hood, and Viriamu drove off with it, fortunately and somewhat bizarely it must have dropped off the car after Viriamu had rounded the corner and was picked up by my sister-in-law's boyfriend, she brought the camera to grandma's house a week or two afterwards, and hawk-eyed Matotea recognised it......so it's finally back with us, but not in time for me to get any shots of the marriage or Christmas.
Here is a shot I borrowed of one of the couples at the church on the wedding day, the 22nd of december, exactly 6 years after ours.

Then there was the wedding feast, with around 600 guests and a little too much fruit punch for many of the locals, sadly a lot of us can't hold our drink and these kind of celebrations are the time of year when we get road accidents, this time there was a write-off when someone drove into the fence around the airport and a drunken scooter got into an accident with a car, fortunately no-one was seriously hurt.

Then it was Christmas, this year I refused to have the usual BBQ at ours, just feeling too pregnant, so it was all super low key, the girls were wound up to fever pitch, but we ended up shipping them to grandma's with all the rest of the cousins and family, Viriamu and I ended up sharing a quiet meal for two, some green-lipped mussels in an excellent thai coconut milk sauce, complete with kaffir lime leaves, which turn out to be growing in our backyard, just by another name here (combava)! It's a citrus tree that grows here, the weird wrinkly fruits are great for washing your hair and body with, they're super zesty, though not good for juice, and now I find out  that the leaves are just an excellent addition to coconut-milk curries and lots of other dishes, giving a distinctly thai flavor to dishes.
Somewhat reminiscent of last years' Christmas celebrations, there are continuing boat issues. We are once more rationing diesel, petrol and gas, and you guessed it, granny and grandpa's Christmas parcels were sitting on the boat on Christmas day, at least this year the beer had arrived in time! But the locals were none too amused to spend Christmas and Boxing day waiting at the quay! The run up to Christmas saw us with no onions to speak of, making Christmas menus quite difficult to realise - I'm really going to have to get serious about planting some!