People are the same everywhere we go….


That is true when the sun is shining. Spain is renowned for having over 200 days of sunshine and even more days if you happen to live along the Costa Calida. People are open, friendly and full of energy. My previous house in Sucina was a 3 minute walk to the local post office and it took me an hour or more to get back home because there were so many friendly faces to have a chat with and catch up with the latest gossip.

On my travels to New Zealand on the 23 June, I flew into Gatwick with a 12 hour transit so my lovely aunt Patty picked me up from the airport and we spent an afternoon walking in the sunshine of some beautiful gardens kept by the National Trust society. There were a lot of hello exchanges and not only that but little tit bits of conversation. That’s a very different England to the wintery England. And most welcome too. Everyone seemed to have more time to engage and engage genuinely.

From Gatwick, I flew to Dubai with a short 2 hour lay over before boarding a direct flight  to Aukland. That photo above was taken by a friendly couple whilst I waited for my connecting flight to Palmerston North. We joked and chatted about the fantastic sunshine the capital was having in the middle of winter. Everyone who passed by stopped to comment on the weather and it gave me an opportunity to engage in some local kiwi talk. Thank you Mr sunshine. I didn’t pack my sunglasses for nothing.


Skype and five years later ………


What better way to communicate with distant friends and family but with Skype. The service is free Skype to Skype and for an extra 10 euros a month it was heaven on my landline bill to discover that I could phone any landline number worldwide and any mobile number in the States or Canada. Why was this important to me? Simply because my parents and youngest sister Sophie lived in New Zealand, my middle sister Bernie in England, my brother Joe in Canada,  my in laws scattered across Scotland, Australia and various parts of England. The creme de la creme was seeing them all visually on screen. I was in their living room. I was experiencing their weather, their food, their joys and sorrows in real time. So much so that I totally didn’t realise that I hadn’t physically seen my parents in the flesh for a good 5 years. Ouch!! Not good!!!

After feeling the shame and admonishing myself, there was only one thing to do. Book a flight. I had 6 months to save for the trip. I could do it. Prices looked good if I booked the flight for anytime in June. Perfect as I knew that my Academy was closing in the 3rd week of June. Click, click and booked! All done! Now all I needed was the pocket money. This I found easy as I was pumped and focused. I could climb Mount Everest with all this feeling of “I can conquer anything”. Bring it on! Yeah!! Thus started the 2euro coin tin challenge. I bought this huge tin money box from the Chinese shop for few loose coins. My eyes were constantly on the look out for the magic shiny coin. And boy did I spot them. I bought them left right and centre from anyone who would sell me a coin. I hounded my husband Bill who usually had loads of jingling coins in his pocket as he hated counting coins when making a purchase so he always handed over notes and collected coins in his poor pocket. Amy, my youngest daughter, was excellent as she usually gave me the option of buying the coins off her. I hounded all the shopkeepers to give me the magic coin instead of ordinary euro coins. The tin was only three quarters full when I decided it was time to cut it open. I literally had to use the kitchen tin opener to do the job.

To my great surprise I had collected over 400 euros in coins. Really proud of myself!  Before you say is that all, I must interject with I did save the “real”  holiday money in a proper bank account which also grew quickly. But the fun bit about the tin was it made the holiday feel real as each magic coin represented the reality of the goal. When one is focused with a goal that is achievable and concrete, it’s easy go at it like a gazelle. And that’s just how the universe likes to work. Don’t drag your feet. Don’t take too long between deciding and acting. That’s not the universe’s style. That’s the message to the procrastinators of this world. Go gazelle.

So dear Skype it was with pleasure that I was able to use you to announce my travel itinerary to my dear parents. My thanks go to you.