We were on Hawaii’s Big Island when it started snowing in the UK. Sleeping in the jungle and being eaten by mozzies. The children were disappointed that they were missing out on a snow day in London, remembering the wonderful day two years ago when the city stopped and the whole neighbourhood congregated on the Common to play. We pointed out that they were missing nine months of school, which mollified them somewhat, but over the last month their one true complaint, has been jealousy of their friends on the snow front.
We’d always planned to see glaciers in New Zealand, but when we actually sat down with a map and tried to work out how to squeeze everything in, we decided that it just wasn’t possible. But after an amazing first couple of days in Dunedin, during which we saw two types of penguin, albatross, seals, sea lions and dolphins, we decided that maybe if we shaved a day off Dunedin and a day off Christchurch, we could just about make it to Mt Cook, home of New Zealand’s longest glacier.
We told the children that they would finally see snow. Will we be able to touch it, they asked. Well no, probably not. It’s right on top of the mountains, and the boat people won’t take Dickon on the lake to touch the icebergs, but we’ll see it, that’ll be good won’t it? Can’t we fly up the mountain? Probably not, it’s really expensive, but we’ll still have fun.
So after a bum-numbingly long drive, we finally arrive at our campsite and booked ourselves in. While we were doing this, the woman from the helicopter company next door sidled up to me in the manner of a morrocan carpet salesman and asked if we were interested in a bargain. Slightly nervous that we were about to be sold a carpet, or perhaps drugs, I said yes. “We’ve got a flight leaving in 15 minutes with enough space for the five of you. I’ll give the adults a 10% discount and I’ll take the kids for free. How does that sound?” That sounds marvellous, quick children, let’s go and get our thermals on.
So, we’ve touched snow. It was good.