In which we make our own hot pool and chill with the sheep

It’s about 8:30 in the morning and the weather outside is foggy with a constant downpour of rain. We’re in a farm cottage where we’re staying for two nights, having rolled in yesterday. Most of my morning with the boy was spent in trying to figure out how to operate the wood burning fireplace so that it heats up these chilly rooms, and I think we’ve just gotten it figured out. The chill and wet don’t seem to bother the animals much, and we awoke to a concertina of birds, roosters and sheep.
I suppose it will surprise no one, including myself, that there will be times of friction among the four of us in such close quarters for so long. I know it’s only been a few days but the mentality is different than a week away where you know you’re going home soon. Yesterday morning was one of the first, where the boy was mad at me about having to write his blog post, the girl was mad at me for god knows what, I was annoyed at both of them and Eric had taken off for a peaceful sunrise stroll in all of this which annoyed me too. After a bit of a tearful breakdown, we managed to pull ourselves together and all cheer up again. 
Our day yesterday then turned into a lovely one, starting with hot water beach in the morning. This is a unique place on the Coromandel peninsula’s East Coast, where a hot spring that feeds to the beach runs under the sand to the ocean. If you bring a shovel at low tide and dig a little pool, it fills with hot water and you’ve got yourself a little hot tub (sans jets)! The boy had great fun trying to figure out the hottest spot to dig and how to make sure we had a nice warm pool to relax in. The weather was cooperating thankfully, and we had several hours of sunshine and low 60s weather to enjoy the hot water in. Low tide was at 9ish and we spent the next hour and a half relaxing in the warmth while the girl ran up and down the coast in a state of bliss at being on the beach. 


After this we drove down the east coast on our way to Rotorua,stopping for a nice lunch at the Sands cafe in Whangamata before heading a bit further inland to the Karaheke Gorge. Here, there was a mining facility and mining railway that are now ruins, with signs marking the way. We went for a little walk through one of the old mining trails, which was damp and verdant. I am wowed by how quickly nature reasserts itself when manmade places are left to ruin. 

We walked through one of the old mining tunnels which at one point became pitch black – I began to feel a sense of closed in panic, and the girl began to whimper as well. We had our iPhone flashlight to help, though it didn’t entirely light up the tunnel. At one point we couldn’t see an end to the darkness and all began to get scared, until a large group of Chinese tourists came through the other way and, well, I felt a bit silly for being scared. 
After this we made our way to Rotorua from where I write this post, staying at a farmstay a little way out of town, and trying to decide what to do with ourselves on this rainy day. 

-s

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