Our five weeks in New Zealand was one of the best holidays I’ve had. We had a wonderful time and all five of us returned safe and well. That’s probably a miracle – or the result of a series of miracles.
We came back radiantly happy, all the best of friends. Another sort of miracle, although we got on amazingly well most of the time.
The real stars of the holiday were New Zealand itself in all its beauty and Amazing Gracie, our orange 1949 Vauxhall. One another. And God. (Not in that order!)
Photo of Mt Egmont and Amazing Gracie
Amazing Gracie took us faithfully all around the two islands although we had to push it on and off the car ferry, and it broke down regularly.
Luckily for us – or rather, thanks to Gods’ protection – it broke down in all the right places. We wound around dangerous narrow roads, snaking our way down to little towns. Cliffs fell away sharply right beside us.
It was scary.
Gracie remained amazing and took us safely down these roads.
At the bottom, about ten metres from the end of the horror bends, Gracie stopped. And refused to start again.
We grumbled briefly but then realised how it could have been a few minutes earlier.
Peter and Ross walked up to the nearest garage and soon a mechanic was hammering away under the bonnet. Before long the car was fixed and we were on our way again.
Photo – us, Peter behind the camera
There are many stories involving Gracie and its amazing ability to know just when to dig in its heels (well, wheels). Stories of God rescuing us. Of God blessing us with the right weather at the right times. Some of these anecdotes appear in my blogs and even in magazines and books (see The Gecko Renewal, the Stories of Life anthology 2017 and the Stories of Life’s Three Dummies in a Dinghy, 2018). Life on our trip was not dull, even apart from the magnificent scenery and all our fun.
Some stories can wait for another time but I must mention this little one.
We stopped for five whole days in Queenstown to have a rest and enjoy the stunning scenery. We actually rented a unit with big plate glass windows facing the Remarkable Mountains.
After two nights of gazing at the bare rocky mountains glowing orange and rose pink in the late light (it was January), one of us said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if God made it snow on the mountains!”
Photo – snow on the Remarkables, street below with Gracie parked.
The next morning we woke to a light flutter of snowflakes. The Remarkable Mountains had snow sprinkled across the tops of them. It continued to snow lightly and the snowline crept lower and lower.
A ray of sunlight chinked through the heavy ceiling of cloud. Everything sparkled.
The whole world glowed and shimmered white.
It was a completely different scene from yesterday.
God had answered our prayer!
Photos provided by Margaret J Smith, who was one of us in NZ