Editorial: Sunshine a taste of simple pleasure


After the 2011-12 summer that never was, and the year when the country continued to struggle out of recession, never has beach weather been more welcome.

As I lay on a towel by Lake Taupo on Saturday afternoon, roasting quietly while I watched my twins, four other children and three dogs swim, life's challenges would have been a cloud on the horizon had there been one.

When the youngsters weren't swimming, they were camped together at a safe distance from "the olds".

Later in the evening, one daughter crashed on the couch, prior to dinner.

The other children in the household amused themselves.

I cooked a barbecue while the salads were made inside. The dogs lazed about. Bliss.

The same sleepy daughter commented to me yesterday that "we didn't really do much this weekend", before falling asleep in the car shortly afterwards.

What she meant was we hadn't specifically gone anywhere to spend money in exchange for activity.

That, I explained, is the beauty of summer. Had she not enjoyed swimming for hours on end? Was her Trumpet not delicious to eat?

To the cellphone, laptop and Facebook generation, such simplicity can at times be perplexing. They wondered what they'd missed out on while they were having such a good time.

For my generation it's a reminder of our childhood and the values some of us forget to instil in our kids because of our busy lives, like taking pleasure in the simple things.

A cool drink on a hot day. Tasty, seasonal food. Clean water in which to have a dip. Enjoying the company of peers without a care in the world.

Earlier in the week, while doing pretty much the same thing at Pandora Pond, I came upon what I regarded as a brilliant idea.

With limited time to provide lunch before starting work, I briefly contemplated McDonald's for the three children in my care.

Instead, I took my twins and a friend to a road-side fruit and vegetable vendor where they chose a punnet of strawberries each for lunch.

At $9 it was a healthy treat - nowhere near as damaging to my wallet or their waistlines as three Big Mac combos, or even three Happy Meals with McNuggets on the side.

I'm sure many of you clever readers could do lunch cheaper, but the simplicity of the purchase made for a happy group.

Beach weather - you've got to love it.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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