Milestones are funny things. There is often a real sense of anticipation around their impending arrival, then they seem to land on you almost out of the blue, catching you unaware and unprepared.
When it comes to milestones, few things can compare with the transition to school. In the Pringle household, we have had a significant milestone. This week was our youngest child's last week at pre-school, and as much as we looked forward to it, I have to admit I have mixed feelings.
These were heightened on Thursday when we were cruising into town and he was busily chatting away and stopped, looked at me and said very earnestly, "I'll miss you". Truth be told I'll miss my morning companion too, even if I can now regain control of the radio, air conditioning and other comforts in the car.
It's a far cry to when he first started at a pre-school in town a few months back and on arrival I had to prise his fingers off his carseat, the handbrake or any other fixture he could latch on to. He would kick, scream and cry in the car and inside the centre. Of course, once on his own and busy, he was fine, and he quickly grew to enjoy and look forward to his days of learning with his new friends and teachers.
But from next week, he's off to school, and he is so ready for this next challenge in his young life.
One of the more exhausting aspects of taking him to pre-school was trying to answer his questions, things like why birds don't get an electric shock when they stand on powerlines and why he can't milk his pet calf. Perhaps his teachers will have more luck explaining conductivity than me. Good luck to them. There will be bumps along the way for all of us as he finds his feet at school but that's all part of life's journey and our development.
On the topic of development, next week sees the Chronicle website adopt a new look and functions. The updated website, found under the normal address www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz goes live late on Monday.
A dedicated bunch have been working behind the scenes on development of the site, which will offer a great, modern look, along with improved functions geared to help you engage directly with us and other readers to share your news and views. This is the latest in a series of improvements made to our website in recent years. Only a couple of years ago what we offered could at best be described as clunky, at worst embarrassing (based on standards we now accept as normal). The capacity for video, photo galleries and live commenting are recent additions. Monday's release builds on that. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Royal visit : Perhaps the story of the week has been the royal visit, and I have to say I have been impressed. Not just with the way Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, have presented themselves but also the way we have projected.
Bar one minor incident, there has been a paucity of protest; the mood has been decidedly welcoming and friendly. It's a refreshing change from what we so often see, with militant bands of fanatics taking the opportunity to seek publicity for whatever cause they espouse.
Perhaps it's that in this instance, those likely to cause a disturbance have been intercepted well in advance and "discouraged" from their activities. Whatever the cause, the visit has in my opinion reflected well on the royals and New Zealand as hosts.