Like the phoenix rising up from the ashes, so too, our baked spuds lifted clear of the glowing fire pit.
Except, the potato’s legendary journey ends only three feet from their re-birth, as they fall onto the driftwood plates our boys crafted earlier that day.
Rachel and I blow our fingers, as we juggle the first round of hot potato on our outside oven, before a soothing stubby beer provides more definitive first aid measures to our digits.
The late afternoon sun hovers over the seaward Kaikoura’s. Its heat presses on our backs. Looking out over the rolling swell, we sit in silence.
Well, almost silence, the kids make their familiar “mmmm, mmmmmm” sounds as they tuck into burnt spuds loaded with butter. But for Rachel and I it may as well be silence. Inquisitive minds have stopped and questions can wait. It’s hard to eat and talk at the same time when your mouth is loaded with a root vegetable and fat drips down your chin.
This is usually my favourite part of the day. Except that on a day like today, it’s impossible to separate the good from the great.
After the meal, we recall events from our day. Rachel re-lives her run along the beach in a beautiful and new location. The boys reminisce about the driftwood tanks they knocked together and mini battle played out in the dunes. For me, it was great pulling out some paua, but collecting a few waves on the family surfboard always brings a smile to my face.
Even the beginning got off to a cracking start. This wasn’t so much about getting up, but more about being enticed out of bed, as the shadow of night lifted to reveal a pink glow on the horizon. And, from the comfort of a small beach fire, all members of the Monk clan were on hand to watch sunrise.
Porridge never tasted so good!