It is one of the first houses you see as you curl into the bay - a little, teal weatherboard bach with thick white wooden window frames, from which the paint peels in an endearing way.
“There it is,” yell the boys, pointing gleefully, as we drive along the beachfront and then snake our way up the hill. We pull off the road onto the bottom of the section and the boys launch themselves from the laden car, sprinting up the overgrown grassy bank to the front door. I grin at my husband then follow them and begin the familiar ritual of opening up the house, inviting the outside in, and letting the lushness of the setting envelope me. The air is thick with the smell of jasmine. Agapanthus and torch lilies shoot out bolts of colour against the vast green undergrowth and together cicadas and tuis create an orchestral effect in the trees overhead. In front of me is the ocean - flat, wide and shimmering. At each end, pohutukawa trees reach protectively out over the bay, dark against the white sand of the beach. The light of the setting sun is casting a soft peach beam across the outgoing tide.
I reluctantly shake myself from my reverie and take the groceries into the kitchen where the facilities are basic, but that’s how I like it; each meal a mini adventure. Before long we will be laughing as the boys pile their plates as high as they can and together we will move out to the table on the deck, lighting candles as dusk surrounds us.
This is our time.