Nicky had a bit of a bash on January 4th.
The idea was conceived when Nicky learnt she was to have a total hysterectomy to rid her body of the cancer. She decided to request that the parts removed by the surgeon be returned to her, and she would ceremonially dispose of them. (you can do that here in NZ - it's your body)
Her original plan was to have a small ceremony with a couple of the staff from Lumsden - a "wise woman" group. However, she was talking to George just after the op, and he got all enthusiastic. Next thing we know, he's built a plywood boat to float out onto the lake for a pyre. From there the whole thing grew.
It even grew to the extent that Jacqui, a midwife friend from Redditch, now living in Perth (Australia) decided she was going to come over for the do! Jacqui is now a celebrant, so seemed ideal for her to assist in the "ceremony".
Jan 4th was close to Nicky's birthday, was a Sunday, and one day off a full moon, so seemed the ideal date for the little soiree.
It was a great night. Douglas had painted the boat red and given it wings and the head of a red heraldic welsh dragon. George had bought chinese lanterns to set off. We had a big BBQ and a few drinks. Tim and I dressed up as the monks from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The ladies all wore manuka headdresses. Jacqui performed a little "ceremony" under very trying circumstances (much heckling from the assembly).
There was a very strong on-shore wind (as witnessed by the flag on the roof), so strong that the (tissue paper) wings of the dragon were shredded almost immediately. It was deemed unsafe to launch the boat on the main lake, so the small storm water pond over the road from the house was the designated 'body of water'. Once darkness had (almost) fallen, The canoe was attached to the dragon by a long rope, so that Douglas could paddle the boat into the middle. George put the torch to the kindling in the boat, and Douglas proceeded to PLF (paddle like fury) to tow the flaming dragon out. He was battling a strong head wind, and did an admiral job until the tow-rope burned through. :)
Then the dragon came sailing back towards the assembly. Brother Tim had a splendid staff, with which he fended the boat off . It appeared to turn into a magic fire stick, pouring fire onto the boat! Eventually, with the assistance of some stoning by the assembled crowd, the boat burnt and sank, taking with it the cremated remains of Nicky's cancerous body parts.
The throng returned to the house for much merriment and partaking of amber liquid. (A particularly peaty amber liquid from the Isle of Skye was my personal favourite, and gave some relief to my sore throat and flu-like symptons). The wind was unfortunately too strong the send up the chinese laterns or set of the fireworks saved from November, so these were saved for later use.
As it transpired, it wasn't much later. On the 6th, we went out for a Chinese meal with some friends. Nicky Harrison's mum's birthday is also the 6th, so she came through from Queenstown for the day, and after the meal we all ended up back here for birthday cake and more amber liquid. It was still a bit windy, but not too bad, so we set the laterns off and watched them float out over Lake Te Anau. George then had lots of fun setting of the fireworks (I hate lighting them). There are some very poor pictures of setting off the laterns and the fireworks along with the ones of the "ceremony"