Lockdown boredom busters
Stratford Press editor Ilona Hanne has been busy looking for ways to break your boredom without having to leave the house or burst your lockdown bubble.
Imagine being locked down in a home like the one Anne Boleyn grew up in — step into the world of both a tragic queen and a princess bride, by touring one of England’s many castles and stately homes.
Whether you are a history buff interested in the life, and many loves, of the English king Henry VIII, or a movie buff who runs around saying “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die”, you will enjoy roaming around Hever Castle.
The castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the doomed young woman who was Queen of England for just 1000 days. Even after she first moved to the English court, to serve as a maid of honour to Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, Hever Castle was still her home.
She was sent back there after a failed engagement (Cardinal Walsey refused to allow the match, thus setting in course a series of events that not only led to her eventual marriage to the king, but also the Cardinal’s own execution).
After the death of Anne’s father, the castle passed to Henry VIII who in turn gifted it to one of his later wives, Anne of Cleves, as part of the settlement following the annulment of their marriage. The castle still has one of Henry VIII’s private locks, taken with him on his visits to other houses for his security, try to spot it in the dining hall as you take a virtual tour of the castle and grounds.
Henry VIII and his many wives aren’t the only connection to royalty this castle has, it has also been used as a filming location for many films and television shows, including the eternally popular 80s movie, The Princess Bride.
You can tour Hever Castle free of charge here: www. matterport.com/ gallery/hever-castle
■ Stay warm in your house while you step into the world of
If you have anyone aged 10 or under in your bubble, they are probably more interested in the goings on in the kingdom of Arendelle, home to Queen Elsa,
Princess Anna and the adorable snowman Olaf of Frozen fame.
It’s been almost eight years since Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Sven the reindeer first sang their way into our lives with the release of the first movie in the franchise. Since then a generation of children have grown up singing Let it Go at the top of their lungs on what seems to be an endless repeat cycle. Since the movie was released it has spawned numerous toys, dolls, a sequel, a short film and numerous other spin-offs. One of the more popular of those has been the live musical version, performed on stages across the globe, and one version of it has been a popular theatre show on Disney Cruiselines.
If you can cope with hearing Do You Want To Build A Snowman again (and again, and again) then put the popcorn on and enjoy watching the hour-long version of Frozen, a Musical Spectacular recorded by Disney Cruise Lines. It brings all the magic of a large budget musical to life, and is the perfect introduction to musicals for younger bubble buddies.
View it here: www.insidethemagic. net/2020/11/watch-dcl-frozenmusical-online-rwb1
■ Keep your bubble buddies entertained with a magic show:
If the magic of musicals isn’t for you, how about the magic of, well, magic itself. If there is one good thing about lockdown, it is the fact you have a captive audience inside your house, so why not make the most of that fact?
Thanks to a large selection of free lessons on Peter Monticup’s website www.magictricks.com, you or one of your bubble buddies can master some basic magic tricks using only objects such as cards and paperclips you are likely to have at home.
Peter, who demonstrates many of the tricks himself, also talks about how to develop a magic routine, with some great tips and techniques that will have your alert level 3 or 4 captive audience glued to their seats — even if they could leave home, they would stay to watch these tricks!
Learn some magic here: www. magictricks.com/boredom-busters. html
■ Banana bread is so last lockdown — try baking something else:
If you are over banana bread, and wondering what sort of lockdown loaf you want to make next, why not try some video baking lessons from the King Arthur Baking Company. This free series of videos and recipes is designed for children, so get them started, then sit back and wait for them to take over the baking for you.
The website has a series of free video lessons helping you and your junior cooks make everything from delicious hand pies to pain au chocolat.
Check out the video lessons as well as a great range of printable recipes at www.kingarthurbaking.com
■ Why do it yourself when you can get a professional to do it for you?
While you are waiting for your baking to be ready, why not enjoy a book with your younger children. No need to exert yourself however, you can rope in an actor or two to read the book for you.
How about Golden Girl herself Betty White, reading Harry the Dirty Dog or perhaps you would prefer to listen to Justin Theroux read Here Comes The Garbage Barge?
Thanks to Storyline Online you and your children can choose from a huge library of books, read by a range of actors and personalities including Oprah Winfrey, Wanda Sykes, Al Gore and many more.
Each story also comes with a free downloadable activity guide, so you can keep them busy while you eat all the hand pies you made earlier in this article!
Visit www.storylineonline.net/ library/ to get started.
What better way to safely get involved with Conservation Week (September 4-12) than to get out and do something new in nature with the family? With wonders and adventure around every corner, there’s plenty of things to do for nature lovers of all varieties, when you can.
We all know by now just how lucky we are to live in this amazing scenic country of ours. With Conservation Week coming up, what a great reminder for us all to get out amongst it to appreciate, and join in the efforts to keep our land thriving. Whether you and your family appreciate a little highoctane fun or are keen to let the marvels of nature wash over you from a more peaceful standpoint, there are a multitude of ways to pay your respect to and connect with Mother Nature.
Let the magic of some of nature’s creatures light the way for you on an unforgettable journey in the Waikato with a combo tour of the Waitomo Glowworm Cave and Ruakiri Cave. The whole family will be wide-eyed with wonder as you glide silently by boat through a glittering grotto then get even closer to these illuminating creatures at Ruakuri Cave — New Zealand’s longest underground walking tour. A family combo pass is just $210, or $199 on week days. waitomo.com
From underground to the treetops; see nature from on high on a thrilling Rotorua Canopy Tour, which the whole family can enjoy. From $359, families of all ages can experience a native New Zealand forest by zipline, all in the capable hands of experienced guides so you can truly soak up the amazing scenery.canopytours.co.nz
Water enthusiasts have many enticing deals to choose from to get your feet wet, or at least close to it. The breathtaking sights of Queenstown will make your spirits soar on a Lake Wakatipu or Milford Sound cruise with Southern Discoveries — and the kids go free during the spring school holidays. southerndiscoveries.co.nz
For something a wee bit faster paced, Wayne’s Waiatoto River Safari by jetboat on the West Coast is a thrilling way to learn about the remote backcountry river leading into the Haast UNESCO World Heritage Area — with the bonus of the children receiving 50 per cent off. riversafaris.co.nz
Or how about discovering what it’s like to paddle a waka? Waka Abel Tasman give you this opportunity on their family-friendly Split Apple Rock Paddle Toka Ngawha ($270 including two children and two adults). Your family won’t soon forget the feeling of being part of a waka crew, nor the wondrous sight of the Abel Tasman coastline. wakaabeltasman.nz
There’s also the option to turn the heat up on a Waimangu Volcanic Valley Walk & Cruise combo in bubbling Rotorua. For a family deal price of $115, you’ll be completely immersed in the world’s youngest geothermal valley. waimangu.co.nz
A Fullers369 tour to Rotoroa Island (kids travel for just $10) is a fantastic way to introduce the kids to this arts, heritage and conservation island. Come and see the endangered species in the wild — and learn about the mission to save them. fullers.co.nz
There are more creatures to marvel at down south in Canterbury. On a Wildside Discovery Tour you will be supporting the preservation of Pohatu Penguins, while soaking up stunning views of Akaroa Harbour, the outer coast, farm land and forested hillsides, on a $196 family pass. pohatu.co.nz
If family fitness is a priority you’ll want to take up an awesome family bike ride, from $85 per person, on an Around the Basin Bike Queenstown tour, where you can choose to give the legs a workout and ride the beautiful Bridges Trail into the Gibbston Wine Valley, among other gorgeous destinations. aroundthebasin.co.nz
Don’t forget that you can also check out the many Department of Conservation locations around the country, and in your own neighbourhood. Of course with Conservation Week on the horizon, it’s a poignant time to remind ourselves of the Tiaki Promise (Tiaki meaning to care for and protect in Te Reo Maori); a relevant initiative for all us to “care for land, sea and nature, treading lightly and leaving no trace", to "travel safely, showing care and consideration for all” and to “respect culture, travelling with an open heart and mind”.
Find out how to show your support at tiakinewzealand.com
After all, it’s in our nature!
To explore more things to do around Aotearoa, visit newzealand.com. Before starting your adventure, please check current alert level restrictions and adhere to the Government guidance provided at covid19.govt.nz