There were only five of us on the wine tour on Wednesday, all of us from the UK; two from London, three from Scotland. For four of us, this was our visit to Napier and the surrounding area. Where we have stayed will have informed our opinions, our impressions of the place. Two of the women were staying in very swish hotels in the town centre; the couple from Isla at a more remote place on the Maraekakaho Road. I am at the top of the hill, on a road called Bay View, for fairly obvious reasons.
While I was walking about yesterday, I met both of the women who were staying in the town. One was about to leave, and the other was planning a visit to the aquarium. It felt nice to be able to hail a familiar face, stand on the pavement and chat for a few minutes, and it also underlined how small a place Napier is. I met a friend of Lyn and Malcolm’s today who told me about the two degrees of separation people experience in Wellington. I’ve experienced that frequently in Northern Ireland, and surprisingly often in London.
Monica and I talked about both Napier and London, about our mothers’ dementia, about poetry, dodgy painful joints (her hip, my knee) and a host of other subjects. We got on. I got my map out and asked her if she could tell me how to get to Bluff Hill, a lookout point Lyn and Malcolm had said I should see. It looked tantalisingly close to Bay View Road but there was no obvious route. I had seen one signpost, but although I had been walking in that direction, not seen another. Monica drove me there. Quite honestly, having seen the up, down, and up again, complete with a twisty road devoid of pavement, I don’t think I could have got there any other way.
Back at Bay View Road I’m enjoying my last afternoon and evening under this roof. I am sitting on the terrace and Aeris has just appeared and claimed my lap.Aeris has been a big part of my Napier visit, and the place I am staying in – relaxed, unpretentious, welcoming, where I can listen to the birds and look out at the tops of trees – has shaped my impressions and will colour my memories.
When I got back yesterday, and again came to sit here with a hot drink, I saw Jenni had put a pot of mint on the table as I had said I liked using it in cooking and for breakfast.
I took this picture of the terrace in the morning when it catches the sun. It’s in shade now and cool enough for me to be in my fleece, but it is so nice to be outside. When I get home next week it’ll be winter and I shan’t want to sit outside for a while. It’ll also be dark.
There are some great wooden toys parked on the terrace that I should really have asked my hosts about.
I have some better pictures, and now Aeris is installed I can’t download them.
There are more things to catch the eye.
And beautiful plants.
I’ve already mentioned the cats.
My first trip down to the town took by things I should not have seen had I been staying in the town centre.
They made it worth the pain of the steps.
This was the most ambitious and the most surprising. I’d love to know the story behind it.