Dunes

I have over as thousand pictures from my NZ trip. While I was there I posted, but there lots of places we went to that I didn’t mention. These photos are from our trip to the misleadingly named Ninety Mile Beach.

sea and sand


We were on a coach, driven along the sands at low tide. We met quite a few people walking in the opposite direction. They were embarking on a long distance walk. I became somewhat obsessed wondering how they got supplies of fresh water.

sand and green


Also, beautiful though it undoubtedly was, it wouldn’t be my idea of a great walk. I like variety, shelter, shade, greenery.
Continue reading

Advertisements

Last Day in Wellington

As the last phase of my holiday approaches my thoughts are increasingly turning towards home. I think that’s natural. I was just talking about it with Nadia, saying I was quite looking forward to it, and we agreed that is a good thing. You should want to go home at the end of a holiday, however good it is. If you don’t, it probably says something about how you feel about where you live. A holiday is a break, a chance to experience unfamiliar places, catch up with friends in other locations, not an escape.
However, my NZ holiday is not over yet. Tomorrow I leave Nadia and Wellington and take the coach to Napier. I’m hoping a day sitting with as many leg stretches as I can manage is going to ease the pain in my right knee. I foolishly did not bring enough Devil’Claw tincture with me, a herbal supplement endorsed by the Arthritis Society. It is not known why it works, but it does. I have tried rationing it, but ran out completely the other day. So today, a return trip to Petone included trying to track down some capsules. I prefer the tincture, but the capsules are more easily available. No joy in Petone, but I was told I might get them in Lower Hutt, which by luck I was planning to visit later. I limped slowly around Petone, and made it into the museum.

Petone Settlers’ Museum

It is small but beautifully formed, and I recommend it.

Welcome

Foyer Petone Settlers’ Museum

Petone Settlers’ Museum

The guy on duty, or ‘host’ as he described himself, was friendly and informative. We stood by the window looking out at the beach where the European settlers had landed. A couple with a rather lovely chocolate Labrador walked by.
I was trying to decide if I had time to revisit the Cat Adoption Café, but at this stage of the day we were planning to go to the cinema this evening, and my walking was very slow. As left the museum I saw the same couple with their chocolate Labrador coming back. Naturally, I had to have a cuddle. It turned out I was cuddling a celebrity. Ollie (the dog) has been on television, the first dog to work in a hospital helping with the rehabilitation of people who have had strokes.

Ollie

You can read about him here. Hats off to him and his OT owner Kerry for innovative good practice.
The day had started cloudy. Rain was forecast. But by now the sun was out and the temperature had risen. I had not brought sunglasses (though I had their case), sunscreen or hat. Mistake. I walked along, shielding my face, hugging the bits of shade. So when I saw a bus stop and bus due in one minute for Lower Hutt, I waited and climbed aboard. Phew. My reason for visiting was the Dowse Art Museum, but I had an added incentive. My search for Devil’s Claw in Petone had failed, but I had been advised to try Health 2000 at Lower Hutt’s Queensgate Centre.
I shall spare you all the details. Suffice it to say the shop was out of Devil’s Claw. The assistant kindly checked if the Napier branch had any. No. But I did come away with an alternative so fingers crossed.
Nadia doesn’t rate the Dowse Art Museum, but even before I went in I saw something I liked.

Metal monster

Continue reading

Wellington

99271CF6-8C82-404F-94C7-7CF730C9B97DTwo days into my visit to Wellington, and two days of contrasting weather. Yesterday it rained. When we left the house it was quite light rain, but by the time the train drew into the city station it was gathering force.

Wet weather in Wellington


Fortunately our main goal was the museum, not a stroll along the harbour. Nadia introduced me to some new spots, and then we had an early and d kicious lunch. At Te Papa museum Nadia parked herself in the café and got on with some writing. I joined the queue to see the exhibition about Gallipoli.

Gallipoli, Te Papa

I’m not sure how long I spent in the exhibition, but it was nearer two hours than one. It is very well done, using the stories of individuals to give a picture of the whole. By the time I reached the end I was a paid up admirer of William Malone, and my heart ached for Charlotte, the nurse who followed her brother to Gallipoli, only learning of his death four months after it happened.
Normally two hours is about the limit of my concentration in a museum or gallery, but there was a small exhibition commemorating the 125 years since No women got the vote, and another small one on immigration. I spent quite a while in the exhibition on refugees who have been made welcome in NZ. In these times where refugees are frequently repulsed and demonised by the very societies which have helped to cause the chaos and fear they are fleeing, it is heartening to read of those who have managed to make new lives in a welcoming country.
The rain had continued to fall while we were in Te Papa, and it was hoods up, heads down all the way to the station.

Wellington railway station

We made it home via the supermarket and changed out of clothes that were by now very wet. Continue reading

Awesome

Some rare things merit the very overused adjective, awesome.
Tane Mahuta is such a one. This tree, dating back some 1200 years, reminds you how insignificant we humans are. The trunk is some six metres across, has a girth of 13.8 metres, and the lowest branches are 18 metres above the ground. You might expect a huge canopy of branches and leaves, but there isn’t one. Tane Mahuta, Lord of the Forest, wants plants at its base, but under the ground its shallow roots spread out in a wide circle.

Tane Mahuta


It stands in the Waipoua Kauri Forest. The Forest is threatened by Kauri dieback, so strict footwear hygiene must be observed.

Hygiene precautions

Tane Mahuta


We drove from Doubtless Bay, Mangonui to take the ferry from Narrows to Rawene, where I spotted avocados being sold outside someone’s house for a dollar each.

Waiting for the ferry at Narrows

Malcolm bought two. I took pictures of two boathouses now being used for other purposes.

Boathouse turned café

Then it was onwards and upwards, mainly upwards, to the Waipoura Kauri Forest.

Forest

Lyn was at the wheel. We had a couple of stops where I climbed out of the car to take photos.

Breathtaking


Open air

Stunning

New Zealand was not behind the door when scenery was handed out. Breathtaking, green, magnificent; awesome. On our coach trip on Wednesday we went to Cape Reinga. It was a long way from home.

A long way from home

Lighthouse Cape Reinga

However hard I found the long flight from London, it was much easier than Kupe’s journey here to Aotearoa from Hawaiki. We watched as waves from the Pacific met waves from the Tasman Sea, causing frothing circles.

Where the seas meet

Reaching the lighthouse we passed several information boards. It was very well done, and I felt surprisingly moved. It felt a fitting place for spirits to be leaping to their homes in an ever afterlife. Continue reading

Captain’s Log 5th October 2018

B0CEA50F-6521-4B16-9399-EEFD03EA1ACAThe sky has now clouded over and there are just patches of blue in the white, but for most of the day it has felt more like early September than early October. MasterB and I were up betimes, showered, breakfasted, he then went to his new favourite post breakfast spot under the rug in the forecabin, I set to wiping off spider poo, dusting surfaces and vacuuming the floor.
I wondered idly what time Older Nephew would arrive and then thought to turn on my ‘phone to see if he’d messaged me. He had, and arrived shortly after eleven, armed with pizza and cans of lager.
We had to put water into the tank before we could set off. Annoyingly, right at the end of the season, it was empty. I shan’t be back before the spring, ON will be here with two friends to take the boat to the pump out, then drain the water out and winterise her. I realise as I type this we forgot to talk about anti-freeze.
So today we just enjoyed some time on the river which was millpond smooth. A few people turned up at the marina this morning to take their boats out, and we met others on the way to and from Ely. Tomorrow’s forecast is for rain and low temperatures so I am guessing those who were able to take advantage of today’s warmth did so.
We saw a bird I did not photograph with a pink mask at Ely. Three of them in fact. Having consulted all three onboard bird books we have failed to identify what it was. There were the coots and moorhens, mallards and swans, herons, geese and grebes, one sighting of a kingfisher. Some of the calves in the fields are tiny, at least one must have been only a few days old.


MasterB spent the day with us in the forecabin, at first still under the rug, then sitting out and enjoying a fuss, finally in a new citadel of cushions. I am hopeful that he is becoming more confident on our boat trips and maybe by the time he reaches double figures in 2020 may actually socialise with us when we go out.
I have put a few bits and pieces I don’t think I’ll need again in the car, I shall put the front cover on in a couple of hours. Supper is sorted, I know what I’m having from breakfast, the more packing up I can do now, the quicker we’ll be in the morning. The biggest job is stripping the bed then putting dust covers on everything and obviously that has to wait. In some ways it would make sense to go home this evening, and it has crossed my mind. But I think we’ll enjoy our last night afloat of 2018 and drive back to London in the rain.

Captain’s Log 3rd October 2018

I am at das Boot with the First Mate (MasterB has been promoted). We are both  in the rear cabin, I’m on the director’s chair looking out at the quiet marina, MasterB is purring on the pink fleecy blanket at the end of the bed.

In the field beside us the calves are grazing with their mothers. I got off to photograph some of them. They are so very pretty. One or two were curious but shy. I like to think their mothers recognise me as the woman who uproots sticky weed from my side of the barbed wire fence to give them. Certainly they seem unconcerned by my presence, and do nothing to warn their calves not to speak to me.


Continue reading

Day Three on das Boot

Day three on the twenty-five foot boat and I’m settling in. Too bad I have to go home tomorrow. In the fields the hay is baled, the leeks have been harvested, something tall that looks like corn is still growing. Men are out and about with guns. Maybe women too. I haven’t seen them, just heard them. And last night there were fireworks.
Who needs fireworks when you can listen to owls calling to each other?
I grew up in the country, and although now I consider myself a Londoner, there is something about the country that calls me, resonates with me. I’ve picked blackberries and my finger nails have been rimed with purple. I helped myself to windfall apples someone had left in a wheelbarrow outside their house. If I hadn’t stopped to talk to the cows in the field next to the marina I should have missed this skin shed by a snake.

Snake skin in the grass

Meanwhile meals have been enlivened by visiting swans. This one comes with her cygnet, approaches the boat then hisses if I so much as look at her offspring.

Visiting swan and cygnet

Continue reading