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.
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A Backward Glance

I go home in two days. Last night I arrived back in Auckland and was reunited with Lyn and Malcolm. The coach journey had been long but not particularly eventful. We left Napier over half an hour late as the driver had to wait for the coach from Wellington to arrive. So one delay lead to another. I had to change coaches at Taupo. More delays as there was a cycle race around the lake, so we stood in the drizzle by the two portaloos before finally boarding. The coach was pretty full. I got a seat next to a young woman and sat down. Unfortunately there was a woman with two young children in the seats behind us. I say unfortunately as the children cried and kicked our seats. Thank heavens for noise cancelling headphones.
When the woman and her children got out some two hours later, the young woman beside me turned to me with relief. Apparently the children had been swearing for most of the journey.
Auckland toady is wet. It may be wet tomorrow. I don’t know. But it is fairly safe to assume most of photos have now been taken.
I haven’t written about everywhere I have visited, nor have I posted pictures of all the places I have seen, though you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
So I thought today and tomorrow I might put up some of those pictures. Not necessarily the best, the most carefully composed, they are snaps, things that remind me of different stages and people I have met on this journey. I’ll try to put up some more tomorrow.
First up the miracle worker who prepared my fabulous lunch when we visited the Hundertwasser toilets.

The miracle worker


This panel was close by.

Remembrance of animals past

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More Napier

I packed two summer dresses for my NZ trip and I hadn’t worn either of them until today. It’s not that the morning as any warmer than before, in fact a cool breeze was blowing, but having watched the forecast I realised it was now or never. I did accessorise with leggings and a cardigan, but it felt good, and my landlady admired my outfit. However, it looked like it might rain later. Kindly, Jenni offered me an umbrella to take with me. I forgot it. So I was keeping one eye on the clouds, alert to a few drops of rain that fell, ready to dive for cover if necessary. I put my cardigan on and took it off again. My sunglasses were sometimes on my nose, and sometimes dangling from their cord. The sun shone, the clouds scudded over. It is, after all, spring.
I walked past Lyn and Malcolm’s old house when I went into town, but I’m not sure if it was the white one or the dark one. I admit I was distracted by a a friendly yellow Labrador.
Pearl had turned up to see me just before I left. Apparently she can be quite shy, so I am honoured that she let me lift her up and succumbed to a cuddle and a chin scratch with closed eyes and purrs. She is difficult to photograph as she wants to investigate the camera, so I took this one through the window.

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This morning’s Pearl

She reminds me of MasterB, sweet natured, chubby and a bit nervy.
Today’s plan was to do one of the self-guided tours of Napier’s famous Art Deco buildings. Although I was hobbling, taking photographs, asssiduously reading the information and looking at other things besides, I realised I was getting around pretty quickly.
I kept trying to reach Monica, a friend of Lyn and Malcolm’s. We had liaised by email and agreed that I would text her. I didn’t want to use all my mobile data, so I kept turning it off, checking every half hour or so to see if she had responded. We finally made contact mid afternoon as I sat down to watch the film about the earthquake. With luck, we’ll meet tomorrow.
I took lots of photos, far more than I am going to post here. Not all my photos were of the buildings.
Outside one shop was a bench, a pile of wool, some knitting needles and an invitation to contribute to their effort to yarn bomb the bench. Who could refuse? Not I. Only later did I realise the colours were very similar to one of my favourite buildings. If go by tomorrow I shall do a few more rows.

Hildebrandt’s Building

An invitation to knit

Hildebrandt’s Building

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Wine Tour

No pictures tonight. Aeris has claimed my knee, and my bag, with my camera inside it along with other useful things like my phone is out of reach. The tv remote is in reach, as is my iPad. I have an old rerun of QI on, whuch features Barry Cryer which is great, but unfortunately Jeremy Clarkson is also on, which isn’t. Into all lives some rain must fall.
I can also reach my glass. Water, in case you are wondering.
Today I went on a Wine Tour. New Zealand is famous for wine and this is the main wine growing region of New Zealand, so not to imbibe would be almost st rude.
My guide, Greg, collected me from my accommodation which saved me a walk down into the town. We were a small group, just five of us, all from the U.K.. there was a couple from Isla which I guessed has a small population. I asked the, 3000 they said. So there’s a chance you know my ex neighbour Adam S, I said. Yes, he is a good friend of our son Alan, they got up to some mischief together when they were boys. There you go. Continue reading

Hello Hilda

My lovely Catsitter Birgit sent me a photo of MasterB. It was the first email I opened this morning. My boy looked content and relaxed which is wonderful. The downside was the picture made me immediately homesick. Gosh I am missing my boy.
Over the last two days we have been up and down in Wellington. Yesterday we started at ground level, walking along the harbour. It was Armistice Day, and there was a certain military presence among the shorts and ice creams.

Military presence


We resisted the kayaks and paddle boards, but stopped to look at sculptures and buildings.

Kayaks

Into the wind


There was evidence of yarn bombing.

Yarn bombed clawed foot


Our meanderings meant we were still in the harbour area at lunchtime, so we sat in the shade near the boathouses and ate our packed lunches.

Boathouses


Boat

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Joining the dots

Each new place I visit helps to join the dots. It’s all very well reading the guide books, but being somewhere, for obvious reasons, brings a place alive. We stopped at Waitangi when we were north and I am so glad we did. Although it was a whistle stop visit in a place I could have gladly spent most of the day, it made a big impression on me and since then I have heard about the treaty and its signing several times more.

The Treaty House

Info board

Warrior sparrow

War boats

Meeting House

Waitangi beach and flag pole

It all helps get my head around the history of this very young country. As did the visit to Tane Mahuta and Cape Reinga. Yesterday’s museum visit made so much more sense because of the other places Lyn and Malcolm have taken me to, and as well as joining the dots, I feel I am starting to colour in the background. 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

Saturday

I’m a day behind already. So I’m doing this while Lyn makes the Scary Stuff for some toddlers who are coming for a very early Halloween experience, and Malc is going to do some weeding before he chops vegetables. We’ve been out and about today, walking down to the beach in Auckland and up to the viewpoint. It was the marathon, so roads were closed to traffic and it was all very quiet. But more of that later. This post is about yesterday, Saturday, or Day Two.
I was early to bed on Friday and slept soundly. I woke around two in the morning and was briefly disorientated. Then more sleep. Bliss to be in a bed, in pyjamas, to sleep in silence not the continuous noise of jet engines.
We breakfasted on steel cut porridge, new to me and very tasty. I had mine made with water as is my preference. The skies were blue. We were unhurried, though there were plans. We were going shopping to a market called La Cigale.
We parked on a steep street. You are spoiled for choice when it comes to steep streets here. At the bottom of the street was a house with a plaque on the railings.

Plaque

Slender verandah arches

The market was busy. We met people walking away with full bags. I met a little poodle called Ginger who was on duty.

Working dog


There was a nice choice of veg, and the kale, which I did not photograph, but which Lyn did buy, was beautiful.

Mushrooms

Lemons

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