Monday 30 November 2020

And away we went again

 I am sitting in bed at home as I type this looking out the window to the garden. Two recent mornings though we have had totally different views - we had a couple of days away in the motorhome with Denny and Cheryl. They came down in their motorhome from Wanganui and we met at Masterton, had lunch at Dish Cafe and then drove down to Castlepoint. We must have picked the best two days ever to be there from mid arvo one day to just before noon the next: brilliant sunshine, no wind. Just beautiful. And it was such a fabulous time - the weather was wonderful, but even better were the fun and laughter of the whole time. Much hilarity and most if it, to be honest, at Denny's expense for some reason.

After a lot of finagling to get both motorhomes in to the furthest 3 carparks (with much needed and welcomed assistance from John, a fellow motorhomer who came out to assist me and stop me getting jammed between his motorhome and a car on the opposite side of the carpark, while I was doing a 25 point turn between them...) we were finally moored up with habitation doors adjacent to each other, mats down between, chairs out, and a cuppa accompanied by some of Cheryl's yummy home baking.

Cheryl and I went for a walk, leaving Denny having a rest and David mucking about setting up the motorhome - table out, bed made, his clothes away, etc, etc - all the set up things he didn't have time to do before we'd left home, because it seems to take much more time than is available to get the electronics and his clothes packed and laptops backed up, hard drives put in the safe, and all the last minute absolutely critical jobs completed, even if I fill the water tank and disconnect the power cord and wind it up ...

On the way up to the lighthouse, Cheryl is looking back to the village and across the bay, and I can see the tractors for the fishing boats and I can just about see the motorhomes in the carpark over the dune behind them.

The village and the bay

David is down there somewhere - I phoned him when I got to the lookout and he came outside. I saw him but he didn't see me even with the monocular - I know I am short, but even so I swear that at least 1/3 of my height was showing above the barrier ...

At the lookout. Cheryl wasn't keen to come up past the lighthouse. My knees wobbled because I don't like high places, but I made it.

While we were discussing the olden days (the 1970s when David and Denny were teaching at Rutherford Intermediate) a particular name came up, so I googled Bruce P and discovered references for him in NZ up to 2003 and then found a reference to someone with the same name in Scotland. I wrote a short email to that school to see if it was our Bruce P. And when I woke up in the morning I found an email in reply saying yes it was - it is a bugger that we didn't keep in touch throughout the intervening time (although David had been in a lot of contact with him when doing Y2K preparedness for Learning Media – Bruce’s school became their backup site if they needed to get out of Wellington). If we had kept in touch we could have visited him when we were in Scotland several times over the last few years!

This is in the realm of TMI, but was too funny not to share: Ablutions before setting off on a walk the next morning, were a bit fraught for David. 


Masked up to enter the Exclusion Zone after I had used the bathroom. He could have cleaned his teeth first, but he was too slow, and needs must... And to be clear, not all of the hilarity was at Denny's expense - this was fairly and squarely aimed at me...

David and I went off to climb up to the lighthouse and lookout again. This time, I got even more brave and we went down the steps to the flat area that has no boardwalk.

From the lookout back down to the lighthouse - DOC has done a great job on the steps and paths.

At the lookout - north towards Napier behind us.

We were going to walk along down below that bit of rough ground ...

We watched the fishing boat head straight in towards the reef and then, within 30 metres or so, turn starboard and head along beside it. We thought they may be coming into the harbour, but they veered away and headed north.

The steps down to the open ground on the reef - my knees felt quite weak at this point ...

As we walked along the open ground area, keeping WELL away from the edge (i.e. hugging the high side below the steps) we saw that Denny and Cheryl had walked to the lighthouse.

Here we all are! A bit windy this morning - you can tell by Denny's hair!

We discussed calling in on Peter and Warren, so David and Denny practised their teapot stance. Denny is no good at it, but David (who is described by dear friends as the gayest straight man they know) has it perfected.

On our way back down - perfectly blue sky. A brilliant day!

While David and Denny went back to the motorhomes, Cheryl and I continued our walk. Not easy to see in this photo but the big rock formation on the left is called Battleship Rock. Between it and the tall peak is the opening for the tide. There were quite a few surfers there - in their dark wetsuits from a distance they looked like seals bobbing around.

The bow of Battleship Rock - a few people were fishing from it out to the seaward side.

From the sand dune in front of the motorhomes and out to sea.

What a fabulous spot we had!

When we left Castlepoint, we had a change of teams at David's suggestion - Cheryl travelled with me and David travelled with Denny. We lost the guys at one point in Masterton as while stopped for us to get a gas bottle filled, we had mooted the idea that we would find somewhere shaded to have lunch - a suggestion that obviously contradicted the eating at Warren and Peter's. So Cheryl and I found a side street in Masterton that was lined with lovely big trees, lots of shade. We pulled up, turned around and parked and waited for the guys to turn up. But no they did not appear! 

I phoned David - as it transpired they had taken a different way through Masterton (thinking for themselves, dammit ...) and were already south of the town having forgotten the shady area idea. So they stopped and waited for us and, having called ahead, we  drove on to eat our healthy lunches at Peter and Warren's place in Carterton, where three other friends (Bruce, Gary and Les) had not long arrived from Waikanae and Wellington - complete with unhealthy (but yummy-looking) mince and cheese pies. Cheryl brought in pieces of her fruit cake to share. Delicious, and at least it had fruit ... Peter took us on a tour of the garden (beautiful) and gave me rhubarb and David silverbeet.

We were aiming for Morrison's Bush, where there is a farm whose owner allows people to camp in the very large paddock down by the river. The entrance to the farm is rather (very) steep and winding, AND on gravel. A bit spooky to drive down so I engaged the Hill Descent Control button that prevents the engine moving out of first gear - that way I didn't need to use the brakes at all, as brakes and gravel are not a good combination in my book ...

There were three other caravans and motorhomes there, but so much space that it was much like having the place to ourselves. We did see one brave couple getting into the river upstream, and in the evening another couple came for a walk and stopped to chat.

We sat out in the afternoon sunshine, had a little wander around – nothing that qualified as a walk, mind you. Sat out some more. Had drinks outside, ate dinner inside, had morning cups of tea and breakfast for some outside – it’s summer, yay!!

Cheryl and I were quick getting ourselves set up with a drink and nibbles on arrival ... Not sure what took the guys so long.

Across the river

So peaceful in the late afternoon sun.

Dinner chez Meyer

David having breakfast


David is wearing one of my hats because he insisted on packing for himself and forgot to bring his.

David tried to create panic by saying his keys had gone missing. I told him they were in the usual place - the little cubbyhole/shelf inside the habitation door, but he insisted he had looked there and they were not. Photographic evidence was required, so in I went. Yes they were there, and he is lucky he hadn't lost them, because the last time he did so, it cost $160 to replace the ignition key ...

We all headed home with a stop in Greytown first for a late breakfast at a homely old style cafĂ© (i.e. cheap, good food, no loud foreground-meant to-be-background music …) The staff were lovely - they accommodated David's dietary requirements with such kindness and care.

I tried a selfie but couldn't make it work so only the 3 others feature, but you can tell I was there because my breakfast plate is present.

Big hugs goodbye and off we went our separate ways - we had clearly had the best of the weather when we were moored up, because in both directions the wind was really strong and gusty as we drove home south to and through Featherston and north towards Palmerston North for C&D. It's a bit spooky in a high-sided vehicle when the wind is coming your path. Once we were over the Rimutakas the wind dropped and it was an easy drive.

David and I had to get home to get the house ready for having the kitchen flooring replaced yet again, but more about that soon.

I found this logo on a T-shirt on the net recently. Reminded me of when I used to say that if David was found at the bottom of the stairs in our old house, someone should check his back for footprints ...


Sunday 22 November 2020

Feeling a bit down

 I have been strangely reluctant to write a new post, and am not at all sure why. It has been a strange time in world events over the last several months and has got even stranger in the last few weeks since I posted. I was reluctant to post about the US election in case I jinxed it for Biden/Harris. I needn't have worried - the US has jinxed it for itself, and the dumpster is doing what he always does when thwarted. And Biden will prevail, but I do think the US is no longer a world power with any moral standing. Fifty percent of its citizens have shown themselves to believe white is might and right, and to be perfectly happy to deny anyone 'other' any dignity in being alive. But enough about them, before this becomes an anti-US rant...

The surges in Covid cases, particularly in the US and the UK are extremely worrying, and given that our son and our grandsons and members of my extended family and a number of friends are in the UK it is hard to contemplate that situation with equanimity. At least Tim is living on nb Waka Huia with his partner - somehow that seems safer and I hope I am correct. They are in the Lee Valley and he commutes by train and tube to work - wearing a mask. The grandsons are up in Scotland and I am hoping that they are safer up there than down in England, but I really don't know.

I do worry about the lockdown rules in the UK - I am not sure they are strict enough to bring the spread of the virus under control. But we shall see - infection numbers are still climbing, but we had that here in NZ for the first couple of weeks of Level 4, and it was only in the second two weeks that infection levels flattened and then lowered. My fingers are crossed for all of the people I know and care about, as well as for all of the others I don't.

So it has seemed at a macro-level that there is little pleasant to write about. Of course we DO have Jacinda and her team bigger and better than ever - and that is a cause for much happiness. While our Jacinda billboard had to come down the day before the election, we still have it on display in the lounge! I was going to put the photo in here but I have so many photos on my camera roll that I cannot easily find it, and if I faff about doing so, I will lose the will to live ...

OK, I promise to be more upbeat in the next post, OK?