On December 4th I turned 70 which is a significant milestone, especially as I don't yet feel properly grown up!
We had a party the following day which was just lovely. David cleared out the garage (a not insignificant task as we are both hoarders of one type or another ...), swept and vacuumed the concrete floor, and brought down from the attic the Turkish rugs we'd had at Cherswud and spread them out. He and Salvi carried the outside chairs from the shed and set out the garage as our new party room - most effective. Ann put out a vase of birthday flowers, and David and Salvi found a couple of lamps to make the place look homely and inviting. So using the lounge and the garage we had plenty of room for socialising with a wonderfully eclectic bunch of people.
Ann Persico and I had prepared lots of finger food, but we should not have done so - everyone brought food to share and there was heaps. Next time, I will make sure to just have one bowl of nuts or something for early arrivals ...
All in all, becoming 70 has been a good move!
No photos were taken during the party, but Ann did record the speeches that David and I made. However, I haven't yet watched the footage as I am aware that my sense of not being properly grown up, in part, is borne out by my actions during the singing of Happy Birthday. David thought I was conducting the singing, but I had a knife in my hand and was miming removal of appendages ...
Then last week, on Sunday was our 46th wedding anniversary. I thought about arranging a weekend in a hotel for a treat, but realised quickly that it would be an exercise in culinary frustration, as we need to be able to process a lot of vegetables each day into juice - a hotel room is not really suitable for that! And hotel breakfast menus don't usually cater for smoothies made with 6 fruits plus amla powder, wheatgrass powder, cashews and hemp seeds ...
So we went away in the motorhome and stayed in motorcamps - because we needed power for the juicer and smoothie maker, freedom camping was not an option.
We had two lovely days in Martinborough and happened to be there for their small xmas parade - a lot of people, and 20 x as many sweets for kids...
The following day, we had an anniversary celebration lunner (late lunch/early dinner) at Crouching Tiger, an Asian fusion place (a mix of Indian, Thai and Chinese cuisine) after a big walk around one of the Palliser Estate vineyards - not a glass of wine seen or partaken, just endless rows of vines...
Lunner was lovely - well, for David it was and my starter was yummy (cauliflower pakoras with raita) but I chose a Thai chicken salad for the main and I should not have chosen food that had once had a face. Two mouthfuls in and I could not eat anymore of it. I have thoroughly lost the capacity for eating meat!
|A pineapple mojito mocktail - it was very yummy! But I had chardonnay, just for a change...|
|Cauliflower pakoras - yummy|
Ever since David and I have been together, we have driven past the Mt Bruce Wildlife Sanctuary (Pukaha), and every time we have gone past, I have either said out loud or inside my head 'I want to go there!' So in we went this time - after 47 years, we have been just a tad slow to get our act together!
|This kaka was extremely tame - or hungry, like Pavlov's dogs.|
|Waiting for the 3pm feeding to commence. Many kaka were flying through the trees just above our heads, walking around on the ground very close to the waiting people - they clearly have internal clocks!|
|At the feeding stations, the kaka were a mix of wild and bred on site. |
|David on the walkway.|
You can learn more about Pukaha Mt Bruce from on their website here
It is a wonderful place to visit where a huge amount of conservation work has been undertaken, continues now and will do so into the future.
Our next stop was an interesting and surprisingly good find - we stayed in the campground at Eketahuna. A lovely spot and the weather was beautifully warm, with no wind, so the awning could be out and we could relax in the shade.
|Look at that blue sky!|
|Plenty of space to spread out!|
We met some new people who we will stay in touch with, and we had a visit from Merril, an old friend who lives in Woodville. Cheese scones were made and consumed.
|Difficult to see, but that is a kingfisher on that tree stump!|
|Jack is 15 and 6' 2", Aaliyah is 35 and 6', and I am 70 and 5'1". I sent this photo to our lovely grandson to demonstrate that at 5'11" he isn't the tallest 15 year old. His response was that I looked like a hobbit beside these two ... Cheeky brat!|
We had intended to head for the east coast to explore that area and to be beside the sea, but the forecast was for 70kmh winds - which would not be relaxing either to drive a high sided vehicle in or to sleep in, so we abandoned that plan, and chose to head back south through to Masterton.
On the way we stopped at The Pioneer Museum which is a ragtag collection of all sorts of stuff from years ago - people obviously drop off stuff they think may be of interest. And to be honest, much of it is. Quite a nostalgic place to wander through but there is also a lot of JUNK!! It is similar in scope to the museum I remember going to a couple of times at Claydon, near the Oxford Canal - no longer functioning once the old guy got too old or died. I reckon this one could go the same way soon.
In Masterton, we had booked to stay at the Mawley Motorcamp, which is close to town, beside the river and very clean and friendly. We invited Trevor, an old school-friend of David's for dinner - he is on a plant-based diet too, so he didn't feel deprived at being served asparagus (with a smear of butter and lemon juice), carrot and beetroot salad plus coleslaw, with strawberries and yoghurt for dessert.
|The guys did the dishes over in the kitchen, and clearly there was no other way to carry the bowl back ...|
We decided then to head the next day to stay overnight at the Tauherenikau Race Course - a pleasant enough place, but probably better to be there with friends. After Eketahuna and Masterton, it was a bit stark and stony, and the touted bush walk is just the short roadway through the bush to the stables and racecourse buildings. Apparently it fills up for the New Year's Race day and becomes party central, and I reckon that would be fun. However David isn't that keen to re-kindle his former penchant for betting on the horses somehow. 😇
Our original plan had been to come home on Saturday or Sunday, but we thought that it was likely the holiday traffic could be building up on the way out of Wellington (yes, we are able to travel freely around the country here in NZ) given Xmas is just around the corner and lots of people will be taking the last few days off work and heading away. So we came home yesterday - and this time I drove in the driveway frontwards and then reversed back on to the motorhome pad. And I have to confess, it is easier than reversing all the way down the drive - but at least I know I can do it both ways now ...
The new fridge was delivered on Tuesday and last night, Tyrone and Robyn delivered the two boxes of veg and fruit we had ordered that we were going to collect at the market last night - it was raining so they brought it to us instead. Such kind people, they are. I had made cheese scones for them and also gave them a bottle of bubbly to say thank you for all their kindness to us over the last year, in particular during the lockdown when they did deliveries.