On Wednesday 8 September (I think), all of NZ apart from Auckland (which continued to be in Alert Level 4) came out of Alert Level 3 into Alert Level 2 Delta variety, aka Delta Level 2.
Being down into DL2 meant that we were allowed to leave our local region. It also meant we were allowed to meet up with friends in cafes, as long as there were not more than 50 people inside any cafe. (If there is an outside area, then 100 people can frequent the cafe/bar/restaurant outside.)
So our first action was to meet up with Bruce, Gary and David R, plus Peter McC for breakfast at Cafe Lane in Paraparaumu Beach. The second action was to come back home and finish packing the motorhome so we could head away.
We are notoriously slow at packing said motorhome, but this time we were much faster and less stressed in execution. I am sure that was because:
a) I didn't decant the entire contents of the fridges (we have two), the freezer or the pantries (we have two) into the motorhome - instead, I worked out how long we would be away and how many meals that would require, and only packed either already cooked and frozen meals or the ingredients for simple meals;
b) I didn't decant the entire contents of my wardrobe and chest of drawers into the motorhome either ...
c) and a bonus: I found a zipped packing bag in the motorhome that contained all of my pairs of shorts (I had wondered where they were but it has been winter and therefore identifying their location hadn't been too high a priority);
d) David was more abstemious about the technology he packed;
e) we had done some of the prep work the day before - partially filling the water tank, prepping the toilet cassette, putting the required bedding (apart from favourite pillows) and towels on board.
|And the bike rack and the bike were loaded on by the two of us without any cross words - now that is a miracle, because we are always both sure we know best how a task should be done ...|
So by 1pm, we were ready to go! Not a fast get-away, but certainly reasonably stress-free for us. And no need for lunch because we had had a big breakfast!
We were making for the Hawke's Bay; actually we were heading to Bay View to stay in a motorcamp there for one night. It's a few kms north of Napier - a fact I hadn't clocked when I'd found it and made the booking.
It wasn't a quick trip - we had debated whether to take the Pahiatua Track (David's preference) or the Ashhurst Saddle (mine). We each thought our option was quicker/shorter. David's thinking was based on google maps saying the journey times were the same, mine was based on memory of travelling each of them and having the impression that the Ashhurst option was quicker.
So that we could, as all good boffins do, base our future plans on empirical evidence, I suggested we do the Pahiatua Track on the way to HB, and the Ashhurst Saddle on the way back. Good marriages are kept safe through the art of making such compromises, don't you think?
The weather on the drive up was pretty crappy - lots of rain, but fortunately no real wind to contend with. We arrived in Bay View at about 5.45pm and I was pleased to pull up and park in the allotted slot. That took a few goes actually - the slots were not numbered and finding the boundaries between grassy sites was a bit hit and miss. Fortunately, it didn't matter too much as the whole camping ground was reasonably empty - even though we had seen a few motorhomes on the road as we travelled, it didn't look like any of them were joining us!
Dinner was a warmed up something that I cannot remember and I was into bed pretty shortly thereafter. And I don't remember hearing the wind or the rain during the night!
In the morning the sun had come out, we had a walk around the campsite - it's a lovely place and I had missed that fact in my tiredness the previous evening. Next time we come back (and we will) we will ask for a site up on the stopbank above the beach, weather permitting, so we can look out to sea and back to Napier Harbour.
After collecting some free lemons outside the kitchen as I checked out the camp facilities (very nice - clean, in good condition) we headed back to Hastings so that David could catch up with an old school friend - another David. While they had their catch up, I stayed in the motorhome parked on an adjacent street and had a cup of tea and a quiet session reading my kindle. A peaceful time to read is always welcome!
Then shopping! One of the main purposes of our trip to the Hawke's Bay was to collect David's new e-bike from the amazing cycling emporium called The Hub. It is in Heretaunga St in Hastings and the team there are wonderful. If you are in the market for a bike they are the guys to see!
David's bike was purchased, tried out by David on the driveway that extends right around the outside of their building, the seat was adjusted, instructions were given; and the guys also fitted mudguards to my bike after a phone call to Jeff at Burnsie's Bikes here in Waikanae, to make sure he hadn't yet ordered any for me. While they did that task, we went across the road to a lovely cafe for lunch - masks on, of course, while we waited for our food. Then Dean effortlessly (dammit!) lifted our bikes on to the motorhome bike rack, helped us secure them, and off we went. But not far! David called the insurance company to make sure the bikes would be covered by our policy, and I had to go back into the shop to find out the wattage of the bikes. And David didn't even blink when I did a U turn on Heretaunga St in the motorhome!!! Wow!!
Then it was off to Chris and Willie's place in Waimarama where we have our own motorhome parking place beside their house and a power hook up as well!
It is always fun staying with them - we are aligned politically which helps, so we could happily and jointly slag off the Leader of the Opposition and other equally dishonest politicians and non-reporters and non-journalists in the media.
On Friday, in spite of the weather not being the best for cycling, we decided we had to go for an inaugural ride while we had Willie and Chris's experience and guidance. So we headed out to do a ride along a stopbank (a dyke according to C&W - they are Dutch after all, even though they have been in NZ for about 47 years - they came here when they were very young adults back in the 70s). At first it was fine but then the WIND!! It was getting stronger all the time and I found myself riding along on a lean to stop myself from being blown over! And given we were on a stopbank/dyke, we were up higher with steepish sides. I didn't want to be blown off the path and down the bank, now did I?
So back we came and decided to try another path that wound around the side of a nearby hill. That was a more challenging track - narrow, lots of sharp corners and lots of up and downing - and a long steep drop off to one side ... Once again, I was the first to chicken out, so back we came. The wind had risen even more and when we had to cross the road, to head back down to where the motorhome and car were parked, I could barely hold my bike and walk with it ... Fortunately the ride back down to the parking area was sheltered and really pleasant.
|Still smiling, and still able to stand after the ride! |
|You can see by Willie's hair that it was very windy - and that was after the ride with our bikes back on board.|
Even though the conditions hadn't been the best, we were thrilled we had been out and that we had both coped well on the new bikes - and both of us could still walk and stand upright when we got off, so that was a bonus!
Yummy dinner that night, made by Willie - I had had to have an afternoon nana nap for some reason... Willie made a spiced roasted cauliflower dish, and spiced quinoa and lentils, plus a roasted vegetable salad. And even though I'd had a nana nap, I still went to bed early and left Chris and David talking technology stuff.
We headed home on Saturday - fortunately the wind had dropped and it was a pleasant drive. Lunch in Woodville: a takeaway pottle of soup for David (tomato and capsicum) and a cheese scone for me (not as good as the MoF ones I make, by the way...). Then over the Ashhurst Saddle - definitely faster and shorter, as we both agreed.
I am not sure when our next trip away will be - I am now doing a piece of work for about 6 weeks (through till late October having started it on 13 September), and while I could do it at various locations while we are away in the motorhome, it is probably more efficient to work in the sunroom here at Cafe Rata.
At least if we are here, David doesn't have to find something silent and/or away to do while I am conducting interviews by video or writing a report in the limited living space - he is happily burrowing himself away in his office and only appears to make cups of tea for me on an irregular schedule!
But now he is enjoying himself hugely because he has brought out all of our video tapes taken several years ago, and he keeps calling me in to show me footage of our beautiful elder grandson when we lived in Church Enstone - the grandson, Olek, is now 16.5 years old and that footage will have been taken back in 2006 when he was in his second year. 💗💗💗 We are really looking forward to sharing them with Olek, and his mum and his dad, and probably his babca Jola.
On my walk (remotely accompanied on WhatsApp by my friend Ann who walks in Stoke) around the Garden Area of Waikanae this morning, I took these photos.
|Spring is definitely here, and the photo doesn't do the view justice.|
|Aren't those blossoms beautiful?|
We are just loving being here in spring - lots and lots of the young tui
are flying in and out of the kowhai trees and our cabbage tree, and
singing and calling and generally being teenaged hoons. They are a
delight to watch and listen to!
Below are some memes I've found or been sent over the last few weeks - I share them with you for your amusement!
|Seems entirely apposite here in NZ where the media are constantly asking for certainty and advancing their own theories which are almost never accurate! And which I am sure cause alarm and anxiety in a number of members of the public, dammit!|
|This did make me laugh!|
|As did this ...|
|And this ...|