Wednesday 28 December 2022

A brief Taranaki sojourn, a peaceful Xmas, holding David back, and shopping

Taranaki Sojourn

On the Sunday before Xmas, after a fun dinner here the previous night at Cafe Rata with Rob, Glenn, Jane and Simon (caramelised onion, brie and mushroom pies; asparagus; plus corn, avocado and tomato salad followed by roasted stone fruit) we headed off to Taranaki. We had a snooze stop at Whanganui for half an hour or so and then on to Waitara to stay with my lovely sister Dee and family at the Holiday Park. I forgot to take any photos but it was lovely to see them all. Dee and David and I had brunch in town on one morning and bought reef shoes - somehow we have lost our former pairs of them. They will turn up very soon of course, having been put somewhere safe and obvious, never to be found again ...

We wanted to have a couple of nights at Tongaporutu so we collected Judy from Onaero and headed north. Jim was going to come up for dinner and they'd head home after that. However, as we approached Wai-iti the heavens opened, the sky was extremely black and we almost turned around and headed back to Onaero. The rain through the Mimi Valley was torrential - mimi is Māori for urine - and it was pissing down! I'm not sure why we persisted, but I think in the main it was because we had already driven 200 miles to get there and I really wanted to touch it again - more aptly, I wanted it to touch me. It's the place I consider my turangawaewae, the place where my roots are, so to get so close and not do that seemed wrong. Also, I never worried about rain up there as a child and teenager - it's where I started my mantra of 'it's only water'.

It was still raining when we arrived, so we had decided we wouldn't stay overnight - the access to the best spots for camping can be a bit dodgy in/after heavy rain. So we parked in the day visitors' carpark and the sun came out! Yay!!

Judy and I decided we would go for a walk around the front and it was just wonderful to be there.

The river mouth at low tide

Two happy women, facing away from State Highway 3 which you can see in the background on the other side of the river.

The mud and sand (mostly mud) to be traversed - that round rock is one of those accretions I am sure I have posted about before. It came down from the cliff above a few years ago, and I am amazed it was survived the twice daily tides.
The most seaward of the Sisters - used to be number 2 of 3 but is now about number 4 because of the erosion happening on the Taranaki Coast

There's 4 in view there and more forming from the eroding cliffs - the farm up there is getting smaller ...

There they are again

That greenery was at the top of the cliff before...

There's those women again!

There were several people who took advantage of the break in the weather to do the walk - lovely to see people enjoying it. Judy and I encouraged some Harley Davidson riders (younger than us but not young) to go around - they did, but went in their biking gear. We didn't stay around to see the state of their boots and leathers when they got back... But, honest, I had suggested they take them off!

We had planned to stay the night at Onaero parked in Jim and Judy's driveway, but on the way back, Judy had a text to say that the woman she'd been at yoga with that morning had tested positive for Covid. So on with our masks in case Judy was already harbouring and incubating the virus. We dropped her off and headed for Hāwera - and just in case, we weren't prepared to go back to Waitara where we would come into contact with numerous people ...

So we stayed at the Hāwera NZMCA park - a very quiet location and were up and away heading home early in the morning - so early that we didn't have brekkie till we got here!

We've tested negative each time since then, so have dodged that bullet again thankfully.

A peaceful Xmas

We were pleased about that, because we would not have been happy having to miss out on Xmas dinner at Bruce and Gary's. It's a shared pot luck meal and is always yummy. David and I avoided the meats (ham, turkey, lamb) and indulged in the vegetables as well as the salads that I took (potato; coleslaw with vinaigrette; avocado, corn and tomato with lemon, honey and ginger dressing) plus caramelised onion, brie and mushroom pies.

Boxing Day breakfast was at ours - there were lots of new potatoes left over from xmas dinner so I suggested that the chaps come up for breakfast and I'd do the things that went with the potatoes. Gary brought bacon; and because I didn't have enough eggs to do scrambled or poached for 8 people, I made a quiche with sauteed onions, silverbeet, salmon, feta, parsley, eggs, cream and cheese. It was yummy - thank you, Sarah, for the inspiration. Along with baked beans, sourdough toast, bacon, asparagus, and a medley of onions, mushrooms and capsicum, I am fairly sure no one left still feeling hungry. Leith brought along some sparkling red wine - an Italian one that could easily have me resile from being a non drinker ...

 Holding David back

David has for some reason decided that he needs to start packing (and get me to start packing) the house up NOW - and it's 6 weeks until we have to move out. (I know we are going away for a couple of weeks in that time, but even so, there's plenty of time - two weeks would be sufficient, honestly.)

Even though I had said to him once we had an unconditional offer on the house that I did not want to have the next 2 months living in a semi- or partially-packed up house, he has not been able to resist. So given he has been sorting the attic (i.e. bringing things down and placing them in the most inconvenient places), and sorting his former office (i.e pulling crap out of the wardrobe and placing it in the most inconvenient places), I have got increasingly stressed.

Gentle reminders and gentle requests had zero effect. So I had a tantrum - mini, by my standards, but there was no doubt I was very pissed off   grumpy ... (Please note that the situation has been rectified and things are being sorted but are proactively corralled now. However I notice the op-shop pile keeps being added to ...)

Apart from the house looking like a tip or an auction house or an op-shop, the things that made me grumpy were:

  • being required to ooh and aah at his progress** (didn't look like progress to me; it just looked like more widely spread mess) ** there is a wonderful book called Reflecting Men at Twice their Natural Size - I think of it often when required to give praise...
  • the way his crap/tat/equipment started spreading out around the house:
    • in the hallway - stuff I needed to review for whether it should go to the op-shop (aaarrrggghhh)
    • in the sunroom (which had formerly been my office and was then cleared for the sale process - and I liked the way it looked, just as I'd liked the way David's office had looked when it was cleared for the same reason - how short-lived was THAT, I ask you (double aaarrrggghhh)
    • in our bedroom under a desk he'd parked there alongside another table with the printer on it so it was out of his way in his office (triple aaarrrggghhh)
  • knowing that he would keep doing this until mid-February and that one or the other of us would be dead by then - if the dead one was him, I'd be in police custody and there'd be no need for the villa at Parkwood, unless of course, a jury of women would refuse to convict me!

 So, as noted above (praise where praise is due) the mess/tat/crap has been retrieved and confined to his office, apart from the stuff that is still accumulating in the hall for a trip to the op-shop. I've already been there about 5 times and will go again on Saturday morning.

I've done a recce of my tat (Lesley will be pleased to know) and have selected a number of cups and saucer sets that I can live without - the aim is to reduce my china cabinet count from 3 to 2. I have been in touch with Kirsty's friend Lisa to see if she would like some of the ones I can live without. She is coming out tomorrow. If there are any that Lisa doesn't want, I will take them to the op shop. I am planning to take a few to Scotland for Marta next year, so will sort them and pack them.

Please don't think that I am depriving Kirsty of them - she wants a couple of them (to remember me by perhaps ...) but has long declared that they are not her style.


To ensure David didn't spend the day sorting and spreading and packing, (well not after 9am anyway - he did start at 5.30am though) we headed off to Palmerston North to 

  • choose material for roman blinds for the lounge and our bedroom at Parkwood, 
  • buy a new topper pad for the murphy (drop-down) bed in the sunroom - the current one is tatty and we'd like to leave a nice one for the new owners
  • buy a couple of light fittings for the Parkwood house that the Paraparaumu store didn't have.

I'd checked out Spotlight's range online but the fabric I'd tentatively selected wasn't available (doh - why was it on the website?) and one I saw in store wasn't going to be available for about 16 weeks, even if then... 

So off to Guthrie Bowron's where I'd purchased the fabric for our current bedroom's blinds 8 years ago. We found some very lovely fabric, very similar to the bedroom blind material, and that was an instant yes.

For the blinds in the lounge and dining area, I have chosen the same fabric in a dark grey.

It was a good day to be shopping using the car to move between spread out places (Palmerston North could definitely not be described as compact). It's been very very hot and the UV rating has been excessive. Aircon on in the car and a husband who fell asleep on the way home...

Wednesday 21 December 2022

It's all change again

 It is a long time since I posted and I have been wanting to from almost the day after I put the last post up. However I had to wait until things were settled.

We have now been resident in Waikanae for 8 years, and having moved out here from the house we bought in 1980 that I wanted to be my forever home, I was clear that we were not moving again. However about 3 weeks after we moved in to this house in late 2014, ACP told me that he wanted us to sign up for retirement villages here. It would not be an overstatement to say that I exploded! I had just moved out of the house I'd been the prime mover in renovating into a beautiful home that I didn't want to leave, only to be told that the place we had just moved into and which I was declaring my allegiance to by starting the redecoration process and the garden restoration process was purely temporary. FFS in loud capitals! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Much unhappiness ensued - I felt betrayed and conned. I could understand why David wanted to get our names down in retirement villages as he had just coped with his dad's Alzheimer's and he wanted us to be prepared in case ill health struck either of us and meant one of us would need fulltime care. But even so - his timing was not well considered...

So after I calmed down and reluctantly said okay, I'd sign on but I was NOT under any circumstances moving anywhere for ages, we investigated and found the place we most wanted to eventually (note the emphasis) move into was Parkwood Retirement Village, and we signed up to their waiting list. (Check them out here.) At the time, the wait was about 5 or 6 years. So every year or so, we would go and visit Debbie at Parkwood and let her know we were waiting and seeing and not yet ready. 

In the last couple of years, with David's eye hassles and the prostate cancer, we have moved on in our thinking, to the point that when we were considering our now annual visit to talk with Debbie, I said I was almost ready to be ready to move. Our thinking (yes, David's too) was that after we come back from the UK next September/October we would look to sell up Cafe Rata and move into a villa at Parkwood. So off we trundle to see Debbie, who shocked us by saying she had something she could show us now.

OK, so yes we will have a look. And very quickly, i.e. within the first 15 minutes, we knew we could live in it. So we said yes we would take it.

Debbie was shocked because people often turn down several places before saying yes to one that they are happy with. 

However a night or so later, I had a panic attack about it and (with David's blessing) went to see Debbie to tell her I'd changed my mind. She was very understanding and sent me off to look at a couple of others that were coming available and I took David to look around one of them. We quickly realised that the one I was turning down was much more spacious and better appointed; so first thing in the morning, I raced around to the office and caught Debbie as she arrived and said I wanted to change my mind. Fortunately, even though she had already phoned the next person on the list, they hadn't been to see it. Phew! 

One of the things that had tripped me up and caused panic was that I had thought that we would have to live in it pretty much as is and while it was acceptable, it didn't have much pizzazz or character. However David (he's a lovely man really) said we needed to make it lovely by putting our stamp on it. So my imagination has been allowed free rein...

Cafe Rata went on the market and we sold within 3 weeks - got an excellent price even in a falling market.

The difference between the price of the villa and the amount we sold Cafe Rata for gives us plenty to play with in terms of making the new place fabulous.

So we are having:

  • a new kitchen (seriously, David insisted, and it was beige so it wasn't a hard sell ...)
  • new doors and door furniture throughout
  • all new windows and external doors - double glazed but new rather than retrofitted
  • an extra  window in the 2nd bedroom to take advantage of the afternoon sun
  • renovating the main bathroom so it isn't a hospital style space (it's going to have a quadrant shower with a fancy shower mixer and the same slider and halo shower head we have here, instead of a jungle gym of grab bars and a wet room floor that I think is very unsafe because there is no way to have level/stable footing in a shower with a central drain and a floor sloping inwards from all directions)
  • new carpet and vinyl throughout, including garage carpet
  • all new light fittings
  • the wardrobe in our room extended by about 40%
  • the hall cupboard made into a second pantry (I have two pantries here and how I will downsize into 2 smaller ones I have yet to work out ...)
  • all new appliances except for one of our fridges and our freezer (Parkwood gets a very good discount so all we had to do was select what we wanted and give them the details)
  • total internal repaint (Sandfly Point walls, white ceilings, doors, architraves and scotia)
  • new blinds - still to be chosen
  • a new patio with trellising and rose cuttings from here as well as feijoa trees and other pieces transplanted or grown from cuttings of favourite stuff in our garden (hydrangeas, alstromerias, canna lilies, herbs, all of my pots ...)
  • a new pathway to the front door and a new driveway plus a concrete pad and trellis for the new clothesline.

Work has already started:

  • I've bought the light fittings and have a few more to select and purchase
  • all the appliances have been ordered (the stove arrived yesterday)
  • the old carpet and vinyl have been removed,
  • blinds and curtains are down (now in the car to be taken to the op shop), 
  • doors and door furniture have arrived, 
  • the shower was going in and the kitchen waste pipe was being moved today, 
  • we've met with the electrician, the builder and the plumber, plus the head gardener 
  • an allergy inducing privet and a dead/dying protea have been removed - the privet, as well as being bad for asthmatics, was blocking the sunlight/daylight from the second bedroom so it had to go on two counts!

Our Kia Sportage doesn't fit easily in the garage - I can get it in with about 2cm to spare outside each wing mirror (eek!), but David can't get out of the car once it's inside and we cannot walk around the front or back of it... So rather than store the car outside, we decided to buy a new smaller car. We have ordered a Toyota Yaris Cross Hybrid, a smaller SUV that fits in the garage beautifully with room to spare and we can move all around it. I have ordered the ruby red one - of course! It should be delivered by late September/early October next year.

Salvi and Ann are buying our Sportage - it seemed sensible to offer it to them considering Salvi kept referring to it as his truck when they were here last. And what is even more sensible is that they are buying it when we head to the UK in April rather than it sitting doing nothing for 5 months while we are away. Plans have already been made that we will drive ourselves to Wgtn airport on our departure day and they will meet us there and take it back on the ferry. Good planning, or what??

Our moving in date is 7 March and our moving out from here date is 15 February - we were going to be homeless and living in the motorhome for the intervening period. However our neighbour has a place in Parkwood that he doesn't use, so we are borrowing that for the interim - excellent situation as his place is between our new place and the workshop so we will be able to monitor the work attendance rate ...

Thursday 10 November 2022

Sour dough English muffins

 Julie, who I work with, is quite demanding - she texted me recently with a thinly veiled request that I make her some sourdough English muffins.

As you all know, I am nothing if not biddable and kind, as well as being up for a challenge - a 2 day challenge in point of fact. 

There are several photos here, and a number of them are showing sideways - just turn your phone or computer 90 deg to view them correctly. Alternatively, view them incorrectly ... To coin a phrase, you get the picture 😬😉😇

The recipe is simple and doesn't really require a huge effort (don't tell Julie that) but it is extended over more than 24 hours. If you want to try them, here's the link:  Sour dough English muffins

The sourdough starter fed and ready to rock.

Some starter with milk and honey stirred in. My sparkling clean starter jar beside it ...


Flour added. Ready to be left to prove for 16 or so hours overnight. Covered with gladwrap and a teatowel and left on the bench.
By this morning it had expanded. So the task was to add bicarb and salt and then work the dough for a few minutes.

Now it waits in the bowl again for half an hour or so - I went outside and water-blasted part of the path around the house while waiting.
I was meant to use a 3" scone cutter but we don't have one so I used my silicone sourdough cutter - the muffins should be round but they weren't. At this stage they had to be left loosely covered for an hour.

David went over to get Kay to be one of the taste testers - the woman is not well, but she was willing to take a risk ... When I sent this photo to Julie, all she could say was 'You're short!" Rich coming from her as I am pretty sure there is less than a millimetre's difference in our heights ...

It's important to test the taste with a variety of toppings: berry jams rasp and strawb, manuka honey, syrups golden and maple, plus feijoa jelly

David and Kay - both valiant taste testers.

Soft and yummy with raspberry jam and butter.

With feijoa jelly going in that belly ...

So the trial was counted as a success. I'll do another batch over tomorrow and Sunday - and I have realised that a pint glass has a 3" diameter so the set for the short demanding one will be circular ...

Saturday 5 November 2022

Cleaning and tidying and decluttering

 It's that time when we are doing spring cleaning - never done it before but better late than never!

This morning's task was cleaning the soffits around the house - last week Shona had mentioned she thought they needed to be de-spidered. So obediently, we got busy.

Questions of interest:

  • how come dust sticks on upside down surfaces?
  • why does said dust not come off with the fierce hose, the broom that has warm water and HandyAndy?
  • why does the dust require being washed off with a cloth?
  • and why am I the one who can see the dust and therefore have to be the one doing that washing with a cloth, making my shoulders and right upper arm very sore?
  • why am I unable to climb up on to the platform leading with my right leg?  My right thigh just will not lift me! WHY?

Anyway, the soffit looks fabulously clean and sparkling - I shamefacedly have to confess we have not ever washed them before on this house, and we have lived here 8 years! There has been a price to pay though in case you didn't understand - my shoulders and right arm are VERY SORE!

And David has cleared his office - who knew it had a floor? Who knew it was quite a big room? Who knew that he could get rid of so many computers and cables and pieces of technology and still be able to function?  

Amazing, eh?

I still can't quite believe it!

He has also been up in the attic clearing things out. We decided that if stuff had been up there for the 8 years we have lived here, then it clearly was not required - in the main, I think many things up there were items from our parents that we could not let go of in the early days after losing them and becoming orphans. It's a bit easier now to let things go. We found two prints that had been David's dad's that Kirsty had asked to have. She still wants them, so back up they will go - until we head over to see her with a large suitcase!


And shock horror - I may even divest myself of some of the cup and saucer sets I collected back in the early 2000s. I can afford to let some go as there's about 50 of them, I think. Letting some escape may result in a china cabinet being able to find a new home at some point, perhaps, maybe, depending ...

And I looked at the lovely reproduction drinks cabinet I bought when we were B&Bing in Cherswud - it hasn't held alcohol for years and ever since we moved here it has housed glass stemmed dessert bowls - quite lovely, but totally impractical because no one could eat a dessert as big as they hold. So they are off to the charity shop along with a box of other trinkets (my friend Lesley calls it tat, but she's a bad person), and the drinks cabinet will be sold to another loving owner.

Yesterday, when we left the cafe after breakfast, we saw these fabulous motorbikes and sidecars only two but I have three photos so you can see both sides more easily. So gorgeous I think I'd even be keen to travel in/on them!

And one for the road:

Wednesday 2 November 2022

Visitors from away

 On Monday afternoon this week, when I arrived home from the office, Irene and Ian Jameison of nb Free Spirit had arrived here at Cafe Rata.

They had arrived from a week in Sydney where Irene had spent most of the time quarantined in the upstairs suite in her brother and sister in law's home - she had developed the covid symptoms on their second flight out from the UK.

When she was clear of covid, they flew to Auckland and then on to Whanganui to pick up Mary and Alan's little Toyota HiAce poptop camper which they have hired for their 5 month sojourn. It is a lovely wee van, but bloody hell, it's tiny! However they like each other a lot, so it's fine. 

Ian and Irene arrived here while I was at work on Monday, and even though I came home with a significant headache (migraine - feel sorry for me please), it was fabulous to see them. I did spend the first 20 minutes or so lying on the couch and then had to sit up and join in.

Over the next couple of days, in between bits of work, we socialised and Ian and Irene put some time in making the van their own, even temporarily. Mary and Alan's grandchildren had been the main users of the van as a playhouse for the last couple of years.

Irene cleaning the roof, Ian on his knees with David watching - Ian was fitting the bits to the battery so the new folding solar panel would power the battery and keep the fridge going.

Irene was very careful not to get Ian wet as she had the hose dribbling to rinse where she had been washing - she is far far far kinder than I would be ...

Mary, if you are reading this - do not despair or feel guilty that the camper wasn't pristine. Ian washes their motorhome and their boat with monotonous regularity - he's a bit OCD really ...

Yesterday's task was to stick on the NZMCA wings and number front and back. The front is done - successfully - but you wouldn't know that judging by Irene's worried look ... And see her right hand - she is itching to take over 😆

Right hand up a bit ... Keep it smooth, Ian.
And here it is, all done. I looked at ours afterwards and decided we need a new set of wings on the front - it has suffered in the heat.

We introduced them to Quiddler, a word/card game, and dammit, Irene won both games. While David was washing bird poop off the two back porches and cleaning the outdoor furniture of bird poop, I, I & M played cards - dinner was cooking at this time, so we weren't entirely idle.

David has decided to sell his dad's old desk and chair. They are iconic pieces of NZ furniture built by Chapman Taylor. The desk is huge and heavy. 

Did I mention huge? It won't go through the doorways with its top on. So that has to be unscrewed. And it still won't go through doorways so 2 doors had to be removed. It was wonderful that Ian was here because he was very very useful. Irene describes him as her man who can - pretty apt!

The desk is now in the garage waiting to be advertised and waiting to be dispatched to a new home. And the two doors removed by necessity were speedily replaced. David vacuumed his now almost bare office that for the first time since we moved in back in 2014 actually looks like it could be a bedroom!

Unrecognisable! And almost no reproducing cords in sight!

This morning the Jameisons were heading off on adventures. Fortunately for her, Irene did not put socks on under her sandals - what is it with that British custom? Naff or what? I'd had to school her about it when I got home on Monday. So all day yesterday she looked right and fitted in nicely - sandals, no socks. I did tell her that she would be instantly recognisable as English if she reverted and she'd lose any credibility...

Filling the water tank - a bit of a different story from the motorhome and a hugely different story from filling the tank on the boat ...

Both Ian and David have had prostatectomies. David noticed that the 3 letters of the number plate spelled out the acronym for something that neither of them need again - digital rectal examinations ...

Here she is, (see - no socks) all ready to depart on their adventures: 5 months of wandering around wherever the fancy takes them. And judging by some of our conversations, they are keen to do more silly stuff, like swing bridges and fly by wire and walking around the outside of the Skytower attached to the railing by a flimsy carabiner and wire.

We sent them away with 

  • a loaf of sourdough, 
  • a couple of small bags of pasta and one of rice, 
  • a rice salad for tonight's dinner (that Irene made from last night's leftover rice) 
  • a wodge of chorizo
  • several small bags of fresh herbs (parsley, mint, thyme, and lime leaves) and 
  • spices from the pantry
  • a couple of lists of places we thought they would enjoy seeing or activities we thought they'd enjoy, and
  • strict instructions that if they are aiming for Tongaporutu they need to get in touch so we have time to join them there.

Safe travels, you nutbars. M&D xx

Monday 24 October 2022

In the garden today

These people were not in the garden, but they came for breakfast on Saturday to help consume the asparagus mountain...

Our garden is looking wonderful at the moment. I have to give credit where it's due - it is all down to Shona who is the most amazing gardener.

And spring has certainly arrived - the roses are budding, the rhodos are blooming and the cabbage tree is flowering too.

The roses have a lovely perfume, the rhodo is lovely and I have no idea what the other bract of flowers is ...

Cinerarias - self sown and thoroughly reliable

A climbing rose, a camellia, the rhodo and the cabbage tree. Comparing the motorhome and the cabbage tree it is clear just how damn tall it is!

The snowball tree with stocks and a beautifully perfumed mauve rose behind it and a white carpet rose beside.

That bud will turn mauve shortly.

Who knows what this is?

The yellow climbing rose

The lemon tree looks very healthy. It has grown a lot since Rob planted it a few years ago.

We planted this rhodo to replace a beautiful creamy-apricot coloured one we had to cut down to be able to fit the motorhome beside the garage. It smells lovely too. I am still looking for an apricot coloured one though ...

The stocks have gone crazy ...

Thursday 20 October 2022

And away we went...

There is a hiatus in my work at the moment - the Detailed Business Case is out for a 10 day review by stakeholders, so we took the opportunity to head  away for at least 12 days. Judy had planned a Zero Degrees Weekend in Turangi and we were excited to see everyone again. 

We started our holiday by going to see Denny and Cheryl in Whanganui. At first it was going to be an overnight stay, but ended up being 4 nights. Such a huge amount of laughter with too much yummy food (thank you, Cheryl) and lots of chat.

David and I did a lovely bike ride on Monday - it didn't start out as lovely though. Because while Whanganui has a great cycle path down through to the river and then along the northern side of it to Upukongaro, ACP wasn't very diligent or accurate in explaining the instructions he'd been given by Cheryl about how to get down to the river ... I'm blaming ACP because he's not sitting next to me reading over my shoulder. However it is a proven fact that he remembers the first couple of instructions and then tunes out.

So we made a couple of errors, the most severe of which was that we missed the beginning of St Hill St which has a 3 metre wide cycle and pedestrian path, and we ended up having to cycle on a non-cycle way footpath along Wicksteed St - I did stop to talk to 2 policemen and ask them how we had messed up, in case they wanted to send us on to the roadway (too dangerous for pensioners, I think).

We were connected to each other (ACP and me) by phone. However David was using his hearing aids as his listening device connected to his phone and the wind noise was horrendous in my ears. I find noise a real stressor so I had to give up our being able to chat - what with riding on the road down Guyton St, waiting for David to get across intersections even though I had assured him the way was clear of traffic he still felt the need to use his defective eyesight to check (AAARRRGGGHHH!!!), the ghastly noise in my ears was too much!

We made it down to the riverside about a kilometre along from where we should have got to it. But once we were on the cyclepath things were much more settled and happy.

We rode up towards and through Aramoho, and stopped to look at the house our friends Mary and Alan used to live in, and also at the first house we owned way back in 1975. 


4A Caffray Ave, Aramoho. We paid $12,000 for it in 1975, sold it for $18,000 in 1980. A small 2 bedroomed place with a sleepout behind the garage and a quarter acre section - great for backyard cricket.

Then back past the Pylon Dairy (we used to find all the bottles we could get a refund on to buy a loaf of Sunday bread for 32 cents - the weekday bread was AWFUL) and past the former butcher shop on the end of our street - I once won a $70 meat raffle and it lasted for about 10 weeks I think!

Then on up Somme Parade we went (the road on the other side of the river is called Anzac Parade - you can see the connection) and I mentioned to David that I didn't ever remember going up that far. Then we came to the school I used to teach at part time back in the late 70s ... Doh! My memory had certainly faded about the surroundings!

On we went, partly on the very quiet road and then on a lovely cycleway again, and finally we came to the lovely new bridge across the river to the little village of Upukongaro. There is a wonderful cafe there where we met Denny and Cheryl for lunch. 

Cheryl very kindly explained again (but with me listening this time) the way we should have come. So we decided to try that - what a fabulous ride up St Hill St from the river. Just brilliant! And we found we had messed up early on the way down too. On the way back, we followed a guy who clearly knew what was what - and found the right and much simpler route ...

When we got back we needed a nap - we'd cycled about 26 kms all up. But best laid plans and all that. ACP realised he had lost one of his hearing aids - he'd put them both very carefully in his pocket when we'd stopped talking over the phone on the ride. But when we got back into the motorhome, there was only one... Bugger! So after checking the pocket several times with no change in result, he phoned the insurance company. The customer services person was lovely, very helpful and sympathetic. David felt better about it especially as there was no excess given we are so old ... So outside he goes and what does he find on the concrete outside the motorhome - yep, a hearing aid. Even with his defective eyesight, he saw it. What is that about? If I'd asked him to find something that small, he would have declared it impossible. But find it, he did. How he didn't stand on it, I am not sure ...

That evening, I told David I thought it would be good if he could charge my bike battery as it was down to 3 bars. He looked thoughtful and I thought he was going to tell me he'd worked out there was no need. But no - he was pondering and had just realised he hadn't packed the battery chargers... Oh bugger, just like the Toyota ads ( watch this ) We did check to see if Denny or Cheryl's chargers were compatible, but no.

We were going to need more than half a charge if we were to do any biking in Turangi, so we got up the next morning and drove home to collect them. It was only just over 2 hours there and two hours back with lunch at home in between, and we passed the time listening to podcasts (James O'Brien Full Disclosure and Rachel Maddow Ultra). We were easily back in time for David to join Denny for a beer before dinner!

Early on Wednesday morning, I went with Cheryl to the local swimming pool and did about 900 lengths of the pool walking - well, probably only about 30. We were in the water for an hour, so two minutes a length sounds about right. I have to say that later that day my thighs felt decidedly tired ...

David and I were meeting Tom, an old friend from my Telecom days, at a cafe down on Taupo Quay. We biked down and this time we knew the way ... The cafe is called The Burrow - it's more of a deli than a cafe, I think. It has fabulous food and kitchen items and Tom says its coffee is the best. It was good but given I'm not an aficionado, I leave that judgement call to him.

We had been going to bike to see Tom's house in Castlecliff later that day, but realised it involved either an extremely long ride beside the river and a short road piece, or a shorter but-all-on-the road ride. Nah to both. We unhooked from the power, lifted the stabilisers and drove the motorhome instead. 

Tom has done (or as he said, paid others to do) a stunning job of renovating his house and garden. It's beaut!

In between our two meetings with Tom, we had a call from Judy - upshot was the Turangi weekend was called off - one person definitely has covid, and three more may well be in the process of getting it. So a change of plan. David and I would head home the next day.

But not before we had been to cook breakfast at Mary and Alan's house - only for Mary as Alan was in hospital. In expectation of a house-load of asparagus eaters at Turangi, I had purchased a huge amount of asparagus just north of Levin on our way back up to Whanganui after collecting the chargers. Denny doesn't like it, Cheryl eats a small amount of it, but I knew Mary loves it.

So the next morning we packed up and left D&C's place with big hugs and lots of thank yous for lovely fun, fabulous food, much laughter and wonderful hospitality, and we headed up to see Mary.

Scrambled eggs, asparagus drizzled with lemon juice, toasted sourdough - yum. Mary brought out her homemade lime marmalade - more toast required ...

A reasonably rapid drive home and it was straight back to work for me - my leave period had been significantly shorter than planned. But there was a task to do so I did it, but gosh, it takes me a while to get back up to speed!

We still have LOTS of asparagus, even though I gave some to Mary. Hence we have Bruce, Gary, David R and a friend, Leith, and Peter coming for breakfast tomorrow. That'll get rid of a substantial portion of it!

And I only took one photo for the whole time we were away! What's that about?

Sunday 9 October 2022

Food for thought

For various reasons (including lots of rain making it unattractive to go walking or biking, too much work taking up too many hours and too much energy, and too many tempting things to eat) both David and I have regained some of the weight we had lost. In part, David's weight gain has been brought on by the Androgen Deprivation Therapy and not using his rowing machine for several months; however if he'd eaten less, the weight would not have appeared around his middle. 

Bah humbug and lots of naughty words from both of us!

I blame chocolate and ice-cream for being difficult to resist, and I blame the woman in this house who makes delicious sourdough bread. And I blame her because she stopped thinking about the very healthy food and started letting too much of the slightly unhealthy stuff in to the diet. There are two key things there: change from very healthy to healthy, and too much ... Probably too many cheese scones kept being made as well!

Anyway, things have changed - no more relying on two slices of sourdough toast for breakfast and as part of dinner. We have reverted to far more vegetable servings at lunch and dinner, with fruit, yoghurt and homemade muesli for brekkie.

Dinner on Saturday was homemade falafels on sourdough with aoli, lemon yoghurt, avocado and lettuce salad. David has amended his falafel recipe to have cumin and coriander seed, but no cayenne - the downside for him is that I now like them ...

Sunday's dinner: once I have dished out the amount of the salads that I want, David really likes to eat the remaining 70% out of the bowls... This is called a stacked dinner 😆

Here's what it looks like on a plate, properly served: asparagus with lemon juice and butter (I didn't eat all of that butter, honest!), lettuce salad with multiple veg in it and a honey, grated ginger and lemon juice dressing, and a roast carrot with paprika and canellini bean salad with cress from the garden ( and a dressing of lots of parsley and mint, lemon juice, garlic and a bit of olive oil).

The roasted carrot and bean salad was delicious and I will make it again. I reckon it would be yummy with kumara, parsnip or pumpkin or a mix of all of them. Could also be good with potato.

Tonight we had falafels with mushroom salad, and David had some left over cassoulet (no chorizo in it) as well.

David is going to the mid-week market at the little Waikanae mall tomorrow morning to buy more vegetables. Then his task will be to make a coleslaw. My task will be to decide what to have with it. Perhaps a kumara and chickpea curry with cauliflower rice?

Definitely no ice-cream or chocolate though! 

By the way, we now have tickets for going to the UK and for coming home. So plans are coming along nicely ...