Saturday 21 May 2022

Fly and drive

 Last week was my first work trip for ages - 3 days in Auckland. I flew from Palmerston North, having completely forgotten that I could have flown from Kapiti Airport in Paraparaumu, a mere 15 minutes from home. Instead I drove to Palmerston North, having forgotten how long it used to take me to drive it. Or maybe it was longer because I left home at 7am instead of 5am, and there was more traffic... 

The flight up was fine - smooth, no bumps, happiness - well, at least no fear.

The 3 work days were really good and very useful and worthwhile:

  • two meeting/workshops about change,
  • a 6 hour long tour of the labs and the greenhouses, and
  • a team building workshop.

However the weather on the final day was appalling with storms all down the country, thunder storms, strong winds - all the things that made flying just far far too scary for me.

So I kept the rental car I'd had for the 3 days and drove back. Driving for about 8 or 9 hours was preferable to flying for 1 hour 15 minutes and being terrified before and during the flight.

I drove to Taupo on the Thursday late arvo/evening and stayed with Colleen. That part of the trip was not without incident. David had been tracking my phone and we had been speaking frequently throughout the drive. But at about Wairakei my phone cut out - it was still going, but I had no internet and no phone reception.

While he was worrying about me, I was trying to find Colleen's address and the way there. I had to ask at a local service station in Taupo - and the woman was kind but ultra slow and I was desperate for a pee... 

When I arrived at Colleen's she told me I had to phone David immediately on her phone to let him know I had arrived. It was clear he was very distraught. 😨😱😰

In the middle of the night, when I woke, my phone was still playing up. So I switched it off and then on again - the Universal Reset. Suddenly, messages, internet, mail, service! Doh!!

Note to self - next time my phone cuts out, Universal Reset has to be the first action!

In the morning, I headed away south. The weather wasn't too bad but there were huge banks of black cloud ahead. On the Desert Road it was cold (6 degrees) and the wind chill would have been severe.

Driving to the pot of gold ... The second rainbow was not the only one - there was a fainter third one off to the left too!

I thought about stopping for something to eat but it rained in every town I thought may be a possibility. 😉😈😆 

From just south of Sanson the rain was torrential all the way home.

Levin had a detour away from the main street - it turned out they had had a tornado at about 6.30am. I passed one of the streets it had hit - two trees uprooted, fences ripped up and a garage torn down.

Not a pleasant drive, all in all. However I spoke with Kevin and he said it was a good thing I chose to drive. He said it was the absolute worst landing he'd ever had in all his years of flying ...

In case I picked up a COVID infection while I was in Auckland (very unlikely as I wore an N95 mask pretty much constantly) I am isolating from David - he is ensconced in the motorhome and I am in the house: his choice, trust me. I was going to stay in the motorhome but he wanted to.

Tomorrow morning is the great reunion! Yay!!


Saturday 14 May 2022

Should I worry?

Yesterday we rode our bikes down to have lunch at our friend Rachel's place.

David had got the bikes ready while I was doing something else that was vital - well, I think it was vital but that is only my opinion, to be fair. I am fairly sure I was getting the sourdough starter ready for making bread - it has come out of the fridge, have some poured out and down the sink, and then the jar goes into the airing cupboard to warm up so I can feed it.

All ready to go, my bike bag on my carrier complete with rain jacket because rain was due in the next few hours, David had his jacket rolled up on his carrier. Just about to switch on and David said he'd have a last pee - always a good idea for a man without a prostate. 

So pee done, and off we went down to Waikanae Beach - a good ride but not as peaceful or traffic-free as it is at 8 or 8.30 on a Saturday or Sunday. 

Lovely lunch with Rachel, Bruce, Gary and David R, all of whom live next door to Rachel and through whom we met her some years ago.

The rain had started but was intermittent so we got back into our biking stuff - I put back on my merino extra-long sleeved top with the hole for my thumb (a good substitute for fingerless gloves), my scarf, and my rain jacket, David put on his rain jacket and off we went. A much quieter trip back traffic-wise, as we used a shared cycle/pedestrian path beside the road and detoured using Park Road which has a VERY wide cycle path (plenty of room for a car to be parked and cycles to get past without going in the car lane). 

We arrive home, David starts looking for the key. Not in his pockets, and I know he didn't give it to me to put in my bag. Aha, I see it ...

Should I be worried?

Julia was at Debdale last week and saw this ...

Today I am on bread making - the starter was so vigorous when I fed it yesterday that I couldn't bear to put most of it back into the fridge to languish, so I made three lots of leaven/poolish.  This morning, I've got three large bowls of dough proving; so that'll be 3 small loaves, and 4 large ones.  They will get baked later this afternoon.

Vegetable soup is on the go, and dinner tonight is going to be a sort of lasagne made with left over pasta spirals, some mushroom gravy and a tomato mix with roast veg and silverbeet. Hopefully it'll taste okay ...

Monday 9 May 2022

Exercising the brain and the body

I am not sure if I have mentioned it, but I am doing another piece of work - for upwards of four months, I think. The same kind of work I often do re preparing project management documentation. Each time though it is for a different organisation and it starts out as incredibly scary, because I don't know the organisation and I know even less about the content of the project. That feeling doesn't last long, but it's spooky while it's around ...

I'm developing a Benefits Realisation Plan and a Change Management Plan for a Detailed Business Case. Both of them require plenty of interaction with people and workshops and discussions and writing - and lots of thinking using common sense. I am fortunate that I appear to have a modicum of that ...

So I have been busy and I still am. However the weather for the first weekend in May was forecast to be sunny but chilly in the mornings. So we decided doing some biking would be a good thing and it would be good to be doing it somewhere that isn't Waikanae, i.e. exploring  bike tracks suitable for old people on e-bikes in a different place. So Palmerston North it was as it's only about an hour away from Waikanae - and we could call in to Levin VTNZ to get a COF on the way. 

PN is a very flat city and very conducive to biking. It has thousands of uni students and they all seem to bike everywhere.

The PN Holiday Park, which we have stayed in before (I first stayed there with the grandsons some years ago - must have been early 2018, I think), is right next to the Manawatu River which has a cycle/pedestrian path next to it on both sides.

It's autumn ...

Lovely possie - sunshine, shade, lovely autumn colours.

The first trip (Saturday morning) was out of the holiday park, across the bridge, and then turn right towards Linton. A good track but SCARY in places because it had steep hilly bits - PN is MEANT to be flat - and lots of corners with gravel. AAARRRGGGHHH!!! But I didn't fall off even though I was very scared** that I would. And it would not have been a soft landing on spongy grass like it has been both times I've fallen off near the Waikanae River.

 ** I have plenty of common sense but also an extremely over-active imagination, so I can see and feel disasters before they happen, or don't happen but could ...

The scary track was on the other side of the river out of view from this position. This side is very benign. Lots of dogs to chat to ...
David is trying to get his headphones to work so we can keep chatting on the phone while we ride. It's lovely and feels less isolated as an activity when we chat - and I am his early warning system.

David however managed to fall off from a stationary position just off the sealed path, on the grass on the civilised side of the river. I heard it, but didn't see it and was too late to take a photo of him spreadeagled on the ground, dammit. He, unlike when I have fallen off on the grass twice, was not laughing. And he has been complaining since that his chest and neck hurt. I did go and buy him an icecream to compensate for the pain. He enjoyed it but...

I belatedly dosed him up on paracetamol and magnesium and it was still earlier than most people's dinner time and he was off to bed.

Fortunately he was better on the Sunday morning, because there was another bike ride in the offing - this time we turned left before the bridge and rode and rode and rode until the path almost ran out. We had headed off earlier than on the Saturday because we thought the track could be crowded - it is a very popular walkway and a great place to take dogs. And because it was early, it was bloody freezing! The sun was just out, but much of the path was through wooded areas, therefore shady. And as we were moving quite rapidly, we set up our own wind chill factor. Neither of us were wearing quite enough clothes - one more layer would have been much nicer. So when we got back we were both very chilly. But the ride was lovely - exhilarating and fun.

We would go back to that holiday park and do those rides again - even the scary one, as long as it wasn't wet underfoot - my fertile imagination tells me that damp autumn leaf fall, damp pine needles have very skid inducing tendencies ...

After a late breakfast and before we headed home, we drove over to Feilding and spent a lovely couple of hours with Phil and Oriel. I used to stay at their B&B in Rewa when I was working at PEC in Marton. They were fabulous hosts and lovely friends. However we haven't seen them for some time, COVID and lockdowns having put paid to extensive socialising. So seeing them again was great. Neither of them seem to have changed much - Phil is now 92 and looks no different apart from hearing aids and he uses a stick to stay steady while walking. He tells me it is only about 3 months since he last went up to the farm to do some tractor work - driving it is fine, he said, but it's the getting up and down that is the difficult part. 

I'm not sure when we will go away again, but the cover is still off, so maybe we'll head away for a night in the next couple of weeks. We do like it!

By the way, we are just coming to the end of feijoa season here in Waikanae. I LOVE them. We have two little trees courtesy of John next door who planted them for us on our boundary. They had about 16 all up. But John has been bringing some of his over for the last few weeks - they have a feijoa hedge by their house. And I've been scrumping around the neighbourhood too. One day I reckon I collected about 3 kilos of them, and 2 kilos the next day.

The first haul which I collected in the pockets of my top. Fortunately it has big pockets, but I had to come home to drop them off.
And the second haul that first morning - they were collected in my cream silk scarf... Needs must!

And I found a person down near Waikanae Beach who obviously had lots she wasn't making use of so I went to collect 4 kilos from her. She definitely deserved (and was given) a jar of jelly!

I've been eating several feijoas every day for brekkie with yoghurt and my home made muesli. And I've made about 9 jars of feijoa jelly (fabulous on sourdough bread, or on crackers with cheese), and 8 jars of feijoa, rhubarb and apple chutney. I've given away some jars of jelly, but only made the chutney this last weekend and apparently it needs to sit for a month or so before being used. I'll give a jar to John and Jenny when it's ready.

I've still got two large bowls of fresh feijoas left even though David peeled and froze a couple of bags of them so we have some to use in winter - feijoa crumble, stewed feijoas with yoghurt, feijoa cake... My yummy breakfasts should continue for a wee while yet. And then hopefully we will be into tamarillo season - yay!!!