Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Matariki in Taranaki

Matariki is a new public holiday in NZ celebrating Maori New Year - at the time of the winter solstice here in the southern hemisphere. As you would expect, there is much significance attached to the appearance of Matariki, the set of stars known in the western world as Pleiaides. Remembering those who have died, new beginnings, links to planting crops, the shortest day/longest night and the beginning of lengthening days and a return of the sun - like Saturnalia in the northern hemisphere: the pagan celebration that was replaced by Christmas... Read more about Matariki here.

On Thursday morning we packed the car, loaded on the bikes and headed up to Taranaki, to stay with Jim and Judy for Matariki weekend.

David noted as we left the driveway that it was the third time we had packed to go away and not had a major meltdown. Things must be improving after 48 years ... ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

He was right though. I think it was probably because David had packed his gear the day before while I was working so I wasn't stressing about him not being ready at the time we had agreed to leave. And we are now competent at loading the new Thule bike rack, which we failed on for our trip to Masterton a couple of months ago. 

We had breakfast in Foxton at the Windmill Cafe, and because it was quite warm and very sunny, and because we were wearing a goodly amount of clothing, we sat outside to eat a yummy brekky.

We stopped at Whanganui to visit Denny and Cheryl - only saw Denny though because Cheryl was out taking an elderly friend to get her nails done. 

It was later than lunchtime as we got to Waverley so I stopped for a Memphis Meltdown Gooey Caramel icecream on a stick. 

Doesn't that look delicious?


David said he didn't want anything but I found what looked like a yummy and almost healthy dairy free Kapiti icecream with boysenberries. So he obligingly worried it down. He's so helpful in these things!

Then it was on to Onaero. So good to see Jim and Judy again for a limited edition of a Zero Degrees weekend - just the four of us and Tom, their labrador. I'm fairly sure he doesn't have a degree...

The sunset was beautiful on both Thursday and Saturday evenings,  and Jim and Judy have the ideal place to see it from. Onaero is on the coast and J&J's house is on the top of the low cliff above the beach. This means wonderful views of the sea in all its moods. However it also means their property and the others along the same piece of coast are vulnerable to the erosion that climate change, the increasing number of  storms with high tides and strong waves are causing. However, the sunset was my focus as you can see ...

Thursday evening

Saturday evening when the rain front had passed through.


On Friday, I realised I had forgotten that I own at least 3 possum and merino tops: 2 beautiful cowl neck jerseys (one cherry red and one in midnight blue) and a long black jacket. And I hadn't brought any of them with me! How stupid was that, given it's the shortest days of the year and there was lots of snow on the mountain! And although I had taken woollen jerseys with me, I was a bit cold... So Judy mentioned there was a possum and merino shop in Stratford. Enough said. We were off!

To be fair, I reckon the shop was closer to Opunake than Stratford but Judy declares me wrong on that score. But it is on Opunake Road in an old dairy factory, I think.

So I managed to buy 3 more possum and merino garments:

  • a grape coloured poncho with a cowl neck
  • a beautiful emerald green cross-over jacket thing, and 
  • a grey and black loop scarf.

Toasty! And after all, someone has to keep the economy moving and it might as well be me!

Back to J&J's for lunch and then a snooze - we workers are a tired bunch...

Then up and at 'em for a 12 km bike ride on the rural roads near their place. It was a ride we have done before and it is very enjoyable. Quite chilly though, but the fresh air was a good tonic.

That evening we headed in to New Plymouth to see the lighting display that the district council had put on from near the windwand on the waterfront up the Huatoki Stream parkway to the main street.

It was a lovely event - because it was dark so early, lots of families were out. And the lights were great, there was live music and a few food trucks.

NP District Council has a very good rep for lighting displays. There is an annual Festival of Lights in the summer in Pukekura Park - that was cancelled this year because of Covid, so the budget was carried over to Matariki. A very good idea indeed!

Saturday it rained. But joy of joys, my lovely sister was coming out to visit. In her honour I made cheese scones (with plenty for her to take back to the family) and Judy made orange muffins. I had baked a special loaf of sourdough for Dee in my 8 loaf bake-off on Wednesday. 

The loaf for Dee - I'd be too scared to eat that given my atheism. However I can cut it into the unbaked loaf and then cook it for my lovely sister.

In the early afternoon, Jim, Judy and I went in to Waitara to an art exhibition and left David in Tom's care. They seemed to cope - when we got back Tom was pleased to see J&J and David was dozing on the sofa...

Jim and David in the conservatory waiting for food at some point of the day. They lead a tough life, so I am led to believe.

Judy made a very yummy veg and nutloaf as part of dinner that night - and kindly gave us half of the leftovers to bring home. And she made rhubarb crumble for dessert. The woman is a star!

We left by 8.30am on Sunday after breakfast, as I wanted to beat any rush of traffic back into the Wellington region. I also wanted to call in at Awanui Cemetery in NP on our way out to visit my dad's headstone. 

Had I researched where it was sited? No. Could I remember where it was? No. So we drove around the perimeter and then headed away. 

Note to self: Do the research  if I want to visit more purposefully ... Anyway, it didn't matter - Dad's not there. He lives on only in the memories of those who knew him and that is enough for me. Even driving around the cemetery, with no intention of getting out of the car in the rain to track down his headstone/marker, prompted lots of memories. 

The trip home was uneventful with some heavy rain at times - particularly in Levin where David needed to use the public toilets. He must have been desperate for a pee, because even though it was hosing down, he still wanted to stop. I, on the other hand, just clenched until we got home ...

We picked up fish (one terakihi and one snapper dinner) and chips at our local on the way home and that counted as lunch and dinner. I had wanted to have a nana nap but no chance as ACP was coughing on the bed beside me... 

Later that night, just before midnight I asked ACP if he could go and sleep somewhere else as his intermittent coughing was like listening to a dog giving loud sudden barks, and I just could not get to sleep. Or I'd drop off and then get shocked awake by the big dog beside me ...

His cold (not Covid - we tested him) is doing its thing, and he has been a bit miserable. I plied him with supplements the last two mornings and he is perking up. He's still not sleeping in my bed though - I'm a working woman and need my rest!


Anonymous said...

How was the ice cream? Looks interesting. I've had cheese scone ingredients on board for some time but not got round to baking any, you may have influenced me into turning the oven on this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

This was Pip by the way NB Oleanna

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi Pip,
The icecream was beautiful - too yummy, in fact as I want to eat one each day and that is not good for me!

The cheese scones are great. My recipe is
2 cups flour and 2 tsp baking powder, 2 cups grated tasty cheese, 1tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4tsp cayenne, 1 cup milk.
Mix all together. Heat oven to 205 and heat thye tray. Put the scones (I usually cut the mix into a dozen scones - not huge) on the hot tray and cook for 20 minutes or so until golden brown. Cool on a rack. Yummy with lashings of butter. Also yummy toasted the next day then buttered and eaten with sliced tomato on top.

Cheers, Marilyn

Anonymous said...

There's nothing better than a toasted cheese scone for breakfast.

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Correct! Toasted cheese scones are delish!