Wednesday 6 December 2023

More of Russell

 In the morning, we headed for Pompallier House and were a bit early arriving so we looked around the outside and chatted to some people on their bikes. The roadway is quite narrow there so when a car came along, I backed myself hard up into the gateway so she could get past me. However the driver was only paying attention to the standing cyclist on the other side of the street, and carefully avoiding her, but was about to take me out! I slapped the bonnet of her car and shouted at her to stop. Aaarrrggghhh!!! And once the driver had moved on, the husband of the cyclist suggested that the problem was that it was a woman driver. I must have been in shock, because in behaviour quite unlike me, I wielded my hiking stick like a taiaha (I'm a quick learner) and swished it around near his head, neck and genitals. Although I think Māori warriors aimed for the belly, but I added my own fighting principles...

While the cyclists and David headed off for the tour of house, the printing shop and bindery, I had decided I would sit that one out at the cafe. An hour, they said. But neither they nor I had banked on the tour guide being so enthusiastic and that David would be so keen to keep up the conversation that he would remain in the shop afterwards for another 10 minutes ... And I was hungry and had been looking forward to breakfast again at the Seaside Cafe. But by the time we got there they were on to the lunch menu, dammit. Still, they did me an omelette which was yummy.

The woman at the museum had said we must go and view the statue at the end of the wharf - it welcomes visitors and sees them on their way.

Walking back along the Strand, we had to stop and watch the process of getting the bed base down from the upstairs room. The two guys had already thrown the mattress down on to the lawn. At first they were going to lower the base on ropes, but decided to toss it down on to the mattress. I was worried that the dog was going to get in the way - squashed chocolate labrador mixed with raspberry jus is not a good look on a sunny day! And imagine the noise! Successful landing though - no dog was harmed and the base landed almost entirely on the mattress.

Fortified with food and having had our fill of free local entertainment, we headed off to walk up to Flagstaff Hill where Hone Heke and his men chopped down the flagpole four times. They must have been very fit because it's a solid slog uphill all the way - he and his men would have done it at night through the bush, I expect.  In 2023, fortunately for us doing it in the midday heat of a very warm day, most of it was on shady road because of the trees - I don't do heat well...

The views from the top were stunning. 

There was a couple from this cruise ship up on the hill.

Looking back down to Russell
Looking over to the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi - the flagpole there is clearly visible.
Easy to see why this area is called the Bay of Islands

Mosaic map of the Bay of Islands
I can't remember what I was pointing at ...

Interesting that I have no photos of the actual flagstaff ...

We chatted to a few people, one of whom (Nicolle) is from London and over here on a young person's work visa. She will be travelling further south (I hope she won't be disappointed, given how absolutely beautiful this area is) and we have asked her to stay with us and even given her Kirsty's phone number so she can contact her when she goes to Sydney after her NZ sojourn. Oops, haven't told Kirsty yet... 

Back down we went and along to the Duke Of Marlborough Hotel for a glass of lemon lime and bitters. (The woman at the museum had told us we must go there for a drink, honest...) And while we were sitting outside, along came the group of cyclists we'd seen at Pompallier House minus the one I had figuratively done to death with my taiaha hiking stick. We got to chatting, as we do, and discovered they were from Taranaki. We asked about their cycling trip - the absent one was already doing a piece of it they didn't want to. I was relieved that I hadn't caused his demise. We said we were too anxious to do that trip although it had been our intention when we set out from home. We said we had a friend who'd come off her bike in Onaero. JUDY they all yelled. 

Talk about 2 degrees of separation! It turns out that Bethne and Adrienne are both teachers who know Jim and Judy well, that Adrienne and her husband Rob (my putative victim) were at one of the Burns Night dinners we attended at J&Js' place.

Bethne, Adrienne and Mike
David and I with Adrienne, Bethne and Mike - taken by an amused and bemused passer-by - we were making quite a lot of noise, to be fair!

They got drinks and joined us but had to race through them so they would not miss their ferry. Still, I think we need to catch up with them when we head back into Taranaki before Xmas. I wonder if Judy will be home from the brain injury rehab place in Kenepuru by then?

After all of that excitement, we headed back up to the motorhome and had a blob - before heading back down to the Green Thai restaurant - delightful place with very delicious food. And it was delivered to our table by robot - what next!? We thought the robot was probably related to Henare, our robot vacuum cleaner.

After dinner, a peaceful walk back up the hill carrying our leftovers and the yellow curry (veg, no tofu) that I had ordered as a takeaway - tomorrow night's dinner... 

I really think  Russell is a place we will come back to, even if it's only as foot passengers from Paihia - the Thai restaurant is open for lunch 👍😀

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