Thursday 18 January 2024

Visitors in the heat

New hairstyle - not spiky enough to express my gentle personality, I think ...
Out the back ...

The pohutukawa are fabulous this summer - at least they love the heat! David and I were walking back to Parkwood down Kapanui Road.

Under the sun umbrella out the back.
This is the view from Kelson up above the Hutt Valley, where we went to pick up something David had purchased on TradeMe. That is the harbour entrance for Wellington - next stop: Antarctica

It has been so damn hot here that I am spending a fair amount of time lying down - almost none of it outside as I just cannot cope! And I know it's not just about my getting older. I was going to say that some of it may be about no longer living in Johnsonville where, even on the sunniest of days, there was always a cooling breeze. But, no that can't be it as we left Johnsonville back in 2014. And 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded... And 2024 looks to be shaping up to match it, if the first 19 days are anything to go by, dammit!

However, we have had lovely times with friends.

Cat and Henry

Cat and Henry whom we met at Waipoua Forest Camp and gave a ride to Dargaville the following day, got in touch (as requested) and came to stay for 3 nights. Because David was working, instead of setting them up in the spare bedroom/office, we set up two camp-stretchers complete with sponge mattresses (luxury, sheer luxury!)in the garage and the car lived outside for a bit.

They had a pretty blobby time here too although they went out. On a couple of occasions, Henry busked, once in Waikanae ($35) and once at Paraparaumu Beach shops ($25). He's a good guitar player and has a lovely singing voice. Looks angelic and about 15, so I think that all helps...

One evening, Cat made dinner - a veg chilli with lentils. Just yummy. I used the leftovers of that in a pie after they left when Michelle and Taffy came for lunch. Verdict: delicious.

Dinner outside with Cat and Henry - Cat's vege chilli, quesadillas (homemade!) and lots of toppings. Delicious!
We offered them one of the tents we had bought for Kirsty and Olek when we did our road trip in March. So Henry had to put it up to check a) that he could, and b) that it was suitable.
I did have to help so there are very few photos.  Cat was OK for them to accept it, on condition that Henry carries it without complaining about the additional weight (it's 4.7kg)

It did get tautened and looked pretty respectable - almost up to Olek and Kirsty standards! But nowhere near as fast as Kirsty and Olek.
I dropped them at the Waikanae Railway Station and away they went. Hopefully we will see them again before they head back to the UK, either here or when we are in the South Island.
Happy young people.
Lovely young people to have around.

Michelle and Taffy

Michelle and Taffy came for lunch and I used the leftovers of Cat's chilli in a pie - verdict: delicious!

After lunch, Michelle, Taffy and I went for a walk over to Parklands - on the Forest Walk Taffy pointed out these two kereru. They were huge!


See? Enormous!!


Our lovely Sarah came to stay for a long weekend and it was great to see her. Sarah has featured in the blog before a few times, because she and I have worked together often over the last 35 years - from when she was in her 20s and I was in my 30s. So we are firm friends.

You know that friends are good'uns when you don't have to do anything to entertain them and they are happy to pitch in and prepare food, and then very happy to eat leftovers for the next couple of days. 

We had a couple of afternoons of blobbing - lying on our respective beds. David had relocated his required work machine (i.e. my laptop) to our bedroom and was under strict instructions not to indulge in chat while I was reading or dozing.

We went for a walk around the path that circumnavigates much of Woodlands, the part of Parkwood where we live. Beautiful to be in the cool and the dappled sunlight.
David wanted this photo because it looks like he is taller than Sarah, but he isn't at all. He's using my trick of standing on a higher step ...

All the way round on this walk, I kept saying 'We are so lucky to live here!' And we are.

Robert and Glenn

One set of leftovers that we had to consume was the range of dishes we had prepared for when Robert and Glenn came for dinner - deconstructed nachos and doner kebabs. And the height thing came up then in a discussion about whether Karol is now taller than me. Answer: Yes. There was a measuring session here in the kitchen and pencil marks on the doorjamb. And I have shrunk about 2 centimetres since I was last measured for a passport (I am now 153cm... ) And Sarah is a good 3cm taller than David. Yay!! No wonder Kirsty looks taller than David - because she is!

Sarah has such a radiant smile!

At one point Sarah took a call from one of Jack's carers (Jack has dementia and is in a lovely care home in Nelson). Sarah is just amazing with Jack. This time his call was to tell her she needed to pick him up the next day to take him to a talk he was going to be giving about bowling. (Jack was an Australian cricketer back in the day, also the first coach in the Australian Cricket Academy, and a well respected and much loved coach in the UK which is where we met him back in 2006.)  Sarah didn't argue with Jack about his imagined bowling talk arrangement - she went along with it, and reassured him she would bring everything he needed and she'd get him there on time. In that conversation, he thought she was his mother and told her he had met this lovely girl called Sarah that he really liked ...

Some time ago when Jack was just starting on this dementia journey, we recommended that Sarah get and read the book 'Contented Dementia'. She says it has been hugely helpful in helping her to help Jack.

She has been amazingly sensible in recognising when she was reaching her limit as a full time carer for Jack and seeking help before that breaking point came. It's a lesson many of us need to learn as we and our partners age - and it's an honest conversation we need to have together so we can be prepared. It's a tough one though, that's for sure.

Anyway, just after the phone call, the bowling talk disappeared from Jack's thinking and he was settled and happy - all because Sarah went along with it knowing he'd forget it in a few minutes' time, especially if he was thwarted or told he was wrong.

She is such an example of how to do this care stuff with calmness, love, empathy and compassion. And humour. If Jack knew this was what was happening, he would be the first to be appreciative.

Since Sarah left it has been quite quiet - and it's been too hot to do much.


And then we had Grahame around for an early dinner one evening. Build your own falafel burgers. 

Grahame with burger construction underway. A lot more leftovers were created but none were harmed.


A knock on the door the other day and it was Luke. He'd been checking a house over in Waikanae and decided to call in. No cheese scones as David had given the last ones to Mike the tiler who had come earlier that day. (I have to accept responsibility, as I told David to give them to Mike while I was off at the osteopath's.)

Lovely to see Luke, although he did vote for at least some of the tossers who are forming this current government we are cursed with.

But yesterday I was up early to bring the motorhome over to the house so we (when I say we I mean David) could empty the grey water tank which we had neglected to do when we got back on Boxing Day. But bugger it, the starter battery was dead flat. Read 12v when David checked it. So the AA man came and gave it a jump start, I drove it over to the house and left the engine running while David emptied the tank - and he did moan that the drain pipe is next to the exhaust and was I trying to kill him again? 'Good idea', I said. 'Just wait while I go and get a tent to erect around you.'  Apparently, I am evil. 😈

Well, we don't have an upstairs for me to be calling from, but there are days when I'd climb a ladder to do this...


Then, all without turning the engine off, I went down to Paraparaumu to Blair Auto Electrical and they speedily fitted a new battery for me - excellent service.

David H

Well, while I was out and there was still a bit of pension money left in the account, I thought I might as well go to the supermarket for the few bits I needed. And while I was at the checkout, a guy came up and made some cheeky comment to me. His face looked familiar, but it wasn't till he grinned that I recognised him. David Huggett, a friend of Tim's from high school and rugby. So lovely to see him and to meet his wife and two beautiful girls. They live in Wanaka so guess who we will be visiting when we are down that way next!?

This morning I have dropped the motorhome off at Freeway RV Services for them to replace the window stays that were damaged/destroyed at Ruakaka when the gust of wind took the window up and off. An easy drive there and a peaceful train ride back - the Goldcard wins again! Because I caught the train at 9.02 I didn't have to pay. Being over 65 is a boon at times!

You won't know but there is a big kerfuffle here in Waikanae at the moment because the town bridge is closed to traffic (vehicular and pedestrian) while a clip-on pedestrian/cycle lane is added. The bridge has always been unsafe for cyclists to use and uncomfortable for pedestrians - it's an old bridge, serviceable but pretty narrow with a narrow path to match. A number of locals are up in arms because they think the timeframe for completing the work is 'too long' and it's too inconvenient and will take longer for them to go to places they want to get to, and the traffic jams will be heinous. I have no sympathy:

  • before the Expressway opened, traffic was regularly nose to tail from Whenua Tapu Cemetery near Plimmerton to Otaki (in both directions) - and that situation prevailed for many years. The commute from Wellington to Waikanae was regularly over 1.5 hours. And getting to Paraparaumu could easily be 20 minutes.
  • people struggle to grasp the tasks that go into these pieces of work: that it's not just clipping on a bridge lane  - it isn't just a few bulldog clips and nuts and bolts. There's:
    • engineering/earthworks and construction of abutments at either end, 
    • constructing links to existing or new footpaths and cycleways
    • preparing and installing signage
    • safety/engineering inspections, resource consent inspections and all the relevant signoffs. 
      • it's a local road but also a State Highway, so there's local, regional and national processes to be followed - and if they aren't and something goes wrong, there will be hell to pay by the same people moaning about the length of time it takes to 'just clip on a cycle lane' and the ones who say 'but no one uses it now...'
    • and other stuff I know nothing about

Anyway, all this is leading up to say that when I left here at 7.30am, there was no hold up getting on to Te Moana Road, there was no traffic lined up waiting to get on to the Expressway at Waikanae, and there was no queue at the exit and lights at Paraparaumu waiting to get on to Kapiti Rd in either direction. So it wasn't a catastrophe as we are led to believe.

People need to get a grip - perhaps go and sit in traffic anywhere on the M25 or M1 or M4 in the UK or, closer to home, on the motorway between Tawa and Johnsonville and points south every morning, or almost any time of the day on SH1 through Auckland.


The Polish/Scottish branch

And while we are lolling about in the heat, Marta, Trevor, Olek, Mickenzie and friend Sam are in the Alps in Europe skiing and snowboarding.

 . This is Olek and Sam

Mickenzie and Tevor - they both have a thing about headgear, obviously...
Marta and Trevor 💕


The boating branch

Ian and Irene were nearly iced in a few days ago. But today they are - it was -9 deg C this morning for them...

Icy windows ...

At 7.51am, -9.3 deg. Glad it's not me...

I'll check later with the new owners of Waka Huia and see how they are holding up. I hope they are keeping warm!


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Your memory is amazing. It goes completely out of my mind if I don't write things down when it happens! A bit jealous of the hot weather you are experiencing at the mo, reminds me of us this time last year also basking in the sunshine. At least your readers will see how cold it is in the UK at the moment from my photos, although warmer weather is on its way this weekend....yeah. Xxx

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

I don't remember things accurately - but I check the photos and that prompts my memory banks ...

As David and I walked back from Waikanae village after breakfast this morning - in the rain!!! Yay!!! (one umbrella for David and no coats) - we discussed that selling the boat was a good idea. My reasoning is that I cannot think of anything worse at the moment than 2 summers a year ...