I have driven a lot of miles the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, my travels have not taken me where I had easy access to WiFi, so no postings have been done, so will work to recap what has gone on. I left my brothers here in Auckland area on the 9th and drove south to visit my sister in Matamata (Hobbiton). I always enjoy the drive down and stopped to take in the view I particularly like. My sister I stay with had just moved two weeks before me getting there leaving a 2 bedroom house to go to a one bedroom senior flat. While visiting our other sister who is in a home, my niece (who runs the home) came in and from that ended up giving us a 'blow up' for me sleep on. It fitted nicely on the living room floor, and I managed to sleep quite well there for the three nights I was there. As the majority of my family live around my birth town I had quite a bit of visiting to do, and Friday I drove to Rotorua to visit John who I had been corresponding with. The weather on the whole cooperated and I enjoyed some lovely days as we went and visited the grave of my brother in law Jack and had a barbecue with my great nieces and basically caught up with family.
Then Sunday 12th I drove my sister and I to one of my favorite places, Whitianga, where my niece Raewyn was awaiting us. I love her home and the view over the bay out into the Pacific. Now the roads getting there are not so nice as they twist and turn over two different hill ranges. But once there it is beautiful. This time though, the clouds, mist, fog, or whatever you want to call it had the place locked in and the first day we could not see the bay. Finally it cleared and we had a wonderful day, Raewyn took us for a drive and we had 'mussels' for lunch at a mussel restaurant, then drove around the loop a bit more and visited another niece and her husband Maureen & Murray who look after a 'caravan/tailer' park. Murray had just got back in from fishing and had fresh scallops. So I got to experience a totally fresh scallop raw - you have to chew. That evening Beryl & I went to see the movie "War Horse". Raewyn had already seen it. This little town has a lovely theatre and shows two shows at different times. I enjoyed War Horse, but not as much as I thought I would.
The next and final day there we had some heavy rain and decided to go back to the movie house and see "Iron Lady". that I totally enjoyed. Meryl Streep was fantastic and no wonder she is winning everything - awards that is. Years ago I saw Lady Margaret Thatcher speak, and she was a great speaker, this movie filled in lots of gaps, and also the way it was shown it helped us understand her relationship with her husband Dennis, who most of us had wondered about as he was always in the background.
Next day, Thursday 16th, Beryl & I left 9.30am and I drove back over the winding hills, finally letting her off at a mutually agreed place where two of her daughters picked her up. One of them was just back from a trip to Australia and I had not seen her yet, and as she mentioned she was in to have a knee replacement and I probably would not have another opportunity to see her. Four of us standing there and here was me with two 1/2 knees, Sheryl with one new knee and Joanne soon to have a new knee. A family weakness that is for sure. Once the pass off was done, I then drove to the Auckland airport to pick up my friend Norma Tripplett who was arriving in from Brisbane where she is visiting a friend (Norma lives in Toronto). Her plane was late, and so we did not get away from there until 4pm - heavy traffic time. I had to drop by my brother's place before we could keep on going north. So by the time we got through the traffic, stopped there and got underway I was not sure we were going to get to Piahia, (Bay of Islands) where we were heading before dark. Luckily we made it, it was just coming in dark at 8.45pm when we arrived. Settled into our Motel room, got to sleep because we were up at 6am to get ready to be picked up for our tour of the northern tip of NZ.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip up there. The bus driver was knowledgeable about the history and the fauna. We went along the 90 mile beach (actually 56miles) and the top lighthouse, the kauri trees and had an adventure with seagulls eating our lunch when we stopped. We both agreed that it was a great tour. Then as we were not totally tired we took the ferry over to Russell and I caught up with another niece Nateele for supper. I will be back there on the 9th march. It was good to see her, and we caught the late ferry back. Should mention we had a wonderful supper at Sally's a restaurant right on the bay (who happens to be Nateele's mother in law). But if you are ever in Russell, you must eat at Sally's and say 'Norma sent me'.
The next day, now Sat 19th, we took our time, stopping by to see some award winning toilets in Kawakawa, all done in mosaics designed by an Austrian....wonderful landmark. Also stopped at a beautiful beach at Waipu Cove, where Norma T walked the beach while I read my book and got some sun (which is always strong here) then we had lunch before proceeding on. We finally arrived back at my brother's where they were finishing up celebrating my sister in laws mothers 95 birthday.
Yesterday, my brother Malcolm took us two Norma's on a trip around the Auckland western beaches, were they have black sand and a full on surf beach. Wonderful scenery, and then we came back to look at the eastern bay beaches, but I fell asleep in the back seat until we got back home.
today is my catch up day. Finally, can use my computer on the Internet and was able to do emails, phone Bridget & Rob using Skype, plus Linda who is at home holding the fort down. Now able to catch up on two weeks of travel.
How has it been? Tiring, with concerns at time over my back. I seem to realize that the mornings I'm stiff and sore and then by the afternoon it usually is no too bad. I had a wonderful massage in Whitiange by Carolyn. She saw me for 1 hour, and then for 2 hour. It was a really great relaxing massage, using hot stones and her fingers. I did feel good after. Just need it again and I'm not going back in that direction.
All is well here. I'm enjoying the family. After these next few days away again and then putting Norma T back on the plane, I will be back here with my brother and wife and begin 'working'. Have a workshop on Sunday 26th, and some clients on the 25th. Always a pleasure to share my information and joy of life.
Trust this finds you well and happy.
250 490 0654