New Plymouth, Dunedin, Whangarei
17 Feb 2012
|More photos on Facebook, anyone can copy/paste the link to see them
Up at 8am for breakfast, and a LOT of coffee, then off to the airport to catch a midday flight to New Plymouth. A short hop, just over 30 minutes, and he was met at the airport by his aunty Diane. Tony called Cynthea to say he was at the airport, and would call from his parents’ place when he got near.
The plan was for Tony to be dropped off a couple of houses back, he would text Cynthea, and she would call them on her mobile. Tony would then call Cynthea on the landline, and when he heard her say she couldn’t find him, Tony would knock on the door. A bit of a panic and delay as Tony realised he did not have the UK landline number on his NZ sim card, and he had to scramble around for the UK cell phone to get it.
It all worked a treat, Don and Doris were very surprised (cannot repeat the comments here though, haha).
Tony had a bit over a week in New Plymouth. He did a lot of walking with his Dad, including down to the pub on both the Friday nights (around 5km into town). On the Monday they did the Coastal walkway from East End to the Port. We had a coffee and walked back, the weather was brilliant, and a beer was in order after that wee walk (around 9kms).
On Tuesday there was a quick visit to see Aunty Margaret, she had spent some time in Stratford-upon-Avon many years ago. When Tony and Cynthea got married, Margaret gave them an oil painting of Holy Trinity Church (where Shakespeare is buried). She was thrilled to see the photos we had taken.
After the visit Tony and his Dad were dropped off at East End, and this time took the walkway to Bell Block. The weather was threatening rain, and it did just that only minutes into the walk. Actually, it was a downpour, very heavy rain. They sheltered under a “leaky” tree, not that they could get much wetter, it was a very heavy downpour! Tony checked the weather coming in and thought they would be able to make it to Bell Block before the next lot of rain hit, so they carried on along the walk. They had just dried out when the next lot of rain hit, just a couple of hundred metres from the shelter of the pub! They were offered towels when they walked in the door, they looked that wet. The walk was around five or six km, so they had to have a couple of beers while they waited for Tony’s Mum to collect them. The next few days were a mixed bag weather-wise, but they still got to walk to the pub on the Friday night.
That week Tony got a rather disturbing email from Cynthea – she sent a photo of her “new” look. In support of Tony’s Mum she had cut her hair off, near bald she was. Tony threatens to take his mother’s wig back to the UK, and Doris tells him she will hide her wig until he has gone!
On the second Sunday Tony headed to Dunedin for a few days, another surprise visit (that didn’t quite go to plan!). Hayden met him at the airport, they collected Aunty Joyce and took her to the restaurant where others were waiting. Steve and Robbie had arranged the lunch, and for Amanda to be there. Michael and Marara from Balclutha were also there. Tony and Hayden waited down the road, but Amanda was “missing”, seems she went to sleep waiting for lunchtime. Hayden ended up having to go and get her. Bloody typical, closest person to the pub, (lived across the road!), and the last to arrive. Tony went and hid when he saw them crossing the road, and when she was at the table Tony appeared from behind complaining that someone nicked his seat. Haha, it was a big surprise for her, and yes, there were some tears….
Tony caught up with a few people while in town, but didn’t get the chance to see as many as he would have liked. Had a coffee with Jill, and tea with Frank and Margaret, and also Mark and Christine.
Hayden brought out a big box of papers, and declared that was the mail for the last year. It took a whole morning to sift through, and there were a couple of things needing attention that took a bit more time. There were a few changes in the old town, and Tony had a wander past the house, but didn’t really want to look too closely. The place had a paint job when we left a year ago, so it is looking good there. Tried not to look too closely at the weeds in the front garden though!
The visit was over all too soon, and on Thursday it was back to New Plymouth for a few days. Rubbish weather again, so Tony and his Dad had to take the bus to town. Great service, pick up at the gate (it was too wet to walk to the bus stop, haha). There were some school girls on board, and the driver let them off at the gate too. Wonder if you would get that service anywhere else in the country?
It did feel a bit cool on Saturday night, and Sunday we awoke to a decent dusting of snow well down the mountain, it stayed there most of the week. Monday was a cracker day, blue sky and sunshine, great for a drive. Tony’s Mum went to the hairdresser, and he and his Dad went to the Te Rewa Rewa bridge on the coastal walkway for some photos. The bridge is very modern looking, and has won an international design award. Then we drove up the mountain to Pukeiti (we were going for lunch but the café was closed). There was tea, coffee and a big urn of water to help yourself to a cuppa, so we had a quick drink and a quick wander around the gardens before heading off to Oakura for lunch.
The rubbish weather returned later in the week. Tony and his folks went into town for lunch, and left his Mum looking after the pokies in the “$2 shop” at the club. Jammy bugger won a wee jackpot while Tony and Don were at the travel agents.
Sunday – time to say goodbye again, and by lunchtime Tony was out at the airport to fly to Auckland, leaving the stunning Taranaki weather behind. There were lots of tears at the airport.
Tony’s cousin Naomi and Peter met him at Auckland and they drove up to Whangarei, where his brother Jeff and Karen live. It was a bit over two hours away, and more rubbish weather greeted them. We went out for tea after Naomi and Peter returned to Auckland, then Tony and Jeff got stuck into Loren’s duty free bourbon, and very nice it was. Not one that Tony had seen before, a Jim Beam 90 proof called Devils Cut, it went down very, very well. Thanks Loren!
On Sunday Loren returned to Hamilton, and we walked along the riverbank where a sculpture park is. The weather stayed fine, and we enjoyed a cup of coffee before heading off to the AH Reed Memorial Kauri Park walkway where we saw some impressive kauri.