Saturday, 9 November 2013

Catching up in Napier

Well we've been parked up here beside my parents place in Napier for the last two weeks & it looks like it'll be another week before we have finished with all we have wanted to do. Not only that but at this stage we can't book our ferry trip across the Strait as all bookings have been suspended while the problem is sorted with one of the ferries(not our one) which lost a propeller while crossing Cook Strait a couple of days ago.

Hopefully things will be back to normal next week & once we have a day to cross in mind we can book ahead as we want to travel on one particular ferry; the drive on, drive off Kaitaki which is ideal for fifth-wheelers. The Kaitaki also has recently been relaunched after a major refurbishment, inside & out & comes with a Premium Lounge. I have too many bad memories of long ago Cook Strait crossings so I'm hoping a little more luxury this time (& fine weather) might help erase the horror of those past rough rides.

Last week was Dad's birthday and we celebrated it by having lunch at Off The Track restaurant in Havelock North, a restaurant that Dad & Mum had wanted to take us too the next time we were in town. It was a lovely spacious restaurant & café just off one of the many Hawkes Bay cycle trails, hence its name, and had Te Mata Peak framed in this large picture window. The meals were great although rather large, the coffee was superb & topped off with a fine work of art.

In the evening we went to a film I had been chasing around half of the North Island to see. It was in the NZ Film Festival & I had missed it in Tauranga as we'd been in Auckland, it was then in Whangarei but we left a day earlier, then Whakatane but we were in the process of moving house & now finally I saw that "Soul of the Sea" was here in Napier but only on the night of Dad's birthday. So I convinced the family to come with me & not knowing how large the theatre was going to be I wanted to arrive early enough to get a good seat. I needn't have worried there were only about 10 people in a theatre that sat a couple of hundred!
No problems seeing the screen!
Soul of the Sea is the story of Moko, the friendly bottle nose dolphin that I swum with a few years ago. I had met most of the people in the film & in fact there was a fleeting view of me as the camera zoomed past the sea of faces at Moko's memorial. As an added bonus & a surprise I got to see my name on the big screen, in the credits at the end, because I had donated some money (& photos) to help the film maker, Amy Taylor produce the movie. I was pleased to have finally caught up with the film, the final chapter for me, on Moko.

Not only did we go to the Moko movie we were given tickets  to the premier of the Paul Potts movie, One Chance, the story of the rags to riches story of the Welsh opera singer & winner of Britian's Got Talent. We all thoroughly enjoyed it too, it's well worth seeing. So after not having been to the movies in quite a number of years Mum & Dad got to go twice in a week!

Over Labour weekend the Gypsy Fair was in progress just around the corner in Anderson Park. We had a wander through the odd assortment of vans, buses, stalls, people & dogs. And marvelled in particular at the bus in the top photo. That must surely be the earliest version of a slide out there is. Maybe that's where the alternative term of "push out" (& push in) comes from.

During the week I took the opportunity of paying a last visit to my favourite pair of ducks. These plumed whistling ducks are very rare visitors to New Zealand (only 2 or 3 sightings have ever been recorded) and they have made a suburban pond their home for the last few years. I have been visiting them regularly on my visits to Napier and up until the beginning of last winter there were in fact three ducks. Sadly one has disappeared sometime over the colder months & I wonder what will happen if & when another disappears. There will be one very lonely duck left behind.  Their natural habitat is in tropical northern Australia & Indonesia so they are a very long way from home.

Yesterday I had my first round of golf since my foot operation, just six days short of four months since the op & I was a little nervous of how my feet were going to stand up to the rigors of playing 9 holes of golf even though I had a cart to carry me (& Mum) around. My feet are still quite swollen & I have only been able to wear a couple of pair of shoes with adjustable straps, up until today that is. I couldn't get my golf shoes on but I managed to get my walking shoes on with their softer sides. It was still quite a tight fit & I worried that I'd have to remove them before I got too far but they were fine. And my golf wasn't too bad either, I managed to match Dad on a couple of holes & beat him on another, I was just a little rusty here & there but I was happy I did as well as I did. Although I did lose two balls in exactly the same spot which didn't help with my score.

                                       Waiohiki Golf Course Hole #9                                                      Mum looking for my lost balls
We had a few drinks last weekend with extended family and we've come up with a name for these gatherings; we're having drinks with a "Chatter Platter". There are many females on my mother's side of the family and they span four generations in ages & we all like to talk, lots! Usually it is very hard to hear yourself think let alone get a word in so when we saw a Chatter Platter on the menu at Off The Track Restaurant we decided it fitted the Johnstone girls perfectly.

I've had a bit of a distraction while writing my blog & catching up on paper work this past week. This has been the view from the dining table as the neighbourhood transformer gets replaced right beside where we are parked. Little do they know that they are being watched as I sit typing at my laptop although I must say it's a little bit disconcerting waking up in the morning when there's just a thin wall between you in bed & them out there. There have been lots of comings & goings with anything up to six men and four vehicles here at once, they all seem to have their own particular job to do & there's much leaning on the bollards offering advice to each other. And occasionally in amongst the group I even see a white haired lady offering advice!

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