I thought I'd better do a post before you think I've slipped off the edge of the earth and disappeared into oblivion. But no, I'm still here. Just. I have been pretty smug regarding the fact that I haven't had a cold, a cough, the flu, the slightest hint of a sniffle during the last two years on the road. But I knew it would eventually catch up with me and thankfully it waited until after the party, I've been as crook as a dog for the last few days and feeling very sorry for myself.
I can't blame the grandchildren either (the usual source of coughs & colds) I'm going to blame my sister & brother-in-law who arrived from Whangarei coughing and spluttering. They left a departing 'gift' for me. Thankfully, if you're going to be ill it pays to be parked alongside your parent's house- Mum is doing a grand job cooking dinners and supplying pills & potions to help ease the discomfort. And at least the weather has been as miserable as I feel.
Anyway, enough of my misery. We had a fabulous weekend celebrating Dad's 80th birthday and catching up with friends and family at various functions and dinners. Below is a photo of Dad's birthday cake. A friend of my sister made it and Gae carried it as hand luggage on the plane down to Napier. Well in fact my brother-in-law (David- yes another David) had to carry it, as it was so heavy, well over the 7kg hand luggage limit. The cake itself was a Caramel Bailey's Mud Cake and very tasty too. That's not a drunk golfer on the green either, he's blowing the golf ball in.
After the party on Saturday night and watching the All Blacks win the World Cup early on Sunday morning we spent the rest of Sunday cleaning up and relaxing.
On Monday we packed ourselves into the 'people-mover' and headed out on a tiki-tour, something we still do when the family get together. Just like we did when we were kids, we take the long road and explore along the way. The only difference being that I get to be the driver instead of Dad. And with my nieces & nephews out of town (sadly unable to attend the party) and my brother at work we only needed the one car.
It was such a beautiful sunny day we decide to head to Te Mata Peak to take in the fantastic views. I take the back roads, skirting around the back of Taradale, Fernhill and Hastings before passing through Havelock North and winding our way slowly up the hills to Te Mata Peak. Along the way we stop at a roadside stall and buy a large punnet of freshly picked strawberries to share. There's nothing like the sweet juicy red flesh of freshly picked strawberries; spring strawberries whose taste hasn't been 'killed' by cold storage.
The family taking in the views.
It's 360 degree views from the top of Te Mata Peak, unfortunately a haze has settled over the extremities. This is looking out towards Hawke Bay with Napier's Scinde Island (Bluff Hill) on the horizon. That's the Tukituki River and a Craggy Range Winery below.
A zoomed in shot with Napier in the background-
Thankfully there's a fence between the ramp and the pathway; there's a few hundred metres of fresh air off the end of the ramp and I'm sure if it was easier to access a few (more) idiots couldn't resist taking a look.
David surveying his old stomping ground; the Tukituki River valley which he once fished on a regular basis. The Tukituki is also where we camped with family last Christmas.
Looking south, the communication tower atop Mt Erin can be seen. And it's no wonder Dad gave me the driving duties. He reckoned it wouldn't look good if he was driving and there was a crash- "80 Year Old Kills Family Driving off Te Mata Peak", it's a steep, narrow and winding road to the top.
It's a pity about the haze, the best time to view would be early in the morning with the sun rising behind you. This is looking out across the fertile Heretaunga Plains over Havelock North and Hastings towards the Ruahine Ranges.
If you look closely you can see the three mountains of the Central Plateau; from left to right- Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom) and Mt Tongariro.
The family relax before we fold ourselves back into the car and head off to Napier for some lunch.