|Wake up Pops. Let's read a story.|
Kia Ora my friends. Well, it seems like we’ve come home, which is a bit strange, considering we are over 3,000 miles from Hertfordshire and the UK, but that is the definite feeling we both have after a few days here in sunny Karori, Wellington, NZ. In fact everything is definitely Kai Pai (look it up in a Maori dictionary).
After a very pleasant and peaceful two weeks on Vancouver Island with Pat’s family we decamped across the water to see some other pals Sue and Norman, who live above the city in North Vancouver, in a lovely spot overlooking the city. We were only there two days but they gave us a great tour of the city (including a look and a taste at two of the city’s many craft breweries). They certainly looked after us and we hope to see them in the UK later this year, as they are intrepid travellers as well and regularly come to Europe.
|Susan and Norm. Our hosts in Vanouver|
|Pat and I beside BC Place. It's a balmy six degrees.|
It’s a 12-hour flight from Vancouver to Auckland and on the way you gain a full day, though I must say, I still haven’t completely got my head around how that works. On previous expeditions I have managed to buy myself an exit row seat, which makes these long flights bearable, but we missed the boat on this one and, although we had an aisle seat each, it’s still a real squeeze when, at six foot three inches tall, you try and prise yourself into your seat, especially if the person in front has their seat reclined. My eyes have been really sore over the last two weeks, so watching a movie, just inches away from my face was no fun. So it seemed to me a very, very, long journey, and no matter how I try, I just can’t sleep on planes. Just about anywhere else is fine, in fact I can normally drop off on cue, but not on a flight. It’s not fair.
We had several hours at Auckland airport waiting for our connection and the original plan was to dump the cases and catch at bus into the city, but in the end we hung around the airport and grabbed some zzzzs. We have been to Auckland a couple of times, and it was very expensive to catch the bus in and back for just a couple of hours.
So now we are in Wellington: it’s mid-summer, the sun is shining and beyond the back garden we can hear the clink of leather on willow as the cricket season is in full swing. Amazingly, for Wellington, we have a wind-free day and we have just returned from the city after buying some new ukulele strings, a pay as you go card for my phone and a “Snapper” card for their bus system, which we use a lot. It’s only a 15-minute journey into the centre of the city by bus and they are very frequent.
Livi, our almost three-year old granddaughter, is keeping us entertained and exercised at the same time with a never-ending programme of hide and seek, jigsaw puzzling, singing songs on my uke as we march around the room, playing in the sand pit, watering her plants and flowers, cooking on her over in the garden, etc. She is a real cutie, and quite the little “bossy boots” at times. Her baby brother Ben, is now four months old and smiles a lot. This was our first encounter and amazingly, he didn’t cry when we met.
|Baby Ben. Definitely a "Big Time Cutie"|
|Livi does a bit of tidying up around her garden|
So we have now settled down and are evolving a routine that will no doubt include lots of shopping, going to the zoo, and travelling on the bus into the city with its many distractions, including the Botanical Gardens, which is our favourite day out.
|A belated birthday Brownie cake. (Half way through it a cap on my tooth dropped out into the bowl)|
We also are planning two away expeditions. One, back to Nelson on the South island (I can’t come to NZ and not go to Nelson) to see our old pals Vic and Val and family and we are also heading north on a big sweep of the Cape after visiting Napier and the Bay of Plenty. Not much on the Cape but Maori villages, so it should be an interesting journey. We’ll finish close to Hamilton to see our Kiwi pals Helen and Kevin. Hear huge storm is coming across the Atlantic. Keep safe everybody.