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Archive for November, 2013

I had a lovely four-day weekend.  I headed up to Tauranga on the Friday at a leisurely pace.  I headed out about 10 am and stopped beside Lake Taupo for lunch.  It was beautifully sunny when I left but was rather cloudy near Taihape and through the Desert Road.  There are only four places you can stop on the Desert Road, overlooking the volcanoes of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro.  Two of those places have no view of the mountains; one has a view of Ruapehu but partially obscured by power lines; and the other is just a space on the side of the road at the top of a hill.  You have to be travelling south and know when it’s coming up to spot it.  I, therefore, had to snap while driving, which is often hit and miss.

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Mt Ruapehu, approaching Waiouru

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Mt Ngauruhoe

Despite the cloud, it didn’t rain and the road was perfectly dry until I got to Tokoroa and it was as if someone had hosed down all the streets.  The roads in and out of Tokoroa were bone dry and the town itself completely wet.  Quite bizarre.  I drove through pine forest country (and behind logging trucks) to Putaruru, where I turned off to drive over the Kaimai ranges.

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I used my new GPS and it was very handy, particularly near Tauranga as I hadn’t been to my friend’s new place before.  The longest stretch when the Australian female didn’t say anything was, after “Continue for 133 kilometers…” 132 km.  Fascinating to hear the mispronunciation of certain place names.  Even Cheltenham, a pretty basic English name, was pronounced “Chel TEN ham”.  “Mataroa” Road (long a) became something like “MaTArola” (short a).  Made me either laugh or frown in confusion.

I reached my friend’s house just at the right time.  She (A) was off with friends to ride horses, while her husband (M) and daughter (K) and her partner were about to head into town to the pub.  I joined them.  After five hours of driving I was ready for a drink.  We sat in one of the many bars opening out to the sea (The Strand, I think it’s called) and had an Erdinger Weissbier (on tap!).  Very nice.  M’s old school friends were at the pub too – nice couple.  Very pleasant.  I enjoyed K’s company too.  She is now living in South Victoria, Australia, and has an Aussie accent.  (I found her much easier to talk to than M’s other, older, daughter.).  After a couple of beers, we headed to an Italian pizza place (where the guy was actually Italian and greeted us with Buena sera).  While we waited for the pizzas, we had a Peroni beer.  Back to their place for pizza and wine.  Old school friend, D, turned up from Auckland.

The next day was all about preparing for M’s 60th party.  They had a marquee attached to the side of the house and we set up tables and chairs, barbecues, etc.  K made salads while A and I went to the supermarket to pick up more stuff, and helium balloons.  A good party, well attended, and their pilates teacher sang a few songs – she has a very good voice.  Another old school friend, F, appeared in the evening.  I hadn’t seen her for three years.   Chatted to various people (including ones I’d never met before), danced a bit, and collapsed about 12.30 am.  I hadn’t slept well the previous night.  I missed the helium hilarity, but did hear people shouting at each other (instead of talking) until past 1 am.

A nice, communal cooked breakfast in the morning, a wander around the property, and I headed off in the car about 1.15 pm.  I returned home via Rotorua, stopping beside Lake Ngahewa for lunch.

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A and M had suggested taking the Broadlands road via Reporoa which I did.  It was a nice straight road, with little traffic.

On the Desert Road, I stopped at the place I’d spotted when heading north, so I could get a good picture of the mountains.

Mt Ruapehu

Mt Ruapehu

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Mt Ngauruhoe

I arrived home at 6 pm.

On Monday, I did some weeding, and planting of the bushes I’d bought previously, and mowed the lawn.  I also organised for a couple of dead trees to be chopped down.  I had meant to get my WOF for the car today, but I completely forgot.

I sat on the new outdoor seats that H had bought and enjoyed the sunshine.   A great weekend.  I actually felt like I’d had a holiday and realised that I didn’t want to go back to work at all.  It suddenly hit me that I found my job incredibly boring and only enjoyed life when I wasn’t at work.

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A birthday weekend

The weekend ended up a pleasant sunny one.

It was my birthday on Saturday. H was working all weekend so it was up to me to amuse myself on Saturday. A work garden tour had been arranged for the day and I hadn’t seriously thought of going but as the day was so nice I decided to go along in the morning. I didn’t hurry. I had a relaxed breakfast and chatted to my brother who rang to wish me a happy birthday. I drove to town to the second garden on the list of five in total. It was a small, regimented garden of natives, lavender and a few flowers such as pansies, roses, etc. The owner of the garden showed us photos of what the garden had looked like before they ripped it apart. I actually preferred it but didn’t say so, although I did like their addition of a deck. Their backyard was overlooked by the house of our boss – not something I’d want! I’d been to the next two gardens before but was happy to go along again. The gardens weren’t so tidy this time and I felt much better about mine, which I’ve been tidying up a bit. I left just as they were preparing for lunch. The ‘tour’ had me enthused. I thought of buying new plants for pots and for a large grass-infested bed which needed a complete makeover. I’ve already taken the rosemary out and thought of pulling out the solitary rose which has done nothing since I last pruned it.

After buying something for lunch at home, I headed to a garden centre and bought $85 worth of plants. After lunch, I mowed the lawn and weeded the side garden. On the Sunday I weeded the front bed, which had also been taken over by grass. I planted two hebes there and some black grassy plants. Then onto the large bed at the back which I had made a start on. I pulled out the rose (it was reluctant). I moved a succulent and some gazanias, and pulled out more weeds. I planted some lobelia and another flower into pots. I decided to plant the two bushes I bought for the bed later.  I also relaxed in the sunshine with a G & T.

Late Saturday, H cooked a lovely meal of creamy mushroomy chicken pasta, my favourite. She’d also bought a sparkling white wine which we drank with it. Afterwards she gave me a gift – a GPS! This will come in handy for our South Island trip and I’ll take it for my trip to Tauranga next weekend in order to find my friend’s house which I haven’t been to since they moved. We watched a DVD I’d picked up on Friday “Oblivion”. We both found it hard to understand. We’re not Tom Cruise fans in any case, but had heard that the movie was good. “Meh.”

On Sunday, I did more gardening, as above. In the afternoon I headed out to Pohangina Valley estate to buy some wine for friend’s husband for his 60th. I put the GPS in the car and it worked. It wasn’t far to go and much of it was on one road, but it was amusing to hear the Australian female voice tell me to drive down Po-hang-ina (instead of the usual Kiwi-ised pronunciation of “Pahongina”). Dropped off to see a friend on the way back and some druids across the road from her.

H and I watched another DVD that night – “Skyfall”,during which she fell asleep. It was ok. Daniel Craig’s mouth reminds me of a duck. Rather callous ending I thought, considering the rather pointless event leading up to it.

Back to work today, for a short week before heading up to Tauranga on Friday.

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