Archive for the ‘games’ Category

Theatre, rugby, party, football time

January 3, 2018

Friday 29 December:

We headed into London on Friday afternoon aiming to eventually end up in the Westend as we had booked seats to go and see a show. Alex, Antony Roy and I made our way into town via train and tube with Ian joining us later once he had finished work. But first we all need to have something to eat as we hadn’t had lunch at it was by now nearing 5pm and the hunger pangs were starting to gnaw away.

We headed to a restaurant by Covent Garden called Ping Pong, for a dim sum feast.

Alex reminded us that we had actually been here before when we last visited London, except that time the restaurant was Spanish tapas bar and our company at that time was my niece Fran and her now hubby Clive. I’ve looked for the photo of us having dinner together then but I cannot find it amongst the few thousands of pictures we have!

From there we headed across to the Westend Theatre district where we were set to see a show, called Mischief Movie Night, an improvised movie live on stage. We first had to meet up with Ian before the show, we then settled in to watch the show.

the scene is set

What happens with this show is that you suggest a genre, location and title and Mischief Theatre’s improvisers bring the show to life, complete with rewinds, fast forwards, directors cuts and a live score. So when it came time to call out suggestions for genres, a few were called out and picked then we had to vote for which one we wanted….Alex’s choice of Kung Fu movie made the cut as did Roy’s suggestion of Spaghetti Western with Roy’s suggestion winning out to popular vote. Other extra things that were added to the plot was the classic gunfight scene, the setting was an old picture theatre and a dinosaur had to make an appearance!

Much hilarity ensued, with the cast at times unable to contain themselves when things went awry and ended up in fits of laughter. We all thoroughly enjoyed the humour and it was a really great night out, with a train journey home to wrap up the night.

Saturday 30 December:

We were all going to Twickenham to watch a rugby match, including Ian’s parents Christine & Barry, their cousin Julie & Brian, Matt and Alex’s friend Helen completed the group. First we headed to the Campden pub to meet up with everyone for a bite to eat for lunch before making our trek across the city, oh and this was the same pub we came to on Christmas Day. At times it was like herding kittens.

The train journey meant we had multiple changes to make and platforms to find, but we got there in plenty of time to then make the trek from train station to the rugby grounds.

walking along the streets with the crowds.

getting settled into our seats

It was a packed stadium with nearly 78,000 people in attendance, but with clear views of the pitch, a huge screen at each end of the stadium and smaller screen directly in front of us, we were guaranteed not to miss a thing.

The ball delivery was a little different as well with a high wire stretched across the top of the stadium and a guy bouncing along the wire to the middle to deliver the ball dropping it from the great height. I have to admit that I could not watch him as it made me feel rather ill.

in both pictures above, you can see the tightrope walker in the screen and if you look carefully you can also see him in the little piece of sky peeping through the top of the stadium. In the lower picture, the ball has just been dropped which you can see in the tv screen. Please note that I took these pictures by not looking and just pointing and clicking!!!

We enjoyed the game and the crowd was very good. Rugby crowds are very different to football (aka soccer) crowds here. Apparently football supporters are kept very separate from each other with lots of police and crowd control in evidence. In many matches, one group of supporters is locked in the grounds whilst the opposition supporters are let out, and usually in totally different directions so they never meet! A little different to what we experience and what is experienced at the rugby where everyone is mixed and friendly banter ensues. I am told that rugby is for “posh” people in the UK, the ones that go to the right schools, don’t ask me if it’s the public or private school as the two types of school are labeled the opposite of what we know them as in NZ!

A few of the many food stall at the grounds, we had a drink or two and a bite to eat whilst we waited for the crowds to dissipate.

We managed to stay together and retrace our steps home.

the rabble on the train.

Oh and if you were wondering, the Harlequins won 50-21.

Sunday 31 December:

A few of Alex & Ian’s friends had organised a dinner at an Indian Restaurant, aka a curry house in this neck of the woods, for a group of us to go to on New Years Eve but first they all descended upon their house for an afternoon of watching the football and trying out a few gin based cocktails as we somehow seem to have managed to put together a reasonably large selection of gins.

looking up recipes?

From here we then went to the Curry House for an evening that proved to be brilliant on many counts. First the company was great, second the food was amazingly delicious and very very different to the NZ versions of curry, and thirdly there was entertainment. And believe me when I mean entertainment, I mean we were thoroughly entertained.

The entertainment was one guy on a key board who we must admit that initially we had serious reservations regarding his competence, however after a couple of songs, which included local improvised lyrics, wigs hats and glasses were continually being added for dramatic effect, we were all soon into the swing of things. With the refreshments flowing, he was being helped along by our vociferous table (albeit except me as I had woken that day without a voice), but I did try!!!

doing his Elvis impression.

After an hilarious evening out we headed back home to continue the celebrations including watching on TV London putting on an impressive display of fireworks.

Monday 1 January :

It was a slower (and later) start to the day today, by late morning we were all up ready for the days activities. Alex and I went off to do the grocery shopping whilst the blokes went off to the local football match, supporting Welling. Apparently Roy is becoming known as an honorary long distance supporter, as I think this is his third or fourth game he has been to!!!

The ground for the game against Dartford

Meanwhile Alex and I had a quiet day at home before everyone returned for dinner then we all settled down in front of the TV to watch the darts final live. I know, who would have thought that I would want to watch men throwing darts at a dart board? But after having to watch a number of games surrounded by some very avid and vociferous fans, I became a little interested! And yes, it was a good final.

All in all a busy and fun few days.

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Christmas in London

December 29, 2017

Plans were made, orders placed and lists drawn up in readiness for Christmas Day. Alex and Ian were hosting Christmas Day festivities this year and for Ian’s family this would be a little different from their traditional fare. Tables were arranged so everyone could be seated comfortably, seating plans were made, cutlery and crockery were borrowed, Christmas crackers were made, the menu drawn up and we were all set for the day with a bit of a kiwi twist put on it all.

The English were nearly outnumbered by Kiwis though as Alex’s friend from Oamaru days, Kaz, who also lives in London came to join in the fun. However, it was not all going to be Kiwified, one English tradition for this family is that you all head to the pub around midday for a couple of hours, to meet up with friends, celebrate over a couple of drinks before heading home for Christmas dinner, it was in fact good fun and a nice way for everyone to catch up with friends before going off home for family time. It also happens to be one of Ian’s mates birthday on Christmas Day and there is a long standing tradition of him opening his birthday gifts from his mates whilst at the pub…..let’s just say that I have no idea where these guys found the gifts but let’s just say they were hilarious (and some were very definitely x rated!!).

Once back at home, Alex and I got into cooking mode, although there wasn’t that much to do as we had prepped just about everything before hand, so it was just the last finishing touches to do.the table all set ready to go

We all settled down with a festive drink and some nibbles before dinner was ready, Roy had made a delicious duck pistachio and cranberry terrine which with a few pickles and some nice bread went down very well. Then it was time for entree and our homage to turkey, in the form of turkey bonbons with a port cranberry sauce. Apparently roast turkey is the usual main course in this part of the world and to deviate from having a turkey was unheard of. So as not to disappoint those who wanted turkey we came up with this alternative, turkey breast pieces in a spicy rub encased in phylo pastry made to look like Christmas crackers or bonbons. They went down a treat. Then it was the main course…..Beef Wellington using ribeye beef, and it looked and tasted fantastic I have to say, and along with all the trimmings it was a great success. You will note a lack of photographic evidence of the food….some of us were working too hard to have remembered to take any pictures!! However here are a few of us enjoying the meal.

Once the main was out of the way it was time to adjourn to the lounge for another variation on Christmas gift giving, our version of secret Santa.

everyone was told to buy a gift to a nominated value, wrap in newspaper and bring it along. Everyone then draws a number out of a hat to determine the order in which you choose and open a gift, once opened, you can then opt to either keep the gift or swap with another opened gift. With much hilarity gifts were opened, kept, swapped and swapped again.

Christine opening one of her gifts with Julie & Brian watching on

who bought that, we all wondered?!

Antony and Ian discussing the pros and cons with the rest of us laughing along

Roy and Alex

It was all rather hilarious with some inventive wrapping and packaging also in evidence, and everyone received a really good present. I think that the English members of the family were quite impressed with the whole idea and it certainly makes life a lot easier rather than buying small gifts for all.

The gift swapping took a good hour and a half to complete and then it was time for dessert, a pavlova of course and a chocolate roulade as well as a small Christmas pudding for those traditionalists.

There was a planned cheeseboard for afters but by this time we were all well and truly full, so it was time for trying out some of those gifts, generally chat and look back on the day. The outcome? Well, the English have decided that Christmas 2019 will be held in New Zealand with our turn to host……hmmmm, does that mean we shall have to find ourselves a base? We shall see!!!

House sitting

August 21, 2017

It’s been nearly a week since we arrived at Whakapirau to take up our house sitting duties with the handover taking place last Sunday. We quickly settled into some semblance of routine before our first guests arrived. Pat & Sue arrived on Tuesday for a few days stay, they are fellow motorhomers whom we have travelled with over many months the past few years. This year they have wintered over in Kaiteriteri so it was lovely that they flew up to join us for a few days of catch up.

Of course I neglected to take a single picture of us together, I did try one evening when we were playing cards but my attempt at selfies failed yet again, I have figured it is because my arms are too short, and no, I shall not be investing in a selfie stick any day soon. So you will have to be content with a picture of the view from the deck.

view from the deck looking across to Pahi.

We really enjoyed their company especially the many games of cards (girls reign supreme) and getting us back into doing jigsaws which is always a little difficult in a motorhome with lack of space in which to spread out the jigsaw pieces. So far we have done a couple that we have picked up at the second hand store which I shall be returning to in the next few days to swap over the Puzzles.

One of the completed puzzles

We did not get up to much, mainly spending our time catching up interspersed with the occasional bit of farm tending i.e. herding escaped sheep back into their paddock, feeding the hens and collecting eggs, sharing plenty of good food as well as imbibing in the odd vino. All too soon it was time for Pat & Sue to return south and they left on Saturday. We have more guests arriving today but more on them later. In between we have been to evening drinks with the locals at the beach and had one of the locals round for dinner and others for morning tea. All in all quite a social time.

Hakuna Matata

May 17, 2016

The past week at Matata has flown by with very little achieved but we have been busy with people.

Someone with a sense of humour adjusted the sign on the approach to Matata

Brian & Marj headed off early in the week , we miss their company and in particular their cheerful disposition and positive attitude to life but we look forward to meeting up with them again in Northland later in the year.   My big sister Sue & her hubby Jeff arrived on Friday morning to spend the weekend with us.  They have recently bought a small campervan and are still coming to terms with all the intricacies of their van, we were able to help them sort out a couple of things.   Not long after Sue & Jeff arrived, we also had a visit from my niece Jenna to introduce  her new baby daughter Isla to her Great Uncle and Aunty.  Another niece Amy came along as well, as well as their father Keith so it was a great day of catching up for all of us with lots and lots of chatter and laughter.   Of course I forgot to take a single photo as I was too busy playing with Isla and catching up on everyone’s news but here is a picture of Isla wearing one of the cardigans I have knitted recently.


We spent a lovely weekend with Sue & Jeff,  we all went into Whakatane over the weekend and caught up with brother John as well as getting a bit of shopping done.  Unfortunately the weather was not cooperative over the weekend for us to be able to get the kite out to do any fishing but we hope it will change later this week.

Sue & Jeff in front of their van

Although we are booked in for another week here at Matata we may head off in the next day or so as we are due at Kopu near Thames next Monday for the repairs to the van to be done, and we wouldn’t want to rush getting there would we? 

Visitors

January 28, 2016

A number of  friends and family have visited us since we have been at Shakespear, and it’s lovely to see them all.  Roy’s eldest son Simon and wife Anita came visiting one Sunday afternoon after Simons commitments with Auckland tennis were over (he’s the chair of Auckland tennis).  It was lovely to see them and catch up with their news and their busy lives.

Bernice’s brother Steve and wife Leslie have been to stay for the past few weekends, they have put up their tent behind our  van, which means that they can pop up after work on a Friday and leave Sunday afternoon as it is only a 30 minute drive from their home.  We have had lots of fun and laughter which is usual when we get together, Steve has also brought up his boat so that he and Roy can go out fishing.  The past two weekends they have also had one of their grandchildren with them.  First there was Ben, eldest son of their daughter Sarah.  Ben is 8, we had a great weekend with him keeping us well on our toes.  He really enjoyed getting up on Sunday morning to go with Uncle Roy on his walk along the beach collecting bags of rubbish and treasures along the way.  He also enjoyed getting up on top of the van to check out the view from up on high. 

   
And yes, the grass has grown around the van, note the length of the grass around the wheels!

The next weekend, Steve and Les were accompanied by their granddaughter Bea who has just celebrated her 3rd birthday.  We had a fun weekend with her, and on that particular day Sarah came up with her three boys to join in the fun for a day which included a water slide put up by some of the campers.  Ben and Finn braved the slide by themselves whilst Asher decided it was not for him as he had already had a bit of a mishap (more on that shortly),  Aunty Bernice was the only one brave enough to take Bea for a ride down the slide and I can tell you it was mighty scary!! 

 That’s Bernice and Bea flying down the slide!

Earlier that day the boys had gone off to explore the park, which included a climb up a very popular, but very steep hill.  It all went went until it came time for the descent with Ash first sliding then tumbling head over heels down the steep incline.  This is the result – warning: nudity involved in the following picture. 

 7 year old Asher’s scars!

Yesterday’s weather forecast was not looking too good with heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast, however, the day did not look too bad so Sarah and the boys decided to heck with the forecast and came up for the day.  It turned out to be a real scorcher of a day for us even if the rest of Auckland was receiving a deluge.  Most of the day was spent in the sea swimming, but we did manage to get out of the water long enough for the boys to complete their Junior Ranger Badges.  

 Aunty Bernice marking the booklets, with from front clockwise Ollie (Ben’s friend), Ben, Ash (obscured) and Finn.

PS.  We have mowed the lawns so everything looks tidy.  We had to take the van down to Silverdale to fill up with LPG as our tank is an inbuilt one, so whilst we had to move the van, we took the opportunity to mow the grass.  That should see us right until we leave here at the beginning of March.

Family

November 4, 2014

Before we left Ambury we had the usual encounter with the bird life.  There were Pukeko of various sizes from the newly hatched to the nearly fledged.

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And then there was this curious family of ducks who made themselves at home on our doorstep.

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Whilst stationary the chef could not resist making more jam so here we have Strawberry Jam with just a touch! of Grand Marnier.

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Then it was on to Ardmore where we met up with Jim and Judy.   Notice in this photo the other major undertaking at Ambury – the purchase and fitting of a tray on the roof rack and a tube for fishing equipment and other long poles. And since our last visit to Ardmore, about half of the parking area has been levelled and gravelled.

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And finally the day had arrived.  Off to the airport to welcome Alexandra and Ian

I think they expected someone to meet them!!!

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And finally they did

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Of course they then turned around and deserted us to attend a wedding in Christchurch so after a dinner on the night of their arrival with Antony, Simon and Anita they were off next morning.

We then had a  long wait until they returned the next Sunday when we had dinner at Antony’s place.

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And finally we got off to Whangamata on the Tuesday.  We were joined by Alexandra’s friends Jessica and Jarrad.

This led to the inevitable games of cards

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We allowed Antony to be king of the cards!

We also managed to get our hands on some of the new Chocolate milk, a collaboration between Lewis Road Creamery and Whitakers Chocolate.  MMmmmmm.

20Chocolate Milk moustaches21Getting out every last drop!

A great few days together with the younger members of the touring party heading off on day trips to places like Hot Water Beach and Wenderholm Falls.  Before too long, is was time to leave.

Visitors

May 2, 2014

We first met Chris & Amanda back in November 2011 when we were in Oamaru, then we kept running into them at various points along the road including in New Plymouth in November 2012. So when they contacted us to say that they were heading north for a break we took the opportunity to arrange to meet up. As they have an Ultima 5th wheeler, they also knew Pat & Sue, having met up with them when they had an Ultima before they saw the light and crossed over to join those of us with a Mirada!!!! Pat & Sue were still in Kopu with the van having work done on it, however they managed to pry themselves away and came up to join us and the girls for dinner. A good evening was had by all before Pat & Sue headed off back to Kopu leaving us to enjoy the quiet of Waharau.

Chris & Amanda had been having a few problems with their water pump which had just been fixed the day before. They had run low on water but as we had been collecting a bit of rainwater, we offered them a bit of a top up of their tank with lovely clean rainwater.

20140502-084253.jpg Chris pouring with Amanda holding the funnel. It was suggested that it looked as though they could have been filling the tank with moonshine gin or vodka!!!! Now there’s an idea!

We played tour guides showing Chris and Amanda the highlights of the area as we all sharing meals and playing lots of cards. They were due to head off Saturday morning so we convinced them to come with us into Thames where, along with Pat & Sue, we wandered through the Market in town adding to the local economy, as well as having a lovely coffee and bite to eat at Cafe Melbourne. The girls headed off to their next stop, Pat & Sue returned to their van at the workshop and we returned to our van.

Another day and Bill & Estelle came to visit, we had promised them that as the tides were right, we would put out the flounder net if they could wait around for late afternoon to help bring in the spoils. Of course the best laid plans were swept out to sea as when we hauled in the net it was devoid of any fish. Typical. We blamed the lack of fish on putting the net in a new location where it was untested, that will teach us, back to where we know the fish are biting.

Birthday weekend

April 14, 2014

What a weekend! Roy and I headed to Whangamata for the weekend as it was Antony’s 30th birthday celebrations and what is more, we were invited! We had our van parked on the lawn at Steve & Les’ place and the house was being filled with lots of young people. Friday night was relatively quiet as Ants, Meg & Phillippa had just come off night shift and Sarah had had a busy week so they were all pretty tired. Saturday and the rest arrived; Neil, Andrew & Bridgit, Tim & Jocelyn, John & Louise arrived throughout the day and joined in the fun. The evening dress code was themed to dress as a childhood hero……

20140414-103509.jpg Maverick (Top Gun) with the White Rabbit and Alice.

20140414-105303.jpgand a few more of us!

The weather stayed fine and warm, with most heading off for a swim at the beach on Sunday morning. Roy and I spent the weekend making sure everyone was well fed and watered, which we did in our usual manner. I have to admit that these fit types sure do manage to put away the food!!! We played all sorts of games, ran a quiz and generally had lots of fun…..what goes on at the party , stays at the party!! By late Sunday afternoon everyone had left and we were back to just the two of us. A bit of a clean up and tidy up to follow but I have to say that there was little to do except change beds and do the washing as they all pitched in and had everything tidied by the time brunch was over on Sunday morning.

A fabulous weekend all in all, surrounded by a great group of talented, friendly and all round welcoming young people. They included a couple of PE teachers, a couple of Olympic Rowers, a High performance Triathlete coach, Police staff, and more. We feel privileged to have been able to be part of their weekend of fun. Happy Birthday Antony, we are very proud of you.

And another week slips by

July 3, 2013

I am not sure where all the days go, but somehow they seem to disappear with some regularity. Roy duly went off to see the Orthopedic surgeon last Tuesday where it was decided that perhaps they needed an MRI scan to see better what is exactly going on. The scan was booked for last Friday with a follow up appointment to be made once the scan report was in the hands of the surgeon. The surgeons appointment is next week, however the scan was duly done on Friday, which in itself was a bit of a juggle. Bernice dropped Roy off at the clinic then whipped off to the airport to meet up with eldest brother Mike, who was returning from his sojourn to Germany and Switzerland. We arranged for Antony to meet up with Roy at the scan clinic then they both then joined Mike and I at the airport for a catch up before Mike then headed south.

20130703-121517.jpgGuess who got a new knife? Roy had his knife refurbished at the factory which Mike had visited.

Antony came for a quick visit to pick up a hat I had knitted for him

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In between, we have been busy what with one thing or another. One day I went off to the movies with Pat & Sue to see Song for Marion, a good thing to do on a wet Auckland day. I enjoyed the movie although it was a little close to to home for me at times and the tissues got a work out!

Friends have visited us at Ambury, and we have been out visiting. Saturday we went to Jacky & Chris’ for lunch and also took the opportunity to do a bit of laundry. Sunday was spent with us entertaining friends with visits from Edwina, Vanessa and her children followed by a lovely afternoon spent with Ron & Janet.

A bit of maintenance on the van has been undertaken this past week or so, Pat kindly assisted by fixing some short lengths of tubing to the end of our guttering system so we can collect rain water. Rain water certainly makes a difference in taste to our cups of tea, and we just have a few more mods to do to enable us to collect water off the awning as well. Bernice has been busy removing the old caulking from around the shower and re caulking with the appropriate gunk (tech name for the stuff that you squeeze out of a large tube/caulking gun and manage to spread over most of yourself as well as the shower!!).

The weather has been very changeable with winter woollies dragged out of the cupboard, followed by wet weather gear, followed by lighter gear. Sometimes it all occurs within a few hours of each other. The birds and plants are very confused, as we have seen newly hatched Pukeko chicks, and this Manuka is on full flower right beside our van.

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And some days it looks like we have set up a Chinese laundry

20130703-123531.jpgPat, Sue and Bernice watch the washing dry.

In the meantime, we wait for the next appointment and hope that they are pleased with Roy’s progress so that we can continue up on our journey. Roy is managing to walk a little way without crutches so we presume that means he is slowly on the mend.

Last but by no means least, we welcome another great niece to the family, Michelle Marie, born the day after her big sister Renee’s 5th birthday. Congratulations Natalie, Richard and Renee.

Heavyweights

April 28, 2013

The van NOT the occupants are classed as Heavyweight vehicles, and this last weekend there was a rally held at Little Waihi so we thought we would pop long and find out what it is all about.

Before we left Otamarakau, on Thursday night we had Keith & Deb round for a very enjoyable evening and dinner.  Although there are eels in the creek, we left them where they are and instead settled on T- Bone steak for dinner.

 eelsand to prove it, here are the eels still swimming in the creek.

barnacleFound this example of a Goose Barnacle attached to a piece of pumice.  Based on the length of the barnacle shell the piece of pumice must have been floating in the sea for some five years.

Friday morning we headed off to Little Waihi which is further along the Bay of Plenty coast toward Tauranga, not far from Maketu.   It sits on a small peninsular on the inland side of the estuary, with  Pukehina on the ocean side of the peninsular.  We got a great view of the motorhomes all lined up from the hill coming down into Little Waihi.

waihi 1Motorhomes lined up in the centre of the picture. Pukehina is the collection of houses on the ocean side at the top of the photo.

As we had a few errands to run, we headed off into Tauranga once the van was all parked up and settled and before the weekend activities began.

little waihiA close up view…oh, and that is our van parked facing forward in the centre front of the picture.

We arrived back from Tauranga only a little late for Happy Hour, the shopping was quickly put away, poured ourselves a drink, grabbed our chairs and headed over to the marquee to meet some new people and find out what lay ahead of us for the weekend.  We arrived in time for the final two quick fire raffles of the day, and guess what? We won both of them!!  The first was a breakfast pack consisting of bacon, eggs, sausages and pancake mix, the second was a meat pack.   Score!

winningsWinnings.

Saturday; morning tea, meeting new folk, checking out other vehicles, fishing competition, silly games afternoon, and a surprise visit from John who was passing on his way home from Rotorua.  A quick catch up before he left and it was time for Happy Hour.  Bernice remained in the van to watch the netball whilst Roy headed off to be sociable, it was not long before he returned with… yes, you guessed it, another meat raffle win! The freezer is now very full.

As an aside, we have been pouring over the latest editions of both the Cuisine and Dish magazines, both of which have a focus on all things Italian.  We have picked out a number of dishes to try and had stocked up on our Friday shop with items required to make a selection of menu items.  Saturday evening we enjoyed from Dish; Lemon & Oregano crumbed Lamb Cutlets with Potato rosti and salad – divine.

Lemon and Oregano Crumbed Lamb CutletsDinner

 

sunrise 1Early Sunday morning looking across the river estuary to the Little Waihi settlement. sunrise Sunrise on Sunday morning

litle waihi 3Some of the 47 Heavyweights lined up.

Sunday and after friendly farewells, we headed off to Tauranga. This time to Fergusson Park where we had been told was good free parking right on the waters edge.  After first visiting the dump station near Tauranga Airport, we settled into our very nice parking spot before Jenna came for a quick visit.  After more netball watching, time for another delicious dinner, this time an item chosen from Cuisine,

photoan Italian Sausage Ragu with Polenta.