Archive for the ‘london’ Category

The daughter has landed

February 25, 2014

The arrival area of Auckland international airport is always a fascinating place to people watch. Where have they come from? Who is meeting them? What is their relationship? It’s interesting to watch and speculate. Antony met us as the airport as we were all there to wait for Alex to come through from her long journey (30hrs) from London. We only have her with us in NZ for just a week, and we only get to see her for a day before she heads south for Lee’s wedding. It wasn’t long before she came through the doors.

20140225-204942.jpg Alex arriving

She was pretty well exhausted by the time she was here, but we soon headed off to our second home at Jacky and Chris’ place where we are staying for a couple of nights. Alex had a quick shower whilst we got dinner underway, Steve and Les arrived to join us a with Simon arriving a short time later. We had a great evening with lots of laughter, good food, great wine and good company.

The next day (Monday), Alex and I went off to do a little retail therapy as she needed to purchase a few items to fulfill her role as Maid of Honour and organiser of the hens day/night!! We managed to complete our purchases relatively quickly and efficiently so we had plenty of time to fit in a little relaxing.

20140225-210211.jpggetting a little reading done in NZ sunshine

We headed over to the Shore later in the afternoon as we were due at Claire & Matt’s for dinner and to see their new house. Alex will be returning to NZ in October to Claire’s Maid of Honour. We had a really lovely evening and they have a very nice first home in a lovely setting surrounded by a reserve of native trees. You would not know that you were really in the middle of a big city.

Tuesday and we were to pick up another of Alex’s friends and take them both to the airport for their flight to Dunedin. It just so happened that Jacky & Chris’ flight was due in just half an hour later so we were able to pick them up and return them to their home. After a catch up with them, we returned to Ardmore and our home. For some reason it seems like we have been away for ages even though it was just a couple of nights.

Oh, and I did get a little something brought to me from the UK. I had asked Alex to pick up a toaster for us, for use on the gas stove top. I had brought one back from France three years ago but it had started to burn through on the base. A discussion on toasters took place here https://brvannini.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/ and here https://brvannini.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/. After a little searching on the web, I found a replacement, however it was only available in the UK, but I knew someone was visiting shortly so a request was put in. This version is stainless steel so should last quite a while and at just £4, a bargain!

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New Year

January 10, 2013

Happy New Year to you all, a little late but we have been very slack in keeping up with blog life!  Although now trying to think back on what we have been up to, I fear we have not been up to much apart from catching up with family and friends. 

Antony hosted a BBQ on the 28th December so we all wandered out to his place for the evening.  Mike left us the following day for his sojourn northwards. 

As I had received a small bike for Christmas, as in a 6inch model of a bike with the promise of a real bike,  we headed out to the shops to find a suitable model. This is because we in a moment of weakness I agreed to be part of a family team in the next Round the Taupo Bike race!!  Hence, I have to get fit ….and get a bike.  We found a lovely bike shop nearby where with the shop owner, along with Mike, gave me helpful advice.  So I ended up with a “Comfort Mountain Bike” which will be suitable for all sorts of biking, and not just one suitable for the race.

bike  Set up in a training frame for practice

Antony had given me a nice pair of headphones for Christmas, so now I can bike along merrily whilst listening to an audiobook.  This is of course very good for me and also helping with the rehab on my ankles, for which I am still having physio.  Whilst we are at Jacky & Chris’, I have the bike set up on a trainer so I can happily bike in situ without having to worry about negotiating traffic.

Just before New Year, friends Kevin & Faye from Nelson came to stay and we spent a lovely afternoon wandering along the waterfront,  checking out the views from the top of Mt Eden and other general sightseeing around the central city.  We ended the day with a relaxing dinner at home.  They left on New Years Eve,  and after all the excitement of the previous few days we did not stay up to welcome in the New Year and  we were in bed by 10pm. 

The following are some views of iconic Auckland sights;

iconic 2iconic

Boat Sheds                                     Sky Tower

rangi 2victoria

Rangitoto                                       Mt Victoria and Devonport

waterfrontqueue

Pohutakawa’s                            And of course the queues of traffic,

Another day and we headed out to Howick to the cemetery and the Columbarium where Roy’s parents ashes are kept.   The plaque was a little tarnished so we spent some time giving it a polish.  

plaque 1

From there we headed out for a tiki tour (or trip down memory lane) around Howick and Cockle Bay, as this is where Roy grew up.  We passed many of his old haunts and we also called in at his parents old property in Cockle Bay where there are now two houses on the 1/3 acre section.  We also called past his aunts old property in Pt England where a new house is currently being built.  On our way home we called in to see Bill & Estelle for a cuppa and a catch up.   

And a few days later we were back at Bill & Estelle’s for a BBQ with some of the old crowd.  When I say old crowd, I mean Roy’s friends from his early days around Howick.  These evenings are always fun, and always end up with ‘do you remember…’

bill Bernice listening to another one of the stories at Bill & Estelle’s.

Another day and another trip out and about, this time to Warkworth to meet Roy’s cousin Delyse and her husband Graeme. We had not been on the new highway north on the toll road and through the tunnel, so after sorting out payment (all done via the internet) we headed north.

tunnel 5tunnel 2

Approaching the tunnel                Heading through the tunnel

Delyse has also been doing a bit of genealogy so she and Roy were able to compare and swap notes. We spent a lovely afternoon with them before heading south again, this time via the old coast road.  This time we called in to  Wenderholm and Shakespear Parks to view them as possible sites for a camping weekend with Alex and her friends when she is home from London next month.  Shakespear Park is looking the most likely spot as we are constrained as to where we may park our van due to size restrictions.

As you can see from the photos, we have been experiencing amazing weather, it has been very warm and humid with a surprising lack of rain – very unusual for Auckland!  Long may this weather continue.

We have also managed to catch up with Robyn & Alan, friends from when our children were at school together at Parnell Primary.  We spent a lovely evening with them reminiscing, catching up with happenings and we will not mention the bottle of rum that Alan and Roy demolished!

We are now into our last few days of being in Auckland, as we plan to head off on Monday down to Taupo and back to our van ready for a couple of weeks of tripping around before heading  back to the Auckland region for Alex’s pending arrival.

Now for the interesting photo of the day we have the following;

 crash landed goose  It’s a patch in the tarseal but the shape is interesting…Roy says it looks like a goose that made a bad landing but I say it looks like the map of Tasmania.