James & Christine Round the World 2008 travel blog

River at Reikorangi, Akatarawa Road

View from summit of Akatarawa Road

11 Rondane Place

Mangaroa Valley & Rimutukas

16th February

This morning was spent receiving instructions in how to use the TV, Sky, Laptop, appliances and spa pool. We'll never remember it all but we'll try.

We enjoyed a few hours at the Nga Manu sanctuary where there are many birds, including Kiwis, Morepork, Tuis, Keas and many other native birds as well as Tuatara and a swamp walk through native bush.

We took Christine's films in to be developed in the afternoon and shopped for provisions etc.

In the evening we made contact with Auckland only to be shocked to find that the wife of my friend Pip who had died in July had herself died in August of Leukaemia leaving three young children to be looked after by guardians. After all the difficulties Pip and Llyween had with IVF treatments for years it seems so unfair that neither of them will have the joy of watching them grow up.

We have arranged to meet Christine's cousin Delyse and her husband Alfred on 10th March when we are back in Auckland again but the evening has been rather subdued as we update the trip journal and get back up to date. We passed on Kathy Kerslake's regards to Delyse as requested.

The connection is dial up rather than Broadband so I may have to wait to upload photos.

17th February

I'm not sure what we are doing to the place here but on Friday evening there was a mini tornado off the coast here at Kapiti just a mile or so away from the house we are staying in. Fortunately it blew itself out as soon as it hit the land but it made the front page of the paper and was the main news item on TV. Now today, Sunday there was a mid air crash of a helicopter from a new training school and a small plane which closed part of the road again only a mile away from us.

Our friends are beginning to wonder what will happen next.

We actually missed both as on Friday night we were out to dinner with Ian and today we went to the Salvation Army at Lower Hutt where we used to worship when we lived in New Zealand.

We met up with Murray & Christine Frew and enjoyed lunch with them after the long two hour morning service. Things have changed a lot since we lived here!

In the afternoon we drove round to Day's Bay in Eastbourne where St Kilda's brass band from Dunedin were playing in the park.

In the evening Cindy arrived back from Taupo and Ian came up from Wellington and we had an enjoyable evening looking through photos and catching up with family news.

18th February

The day started overcast so we decided to have a quiet day and take in a walk along the beach. Whilst it started off cloudy the wind soon cleared the clouds and we found ourselves on a two hour walk in the sun which may not prove to be a good idea as the sun is very strong here.

We've arranged to have lunch with Joop and Tini on Thursday so it will be good to catch up with their news.

Having made lunch it was nice to lay out on the lawn and take in the sun through sunblock lotion.

We'd taken Christine's four films in for processing on saturday and looked forward to seeing the results. We were not disappointed and the camera shop commented on how rare it is to have a half frame camera, however the results are excellent and we are both very pleased with them. It could be that the lack of processing houses that handle half frame films may be the reason Christine eventually replaces her camera which is now over 34 years old.

It's time for a relaxing Spa now so we'll sign off till tomorrow.

19th February

Today we went in to Wellington and decided to take the train. They have just brought in a ticket similar to a travelcard so we bought a couple of those. The journey takes us along the coast line and is a very pretty journey which we had only travelled on once before about 30 years ago and then it was on the overnight train to Auckland so we didn't see anything as it was dark. The trip is about an hour on the train so commuting to Wellington from waikanae would be as bad as London commuting about 90 minutes door to door. No wonder we never did that when we lived in NZ.

We caught up with my sharebroker and discussed the sorry plight of the Stock markets both here and around the world. Having got depressed we went and cheered up with lunch. The day was very sunny and we enjoyed a walk along the harbour front. It was Wellington at its best.

In the afternoon we went to the National library and saw an exhibition about the attempts to save Lake Manapouri back in the late 1970's from hydro power development which still went ahead. Christine used to work at the national Library when we lived here.

It was a short walk to Old St Paul's which is the old wooden church in Wellington.

On the train back we again sat on the seaward side of the train but found in the late afternoon sun it was like a mobile sauna.

20th February

Last night I thought I would copy the photos from the memory card onto the laptop to make it easier to upload to this journal. Huge mistake. At some point a gremlin has got in and the memory card has been scrambled and I think I have lost all my photos since Buenos Aires when I had a copy made of the first week's photos.

I have been to the photo shop and they have not been able to rescue anything so far but are going to run some recovery programmes over the next couple of days to see if anything can be found.

Depression has set in!

We went to Reikorangi pottery and home farm about 5 km along the road to Akatarawa but the pottery wasn't to our taste. The farm ran down to the river which was very picturesque. Fortunately I partly listened to brotherly advice from Alan and brought a second memory card with me so I'm using that now.

Christine went for a walk along the beach while I watched the cricket match between New Zealand and England which was a nail biter ending in a draw with 340 runs each from 50 overs.

21st February

We decided to drive over the Akatarawa road to the Hutt valley this morning on the way to Joop and Tini Bons' for lunch. This road was even narrower than I remembered but still just as windy. Although the speed limit was only 50kph I was never over 40kph as you couldn't see round most of the bends and although there was not much traffic on the road what was there turned up at the hairpin bends.

We stopped at the summit to take a picture and then drove on past Staglands wildlife park where we took the children on one of the trips back to NZ and then on past the old Salvation Army camp at Akatarawa where we had a couple of corps retreats when we lived in NZ.

It was lovely to catch up with Joop and Tini again who we knew from the SA in Lower Hutt and Joop took the family photos that many of you will have seen hanging on the walls in our home. They 're retired now and Tini is struggling to regain her health and certainly appeared to be better than last time we saw her. Hopefully she will soon be well enough to travel back to see family in Holland and drop in to spend time with us in England. We went out to a lovely restaurant built out of straw bails in the Whiteman's valley behind Upper Hutt. We then drove along to Mangaroa valley before returning via Upper Hutt. We had never visited that part of the Hutt before.

In the evening we met up with Murray and Christine for dinner. Our first homecooked meal in almost six weeks since we left England. Roast lamb and mint jelly with all the trimmings and then in early celebration of my birthday, traditional Christmas pudding and custard. If there was any pattern on the plates before she served the meal it had disappeared with all the food by the time we finished.

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