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August – PARAPARAUMU and WELLINGTON
We had a slow and steady morning whilst I got my head into gear to do my Uni work… I wanted to get quite a bit done before Hannah arrived later in the afternoon. And then it all went crazy! We rang up to organise a hire car for Heather’s birthday day out tomorrow… but as they were closed on Monday we had to collect it by 2pm Sunday. That would have been ok if we hadn’t had the idea it might be nice to go and surprise Hannah from the airport… I had an hour to get my room tidied for Hannah whilst Hev investigated whether we had enough time to get to the airport in time. It was going to be a challenge, especially as Hannah didn’t think her phone would be working! But we decided to go for it! I got on the bus at 12:45pm, picked up the keys at a service station (all a bit random) and drove the car home… a challenge for me as it’s only my second time driving an automatic. As soon as I pulled in (had to avoid the chicken… had now seen it so it wasn’t Hev’s hallucination, it lives in a tree in the garden) Hev was straight out with the children. We lost time fitting the child seats (not easy!) and we were on our way to Wellington! We made good time… Fergus was my co-pilot! All the way along we kept an eye on Hannah’s flight and found it was landing early! Noooooooooooooo! We had to decide if we were going to go to the airport or to the train station (where Hannah would end up!) We worked out the timings and figured we could get to her at the airport… but didn’t count on the traffic in Wellington on a Sunday (there’s no bypass…a capital city with no bypass!) We went through some tunnels, beeping as we went (Kiwi’s beep in the tunnels, Fergus loved it!) and got into the airport. As we were looking for parking/drop off for Hev we got a text from Hannah to say she was on the Airport-City shuttle bus! Heather immediately replied ‘GET OFF THE BUS!’ but it was too late. So we hot footed it back into the city, without giving the game away. It was surprisingly easy… we managed to find parking right outside (after freaking out the taxi drivers over my braking… I’d pretty much got the hang of the automatic but was a bit heavy on the brakes) and headed inside. We found the train and checked it to make sure Hannah wasn’t already on it and found a position to wait in the station… we could see her in the distance and hid round the corner… and surprised her! I was really happy to see her because I love that girl so much, but I’d seen her recently. It was especially nice for Hev to see her! And for Hannah to meet her new niece Flora. Fergus introduced us all to Hannah… ‘Money’ (Hev), ‘Roger’ (Me) and ‘Baby’ Flora. It was lovely! We gathered Hannah up and squeezed into the car and drove back towards Paraparaumu. We were chatting and giggling all of the way, Fergus tried his best to stay awake but he dropped off. At home we got Hannah (I cooked her cheese on toast and burned my hand on the oven… my ring got caught in the grate at the top, it was horrible!) settled in and chilled out before getting Fergus into bed… tonight we were all given books to read, bless him J Mike and I headed out to pick up Gourmet Burger Takeaway from Raumati Beach which was lovely… J And then we had a nice evening in front of the TV catching up whilst I did my Uni assignment.
August – PARAPARAUMU and the KAPITI COAST
It was Heather’s birthday today so to give her a lie in I got up at 6am (!!!) with Fergus. I finished off giving him breakfast, played some games (at one point I had a car track over my head and cars were going over it) and got him ready for kindi. He was soooo good. I got Hannah up as she wanted to come to kindi with us, he was good as gold. There seemed to be a lot of children screaming in his room and he clung to my legs a bit and didn’t want to let go, it was so hard to leave him! But he was happily waving at the window by the time we left.
Hev was up by the time we got back so we did presents and got organised for a girls day out (Flora included!). We packed up the car and headed down the coast to do some exploring. Our first stop was Paekakariki Hill lookout (I’d been up there with Sal a couple of weeks ago) which was a hairy drive, I don’t like being driving around cliff roads with steep drops and no barriers let alone drive them, especially up those hills in an automatic. But we made it and it was a beautiful day so we got an amazing view! We noticed someone had written ‘You Cannot Beat This’ in lipstick and they’re totally right, it’s a breath-taking view. We made it down safely and stopped in Paekakakiri for some delicious lunch. We took a walk down to the beach and then continued along the coast road to Porirua where we headed for Titahu Bay… Hev remembered it and thought it was covered with little rock pools. It wasn’t that beach but it was still nice for a look… modern vs quaint with little beach huts (the right beach was Pukerua Bay but we ran out of time to go there… a relief for me as it looks from the train like another hairy road). We had a look around the shops in Porirua and I managed to find some of the shampoo and conditioner Hannah used in Brisbane… doesn’t seem very important but it is, I couldn’t bear my old one any longer. I found a Bikini (needed for swimming) and a nice dress, Heather found a few bits and I got some outfits for Flora. We went straight from picking Fergus up to Waikanae Beach. Waikanae has been a bit of a mythical place for me… it’s the next stop after I get off the train… I expected it to be built up and commercial but it wasn’t, was smaller and prettier than Paraparaumu. The beach was also pretty spectacular, similar to Paraparaumu but vaster and with a different view of Kapiti Island. Heather prefers Waikanae … I still have a soft spot for Paraparaumu. We took a walk along there and Fergus loved it because he could just run and run. He’s so cute, I was locking up the car whilst he ran onto the beach and Hev said he shouted ‘Where’s my Roger?’ and came running back for me. Hannah and I took it in turns to run with him… he’s so fast. And Hannah bless her spent ages trying to get a nice photo of Fergus and I together and she did it, finally! We had to drag him off the beach to get ready to go out for dinner for Heather’s birthday. We all met Mike at Mediterranean Foods (where he works at weekends) and had the most delicious pizzas, they felt fresh and healthy! We also had some lovely puddings, us girls shared everything. At home we got organised for the evening and Hannah and I headed out to refuel the car as Mike was dropping it off for us in the morning. It was a challenge…. We got to the petrol station and realised we didn’t know how to open the petrol cap (we tried everything) or what fuel the car took. We had to go in and ask for help and the guy immediately went to a lever to the right of the seat and told us it was Unleaded… I was like “Are you sure?” and he was like “Yes”. Me: “How do you know?” Him: “I just know” “Me: What if it’s Diesel?” Him: “It really is”. We sorted it in the end and the car didn’t conk out on the way home. We had Missing tonight! It threw a few twists in, only 1 episode left! And then it was early to bed, I was so tired, Hannah didn’t wake me up when she came in to bed.
to Friday 24th
August – PARAPARAUMU and WELLINGTON
It was back to work Tuesday… only 3 days left! I really really struggled. I’m not sure if I was really tired or really bored but I actually think I fell asleep at my desk… whilst continuing to work. I was having those weird dreaming thoughts you have when you’ve dropped off and when I came too I was typing something random. Not good. The same thing happened on the train, I did some Uni work then when the view got good put the computer down so I could look out the window… but I kept dropping off again and thought I was on a bus. Random. Hannah cooked us lovely Carbonara for dinner and then it was an evening of chatting and my Uni assignment. I worked super fast on Wednesday to make up for Tuesday. We girls had a chilled evening in on Wednesday as Mike was working late. Fergus was being very cute… it’s going to be so hard to say bye to him. I felt very trusted when Hev and Hannah went out for a walk to the shop and I babysit for half an hour… it was the first time Hev had left Flora so was privileged. It went well, Fergus did some chattering and wanted his ball and his nose kissed better and Flora needed a little cuddle, but there was no screaming with Heather and Hannah got home
I had Thursday off to finish my Uni assignment, it wasn’t going well, this whole course has been a struggle. I was up early as woke up knowing I had things to do and couldn’t sleep, so Heather went back to bed and I looked after Fergus whilst the plumber came to fit a new fan to the heater. It was a beautiful looking day! It was nice sitting inside with the beautiful blue sky and a nice warm breeze coming in… just a shame I couldn’t go to beach with anyone else! I eventually got my assignment submitted at 9.45pm, just in time to catch the end of Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Friday was my last day at work! It was a nice feeling but bitter sweet as it was my last commute and meant I was closer to having to say bye to the Triggs. It was a slow day but I had a surprise treat, they threw a little party for me! At home I got my last sunset, it wasn’t the most spectacular but it was nice and I made sure I got a good seat. We had a chilled out evening J
August – PARAPARAUMU
We had a slow morning, Fergus was keen on running around outside so I got my bit of exercise for the day and caught up on some Uganda stuff and posting my latest blog. We had a nice lunch and then headed into town to do some shopping and take Flora to the paediatrician, they have a wonderful rural service… a Wellington doctor recognised things weren’t being picked up in the rural babies so runs a clinic once a month to check up on them. At the supermarket we found Birds Eye Potato waffles and plastic cheese so had them in the evening! It was Hannah’s last night so we had some wine and waffles and plastic cheese again!
August – PARAPARAUMU
Hannah was leaving today… we were up early and helping her get ready. I didn’t want to say buy to her again, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again but I really love that girl. And it’s nice for your favourite hairdresser to jump on a plane to give you a haircut! Jan came round to take her to the airport, Heather and Flora went whilst I stayed home with Mike and Fergus, who was a little distressed at first but calmed down. I read my book and had a little sleep, Fergus tucked me in with a pillow and some of his toys. I really fancied fish and chips for tea so Mike headed down the shop and it was lovely, the fish taste is amazing. We watched Eat, Pray, Love – it’s not the best film. I remember reading the book and not getting very far, the film is similar. I realised half way through I’ve watched it before, it was that memorable the first time round.
August - PARAPARAUMU
I had to start sorting my stuff out today because it was my last day in Paraparaumu L I got a box together of things to go home and watched Flora whilst Heather picked Fergus up from kindi. We went to Paraparaumu Beach shops to post my package (cost $100!) and got some lunch from the bakery which we ate in the very windy park near the beach! I ran to the beach for photos but it was o windy to spend much time there! I headed on into Coastlands for some shopping and then came home for my last evening with the Triggs J Heather had explained to Fergus that I was leaving and he seemed to take it quite well and understand, he was being extra nice to me though – making a bed for us to watch cartoons in, wanting me to change the TV channels and get him ready for bed. I read him a story and he seemed quite happy but he wouldn’t settle… in the end the only place he would settle was my bed bless him! Hev did is her lovely homemade fishcakes for tea and when Mike came home we watched the final episode of Missing! Wow, left a bit unfinished though… annoying they’re not making a Season 2.
August – PARAPARAUMU to just outside of AUCKLAND
I woke up to rain, love that sound on the roof. I was leaving today so was up early to get packed up and spend time with Hev and Mike. Mike headed off to work so I had to say bye to him early on L It wasn’t nice, I was upset because he’s such a great guy and I’ve so much enjoyed spending such good times with him. Hev and I spent the rest of the morning chatting whilst I packed. It got a bit hectic when Heather got a call saying she might need to go back to hospital because her scar wasn’t healing. It couldn’t have come on a worse day! In the end Cheryl the midwife came to check her vitals so I went to pick up Fergus from kindi, he was so cute on the walk home. At home Cheryl arrived to look over Hev who was in perfect health! A relief as I wouldn’t have wanted to leave her if she wasn’t. Fergus was staying very close to me saying ‘Stay Roger’, I do think he understood as he was almost doing it in a jokey way because he knew I had to go, I alternated between giving him and Flora cuddles. Cheryl offered to take me to the airport so I cancelled my taxi and sneaked my bags outside so Fergus didn’t see them. All too soon it was time to leave, Fergus panicked a little but Heather sat him down and told him he needed to be brave and he’d see me soon. And he was brave, he even came outside to wave me off. I was so proud of him! Heather was a little more emotional, I tried to hold it together but as I drove off I had a huge lump in my throat. It was one of the hardest byes I’ve had to do, I’m so grateful for the kindness they’ve shown me and the good times we’ve had. I’ve loved every single minute of my time with them and would really miss them all, especially Fergus because he’s just at that age. I’d miss hearing him say all this little phrases like ‘Come on Roger’ and ‘HEY’. I’m getting emotional writing this 3+ weeks after I left them! I’m so lucky to have been able to spend that time with them all and will treasure the memories forever.
Cheryl dropped me off at the tiny Kapiti Coast/Paraparaumu Airport – it’s just basically one big room, it’s very smart though, guess it caters for a lot of business travellers. I rang Heather from the airport and she was ok, said Fergus had walked back in with her and said ‘You ok Mummy?’ (how cute!) and got his toy aeroplane out because he knew I was going in a plane in the sky. There was no queue at check in and I was checked in by a British lady! After re-packing my bags we got chatting and she told me she used to live near Oxford…. So I was like ‘whereabouts?’ and she said LONGWORTH! Can you believe it?! She used to live opposite the Blue Boar. She asked if the same guy was still landlord but neither of us could remember his name so after I’d had something to eat I remembered and it was the same person. I arrived at the airport about 45 minutes before my flight departure time, we boarded about 10 minutes before, there was no scanning for anything. We walked across the tarmac and it was a little Guernsey type plane! I could hear the distinctive sound of a taxying propeller plane from home. A woman was sat in my seat next to the window and she asked if I wanted her to move, I felt bad but said I wouldn’t mind so I could see the view. We took off really quickly and flew over Paraparaumu, I tried to spot home then we disappeared into the clouds and I thought that was that for the view but it cleared and was amazing. We flew right over Kapiti Island and along Paraparaumu Beach… it was stunning and the water was so clear. They’d warned us it was going to be bumpy but it wasn’t. I tried to read some magazines but had a really bad migraine so put them down and closed my eyes, periodically looking at the view.
We started our descent into Auckland after an hour and were quickly off the plane and getting our bags! Terry was waiting for me as always J I’m always so happy to see him! I feel so at home with Jenny and Terry. So we headed out to the truck, loaded up and headed out. We stopped at Macdonalds for something to eat before heading home to drop off my stuff and pick up Moose (the dog) and go out to the farm… where I did a bit of off road driving using 4WD! It was really nice and warm and the sun was starting to set so it made everything look lovely.
Back at the house Jenny was home and I was so happy to see her! She had a roast on the go (everytime I arrive with them we have a lovely roast!) so it was great to catch up and get settled back in at my New Zealand home from home. In the evening we heard the fire station siren go, calling the volunteer fire-fighters to action. I was so looking to getting into bed that night because it’s soooooooooo comfy!
August to Friday 31st
August - just outside of AUCKLAND
Terry and I settled back into our usual daily routine. He’d head out early to take Moose for a long walk and do some work and then come back and get me to go and do some more jobs and shopping. We headed into Takanini and Papakura a couple of times, that’s a lovely drive. We made several visits to Mitre 10 Mega’s (hardware stores) and different electrical or automobile stores. And of course we visited many different cafes, we think we should write a review book! On Thursday we drove to Taurua on the Coromandel Coast to visit the batch (holiday home). That’s a beautiful drive, you can see the Coromandel hills in the distance and you gradually make your way towards them… we could see they were shrouded in clouds and expected them to be raining. The fields in the approach are full of cows and I learned a lot about them, so many breeds! The hills weren’t rainy, it was a lovely winding drive. But the rain was on the other side… as soon as we cleared them it was so stormy! I sat in the batch with a blanket around me, helping Terry when he needed someone to hold the lights he was putting up! We watched the Tui birds (the NZ Tui beer is named after them) out of the windows and collected some Mandarin’s to take home. We took a drive to the beach and it was WILD! But took a nice fresh walk before heading home. As soon as we were back over the hills the weather cleared again and it was beautiful! We stopped at an English themed café owned by very quirky royalists and back in Pukekohe met up with Jenny at Pizza Box for coffee and got Seafood Chowder (yum) and Pizza takeaway for tea.
I did a lot of off road driving on Friday! Round and round the fields, didn’t need to use 4WD that time. It’s been good for me to realise that a small slip doesn’t mean losing control. We headed to the house that neighbours the farm to meet the horse lady Liz who Terry does a bit of work for, she has a beautiful place and 3 beautiful horses so we watched her exercise one of them. We headed home and arrived just before Jenny and then Sarah came home and it was lovely to see her J I cooked omelette for everyone, all seemed ok! We watched Mrs Brown again and Who Do You Think You Are?
and Sunday 2nd
September - just outside of AUCKLAND
Sarah and I watched some TV and caught up in the morning and then we all headed out to the shops to look for a shed! We found one and had a bit of lunch in Mitre 10’s café. We also visited the Warehouse, my favourite, found some shampoo! At home I made Sarah an omelette (getting the practice in) and did some studying before helping Jenny with tea. Sunday we had a nice quiet day… it was really windy and we kept expecting it to rain but it didn’t. Jenny and I headed into Puke to visit the Franklin Art’s Festival, where her school children were displaying some work. We had nice Thai takeaway for tea after Sarah and Stephen popped in to say hello for NZ Father’s Day.
to Thursday 6th
September – just outside of AUCKLAND
We had our usual week of jobs and out and abouts… looking for cows/bulls, having coffee… sampling carrot cake! I had some bad migraines and there was a LOT of rain! And wind! We went to Sylvia Park shops one day, no boob tubes anywhere! And Tuakau for a look around where we found a lovely café! On Thursday I helped Terry build a shed (yes Dad, and no it didn’t fall straight down)! I was doing a lot of the holding things in place and Terry said I learned quick! I cooked Cottage Pie and Apple Crumble for tea…. Craig was arriving that night and I’d promised him an Apple Crumble 2 ½ years ago! We had a nice evening watching The Block and Mrs Brown’s Boys and baking for Sarah’s engagement party then Jenny had Terry left at 11ish to pick up Craig from the airport, he was flying in from Brisbane. I chilled out at home, planned to go to bed but was still awake when they came home so I got up to say hello! We had a nice chat at 2am then it really was time for bed!
September – just SOUTH of Auckland…!
I spent the day confused thinking it was Saturday! I must have said something about it being Saturday several times, Terry was the same, think it was because Jenny was off work! We spent the day getting ready for Sarah’s engagement part so it was trips to pick up salads, chairs, cakes etc etc. It was really enjoyable, helping set everything up. AND Terry taught me to weld! It was brilliant, he said how good my weld was for my first time! He thought I’d freak with the sparks (I thought I would too) but I didn’t was proud of myself, Terry thinks I have potential! At home we had a nice evening with Sarah getting ready for her engagement party… we made various nibbles and organised the house. I also learned today that we were actually SOUTH of Auckland, not North as I’ve always thought! Your sense of North and South and East and West is confused when you’re in the opposite hemisphere from the one you’ve always known!
September – just SOUTH of Auckland
We were all up early to get ready for Sarah and Stephen’s Engagement Party! Jenny was incredibly organised so it wasn’t a mad rush. We put the finishing touches to everything and got ourselves ready and willed the weather to stay nice! It was windy but the predicted rain hadn’t arrived… yet… The guests started arriving at about 12.30 and we had a lovely afternoon, I did a bit of waitressing and helped out where I could and I got to meet Jenny’s lovely family who I’ve heard so much about, and all Stephen’s family and friends who are so so friendly. I was always talking to someone, didn’t even eat much! We had some nice speeches which brought a tear to my eye and then Stephen’s talented cousins got together to sing us some songs. They were amazing! And Stephen was persuaded to give us a song, he was fantastic and sang for Sarah and that brought another tear to my eye! I was sad to see everyone go, really enjoyed chatting to them and putting faces to names.
In the evening after clearing up we settled down and watched the All Blacks vs Argentina and then some of Mrs Brown’s Boy’s! Terry and I had been on the whisky… It was such a lovely day and I slept well!
September – just south of Auckland
We had a little bit of a lie in… Jenny’s sister Tricia and her husband popped round and we had a bit of lunch. I had to say bye to Sarah… I don’t like all these hard byes in a short space of time! I will miss her. And then we took Craig to the airport to see him off back to the Gold Coast, I was so jealous he was going back to Queensland! Back at home I got myself organised… I never understand how I seem to have so much to do before I depart a country I’ve been living in! I Skyped Hev, Mike, Fergus and Flora. And then Jenny, Terry and I went out to the Pizza Box for a lovely Seafood Chowder before going home and watching New Zealand’s Got Talent. There was quite a big thunder and lightning storm… not good for my nerves! It was a late night, getting organised and calling people.
September – Auckland to Apia, Samoa
I was up early to say bye to Jenny L And then get ready and packed up… I had soooooooo much stuff to send home! I got organised then Terry and I went into Puke to post my stuff, which was a mission as the international post system was down. So we went to the farm, for coffee and cake and then back to NZ Post… where it was thankfully was working! It was then home to collect the bags and go to the airport. We made good time and after I checked in had a drink. It was so emotional saying bye to Jenny and Terry… I always love my time with them and it genuinely is the happiest home from home. They’re so good to me and if they have me I’ll definitely be back, I need to work on my welding skills! I’m really missing them a week after leaving. New Zealand has overall been a lovely, lovely time with lovely, lovely people.
I did a bit of shopping in the airport… just for the essentials and changed some money… now I have Samoan Talas. I did some banking before being called for the flight… I’d been really nervous a few hours ago but seemed to calm down. I was flying Air New Zealand which I love… and they had one of their quirky safety briefing videos… I think it was famous cartoon (e.g. Family Guy) characters but not too sure… it wasn’t my favourite of theirs… had liked the one where the cabin credit made the video wearing only body paint (all the way through you know there’s something weird about their outfits but can’t figure it out). We took off in good time and flew out over Manukau Harbour… I’d chosen an aisle seat (toilet access and knew it would be dark when we arrived in Apia so no point having a window seat!) and regretted it.
I LOVE NEW ZEALAND! Why is it so far from the UK?!!! Next stop Samoa…
I hope I’ll be able to keep up with my more regular updates… but it may be more difficult whilst on the move… I’ll try J
Lots of love!
NOTE: I use these updates to capture my memories and share what I'm doing on my travels with friends, family and anyone who’s interested enough to read. The views are my own and I try my best to ensure any information I share is fair and accurate but I do sometimes get things wrong. I welcome any feedback so I can make improvements and corrections for future readers. Thank you.
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