Published: October 18th 2009October 17th 2009
Hello again on a damp, but promising Sunday morning. We have returned once more to our home base in Te Aroha.
We went to visit our friends on the Coromandel Peninsula beside the Firth of Thames. How often do you get to say Firth of anything in this life? It was very rainy on Thursday when we drove up, so we stayed inside for most of the day. Cliff and his two handicapped children live on a beautiful little bay called Ruamahunga Bay. It is very sub-tropical and he is able to grow most everything. The land behind the house goes steeply up the hill and he has terraced it and planted fruit trees and flowers profusely. There is one tree called a lemonade tree and we went a little crazy with the fruit since he had not picked much off the tree. You just juice the fruit and drink it and it truly does taste like lemonade. A little tart, but no sugar or anything added. We had planted a a lemonade tree in Glen Eden, but moved away before it bore fruit. Well have to figure out how to grow one in Ohio.
Cliff went to pick up
his children from the workshop that they attend each day and left us at his place. It was Johnnys 40th birthday, so we got to celebrate that with him. Johnny was very worried all the way home that we had stolen his house. It must have been quite a relief for him to see the house intact and be able to recognize us. Marita, the daughter, is just a delight and enjoys everything. Johnny has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and makes life pretty difficult for Cliff. Cliff copes well, but is considering institutionalizing him if it gets too hard to manage. We had a lovely Birthday tea with lamb shanks and boiled veges. We actually could not have the cake because Johnnys blood sugar was to high from a little celebration from the workshop since he also has diabetes.
Friday dawned clear with sunshine, a very welcome day. After Marita and Johnny went to workshop, Cliff drove us up the Coromandel and it was breathtaking. It would compare with the 101 highway in California with lovely views of the shore as you go along winding in and out of the bays. The only drawback here is there are not
very many sandy beaches, mainly stones and rocks. We were able to eat outside for both lunch and dinner. We went to pick up the children at the workshop so they could introduce us to their friends. One Maori boy in his 20s was so friendly and funny. He was trying to figure out our relationship with each other and asked if Jim was "my fella" meaning husband. I assured him that "Yes, Jim was my fella". It was great to meet the co-workers and the staff that cares for them. We decided to go to the local pub for fish and chips and eat on the beach for our evening meal. It was almost too windy, but nice and warm. We walked a little at this beach before going back to juice more lemonades and have birthday cake. Pretty relaxing day.
Saturday dawned clear, but we had some pretty heavy showers with thunder and lightning. We came back to Kenneth and Diannes and caught up on some laundry chores. Then, we drove 1 1/2 hours up to Otara for a reunion celebration. It was so good to see so many people and catch up with their lives. God
has blessed us all so much. The island people were so excited to see Chrissy again and visit with her. The food was a veritable feast and tasted wonderful. We got back home about 11:30 pm and everyone seems to be sleeping in a bit this morning. Dianne is making Christmas roast dinner for us and most of their family will be here. Sounds like fun and too much food again.
Will write more later.
There are more photos below