WoW – an amazing show!!

It was still raining so we were deliberating as to the best way to get to the WoW venue.
Car, bus, walk….
Decided car and park beneath the TSB Arena despite costs!
So I got to drive this time.
Tim doesn’t enjoy driving in the city especially after dark.
We got down there around 5:30pm and found Mat & Sunni in a nearby bar.
Went with them to Latitude 41 and had a quick light dinner.
Then ran across the courtyard to the Arena and had fun seeing some of the interesting folk who were greeting us all.

Love this photo of Tim with some of the chorus girls

This interesting young woman spoke in an Eastern European accent and talked a load of contrived waffle.
She was happy to pose with the handsome guys.
Here she is with Mat

and Tim –
who was able to match her conversation!

This fella with the rabbit and fox fur was presumably French.
Well, he tried

And this young lady – an interesting fashion statement to say the least!

The show began at 8pm and was an absolute extravaganza.
Well worth coming over to.
Loved it.
There was so much going on it was amazing.

It finished at 10.
With no intermission, but felt like it had only just begun when it was over.

We met up with Mat & Sunni and zipped them up to the railway station to catch their train.
But due to a landslide and resulting train crash there were buses there to take them back to Cat’s yacht.

We drove past The Ambeli.
It was till open and there was conveniently a park just across the road so we just had to stop and go see Shae and have dessert.
They were delicious.
Service was amazing.
A wonderful restaurant and one I want to go back to for a special full meal.
Well done Shae!

Got back to our bed around midnight and crashed out.

Day 5 – leaving Eastbourne

We woke to a very very wet, yucky day so that made us feel even more sleepier and lazy than ever.
We managed to shower and get downstairs to breakfast by 9:30am and once again were fed a delectable and sumptuous breakfast.

Tim had found ‘Papillon’ on the bookshelf and had gotten buried in it while we were there.

He is not normally a reader so it was good to see him enjoying it.
Books put him to sleep at home cuz he is usually so tired from working.
I packed the bags and then took a few photos before we left.
I was wishing we had booked another night here – it was so lovely and relaxing.

This is the other end of ‘our’ lounge with the huge mirror

and hidden behind it the humungous tv screen.

Our room.

and behind it the alley way between the bathroom and the outside door

which leads up the path and down to the spa.

We finally managed to get ourselves sorted.
Said good bye to Jasmin and headed out into the rain.
We drove to the end of the road just to see what was there.
On a good day it would be a great place to explore as it is the beginning of the tracks to Parangarahu Lakes.

We were going to go into the city and meet up with Cat, Sunni & Mat but there was a bit of confusion as to who was going where and when etc so we drove up to Stokes Valley to visit my cuz Tim & Joan.
Hadn’t seen Joan in ages so was great to have an hour with them.
It was still raining hard when we drove back into the city.
It was getting too complicated to try and find the girls so we went to Te Papa for a quick visit before finding our next B&B.
Peg had said she would be home at 3:30pm to meet us so after a few wrong turns on the hill we eventually found her at Panorama B&B.

We had an hour or so to chill out before heading into the city centre to meet Sunni & Mat.

Day 4 – Walking on a Wild & Windy Wednesday

We wandered downstairs at the wonderful hour of 9:30am to be served breakfast.
How delectable and relaxing.
Jasmin had prepared enough food to feed an army.
We had a selection of fresh fruit, yoghurt, toasted muesli, bircher muesli, stewed apples, several bread & crumpet selections with lots of spreads and then when we were stuffed full on all of that she produced 2 enormous plates full of eggs, bacon, mushroom, tomatoes, teeny tiny sausages & spinach on toast
We did justice to all of that and relaxed over a pot of herbal tea and the newspaper.
Then we rolled ourselves upstairs and collapsed on the lounge sofas and watched a dvd for the rest of the morning.
It was ‘The Pianist’ and watching it on the enormous screen really did it justice.
What an incredibly intense movie.
I had heard about it but till now never seen it.
It was totally gripping and despite all the odds Tim never went to sleep through it!!

When that finished we donned our jackets and headed outdoors to meet Eilidh and walked with her to Days Bay.
It was windy, but not raining.
Just perfect for a walk.

We were heading to a recommended cafe but on arrival found it was shutting so we went to ‘Sugar’ just along a bit and had the most delicious smoothies.
I had a rhubarb, strawberry & apple one – very yummy.

It was fun checking out all the quaint houses along the hillsides as we walked.
They are built in the most precarious places, in to the cliffs and tucked up in the bush and on ridge tops.
Eilidh and I got side tracked in a lovely gift/craft/art shop and when we eventually found the exit Tim was already way up ahead wandering along the beach.

We walked back along the beach side dodging oncoming cars.

This would have to be the most interesting house we saw.
It is tucked right between the road and the cliff face.

We moved off the road and walked along the beach for a while.
The Bluebridge ferry was coming into harbour.
This is the Rona Bay wharf, built in 1906 and is now has an Historic Places Trust listing.
It is mainly used for fishing from these days.

Tim was beach combing as we walked and was quite rapt to actually find 2 gumboots together – not normal to find a pair – well they weren’t really a pair but nearly

Looking back towards Days Bay.

Looking across the harbour towards the Mirimar peninsular and the city under the misty grey clouds.

There were lots of these wee oyster catchers running abut the beach.

The tourists!

We wandered back along the back streets of Eastbourne looking at all the houses and gardens.
Admiring plants and some of the historic homes.

We got back to the B&B and said our goodbyes to Eilidh.
We had walked around 5.4km and my hip joints were really feeling the strain so was very glad we weren’t walking any further.
We had time to come back and rest for an hour or so before dinner.
We had dinner downstairs with Jasmin, Alan and family.
It was delicious.
Chicken curry with all the trimmings followed by rhubarb cake.
I can thoroughly recommend this B&B.
Very comfortable and friendly and as private as you want.

We staggered upstairs (I am so going to have to re-sign my Weight Watchers membership when I get home after all of this wonderful fare), had a spa in the rain before lazing back in bed watching ‘The Duchess’ on my laptop till nearly midnight.
It was a really interesting story with sumptuous costumes and sets.
Don’t think I would cope with living as a female back in those times

Day 3 moving on…..

I woke early after a good nights sleep.
By the 3rd night I was adjusting well to sleeping on the boat.
Cat left for work before 8am.
I was intending on having a fairly lazy morning but when I called my aunt to see if she would be home she said she was heading out at 11am.
So I hopped in the shower and then we zipped up the hill to visit her.
It was great to see Anneke looking so well.
She had a major neck op a few months ago and is anticipating a long recovery before she is allowed to start potting again.
In the meantime she is making some really cool tiles and preparing for a box exhibition at Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures.

When she realised that we hadn’t had breakfast she pulled out some delicious muesli and we all had a plateful and a cuppa with her and had a great catch up.
This is the view from her place – she looks out over the marina where Cat’s yacht is tied up.

We went back to the yacht and tidied up and packed our bags.
We headed into Wellington and spent an hour catching up with Tracie during her lunch break.
She used to be a neighbour years ago and we hadn’t seen each other for absolutely ages so it was great to see her again.

From there we did a few circuits of the centre city streets, found Starbucks and got a frappacino.
Then we drove out to Eastbourne.
Tim was driving and just heading in any direction I suggested
We stopped for a wander in Days Bay then we cruised around the big metropolis of Eastbourne.
I found some cute cards for the kids, and while I wrote them letters Tim blobbed out in the car watching all the locals wandering past.
I got them all posted and then we drove up the road a way and found this delightful B&B.

We were greeted by Jasmin and shown our rooms.
It is wonderful.
We have the whole top storey for our own use.
Our bedroom, bathroom and lounge with the most humungous tv screen I have ever seen.
We had a bit of a rest and then at 6pm went for a walk down the road further and found David & Eilidh’s home.
Eilidh had cooked a delicious dinner of lamb tanguine and cous cous.
We spent the evening chatting with them and then meandered back to the B&B.
Had a spa looking out across the harbour towards the lights of Wellington city.
Then slept the night in the lap of luxury

An afternoon visiting

After lunch Cat decided to come visiting with us so we hopped into Leeann’s car
which she has kindly loaned to us for our stay over here)
and drove up to Paraparaumu.
Firstly we popped into see Wendy & Oakley.
We had a lovely couple of hours with her meeting Oakley for the first time.
4 month old cuteness to the max.

I was really struggling to stay awake.
It was quite embarrassing actually cause I kept on feeling myself nodding off.
I had taken some sea sickness tablets so wasn’t too sure if it was the effects from them or just the somnolent after effects of a day on the ocean.
Cat disappeared outside and we found her sleeping at the bottom of the garden.

We chatted outside in the late arvo sunshine.
Nice after all the grey days.

Wendy & Oakley by the yurt she is making.

It was around 5pm so we made a move up the road to visit Hanne & Owen.
She took us for a wader through the garden.
Owen has a wonderful wilderness with all sorts of interesting plants and flowers popping up in various corners.

This is a wonderful specimen of a Trillium

Hanne persuaded us to stay for dinner.
Owen arrived in with a work colleague who was gathering up all sorts of amazing things for an auction coming up soon.
We got to see a pair of huia – stuffed and mounted with a little spotted kiwi.
Quite cool really as the huia have been extinct for a hundred years.

We had a yummy diner of chicken crepes.
Then Owen showed us some of his treasures.
Including this warthog head which Skip wasn’t so sure about!

Pretty impressive eh?

We managed to prise ourselves away sometime after 10pm.
I was about falling asleep standing up.
But I am glad we went as we wouldn’t have been able to catch up with everyone today.

Sailing, we are sailing,…..

We woke Monday morning to a much better day so I text Cat and after he had dropped Leeann at the ferry she came on back and we got ready to leave the Porirua harbour.
She called up Owen & Hanne to see if they wanted to come.
Hanne was able to so she zipped down and joined us for the day.

Cat was concerned about working the tides as she didn’t want to be caught at the bar and not be able to get over on either side.
High tide was at 12:40pm and her keel draws somewhere around 2m so she estimated we had about 2 hours on each side of high tide to get safely across the bar.

Leaving Mana just after 10am.

There was still a cool brisk breeze.
About a 1m swell with a half metre chop on top.
Cat got Hanne to help her attach the mainsail.
She had a new boom so had to attach new clips to the sail to it.

Tim was on the tiller on the way out.
Bit harder to control than a wheel!

The Titahi Bay headland as we crossed the successfully bar.

Cat on the helm.

I was very grateful for the loan of Cat’s wet weather gear as it was quite cool and we got a bit of spray as we were across the wind.

This was Skip’s first trip out to sea and he handled it like a pro.
He stayed close to Cat most of the time.

Approaching Mana Island.

Because of the NW chop it was a bit tricky getting off the dinghy.
We were met by Frank and his children.
Frank helped Hanne off.

Then Cat zipped back to get Tim.

The first bird I saw was a Shore Plover which they are trying to introduce to the island.

Frank, Piripi (4) and Heeni (2) chatted with us as we walked up to their house to meet Sue – his wife and DoC ranger.

Cat’s yacht on anchor looking back towards the mainland.

Then it was time to head back to catch the tide and get over the bar.
We didn’t want to miss it or else we would be stuck out on anchor at the island for another 11 hours!!

We had a great sail back.
Cat had the mainsail and jib unfurled and we were flying along nicely.
Hanne & I laid back and relaxed and chatted.

It was an exhilarating day out.
We got back to the marina without any difficulties.
Hanne cooked up some lunch which we hungrily devoured.
I was so sleepy I dozed off while they were all talking.

Day 1 at Mana

Leeann arrived home around 7 after working an overnight shift on the ambulance.
Cat cooked us all a very delicious breakfast.

Poached eggs, salmon, avocado banana and spinach on toast.

The yacht is very cosy.
I felt like we were in a cocoon.
Quite secluded from the rest of the world.

Skip was getting lots of attention.

Then we decided it was time to see what was happening out in the big wide world.

It was stormy and grey and very gusty.

Skip is rather cautious about hopping off the boat.
Yesterday he was trotting along the walkway in front of Cat.
He had not long been bathed by Leeann, he was all dry and clean.
He kept looking back to see if Cat was following and then oopsie,
one foot missed the side and he was in the water!
Cat had to fish him out.
He wasn’t so clean anymore!

The showers are great.
Lots of good pressure and heaps of hot water.
Tempting to stay in there a while
This is the view down the walkway towards Cat’s yacht from the shower block.

Cat put a load of washing in the machine and after my shower she took us visitng.
We popped on board and met Doug who is totally renovating a lovely old yacht.
Then we went over to say gidday to John – he invited us in for a cuppa.
Then we stopped to chat with some others along the way back to the yacht.
It is a lovely community spirit they have here.
All very supportive and friendly.

Leeann slept through all of the socialising.
We left her to her studies and Cat took us into Porirua.
Skip make himself comfortable on the console.

We went to Pete’s Emporium.
What they didn’t have there wasn’t worth talking about.
Incredible place to waste time in!!

Then Cat took us up to Trash Palace – the local recycling centre.
I stayed in the car and slept while Tim & Cat went for an explore.
Then we made a quick trip back to the shops to get some towels and groceries.
On the way back to the marina Cat took us to see the entrance to the harbour.
It was incredibly rough and certainly not a good look for anyone wanting to get over the bar.

In the murky mist though we could see a heap of wind surfers having great fun zipping along through the stormy waves.

Leeann was back when we arrived.
The girls began making dinner.

Tim went and had a sleep up forward.

Owen & Hanne came down from Paraparaumu for dinner and Johnny & John popped over from their yachts to join us.

We had a delicious plate of pre dinner nibbles and dips.
Then Thai fish cakes.
By the time the main course arrived we were all getting full.
But we still managed to do justice to Leeann’s cooking.
She made a chicken and rice dish.
Hanne brought a lovely fresh salad.
For dessert we had cheesecake and a wildberry pie with yoghurt.
It was great.
We had heaps of laughs and a wonderful night.

The girls & Skip have gone to sleep on another boat so Tim & I are all alone on the yacht tonight.
Cat has to get Leeann to the ferry by 7am tomorrow morning and then head to work so they will have an earlier start tot heir day than we need to.
The wind has dropped a wee bit but the ropes and hull are still creaking and squeaking.
There is a gently rocking so I don’t think it will take long for me to join Tim in the sleeping department!

Leaving for Tim’s mystery holiday

Friday was rather a busy and stressful day.
Tim had an awful lot on his plate and was trying to make decisions as to which was the most important job to get done and then juggle them with the weather.
The guys headed up the hill first and did some tailing.
They came back for lunch looking absolutely knackered.
The wind was exhausting up there.
Then Tim took Marc & Nathan out on the boat to get some mussel work done.

I got some food prep out of the way in the morning plus the washing.
The kids took Adrienne & Poppy around for a look see and explore.
Poppy discovered the playhouse so she and Mahalia spent most of the day playing in there.
I got all the stuff done in the study that I needed to.
Tried to think of all I needed to tell Adrienne but then figured that with Nathan & Anson around she would be fine.
I had a mental list of everything I needed to get done.
Packing was one thing that kept going to he bottom of the list!
By evening I was had it and couldn’t face sorting clothes so just collapsed into bed.

Saturday morning I got up and tackled the clothes mountain on my bedroom floor.
Anson was around early.
Tim got him sussed to get the boat in and carry on with mussel work with Nathan.
Marc said goodbye to Ralph & Cyril.

I was sorta planning to leave just before lunch time but the guys were all ready and packed and we were ready to go by 9:30am.
The three young’uns all gave me a big hug goodbye.
Azzan was only sad for a moment!

Adrienne decided that she was going to be ‘Mary Poppins’ and not a babysitter for the kids cuz they are all pretty self sufficient.

She took this as we left on Tim’s birthday mystery tour.

Marc found the drive out rather hard and we had to stop a few times for him.
He & Seth were very glad to get to Nelson and off the windy roads.
We dropped them off and then did a few jobs before picking up some food and going to have lunch with Seb & Bud at the castle.
It was nice to have a couple of hours to just blob and chat with them.

Then it was 4:30 and we had to head off to Alan’s.
He took us to the airport.
He was busting to know where we were going but I managed to get all the luggage checked in while they were talking and without them seeing the luggage tags and tickets

Tim didn’t have any idea until we were seated in the plane and the hostess welcomed us on our flight to…….

We flew out over Nelson taking a different route than I had hoped.
But got a good view of the city.

This was as clear a view of home that I could get.
For those of you who don’t know the lay out of the Marlborough Sounds, our bay is at the back centre of the photo.

We arrived in Wellington, got our bags and then went outside to wait for our ride.
She got held up on her way in by an accident but eventually
Cat arrived!!
Tim was totally surprised

When we jumped into the car we were met by her new baby –
a 19 week old Schipperke

He is very cute and a most agreeable puppy.

Cat cooked us dinner on her yacht and then we chatted for a while before hitting the bunk.
It was weird sleeping on a boat.
I haven’t done that in a very long time.
Tim of course was out to it like a light but I kept hearing the wind whistling, ropes slapping, the hull creaking and the boat rocking.

Last day of the term for us :-)

After my early start I followed Shanni into the shower.
She had used most of the hot water but at least it wasn’t cold.
We were away before 6:30am.
I was driving the Safari as we needed the 7 seats for our return trip.
After driving the automatic Terrano so much I keep forgetting the Safari is a manual and keep stalling it

We were unsure if the weather would cooperate enough for riding so had arranged for Callum to text me at 9am to confirm or cancel.
It was fine and clear as we left home.
Just very breezy.
Lovely blue skies over head but the skies over Nelson way were grey and bleak and not at all promising.
We hit rain on the Whangamoa’s so the kids were resigned to not riding.
We got to town at 8:30 and  proceeded to get a few jobs done.
Then we got the all go from Callum so began to head out to Edencourt doing a few more jobs along the way.
Dropped Nathan off at the library.
While the kids were riding Shanni and I went to Richmond so she could spend her birthday money.
Graham had sent her a Farmer’s voucher and Lydia had given her some money so she was very excited to be able to go look for at clothes.
I left her with a lovely sales lady who took her to look and see what she liked while I went to post mail.
When I got back I found her in the changing rooms.
They had picked out an armful of tops but she had really chose just one.
She put that on and then was not at all interested in trying on the others.
She had found THE one and that was it.
I had told her I would top up a wee bit if necessary.
When we went to pay I was only asked for another $4.99 – not the $20 I was expecting.
I thought there was a mistake and then realised the top was reduced in the days sale.
Good choice Shanni

We went back to get the children and found them still out in the paddock.
The day had turned out crisp and clear.
There was fresh snow on the hills all around which was still falling when I dropped them off.

I like these next three photos.
You can see how much they are both enjoying the action.

Mahalia was rounding up some sheep.

While Azzan chatted to Olivia & Callum.
I am sure they know all our family secrets by now

I had to hurry them along as I had to get Nathan to his English lesson at 12:10 and Shanni to piano at 12:30.
We just made it.
I took Hali & Azzan up to the Winnington’s.
Margaret was going to take them to gymnastics for me as I had to take Shanni to the hosp for an appointment after piano.
I was concerned that the hosp appointment might take ages, as they so often do, so had made contingency plans for the others.
But surprisingly enough we were all finished and out of there in time for Shanni to get to gym in time.

Then I zipped Shanni to her final clarinet and singing lessons at Soundstage and dropped the other two at dancing.
Chrissy took Nathan to his last history lesson.
I am in the process of restructuring our lessons for next term.
There are changes of teachers and classes so a different timetable for me – hopefully more streamlined taxi-ing and better use of our education budget

Adrienne & Poppy were waiting at dancing with their bags.
We repacked the Safari and loaded everyone in.
Picked up the other two and were out of town soon after 5pm.
Record time for us.
I never did any grocery shopping so am hoping they will have enough food while we are away!!

We stopped several times along the way to let Poppy get a break as she gets a bit carsick.
They all had fun at Okiwi Bay playground.

It was jolly cold so the kids all came running back to the car for more clothes but Azzan then took off his shoes

We had several stops along the way for Poppy – poor wee mite wasn’t traveling well at all.
She ended up sitting on Adrienne’s knee for the last stretch.
Azzan enjoyed watching movies on their iPod and the girls watched another on the dvd player while Nathan watched another on his laptop.
Talk about sociable!!
Well, at least that meant Adrienne & I could talk without too many ears listening

The guys were just cleaning up from their dinner when we got home so we unpacked the car and the children showed Poppy & Adrienne around.
I made a quick pot of pasta for us once we got home as we were all hungry.
Azzan found this tiny wee stick insect.

Everyone is snuggled down in their beds now.
Nathan & I have been waiting for our rice pudding to bake.
I make a very delicious brown rice pudding.
Quick, simple and extremely delicious.
We have each enjoyed a heavenly bowl of rice pudding and yoghurt so can now head off to bed with full and content tummies

Winter arrives again with a roar!

Winter decided it hadn’t been properly this year so it has come again with more fury than ever.
New Zealand is really copping a major amount of really horrendous weather right now.
Gale force winds, heavy snowfalls, flooding, and all of this on top of THE earthquake!

We woke Wednesday morning to snow on the hills across from us.

Mt Stokes and surrounding hills, even a coating on the Titirangi & Waitui hills.

And while I was shivering on the deck taking the above photos I spotted an armada in Ketu!
The commercial scallop boats are here with a vengeance
Oh well, I guess that puts paid to any more decent hauls of scallops for us for a while!

Tim has been battling the weather this week to get the essential work done.
He and Marc have been trying to get mussel work done when it is calm – but that hasn’t happened a lot.
Anson & Seth have been cutting down trees, cutting up firewood, mustering sheep etc.
They have all been mustering and preparing for tailing.
It is a battle with the wind and rain as to which job gets to be first on the list each day.
Each job is essentially important this week as we are going away on Saturday for a weeks break.
Tim is getting frustrated with the weather because these jobs have to be done before he goes.
But I am sure Anson & Nathan will be able to keep on top of most things.

I spent Wednesday morning cooking to try and get a start on some meals over the next few days.
I ended up in bed for the afternoon as I was feeling very yuck.
Headachy and very tired.
I woke to an essential phone call around 4pm.
Had to try and put on my ‘with it’ cap and make coherent conversation.
Rather difficult in my dazed state.
Then on top of that Azzan and Shanni were having a wee session.
I had to sort that out which didn’t thrill me at the time.
Azzan is tired too but he is not dealing with it wisely which adds to the stress of life at times.
I am also realising that I am dealing with a fairly sensitive perfectionist so I have to try and change disciplinary tactics as the ones I have been using are not working.

He is such a wonderful loving giving child but he is focusing on some very negative things right now which I am finding quite disturbing.
He is convinced he is fat.
So I have been jollying him out of it by agreeing with him and telling him in a joking fashion that yes he is so fat I can’t get my arms around him and he can’t possible get through the door etc.
But that is not working.
He was so upset with Shanni that he told he he wanted to die
This is my baby – he is 7 years old.
Where on earth is he getting these ideas from?
I talked with him and reassured him that he was the absolute best thing that ever happened to me and what on earth would I do without him.
He cried and we cuddled and then he bounced back to the normal loving wee man he is and proceeded to give me a real good massage as he could see I had a headache.
He then brought me drinks and just wanted to be with me and do things for me.

When I talked this over with my friend today she mentioned to me about the five love languages.
I really need to read that book and get my head around it all I think.
Maybe by the time I have brought up my 10th child I might actually get a handle on it all!!

Shanni helped me get some food packed for our town lunches.
I tried to get some online banking done as I am way behind with my accounts from being away in town.
But by 9:30pm I was had it so just crashed into bed.

I had a very fitful disturbed sleep.
I don’t usually dream dreams that I remember.
But I was having vivid dreams and was tossing and turning.
The storm outside had built up to quite a frenzy and I think in my sleep I was feeling tossed about by it all.
Then I woke up properly at 2am.
My head was aching, the wind had stilled, the sky clear and the moon was full and shining so brightly in our window.
Tim always leaves the curtains partially open so he doesn’t break his neck falling over all of my mess when trying to get to the bathroom at night!
I got up and took some pain killers, had a drink, pulled the curtains and fell back into bed.
I slept much better until 4:30am when I woke to Shanni in the shower.
She had set her alarm clock wrong – an hour early