News from across the world, and Goodbye South Island

Before launching into the usual
account of our weekend travels, we feel we should give an update of news from
back home and here in New Zealand.

 

The really bad news was that our
friend Barry Brooks died suddenly. He went to infant school with Sandie, and
was best man at our wedding, so we both knew him really well and it was a
dreadful shock. The funeral was on Wednesday, and obviously we couldn’t attend.
But Claire kindly drove there for the day with Charlie, just so the family
could be represented. Apparently the church was packed, and a lot of local
people turned up to pay their last respects.

 

Continuing with bad news, though
not so tragic, we heard from Claire a few weeks ago that the heavy snow they
had experienced had caused water to leak through the roof of the shed in
Wycombe, bringing down the ceiling and causing a lot of damage and mess. Claire
and Raf had to do a load of clearing out, and called in the insurance company
to assess the damage. Some things were ruined and it’s fortunate that last year
we moved more of our belongings out of the shed and into storage.

 

Here in Wellington, things are
reasonably calm (apart from the strong winds, which are a permanent feature of
the city). The good news is that Sandie has found plenty of work at the
Ministry of Education – she’s been there essentially full-time for some months
now. The bad news is that she’s had trouble with her teeth, which have been
paining her for several months when she eats (good for the diet!). After several
expensive visits to a dentist and a specialist endodontist, and hours spent in
the chair, the problem is still not fully identified.

 

After that update, it’s time to
tell you about last weekend. We flew to Nelson, at the top end of the South
Island, early on Saturday morning in one of Air New Zealand’s little propeller planes.
The weather was bright and sunny most of the weekend, and our first trip was
southwards to Nelson Lakes National Park. We first called in at Lake Rotoiti,
which we had visited before, and then drove round to the more isolated Lake
Rotoroa. We hiked up a steep path to get views of the lake, and then returned
to the lakeside for our picnic lunch. This was slightly spoiled by a guy who
decided to start playing the bagpipes right in front of us!

 

After another walk through the
woods to a waterfall, we drove back to Nelson. Our evening excursion began with
a visit to a pub opposite our motel. We went into the town centre and had some
really great pizzas at a place we discovered two years ago. Afterwards we went
to another bar for cocktails, and sheltered there until a sudden shower passed
over.

 

The next day we drove along the
coast to Motueka, and then over the steep winding Takaka Hill to the north end
of Abel Tasman National Park. It was quite a mission to get there, and
unfortunately there was an evil cloud that hovered over the area most of the
time we were there. We did a couple of walks and got some views, but then had
to drive back all the way to the airport. We managed to get a quick meal before
getting the last flight out of Nelson, bidding a fond farewell to the South
Island.

 

Farewells are going to be a feature
of the next few weeks, as we leave New Zealand on June 6.  We complete our round the world trip by
visiting Tahiti, Hawaii and the mainland USA, arriving back in the UK on July
28.  Lots of people have asked us what we
are doing next, and the answer is – we don’t know!  We would like another ‘adventure’ – living and
working somewhere different for a short time – but enquiries have not yet
produced any suitable opportunities.  If
anyone has any ideas, let us know!

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