The value of friends – Friday 27th January 2012


It just feels so good to be traveling back to friends. We are headed to Lianne again, but only for one night. On the way we visit Kerikeri, where the oldest stone buildings in New Zealand are set in a picturesque by a beautiful river, over an elegant bridge. It’s an easy place to strolls about. I can’t understand why people disgorge from a coach at point blank range from an obvious viewpoint, fire off their cameras and remount for the onward trip.

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As we come to the final third of our drive, the weather changes from bright sunlight to continuous rain. Any thoughts of walking are washed away and we pull into La Nonna, Italian Patisserie for a good up of coffee and text Lianne of our changed arrival time.

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The dogs greet us enthusiastically. Lianne and her husband get a de-briefing of where we have been and then begin to cook dinner. We’ve brought cheese from Puhio cheese factory and fresh fruit from Kerikeri.
A friend of Lianne’s, Shelley, joins us over a bottle of bubbles, and we really get on well. John is being challenging by doubting the existence of any female inventor and Lianne’s husband nobly mentions Marie Curie, although I don’t think John is hearing!

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It’s a brilliant evening! I’m getting the hang of dogs and am enjoying their company almost as much as their human owners (no, just kidding!)

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As the dogs settle, we watch Avatar, which I feel is mildly reminds of the Treaty House and the Maori/British divide. But that is another story!

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Long beach and Devonport – Wednesday 18th January 2012


I think I am getting addicted to outings! It is such a pleasure to have someone else decide where is best to go and then taking you there.
I had loved taking the dogs out, so today we set off for Long Bay Beach, reasonably early because they close the beach to dogs after 10 o’clock. It’s a broad beach when the tide is out and full of dogs!

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They all seem to love the social event as much as the chance to run free. I think Tyler got a little confused after she had run off excitedly greeting every dog she came to. When she joined a group of adults talking with their dogs, we thought at first that she was still being sociable. Although we called, she took no notice; our voices blown from her by the wind. But as we got closer she greeted Lianne with such joy and bounce that it was obvious, even to a non dog person, like me that she had been asking the group if they knew where her mum was, and no one was listening! She stayed a little closer after that.

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After admiring the view we went round the local school. I never tire of seeing other people’s schools, especially those in other countries. For a little while, just before I retired, I had been an advisor, helping other heads with their school development. This school had such fabulous grounds and so much space, but in essence I felt it mirrored many features of British schools.
Then we went back for a little lunch before going to see Devonport.

20120122-190556.jpg We found the prettiest coffee which also tasted good!
Devonport has a good range of shops, with some interesting galleries. Sadly, the thing I loved most was a 7 foot sculpture in black granite, selling at $8000 and not really easy to pack in the suitcase. However, there were several good shops for gifts including a fabulous material shop.
The rest of the afternoon we begin to plan our next steps for travel.