As usual not knowing where we were heading, off we went stopping at Otaki, the centre of NZ factory outlets and finally indulged in my merino craving – nice long sleeved top, not too thick, fab colour and only £25!! We’d stopped in the i-site to ask about some walks B had seen in the Rough Guide, the lady was busy, but the guy “just there to fix the computer” thought he could help! He did and off we set to Otaki forks.
Got to the DoC campsite at the end, couldn’t actually work out where the walk we wanted to do went, so blundered off up the river, we were determined to actually see water this time, not just walk through trees near water! We had a really good time, never quite hitting our target, a loghauler (whatever that is) but we had a lovely walk up stream, veering off up to a creek having to do numerous crossings involving stepping stones, paddling, B trying to make some stepping stones for me, but getting onto too stretched a position, so me paddling and rescuing him once I’d stopped laughing!
|Preparing to get 'feet wet'|
He finally saw some orange flags, we must be there, I tried pointing out they were on the left not the right as the map had said, but undeterred we followed them perhaps 20’ through the bush, back to the creek, but having bypassed a tricky bit of river! I decided we’d gone far enough at this point so we headed back having had a really good time just stopping off close to camp for a quick bath. Well quick for me, as it was jolly cold, slightly longer for B who had just stripped off (I’d sensibly put my bikini on before we’d left the van) as an older couple walked down to the river, looked around, wandered back stopping to pick blackberries, all the while B determined not to offend their sensibilities remained sitting in the water!
|Mmmmm, which way now?|
|I think, this way....|
Yummy dinner of spicy seafood linguine (it’s amazing what you can create with the right ingredients in a tiny van) chilled sauvignon blanc and retired for the night. Very dark, off to sleep, lovely, till we woke just before 0200 with something chewing the roof - well that's what I think! I think it sounded like the kea did when they were on the roof, B's not so sure, eventually we dashed out, could see nothing, dozed off a bit kept hearing the odd noise, I eventually climbed into the drivers seat so I could open the door and get as close to the roof as possible, could see nothing, and then at 0600 sounded like it was under the van, so again, threw open the back door, could still see nothing! So we have no idea what it was, there aren’t many nocturnal birds (except kiwi and I can’t see one of them having made it onto the roof), we could hear a morepork owl in the distance, so rat or possum? I threw an apple out to see if it would eat that and leave us alone, but didn't touch it! So very odd night, not scary, except you don’t want the van damaged, but we’ll never know!
|Bailey telling me about the ceremonial gown and the handbag made of Pukeko feathers|
Left there heading slowly north towards Wanganui, stopping in the seaside town of Foxton, in theory to look at the Dutch windmill which the rough guide said at the time of going to print was going to start strapping people to the sails and whirling them round! Saw no sign of that, decided I knew a bit about windmills and drifted into an ‘exhibition’ It was the most interesting, personal, low key education you can imagine.
|The waterproof coat|
Bailey, a maori woman was an absolute hoot, but was so interesting, told us all about flax (which she weaves as her ‘job’)how it’s prepared for use as everything from clothing to fishing line, and then moved on to weapons, how the kids if being attacked knew to spike through the walls with serrated hardened flax stems, how stingray stings were used, once in the only way out is to go all the way through, how earrings made of paua or greenstone could be rammed up the nose of an attacker….. Well worth the nothing we paid and the 45 minutes we spent.
|One of many amusing street signs in Bulls|
Further up the coast we reached the town of Bulls which has a bit of a running joke going on – the police station is labelled ‘Const –a-bulls, the clothes shop, fashion-a-bull and so it went on. The only people who really could have made more effort was Mobil! Shame.
|Wanganui High Street|
We arrived in plenty of time to look round Wanganui, a very pretty town with a museum and gallery we intend to visit, whether we go the whole hog and go to the cinema we have yet to decide. We arrived at the house, met Hilary and Brinny and an hour later she was gone! He's a cute cat, a tabby, of normal dimensions, she seemed impressed I'd had a lick even before she went, but then she is the evil one who does nasty things and Stuart gets away with being the good guy!
|Wanganui Art Gallery|
Brinny is only allowed into the laundry and bathroom, but comes and goes at will, we think he'd quite like to come into the rest of the house, but we will be good! (the risk of him weeing on the new carpet or sofa, which he’s done before is too great!)
We have put the green chairs on the patio though and had pudding out there, and sat there a bit this morning, and he's been really quite attentive! I put him on my knee yesterday to watch B water the garden, and he seemed quite happy - dribbled, but he does that, that and a lot of licking - B's leg mostly!
So the first lot of washing is out, and second lot is in. There are lots of veges in the garden we can help ourselves to, so I might try cooking beetroot later. Squash yesterday, but we bought that! Roasted it with the potatoes and very nice it was too as we had roast chicken, roast pots and 5 veg! Followed by the last portion of apple crumble. Never fear though – there is a lot of rhubarb also growing so we should be covered on the crumble front too!
It’s an entirely different house to John's looks much bigger than his though I'm not sure it really is, has only one bedroom, but they both have a study, so that’s where we are, but it has the squeakiest bed imaginable - snoring makes it squeak, it was still squeaking after B left to go to the loo! We'll look at it in a bit, but I'm wondering about sleeping in the van!
|Relaxing on the patio|
Has huge high ceilings and is obviously quite old, and really needs some attention! It is their retirement home, so when that will happen who knows. She is probably older than B, but is still working in Wellington as a software something or other, only home on the w/ends but does loads of swimming, running, even triathalons as the medals above my head, on the curtain rail attribute. She's away swimming next w/end hence her need for us. It's odd being in a street with neighbours, next doors dog barks a lot, but I think we’ll be very comfortable and relaxed here.