Monday, 27 February 2012

Back in Bundy

Well, we have been back here now for 5 days having arrived last Thursday. It was a busy time during our stay in NZ.
Highlights were:
Jim's visit to Christchurch to visit his daughter Charlotte and her husband Jon and Lucia and Elsie who is now 14 months - my, how they grow!! Charlotte and Jim attended an outdoor play in Hagley Park where there was a very creative theatre constructed from a shipping container and a rough stage. The 3 actors enacted a satirical  and very clever rendition of Christchurch's early history right up to the earthquake ravaged present. Well known characters (Brownlee/Parker) were well and truly lampooned. A lot of fun was had by all and it showed an indomitable spirit which is well and truly alive.
Another memorable occasion was a visit to to the container shopping mall. which has been created out of - shipping containers!! But so cleverly done all painted in bright colours and with side walls knocked out with plate glass display windows. Arguably better than the buidings they replaced - certainly for innovation, and brilliance of design. Once again it showed the resilience of the populace expressed in so many ways.
Jim even managed to use a belt sander on the weatherboards of the house in a very minor contribution to the house extensions which Max and Jon have built and which are looking great.
A notable visit for Jim was travelling to Kawau Is. in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf with his brother Alec and sister in law Linda to scatter their mother's ashes from the Schoolhouse Bay wharf in Bon Accord Harbour.  
Her father, J. O. (Ossie) Owen, had been an architect and a life-long member of the RNZYS. He was a crew member of the well known A Class keeler "Waitangi" (now part of the Maritime Museum) and the family spent summer holidays at Kawau staying in the old schoolhouse which was a boarding house in those days back in the 1920's - 30's. We both spent a very pleasant evening with Alec and Linda having dinner with them at their house in Mt. Eden.
We stayed with Hamish and Sara in Whangarei and cannot thank them enough for all their kindness and help.Yes Sara and Hamish, how we enjoyed our talks and fun. Thanks for being the great friends that you are. It was also great to catch up with Noel and Litara, Murray and Jo, and Richard and Pauline and our lasting regret is that we couldn't make contact with everyone. We had doctor appointments while there and are pleased to report that we are in excellent health!! We visited Jean's neice Jo MacGillivray, partner Murray and her 2 sons, Morgan and Harlen at their rural property just south of Whangarei. Jean babysat the children for part of an afternoon and was discovered swimming in a creek with eels and the boys. Fortunately no crocodiles though like this side of the ditch. Not many 65 yr old great aunts would be up to that!! We must say Morgan and Harlen and Jean had a great time and they were treasured moments. 
Much of Jean's time was spent with Heather (Jean's sister)at Mangere. Great to see Magan as well. It was great to spend time with Heather and the Lals. Vinay was home from the east. Pritika was home, and Rakesh and Geraldine were also back from England for a couple of weeks. Just caught them by two days before we were to return here to Bundaberg.
In Auckland we were very fortunate to be able to stay in Jean's son Perry's new house in Milford. It provided a base in Auckland that we couldn't have done without and we are very grateful to Perry and Tracie. With their high powered corporate life coming and going we had it on our own much of the time. Catherine,it was great to have you at Perrys for lunch.!!!!!!!! Catherine is a scientist friend of Jeans from the campaigning days.
We also met Dennis and Rosemary who came all the way up from Tauranga to meet us. Dennis had been one of a partnership of 3 young guys back in the 70's who had  been the 2nd owners of the Tiare - then "Reflections of Wellington" - and he had found us through a UK based website devoted to Gauntlet yachts. He said that when he realised he had found his long lost love tears were pouring down his cheeks!! But we're sure that Rosemary takes precedence these days.
Apart from all that we called on Keith (Jean's brother) and Eilleen in Wellsford and once again were the recipients of the renowned hospitality (and home brew) of that household! And some great black pudding for breakfast on one trip back to Auckland. Thanks Keith and Eilleen, for the fun, and chats. Kerrin, we are sorry that we could not see you in person - we did try one day when we were passing.
Jean also spent some time with Kagan, her nephew who has experienced some precarious health in past years. We are hopeful that he will be able to join us this year for some of our upcoming sailing adventures. It was fun Kagan with you and Perry and I out keeping each other right in Perry's front garden. More treasured moments ah.........
Jim also caught up with his other daughters, Rozanne and her son Harry (13 months) and Amanda who regaled us with sometimes hilarious and sometimes shocking stories of her experiences as a midwife delivering babies at Middlemore Hospital. She's certainly seeing life in the raw.
We have also taken the once in a lifetime experience of applying for NZ Superannuation. As well as that we have also had to apply to have it paid while we're overseas for 6 months or more. Bureaucracy gone mad!!
We arrived back here on the 23rd having flown to Brisbane and then picked up a rental car. Far cheaper than the AUD800 that Qantas wanted to fly us both to Bundaberg!! We rested our weary heads at a motel in Morayfield on the way up and arrived mid morning. At least we missed the floods last weekend.
The boat was fine apart from the fact that the freezer wasn't working. Another legacy of the Bay of Islands so-called refit!! Now back to work with re-caulking - if the rain will let us.
Lots of love from us