Saturday, 11 February 2017

Langkawi leaving and NZ sojourn - beginning

Hi to all,
We have been sanding and re-varnishing our port caprail - the starboard one and the bulwarks will have to wait until we return early in April.
After Penang, Langkawi is a most welcome slower pace of life - especially when driving!
It was Jim's 70th. on the 27th. - not sure whether that's something to celebrate or not! Guess it must be though to have achieved the 3 score and 10. We had a very pleasant dinner with Lorraine and Graham of "Lorrigray" to mark the occasion at the Fat Frog.
Apart from all that we were preparing the old girl to be left for 2 months and packing. We had purchased 2 large suitcases before we went to Penang to hold small items we have removed from the boat pending its sale.
They finished up weighing around 28 kilos each and so when we booked our flights to NZ on Air Asia, we had to buy 30kgs of checked baggage each. Meanwhile, the cases had stayed in storage on Langkawi.
Our other focus has been the on-going redecoration and furnishing of the Medellin apartment, which has been frustratingly slow. However, the end is in sight with final furniture selection and agreeing colours for "feature walls"!! Maybe we'll earn some rental income yet!!
All that has to happen is for the old girl to be sold, ideally to a younger couple who wish to take her on her next adventure. And then we'll be living the Medellin lifestyle.
We left the marina by taxi around midday on Feb. 1st. so that we could collect the aforementioned cases before the customs agent went to lunch and carried on to the airport where we were early for our 1745 flight to Kuala Lumpur. We had no problem booking all the way to Auckland via KL and Coolangata. We'd also bought bulkhead seats and meals so we were probably as comfortable as you can be in Economy.
Then 3 hours on the ground at KL followed by 8 hours to Coolangata. 1 hour on the ground there and we had to vacate the aircraft with all our carry-on bags. Unbelievably we had to go through a stringent security check after having endured 3 of those since Langkawi!  Even though we were merely in transit. The Aussies are like the US - paranoid. Still, we managed to have a couple of toasted ham and cheese sandwiches, which was a rare treat after the pork drought in Muslim Malaysia. Then off again to Auckland where we arrived at 1700. Our checked through bags did arrive which was a relief and then we got NZ SIM cards for our phones and another for our internet device. Then Supershuttle to Pt. Chevalier where we were to collect Perry and Tracie's car from Tracie's sister and brother-in-law. Deborah was away on business but we met Steve and after a pleasant conversation, headed north on SH16 for Wellsford.
Arrived there just on dark and very happy to be there and see Jean's brother, Keith and Keith's son, Darren and Jolene in the MacGillivray home on MacGillivray Rd. A quick dinner and then off to a very comfortable and welcome bed in Jean's old room - from 54 years ago!! A restful day followed with much catching up. Then one of Keith's lambs which had found its way into the freezer some time previously. Beautiful young NZ lamb. Haven't had anything like that for many moons.
Then it was on the road again heading north to Whangarei to our friends, Hamish and Sara. Was great to see them again and they always make us very welcome. They only have a 1 bedroom house and when staying there previously we've slept (very comfortably!) on a blow-up mattress on the floor. However, since then they have acquired a shipping container which they have fitted out as a sleepout next to Hamish's stainless steel workshop. We would have been very happy to sleep in the container, but very generously they made their room available to us and they slept in the container. That was especially good as about that time we both came down with some sort of viral flu which laid us low and made us feel fairly lacklustre for a couple of days. So, we haven't been social and effectively have lost that time. However, we did contact the carrier we had organized from Langkawi and also researched various "antique/collectable" dealers in Whangarei. As a result, we have the carrier coming on Tuesday and we have identified a dealer who has the necessary space to display items. Interestingly, he occupies the premises of an old service station whose then owners were very well known to Jim's family. This dates way back pre-war when the family held the Reo motor vehicle agency for NZ and the Adams family of Whangarei ran a bus company apart from the service station. The Adams bought a number of Reo bus chassis over a number of years and a strong friendship was established. Jim's recollection of Len Adams Motors was when we always pulled in there for fuel going to and from the Bay of Islands. So, quite coincidentally we're involved in a totally different way with the same premises.
On the 10th. we drove south of Whangarei a short distance to Mangapai where another of Jean's relatives (a niece - Josephine) lives on her newly acquired property. She bought it for a fantastically low price. It is sitting high on 5 acres inland from state highway 1 with a commanding view of Whangarei Heads and was an  Once more - catchups with various family happenings. All very welcoming and nurturing.
The climate needs a mention. Northland has had virtually no rain since November and just before we arrived had officially been declared a drought area. One day when we were both well down with the flu, the mercury hit 34C (98F). That was so enervating, especially in our state of health. And water use had to be very restricted as most places where we stayed were on tank water with existing supplies very low.. However, the day and night after that it rained steadily for at least 36 hours which filled everyone's water tanks, and considerably lowered the temperature. Since then it has not exceeded the mid 20's which is perfect, although the drought is still official and there is not much rain on the immediate horizon. 
Next week we hope to have our storage unit substantially reduced by all the major furniture items and then later in the week we are going to the South Island - Greymouth on the West Coast via Arthurs Pass and then back to Christchurch to be with Jim's youngest daughter, Charlotte.
More blogs to come, that's for sure.
With lotsaluv from us,
Jim and Jean
Mangapai (30 kms south of Whangarei)