Tuesday, December 31, 2013

First Swim for 2014

Hi there.  As I type this, it is 6.15 pm, on the night of New Year's Day 2014

I went for a swim this morning - 1 January -  at 8 a.m at Worser Bay Beach (I'd promised J that I would not do an early morning swim at Hataitai Beach without her).  I had intended to swim earlier, like 7.am., but I didn't wake up until 7.30 a.m. 

There was hardly a soul about as I drove over the hill from Miramar to Worser Bay.  The few people that I did see were done up in heavy windbreakers, and were walking their dogs.

Not to be outdone on New Year's Day, J shot down to Hataitai beach, with her long-suffering driver,  later in the morning.  We do so hate to out-do each other.  Then it rained.

Yesterday, was glorious at Hataitai Beach.  A lot of our friends were there and we all had a lovely time.  J passed the 2013 "at-least-4-swims-a-month" swimming cup on to me for 6 months, until it's her turn to have it again.  Goodness.... we are so silly.... 

It's hard to believe that the northern hemisphere is in winter, with terrible weather, floods, storms, snow...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thoughts on a journey from Mt Maunganui

Hi there

I returned from holiday a week ago.  I nearly didn't make it back.  I couldn't find my way out of Mt Maunganui.  I figure it might have been a time-vortex-thingee.  Or an alien dome above the town?    Perhaps it was like in "The Village of the Damned" (book: "The Midwich Cuckoos") and all the female inhabitants would wake up tomorrow pregnant with blonde-haired alien babies in their tummies?

I'd been sitting in the driveway of my rented Mt Maunganui holiday home, all set to leave The Mount for my home in Wellington.  I'd plugged my satellite navigation system into the car's cigarette lighter and.... phhhhhtttt!.  The radio/clock/cassette player and, worse, the satnav, all gave up the ghost.  Okay, yes, yes, I know -  I should have thrown out my cassette player decades ago, but I have every audio book in the Harry Potter series, most of the  'Torchwood' audio books, and loads of others on cassette.  My car is now the only place I can play them.

I digress...  I finally penetrated a pesky Mt Maunganui force field, and to keep my brain alert and aware, and no radio to keep me awake ...  I sang.  For an hour or so I raked up songs with place names in them.  For the following couple of hours it was songs with girls' names in the title.  Then, it was Christmas carols.  My self-imposed  requirement being that I had to sing at least two lines of any song, otherwise it didn't count.

All the way from Waikanae to my home in Miramar (over an hour), I endeavoured to come up with every word from "Away in a Manager", a seemingly impossible task, seeing that the last time I'd sung it, I had been in Sunday School.  I'm now a senior citizen.

Still, a good job well done.  I survived the trip.   And my garage-man fixed the blown fuse.  He said he was too busy to invoice me and just to give him beer money.  I don't nowadays drink (not because I'm a prude;  I just don't like the taste of alcohol, I always want a lollie afterwards).   I had no idea how much cash to give him.  I hoped $10 was okay.  How terrible if beer is now something like $100 a glass.  Or it could be $1 a glass.   Did I hit a happy medium (as the boxer said about the cheerful spiritualist)?

Oh, here's another picture of Hataitai Beach on Christmas day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We wish you a merry Christmas, fa-la-la-la - 4th swim done!

Hi there

Christmas Day as I type this (4.30 pm NZ time).  My friend nd I went for a buffet Christmas lunch and it was pretty dire.  Still, I didn't have to cook it myself so that's a definite bonus.  The potatoes were so tough, I couldn't knife them apart, the crackling would have broken my teeth if I'd eaten it, there was more stuffing than turkey, there was a crack in the bottom of my drink glass, and I squirted the ice cream machine all over me when I used it.  I used to work in health, and I know that when snow freeze ice cream squirts out all drippy and milk-like you must not eat it because it is bacteria-ridden.

On the way back from the restaurant, I stopped off at Hataitai Beach.  I was filled to the brim with turkey, trifle, salads, lamb, ham, mince pies, pavlova, Christmas cake, etc, etc, etc...  I felt like one of those Russian dolls with the rounded bases - when you knock them over, they bounce back up again.  Or, worst case scenario, if I got knocked over I would stay on the ground, unable to get up.

I only hoped that when I was in the water I wouldn't plummet down under the waves with all the Christmas weight I was carrying.  But no, everything was okay.  The water was very warm and I got in my 4th swim for the month, so accreditation where accreditation is due.  J and I can now say we swam a minimum of 4 swims a month throughout the year at Hataitai Beach.  And, all of those swims in our bathing suits.  There was a woman swimming past me today, in a wet suit and she said "Isn't the water cold?"

"Whaaat?  I'm finding it warm, actually," I answered her.

I did 20 mins today because I was in a hurry.  The wet suited woman lasted 10 minutes.  So, the coldness of the water is obviously in the skin of the beholder, or something like that....

Here are some pics of Hataitai Beach that I took about half an hour ago.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Third swim down.....

Hi there

Today, at noon, I made third swim at Hataitai Beach for the month.  It was the start of the kayaks and canoes, and LiLos, and paddle boards, and boogie boards.  Come Boxing Day, I guess there will be double the amount of Christmas presents on the water...  Today,there was even a single-person outrigger.  A teen girl was attempting to paddle the outrigger away from the shore.  She got just past me in the water and yelled back over her shoulder to her older brother, "Oh, my goodness, how do I turn this thing....?"

And I was only a hop, skip and a few breast-strokes away from her!   I started to plot my escape plan.  Would I dive under the outrigger?  Would I  try to make it to the shore?  Would I tread water and panic?   Luckily, she'd given up paddling and was drifting.  Her brother shouted directions from the shore and swam out to get to her.  

The weather forecast for the next five days is for a lot of rain.  I only have till the end of December to get in that elusive fourth swim.  Cross fingers for me.

Oh, a Hataitai Beach regular reported  that occasionally, during her 3 pm swim, she struck the odd teeny-tiny jellyfish.   Whoops....   I hate swimming amongst these harmless jellyfish.  You feel them every minute or so and they're sort of squishy against your body.  J assures me these are only the newborn adventurous jellies and are sort of the advanced guard.  She says that thousands of mummy and daddy jelly-fish will be following over the next few days.   What a little ray of sunshine my friend J is...?

Here's a pic of Pilot Bay, where I went swimming most of the time I stayed at Mt Maunganui.  That's Mt Maunganui in the background.  It's a lovely easy and scenic 45 minute walk around the base of the mount.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hataitai Beach: Swim 2 for December completed

Hi there
Yesterday, Friday, I got in my second swim at Hataitai beach since my return from holiday up north  (well, I actually got in two swims, but only one counts in the overall tally for the year, darn it!).  According to our 'committee' rules I have to get in a minimum of 4 swims a month for this year.  Even though I swam 28 times in the first two weeks of  December, none of those swims count.  The swims for official recognition have to be at Hataitai Beach or anywhere south... the seas north are warmer, and the seas south are colder.  Oh, who made these stupid rules?  Wait, I remember, it was ... us!   Oh, J and I can be so cruel to each other.

Whilst I was away, J got in her four swims, so she's in line for official year-end recognition and is she letting me know about it.? Yes, yes, J - I appreciate that you've completed your minimum quota for this month, and I haven't.  You don't have to go on ... and on .... about it.

Okay, so I have to cram in 2 more swims before 30 December or I will forfeit every swim I've done this year, including all those frighteningly cold winter swims.  I will be so jolly cross if I don't make it.   Let there be no never-ending storms, or too-full-Christmas-tummies, or illnesses, or Christmas shopping, or anything else liable to get in the way of these two upcoming elusive swims at Hataitai Beach.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Hobbit 2 movie, 2013

Hi there

I didnt go and see Hobbit 2 whilst I was away because I thought I'd wait and catch it in the state of the art theatre in my suburb, Miramar - the Roxy Theatre that's owned by the Weta guys.   On opening night they had a Roxy Desolation Party for Red Carpet Tours, the tour group that takes tourists around NZ looking at places LOTR-ish.  Just look up facebook for photos from the evening.

The Weta people put some absolutely-immense-giant eagles up high by the ceiling at Wellington Airport to commemorate Hobbit 2.  The Gollum character is still up there from last year.  I trotted down to the airport this morning and had a nosey.

It's an awful pic of me but it's the only one I have to show you how big the birds are and how high up they are.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'm singing in the rain, lah-de-de-dah

Hi there

Years ago, I was on a Wellington City Council walk and it started to rain.  One walker pulled out an umbrella and we others all sniggered at how city-fied this was and we were made of sterner stuff.  An umbrella?  Phfft...  We were Hikers-with-a-capital-H.  No sissy umbrellas for us.  The upshot being that we got wet  and the umbrella-carrying lady walked out of the bush almost as dry as she'd walked into it.

Well, I persuaded a friend to tag along with me for the week at Ohope Beach this month.  We decided to hike an hour's hill track behind Ohope.  

After much panting and puffing and stopping to pretend to look at the view when really we were catching our breaths but wouldn't let on to each other about how knackered we were.... we reached the top of the hill.   I felt a droplet of water.  And another.

Then more.

And more.

My friend hadn't brought any wet weather or warm gear with her. 

I burrowed in my backpack and passed her my  (urban) raincoat.  I well-remembered the WCC walk and kept the little folding umbrella for myself.  Gosh, I'm a mean person....

My friend didn't say much out loud but I'm sure in her mind she was cursing.  My raincoat was just a nylon job and the rain got through it in minutes.  It trickled into the sleeves and down inside the collar.  And the puddles under our feet changed into boggy swamps.  We slithered and slipped and took turns clinging to my hiking stick going down the steep slithery bits.

My friend plonked her soaking wet self into the car afterwards.  A true drowned rat. 

 I hardly had a spot of rain on me.  So here's the hint.  Regardless of what your macho friends might say .... when you go out hiking always please, for my sake,  carry an umbrella....  Oh, and here's another hiking hint: never plaster moisturiser on your face prior to going out. I spent most of my Ohope hill hike, wiping my face with the hem of my t-shirt.   Moisturiser and sweat just do not mix. 

Below is a picture of a woman walking her cat through the water at Ohope Beach (I took the photo a couple of years ago).  The cat loved its daily paddle.  The woman told me that she would sometimes tie the cat to a bucket  while she was hunting for shellfish.  One day the woman looked up froim her foraging to see a big dog belting along the sands, followed by her charging cat tugging a bucketfull of shellfish in its wake.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas in Whakatane and Te Puke

Hi there
Whilst I was away I chanced upon the annual Christmas Parade in Whakatane.  What a change from the big budget Auckland or Wellington Christmas Parades where money seems to be no object. 

The small town Whakatane Christmas Parade was composed mainly of little children bundled onto utility trailers that were being towed by tractors or 4 wheel drives. There was a lot of tinsel and balloons.. 


I stopped at small town Te Puke.  Their postie certainly delivers the mail in Christmas style.

I do love Whakatane and Ohope Beach.  I stayed right next to the beach at Ohope and chugged over the hill (about 5 minutes) to shop at bigger Whakatane.

Here's a pic of me just before starting off, with a friend on a hill hike in Ohope.  I loved the idea of being a wandering kiwi.  And yes, - YES! - my heel is 99.9% better.  Whoopeee......

No, I am still alive .... and kicking!

Hi there

Oh dear, I hope you missed me.   I went to Whakatane/Ohope Beach and Mt Maunganui for a two week (and a bit) holiday.  I left, fully confident that I could breeze into the Whakatane Library and write my blog, being the seasoned professional blog-writer that I am.  But, goodness, heavens to Betsy, OMG, I discovered that Yahoo had been compromised and was down for practically the whole week I was in Whakatane.  When it came back on line, it wouldn't let me through to write my blog because I needed to change my password and I hadnt a clue how to do it.   So.... I gave in... and just enjoyed my holdiay.  I did suffer occasional sharp pangs of anguish that my readers might have thought I'd died.

More about my holiday tomorrow.  I've only returned home about ten minutes ago and you - my four readers - were the first people I thought about contacting.

Forgive me......