Saturday, March 28, 2015

Goodbye for the season to my swimming friends

Hi there

Over the years, I've mentioned the varied folk that turn up at Hataitai Beach.  Now with Autumn all but underway, many swimmers will depart the beach and we won't see them again until next summer.

There's Bike Guy, a dentist from England.  He rolls up for about four months every year. It's so sad that the government won't let him stay permanently.  Bike guy is such a nice person.

There's the high flying businessman who loves to listen to the cricket on his radio; I adore hearing his travel stories.  And what about Pinot the paddle-board dog (with mistress included; the pair come as a package)?

The Director directs plays at theatres throughout the land.  Galveston knows his country music.  Red-the-school-teacher is a little shy about dipping her tootsies in the water but once she's in the sea, she enjoys it so much.  The Lady With the Backpack walks to the beach from Kilbirnie, and she's completely the one to blame for light-heartedly suggesting that J and I swim all through the year!! 

The Three Graces all wear pink bathing caps, and not to forget our eccentric Laundry Man who hangs out his washing on coat hangers all around the outside walls of the changing shed.

Oh and, of course, Thong Man.  He's about eighty and swims all year around.  Thong Man gets into the water stepping backwards as he goes down the wooden steps.  A disconcerting sight if one is already in the sea.  But, my goodness, swimming in the winter wearing just a thong?  He's to be congratulated! 

And there are others....

I reckon there should be a blackboard in the changing shed detailing in-case-of-emergency phone numbers so that we can check up on our friends if we don't see them at the beginning of a new season.


Today, J and I went swimming at Worser Bay instead of Hataitai Beach because the road beside the eastern bays was blocked off for some running race or other.  We both agreed it's nice to change beaches occassionally.

Below:  Photo taken from the hills above Worser Bay

Thursday, March 26, 2015

the trials of buying a new oven

Hi there

I was going to look at new ovens.  Clutched in my hand was the picture and price of the model I wanted.  It was on sale.  Nothing, I decided,  would dissuade me from buying this particular oven.

My friend, J, shook her head sadly.  She knew the likes of other people's persuasion lined up against my lack of willpower.  "Be strong," she said.  "Stick with the model of oven that you truly want.  Let no sales assistant talk you into anything else."

Oops.  I bought a dearer oven.  The sales assistant was so nice.  He went on about all the do-hickeys and the thing-a-me-bobs, and the bells and whistles of another brand and  I caved in.

I hung my head in front of J.  She tsk-tsked.  "When is this oven arriving?" she asked.

"Tomorrow.  Between noon and 3."


"Yes-yes!"  I was so excited.

"Oh, Lorraine....  You know that tradespeople and deliverers of products never come when they say they're going to-"

I didn't believe that.  I had faith of the heart....

The following afternoon, I sat in my lounge all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, waiting for my oven to be delivered.

And I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

The sales assistant at Noel Leeming's had forgotten to notify the deliverers.

J was so going to crow.....

Thursday, March 19, 2015

At the Gym

Hi there

My friend J and I were at the gym this week watching a young woman doing a sort of upside-down swing from some high parallel bars.

I wasn't impressed.  "I did that when I was a kid on the jungle gym at Bell Block School," I said to J.

"But she's so good at it."  J was truly impressed.

"Bell Block School," I repeated, with a wave of dismissal at the woman on the high bars.  "I was great on their jungle gym."

"We never had a jungle gym at Mora Road Primary," said J.   And, gooodness, did I see my friend wiping  away a sad tear as she thought back to her British upbringing? 

"Oh,you poor thing," I commiserated.  A school without a jungle gym was surely the playground from hell.

J brightened.  "We had a maypole!"

And it was then that I had a vision of every kiwi kid in the country gratefully thanking the Gods of the Playground that they never had to dance around a maypole with their little mitts tightly clutching multi-coloured dangling streamers...


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Auckland visit

Hi there

I was only in Auckland for four days but I rushed around like the Energiser Bunny.  It was very, very (very) warm - 26c to 29c - and I got so hot and bothered.  How come every Aucklander and tourist looked as if they weren't minding the heat one bit?

I wandered down to the Viaduct and ogled all the yachts berthed there for the stopover of the Volvo Round the World Ocean Race.  Goodness, the boats are sooooooo big.

I have decided I truly like Takapuna Beach in Auckland, with it's spectacular views and warm water.   I like getting there too - ferry and then bus that meets the ferry. 

I just walked into the sea at Takapuna without even registering how warm or cold the water was.  Yet, so many Aucklanders were toe-dipping and shivering.  I guess it's to do with my coming from Wellington where the water is colder.

I saw a drone being flown from the beach.  Everybody were taking pictures and clustering around the university guys controlling the drone.  (Sorry, I didn't take my camera with me to the beach)  The guys sent the drone heading off toward Rangitoto Island, then brought it swooping back right into a pack of seagulls.  There was a lot of squawking and I'm sure I saw feathers.  I was almost in tears that they'd injured a bird, but the controller assured me he had only given the seagulls a bit of a fright.  Cruel?

In one direction, from my hotel balcony, I had a great view of the Auckland Skytower.  Because it was Chinese New Year when I was there, the tower was lit up red.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Waiheke Island sandflies

Hi there

I've just returned from Auckland.  While there, I went swimming on Waiheke Island (two different beaches), and at Mission Bay, and also Takapuna Beach.

Oneroa Beach on Waiheke is lovely and so is (the water at)  Palm Beach.  But Palm Beach has sandflies.  Lots of little hippity-hoppity sandflies.  Most of them wanting to surround obviously only me.  I decided to laze up high on a wooden bench, but they surrounded me up there, too.   Who knew the little blighters could jump so high?

Cutting short my enjoyment of a lovely afternoon, I stomped angrily back into the changing shed where a fellow swimmer pointed out that I was in the centre of a ball of sandflies.

"Oooh, they're in your hair!" she shrieked.  "Go-get-a-shower!-go-get-a-shower!" 

She all but pushed me out of the shed.

Water is scarce on Waiheke but I stayed under that outside shower a good ten minutes.  I didn't care about passersby looking meaningfully at their watches, or even if they were staring at my big thighs. 

All I could think of was that I must have looked awfully like Pigpen, the character from the Peanuts comic strip ...

PS:  I don't know what sandflies are called outside of New Zealand.  Maybe 'midges'?

PPS:  no lasting effects from my bubble bath bathroom flood, except I was up till 2 am washing and drying dozens of towels.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bathroom catastrophe!

Hi there

9 pm Monday (NZ time)

Oh dear, I am sitting on my sofa, in a dripping wet funk.  A wee bit of that funk is through sweating profusely over some fast action I've just had to do - wish I had six arms - but most of the wet is because of a bathroom flooding!

I ran a bath, plonking in a lot of bubble bath mixture  (apparently you don't get a ring around the tub if you use bubble bath).  Then I went off and watched some tv.   I rang a friend -

"The bath-!!!!!!"

The bathroom floor was a couple of inches deep in water and bubbles!  The level was just above the skirting board.

I threw down a million towels and rang a couple of friends in a complete panic:  "What'll-I-do?-what'll-I-do?"

"Get a mop," shouted John. 

Yes, I'd never thought of that...

Oh, and - guess what? -  I'm off tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn for a couple of days in Auckland.  No-no-no-no....

Looks like I'll be up till midnight washing the million towels.  Oh, and I'm definitely going to stick to the showerbox for a time.

Don't tell me it's old-lady forgetfulness, or a 'senior moment'?  And please don't tell my doctor.   What with me putting that lettuce in the oven a couple of months ago and now this, my doctor will have me committed to Shady Pines Rest Home in no time..