Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Awakeri Rail Adventures, Whakatane

Hi there

While I was on holiday last week I went on an Awakeri Rail Adventure.  I drove something that looked like a golf cart along a decommissioned railway track that was in an area just before the township of Whakatane.

It was a lot of fun.  There were probably about five carts and we were led along the rails by a jigger (?), driven by an owner of the company.  Not that there was much driving involved.  There was a steering wheel, sure, but it was un-usable and it truly felt weird to just sit there, not using the thing.  We used the foot pedal to slow down, speed up, or stop.

We stopped the carts at one point to feed dozens upon dozens of geese, ducks, and hens who came running across from a farm to greedily welcome us.  Another time we stopped for  a bush walk, then we stopped for a bush afternoon tea.  We drove over a couple of narrow bridges over roads and little valleys. In total, about two and a half hours.  We travelled completely through lush greenery.

I took loads of photos but, of course, I lost my phone, so here is a photo from the Whakatane information site.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Those insurance companies

Hi there

It had been three years but finally, at last, thank goodness, I was coming to grips with the basic technological aspects of my pretty-in-pink pre-pay mobile phone.  Hooray.

But last week, in Whakatane, I lost my phone. Noooooooo...

I rang my insurance company. "It cost me $149," I told the insurance lady.

"Stop right there-"   The insurance lady sounded smug.

Turned out my insurance excess was $250.  The company would not be buying me a new phone after all.

I politely said "thank you",  in preparation for hanging up.

"No problem," said the insurance lady.

What?  Of course it was a problem!  I was going to have to pay out for a new phone.  How on earth could she say that wasn't a problem?  It was a BIG problem-!

... I'm so over insurance companies, and I'm going out tomorrow to buy myself that new (pink) phone.   It will take me a further three years to study the ins and outs of it.  I just don't have that much living time left to squeeze in learning yet another new tech contraption.


Friday, May 19, 2017

The Desert Road - snow!

Hi there

6.30,pm Saturday
I've just returned from a week at Ohope Beach (three swims).  Ohope Beach has been voted New Zealand's Best Loved Beach.

I returned this afternoon via The Desert Road. I started along the road at noon in pouring rain.  The rain turned to hail, then sleet, then light snow flurries (snow flurries?  The Desert Road? Oh well, it is right next to three snow-capped mountains).  I emerged from the road into the sun.

I got home at 4 30 to hear that the Desert Road was closed because of the snow.  

Above picture of this afternoon's Desert Road, taken from

Friday, May 12, 2017

Royal protocol

Hi there

I was reading a book yesterday.  The main character was a prince.  And yes, okay, it was a royalty romance, so sue me!

And it truly irritated me all the way through the book when people kept referring to the Prince as "Your Majesty" or "His Majesty".  For goodness' sake!  He's a prince, not a sovereign.

HRH.  His Highness.  His Royal Highness. Never-never-never 'Majesty' though sometimes a sovereign's spouse can also have the title.  The book was by an American writer.

When I was in Las Vegas a few years' back, I chanced upon respected actor Sir Patrick Stewart giving a talk.  There was a queue of people lined up at a microphone to ask questions.

One guy asked, "What is your next film, Sir Stewart?"

I almost collapsed on the spot in hysterics.  Sir Stewart?

Sir Patrick breezily answered the question.  But when the next person in line, an obvious copycat, also  referred to him as 'Sir Stewart', the actor gently pointed out the mistake.

Ah, royalty, knights of the realm, and protocol.  You have to love it all!

Friday, May 5, 2017

A talented writer

Hi there

I have a friend who is a talented writer.  Lyn McConchie lives in New Zealand and, as of this writing, has about 40 published books to her credit.  She writes fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, horror...  She is well-known and respected in the SF and fantasy communities throughout the world.

Her latest published book, "Bastet's Daughters", has been dedicated to - wait for it - me!

     For Lorraine
     In memory of Star Girl

My cat Star Girl passed away some time ago.  Lyn tells me that the cat in the book is Star Girl.  I am so excited that Lyn remembered my beautiful Siamese.

This fantasy book, set in an Egyptian-like country, is  published by Wildside Books, will shortly be out on Kindle, or can be bought as a paperback.  I have the paperback and its got a gorgeous cover -

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Brrhhh... Hataitai Beach

Hi there

The last three times as I've plunged into the water at Hataitai Beach it's been the same thing; I have felt as if there was a freezing block of ice encircling my heart!  Wow, so dramatic but, honestly, it's true.  Each time, for a split second, I've thought, "Is this where I have a heart attack?".

When I told my swimming friend J  -  who was home with her second winter illness in less than a month - she sent me the below pic -