The First Full Week

4 Feb

When I mentioned last time that this post was at risk of being late I never imagined that it would be quite this late!  It is now 4th March and we are back in France and I am only just finding time to write again.  Our whole time back in NZ was incredibly busy and enjoyable but we were both exhausted by the time we got back on the flight to France.  It will probably take a week or so to catch up with the posts now so bear with me.

I also forecast that this post might be short.  What I found was that because I was ‘home’ I took far fewer photos in general because I guess everything is so familiar.  Since I essentially build my blog around the few photos I select out of the usual multitudes, a lack of photos to start from means a shortened blog.

Our first week at home was a model of organisation and control when compared to the ensuing weeks.  We started attending to our various ‘to-do’ lists including catching up with family and friends, doctors visits, insurances, etc.

Steven and Darryn, with guidance from Dad, had done well in the garden.  These tomatoes were collected from self-sown plants from last year's crop.  They were very healthy, did not get watered for the month we were home and still produced excellent fruit.

Steven and Darryn, with guidance from Dad, had done well in the garden. These tomatoes were collected from self-sown plants from last year’s crop. They were very healthy, did not get watered for the month we were home and still produced excellent fruit.

On Tuesday, after dealing with some routine stuff, Leanne and I went up to our bach at Red Beach to spend the night.  For non-Kiwis, a ‘bach’ is local parlance for a holiday house.  Our bach is situated in a park called Pinewoods.  While there we arranged for some maintenance to be done and for the trees, that have now completely blocked our sea view, to be trimmed.

Looking SE at low tide along Red Beach.

Looking SE at low tide along Red Beach.

Three hours later looking NNW up Orewa beach and the wind is up making great conditions for all the kite surfers.

Three hours later looking NNW up Orewa beach and the wind is up making great conditions for all the kite surfers.

Must be home - there is a fern on my coffee.

Must be home – there is a fern on my coffee.

This was in the holiday park at Pinewoods and I just had to snap it.

This was in the holiday park at Pinewoods and I just had to snap it.

We returned home on Wednesday afternoon and in the evening Darryn had arranged for a group of us to go mountain biking at Woodhill Forest.  We met Jeff, Logan and John in the car park and set off.  Darryn had prepared my bike so even though it had not been used for a year everything was working fine.  Apart from feeling very unfit I was surprised at how well I went.  My heat rate maxed at 182bpm!  I generally felt very good on the bike and it made me realise that I do miss riding.  This will have to be a big focus when we return for good next March.  Remarkably, when I woke on Thursday morning I had no aches or pains, I felt great.

Thursday was spent on mundane stuff except for meeting Steven and Darryn at De Post for a beer after they had finished their respective work.  Happy hour from 5pm to 7pm and $5 Belgian beers.  Excellent.

More routine stuff on Friday – my photo collection from the last 10 months is over 330GB and the HDD on my laptop was within a whisker of totally full so some serious housekeeping was needed.  Also needed to properly set up my iPhone 5 and convert the old iPhone 4 for Leanne to use.  Not exciting but it all takes a lot of time.

On Friday evening we had a BBQ at home catch up with various neighbours and friends.

Catching up with friends over a BBQ at our place.  I don't know what Gary (edge of shot on the right) said but it did something to Darryn.

Catching up with friends over a BBQ at our place. I don’t know what Gary (edge of shot on the right) said but it did something to Darryn.

Leanne and I had a champagne breakfast with Steven and Darryn in Newmarket on Saturday morning.  This is what was parked outside…

NZ streets can look like a working car museum some days.  According to the registration plate this is a 1958 Morris Minor.

NZ streets can look like a working car museum some days. According to the registration plate this is a 1958 Morris Minor.

Dad and Judith came over for dinner on Saturday evening and we talked some more about the plans for Dad’s 80th birthday party next week.  On Sunday we had dinner with Leanne’s Mum & Dad at their place (with Steven and Darryn too).  They bought an iPad for Xmas and are getting quite good at using it already.  Visits now also have a tutorial aspect to them.  The iPad is an ideal platform for ‘late adopters’ – it is very user friendly, robust, stable and it is hard to actually do any damage or lose data.  The mechanical simplicity is also fantastic – no cables, keyboards, mice, speakers, etc.  I would recommend it to anyone who has until now managed to avoid joining the computer age.

One week done, three to go!  Stay tuned.

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