Week Three – Red Beach, Dad’s 80th Birthday Party

18 Feb

Slept late at the bach and got up to yet another fine and warm day.  After taking a walk around Pinewoods we headed to the outlet shops at Silverdale.  Before going back to the bach we drove down to Orewa for a quick look and a walk on the beach.  It was glorious.  We then spent the rest of the day relaxing and catching up with some of the locals at Pinewoods.

Looking NNW from the cliff-top at Pinewoods (where our holiday place is located).  Orewa beach is on the left in the distance.

Looking NNW from the cliff-top at Pinewoods (where our holiday place is located). Orewa beach is on the left in the distance.

This used to be the Post Office in the small town of Silverdale near Red Beach.  At first glance it seemed a shocking colour to paint such a building, even if it was now re-purposed as a café.  But as I waited in the adjoining park while Leanne was clothes shopping it grew on me.  Now I like it.

This used to be the Post Office in the small town of Silverdale near Red Beach. At first glance it seemed a shocking colour to paint such a building, even if it was now re-purposed as a café. But as I waited in the adjoining park while Leanne was clothes shopping it grew on me. Now I like it.

Picnic table and beach - how much more iconic Kiwi can you get in one picture?

Picnic table and beach – how much more iconic Kiwi can you get in one picture?

NNW along Orewa Beach at low tide.

NNW along Orewa Beach at low tide.

SE along Orewa Beach at low tide.

SE along Orewa Beach at low tide.

The setting sun reflected off a window back along Red Beach with a paddle board rider just going out.

The setting sun reflected off a window back along Red Beach with a paddle board rider just going out.

The tide coming in on Red Beach on another glorious day in paradise.

The tide coming in on Red Beach on another glorious day in paradise.

The walkway from Pinewoods through to the beach.  The building ahead is the back of the Red Beach Surf Life Saving (we need a shorter name!) Club.

The walkway from Pinewoods through to the beach. The building ahead is the back of the Red Beach Surf Life Saving (we need a shorter name!) Club.

On Tuesday I managed to do the weed spraying and mow the lawn before Ken and Tricia (Leanne’s Uncle & Aunt) stopped in for morning tea.  We had a good chat and caught up on their family news.  We headed back to the city after lunch to start on the many things that needed doing before Dad’s party on the weekend.

The party was totally organised by Dad and Judith so all we needed to do was sort out clothes for three days and be there.  I also needed to prepare list of the photos we wanted taken by Jeff on Saturday afternoon.  Since I was MC there were also some formalities that I needed to prepare.  Dad was going to give a talk (because we were not having speeches!) on the highlights of his life so as an introduction I thought that I would first present some interesting facts about events on the 19th of February in history (Dad’s actual birthday is 19th February 1933) followed by setting the scene with some facts/events in 1933.  The first part was easy but the second was very difficult.  This was meant to be a joyful day but in reality 1933 was a very dark year in history – it was the worst of the Great Depression and many of the key events that led ultimately to WWII actually happened in this year.  Digging deeper I did find a few positives and managed to set the scene on which Dad could base his story.

It was a very busy weekend – we arrived at the venue with Steven and Darryn on Friday afternoon and left at lunchtime on Sunday.  It was held at the Ramarama Country Inn where they had motel units as well as the function room and bar.  There were 36 guests in total and many of them stayed at least the Saturday night.  The venue suited our needs very well.

Dad is from a family of sixteen of which eleven survive.  He is the third oldest by birth and the oldest surviving.  All remaining siblings were present for the weekend.  It was figured out that the last time all the siblings had been together was in 1963.  So taking lots of photos was a priority and we excelled.  Jeff took all the more formal shots, about 160 of them.  There are some great shots.  Because I was busy with other duties I gave my new camera and my old one to Steven and Darryn so they could take candid shots all weekend.  Between then they took another 870 photos and some were excellent.  Out of this 1000+ photos I selected about 240 together with Dad and put them on a CD together with the video of his talk so they could be sent to all the guests.

Overall the weekend was a great success.  It is rare in such a large family to get everyone together and be able to relax together and chat.  I didn’t get any work done on the family tree records as I had naively hoped but there is an interest in getting this project of mine pushed along.  Perhaps next year when I get home.

My Dad looking none of his 80 years.

My Dad looking none of his 80 years.

All 36 guests at Dad's 80th Birthday Party.

All 36 guests at Dad’s 80th Birthday Party.

All the surviving siblings, ranging in age from 80 to 56 years.  Four brothers and one sister have passed away.

All the surviving siblings, ranging in age from 80 to 56 years. Four brothers and one sister have passed away.

The cutting of the cake.

The cutting of the cake.

By the time we got home on Sunday to have a BBQ with Leanne’s brother, Bryce, and his family plus her sister Sharon, we were exhausted.  Any thoughts that we had ever really been in control of our schedule are now well forgotten.

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