Wednesday, 10 February 2016
I cannot believe that I've now slept here for 8 nights and am shortly to be picked up to go to a 3-day croquet tournament in Mount Maunganui. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. I have hardly take a photo since I arrived. I have just lived: been a surrogate grandpa and thoroughly enjoyed The Family and my friends.
A lovely incident was the decision by the Marewa Croquet Club to which I belonged for so long to refuse my application to rejoin for the rest of the year. Given that I will only be here for six weeks they decided that they would not accept my application but simply charge me green fees: and then set those fees at zero. I was very, very touched indeed.
I have no idea whether I will have wifi until next Monday evening when I get home again so I'm just letting you know that I haven't deserted Blogland and that hopefully I'll be back with plenty of photos and something a bit more interesting to report.
I'll leave you with the view as I'm typing this. It's not a bad life!
Saturday, 6 February 2016
I had rather intended this stay in New Zealand to be a combination of catching up with The Family and my friends both here in Hawkes Bay and elsewhere in the country; a safari with Pauline via seeing Gareth in Auckland (he flew the same route as I did and arrived yesterday); some croquet with a tournament in Tauranga; and then do all sorts of things that I haven't done as a tourist because I was only a tourist for a relatively short while back in 2005. Living in a place and being a tourist are entirely different things. One may experience more as a tourist in terms of quantity but for quality of experience nothing beats living in a place.
However with the alterations in the arrangements next week because Pauline had to go to Australia I have suddenly just picked up where I left off nearly two years ago. I cannot believe that I've been away that long. Sitting chatting to people today at croquet it was as if I'd just been away for my usual six months. There were however lots of new people and it was a bit odd not knowing everyone and not being known by many.
Playing croquet after two years absence from the game was strange. Almost everything was second nature but in reality my games today consisted of general mediocrity interspersed with flashes of sheer incompetence. However after having run a hoop from about 20 yards to win a game one stranger did tell me that I showed promise for a newcomer. Hmmm.
Arriving in New Zealand now is the most slick operation I've ever encountered at an airport. I was off the plane and out of the terminal in somewhere around 15 minutes: everything is automated. The downside? No cheery border control officer to wish you an enjoyable stay. Then what is for me always one of the most emotional of moments: leaving the International Terminal and stepping into the heat of a sunny day (in 11 years I have never arrived on a wet day) and walking to the Domestic Terminal. Why I didn't take a photo of the tree-lined beautiful parts of that walk to show you I have no idea.
Then the flight to Napier which is the same flying time as my first flight of the journey from Stornoway to Glasgow:
Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Well, of course, I'm always 'here' it's just a case of where 'here' is. Today it's Kiwiland:
I arrived in Napier around 1800 hrs and, guess what? I was offered a celebratory glass of wine which, out of politeness, of course, I accepted. After dinner we decided that the pool, at around 35 ºC, was very inviting:
I'm not sure how long we were in there but it was pretty late when we all emerged, had some green tea and retired to bed happy and absolutely pooped!
I woke 0645 with absolutely no idea of the time (phones switched off and no clock!!), got up, showered and made my way into the living area of the house to find that I'd got up at 0645 - true Kiwi fashion - to another fabulous day:
Okay so I know that I've just lots a HUGE number of friends who are still languishing in Scotland's dreaich and dismal or cold, wet and windy weather but, hey, I'll just have to cope with it.
Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Well that's the first two intercontinental legs completed. Just the last hop over the Tassie from Melbourne to Auckland and then the last leg on the local plane from Auckland to Napier.
Leave Glasgow Monday 1 February 2055. Arrive Dubai 0810 local time (0410 UK time)
Leave Dubai Tuesday 1015 Local time (0615 UK time)
Arrive Auckland Wednesday 1345 (local time) Wednesday 0045 (UK time)
Leave Auckland 1640 (local time) 0340 (UK time) Arrive Napier 1740 (local time) 0440 (UK time)