Monday, March 29, 2021


Today we did the new walk that we tried out on Thursday in behind the Totara Park subdivision.  There were 16 walkers which is a good number, I think it was the thought of a new walk.  The weather forecast was for much needed rain but it stayed fine and has been fine all day.

The path was not long and when we walked on Thursday we also continued on the grassed area but, as the grass was quite wet today, (must have been a heavy dew or rain overnight) we just walked the path and back again.  

Everyone seemed to be quite happy with the shorter walk so we headed to the cafe for our caffeine fix and socialising.

The poplars are changing colour now and losing their leaves.  You can just see the new planting that has been done alongside the river.

 I took this aerial photo as a screenshot.  The walk we did was alongside the river at the top of the photo.  The totara trees do especially well here and in the middle of the subdivision is a large area of them that has been left.  The walk will eventually join up to the right with the walk we are doing next week which then joins on the walk we have done previously across the park and to the Whangarei Falls.

When we moved here this was all farmland.  We have never fancied living in a subdivision like this but would not mind  one of the houses that looks onto the Reserve and river not that we are thinking of moving.

Saturday, March 27, 2021


Doug's eldest grand-daughter asked if we could take some of her caterpillars as she is running out of food for them.  She brought them here earlier in the week.  They seem quite happy.

We have just been down to the Town Basin for a birthday tea for her daughter who has just turned 6.  It was a unicorn party with pizza, cupcakes  and, of course, a birthday cake.  She asked for some more Swan plant for her remaining caterpillars so we took a bunch.  

After having trouble with Bobby's pill yesterday we decided to try putting it in a piece of lamb's heart.  We gave him 5 small pieces and he ate the one with the pill first.  Let's hope he does that tomorrow. 

Friday, March 26, 2021


 Where do the weeks go. Apart from the Parkinson walk and then checking out another possible walk Monday was mostly taken up with Bobby.  Tuesday we had the plumber come to do a small job at 8.30 a.m. and then our hairdresser came to cut our hair at 11 a.m. and the rest of the day was keeping an eye on Bobby and giving him his pill.

Wednesday, was the walk up Parihaka and we felt a lot more relaxed afterwards.  Yesterday, Thursday, I baked some muffins then two ladies from the Parkinson group came around for a cuppa then we went with one of them to suss out a potential new walk in behind a nearby subdivision.  I didn't take any photos but we will be doing the walk on Monday so I will try and remember to take some then.

Today, I made some mini corn loaves and then we had neighbours B and R here for a cuppa at 2.30 p.m.  They had been here about half an hour when another neighbour A called in.  She is in her eighties and lives on her own and calls in when she needs a chat.  She didn't want a cuppa and stayed a while then headed home.  A little while  later she was back again.  She had had a shower and noticed a rash and wanted advice as to whether she should go to the chemist or doctor (At this stage it was about 4 p.m. Friday afternoon).  We said phone the doctor.  She went home and phoned back to say she had spoken to the nurse who would get back to her.  She phoned again later to say the doctor would see her as he could then tell what the rash was.  Doug took her over to the doctor and has just come back.  As it was getting near closing time it was quiet and she went straight in.  He has given her antihistamines and thinks it may have been a reaction to some antibiotics she was on recently.  Hopefully, the rash will now clear up.

Apart from this  we have been giving Bobby his daily pill.  Now using the pill popper and will get a shorter one next time we are in town.  He still fights it.  At least he is eating his new special diet although this is being introduced gradually.  He is looking and behaving so much better and has now worked out the cat door back from the run.  Previously he has got into the run but had trouble getting back out.

Another weekend tomorrow and off early to the Market.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021


First of all Bobby.  We kept him locked in (with access to Kim's run) until this morning.  He was not at all happy, just lay on the bottom of his run and slept most of the time.  I know cats sleep a lot anyway but he was not good.  We kept him in so that he couldn't run away to his hiding place on the other side of our neighbours property.

This morning we gave him some food and then let him out and he kept coming and going which was good.  I have found it hard giving him his daily pill as he is so strong and did not want it but I am hoping that as he starts to feel better it will get easier.  Hoping anyway as he has to have them for the rest of his life.

Anyway, we were both feeling quite stressed so decided it was time to go up the Ross Track to the top of Mt. Parihaka.  It is the first time since the major flooding in July last year, in fact it was February last year.

It is a beautiful autumn day so we drove to the beginning of the track. The track is 1.45 kms and is rising all the way.  Gentle slopes with several small staircases.  More steps since the flooding.

This is the "staircase" that was there before the floods

The photo below shows sandbags used to build up the track after the floods and the stream that runs alongside the track

This is where the track has been washed away 

and a diversion put in place.  The piece of fence showing is blocking off the old path and one now goes up two flights of stairs

A kauri tree opposite a well placed bench

The view from the top

This is going down bi-passing the slip

It was a most enjoyable walk although I felt these steps could have done with a handrail and am getting in touch with the Council.  The bottom steps that were less narrow and less steep had a rail but not these ones.

After our walk we went to the Library to get some books then came home for lunch.

Monday, March 22, 2021


We got a 9.30 a.m. appointment for Bobby.  Both vets are excellent but we prefer Natalie and she saw Bobby.  When she listened to his heart she could hear mucous on his lungs and she was also worried that he could have a thyroid problem.

We left him to have blood tests and  x-rays and were told we would not hear until about midday.  Finally just after 2 p.m. I got a call and was told that it would be easier to tell us the problem in person and she will not be free until 5 p.m. (it is now 3.15 so we have a while to wait.  I will update later.

LATER: We went back at 5 p.m. but had to wait as there had been an emergency and she was running late.  The blood tests showed up an overactive thyroid and we were told about various treatments starting with sending him down to Auckland.  The one we have opted for is giving him a tablet each day and special food.  He seemed a lot worse today or perhaps it was the stress of going in to the vets.  

The x-rays were not good either as there is some sort of mass next to his heart.  Anyway, we are starting on the thyroid and will see how he progresses from there.  As Doug said to Natalie we may have to sell the house and live in a tent with Bobby if he continues to be so expensive.  He has been with us under 5 months so far.  

Anyway, the news could have been a lot worse.  As you can imagine it has been a stressful day.

Sunday, March 21, 2021


 On Wednesday we saw a funeral notice in our local paper for a lady with the same name as one of Doug's aunts.  We realised it must be her daughter-in-law.  Doug phoned the lady who had put the notice in the paper and we decided we would go to the funeral.  The hesitation was just because of the distance as the funeral was in Kaitaia, where I used to live.  When we were in the Bay of Islands the previous week we had, initially, intended to go to Kaitaia to catch up with my friends as I lived in the area for about 40 years but decided to just stay put in the Bay of Islands.  

I was glad we made that decision as I was able to catch up with a few friends this time.  It is a two and a half hour drive (each way), we set off at about 8 a.m. and did some visiting before having an early lunch at the Beachcomber Restaurant where my gluten free fish and chips was excellent.

The funeral was at 1 p.m. but we went early as I remembered from when I lived there that people arrived early for funerals.  We found a spot in the cool under an oak tree and a people mover parked alongside.  The driver was stretching when she got out so we asked how far they had come and it was not quite a far as us but the passengers included 2 of Doug's first cousins once removed (I had to look that up) so we had a good catch up.

The lady Doug had phoned who was the deceased's sister took the service which was one of the nicest funerals we have been to.  The service was live streamed as several family members were unable to return from overseas due to Covid.

It was great for Doug as he met lots of cousins he had not met before.  I also met up with a lot of friends who were at the funeral.  After the funeral there were refreshments in the church hall and then the burial was at a cemetery next door to where I used to live 15 kms. away.

Doug's uncle (his father's half brother) was not at the funeral so I phoned and we called to see them.  It turned out he was not at the funeral because he did not feel well and they were pleased to see us.  We decided not to go to the cemetery and got home about 6.30 p.m.

The next morning Bobby was not indoors as he usually is and I had to go and find him.  He was where he used to sleep before he became our indoor cat.  Last night I noticed what looks like a claw in his back leg and he is not eating very much and seems as though he may have something in his throat.  He went and found a place to curl up outside this morning but I have brought him in and he seems quite contented but we will try and get him in to see the vet in the morning.  We have not called the vet out as we don't think it is an emergency and, also, may get a vet from a different practice.  We kept him locked in last night (with access to Kim's run).  We thought he may have been upset being locked in but he seemed quite happy although he wanted to go out this morning.

Friday, March 19, 2021


On Thursday after having lunch in our hotel (home made) we went back to the Treaty Grounds and visited the Exhibition to the Maori Battalion and managed to find Doug's Uncle's name as he died in Crete.  

We then went to the Treaty House

The original Treaty House was pre-cut in Sydney out of Australian hardwood and shipped to New Zealand for assembly on site in 1834. The building provided a home for the official representative of the British Government in New Zealand. In 1840 the house consisted of a parlour, or living room, one large bedroom, a central hall, and a small dressing room. A separate building housed the kitchen, storeroom and servants’ room. In 1841 three bedrooms were added to accommodate James Busby’s growing family.

The house and its associated farm remained in the family’s possession until 1882 when the estate was sold. Over the next 50 years, the house was neglected and became almost derelict. However, during a visit to Waitangi in 1932, Governor-General Lord Bledisloe and Lady Bledisloe were struck by the significance of the site. They purchased the house and surrounding lands and gifted the whole estate to the people of New Zealand as a national memorial for the Treaty. It underwent major restoration work, first in 1933 when it was named the Treaty House, and again in 1989.

Today you can see several themed rooms with the entrance providing a welcome area, as it did in 1834 when it was the first British Residency in New Zealand, and which doubled as James Busby’s office. Two rooms are dedicated to the Busby family story and what life must have been like for James, Agnes, and their children. The parlour where the finishing touches were made to the Treaty of Waitangi explores Busby’s influence on the English version and his final touches to Rev Henry Williams’ Māori version.

What a wonderful gift for Lord and Lady Bledisloe to make.

The front of the Treaty House

and the rear courtyard.

The following day we took the long way home via Kerikeri and went to the "Scullery" shop as I wanted to buy some china mugs and, of course, a few other items ended up in my purchase as well.  We then drove down to the Stone Store and Kemp House and had lunch at the Honey House Cafe which is on the Mission Station.

We were pleased to see more people than we expected on our trip.  Everywhere was busy, in particular the cafe on our last day was packed out.  Good to see with no travellers coming from overseas.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021


On our third day we went to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds . The last time I was there would have been in the 1970's and it is now a completely different experience with Museums, a guided tour and cultural performance.  Once again we were lucky with the weather - cloudy again but fine.

We had a walk through the grounds to the waka house which shelters Ngātokimatawhaorua, the largest canoe of its type.  

We finished the tour at the Meeting House where we had a ceremonial greeting  and a cultural performance.

The views across the Bay of Islands were amazing.

By now it was lunch time so we went the short distance to our hotel for lunch and then went back to see James Busby's house and the two museums.

Lots of links rather than descriptions as things are busy here today and tomorrow.

Monday, March 15, 2021


On our first full day we decided to go across the water to Russell which was the first permanent European settlement and seaport in New Zealand.  We drove the short distance to Paihia and to the car park we had used the previous day.  I only had a $20 note so tried to pay with my card but the machine wouldn't accept it.  I then went across the road for some change but when I got back Doug was talking to a young man who had asked him if he needed help.  Apparently, there was another machine in the middle of the car park so he went there.  I followed to get our ticket but the young man came across and gave us a ticket for extra time $8.50.  This gave us more than enough time for our trip.  We thanked him and said we would "pay it forward".

We were just in time to catch the "Happy Ferry" across the harbour and spent an enjoyable few hours in Russell.

The view from Paihia

Looking back at Paihia

Coming towards Russell

The Russell Waterfront

This Moreton Bay Fig is believed to have been planted in 1870

We liked this planted wall outside a pizza restaurant

We were sitting on a bench at the waterfront when the R. Tucker Thompson sailed past.  (Our hotel is in the background.)