Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Summer of Singledom, Singlets, and Sunburn

So we had a few more days at the beach, but eventually had to return to work.

The following weekend I went to Auckland for Saturday night. The next morning I texted some old friends, and ended up heading to Omaha beach (north of Auckland, not in northern France) and caught up with Roz, my flatmate from when I lived at the Mainstreet Lodge in Kaitaia, who I hadn't seen since we'd hung out in London in 2009.

On the way back through Auckland I caught up with Mark, who is some of my cousins' cousin. I hadn't seen him for about 13 years, since the wedding of one of our mutual cousins. We had a great time catching up, especially as we had more than cousins in common, Mark has taught ESOL as well, and is on his way to becoming a scriptwriter.

Back at work we implemented computerised packing slips. Admittedly it had a bit more testing required than I anticipated, and for a while was more trouble than it was worth and brought back bad memories of past employments... But now it is functioning well, and almost fully operational.

The Famous Whangamomona hotel.
At the end of January was Auckland Anniversary weekend. Ages ago (such as like 2007, before i went up to Kaitaia) I remembered one of mum and dad's old employees mention the Whangamomona republic day - which is celebrated every two years. Essentially what happened was at some point they changed the province boundaries, and Whangamomona fell into a province it didn't want to be in, so it jokingly declared itself a republic. This was happening on the Saturday, so i had planned to get up early and head down there. As Iwas lying on my bed chilling out on the Friday night I got a bit bored and investigated options of heading halfway there so it would be an easier trip. At around the same time I heard from Bonz, a friend I worked with back in 1999/2000 at Canpac - we catch up at random intervals, after meeting up randomly. For example, in about 2003 we happened to both end up working tutoring excel to trainee nurses. This time we happened to meet up as she came into our shop with a vacuum to be fixed. Last time we'd caught up was just after I got back from Japan.

When you are 87kms SOUTH of Taumarunui, you really are in the middle of nowhere.
Anyhow - I decided I would travel as far as Waitomo that night, and travel the rest in the morning. Ended up Bonz was keen to do that too, and offered that we go in her car (as as we spoke, she was on her way back from Auckland). So we did just that, staying the night at the Kiwi Paka hostel in Waitomo. It was probably just as well that we did, as it was at least another good two hours onto Whangamomona. It was a nice drive (from the passenger seat at least) along the Forgotten World Highway (State Highway 43)- I had intended to, but failed to do this drive several times recently - firstly Easter last year, when I did my ancestor tracing pilgrimage to Taranaki and Wellington, but I was going from Rotorua, and wanted to visit a girl in Piopio. The second time was in November when I visited Dave and Sandra in New Plymouth, but when it came to Sunday, when I intended to do it, it was pouring with rain.
See on the right there a golf cart - they do tours along this now disused train line. When I have the money, it would be really interesting.
Anyhow, the set up there was interesting. There were a few stalls, and a decent amount of food. It was a mega hot day. There was the odd other thing to see, such as whip-cracking, a farm-made water slide (ie doing what we used to do, and using a plastic sheet, water and detergent to slide, but taking it a step further and having a landing pool) and a trough for "guess how many eels are in the trough". It was worth doing the once, maybe a bit too far to do another time.
After the long drive back to Hamilton, I went around to Suzanne and Bevan's for dinner - Bevan had smoked several different types of meats in his pizza oven (as a test run for when he would do it for his parents) and invited Ron and Rach as well (knowing that me and Ron would pretty much eat anything meaty). (For some reason I have just got a huge urge to go to the fridge, can't think why). Anyhow, fantastic feed - one of the best things was something we almost wrote off as being too charcoaled - some ribs.

In the following week, we got the McDonald family Bible back - which had been getting restored in Tauranga. We had hoped initially to have it back in time for Nana's birthday, but were told it wasn't likely. Turned out we did, and it came in cheaper than expected, and delivered as well, complete with archive gloves (think Michael Jackson) and some special sellotape for repairing page tears.

A Four generation photo of my ancestors, although Nana (standing right) should have been taking the photo, and Popa in the photo. Clockwise From bottom, Donald McDonald (sitting), his daughter (Elizabeth) Grace Pearson (nee McDonald), Nana (Marj Pearson), and mum (Anne Thomas, nee Pearson) as a baby. Recently I did a census search, and I believe Donald was born in San Jose Banda, which is apparently in Argentina - looking at his complexion it could be possible that his natural father was Latin American, although my Uncle and cousin have red hair, which we attributed to his Scottish-ness.
The event that weekend then of course was Nana's 80th birthday party. We held it at our house, and had about 50 relations come and have lunch. It was another nice hot day, and we had set up two sun shades. It was great catching up with some of the old relations, as previously I had been "a kid" whereas now I was relating to them as an adult. It was especially great from a family history perspective too, as I pass on and run past some of my theories on our ancestors and get their feedback and knowledge. One such example is the family bible - it was noticeably water damaged - I assumed because it had travelled from Opunake to Kinohaku by boat, and that in it's 116 year life it was bound to have attracted some moisture. Turns out, according to my grandfather's cousin, that it had been through a flood at Kinohaku - at the time it was on top of a piano, which the water rose to the top of, and just up part of the way up the Bible. I also managed to catch up with one of my mother's cousins who I had discussed family history matters with, and she had compiled a whole lot of things since I had talked to her last, so I got a copy of her finished product.

Yeah naturally I like this photo because I look relatively nice in it, but also because it's a nice one of me and Nana.
On the Sunday, I went and did the Hakarimata walk - something that had been on the list for a while, but without company it hadn't got done. I found I wasn't as fit as I remembered, but once we had gotten over the summit of the first bit, it wasn't too bad after that. There is a lookout tower built there as well which is quite awesome. On getting back to the bottom we picked up our cars and went and had a drink (Coca Cola) at the Waipa tavern, which I had always figured was a pretty rough place. Later in the week I made a joke on Facebook that I had come back and found my car without it's glovebox and stereo, but most people missed the second part of the joke where I said that I had previously taken them out in preparation/investigation for installing rear speakers.

In the following week I house sat for Suzanne and Bevan, as they headed up the Coromandel with Suzanne's ex-boss from the UK. The pay-off for me is walking Jordan (exercise) and using their MySky. I am addicted to watching Who Do You Think You Are? and various British documentaries, so I make good use of recording them - so much so that I come away with having recorded more than I watched. My other favourites were The Underground, Dragon's Den Profiles (of the Dragons) and Battle Castles (on various European castles, such as Conwy (which I have visited in Wales), and Malbork - (which I intend to visit - it is only about 100kms from Egiertowo (formerly known as Eggershutte) where my German ancestors came from, in modern day Poland.)) As you can probably imagine, such a diet of programmes really doesn't help me get over missing England and Europe. I'm not sure if I mentioned that I had bought a new TV late last year, which has Freeview built in. Similiarly I love the Channel Choice, as it has programmes such as Coast, and The History of Scotland.

That weekend I took Mum and Dad to the airport as they were heading to the South Island for a holiday, and ending up in Queenstown for a work conference.

After investigating my rear speaker situation, I discovered the wiring was already there in my car. I installed one of the ones I had got from the wreakers, but turns out it doesn't work, so I purchased some Pioneer ones. I had asked my mate Ron for advice, and he ended up finding me some online for a cheap price, I then went to the shop around the corner from work and they matched the price. Late last week Dad and I completed the installation. It's a bit weird now having 4 speakers, after 13 years of just the two front ones, and especially as the new ones have tweeters, so I hear more treble. The next thing on the car list is making a green suede gearstick sock.

Other than that, yesterday I did the intermediate follow-on to the cycle safety thing I did in December. I ended up being the only adult attendee ((they combined it with a family day) probably because they timed it at 4:30, and I left work early) so I got one-on-one tutoring. It was all good, but amazing how tiring the rest of the ride home was.

And there we are, caught up again. I totally intend to update this on a regular basis, and therefore make it a bit more philosophical and interesting, rather than a list of things I've done, but I seem to fail at that. I do however have several plans for future entries, so keep an eye out.

The title, in case you are wondering, is due to the fantastic weather we have had this year (especially compared to last year) and the resulting sunburn and chaffing. After being burnt for a second time, I went and purchased three bottles of sunscreen from work, and put one in my glove box, one in my toilet bag, and one in the drawer. It is been so hot, it I have been living in a singlet in the evenings, and I feel a bit bad that the weekends I have been at Suzanne's I have spent inside watching the TV in order to avoid getting burnt. Unfortunately Hamilton is an inland city, and Raglan is just that little bit too far away to go to for a swim. A couple of times Suzanne and I have taken Jordan (her dog) down to the river to play in the water and meet other dogs, and I have taken the opportunity to have a nice cooling swim (Jordan is also finding it too hot to do anything, if you walk him too early in the evening, he will sit/lie down and have a big rest, usually in such a dramatic fashion that bystanders would think he is totally been overworked) The good thing is with my encouragement Jordan has gained confidence in swimming - but when getting him to swim to me, I have to be careful not to let him try and rest on me, as generally that results in a mis-aimed claw mark down my front. The singledom bit was to make it sound better with a bit of alliteration, and because for once in my single life I am choosing not to look. Truth is I am still confused with the Adessa situation and until I get that sorted in my brain, any rejection will just set me back to the why? feelings.

 So, in the near future what is coming up? Easter - I am hoping to make the most of it, and plan to do the Coromandel, and do some snorkeling, which I have done sweet F A of in the last 5 years, except in Egypt. I have been thinking of other trips I want to do, such as Kaikoura, Melbourne etc, but that is another entry...

1 comment:

  1. Dude, a green gearstick gaiter to match the paint! Pimpin'! Somewhere on my to do list is making a black cloth gearstick gaiter, the faux leather One is a bit yuck.