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The flight to Auckland was uneventful but long, 12 hours of sea, and nothing but sea. Disconcerting to see nothing but blue on the flight map for that length of time
Richard and Beverley live on what is called in New Zealand, a lifestyle section. This is a piece of land big enough to be more or less self sufficient. They have a vegetable garden, fruit trees, chickens, ducks, a bee hive and 16 beef cattle as well as both having full time jobs. One cow is due to calf shortly and when I spotted a small calf (well it looked very small to me) I thought the new arrival had made an appearance, until I realised that they are not born with a yellow tag in their ears. We are still awaiting for the birth.
There were some unexpected arrivals, 2 ducks have each produced 3 ducklings each. Two wild ducks had taken up residence with the domestic ones so they were taken to a pond and released to join their relatives.
Hamilton is in the Waikato region, a farming area
For the last 3 days Jim and I took a trip up to the Bay of Islands. We went there 3 years ago when we visited but did not get chance to see Russell which was the capital at one time. In the 1800's it was called the “Hell hole of the Pacific” as ships called in for provisions and sailors celebrated being on land. Now it is as genteel as it is possible to imagine and the idea of it being a hell hole as likely as Miss Marple running a brothel.
The whole area is covered with bays and estuaries where people sail, swim, fish and generally potter around the water. I could happily live here apart from one thing – the ground seems to consist of sand covered with vegetation. In many places on the road there are landslips or washouts as they are called here. Then, above the landslips, there are hills with houses on them. I would feel very insecure living up there.
The next few weeks are going to be busy as we are going to the Art Deco Festival in Napier, down to Wellington and then to criss cross the south Island. Not sure if we will be able to go online so the next blog might be some time.