Scooting home

I tried to post this last night, but for some reason WordPress, or maybe Firefox, wouldn’t let me. Tonight I’m (sadly) using Microsoft Edge. Fingers crossed it works.

I’ll say one thing. The Grand Mercure is a hang of a lot noisier than the Chateau Tongariro. There is a difference between being in the heart of the CBD of a city and being on the side of a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

We packed up this morning, and then went hunting out breakfast. As nice as it was, we weren’t going to spend over $25 each at the Mercure again, so we went to a café known as the Shaky Isles Café Co. I had pickelets with berries, lemon curd, crème fraiche, and maple syrup. Plus a drink called “Purple Comfort” made of roasted apples, blueberries, cinnamon, apple juice. Very nice.

Then we went up and checked out, leaving our suitcases there to catch later. We then hurried to catch the Inner Link bus, only to discover that it was going to sit there for a few minutes while the bus driver changed over. The bus goes the long route, looping through various points of interest in the central city area – with D.C. telling me potted history about the various points as we go (most of which I’ve heard before.)

The buses now have a recorded lady stating which stop is coming up. I think she’s the same lady who give the commentary on the trains. We got confused by Ponsonby Road though, as she was a little late speaking up and we’d overshot the mark. We got out at the next stop, along with a very nice Polynesian lady who offered to point out where we needed to go.

Today was another hot day, and it was even more hot walking in the sun along Ponsonby, and then Great North Road – D.C. saying, I think we should be going that way, and me going, I think we should be going this way. This way won. Our coinciding discussion was whether the shop was next to Bunnings or over the road from Bunnings. D.C. got this one right when it turned out that Scootling was right next door to Bunnings Grey Lynn – the worst Bunnings store in the country for suppliers. But that’s another story.

We went into Scootling about 10.30 and met Andreas who owns it. He was very helpful, but said that the Niu scooters wouldn’t be arriving until 12.30ish and wouldn’t be unpacked and ready until about 1.30ish. So we said we’d entertain ourselves in Grey Lynn until then.

What can you do in Grey Lynn?

So we next door to Bunnings and did some secret shopping. Apparently Natural Paving grass grn, is so called because the product is grass green. Not because you grow grass in it. And you put your pebbles, of any size, although maybe not the big flat ones, into the cells. Wrong!

Other products available is Cirtex Surepave (the opposition – which ironically makes their product in Kopu.) The only colour options were green and black. As they are a small to medium format store (small to medium! How big are the warehouses?) they didn’t carry the Natural Paving with the weed mat. And neither did Mt Roskill, where she’d worked a year ago. Wrong! And Wrong!

The guy who served us over wheelbarrows was slightly better. He said the Tradesman was better than the Handipour, but that it was a good garden barrow, suitable for an elderly lady (D.C. did the elderly lady bit.) The Garden Buddy was in the wrong place (right next to the Tradesman, Handipour and Concreter) and he wasn’t sure what the price was. The Concreter probably had too deep a tray for our needs.

We had lunch in the café, which wasn’t bad, and then decided to buy a gutter cleaning scoop for $4.95. The price tag didn’t work, so we could either go get another, take a photo of the SKU, or not bother. We didn’t bother, and just bought some hose attachments.

They had some solar Christmas reindeer that I’d like to get, but they were on stakes. Like the solar Santas on stakes that are “easy to install”. Unless you’re trying to install them into a scoria field.

We still had half an hour to go, and it was still hot, so we went back to Scootling. They were just unloading the Nius. D.C. read her book, while I checked my emails on their free WiFi and played a hidden object game and ran out of battery. Then Andreas brought out the manual of the Niu for me to read. And a fan to keep us cool.

Problem. If I couldn’t have pink, I wanted yellow. China didn’t send yellow. I could wait about three weeks for replacement panels if I liked, or have blue or grey. Erm…

Finally, the Niu was ready for me to try, and Andreas brought a blue one out. I have to admit that the blue is a nice colour. It’s a good size for me to sit on (D.C. stayed inside in the “cool” and read) and great fun to drive. I drove around Bunnings’ car park, and got some funny looks from staff members. But the torque going up the car park ramp was great! No issues whatsoever. I would have been lucky if the Pink Purrer had managed to turn the corner to start the climb.

D.C. had a sit on it, and a chat to Andreas and I think she agrees that it’s a good one too. As the staff hadn’t seen it yet, they were keen to have a look too.

So this is my new e-scooter.

It will get a box on the back.

They’ve still got to get NZTA approval and do the rego and insurance, etc, and of course send me the bill.

It was after 3.00pm by the time we left. We had planned to be at Denny’s restaurant by 3.00pm, having collected our bags from the Grand Mercure, and then have dinner finished by 4.10pm, so we were over the road, waiting for the bus, at 5.10pm.

We were lucky in that the bus for City Central came around every ¼ hour, so it wasn’t a long wait. I was thinking, as we were boarding, I hope that D.C. doesn’t have problems with her gold card AT Hop card, since it’s after 3.00pm. Then I got on board and it declined my card. We were stunned as it had worked this morning. (We thought. Having checked the web site, I’m not so sure now.) Between us we forked out the $3.50 cash, and went for the ride.

It stopped in Albert Street. That was the end of the line. So D.C. carried on up the two or so blocks to Denny’s in Hobson Street and I dashed down Queen Street and into the Grand Mercure. Fortunately, they had “storytellers” free and they got my bags. One of the ladies who’d served us asked if we’d done our Christmas shopping. I replied that yes: I’d bought myself a $4000 scooter.

Then it was a dash, towing two small, rolling suitcases, up Queen Street. It was stop, go, step to the left, step to the right, mind the toes, get out of my way – so I turned up Swanson Street. Short and steep, but with few people. I don’t know that easier is the word to use, but I think it was quicker. Then it was across Albert Street – and the dirty great hole in the road for the City Rail Link. Along Albert Street to Wyndham Street, along that to Federal Street, along that to Kingston Street, then down to Hobson Street, across the road and to Dennys. It was a little before 4.00pm by the time I got there and I was hot and sweaty… sorry, glowing.

We ordered salads, because they’d be quick and easy, and lemon, honey and ginger drinks, and paid in advance so we could eat and run. And then we ate and ran.

We were the first ones at the bus.

It was a new bus and had only done 1000 km. The old bus had done 800,000km. We were running on time, but had to wait at Manukau because the driver had been held up behind an accident, and they were going to do a driver swap there. (Not Grumble Guts.)

We got caught up in some of the commuter traffic, but otherwise it was a good trip home, with a slight detour to drop someone off at Waitakaruru.

We had a Trumpet ice cream as soon as we got home.

It turns out that last night’s amazingly huge and bright moon was the precursor to tonight’s Super Moon, so we went over the road and got some photos.

resized_super moon

The Super Moon and the Thames War Memorial Monument. I’m quite pleased with this photo as the camera was hand held. I wish I’d got the moon and the monument more in line though.

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