To the big smoke

24 August 2019

Today started off with pretty much a normal Saturday morning. I did make sure that I had a shower as Auckland’s running low on water and I didn’t want to waste any having a shower on Sunday.

Of course, today was bright and sunny. Yesterday, when we did our last loads of washing, so they’d all be clean when we got home, was dark, overcast, and raining, meaning that our solar panels were useless. Today would have been a wonderful day to use the washing machine and dryer (and we did charge FAB-e’s battery) but we didn’t have the time.

I had planned on wearing a merino, blouse, woolly jumper, topped with a 3-in-1 ski jacket that’s warm and waterproof. But it seemed so warm that I thought it was going to be overkill. So I didn’t put on the merino. Then I remembered that merino was supposed to be cooling and warming, so I put it on again. I’m glad I did.

Most of my bags were already packed and it was just a matter of getting Kally into her bear bag and getting everything to the door. AND cleaning down the problematic smoke detector. It shouldn’t go for no good reason now, as Chubb have been back to reduce its sensitivity, but I still made sure there were no spiders nor insects nearby. I used its (purposely purchased) duster to clean around the smoke detector, around the neighbouring door, up and down the stairwell, and then I sprayed the duster with insect repellent and did the whole area again. I was just putting the duster away in its corner when I saw a Daddy Longlegs walking along the base of the door. I took it outside.

This morning we went on our usual Saturday morning walk through the Thames Market and down the road. Usual, except that we were dragging our suitcases with us. But T3 (Transition Town Thames) were holding an eco-stall at the market (with EVs, and literature, and the programme for the “Festival of Living Solutions” that we’re holding from the 7th to the 22nd September.) It was actually quite funny. We had a meeting on the 7th August explaining what was going to be happening with the festival, and getting people to help. Lou wanted someone to make a programme/calendar that could be given out so people would know what was on and when. I said that I could probably do it, which she was grateful for as she wouldn’t have had the time.

So the weekend afterwards I settled down to work on it, with little information aside from a few of the stalls that had been confirmed for the main event on the 7th, and a couple of the workshops. So I designed my own background and fancy bits, and uploaded it to the cloud where all the information was being posted. During the following week other bits of information, such as the advertising poster and logo, and more stalls and events was posted, so I started working on it the following weekend from scratch. We didn’t even do our usual walk down the road last Saturday, as I worked on the programme all day and D.C. went out to paint the woodwork at the entrance to the Historic Kopu Bridge.

I posted that Sunday evening, and then Lou came into work Tuesday (or Wednesday) and admitted that she hadn’t seen it on the cloud site. She sent posted more information on the cloud on Wednesday and that night (breathing through only one nostril since I was stuffed up with a cold) I tweaked it until just after 11pm. There were more stalls and workshops confirmed on Thursday, so I stayed up until 11pm again getting that finalised. There’s heaps more that I could do, and I discovered the following day that where I had Katherine, and then discovered that it was spelt Kathryn in two other places in the cloud and so I changed it to that, that the original Katherine was probably correct. So that was frustrating. Plus they didn’t have a location for Katherine /Kathryn’s workshop, so I couldn’t fill that line in.

But anyway, Lou and Robyn, the two coordinators seemed happy. So did everyone else when we saw them at the stall. Happy and surprised. “Did you make that?! I didn’t know you could do that.”

“Well, I have done a course in desktop publishing. And I did make the pamphlets for the Thames Small Gauge Railway and museums. And I do make my own Christmas cards.”

But the eco-stall seemed to be going well.

D.C. won $10 on her weekly $2 Instant Kiwi. I got nothing for my $2, but at least she’s got some spending money for the coming week.

Lunch at the Sunburst was the same burger (no beetroot) for me and “homemade” pumpkin soup for D.C., plus two hot chocolates, that we have every week. I did consider having something less filling, as we were planning on a big meal this evening, but I couldn’t see anything else that tickled my taste buds.

Over to the post office to check the mail – but it was two begging letters for me (Red Cross, and Forest and Bird) so they’ve stayed there.

Then around to the mall to check out the range of Thunderbirds Are Go toys they’ve got on offer. We were about to leave when a young boy walked past carrying a newly purchased Thunderbird One. I said: “Good man. Excellent choice,” and gave him a thumbs up.

I’m not buying them, because they’re not the original series. But if they ever come down in price…

Back to the Thames i-SITE to wait for the bus to leave at 2.40pm, my step counter telling me that I’d done 4303 steps. Yeah. Right.

We were lucky as the driver is one who knows us by sight, and is an excellent cautious driver. We manged to score a front seat on the top deck and made sure that Kally had a good view.

resized_DSC_0003Taken with my music player (aka Sony smart phone). It would have taken too long to get a proper camera out.

It was a good trip up and the driver was pleased to report that we’d arrived on time for once.

We dragged our bags down to the EconoLodge and checked in, being given room 605.

Having offloaded most of our gear, we went to the local Countdown supermarket and bought some hairclips for D.C., and stuff to combats our coughs and sniffles, and a bar of Whittaker’s new, limited edition chocolate.

Countdown has gone totally self-service, so we were grumbling about having to work the machine by ourselves. And then couldn’t work out where to put our cash – Remember what that is?

We’ve been going to try the Mai Thai restaurant since it won the best restaurant award in 2007, but have never managed it. Either we haven’t had time or they haven’t been open. But we finally managed it tonight. Except that it was 5.15pm and it didn’t open until 6.00pm.

So we wandered up to the SkyTower and the i-SITE. I wanted to check out their tourist souvenirs as I have a bag that I use for going to Rangitoto. It folds up into itself, but when you open it out, it has a pocket on the side that you can slide over the pull-handle of your wheeled suitcase. Very handy for groceries – or coats if you go out overdressed. Except that last time I used it I put too much stress on the zip and the fastening came off one of the runners (or whatever the terminology is. Suffice to say, the zip was running along one side, but not willing to join up with the other.) Thinking that it would be good for carrying our jackets if we got too warm, I attempted to fix it this morning… And now the zip will never run along one side at all. So I would like to get a replacement – One that’s not a cheap Chinese effort bought online.

Anyway, going to the souvenir shop bag hunting was a way of killing time while we waited for Mai Thai to open. A futile way, but still a way.

Back to Mai Thai and they were opening the door just as we got there – about 5.50pm.

We both ended up having the same meals. Except that D.C. had seafood with her vegetables and cashews and I had pork. We both had a virgin mojito, and we both had caramelised crème brûlée for dessert. Our verdict. While it wasn’t bad, it’s not better than our Thai in Thames. The décor may be a tad more authentic, but it got just as noisy as people filed in. (It was popular.) D.C. found her mains a bit too spicy and I finished her vegetables off for her. (Go back a few decades and it was the other way around.) The mojito definitely wasn’t as minty as the one I had in Portsmouth. But we enjoyed the crème brûlée.

Having only had a mojito and a glass of water to drink, we decided to buy some tea from the )(&* Countdown and I bought a pack of Kurols. They definitely clear the nose!

Then it was back to the EconoLodge and into bed for reading and writing.

We’re catching an aeroplane tomorrow!

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