Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A short trip to Texas

Jeff had a job near Dallas in February so we embraced the possibilities and spent a weekend with Charlie and his family. 

Reading the wombat book. I love the wombat book.

Wrangler doing a trick. The pic is large so that you can be duly impressed. Yes, he is balancing London's boots on his head and back.

London doing a trick. Yes, she is balancing on Daddy's hand. The girl has amazing core strength.
Aaand, I guess we will have to concede that Charlie has some pretty good arm strength!

More hugs from Papa.

We took a little hike in wilds of Dallas. It was quite a steep climb and my knee didn't thank me afterwards, but it was a fun couple of hours. 

London and Wrangler are buds. I think this photo is hilarious, because they seem to have the same look in their eyes.

Most days, Charlie takes W for a run, with London on the bike seat. It's pretty stinking adorable.
I got to join in on Sunday.

On Monday, Jeff and I spent the morning and afternoon in Dallas before he dropped me at Love Field and headed east to Jacksonville. We were hoping to visit the Museum of Art, but it was closed on Mondays. So we perused the art outside for as long as we could.

We went into the lobby of the Hunt Oil Building and admired the Foucault Pendulum, which is a wonder of  combined art and science, for some time. The pendulum demonstrates the rotation of the earth as it swings back and forth around the elaborately inlaid circle. The pendulum is actually swinging in the same straight line all of the time, while the floor rotates with the earth. Seven different types of stone were used, with 2,600 individual pieces being cut and laid to create the design. I was very curious as to how the pendulum keeps swinging, as we all know that perpetual motion is an elusive goal. After some research, I discovered that a magnetic device at the top of the pendulum cable is activated with each swing, and gives it just enough "kick" to keep it going without affecting the rotation.
Science lesson for the day.
You're welcome.
As the pendulum rotates around the circle, it knocks down the pegs that are around the outside, further demonstrating the rotation.

We took the free trolley over to the West Village and had some lunch al fresco. It was a delightful afternoon, sunny but not too hot, and we sat and ate and people-watched until it was time to leave. We decided that Dallas is one of our favourite cities, mainly because it has no pretensions of being weird. The people are nice, the city is clean and attractive and not crowded with in-building, and we would have loved to stay longer. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

New Zealand Part 2, the end

I was thinking that there wasn't much more to say about my trip, but then I looked at my photos and realised that there was a bit more fun to tell of.
After the rainy day visit to Hobbiton, Dianne dropped me off in Morrinsville to meet my lovely friend Debbie, only she got held up at work so I met her hubby, Hilton, in the bike shop instead. He is an avid biker and I am sure this is his favourite place to hang out. I was mightily impressed with this fat-tyre bike that was sitting on a stand. The tyre was close to 4" in diameter. FREAKY! But I wanted to ride it. 

I spent the weekend with Debbie and Hilton, just hanging out and eating, basically. Deb and Hilton know their comfort foods!
It was lovely. 
Hilton dropped me off at my nephew's house on Sunday morning, where I got to hang out with two very cute kids. Seth showed me their resident monarch chrysalises (there's a word!) and caterpillars. He likes to put the chrysalises in his bedroom and then when they hatch out they fly around his room until he lets them out. What a guy! The chrysalises are so beautiful, with gold dots that look like precious metal beaded around the circumference.

And here it is on the swan plant, which is of the milkweed family. 

Then we drew a city on the patio with sidewalk chalk. It had a park, airport, school, firehouse, library, a railway station, and lots of other things, and they all had a lunch room. Apparently, Seth really likes his lunch. And Lily drove the cars around the roads. 

And then it was time to say goodbye, and the children said, Oh please don't go, we'll eat you up we love you so.....

And on the way back to the beach we stopped at the Domain in Te Aroha, which is gorgeous and had this great swing, 

so Anne and I made John push us until we fell asleep.

Not really, because the seat was kind of uncomfortable, but it was peaceful and relaxing, and John is always happy to oblige his females.

On one of the days we went to visit Mum we stopped in Whiritoa, a tiny coastal town where Anne and John almost settled. We walked along the beach.

And we found this little lagoon, which was quite shallow and protected from the surf, although every now and then a large wave almost disturbed the tranquility.

Well, more than almost.

Then we decided to hike over the hill to see the blowhole.
Sometimes, a day is just too full of gorgeousness.

I deeply regretted leaving my shoes in the car right about now. We had to walk up through the bush, and my white feet are not used to the barefoot thing. Much "oww"-ing and "ouch"-ing ensued.

The blowhole did not disappoint.

We I managed to not fall off the edge into the frothing ocean, and then we decided not to go back along the trail in deference to my feet, but to climb down and then walk along the back of the rocks.
Anne, being brave, tested out the depth of the water we had to cross in order to get to the trail. 
It was above our knees, we being short, but barely came above John's calves, him being tall.

And we walked along the stream bed,

back past the lovely lagoon,

and then we went home.

On Thursday we drove up to Whitianga, where I met Dianne again so that we could take a glass-bottomed boat trip together. Partners in crime. I was a little disappointed because it covered a lot of the same ground as the boat trip we took in 2013, but there was the glass bottom thing and also some promised snorkeling. 
Dianne enjoys herself wherever she goes!

Cathedral Cove, of course. 

Because the boat pilots feed the snapper, they congregate thickly underneath the boat, giving the riders a good view. Some of them were very large, making me have second thoughts about the whole snorkeling thing.

The boat was woefully unequipped to offer snorkeling along the lines of what we encountered on Kaua'i,  so there were no prescription masks, no flippers, and no floaties. I was willing to give on the first two, but a floatie I must have, so I took one of the bumpers from the side of the boat and used that. The water was not warm, so I only lasted about ten minutes, and I was very afraid of having my lily-white toes nibbled upon by the snapper, but I managed to emerge unscathed in spite of someone throwing the food into the water right next to me.

Anne and John were waiting faithfully for me at the wharf.

We picked up some fish and chips and found a peaceful place to eat them.
Someone had decorated the trees with shells.

We bought two servings of fish, which is usually plenty, but as you can see, the fish is sorely under-represented.

We ate our few bites of fish, trying to decide whether or not to go back to the fish shop and complain. Our sense of justice won out and back we went. Anne looks a bit peeved, doesn't she?

Funnily enough, we didn't have to fight it at all, because as soon as Anne told the woman in the shop what had happened, she remembered that she had only given us one serving and refunded us our money. Which we spent on a hokey-pokey ice cream cone. 
Well, I did.

On Friday, John and Jacquie drove all the way to pick me up and I spent the last weekend back in Temple View with them. 
These here are four of my favourite people in the whole world.

Saturday was full of pouring rain of the ilk that leaves deep puddles everywhere, but we braved it and went ferreting around in an antique fair and op shops. And we ate and talked and had a generally lovely time until Sunday, when they took me to the airport.

And here is my favourite photo of the three Wilson girls. Which was the point of the trip, really.

The end.