One week in the land of the long white cloud and I am turning into a slothful Susan who is making the most of her entitled status as favourite sister and long-time friend.
Leah, my flatmate from my days in Wellington, and her husband picked me up from the airport at an ungodly hour of the morning last Saturday and drove me the two hours to my sister's house on the Coromandel Peninsula. The sun was rising and mist was lying low in the green fields, and it smelled like home.
We stopped at a roadside stand and I nabbed a box of fresh Gala apples, $3 for three kilos.
Crispy, sweet, and scrumptious.
Later that day, John rolled out his big surprise.
Walter, his trusty roadster.
We went for a tiki tour up the coastline, and this was the view that Leah and I had from the rumble seat.
Derek and Leah went home on Sunday after church, after being thoroughly spoiled by Anne.
And that left just ME to be pampered.
We drove up to Whitianga one day and had a picnic next to the sea. These scenes are from the drive.
Anne and I have been spending lots of time with Mum, who is in a care home an hour away. One day, we hit all of the op shops that we could find on the way down. We love ferreting around for bargains and had a glorious time.
We had some fun with these statues in Waihi.
On Friday, my old school chum, Dianne, treated me to a Hobbiton visit.
First, we had a delicious lunch at the Punnet Cafe, where I had rice pudding with poached peaches and I thought I was in Heaven.
As we pulled up in the Hobbiton parking lot, the rain started. It continued, in vary degrees of obnoxiousness, until we pulled out of the parking lot three hours later.
I was mortally disappointed in the use of this apostrophe, but managed to not let it ruin my day.
J.R.R., I am sure, would be mortified.
Here we are, in our flattering plastic raincoats.
The climb was quite steep.
The view across the pond to the Green Dragon tavern.
Bilbo's house, of course.
I was very disappointed that we couldn't go in. All of the inside scenes were filmed in Wellington, and the houses are only facades.
We were very bedraggled by the time we arrived at the Green Dragon, but the tour was fun and our Scottish guide was patient with our lingering.
This was the view from both sides of the door as we dumped our umbrellas.
Raising a toast with our mugs of ginger beer.
I was hoping for a hot cup of Milo, but no such luck.
Thank you Dianne, it was a fun afternoon, in spite of the rain.
Next stop was a weekend with Debbie, my friend from my first real job, and her husband, who have renovated an old church out Te Aroha way. There is a lovely bedroom in that house that catches the afternoon sunlight and has my name on it. Two days of complete relaxation, delicious food, music videos, conversation, and coddling ensued. It's kind of scary how quickly I devolve into slugdom.
I wish that it was possible to store days like these in my pocket so that I could pull them out later when I need them.