Friday, August 11, 2006

Home Again!

So here's the map ....

Finally a perk to be an older woman in the workforce! Not only are we experienced (work wise at least!) but we are also free to travel at a moments notice. We don't care if there's nobody home to cook dinner, we don't have children to find sitters for or organise school runs. If the boss says "go to Whangarei" our bags are packed and we're on the road without a backward glance.

And being older women we appreciate it all so much more. We don't care if the hotel meals are less than exciting - did we have to cook them? No! Did we have to clean up after them? No! At home you try getting a 20-something year old to make you coffee or bring you wine without having to resort to bribery or threats of bloodshed. In Hotel-Land the pretty young things are falling over themselves to pander to your every whim.

As for those lovely ladies who make your bed, leave you fluffy towels and replenish all those stocks of toiletries & coffee without even a "tsk, tsk". I love those women. They are indeed goddesses. Of course I'm sure these lovely women just knew we were mothers. The way we folded our wet towels and left them in a neat pile to be disposed of, stacked our cups & glasses and made sure the rubbish was just left in one bin was probably a give away. They just knew we were nice girls who didn't get out much and left us extra goodies as a touch of solidarity.

Being older women we didn't stay in at night making endless phonecalls to find out how it was going at home. No siree Bob! There were restaurants to find, shopping trips to plan (ok, so virtually every shop in Whangarei closes at 5pm so we just had to drive around making a game plan for the next days lunch hour), coastal roads to explore. Then of course the spa pool was just begging us to turn ourselves into big old wrinkley prunes.

Whangarei has the most beautiful little viaduct area where there are restaurants galore and shops including Burning Issues Gallery which has the finest art glass - I just want it all. We went for dinner at Reva's on our second night in town. Fantastic food & I just love the feel of the place. On a cold night there's nothing quite like walking into a cafe with a fire blazing and good music on the sound system. It's warm, noisy & relaxed and from the windows you can watch the yachts bobbing in their moorings. Of course I warmed even more to the place when I found out the story how Reva's played a part in nailing those french bastards that bombed the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior back in the 80's, murdering Fernando Pereira. The French agents from the yacht Ouvea had been stupid enough to sign the guest book at Reva's when they ate there and it proved to be a vital part of the investigation.

Another evening we headed out on the coast road towards the Whangarei Heads. We stopped when we got as far as Parua Bay hoping that when we got to work the next morning the locals wouldn't say "oh if you'd just gone 2 miles down the road you would have been at the Heads". Fortunately they didn't - we were apparently wise to turn back when we did - but we fell in love with the area. There's just something about the coastline, especially on a clear winter evening, that makes me very glad to live here.

We travelled back to Auckland Friday afternoon. On the way up we'd noted a couple of places we wanted to stop at on the way home and we were certainly in no hurry to go back to housework etc. I really wanted to see inside Cafe Eutopia but they put the "closed" sign out just as we pulled up. (I tried sulking but it didn't work.) The German Cheese Shop was too much for me - I love cheese but the smell!! Cheese in quantity is not pleasant. Across the road was Apple Basket Patchwork Shop which I've linked here to the "Block of the Month" page. If you scroll down to the Koru Beach Quilt you will know what to make me for Christmas! Let's face it, you can never really go wrong with a patchwork shop and this is one of the better ones.

Further south at Wellsford we had to stop to pick up some pumpkin seed bread (as you do!) and then take some photos of these llamas just to make sure that we hadn't imagined them on the way up. Still not sure what they're all about - Northland is not famous for it's llamas afterall - but who cares. They're gorgeous. We detoured to Warkworth just to make sure it's still there, spent rather longer than we should have at a petrol station trying to fill the car (the security camera film will probably appear on some "Dumbest People in the World" video show on a channel near you soon!) then home ... yeah ... laundry, cooking, vacuuming. Just what I wanted.

Oh, and we did work really hard during the days at the office!

PS. Blogger is being particularly unco-operative when it comes to downloading photos these days - this is the best I could do!