New Zealand trip 2009 – Part 7

Previous installment is here.

These notes were written by Eric and amended by Jean. Eric took most of the photos and Jean took others. All photos were selected, cropped, and inserted into this file by Jean. Factual information was taken from various sources including tourist brochures; we do not guarantee its accuracy.

Photo album from this part of the trip (more photos than shown on this page) starts here. Thumbnails to be added to this page later.

Saturday 21 February: Drive to Norsewood

Jean drove to Norsewood, when we finally got away from 83 by the Sea. We had ordered a hot breakfast and a continental breakfast. We shared the hot breakfast. After the fish the previous evening, we ended up taking much of the continental breakfast with us. Jean had made colour screen captures from Google maps, so we knew pretty much how to get out of town. The drive was mostly uneventful, although rain made us slow. One incident was the windscreen wiper coming loose. Eric had to try to replace it in the rain, and finally managed, at the expense of getting thoroughly wet.

Sign at shop: Home made pies – World famous in Greytown. Sign on church:

    CH__CH
What is missing
      UR

At Masterton we found a Dick Smith store. A helpful Ubuntu enthusiast there found a compact USB port expander and a USB keyboard to give to Lyn McConchie. The USB expander was sufficiently compact and a reasonable price, so Eric got an extra one for my Apple MacBook Air kit. We also got some hot cross buns. We were somewhat surprised to see the buns so much before Easter.

We reached Farside Farm, Lyn’s place, around 1 p.m., somewhat later than expected. It took a while to unload the car, but we managed to just get our bags in ahead of the rain. There was the usual hissing confrontation with the gander and two geese, but their hearts were not really in it. The geese soon left us to victory in the field of battle, and wandered off to establish their firm hold on other territory, by terrorising Fluffy the barn cat and any hentams in the way.

Jean got started checking Lyn’s computer system. As mostly expected, there was no single factor of compatibility. A decade and a half old Macintosh. We could not read the floppies, and it could not burn CDs. No serial ports in common. No USB. File transfer would have to be the long slow way, via email over a slow, limited hours dial up line.

Eric got sent off to keep out of the way. He also needed a walk. The town of Norsewood is small but interesting, and caters to tourists. They have an excellent local heritage museum that he spent considerable time looking through. He could not resist a chocolate and mixed berry ice cream from the local shop. The shop also has the community fuel bowser.

There were a whole heap of trolls around town. Eric does not believe he found all of them. There is a sheet at the local tourist information office listing clues to where to find trolls.

After that we sat around chatting until it was time for us to drive to the local pub to get dinner. Lyn’s name is known, so we just had to say she wanted fish and chips to get the correct size serve for her. Eric had a local Tui ale (we passed their founding brewery when driving to Norsewood) while waiting for the take away. Jean and Eric had Hawaiian style hamburgers (ham and pineapple added), and they were very nice. More ham steak than sliced ham, to go with the rest.

Sunday 22 February: Moving sheep and racing a mobility scooter

Lyn moved the sheep from their paddock onto the front lawn. No fuss. She opened the gate and called them. They were a little hesitant because they could see me. However after a while the first came through, and the rest soon followed. Those in the middle and at the end of the flock seem not to want to be left outside, so they came at a rush, running and jumping through the gateway.

As a result, we could hear sheep walking back and forth past the building for the next few evenings. There were also the usual dominance games between Marlon the ram, and the gander. The gander was a clear winner at this. However Marlon is a young ram.

Lyn’s mobility scooter can clearly set a good pace on the way to Norsewood. Eric does not think it could outpace him, but it does make him work. Especially as he and Lyn and chattered as she drove the scooter. We just needed a few additional supplies from the local shop.

Monday 23 February: Sheepskins and printers

Sheepskins were the topic of the morning conversation. Namely whether tanners Classic Sheepskins at 22 Thames Street, Pandora (a Napier suburb), had actually completed the tanning of Lyn’s three sheepskins. Lyn made several calls before finally being assured that they would be ready.

Until the last of these phone calls, we did not know what we would be doing today. Jean spent considerable time setting up Lyn’s computer. She also introduced Lyn to some of the things she needed to know about Microsoft Windows. Jean also needed to work out what extra equipment was needed to help move Lyn from a 13 year old Macintosh to a much more recent Dell notebook computer running Windows. Most of Lyn’s peripherals were not compatible with anything recent. The only real advantage we could see to Windows was that several companies nearby supported it, plus some of Lyn’s friends would know something of it.

Hastings is what Lyn calls both the seaside town of Napier and Hastings, as they are only 20 kilometres apart. Us strangers had a hard time figuring this one out. We also did not have a map of either of the towns. Luckily eventually one of Lyn’s maps was found to contain at least the town centres. Jean was having back problems, and was not thrilled about driving.

Napier looked very complex and convoluted. Luckily the map Lyn had actually showed Thames Street, and even showed exactly where Classic Sheepskins were. It was a straight turnoff the main road, if we could manage to follow the main road through Hastings. We left after lunch, and the drive took well over an hour. A wrong turn at Hastings put us on the wrong road (it led to Napier, but via a different route) but we corrected for that before the city outskirts.

Reaching the correct location of Classic Sheepskins seemed almost an anticlimax. The sheepskins were ready, and looked beautiful. One spotted, two mostly dark with great markings. Lyn very kindly made a gift of the spotted skin to us. The sheep was not named, being destined for mutton. Ruth was mother to Patches, which was mother to the former occupant of this skin. Our previous sheepskin from Lyn, Hamilcar, was from a sheep that took ill.

Hastings had a regular grid street layout. That seemed easier to cope with. Between phone book and notebook and map, we had a list of several places that may stock a computer printer. We visited Harvey Norman and Dick Smith, other stores being scarce. Luckily Jean managed to drive to both without too many problems.

A Brother HL2040 seemed the only black and white laser printer still being sold in the array of multifunction stuff. We bought it at Hardly Normal (Harvey Norman). Lyn bought a spare toner cartridge. A printer cable was also needed, as we had forgotten to search for one at home for Lyn. The hire car boot was getting pretty full by this time.

We eventually got back to Norsewood, and were able to refuel the now fairly empty hire car at the community fuel bowser at the local store. Jean had the printer all unpacked and self testing soon after we reached Lyn’s home. Luckily common printers do not tend to give a lot of problems these days, and this one came with its own drivers for Windows XP.

Tuesday 24 February: Dannevirke

Dannevirke was a mere 20 minutes away. We arrived a few minutes before Jean and Lyn’s appointment to straighten out paperwork on the Avalook bank account. Eric wandered off to look in shops. Then we all went off to the Salvo op shop, where Lyn rapidly found a half dozen books. Jean demanded lunch, and Lyn recommended a local cafe. Lyn and Eric had an apple slice each, while Jean restricted herself to sensible sandwich things. Then Lyn wanted to visit the library. Before long Lyn was looking through their surplus sale stock of books, so Jean and Eric took a walk around the town. By the time we returned, Lyn had a shopping bag full of books.

Our second last stop was the New World supermarket, where Lyn got a shopping cart full of supplies in rapid time. The last stop was a pet supply place, for comparative kitty litter discussions and purchase. The hire car boot was once again pretty full.

Norsewood pub again supplied dinner, so Eric was sent out to collect it. This time the gander soon retreated from the hissing competition when Eric went to open the gate for the car. As before, the food from the pub was just fine, and the price was right. There was even some food left over.

We all stayed up talking until fairly late, at least by our standards. Jean explained the digital camera, at least briefly. We want Lyn to photograph the trollathon, when the trolls get wheeled past in wheelbarrows. Lyn’s replacement computer is pretty much ready for her to start transferring files via email from the old Macintosh. It is a real pity there are no interfaces in common between the two systems.

Wednesday 25 February: To Wellington

We stopped to photograph the Te Apiti wind farm as we approached the Manawatu Gorge, 10 kilometres from the Palmerston North.

There was lots of traffic on the coast road between Palmerston North and Wellington, not helped by lots of road construction slowing traffic down and closing lanes. We haven’t had to cope with traffic for far too long, including most of this trip. We did not divert to visit any of the interesting seaside towns along the way.

When we reached Wellington, we drove around trying to find a petrol station that didn’t need some card we didn’t have to operate the bowser. We finally gave up and headed for the rental place, which we’d spotted previously, on the other side of a busy road obstructed by construction. Jean’s NZ phone rang, but Eric couldn’t reach it in time, before it stopped. When we reached the rental place, they said they’d tried to call and tell us not to bother getting petrol, because they would do that when they dropped us off at the hotel. Wish we’d known earlier!

Dinner was at the Brentwood hotel, near the airport, because we were there. Quite a good meal. We were staying at the Brentwood specifically because it was close to Wellington airport, had 24 hour reception, and a 24 hour free shuttle to the airport.

Thursday 26 February: Flight home

Our wake-up call was at 4:15 a.m., before dawn. The flights home (change planes in Brisbane) were without drama or delays.

The end!

Page last updated 7 July 2009.