Napier August 2019

We drove North on Wednesday morning, stopping at Otaki for lunch. Then there was a long delay at Ohau, just past the Kaitawa River bridge. It was raining hard, too. Given the heaviness of the rain, and the delays we’d experienced thus far, we decided to follow our (now) normal pattern and use the Pahiatua Track road to drive to Pahiatua, thus bypassing the Manawatu Gorge. There were no roadworks there (it was too wet for that), and so we made our way slowly to Napier. We chose not to travel north to Hawkes Bay using the Saddle Road – we know the route for that driving south, but not north, where there are several tricky intersections to be navigated. I always check the NZTA website for driving conditions, but they are in some chaos at present. This site used to work quite well.

That night we ate again at a pub in Ahuriri, where we shared bao buns and a pizza. I’ve discovered that I prefer baguettes to bao buns!

Next morning we were due at our daughter’s Needs Assessment at her home. It was good to be at this meeting – it had been rescheduled so that we could attend. It’s evident that while Vicky is doing well, and has achieved greater independence, this is only possible given the support she receives. She’s still capable of throwing “meltdowns”; however now she has to clean them up herself. When she makes herself a cup of tea, the hot water jug is only half full, and someone stands over her while she pours the hot water. She uses coconut milk, and enjoys choosing what kind of tea she will have – often preferring chamomile.

Afterwards we had a long talk to the House Leader, and arranged payment for our daughter’s new bike. We also discussed pooling with the other parents to buy a swing set for the house. There is lots of land behind the house. The House Leader is going to check out the Safety risks.

The next morning we went off to explore cemeteries, and spoke with a funeral director in Taradale. We went to Wharerangi Cemetery up by Hohepa School where we had originally wanted Vicky to be buried (you can no longer buy plots there), and to Western Hills Cemetery, an extension of Wharerangi, and close by it. We bought a plot in the plaque section (as opposed to upright tombstones) – prime real estate, well elevated, with a nice view. It’s pictured above. Everyone was very helpful.

We ate lunch at a cafe in Napier. I had a filled ciabatta roll, and to their great credit, the waitperson gave me a sharp knife with a serrated edge. So often one buys toasted food, and then has a really difficult job cutting the food gracefully so that one can eat it! Not good when you’re “hangry”. After lunch, we were due to pick up our daughter from Clive. We did so, and went to a golf driving range in Hastings. The sun was out, but it was quite windy everywhere. Afterwards we went to the art shop in Karamu Road and bought stuff for Hohepa to do Gelli prints – a gelatin slab and a roller and some pattern makers.

After a trip back to the motel for a cup of tea, we took Vicky out for dinner. But something went wrong – she was a bit tense, and didn’t like her pudding, although she’d ordered the special (sticky date pudding and ice cream) and it was just like the picture! Fortunately there were no dramatics. JD cut up the cake and Vicky ate it.

The next morning there was a Family Association meeting. I washed my hair, had a leisurely bath, and made my way to the bus stop across the road, after first buying a newspaper at the local shopping centre. It was a beautiful sunny day. Once in Napier, I rewarded myself with a mini-doughnut and a long black coffee. JD joined me later that morning.

That evening we had dinner at Vicky’s house – fried rice. Afterwards she danced beautifully with JD. She does seem very happy there – big smiles on her face.

While in Napier, I listened to several podcasts – the Lawfare one called “The Report”, about the Mueller investigations, more Hardcore History (sometimes a very hard listen), and my old friend, BBC4 podcasts – this time specialising in the History ones.
I listened to the Mytilenean Debate, Persepolis, Doggerland, the Poor Laws, the Great Irish Famine, Montesquieu, and one on Alexis de Tocqueville on American Democracy. Melvyn Bragg moderates these discussions very well, usually with three academic experts, who present different points of view. I think I have better figured out how to work this website.

My listening has had me pulling out my Penguin editions of Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon, (yes, we translated extracts of them in Greek sometimes!) and finding out a great deal more about Cyrus the Great. I have learnt so much. I have ordered a paperback copy of A History of the World in 100 Objects. I reserved a copy from the library, but it’s a really big book and I would like to have a copy. While I had it, I looked at a picture of Cyrus’s tomb.

Next day we drove home – it was fine, and good for travelling. We listened to Jim Mora on RNZ.

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