Hohepa Family Weekend 2021

Hawke's Bay - Hohepa

Today is Wednesday July 14th. Kia ora katoa.

Last weekend we went to Napier for the Hohepa Family Weekend. There was no Family Weekend in The Plague Year, 2020, and we had really missed it. We drove north on Friday, stopping at Otaki for lunch. We stopped again at Woodville, taking time to look at a junk/antique shop, where we bought our daughter a pendant. The trip north was uneventful, but we didn’t get there until 5:30 pm. We checked into our motel, and rang our daughter’s house. There was to be a play at 7 pm, but it turned out our daughter had seen it the night before.

We scrapped our plans to attend the play, and went to visit our daughter instead. We picked up six paintings she had done.  They are extraordinary!  I like them all, but decided my favourite was one done in oils, a block painting. How talented she is! Then we set about finding a place to have dinner. The restaurant at our motel was closed, somewhat inexplicably, for a Friday night; we went to a favourite Italian restaurant, that had moved, only to find it was fully booked (a private function, perhaps?)  Then we went to Portofino, which wasn’t too busy, and ate dinner there. Afterwards we went shopping at the Greenmeadows New World store, a lovely supermarket. It was very cold.

That night, back at the motel, we had trouble getting, and keeping, warm. Thankfully it had a very quiet heat pump. Which kept going continuously. I foolishly closed the door to the bedroom, which meant that I kept out the heat from the heat pump – silly me. I had my puffer jacket on the bed, wore my robe, and had all my woollen scarves to wrap around my head and neck, but I was pretty cold all night and got little, if any, sleep. We were due at Clive at 9 am on Saturday morning, so we got up quite early. My bedroom had a beautiful jacuzzi in it, so this warmed me up.

Saturday was a busy day, but a very pleasant one. We started by learning the Hohepa song, and planting some trees in remembrance of those who have passed. The main events were in the Hall, but the morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea were in the Rose Weavery, which was adorned with some of the beautiful work the folks do. The refreshments were very good and very generous. There was tea and coffee as well as water and fruit juice, and lots of wonderful Hohepa cheese. There were also plenty of places to sit down, both inside and out. It was lovely to catch up with people one hadn’t seen in a long time. There was no rush. For lunch, you could have beautiful bread rolls and barbecued sausages, with fried onions, mustard or tomato sauce. There was no need to pay for any of it.

After lunch, there were more presentations, including some videos, and a plan for moving the few remaining residents who still sleep at the Clive site. It is such a relief that climate change is taken very seriously now, and that Clive is recognised as being a very vulnerable site. There was great emphasis on the Festivals, again reminding us how Matariki and the Blazing Star (midwinter) festivals are linked. There was also repeated emphasis on the principle of Subsidiarity – or Local is Logical; in other words, decisions that affect the locality should be taken by the people who live in the locality. All this is very reassuring.

Lastly there was the Family Association AGM. Two residents were very vocal. It was agreed, since 2020 had been a very strange and disrupted year, that all the current personnel should be rolled over, including JD as Family Association representative on the Hohepa Foundation.

After that we returned to our motel for a brief rest, before getting “floozied up” to go to the Hohepa Ball, at the Napier War Memorial from 7 pm. We got a park across the road. The Ball was a huge success, and very well-attended, judging by the fact that JD had to get extra chairs for us to sit in. Everyone really enjoyed it; everyone was dressed up for this “Red Carpet” occasion. There was a variety of soft drinks on offer; it had been nice not to have to organise tickets beforehand, and pay for them. Everything was free (but a koha was welcome).

The next day (Sunday), we were due for a family breakfast at the house where my daughter lives at 8:30 am. We enjoyed waffles, maple syrup and fruit salad together. After this I went to church in Tennyson Street at 10:30. In this large church there was a handful of elderly folk, and a painting by Cranach on the overhead.

Afterwards, I met JD and we tried to find somewhere open to have lunch. Napier is weird on Sundays: some places are open, others resolutely shut. I had some soup, and then a quick rest before picking up our daughter. We bought new puffer jackets at a sale, and some picture frames from the Warehouse. Our daughter chose a painting she’d like to have in her bedroom – my second favourite one. For some reason we were both very tired that afternoon.

That evening JD and I had dinner at the Central Fire Station Bistro. What a treat! We started with sharing three oysters; then I had schnapper and risotto and leeks, and JD had chicken and mashed potato with collard greens. For dessert, we shared an espresso semifreddo with prunes – just beautiful. It was a delicious meal, aided by the fact that we hadn’t over-eaten.

The next two days were very cold and wet. On Monday JD got his glasses fixed; I bought a newspaper, and checked out the Farmers’ Red Dot sale. They have a good Farmers store in Napier, but it was very warm inside. It was very cold outside, so, although togged up with warm  jacket, scarf and gloves, once inside, one wanted to strip off. I did try on and buy some corduroy trousers there.

Our daughter had had a running nose and cough, so we didn’t take her out for dinner, but took dessert (apple pie and Viennetta ice cream) to her house – a good idea, since it was so very cold outside.

The next day, Tuesday, we checked out of the motel. This was quite a business, since I’d taken rather a lot of clothes (I needed most of them, too – it was really cold). We had asked for extra blankets, and then found there was an extra blanket in the wardrobe – it had been hidden by the clothes.  Leaving was a bit of a mission: there were four flights of stairs (wet) to negotiate, getting the luggage back in the car. We did get away, eventually, and went to the Hohepa shop. Unfortunately they had no marmalade, but I got apricot jam, beetroot chutney, and two lots of Danbo cheese. Despite the weather, the shop was quite busy.

After that we made our way to Havelock North for JD’s cousin’s funeral. We drove around, eventually finding the Catholic Church. It was still raining, and very cold. Despite my wearing a warm woollen jersey, a woollen jacket, and a raincoat, it was freezing inside the church. I wished I had worn thermals as well, although I’d worn them on Saturday and been a little too warm. While we were there, JD was found to have a bloodshot eye. This has just happened – there was no apparent cause.

Afterwards we shared refreshments, then got on our way back to Wellington by 1 pm. We’d wondered about getting the eye checked out in Hawkes Bay, but JD felt no ill effects, and decided to get it checked in Wellington.  After the funeral we were both very tired. We stopped at Macdonald’s in Dannevirke at JD’s request. After a break, and coffee, we got on our way again. Surprisingly, and fortunately, we both felt much better. If you’re going to stop at Macca’s, Dannevirke is definitely the place to go.

When we got back, we went to the Johnsonville Medical Centre, which was having a late night. JD’s GP was the doctor on duty, and he checked JD out. Although the eye looks awful, he seems to be experiencing no ill effects, thankfully.

Back in Wellington, it is still very cold, but it seems a different kind of cold. In Napier, they have cold nights and mornings, but usually beautiful sunny days. Not this time, however – the cold and rain was hard to take, the rain making everything slippery, and even my thick fur-lined gloves didn’t dry out. Back here, it was very cold this morning – about 2 degrees Celsius, and despite heaters being on, there was some condensation this morning. We’ve had a lovely sunny day, however. My electric blanket is turned on. There’s more terrible heat and fires in North America. I think the cold is preferable to the heat, somehow.

Overseas, the Delta strain of Covid 19 is causing difficulty, especially in Australia. In NSW, the Sydney lock down has been extended, and there are now cases in Victoria. In Aotearoa, we are still spared, thankfully. In Wellington, another dear friend has passed away. His passing was not unexpected, but it will be a sad adjustment for his wife and family. We will all miss his cheery smile.

Forgive me for going on and on about the cold! Ngā mihi.

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