Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Plymouth 29th July

29 July 07

Downloaded all our photos to Google’s web album. They haven’t been sorted, captioned or culled, but at least we have a backup.

1.05pm: I don’t think Mount Taranaki’s going to make an appearance today, either. It’s raining. It’s been raining all morning.

We decided that we had to complete the coastal walkway, so we got dressed in our sandshoes – easy to dry(?), yesterday’s socks, waterproof over-trousers, raincoat, and waterproof bag covers and headed out. It was quite nice, walking along the foreshore, listening to the surf pounding onto the rocks, the rain onto our hoods, the sloshing footsteps of the other idiots… um, sorry, walkers and joggers out enjoying the walkway.

We made it to the finish of the walkway, at the port, but didn’t get a photo by the finishing post as that would have meant getting our cameras out to get wet. Instead we found shelter under the verandah of the coastguard’s building and took photos there. I would have liked to have got more photos, but didn’t want to risk the camera.

Then we walked back again.

We walked as far as the wind wand so that we can say conclusively that we have done the full six kilometres both ways. There is one little bit that we’d missed and that was because they were repairing the tornado damage, but we’d probably walked a longer distance skirting it.

It was 11.30 by then, so we decided to have lunch. Chicken satay roll ($6.00 – lots of peanuts! *yum*), hot chocolate $4.00 (not looking forward to get back on those scales. We’ve probably undone all the good work we’d done with the walking.) We also bought a couple of muffin sized carrot cakes ($4.00) for later.

Then, having left puddles of water on the floor of the food court in the Centre City mall (we did tell the cleaners) we sloshed back to the unit. Presently the towel rail and heater are both on trying to dry our shoes, socks, coats and bags. We had a go at using the hair dryer too.

Tried to pack my bag, but I’m stuck until my shoes dry off and I can pack them.

We’re heading off to Govett-Brewster again, just before 2.00pm, for Rhana Davenport’s talk on Ann’s work and then to Puke Ariki to hear Diana Gibbons talk about Uncle Fred’s quilts. I hope it stops raining for the walk.

Now I’m going to go do some proofing of my latest story. I’ve brought it halfway across the country and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to look at it! And we’re starting the trip home tomorrow. *sniff* To see Querie the cat. *yay*

1.19pm: I’d just turned the computer off and then remembered something I was going to say.

D.C. just looked in the wardrobe and I asked her what I had in there to pack: polar fleece vest, pink jumper, pink blouse… *groan* I’m going to post some things home tomorrow, so I don’t have to carry them, but not everything.

And I’ve forgotten what I was going to say. I’ll shut this laptop down, remember, and have to make a note.

7.08pm: I think it was that one of my black Commando M sandshoes was turning grey in parts, as we walked through the rain. I eventually realised that it was air bubbles being squashed out of my shoe.

Ann Shelton’s photographs/Fred Butler’s quilts display: As with everything that we’ve been involved with this week, we’d anticipated turning up to the (for want of a better word) lecture (maybe explanation? Talk?) about Ann’s photos and Uncle Fred’s quilts, and just kind of standing around in the background. Instead we were put on display ourselves. D.C. had been asked to give a quick talk about Uncle Fred for Ann’s show at the Govett-Brewster and it ended up that Rhana Davenport, D.C., Ann and Diana Gibbons were all sitting up in front of everyone and Rhana was expecting me to be there too. My plan was to video for our records and to give a copy to Ann. A man I’d been talking to earlier offered to video for me, so I accepted his offer and took the final chair.

Rhana spoke for a time, off the cuff. The she handed the microphone to D.C. – who was very good. :-) Then Ann spoke and finally Diana. I’m thinking, “What am I going to say if they hand me the microphone?” Everyone was wearing black (D.C. did have a pale blue polo-neck skivvy on), except for me with my pink skivvy and jacket (admittedly my slacks and shoes are black) and when Rhana asked me if I wanted to say anything I said, “No, I’m just here to provide some colour,” and got a laugh.

Four people from the floor got up and spoke about knowing Fred. All remembered him as being very brown (tanned), like a bird (flitting about everywhere), and being very enthusiastic about his collection and willing to show it off. Afterwards we had a good chat with Christine Hellier’s sister.

Then we all hiked down to Puke Ariki (it had finally stopped raining) where Diana spoke about the quilts and some of the conservation that went into them. People were most impressed and asking us questions about them. The Puke Ariki education officer was asking me questions and making notes for her ‘classes’.

Then we came back to the unit, got changed and decided to go get something to eat. Still wary about the weather we thought we might get takeaways and bring them back and have the carrot cake for dessert. Our original plan had been to go to a restaurant that had formerly been called ‘Burtons’ and have a meal there, and by the time we’d hiked along Devon Street, we’d reached the restaurant (now a ‘Breakers’) so we stopped for a meal.
Me: Hawaiian chicken (chicken, salsa, pineapple, cheese, rice, salad) $15. BIG apple juice $4.50
D.C.: Kumara pie (kumara, pumpkin, spinach and cottage cheese) $13. BIG apple juice $4.50

Then we came back to the unit (took us about 10 minutes walking) and had a cup of green tea and the carrot cake. Then tried to dry our clothes some more.

This will be my last blog until we get home. We're staying at the X-base in Auckland tomorrow night and won't have an Internet connection. I'm not expecting anything exciting to happen anyway... not unless Mount Taranki shows himself. And if he does, and we're on the plane, I'm taking photos!
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