Mum and the kids in NZ – Day 2

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Majella and I shared a studio unit with Mum who woke in the night with sore legs. That happened twice but each time I woke after Majella who was already attending to Mum. Perhaps that was fair since it was Majella as ‘tour director’ who had led our walking expedition around Christchurch yesterday. Strangely it was only this evening that we discovered there had been a 4.5 earthquake in Christchurch at about 2:30 am. Evidently the earth had not moved for any of us because none of us had noticed but we later thought that might have been what wakened Mum.

I woke at about 7:00 am and realised when I checked the time that I needed to be out to go with John to the Hagley Parkrun. I showered and checked for activity in the other room where they were already eating breakfast. In the process I discovered that it was raining outside. I didn’t have time for breakfast before John and I needed to head off for the park. We made it in good time but with a few navigational errors. I’d been in trouble yesterday for driving across the median markings outside our motel so I went left instead, hoping to go around the block. After going some distance we realised that was not working out and turned back to head down our regular track to Hagley Park. We found that OK but could not find the entrance John needed for the start point. We rounded a few blocks and eventually chanced upon the correct entrance in plenty of time for the start.

While John ran for just less than 30 minutes I sat in the car and dealt with email. Fortunately for John the rain had stopped though it was still overcast, windy, and cool. Once he was done we headed back. I ate breakfast and we were ready to go.

I checked with the motel office and found that they were going to have to move us to the 3 bedroom unit we had booked because the 2 units that we were occupying were booked for tonight. We packed our bags and left those in the motel storage while we headed off to Akaroa for the day.

We arrived in Akaroa about 11:30 am – a bit late for morning tea and early for lunch. We had parked near the Catholic church so we looked at that and then wandered up the street to The Brasserie where we had coffee on our February trip. We managed to get a table inside, intending to have just coffee, but the array of savoury scones, muffins and croinuts (a cross between a croissant and a donut with beesting style filling – ask Glen for details) was too tempting. We all ate something and decided that would hold us past lunch.

Properly caffeinated we walked on up the street. We visited the museum and then found the street that led up to the Giant’s House, a destination recommended by one of the staff at the motel this morning. Before we could head up the street it was necessary to explore The Squirrel’s Attic, another craft store. Looking up the hill we decided that it might be too much for Mum, so John, our driver of the day, went back for the car. He drove Mum and Debbie up the street while the rest of us walked and looked at houses and gardens. The houses are old and quaint and most have luxuriant gardens. We gawked and photographed our way up the street to meet the others. Once there we walked up the steep drive toward the house but our advance party had spoken with another visitor and decided that the $20 tariff was too much. We looked at the outside and then strolled back to the car and headed for town.

Back in town we cruised the main street and parked along the shore for another walk about through craft stores. The street in that part of town was lined with New Zealand Christmas trees (pohutukawa) that were just coming into bloom. Those of us who were less enthusiastic about craft stores spent some time photographing the blooms.

On our way out of Akaroa we stopped to pick up some essentials from the store and Majella decided that it was time for a French style crepe. Nobody else was really up to crepes – the earlier snacks were still holding us – but John and I did have Kapiti ice creams (Lemon grass & ginger and Black Doris Plum & Crème fraîche, respectively).

On our way back from Akaroa we took the tourist route along the summit. It was steep and winding but we all enjoyed the views. A few of us, Helen and Debbie, focused on the forward view while we were moving but were able to enjoy the more expansive views when we stopped along the way for photographs.

We took the side road down to Le Bons Bay and enjoyed a quick stroll on the beach before heading back up the hill and on toward Christchurch. There were a few more stops along the way to enjoy the sweeping views from the summit road and collect more photographs.

At Little River we stopped to look at the stores but found ourselves fascinated by the accommodation units built in silos. They have won several awards and Majella is already contemplating who she can lure into another trip to the area so that she has a reason to stay there. We also had some refreshments in the cafe and checked the craft stores and the deer in the paddock out back before heading on to Christchurch. Some of us actually played on the playground equipment.

Back at the motel we retrieved our baggage and the key for our 3 bedroom apartment. It was well set up though we did wonder about the lack of a bowl suitable for salad. Majella and her shoppers headed out to procure food for dinner and returned with pre-cooked sausages, bread, salad ingredients, and more red wine. The sausages were cooked/heated in a pan on the stove and a saucepan and ladles stood in as salad servers. At some point Majella realised that the grapes and cheese that had been left with some other food in the motel chiller because of our enforced move had gone missing. A check with the motel office revealed that the food had been stored in the staff refrigerator and that somebody had assumed the grapes and cheese were intended for staff consumption. That was awkward and, to cap it off, our sausage cooking triggered a fire alarm that was inaudible in our unit. The phone call from the office was not heard until too late and the first we heard about the possible emergency was when there was a knock on our door. I’m not sure we’ll be welcome at that motel again. If Majella ever returns to Christchurch the silos may be her only option.

We finished the evening by looking at our photos for the day. The unit had a large flat screen that can accept SD cards so we were able to manage slide shows on the big screen. The rate of advance through a 100 or so slides from each of 3 keen photographers was a bit slow for some of the audience. There is some enthusiasm for an ‘edited highlights’ version in future.