Back to the 21st century. I am still reading Pepys diary but alternating with the Tibetan book of Living and Dying, which is an interesting mixture.
My cousin Richard and his wife Rita are spending a few days with us before heading off on their Kiwi adventure. We've been acting as tour guides which is great fun. I always like having guests to go places with and see Auckland through fresh eyes again.
The first day we just pootled around the North Shore, for some walks and orientation. Cooked some NZ lamb for dinner and drank quite a lot of wine while catching up with my cousin who has been living in southern France for the last couple of years, near Foix where I had an unpleasant experience while hitch hiking back in 1983.
On Friday we kayaked down the Puhoi River to Wenderholm, walked on the beach, and ate lunch at the Art of Cheese cafe. My gym going must be paying off because I didn't have any aches and pains after the kayaking like I normally do. On the way home we stopped to buy fresh snapper and prawns for dinner.
Saturday we had brunch at the Takapuna Beach Cafe then sorted the visitors out with mobile phone and car hire info. In the afternoon we went to the zoo. Not up for cooking we ordered pizzas from Blitza for supper.
Today Jaz had organised an early birthday celebration for me. It was all kept secret so I didn't know what was going to happen. We met them at North Head which was quite a mission as there was a traffic jam and the parking area was closed off due it being a designated viewing area for the Luis Vuitton Pacific Series yacht racing that's ongoing. When we got to Cheltenham beach we walked up North Head and around to a small beach facing the ocean where we could see the big yachts sailing There Jaz & Mark had set up a table and chairs on the grassy reserve, and as we arrived familiar heads popped out of one of the concrete bunkers: Paul, Kylie, Judy, Mo & Rina were all there for a surprise picnic. It was a perfect setting. The clouds vanished and we had a shady tree to lie under. Music playing, wine and beer and lovely food. After a couple of hours we packed up and walked to the warmer side of the hill for a swim. Then back to ours where Jaz had arranged a treasure hunt around the house. I had to answer multi choice questions about NZ to discover the clues that led to a pile of birthday presents. When I didn't get the answer I had to do a penalty such as spin around 20 times or run around the perimeter of the garden. It was all done to a 15 minute timer. I got there just as the buzzer went off which won me a bonus prize: a certificate valid for one board game of my choice with JK.
A lovely day. Great fun. And not even my birthday yet.