Xmas 2018 Nelson Trip

Day one – Thursday 20 December – train to Wellington

What an awesome start to our trip – the taxi driver didn’t charge us for the ride from home to the train station as a thank you for previous business and xmas gift. We arrived nice and early and checking in to the Northern Explorer train was fast and easy. The train was very comfortable with loads of room, huge windows, plugs for charging devices, comfortable dining car with great food and my favourite beer.
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The train ride took just under 11 hours and apart from the first bit from Auckland to Hamilton the weather was great. The best scenery of the trip was definitely Mt Ruapehu.
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We stayed in the Ibis hotel and after dinner we had a few beers in Dad’s hotel room.

Day two – Friday 21 December – Wellington to Picton

We did breakfast in the hotel and then said goodbye, Dad and Paula flew to Nelson and I stayed on to catch the ferry. I went on the cable car and loved the lights they’ve added to the tunnels. Weather ok and great views at the top.
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Click the last pic to view the video.

I ran in to a couple of people I know from work so we did a quick coffee and catch up in David Jones. Then I collected my bag from the hotel and headed for the ferry terminal.
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I chose to go on the Bluebridge Ferry rather than the InterIslander coz it was about $10 cheaper and they had Airpoints. BIG MISTAKE! As soon as I got on the ferry I would’ve paid anything to get off it and on to the other ferry (the Interislander). The whole thing smelt like a public toilet everywhere. I went outside for some fresh air and hopefully find a good seat, but it worse. On the right side of the boat were vents that made the air smell like old stale warm fat. On the left side were the vents that I guess went straight to the toilets coz that side smelt like poohs. Neither side was a good option. So I got myself a private cabin where I could escape the screaming children and horrible smells. The cabin had its own toilet and shower and a bed – very cool and it was the best $30 I’ve spent in ages. Before I headed indoors tho I did see a pod of dolphins – very cool, but very hard to photograph.
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The scenery through the sounds was beautiful but I just couldn’t stomach the smells.
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Getting off the boat was quite an ordeal too. The directions for the walking people (people without cars) was not very clear and I got lost trying to find my way out. Then once I was reunited with the other walkers we were herded like sheep on to a bus and shuttled to the terminal to wait for our bags. Then I was on my own with no signs to show me the way to get to the town and there are NO TAXIS in Picton. So I walked along the main road which was not the right way to go I found out the next day!
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Day three – Saturday 22 December – Picton to Nelson

Awesome weather in Picton, actually managed to get too much sun just wandering around in the morning and sitting in the shade by the stunning waterfront, while waiting for the bus to Nelson.
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While waiting for the bus to kill some time and get out of the sun I paid $25 to see the Picton Aquarium. Wow what a waste of money, it was awful and actually gave me the creeps.
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After filling in enough time I went to the bus stop to wit for the bus, unfortunately I was waiting at the wrong stop and 10 minutes before the bus was due to depart I wondered why it hadn’t even turned up and why am I the only one waiting for a bus. So I went in to the info centre next to the bus stop and asked if I was in the right place – I wasn’t!!! A quick two minute dash to the correct stop and luckily the bus hadn’t left. But the bus was overbooked and they needed two buses so there was some confusion and a 20 minute hold up. The bus trip was great and I’d definitely do that again. Beautiful scenery, loads of famous vineyards.
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Then at long last I’d made it to Nelson and Dad and Paula were there to meet me at the bus station. Short ride to my Aunt’s home and a beer!

Day four – Sunday 23 December – Nelson

This morning my cousins Janine and Stephanie turned up for a coffee and a quick reunion catch up. Then my Aunty and Ken took me on a little pilgrimage around Nelson to revisit the three houses I’d stayed in when we came to visit at Xmas time back in the 70s 80 & 81. It was hard to photograph the houses from the car so here’s an old pic I took back in 1980 of the house we stayed in that Xmas.

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After lunch at the McDonald’s cousin Stephanie worked at for her first job, we went to the Nelson Cathedral to see the Xmas Tree display.
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After dinner the old photo albums came out so Paula could see what I looked like as a Page Boy at my Aunt’s wedding back in the 60s.

img_7874  Me as a page boy.

It was a great evening filled with stories and so many memories.

Day five – Monday 24 December – Te Waikoropupu Springs

I remembered as a kid the whole family went for a really long drive to see the Pupu Springs and it was the most beautiful crystal clear water I had ever seen – but that was all I remember of that trip, so Dad and Paula took me on the long drive out to Takaka where the springs are. The drive up the mountains was spectacular and the long journey was well worth it, when we walked round a corner in the bush track and saw the stunning water bubbling up from the ground.
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On the way out to the springs we stopped in Motueka for lunch and I was amused by the name of the shop across the road.
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Day six – Tuesday 25 December – Christmas Day

Lovely Xmas day. Presents and breakfast then getting ready for the cousins who turned up for the big xmas dinner at lunch time. We had a secret Santa before food and it was one of the few times I’ve seen a Secret Santa activity go well (something usually goes wrong) – everyone seemed happy with their gifts and everyone got one!
The following two pics are not from Xmas Day , but most days there were fantastic sunsets seen from my Aunt’s balcony.
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Day seven – Wednesday 26 December – Mapua and Kaiteretere Beach

Today Dad, Paula and I drove out to Mapua a little wharf town with a maritime museum full of investing facts about the area. The best thing I learnt was how Cable Bay got its name and that it only took 12 days to lay the cable between Australia and New Zealand back in the 1800s.
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From there we drove on to Kaiteretere a very popular beach with golden sand.
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Day eight – Thursday 27 December – Last Day in Nelson

This morning we had a visit from my Uncle Ray who I hadn’t seen since I was 21, great catch up and many more memories. After that Dad, Paula and Tarnie went in to town to check out the shops and have lunch. After lunch we had a drive out to the Maitai Valley River spot where we spent many days swimming back in 1980. I didn’t take any photos coz there was nowhere practical to stop, and the river bed was all brown and not as stunning as I remembered it. But at least we found it. So here’s an old pic of my Uncle Ray and Dad standing by our favourite Maitai river spot in 1980.
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Our very last stop before heading home was at the very beautiful Queen’s Gardens (to use the loo).
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Holiday Snaps

At last I have uploaded all the photos of my holiday to the UK.

If you would like to check them out please click the image below.

Flickr Collection

Big Trip to London 

Day One and Two, Sunday 2 April 2017

At last the day I have waited so long for has arrived. I booked and planned this trip over a year ago and yesterday the countdown app on my phone finally said ONE more sleep. See below, top right corner app FancyDays.


Yesterday day didn’t drag too much as I had quite a lot to do. My most important job was to pick up a Lego set I’d been longing for ever since I first knew it existed. Buying it the day before I go on a big trip isn’t really the smartest thing to do, because all I want to do now is build it, but I still have far too much to do before I go away, however at least now I have something very exciting (the Disney Castle) to look forward to when I get back.


So now I’m lapping it up, rubbing shoulders with all the rich people in the Qantas Business Class lounge.  Qantas kindly invited me to try it out. How could I refuse?  Boarding the plane in one hour – so excited, but all this free wine is helping to numb the excitement and get me very chilled out ready for the 30 plus hours of flying ahead of me.  Oh and Qantas just rang me to check I was aware of the hour long delay with my next flight, Melbourne to London.   So here’s my fab view of the lounge, it’s very nice and extremely quiet.


I’ve practically got the place to myself 🙂

Well here I am in the transit area of the Melbourne airport. My flight is delayed by two hours so I set off in search of a coffee and when I finally found one, embarrassingly none of my cards would work and the exchange rate for pounds to Australian cash was extortion so that was a buzzkill. I thought I’d die of thirst till I realised my phone was trying to tell me I needed to change the card controls in the ASB app so I could use them internationally. Success!

The Qantas flight from Auckland was packed and very very hot. But the service was fab and the food was great and I did manage to watch a whole movie – La La Land; not sure what all the fuss is about really and why did it win Oscars??? After the movie I did have a wee nap and luckily the nice lady sitting next to me saved my chocolate for me – they hand out Whittakers chocolates instead of lollies prior to landing. Nice!

Because of the big delay Qantas have just given everyone a $15 voucher to buy some refreshments while we wait for the gate to open. I wonder what caused the delay.

Here’s the big delayed beauty.


The flight from Melbourne to Dubai was no fun at all.  By the time we finally got to board the plane it was nearly 1:00 Australia time which was actually 3:00 am my time (NZ body clock), so I was really tired and expected to fall asleep on the plane straight away but that didn’t happen.  The flight was packed and it was dark nearly the whole way and it was really long (13 hours I think), plenty of time to watch a movie and some TV shows.

Luckily I had two unhappy ladies sitting next to me who didn’t speak much English and they were mad at the big delay coz they would be missing their connecting flights out of Dubai so we didn’t talk much and they both slept the whole time – which was a tad awkward when it came time for me to wake them both up so I could go to the loo (twice).  Anyway flying in and out of Dubai was quite interesting as there was snow on some mountains at times and nothing but sand at others.

    
My short stop in Dubai for just under two hours was a fuzzy blur, spent mainly looking for a toilet with loo paper, every cubicle I visited had run out!  There were some very stunning shops in the transit area but I had no idea what the time was and when the flight was taking off, because the delayed flight meant the indicator boards were all wrong etc.  It was at this point I discovered a serious downside to an Apple Watch – you can’t manually adjust the time – it needs the phone to be connected to it to share the time.  But I had no idea what data would cost in Dubai so I never took my phone off Flight Mode.  Guess that gives me an excuse to buy a watch before I go home in three weeks time.

  
When we flew out of Dubai I could see the Burj Khalifa in the distance through the haze, which was kinda cool.

  
The flight to London from Dubai was great – only 7.5 hours – I watched the movie LION and loved it, thank goodness my new neighbours a recently married couple from the UK were asleep for most of my movie viewing coz it was a beautiful movie and I cried.

Border Control at Heathrow was very very long, 1,000s of people and long queues, Customs however was non existent and my suitcase survived the journey and was waiting for me when I went to collect it and then my friends were there to greet me and drive me home.

After a big catch up and relax we went for a walk to the local shops for a look round the village – Egham, and buy supplies from the supermarket.

Xmas Holidays 2016

As I’m going away in April on a big trip to London I need to stay home these holidays and just chill out.

Highlights of these holidays:

  • Xmas Eve at a friend’s place for dinner with the “gang” and seeing my friend Michelle who lives in the UK who is home for Xmas, I hadn’t seen her since February 2015.
  • Xmas Day spent at my brother’s house with all the family.
  • Watching a DVD I bought all about Lego “LEGO Brickumentary“, it’s a movie length documentary explaining way more than I’ve ever known before.  It even had a chapter on famous adults who are big fans of Lego such as Ed Sheeran.

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  • Spending New Year’s Day out in the country.

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  • Visiting the Museum and the Art Gallery in one day.
  • Hanging out in Takapuna with one of my best friends who lives in the UK, but is home for the holidays.

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  • Spending lots of time in my backyard drinking far too many beers.

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  • and building Wall-E.

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Labour Weekend 2016

At last the long weekend is here, and this year I’ve added two days of annual leave, giving me a lovely long 5 day holiday, starting with Friday and ending on Tuesday.

To celebrate the big weekend I cracked open a bottle of my favourite wine, bought a book on tidying up which I intend to read and act upon this weekend and a very large box of Ferris Wheel Lego to build when I’m not drinking wine or reading my new book.

There will be quite a lot of Lego featuring in my long weekend, as it’s the Auckland Brick Show starting on Saturday which I’m really looking forward to.  Happy Labour Weekend everybody.

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Update: Monday – Labour Day 24 October 2016.

What a fab weekend it’s been, I finished the Ferris Wheel, drunk all the wine, read most of the book (which I’m really enjoying) and went to the Auckland Brick Show with a friend to see all the amazing Lego.  I wasn’t going to buy any more Lego from the show, but I couldn’t resist a Wall-E and a motor for the Ferris Wheel – both on special for the show.

Here’s the finished product – I think it’s my new favourite, check out the two little videos: https://beejaygelego.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/10247-ferris-wheel/

Xmas Holidays 2015 Day Twenty Five

Tuesday 12 January 2016

I’m really feeling like I’m on a massive holiday now, I’m into my 4th week of holidays and most people have gone back to work and the sun is shining and life is good.

Today’s only task was to get a service and warrant for my car which meant driving to Albany, getting a loan car and then hanging out at the mall while I wait for my car to be thoroughly serviced.

While at the Albany Mall I noticed for the first time a really clever idea.  The ANZ Bank have set up a special branch for dealing with home loan customers and it looks just like a house.

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