Day Twenty Four: The Warmth of Kiwis

Welcome to 2014!

2014 started with a bang for sure, right around midnight, as some of the locals in Motueka lit the firecrackers they’d saved from Guy Fawkes Day to celebrate the start of the New Year. It got quiet again pretty quickly, and when I woke up in the morning, it was to rain. Well, darn, there goes the day’s plans– but as it turned out I was so very wrong on that count!! Once we checked out of the Equestrian we started our short drive over to Nelson. Along the way we stopped in to meet a good friend of one of my regular bookstore customers, Katherine. I’m still getting used to the idea of stopping by and meeting people that are friends of people who I know somewhat, though not all that well, but I can tell you for certain at this point that it is a fantastic way to experience a place. The woman we went to meet, Judith, lives on a small farm not all that far from Rabbit Island– about mid-way between Motueka and Nelson. We were greeted warmly and invited in for morning coffee / juice and a delicious cake that her daughter Maia had baked. We chatted a while before putting on some borrowed gum boots and heading down the hill to the paddocks to meet The Boys and The Girls.

Farm DE2 gumboots

The boys

The boys

Getting used to feeding the boys.

Getting used to feeding the boys.

The Girls

The Girls

Farm Judith and sheep

Hiding more pellets for me by any chance?

Hiding more pellets for me by any chance?

Farm Erin petting

Getting everyone some food  (Photo by DK)

Getting everyone some food
(Photo by DK)

Alpacas

Alpacas

Throw the stick?

Throw the stick?

Swim time!

Swim time!

Judith is multi-talented and has restored these boats.

Judith is multi-talented and has restored these boats.

Up into the treehouse

Up into the treehouse

Up in the treehouse

Up in the treehouse

Tree house's view!!

Tree house’s view!!

Judith and "Boo" at pool

Judith and “Boo” at pool

Which one is going to get that ball out?

Which one is going to get that tennis ball out of the pool?

Guess who got that ball out? The "splash zone" below the weeping elm tree.

Guess who got that ball out? The “splash zone” below the weeping elm tree.

It was a great experience for all of us to chat with Judith and get up close with the animals. And we are very lucky to have made the connection. Of course my amazing customers know some amazing people! Thank you to Katherine for connecting us with Judith, and thank you so very much to Judith for opening her home to the lot of us! And I’m saying it loud and clear: Judith (and Maia!), when you’re next in San Francisco I expect a visit from you!

We piled back into the van for the short trip into Nelson. Because it was January 1st, many places were closed but we found a place for a late lunch. And I was happy to see that the new public toilets in the carpark had opened. The last time I was in Nelson a few weeks ago it still had painters working on the outside. I’m impressed with just how fancy it is!

Nelson toilets 1

Nelson toilets 2

Nelson toilets 3

Nelson toilets 4

We got Daun’s family checked into their lodging and then Dian and I went over to Hilton and Kay’s house, which was just a few minutes away. Hilton is my friend Darryl’s brother, and I met him last June when he and Kay came to San Francisco for a visit. It was really good to see them again, and we met Kay’s very well-traveled niece Grace who was down visiting from Wellington. Our evening plan was to join up the entire group for dinner at 7, but we had time before then so we hung out for a bit and then, because the rain had stopped, we piled into the van for a quick walk. So where did I find myself? In a park that is the start of the walk up the hill to the Centre of New Zealand.

Centre of New Zealand marker

Centre of New Zealand marker

Nelson centre sign

Nelson center view

Nelson centre view 2

The 360 degree view included the Maitai Valley:

Maitai Valley

Maitai Valley

You’ll notice that the sun was out. The rain was long gone from where we were standing, but we could see that across the bay it was still raining up toward Abel Tasman! After we were back down at the bottom it was a quick trip “home” to grab stuff and then we headed out to pick up the other four people. Hilton picked the PERFECT place for dinner, East St Cafe.

Nelson East Street sign

It’s owned by Hilton’s friend Tejas. What a fun place to dine! The menus are large, and the covers of them are old LP album jackets. We had a full range of music between the 9 of us, including John Denver, the album for the movie Grease, Barry Manilow, and something Russian. It lead us right into a musical trip down memory lane. Movie Musicals? It became sing-along time, folks! I learned that Dian’s favorite movie in high school was decidedly NOT a musical. (Her answer: Alien) The food was probably some of the best we’ve had since getting here, the waitress Vicky (or is it Vicki, sorry forgot to ask spelling) was both very helpful and funny. The interior is decorated with an eclectic mix of vintage and antique things and a lot of art. We had a complete and total blast! While at dinner we asked a lot of questions about Wellington, which is where Grace lives. We’ve got some great suggestions for our time upcoming time there. Dian and I stayed over night at Hilton and Kay’s and they made us feel right at home. What an amazing first day of 2014! We had just the best day and loved the connections that were made. Wow. Seriously, Just Plain WOW…

      LOVE is a VERB Ceiling beam art inside   East St Cafe, Nelson

LOVE is a VERB
Ceiling beam art inside East St Cafe, Nelson

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One Response to Day Twenty Four: The Warmth of Kiwis

  1. Kim Burke says:

    Is that you in the blue jacket?

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