Our friends from Dunedin, Merilyn and Colin, have been to stay for a couple of nights. You know what that means – my sewing room must be tidied up! My Bernina sewing machine is generally left on top of the sewing cabinet, ready for go at a moment’s notice. But no, that won’t do with guests sleeping in the room. So I pulled the little lever to make the machine drop down, and closed the cabinet up tight. That doesn’t happen very often, I can tell you!
We had recently purchased a bed settee sofa for an occasion such as this, and thought we should really have a trial run with it, to make sure it worked properly. And make the bed up. My goodness, the bed is low – just as well it is only for a couple of nights.
They arrived carrying all sorts of goodies – it was just like Christmas! Beer to share with Robin, a bottle of wine for dinner, cheese, grapes and bikkies for nibbles, and even a couple of hot roast chickens. With the food I’d prepared as well, we certainly wouldn’t be going hungry. Merilyn and I go back many years, and have been friends since those long ago school days, and I was one of her bridesmaids. Matron of Honour, actually, as I was already married by then. There is always plenty to talk about when we get together, and it’s just like we have never been apart.
Colin and Robin had plenty to talk about too, both are very interested in sports. Muffy jumped up on Colin’s lap and settled down. We told him he should feel honoured – Muffy is very choosy who she cosies up to.
After lunch we continued our tiki tour going northwards and stopped at Foxton to show them the deMolen Windmill. Then on to the Moutoa Sluice Gates, built in 1962 to protect over 100 sq km of farmland from the risk of flooding. The sluice gates cause much of the river flow to take a shortcut, bypassing 30km of low capacity river channel, instead being directed down the 10kmm long Moutoa Floodway. The sluice gates are a bit like the ones making up the Thames Barrier, I told them, but very much smaller of course. Colin in particular was quite impressed by this clever piece of engineering.
Next stop was to see was the Te Apiti Wind Farm. The turning blades had quite a hypnotic quality about them as we drove nearer and nearer, finally reaching the lookout on Saddle Road, north of the Manawatu Gorge. This is an ideal spot for a wind farm, with the Manawatu gorge acting as a wind funnel, creating consistently high wind speeds. Parking in the car park, we could hear the swish, swish of the blades as we stood just under a huge wind turbine. I could just imagine the blades flying through the air and decapitate us. (Too much imagination, says Robin).
Merilyn was quite spooked by all the swishing blades. The wind power increased in speed at one stage and the noise and speed of the blades above us increased dramatically. She got quite a fright and wanted nothing more than to get in the car and away from the huge turbines surrounding us.
We needed a cuppa to calm her down so drove to the Bridge Cafe, at Ballance, just over the long bridge at the Woodville end of the Manawatu Gorge. This is a place I have long wanted to stop at, but we always seem to be towing the caravan behind us as we pass by. We enjoyed our coffees and slices in a nice shady area of the garden. Then we climbed back into the car, drove through the Manawatu Gorge, and headed home. They enjoyed their trip, we are happy to say, as they visited places they had never been to before, or even heard of. Even driving through the Manawatu Gorge was a first for both of them, surprisingly.
Colin and Merilyn at the Bridge Cafe
.Sadly, their time with us came to an end and they packed up their belongings to continue on their holiday. It was lovely having them to stay, and hopefully it won’t be too long before we get together again. Merilyn and I both have major birthdays this year, and I am hoping we can organise a weekend away somewhere together. We’re working on the plans.
And here’s a test for you. Merilyn gave me a copy of an old photo from when we were schoolgirls enjoying a holiday at the beach. Can you tell which girl is her and which one is me? Hint – there is not a grey hair to be seen back then!