Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cloud choppers

Today I played tourist--- I took a Tiki tour to Raglan, a small seaside village to the West of Hamilton city. My plan was to visit a colleague who was staying there for three days--- taking a well-earned rest. After walking Perdy down at the usual place I left my house about 9am, hoping to make Raglan sometime around 11am.
For a while I listened to ‘talk back radio,’ but I soon got sick of the topic they were ringing in about---can hardly remember now what it was. I turned the dial to the Concert Programme, a classical music station and was soon lost in the voice of a mezzo-soprano woman from Texas. Just before I turned down Highway 39 my phone buzzed me to let me know that a message had come in. It was my friend, letting me know that another couple were joining us at 1.30.
I realized that I had more than two hours to kill, so I headed off down the main highway to Hamilton where I thought I might pass some time in the huge new shopping complex called ‘The Base.’ I strolled around, thinking that at least I was getting g some exercise. Now it was time to exercise my credit card. I noticed a Kathmandu store, a NZ owned company selling medium to high end quality outdoor gear. My beach walking friends had told me that they made (well like everything, it is made in Asia, probably China) an excellent all-weather jacket, that was lightweight and water-proof, using a material called Gorex.
The sales assistant was knowledgeable and didn’t push. He was disappointed that the largest jacket (XL2) didn’t quite fit. It was on sale too. The material wasn’t Gorex anyway, but a close approximation.
 Next door was another shop selling similar products. I had never heard of Mountain Design, but that shouldn’t surprise you, because I usually shop at lower end stores. (Shush--- don’t tell anyone--- they sell my size) I was in luck—their jacket felt good. And just fit and it was Gorex fabric and also on sale---- So much for competition eh.
I walked out feeling good and had a cup of coffee (double shot, Flat White) before driving through the centre of this prosperous city. I still had some time to kill, so I skirted the southern edge of the city and finally joined the road to Raglan with about twenty minutes to our meeting time. I drove carefully, because the road is very windy in places, but the views were spectacular as I crossed a large range. On the other side a smaller range hid Ragland from view, but on the top of the hills, ghostly figures chopped at the clouds. It was a wind farm; a fascinating nature-friendly sight and one that was more than capable of powering the little town of Raglan and then some.
The 'wind choppers' are on the hills.

I left the wind farm in my rear mirror, intending to take a picture from the viewing sight on the way back. Raglan filled the horizon a few minutes later and I pulled up in an empty car park that displayed a sign informing me of the one hour limit. My mind briefly touched on the programme from the night before where a ‘wheel-clamping’ company had been featured, using unfair and probably illegal practices. Someone had successfully taken them to court and won. Better not happen to me, I thought.
My friend texted me to say that we should meet at the ‘Four Square’ shop. I was right outside it, and there she was. We still had another twenty minutes before our friends joined us, so we stepped into the hundred plus year old iconic hotel close by. It is a popular pub, for locals and visitors. I am sure it could tell many fine and possibly sultry stories. I had a house wine, not half filled like you get in the cities; no--- it was filled to the brim. None of that, ‘you need space for it to breath, bullshit.’
Our friends arrived and for the next two hours we stayed there--- choosing food from their menu—a combination of ‘old-fashioned fare and more trendy Mediterranean choices. I was most impressed by the platter that our friends chose. I went for chips, salad and Groper (we call it Hapuka). The time just flew as we chatted and laughed. If nearby customers heard us, they may have blushed, but then again, they may have enjoyed listening.
The hotel was built in 1905.

By now I knew that I wasn’t going to make it home before dark, especially when my friend asked us back to her ‘get-away,’ accommodation. She had paid a lot of money for her luxurious hide-away. The pictures I have included hardly do the view justice. After a very small glass of bubbly, I said goodbye and headed back to the village and onto the journey home. I remembered to take a picture of the ‘cloud choppers’
The view of Whale Bay from the 'hide-away.'

When I arrived home, the house was in darkness and Perdy was waiting at the gate, wagging her tail so hard, it reminded me of the wind farm. Maybe I should connect a turbo to her tail. A sudden thought struck me--- OMG--- she had not had a walk. My partner had said Perdy would still get a walk, but remember--- the house was dark. I unlocked the door, knowing that I was about to be punished. Oh yes--- it had snowed inside. Perdy had scattered the contents of one of the new pillows from one end of the lounge, through to the kitchen. ‘You little bi---!’ I shouted. What did she do? She tilted her head at me as if to say----‘you should k now better than to leave me alone for that long.’
Then I remembered what one of my friends had said. There is a motel that lets you take dogs and they can stay----- maybe next time, that’s what I shall do.
What a lovely day--- Perdy cleaned the mess up---- NOT