Posts Tagged With: Family

Wed 5 July: last day in London and home to NZ

Today the tea situation got worse, there was not even any Twinings everyday tea, I had to make do with green tea! Not a good start to the day. Apart from that, I have discovered that around the corner, on the other side of the restaurant, is another table with cereal and bread and a toaster. Yum, I had toast with marmalade, trying not to be churlish thinking how much nicer it would be with black tea. In context, if this the worst of my problems, life is pretty good.

After breakfast I headed to the metro, and off to see Shellbe. Sad to say goodbye to Brett, but excited to be  going to spend the with Shellbe and see where she is living. Brett is heading off for a couple of days to York to see his step daughter Sandra.

IMG_3396 (2)

London Bridge Underground – off to see Shellbe before the flight home.

To get to Shellbe’s I had to go two stops on the metro, and then get off and go up three escalators and then find the correct train to get to Teddington. I found my way to the station ok, but there was a signal problem and a number of the trains were delayed including the 10:27 to Teddington. There was however, a 10:33 via Richmond to Teddington that was not delayed and had a platform number, so off I went and hopped on that.

All was going well until we came into Richmond and I half heard the train announcement about this being the change for what I thought was Teddington, and just about everyone on the train hopped off. I jumped off as well, but actually it was the change for Twickerton. Drat! By the time I worked this out the doors had shut and the train was gone. Thankfully there was a help phone and I was relieved to find the next train to Teddington would be along in 15 minutes.

Shellbe was waiting at the station and we went back to her place. Shellbe is currently working as a live-in nanny, looking after two small boys, Asher 5 and Matthew (Matty) 3. Just after we got to the house Shellbe had to pick up Matty from kindy and left me behind enjoying a cup of black tea.

Matty was very cute and was interested in me being Shellbe’s mum, and within a couple of minutes he had invited me on the family holiday in a couple of weeks to Italy.

At 3pm we picked up Asher from school, and we went to a bushy park where there were a number of deer roaming around. They are really nice boys, both asked me lots of questions, and for the rest of the day they referred to me as Mum as Shellbe was.

20045793_10213596497128600_1522144810_n_edited

20068062_10213596504128775_2030054361_n_edited.jpg

20046143_10213596505248803_582925861_n_edited.jpg

Back at the house, time for Shellbe to cook dinner bath the boys, read stories and then their Dad arrived home, and all too soon it was time to head to Heathrow airport.

20046140_10213596504208777_232851579_n_edited.jpg

I had a last couple of hours with Shellbe at Heathrow, then it was time to say goodbye 😭😭. It was really hard to leave her. There were tears all round, it has been so great being able to share the past few days with her, in both Amsterdam and London.

19988939_10213596505088799_1706989800_n_edited.jpg

Not much of a consolation at the moment, but at least these days we have messenger call etc to keep in touch and see each other.

Off through security to the horrors of long haul flying. I just don’t have the ability to sleep on planes. I was flying Emirates, and on the leg from Heathrow to Dubai I managed about 45 min, thankfully only a two stop over in Dubai, most of which was spent getting to the next gate.

Dubai to Auckland, which is a 14 and a half hour flight, I managed about an 1 hour of sleep. The flight seems endless. Around me everyone seemed to be sleeping soundly. The two people in the seats next to me slept almost the entire flight. I spent most the flight watching movies, and getting up and down (thankfully I had an aisle seat).

Upstairs on the plane, as well as business class seats, there are sleep cabins where you have your own room with a bed! Plus access to a shower. However, to fly from Heathrow to Auckland in one of these would cost $13,500 dollars per person (20 hours flying, makes it $650 an hour).

I arrived at Auckland, it was lovely to go through customs etc, within 20 minutes from landing I had my bike box and bag, cleared customs and was heading to Auckland domestic terminal. I really did not want to get back on a plane again.

My son Dan picked me up at the airport, and had Benji (the dog) in the car. We got home at 3:30 pm. Dexter, the other dog, was delighted to see me and I spent the next 3 hours struggling to stay awake until my daughter Tracey got home with my grandson Jasper (who just turned one). They got home at 6:15pm, I managed to stay awake until 6:30pm then off to bed to sleep. Nothing quite like your own bed.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I am looking forward to catching up with my other children, their partners, and my grandchildren at Jasper’s first birthday party. Sunday will be spent unpacking and getting sorted to return to the realities of work.

On Monday there will be 323 days until the next ride. The next ride I have booked is The Pub Ride, from Dublin to Denmark.

Thank you to my daughter Kelly for all her hard work and patience as editor of the blog -dealing my spelling abilities (or inabilities) and the Ipad’s tendency to change what I have written, not an easy task.

Untitled

 

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Day 28: Arnhem to Amsterdam

99 km today, about 400 meters climbing, but mostly a down gradient all day.

I woke up very excited, as tonight I am going to see my daughter Shellbe who flies into Amsterdam this evening. It is nearly a year since I last saw her 😀😀 She lives in London.

When we set out it was once again looking like rain. The first 30 km was a slight up gradient on a bike path, but in one direction. It was great to ride a few km without having to check which way you needed to be going. The only delays were the traffic lights. We went through a small few towns and stopped at a patisserie and chocolatier at about 40 km. I had a really nice strawberry tart.

IMG_3192.JPG

Food stop last ride day

The bikes have the right of way when you are following a bike path across a road, unless there are lights say otherwise, which takes a bit of getting used to. I hesitated a few times as I was not sure that cars were going to stop as they seemed to be going quite fast, but they always did.

IMG_3193.JPG

Checking out a thatched roof.

At the lunch stop I took a photo of Esther, Gergos wife also from Hungary, and their son Lawrence who is nearly 3. Lawrence was happily playing as small children do with water, puddles, and sticks while we waited. Also took a picture of Gergo and Judy from NZ.

img_3198-1.png

Esther and Laurence

img_3194.jpg

Tour leader Gergo and Judy at last lunch stop.

We got to the lunch stop at 70 km at about 11am, to find that Gergo had now decided that we would all meet here and convoy in together. It would have been great if he had shared this earlier this morning, as there were a number of places we could have stopped along the way, instead of waiting an hour and a half on a piece of grass with nothing but the road to look at, while we waited for the rest of the riders to arrive. This was not helped by the darkening sky and the feeling of impending rain.

As it turned out, most of the other riders in the end ignored him and just headed off, but about 12 of us waited and went in the convoy.

We went through another star shaped town Naarden (like Palmanova) it was very picturesque with the canals and boats and wharves.

IMG_3200

Rode as a convoy from lunch to the finish. Passing through Naarden Vesting.

Then back on a bike path where it started to pour down (I was trying to ignore my irritation that if we had not waited an hour and half to convoy we would have been at the hotel by now). As we came up to an underpass there was a group of about 100 children and teachers sheltering from the rain. Just as we got there, they decided to no longer wait and about 30 took off in front of us. The next 5 km was spent trying to pass young boys who were serving all over the path.

 

We had to go up over a really big bridge – Nescio Bridge – made just for bikes and walkers and then road the last few km into Amsterdam. Getting through the outskirts of the city took awhile as there were lots of students going home from school. Thankfully by this this time the rain had stopped.

nesciobrug

Nescio Bridge (photo from website)

We arrived at the Mercure Hotel at about 3pm. The bikes had to be left outside in an open area, which a number of us were not that thrilled about. We managed to move the hotel bikes around and at least managed to get our bikes locked to the bike stands. The hotel bikes, like the white bikes at the Muller Kroller, they were really heavy, at least twice the weight of my bike.

Then checking in: what a mission! The biggest and busiest hotel for the trip. The person behind the counter was not helpful or friendly:
1. He insisted there was no booking for my daughter – I had to go and dig out the paperwork. When I took it back to another person they found the booking without the paper work.
2. When asking if we could stay in the same room the next two nights we were told “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow until tomorrow”!!

Not quite as frustrating as Janice from Townsville who had her partner Philip joining her here, who was told her and Philip had been put in a room with Cathy. This was sorted out by TDA quickly, but the person behind the counters attitude was not helpful.

We had a get together at the hotel on arrival, with some bubbles and snacks to celebrate our arrival and finishing the trip, then off to get cleaned up and ready for dinner.

IMG_3205

Arrived at finish hotel Mercure Amstel

We met down in the lobby at 6pm to taxi to the finishing dinner at D’Vdff Vlieghen in central Amsterdam. The traffic was chaos.

I am unsure by what manner the finishing venue is chosen, but this was not a good one – we were cramped in, and apart from one long table of about 12, everyone else was sitting at tables of 3 to 4,  and there was no room to move around and interact. So it didn’t really feel like a finishing dinner, more like just a normal riding day dinner. Brett and I sat with Graham, with a seat saved for my daughter Shellbe.

The menu was an entree of smoked fish, a piece of chicken with an onion (no carbs, no salad or veges), and a piece of chocolate slice and ice cream. Plus red or white wine. Luckily they had bread rolls, otherwise there would have been a lot of hungry riders.

My daughter Shellbe arrived halfway through the meal, I was delighted to see her again.

IMG_3214.JPG

Mum and daughter find each other

After the meal Gergo advised us that it was up to the riders to get themselves back to the hotel – about an hour walk, or 15 minutes in a taxi.

We caught a taxi back with Graham, and then sat in the bar catching up on the news with Shellbe for awhile.

IMG_3555

Having a drink with my daughter Shellbe 

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Home again

My taxi arrived as planned at 6:30 am, and I headed back home, and was back to work at mid-day .

I was looking forward to catching up with family and friends, and of course Christmas.

I have already booked my next TDA trip – I am doing The Odyssey which is from Athens to Amsterdam in May 2017. I am doing the last two sections: Bosnia to Amsterdam.

alpine-advneture

windmils

Thanks to everyone for reading along, and your comments. As always a very special thanks to my daughter Kelly, blog editor extraordinaire.

Categories: Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Day 14: Sunday 27 Nov – rest day in Wellington

Despite getting to bed late I was wide awake at 6am. I got up and enjoyed being able to make a cup of tea. I decided to catch up with the blog as I had not done any updates since I left Napier and I like to keep at least a couple of days in front of Editor Kelly.

Brett went off to the supermarket and got some toast bread, butter, and milk, – we already had some marmalade. After doing a couple of updates I went up the road to have coffee with couple of friends Delwyn and Pat who live in Mt Victoria. Then went back to meet my daughter Tracey and grandson Jasper (nearly 5 months old) at mid day.

We went to lunch in Island Bay at a place called Brew’d, I had a very nice Kereru Pilsner and beer battered fish and chips. Jasper was full of smiles and chortles and generally was finding life very amusing.

15192578_1206037269485169_8593784966596847004_n

Fish’n’Chips for Gran, a bobble for Jasper Jet

After lunch I went back to the hotel, and Michele and Tony were in the unit next door so they came over to meet Jasper. Tracey had gone to catch up with a friend and her children, but I persuaded her to leave Jasper with me.

At 5pm Tracey picked me up, along with Brett and Sue, and took us to eldest daughter Kelly’s house for a family dinner.

It was lovely to see Kelly, her husband Daniel, their daughter Lucy (aged 3 1/2); Tracey and Jasper; Lizzy and her son Xavier (aged 4, and otherwise known as Jig) and Lizzy’s partner Kiel. Lizzy had been on night shift so Jig had stayed at Kelly’s and they had been to a Christmas fair, where they had both had their faces painted. Jig was a Tiger and Lucy was a pirate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Telling a story to Lucy and Jig

dsc07107

Storytelling time

My children were interested to meet Sue as they had read so much about her on the South American blog, plus Kelly (blog editor ) had got lots of photos from Sue’s emails and blogs. They had all heard so much about each other that they all felt like they had met already!

We started with a lovely cheese platter and Kelly, by request, had made homemade burgers plus as a surprise pork spareribs. Kelly had also gone to the trouble of getting a bottle of Hawkes Bay HaHa sparkling wine after reading about it on the blog.

I had lots of fun, it was great to catch up and get a chance to spend time with Jig, Lucy and Jasper.

Then it was time to go back to the motel, I was a bit sad to be leaving but am going to be back home in two weeks. Tomorrow we catch the ferry to Picton and stay in Picton, so it will be like another rest day.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 13: Saturday 26 Nov – Martinborough to Wellington

97km, 900 approx up and down

It was gale force wind during the night so I was very pleased to be in a cabin. There was a group of guys down the back of the camp for some sort of bloke weekend away. They were quite rowdy at the beginning of the night but then thankfully headed off out.

At 12:30am the morons were back, driving through the camp blasting their car horn and laughing and talking. In the morning I was amused to see one of their tents had collapsed on them and they were still in it fast asleep (evidenced by the loud snoring coming from it). I’m not sure if one of the other campers had removed their pegs, or it was just bad putting-up-tent technique.

It was cold and blustery eating breakfast, so I was off on the bike as quickly as possible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wellington is on the other side of that hill (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The 16km ride to Featherston was pretty windy, but it was nothing compared to when we turned at Featherston to go down the Western Lake Road. The wind was so strong it was all I could do to hold my bike on the road. At least three times I got pushed over onto the gravel.

img_1252

Weather on the Featherston Side

It was looking like it was going to rain at any moment. I rode past the Wasp noting that she had no bike bag and was wearing just a biking top and short shorts. I asked her about wet weather gear and she said she didn’t have any. I rode along feeling really worried and annoyed. Worried because she could get exposure, and annoyed because all the riders were warned about changeable conditions and annoyed that if I or anyone else came across her and she was cold and wet we would have to share our clothing and put ourselves at risk also.

The TDA truck went past just before the turn off to the incline, checking on riders and it parked by the incline start. I went up and told them that the Wasp had no wet weather gear, that I was seriously worried if she went up the incline dressed as she was, and that I was passing the responsibility to them.

Off up the Rimutaka Incline. It’s an old railway track between Featherston and Wellington. In the past a fell engine pulled the train up the Featherston side and it was a normal train down the other.

img_1253

Single track into the start of the Incline

The gradient going up from Featherston is a bit steeper and rocky, plus the wind was blowing with gusto at us.

At near the top is a gully you have to go up and down where there used to a bridge. This part is known as Siberia as it is so bleak and cold with wind gusts. This was a site of a serious accident when the wind was so strong it pushed a fell engine carriage off the tracks and sadly four children died.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Siberia – in the wind and rain (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

No bridge left so we have to go down and back up (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

img_1257

Before one of the tunnels on the Rimutaka Incline

Through the final (third) tunnel on the way up the wind was roaring through the tunnel.
We got out to the other side to find it was bucketing down. Thankfully there was a shelter up the top where we were able to get changed into our wet weather gear.

img_1258

Long tunnel to The Summit Sat 26 Nov

With the rain and the wind and down gradient for about 10km (a lot of it quite exposed) I was feeling relieved that I told the TDA staff about the Wasp’s lack of wet weather clothing. (I found out later that she got the TDA truck over the hill to lunch, by which time it had stopped raining).

It poured all the way down the incline. At times the rain felt like needles going into your face (the only exposed skin). I was warm as I had a coat, hat, thermal gloves, and over pants – but I couldn’t find my overshoes, drat. I had one plastic bag so put it over one foot. There were about 8 riders all pulling on their wet weather gear.

img_1254

Riding on the Rimutaka incline

Once we got to the bottom of the incline it stopped raining. We followed a bike path along the Hutt river to lunch, and then all the way to Petone. It took much longer than going straight down SH2 but it meant not worrying about traffic and was something new to me.

It bought us out at the end of the Petone Esplanade which runs along the sea front. We followed this, then back to SH2, then the old Hutt road into Wellington.

img_1260-1

Peeling off muddy gear at Petone on bike path. Nearly into Wellington.

We stayed at the Apollo Court Motels in Marjorie Banks Street. It was very central, 2 minutes walk from Courtney Place, and an easy walk to the rest of the city.

I got cleaned up, as there was mud over the bike, my clothes, my bike bag and shoes, so it took a while to clean up. Then it was time to go and meet my son Dan for dinner. Dan lives in a mid city apartment.

We stopped and got cheese and wine on the way (Pepperjack Shiraz, plus Castello blue and white cheese, and a fresh French stick). When we got there Dan bought out a bottle of champagne to celebrate that he had finished his University year with First Class Honors and a grade point average that gives him an automatic PH.D. Scholarship. It was very exciting news and well earned as Dan has worked extremely hard this year. I am very proud of him.

wp_20161126_17_47_42_pro

Celebrating with my son Dan

We decided to go to Great India in Manners Street for dinner. I have been there a few times and always like the food, plus acoustically it’s great as well. After dinner I said goodbye to Dan as he was working the next morning so he was not interested into continuing on to the Havana Bar with Brett and I.

We met Michele, Tony and Walli in Cuba Mall and went off to the Havana Bar. It was pretty busy but as we walked though the bar a group got up and left and we were able to jump into their just vacated spot. I enjoyed a couple of very nice ParrotDog Pilsners – a local Wellington brewery. Having had wine at Dan’s flat and with dinner I was feeling the effects, hence returning to beer.

We stayed there for a couple of hours then decided to make our way home. I decided that, as it was very close to our motel and totally different to Havana, I should also take my friends to the Welsh Bar that is in Courtney Place. Walli decided wisely to leave us at this stage.

It certainly was a very different atmosphere – quite crowded but the crowd was friendly and they had quite a good singer so we stayed for awhile. It was about 12:30 by the time we got home.

I went to sleep feeling very happy with Dan’s news, and excited and looking forward to be catching up with three of my other children and my three grandchildren the next day.

https://www.relive.cc/view/786659422

img_1255

Sun out before the storm

img_1256

Rimutaka Incline before the storm

Categories: Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 2 -Tuesday 15 November

115 kilometres- climbing 110k, down 130k

Thankfully when I woke up the rain had not yet started, but by the time I had nearly packed up the tent it was starting to spit. Luckily we had a covered space for breakfast with tables and chairs for breakfast. Yanez the cook had made stacks of French toast and one of the Canadian riders had bought a tub of real maple syrup, plus cereal and yoghurt.

waitawaday.png
After breakfast I put on my over shoes on, put on my rain jacket, and off we headed. I was riding with Michelle, Tony, and Brett. The first 44.5 kilometres of the day was flat with lots of left and right turns. Left was into the wind, and right it was behind you. When heading into the wind I kept thinking to myself “At least it’s not the 130 kilometre per hour wind and torrential rain that was happening in Wellington”.

We stopped at Paeroa for coffee, and then of course obligatory tourist stop by the big L&P bottle on the outskirts of town. For non-NZ blog readers, a factory in Paeroa used to make a drink called “Lemon & Paeroa” which was lemon with Paeroa spring water. Now it’s made by Coca Cola but is still a NZ favourite).

img_1097

Brett and me at the L&P bottle in Paeroa

Then we headed off up the Karangahake Gorge. There was not much of a shoulder to ride in, and at times there was no shoulder and lots  of traffic. A friendly driver gave us an earful as they went past. Sue got a flat on a nasty bend but managed to find a safe bit off road to change it. Brett and Tony stopped to help whilst Michelle and I continued on.  Thankfully at 58.4 k we turned right to Waitawheta and had a nice quiet country road until 70.1 k where we turned onto SH2.

We were on SH2 for most of the rest of the day. It started pouring down , there was not much of a shoulder, and what shoulder there was a lot of it was taken up with raised white lines, which are not pleasant to ride on.  The trucks were whizzing past and spraying water all over us. One tanker came way too close to me.

Lunch was at 73.7 k, where there was a tarpaulin to sit under plus a nice selection of sandwich fillings. Is this really a TDA ride?

As soon as we stopped riding, even though I had layers of clothes,  over boots, water proof gloves and rainproof jacket, I started to feel cold. I had lost my water proof skull cap a few weeks ago, so I solved the problem by putting a shower cap over my merino wool skull cap. Almost Enid Sharpels looking but of course it wasn’t quite a hair net. Once my head was warm I started feeling warmer.

Off we went again into the pouring rain, with busy traffic and big trucks. There were often reasonable shoulders but they would disappear and all of a sudden you would be on a narrow piece of road with a large vehicle in each direction.

About this time I started regretting my lack of training. I kept meaning to increase my training but sadly I didn’t. The most I have been getting done over the past couple of months is two rides a week, of about two hours and about 50 k each. These rides had hills but not enough.

At 107 kilometres I was coming up a hill and I thought “I am not going to be able to get up this hill” – my legs have just about stopped working. I gritted my teeth and locked my eyes onto the Challenge Petrol Station sign up the top of the hill where I had decided to stop, and I managed to get up there.  It’s amazing what a nice hot chocolate and a 10 minute rest will do. While I found the going tough for the rest of the day I didn’t have another “I can’t do this” moment.

At 118 kilometres SH2 becomes like a motorway going into Tauranga, then add rush hour traffic, and having to cross lanes  – crazy!

At 125 kilometres we had to go right at the third exit of the roundabout, but to get to it we could either go off the track onto a bike path across the road, or ride about 1 kilometre on a bridge with two lanes, no shoulder and heaps of traffic . Michelle kept on going onto the bridge, but after waiting about 5 min the rest of us managed to get across the two lanes of rush hour traffic to the bike lane.

The bike lane took us off to the side of where we needed to go but we managed to work our way back to where we needed to be but no Michelle. We waited for awhile and when we didn’t see her we figured she had gone ahead so we set off for camp. It was mostly down hill from there to camp. Whilst I was riding I was thinking “I hope we don’t have to come back this way tomorrow”.

At 130.5 kilometres we arrived thankfully at camp. I was very pleased I had rung before and booked a cabin. Shared with Tony, Michelle and Brett. It was a nice camp with a laundry with washing machine and dryers, so was able to get our soaking wet bike gear dry.

There was also a covered space with tables and chairs, plus of course the lovely hot pools. But no Michelle at camp. We were reassured however that she had a cellphone plus also any local would give her directions so we headed off to the hot pools.  It turned out there were workmen at the roundabout and they had removed the orange flagging, so a few riders got lost. Michelle arrived in camp having done an extra 6 kilometres but one rider did an extra 20 kilometres – so a total of 150 kilometres!

Welcome Bay Hot Springs are very close to Te Puke where my dad lived with my step mother Lynne. Dad sadly died 6 years ago but Lynne still lives in Te Puke, so she came to visit at the camp to visit.

I had got two small holes in my gloves and had forgotten to bring needle and thread, so I text Lynne and asked her to bring this with her. Lynne not only bought the needle and thread but sewed the gloves up as well. Unlike me, who spends about 10 minutes trying to thread a needle with glasses, Lynne just does it straight away and doesn’t even wear glasses! Pretty good vision for a pensioner.

I had arranged for Lynne to stay  with us for dinner. We had a very nice beef stew with potatoes and a salad with kale, tomato, feta and olives, yum. Plus Lynne had bought two bottles of red wine which went down well with the group. It was good to catch up with Lynne, and she enjoyed meeting people she had read about in my blog, especially Sue and Walli.

A few of the riders had approached Emily, the tour leader, about how uncomfortable they were with the SH traffic and lack of shoulders. We discussed alternative routes and luckily Lynne was there to give local knowledge of the alternative roads.

At 8pm I was suddenly very tired, so Lynne set off home and I crashed into bed.

Categories: Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments