At Home With the Stitchbury’s

We slept well in Blenheim and arose at a leisurely pace. We shared a two bedroom suite and had a lovely time visiting before we packed up Lucy for the final run up the coast. We stopped in Blenheim to visit Grant’s uncle in a rest home. We had a nice visit and I must say New Zealand takes excellent care of its elderly.

We then headed for Picton to catch the 2 PM ferry across the strait back to the north island. We checked in at the pier and had two mile “stroll” from the ferry checkin station toward downtown Picton to find lunch. After lunch, we drove onto the ferry and we were told to park right next to a cattle truck. The smell was, shall we say, atrocious!

The trip across the ferry took almost 4 hours and the strait was a bit rougher than our earlier trip. By now, I was familiar with the continuous parade of turquoise water and towering mountain peaks and rolling mountainous hills. I didn’t take a single picture the entire day. Our goal was to get home to Napier.

We arrived in Wellington without incident and set out along the west coast in a fine, misty rain. Eventually, we headed inland toward Palmerston North and arrived around 9 PM. We made a quick stop at the New World market (a grocery store) to see Sam and then Alex took the wheel with a promise to get us home by 1130 PM. The night was clear with a full moon and a sky full of foreign constellations. I sat in the back seat with the moon roof open to the sky and marveled again at the wondrous sites of the past two and a half weeks.

I began to dream of starting my own New Zealand themed coffee/“pie” shop called Pukeko’s (Poooooh-keck-ohs) and introduce America to “flat white” coffee and “savory” pies and lovely pastries. Then, the clouds, like reality moved back in on my fantasies and I realized with a heavy heart that our time in New Zealand was drawing to a close. The clouds thickens and hid the full moon and the sky became gray and dull.

We arrived at 1130 PM just as Alex promised and the boys were waiting for our arrival. After greeting their parents, the boys dispersed to their rooms and I fell into our bed.

It is now late morning and there is nothing pressing on our agenda other than a “leisurely” walk to the top of the hill across the road from the Sitchbury home. I’ve looked up at the tiny matchstick figures of other walkers on this hill with some dread, but as long as my cracked ribs will let me, I will soldier on. I have discovered there are very few obese people in New Zealand. Everyone walks everywhere constantly and this had given this country a very healthy lifestyle. America could learn from the dietary and daily walking habits of the Kiwis. 

I am looking out the dining room window at the brown grass covered hill we are about to attack. Two and a half weeks ago, I would have fainted at the prospect of tackling such a hill. Now, it has become a “leisurely stroll”. I will continue when I return!

Well! That was far more than a leisurely stroll. Across from the house a brown, grassy hill rises into the overcast morning sky. In the far distance, I can see two people passing over the apex of the hill. They are very small and this one face made me realize this was a very large hill. My chest was hurting more than the day before and I was even more convinced I had a least two broken ribs. Each breath was an agony but I was determined to press on.

We started across the green grass toward a path leading up the hill. It was slow going as parts of the path were very rocky with rolling stones. I did not want to fall again! in some places, the path was little more than a shallow rut where the sheep had worn out the grass on the own wanderings up the hill. In other places, the path was very steep. But, we made it to the top with much complaining and huffing and puffing.

At one point Sherry paused to give Alex a hard time and two fascinated sheep looked on. We ended up at a bench placed in memory of Alex’s sister who passed away in 1996 from ovarian cancer. Later on after recovering from the walk, we went to downtown Taradale, a suburb of Napier where we found some more sheep much more sedate and immobile. All in all, the day was restful and the pain in my ribs improved as the day passed on. We ended up around the dinner table at “tea” cooked by Sherry. Not sure how that will be received, but we shall see. Here are some photos from our trek up the hill.

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Now for some more rest as we contemplate the return to America.

About Bruce Hennigan

Published novelist, dramatist, apologist, and physician.

Posted on March 18, 2014, in Steel Chronicles and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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