It was very nice, & as the evening wore on, I became aware it was rather cold, & I turned on my electric blanket for a little comfort & warmth for my retirement. Which was odd in view of the fact that the whole time I was in New Zealand, I was hot every single night! The weather seemed to be unseasonably warm, & the high humidity made it seem even warmer. Oz is traditionally warmer than NZ. Not so in April in the North Island, this year.
I slipped away to my bed before the night's revelries had finished. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the bed felt cold. As I turned back the sheets, I noticed the burn mark. Horrors! The electric blanket had burnt a hole in the mattress protector, melted the control, & singed the sheets, & the quilt cover.
I decided not to alert anyone else, & just unplugged the thing, & climbed into bed. Next day when I told Gom he was quite horrified. I thought we were really lucky it didn't burst into flames, & either burn the bed, or cook me. The blanket was not very old either. We had one for 30 years that never did get checked or malfunction.
Off today to purchase a new one. Plus a new mattress protector. The sheets can wait. As I trundled about looking for electric blankets, I couldn't help but notice the mall seemed to have the smell of a hospital. I couldn't work out if it was just me or if they have started to use some new cleaner. I had noticed the smell on Monday when we were there too. No one else seemed to notice it. I asked Gom about it, but he doesn't have a very strong sense of smell at the best of times.
Electric blankets seemed a bit like hen's teeth today. Very hard to find. To cap that off, the large Department Store, beginning with an M, had staff of hens teeth rarity too, & one poor harried woman was trying to field a long queue of intending purchasers, plus complaints. What is wrong with these large stores? Surely they can afford staff? The temptation to stump off without purchase was only thwarted by the fact that I had eventually found one, several stores later, which seemed a minor miracle. The fact that it seems to need a license to operate, is a minor detail, I am sure. I hope it goes well, & suffers no malfunctions. Has a 3 year warranty, so should be ok for that time at least. It also seems to smell vaguely medicinal... hmmm perhaps it is me......?
Further photos from my trip around family.
This wonderful tree, seemed so magnificent, I felt moved to take a photograph.
No idea if it is a native of NZ or not, but it is wonderful to see it so large, & healthy.
This is another tree that I greatly admired, & in spite of my Uncle telling me the name, I have forgotten again. It is host to many other plant forms, & is on the side of the road which winds through the Waioeka Gorge, beside the Waioeka River. In the distance behind the tree, the naked hills can still be seen, where the farmers to the district tried valiantly to clear sheer cliffs & turn the land into some kind of farms.
This is an area of my early childhood. My father's family farm was in this hostile region, & my mother's parents lived beside the river, so I spent some time here, & still find it a thrill to revisit.
The poor hills have largely regenerated to native bush again, & are beautiful & wild to behold. We took a drive up to the old homestead, which now has some Chalets, for deer stalkers & pig hunters to use or folk who want a true holiday off the beaten track. They are also very popular with trout fisher folk, as the river has wonderful trout.
Here is a shot of the wonderful regenerated bush above the river. I feel homesick just looking at it. It was wonderful to smell again, the river smell, & the damp bush smell. As a small child my father's sister used to collect me on her horse, & take me back to the homestead, & she taught me the names of all the native trees, & the native birds.
A lot of the farmers just walked off these farms back in the days before the Second World War. The sheer hills, had little to offer the farmer in either sheep country or dairy. Most of the land has now reverted to bush.
In this pic, the River can be seen, & it had recently been very high, so we saw a lot of logs washed up along the banks, & there had been some huge slips on the road, where the rocks on the side of the road had fallen with all the rain causing instability. There are now a lot of holding nets alongside the road, to prevent the worst areas from spilling onto the road.
It is so very different now, from the rough road that existed in my childhood. My maternal grandfather's job was to patrol the road & deal with any slips that might occur, & keep the water tables clear. It is all paved roading now, & is quickly cleared should slips occur. My maternal grandmother was the Postmistress.
We drove up to the house where my maternal grandparents had lived, but it was impossible to see much as the new owners have huge hedges on the roadside now. The Uncle & Aunt who guided us on this trip had owned it at one stage, & had a tea rooms in the old home. I never did get to see the tea rooms, but they were very popular, & a lot of hunters & fishermen use this road.
This is a pic closer to Rotorua, of rolling green dairy farmland, with huge sheer cliffs in the distance. It was a very dark day, & the photo is not very clear- plus my brother was driving at a fair clip! I kept trying to get a photo of the dairy herds, of Jersey cows & Fresian cows, which are the most popular for milk on the dairy farms, but missed every chance. I didnt even get to take pics of the sheep!!
This last pic is of a Rimu tree. I have always loved Rimu trees, & this one grows near a church in my hometown, where a friend & I used to go to Sunday school together many years ago. The church has been rebuilt since our day, but I wonder if the tree is a survivor?