Saturday 26 July 2014

Pauatahanui Inlet and Pataka Museum

A crisp, sunny and calm, but cold, Friday. Forget about Friday Zumba. Let’s go for a bike ride! A nice easy ride, in the sun.

So we rode from Plimmerton to Pauatahanui. As we approached the Ngati Toa Domain, a buzzing in the sky alerted us to a bright yellow sail flying around, propelled by a man with a “lawnmower engine on his back”, as John said. We raced along to where we had a better view. Several times it looked like he was coming in to land, but then he soared away again.

Upon checking Wikipedia, I found this sport (?) is called “powered paragliding” or “paramotoring”. The user carries the 20-35 kg motor on his back, and has to run about 3 m with this contraption on his back, before the wing lifts him and the machine off the ground. He can then get into the seat, and start zooming around. Sounds like fun, if you enjoy heights and thrills with a hint of danger. It requires calm, windless conditions, and this morning was perfect.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a motorised paraglider …

When he disappeared in the direction of Pukerua Bay, we carried on past the marina, with its perfect reflections, under the rail and road bridges, and into a side street which led to the mudflats beach of the Pauatahanui Inlet.

Reflections at the Mana Marina (photo by John)

I love this picture of a man walking his little dogs on the beach (photo by John)

The tide was out so we were able to ride on the hard-packed sand to the start of the Camborne Walkway. Despite the recent heavy rains, the walkway was not muddy, and it was a pleasure to cycle around the edge of the still Inlet.

The Pauatahanui Inlet from the Camborne Walkway (photo by John)

It didn’t take us long to cycle the 10 km to Pauatahanui Village and the Ground Up Café. We enjoyed a coffee and something to eat in the sun. Their coffee is consistently excellent, and comes with a Jaffa, as an extra little treat.

A Jaffa is a NZ confectionery – a small sphere of chocolate, with a hard orange-flavoured and -coloured covering. In the days when movie theatres had sloping wooden floors, it was considered to be great fun to release Jaffas to roll down during a quiet moment in the film!  Of course Jaffas are not to be confused with JAFAs, which refers to Aucklanders. Used as a derogatory term by non-Aucklanders, it means “Just Another Flipping (or worse) Aucklander”. The Aucklanders themselves will say that it means “Just Another Friendly Aucklander”.

On our way back, along the newly protected cycle path, John was amused by a sign warning motorists of the hazards ahead. I didn’t “get” the irony at first, but as the sign sticks out into the path of the cyclist, someone keeping well to the left could easily crash into it in a moment of inattention.

John “nearly collides” with a sign warning of crash potential

Since our last ride here, protective concrete edging has been installed
to separate the cycle lane from the road

Clouds gathered from the south and there was a stiff headwind on the way back (photo by John)

Near Motukaraka Point we watched a pair of courting herons. To begin with they were quite a distance away from each other. Cautiously he advanced towards her, she tentatively moved towards him, then changed her mind, and moved away. The game was repeated, and gradually, he got closer to the object of his affections. Finally he caught up with her, they tussled (?) and then flew away together making screeching noises. We lost track of them after that. Of course, my knowledge of birds is very limited, so they may not have been courting at all. Perhaps it was a squabble over territory …

A pair of herons (photo by John)

After the Camborne Walkway, we took advantage of the low tide to ride on the hard sand of the beach all the way to the Paremata Bridge.

The hard-packed sand on the mudflats beach was OK to ride on (photo by John)

We had ridden just on 20 kms, and that brings my total mileage to 1985 km. Only another 15 km to go until I hit the 2000 km mark!

* * * * * * * * * * *
After our ride, we stopped in Porirua. John dropped me at the Pataka Museum, while he went to Mitre 10, in search of some tools he needed. I enjoy visiting Pataka regularly, as it usually has excellent exhibitions.

The exhibition in the Bottle Creek Gallery (the community gallery) was called Fibre Fusion and displayed the best work of Creative Fibre Wellington. It was lucky I visited at this time, as I hadn’t been aware that this was on. As a former weaver, I am still always interested in the work that is currently being produced, and some of it was very good indeed.

My friend – and one of my first weaving students (many years ago) – Patricia Armour, carried away the award for “best handwoven article” with her tapestry "Autumn Meditation". I have mentioned Trish in another blog, and posted a photo of one of her gorgeous tapestries. In a few weeks, she will have an exhibition of her work in Minerva, a gallery-cum-shop specialising in textile books, at 237 Cuba Street. The exhibition runs from 5 August to 13 September.

“Autumn Meditation”, a tapestry by Patricia Armour

Other pieces that caught my eye involved felting. Lyn Evans’ handfelted wallhanging, entitled “Leaf” was deceptive in its simplicity, but shows very precise control of the technique. It well deserved the NZ Felters Award 2D.

“Leaf”, a handfelted wallhanging by Lynn Evans

Kathy McLauchlan’s delicate representation of ferns won two awards, for “innovation and excellence” and for “a mixed media entry using a minimum of three fibrecraft techniques”. Entitled “Remembrance”, it has a handfelted background, over which are arranged fern fronds made of handmade silk paper and embroidered with handspun silk. It is exquisite. I couldn’t decide which photo showed it off the best, so I’m posting both.

Kathy McLauchlan’s multi media work, “Remembrance”

A detail of “Remembrance”

Having had a lengthy browse of "Fibre Fusion", I moved to the next gallery, which showcased the development of designer David Trubridge, one of NZ’s most internationally celebrated designers. It is a magnificent exhibition, and its title "So Far" seems to promise more in the future. Though his range of design areas is vast, this exhibition focussed on his furniture and lighting designs. On display are pieces of beautiful furniture, and small models of some of his designs. Several of his very stylish lighting designs feature in the gallery, and also in the lobby of the museum. The exhibition is on until 24 August, and is well worth a visit.

The David Trubridge exhibition, "So Far"

There is also an exhibition of contemporary art by Tongan NZ artists, that I had visited some time ago, but this time I took a photo of a piece I particularly liked. “Matanima” by Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi is a representation in aluminium of lalava, the art of coconut sennit lashing. I like the shape of the sculpture, and the shadow it produces on the wall behind it.

“Matanima” by Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Inaugural ride of the “Folding Goldies”

Just over a week ago, we received an email from Alastair Smith (I mentioned him in my blog post of 6 July) , announcing the formation of a new group – the Folding Goldies. “Now that I've acquired a Gold Card and a folding bike, I'm forming a group of people who can take advantage of these to do trips in the Wellington Region”, he wrote. He’d even created a new website for the group.

He suggested an inaugural ride, which would involve taking the 10:35am train from Wellington to Upper Hutt, cycling down the Hutt River Trail back to Petone, and then taking the train back to Wellington.

That sounded like a great idea. We emailed back to let him know we would love to take part, and that we would catch that train at Petone, as it is easier for us to park there than in town.

The date suggested was last Friday, which turned out to be freezing cold, windy and wet! Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t have ventured out on a day like that. But we had committed to it, so we bundled ourselves up in multiple layers of clothing – thermals, merinos, parkas – and headed down to Petone.

From the bottom of Ngauranga, we could see that the brisk southerly was whipping the harbour into choppy peaks, and the Hutt Valley was shrouded in low cloud.

While waiting in the car at the foreshore carpark, we watched as the waves splashed onto the shore. Rain slapped on our windscreen. A large group of seagulls hovered above the surf. They seemed to be trying to fly into the wind, but were making no headway at all. I questioned our sanity to be going out riding on such a miserable day. But we braced ourselves, pulled out the bikes and rode the short distance to the Petone Station.

Petone Railway Station (photo by John)

As we boarded the train, Alastair greeted us with a cheery “Welcome!”, but then we had to get off again, because the designated cycle area in that carriage already held three bikes (the maximum allowed). Luckily there was another carriage that had room for our bikes. We could have folded up our bikes, and had them in the same carriage as legitimate “luggage”, but going to the next carriage was simpler.

Once off the train at Upper Hutt, we posed for the inaugural group photo. The turn-out was a little disappointing: apart from us and Alastair, there were only two others – John B and Russell. Still, it’s a start; let’s hope the next ride will include a few more people. And as Alastair mentions on the website, people who do not own either a folding bike or a Gold Card are still welcome to join the rides. In fact, Russell was riding a regular-sized mountain bike. It was interesting to see the other folding bikes: Alastair’s was a “Tern” and John B’s was a “Dahon”.

Well wrapped against the elements. From left: Désirée, John P, John B, Russell, Alastair
(photo by John)

As we had done this ride before, John led the way through the Upper Hutt streets to the River Trail. We joined the trail near the Totara Park Bridge, where traffic lights make for a safe crossing of SH2 (River Road).

Fortunately, by this time, the rain had almost stopped, but the cold wind persisted. The gravel track was quite wet still, and there were plenty of puddles to negotiate (around or through). Our bikes and trouser legs received a good dose of mud spatters.

I was surprised at how leisurely the ride was. I was expecting these three very seasoned veteran cyclists to set a blistering pace, but thankfully they were not in too much of a hurry. We didn’t make any stops, except when we had to manoeuvre our bikes through pesky gates. No photo stops either, though John rode ahead and took a few photos of us as we were riding past.

John B, Russell and Alastair on the track below the Eastern Hutt Road near Stokes Valley
(photo by John)

We turned off the River Trail at Avalon Park, and pedalled through suburban streets to get to Janus Bakkerij in Lower Hutt for our lunch stop. We’d been cycling for just under two hours. The café was very busy, but our lunches and excellent coffee were delivered quite quickly. During lunch Alastair decided that, as he was going away for the weekend, he had better take the train back to Wellington from here rather than from Petone. Conveniently, a train was due to leave in ten minutes from Epuni Station, just down the road. The other two ended up doing that too.

Lunch at Janus Bakkerij (photo by John)

So that left just John and me. We finished our coffees, then biked back to the River Trail, and completed our ride to Petone. We rode 32 km in all, and despite the rather inclement weather, it had been very enjoyable. It was good to meet some other cyclists too.

Alastair has put a link to more photos in his post-ride report, on the “Folding Goldies” website.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Wellington hometown tourist

On Monday, instead of going for a bike ride, we played at being tourists in our own hometown, Wellington. There are so many interesting and noteworthy places to visit and look at, but in our day-to-day lives, we tend to just walk past them without another glance.

We started with the Pipitea Campus of Victoria University. It occupies Rutherford House, the West Wing of the Railway Station, and the Old Government Building.

We had a bit of a browse around the foyer and mezzanine of Rutherford House. Currently VUW is having its mid-year break so it was pretty quiet. There were several rows of computers in the lobby, at which a couple of students were working (or maybe just checking emails). Very different from when I was a university student – we had to hand-write our assignments!

A very large Colin McCahon painting dominates the foyer – “Gate III”

Students use the computers in the lobby

Across the road is the Old Government Building. It is one of NZ’s most outstanding historic buildings. Built in 1876 to house the whole of NZ’s civil service, it is one of the world’s largest wooden buildings. The civil service rapidly outgrew the building, and one by one the various departments found premises elsewhere. By 1990, it was neglected and empty. In 1994, the Department of Conservation, which now owns the building, started renovations to restore it to its 1907 appearance (when extensions were added to the original building).

The buildings were officially re-opened in 1996, when Victoria University’s Law School took out a 50-year lease.

The Old Government Building – Bunny Street façade …

… and front façade

It is a truly magnificent building. Parts of the ground floor and first floor are open to the public, and we took quite a few photos. The entrance lobby features kauri paneling, with stencilled medallions, carved rimu detailing, and a carved rimu ceiling rose with a chandelier.

The panelled entrance lobby

Detail of the stencilled panels

Probably the most remarkable part of the building is its “hanging” staircase. The stairs had a history of weakness, almost from the start, and had to be progressively propped up. During the restoration they were strengthened and brought back to the way the original architect, William Clayton, had intended them to be.

The “hanging” staircase (photo by John)

The magnificent staircase, seen from the first floor (photo by John)

View from the first landing. Note the (upside-down) V and R on the carpet

The blue and gold carpet on the stairs replicate the original pattern with which the leather treads had been nailed down. The letters V and R in the pattern stand for “Victoria Regina”.

Originally, the building had 126 fireplaces. Most were removed, but 42 cast-iron fireplaces were replicated for the restoration. They were cast in Dunedin, based on an early example found in the building. They are now merely decorative.

One of the replica fireplaces. The lion on the mantlepiece is the original carving
for the coat of arms which adorns the top of the front façade

We walked up the left side of Lambton Quay, which is the “less-travelled” side, since the shops are on the other side. Along here are office buildings, many of which have beautiful foyers featuring interesting artworks.

“Horse Breaker in the Murder Red Country” by George Morant – in Legal House

I had never heard of George Morant, but we discovered a further two paintings by this Australian artist in other buildings. I searched the Internet for information about him, and the most useful item I found was this report about an exhibition of his works at the Dowse Museum in Lower Hutt, in 2004.

“The House Girl” by George Morant

In the foyer of the New Public Trust Building, we found two large paintings – another one by George Morant, and one by Michelle Bellamy. I rather like the work of both these artists, both being vibrant and colourful.

“Colours of Fun” by Michelle Bellamy – in the New Public Trust Building

On the corner of Waring Taylor Street, is a sculpture by Jeff Thomson, entitled simply “Shells”. It is made from concrete, though the artist has used his more usual medium of corrugated iron as a mould to shape the shells. It marks the site where Wellington’s foreshore used to be, before reclamation began in the 1850s.

“Shells” by Jeff Thomson, on the corner of Lambton Quay and Waring Taylor Street (photo by John)

In several places, plaques are set in the footpaths to show where the original shoreline was

Across the street, on the corner of Midland Park, is a sculpture of Katherine Mansfield. It is called “Woman of Words” – made of stainless steel, into which are laser-cut words and phrases from her writings. It was created by Virginia King, and installed in 2013.

“Woman of Words” – author Katherine Mansfield – by Virginia King

Carved into the plinth on which the statue stands are the words “A celebration of Wellington-born writer Katherine Mansfield 1888-1923 – Innovator of the modernist short story”.

In the centre of Midland Park is a fountain consisting of slabs of slate, tiles and stones tilted at various angles, and bronze “stalks” with heads spouting water, which always remind me of bean sprouts. It is in fact a serious work, called “Nga Korerorero – Ongoing Talk”, by Colombian artist Silvia Salgado. It represents communication. The “bean sprouts” are meant to be talking heads. The base concrete and slate tiles apparently suggest tectonic plates.

“Nga Korerorero – Ongoing Talk” by Silvia Salgado – in Midland Park

Midland Park is fringed by mature trees, which are home to lots of birds, which – unfortunately – create a bit of a bombing hazard for passers-by, so canopies have been built under the trees by way of protection.

Midland Park’s protective canopy

I stopped to talk to Neville, the uniformed gentleman who opens the door for customers entering Kirkcaldie’s, Wellington’s only remaining department store. He told me he’s been doing this job part-time for the last nine years and loves it. His favourite time of year is the cruise ship season, when large numbers of tourists visit the city. He enjoys talking to people who ask for directions – both about the city and about the store.

Neville, the doorman at Kirkcaldie’s

A bit further along on Lambton Quay, the HSBC Tower houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). Its foyer is quite beautiful, with marble floor tiles, one curved wall clad in brown or grey marble tiles, and horizontal wood paneling opposite. There are three art works – a traditional bronze statue of a woman carrying scales (representing justice?), a modern sculpture of two seated women, and a beautiful object made from what I assume is burr wood. It vaguely resembles a female form. There were no name plaques with any of the works, and I haven’t been able to find out any details about them.

Sculpture in the HSBC Tower foyer

Wood artwork in the foyer of the HSBC Tower

The ANZ Bank building where Lambton Quay meets Featherston Street has been vastly refurbished in the past year or so. In the “bull-nose” corner where the public toilets used to be, there is now a very swish Nespresso Boutique – not shop, not store, you’ll note, but “boutique”.

At the open door you are greeted by a huge photograph of George Clooney – who, of course, advertises Nespresso on TV. I wandered in to have an idle look around. From the adverts it seemed to me that it would be rather expensive and quite wasteful with those capsules. “Oh, no, it works out at about a dollar per cup”, said the young man who was very keen to demonstrate his product. “Have you tried it?” “No? Would you like to try it? How do you like your coffee – weak, strong, medium?” How could I refuse!

He proceeded to demonstrate how the machine works. The capsules come in a range of 12 strengths, all colour-coded. He picked “Levanto” for me, in a bronze coloured capsule. "It is a level 6 intensity", he told me, "a balanced espresso-style, with caramel notes”. “You just drop your capsule in here, pull the lever, and your coffee comes out here”. Just like George Clooney shows you on the box …

I must admit, the cup of coffee he brewed for me was delicious. But I don’t think I will buy a machine. Having it available all day, every day, at home, would spoil the specialness of enjoying a nice coffee when out and about, wouldn’t it? Besides, I’d be bouncing off the walls all day with all that caffeine!

Demonstrating the Nespresso machine and milk frother

The impressive lights above the demonstration island at the Nespresso Boutique

Right opposite Nespresso is the MLC Building – an Art Deco building dating back to 1940, and classified as a Category I (places of special or outstanding historical or cultural heritage significance or value) historic place by the NZ Historic Places Trust. It is noted for its streamlined features and beautiful faience tiling.

Right next to it is a kinetic sculpture by Phil Price, consisting of four disks which move independently from each other in the wind. It is called “Protoplasm”.

The MLC Building and “Protoplasm” by Phil Price (2002)

I remember when the Old Bank Arcade was the main branch of the Bank of New Zealand in Wellington. I would struggle up the few steps with my young daughter in her pushchair. It was, and is, a beautiful building. Attractive tiled patterns on the floor; solid, almost intimidating, carved counters on each side; substantial tables down the centre for customer use, with heavy, leather-upholstered chairs.

That was the early 1970s. Then in the 1980s, many venerable old Wellington buildings were being torn down as they presented earthquake risks. Fortunately the old BNZ survived, was strengthened, refurbished and became the Old Bank Arcade, home of some pretty fancy shops and eateries. The tiled floor, the pillars and the beautiful ceilings are there still, as is the grand old clock.

The Old BNZ’s clock

The stylish ceiling and pillars of the old bank survive

This is where Lambton Quay meets Willis Street, so I crossed and walked back up the other side, towards the Railway Station. At the Plimmer Steps, I couldn’t go past the charming statue of John Plimmer and his dog Fritz.

John Plimmer (1812-1905) was a carpenter and builder, and one of the first councillors to serve on the Wellington City Council, which was formed in 1870. Between 1856 and 1871, he served on the Wellington Provincial Council, the first Wellington Town Board, and the Wellington City Council. No wonder he has been called the “Father of Wellington”. The steps near which this statue stands were called after him, as was the township of Plimmerton, north of Wellington.

John Plimmer and Fritz

From the first floor of the recently refurbished Lambton Plaza, I was able to take a photo of the Old Public Trust Building. This is one of Wellington’s most beautiful historic buildings. It was completed in 1909, and was NZ’s first steel frame building. No doubt this is the reason it survived several earthquakes (1923 and 1942). In last year's July quake (centred in Cook Strait), there was some damage, and most of its tenants moved out. There was talk of it “being at risk" (of demolition), but since then, the building has been bought by a developer who will save and redevelop the site.

The Old Public Trust Building (and the New Public Trust building to the left of it)

Finally, as we had a few minutes before the arrival of our bus home, I took a quick look at the new Supreme Court Building, opened in 2010. It has a decorative bronze screen, inspired by intertwining branches of pohutukawa and rata, which wraps around the whole upper floor. The oval shape of the courtroom, as seen from the foyer (I didn’t go any further than that), and its cladding of copper panels, emulates the form and texture of the cone of the kauri tree. Unfortunately I couldn’t spend more time exploring, but I will go back some time.

The exterior of the new Supreme Court Building

The courtroom’s exterior is designed to look like the cone of a kauri tree

The length of Lambton Quay is less than a kilometre, but what a lot there is to see when you are pretending to be a tourist. I can think of lots of other places nearby that would warrant a closer look. This could be the first in an occasional “hometown tourist” series. Watch this space!

Sunday 6 July 2014

Two rides and a Ball

Last weekend (28/29 June) we were in Auckland for our grand-daughter’s second birthday. Of course we took our bikes along with us, as we had planned to detour via Paeroa on our way back to Wellington, to ride some or all of the Hauraki Rail Trail. Unfortunately, on Monday, the weather was appalling all across the North Island, so we scrubbed that idea, and just made a bee-line for home. The Hauraki Rail Trail will keep for another time.

Auckland’s Sky Tower, seen from the War Memorial Museum, in the late afternoon

By Friday (4 July), the weather had improved enough for us to go for a local ride. We hadn’t been down to the Wellington Waterfront for a while, so we parked at the end of Oriental Parade, and rode towards Evans Bay.

Houses cling to the hillside overlooking Kio Bay. The house at top right has a private cable car. In recent years more and more home owners on precipitous sites have installed cable cars (photo by John)

Evans Bay Marina

As we rode along the Evans Bay Marina, I became aware that my back wheel had developed an odd sort of “bump, bump”. The surface we were riding on was quite smooth, so that wasn’t the cause; I stopped to see if I had a flat tyre, but that wasn’t the case either. We carried on along Cobham Drive, and there John took a closer look. He noticed that the tyre had a bulge. To make sure it wasn’t going to go flat on me while riding, he let the tyre down, felt it all over, and pumped it up again. It seemed to be OK.

John checks the rear tyre on my bike. The airport is at the top right of the photo, and the Miramar Peninsula goes off towards the left

While John was checking the tyre, Alastair Smith and a friend rode past, and stopped to see if we needed help. Alastair is one of the movers and shakers of Cycle Aware Wellington (CAW) and he writes an interesting blog about his cyling adventures (which sound much more active and strenuous than ours!) 

He and his friend were heading to ride around the Miramar Peninsula. They said they had to be back in town in an hour’s time, so they took off pretty smartly.

We went only as far as the Miramar Wharf, where we turned around to go back. By now a rather brisk nor'westerly headwind had sprung up, and it was quite hard work riding into it, especially around the points of all the little bays. We kept going along Oriental Parade, as I was interested in taking a look at the new Clyde Quay Wharf development, which is now nearing completion.

This is the former Overseas Terminal, which has been rebuilt / converted / expanded into a plush apartment complex, with retail outlets on the ground floor. We took a little detour onto the wharf. The retail spaces were still not quite finished, but many of the apartments appeared to be occupied already, judging from the furniture and plants on many of the balconies.

According to the Clyde Quay Wharf website, 90% of the apartments have been sold, and the final ones are now available for sale, starting at a "mere" $1.4 million for two bedrooms and a car park!

The new Clyde Quay Wharf apartment complex has restored the finial of the original Overseas Terminal. I suppose the pre-fab in the foreground will be removed once everything is completed (photo by John)

The apartments appear to be occupied, but the retail spaces are not yet ready (photo by John)

We stopped for coffee at the Karaka Café. We were amused by a very persistent seagull, which decided to perch on top of the umbrella of a neighbouring table. The occupants of the table tried several times to shoo him away, but he obviously thought he had a prior right to be there.

“I’m the King of the Castle!”

On our way home, we stopped at the Johnsonville Bike Shop to get advice on the problem tyre. It turned out that it was a defect in the construction, where the fabric casing failed and the tyre became distorted. Luckily, Francis, the owner of the shop, will get us a free replacement.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Today, Sunday 6 July, we rode in the Hutt Valley. As our house is quite sheltered from the south, we were not aware that a brisk southerly was blowing. While riding up the Hutt River Trail from Seaview, we had the wind behind us. We rode on the stopbank, in the sun, and though it was cold, it wasn’t a struggle.

Setting out from Seaview, well wrapped up against the cold southerly (photo by John)

We rode without stopping until we got to the Pomare rail bridge. There we took a break, sat in the sun for a while, ate some apple slices, and allowed my numb bum to un-numb.

Taking a short break at the base of the Pomare rail bridge (photo by John)

The way back on top of the stopbank, into a brisk southerly, was an unpleasant prospect, so we rode on Taita Drive, which was a bit more sheltered from the wind. It was quite interesting riding in an area that we are not familiar with. I noticed that because the houses face the stopbank, which will never be built on, the numbering was continuous, rather than just odd or just even numbers.

We stayed on the eastern side of Fraser Park, and further along, of Avalon Park, then rode down some suburban Lower Hutt streets, into a dead-end street, and eventually onto the High Street. On the corner of Mitchell Street is a lovely café, the Janus Bakkerij (not a spelling mistake, it is the Dutch spelling of “bakery”). We sat outside, in the sun, and enjoyed some excellent coffee and baking.

Coffee and cake in the sun at Janus Bakkerij (photo by John)

I reckon John suggested a stop here to mollify me, because when we were having our coffee, he said that we could bike along and stop at Jaycar, as we weren’t so far away from it. Jaycar is one of his favourite haunts – a supply place for all manner of things electronic – where he is quite capable of spending an hour or more. Fortunately he didn’t take too long this time, while I waited outside in the sunshine.

From there we meandered through the roads of Lower Hutt, and down Randwick Road, back to Seaview, where our car was parked. We had ridden 24 km. A very pleasant ride, despite the cold wind.

* * * * * * * * * * *

And what about the Ball, mentioned in the heading of this blog post?

Well, last night I attended the Wellington Region Scottish Country Dance Ball. It had a 1920s theme, and attendees had been invited to dress up in 1920s style, if they wished. Many did, some didn’t. Most of the women arrived in wonderful outfits – “flapper” dresses, long strings of beads, feather boas, furs, and feather head-dresses. The men wore either kilts – this was Scottish country dancing after all – or natty striped blazers and boaters.

The (non-alcoholic) punch was served by suitably dressed non-dancing husbands

Members of the Tawa Scottish Country Dance Club

It was a wonderful event – I really did have “a ball”. The dancing was great, of course, and I came home very tired but happy, and with very sore feet!