Around Ahipara – The Week That Was

Sunday 19th was a bit of a catch-up day. After a lovely late start we did some washing, using our washing machine, rinsing in the camp laundry tub and spinning in our machine again. At only one sheet washing at a time it takes a while, but we have a while. We even managed to get them dry between showers. After a late lunch we went for a bike ride along the beach. We went south, into the gale, along the very last bit of 90 Mile Beach. Riding through a stream resulted in slightly wet feet – it hadn’t looked quite that deep! Coming back was a breeze – the very brisk wind was at our backs. Somehow the stream was a bit deeper and we got a bit wetter. And we ended up with a bit of sand in the workings; maybe beach biking is not such a good idea. Later we took the car down to the beach to watch the sunset into the sea.

Monday was towel washing day. It was a better day with more sun and less rain. Later in the morning we headed into Kaitaia, picking up our mail on the way past the local post shop. We took the A-frame to Kaitaia Engineering; he would be able to sort it out Tuesday and I made an appointment with a dentist to get a tooth sorted out on Friday. On the way back home past the hospital I got a doctor’s appointment for the next day. It seems that’s how you get to see a GP if you’re from somewhere else.  After another late lunch I did a bit of bike maintenance and we went for another ride. This time we went along the road to the far end of Ahipara Beach, about as far as we had gone the previous day on the beach itself. There was still a southerly wind blowing, so again we had a cruise back home again with a tail wind.

Tuesday was a cooler morning; we woke to ‘only’ 10 degrees. It was a nice day, sunnier in the morning. I took the car into Kaitaia (about 14kms away) to the engineering place for them to sort the A-frame out. In hindsight it had been a V-frame, relying on the car mounting brackets to hold it in shape. The engineering guy suggested a cross-brace which seemed a good idea so now it really is an A-frame. Plus the cross-brace unbolts easily so it still all comes apart quickly. They also straightened the car mounts, and devised a system so that the brackets bolted on to the car mounts (which the A-frame attaches to) are no longer able to rotate up or down. I left the car with them and walked the couple of blocks into town. The barber wasn’t busy so I got a hair trim, and then enjoyed a coffee along the street. Then it was another couple of blocks to the hospital for my appointment with the GP there. There was a spot on my arm I was concerned about and she zapped it with a cool liquid nitrogen gun thing – sort of a blow torch in reverse. Everyone at the hospital was friendly and helpful, I got some tips on places to stay from the woman taking a blood sample. The car was taking a while, so I enjoyed a pie along the street and another coffee. Once the car was ready I did a bit of shopping and headed back home to Ahipara. Meanwhile Wyn had gone for a nice long walk along the beach, heading north a few kms.

Wednesday Wyn went to town, to line up a hair appointment and check out the shops. I must have done something, or maybe I did nothing…

Thursday we started with a walk on the beach mid-morning. The tide was in and we couldn’t get far south; blocked by the stream we rode across easily a few days before. We walked around the Ahipara streets on the way back. Near the beach there are a lot of places offering accommodation – mostly rooms. Later back at the camp we moved home. We needed to get away from under the trees; roosting herons were leaving their mark on Suzi. We get more sun in our new position, and worse mobile phone reception. And still no TV – darn trees are still blocking the satellite.  After settling in we caught up on Happy Hour. The longer-term motorhomers fire up the fire and have a catch-up most afternoons.

Friday was my turn going into Kaitaia. I had a dentist appointment – I think I was very lucky to get in at all. The dentist spent a long time patching up a couple of teeth that were starting to play up. He’d trained in Dunedin so I had to mention my granddad’s role in the setting up of the Dental School. He was acting Dean when it opened and again during the First World War. He missed out on the Dean job to Pickerill. My dentist in Kaitaia knew a lot about Pickerill and said there is a biography of him that is interesting. Sounds like dentists were a cranky lot back then, maybe getting established as a profession. Apparently Pickerill was brilliant, but not so good working with others. He finally had enough of dentistry and left to work as a plastic surgeon. It took lots of injections to numb my teeth/jaw, maybe half a dozen in the end – enough to stop a horse I suggested. By the time it was all done I felt like I’d been kicked by the horse.

Back at Ahipara I decided to tackle some of the paper work – like insurance! Maybe I wasn’t in the best of moods. Certainly by the end of it all, I wasn’t in a good mood at all. I had a ridiculous discussion about my contents insurance with Tower – who I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars to over several decades for all sorts of insurance. I was following up on an annual renewal notice that reminded me to let them know of changes in my circumstances. They were not too keen on my new circumstances at all. It took over an hour to clarify it all; most of the time was spent on hold while the customer services person contacted the underwriter person to check stuff out. It got more and more confused and unfriendly. Finally she came back and advised me by some extraordinary logic that the $26 I was paying per month was insuring nothing. She suggested I might like to cancel my insurance. It is a ridiculous way to have to deal with what is a complex situation. In the good old days there were offices where customers could go to discuss things. Had there been an office in Dunedin I’d have been able to go there and sort it out before we left. As it was, it got put off but I never thought it’d be a problem. Now it is. This has reminded me why I used to hate dealing with insurance companies. In recent years I’ve had a good run and thought I had a good relationship with Tower but clearly that changed on Friday.

After this we went for a walk to watch the sun set into the Tasman Sea off 90 Mile Beach. It was a beautiful sight that put the day into perspective. Later after tea we got the fire going in the common room and sat in front of it to watch Gock on TV.

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day. It was cool for a start (10 degrees), and coolish through the day in the shade. But it was great to be able to sit out and enjoy some sunshine. Wyn went off to Kaitaia for a hair appointment while I sat around reading a book by Alistair Cooke. Late in the afternoon we went back down to the beach to enjoy the last of the sun. There was a gentle breeze that meant it was cool again but it is a lovely way to end the day.

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