Tuesday 30 June 2020

A breakfast to die for

Mondays are usually my other half's day off each week and either we try to get out in the boat, go on a road trip or have brunch at one of our favourite cafes - The Rusty Tractor.

My favourite is usually the Eggs Benedict with bacon and a large Mocha - I like the pattern they used on top. According to their lunch menu here's what you can get:

Fish and chips - with salad, tartare sauce, lemon, malt vinegar.
Cajun and Oregano poached chicken salad with apricots, raisings, nuts and seeds, lemon olive oil vinaigrette.
Eggs Benedict - free range bacon and poached eggs on sourdough with creamed spinach, seeded mustard hollandaise, cayenne pepper.
Battered tiger prawn cutlets - with sumac and clove spice, citrus dressing, crisp apple and fennel salad.
All day breakfast - bacon and eggs your way with grilled tomato, sausage and fried onion, hash browns, sourdough toast and hollandaise.
Salt and pepper calamari - with olives, tomato and red pepper salad, feta cheese, roasted almonds, crispy shallots.
Braised lamb shank with potato gnocchi - spanish pepperata, charred cauliflower, queen olives, and lenon soured cream.
Double beef and bacon burger - with carrot slaw, red onion, gherkin, lettuce, tomato, egg and fries.
Seafood chowder - with potato, fresh herbs, cobb loaf and kilpatrick oyster.

And that's just their lunch menu! Now you can see why we go there.
Linking up with Our World Tuesday and My Corner of the World.

Monday 29 June 2020

It's the law!

I usually walk past this Auto Electrical business most mornings and this mural is on this side of the building next door which faces their carpark. I've wondered what it has to do with them and then last week I worked out it's there because the other side of the building is owned by a lawyer's office. I think I was a bit slow off the mark there.

This mural was painted by an artist called Shasa Bolton who lives in Tasmania, Australia but is from Kerikeri, where we are - he is a design engineer. 

Hope your weekend has been good. Stay safe, kia kaha.

Linking up with Monday Murals.

Saturday 27 June 2020

Taumarumaru Scenic Reserve

A few days ago I posted about our visit to Rangikapiti Pa site in Mangonui, this one is also another of the same but instead it's been renamed "Taumarumaru Scenic Reserve" and it's located in Cooper's Beach (Doubtless Bay).

There were suppose to be terraces and storage pits but large areas of the land was covered in scrub and weeds so apart from the walking track and miles of long grass the only thing to see was the coastline, but we definitely weren't complaining about that.

This one was a bit more of a walk than the last one, several hills to climb but worth the views on the way up.  This reserve doesn't just have 1 pa site it apparently has 3 which had historical significance to the Ngai Awa and later Ngati Kahu people. 

 It is 22ha in size and was purchased by the Crown in 1984 for public enjoyment, people are allowed to bring their dogs as long as they are on a leash.  This was the view over the coastline from the top looking towards the Mangonui and Hihi Beach area.

Looking over the other side this is the view over Cooper's Beach and Taipa.

The top track lead either way to either straight down or another one here lead down to a pristine beach with golden sand.

Once we were down there it was nice to paddle in the cool water. We get fairly mild winters up here so you can still sit on a beach and enjoy the sun when it's out.  Since we visited here on a Monday we were pretty much the only ones around.

Stay safe where you are, kia kaha.

Thursday 25 June 2020

The old Pahi Wharf

In the Kaipara region, where we use to live about 45 minutes away is the tiny holiday town of Pahi (pronounced Par-hee) situated at the end of the peninsula at the Kaipara Harbour. It is one of the settlements established by the early settlers known as the "Albertlanders" with the nearest town being Paparoa.  The wharf is kind of an icon in these parts and is popular with many tourists, locals and fishing people.

From my research it looks like the original wharf was completed in 1881 with repairs in 1909 but sadly was demolished in the 1960s by a Navy blasting team on a training exercise. On 19 January 1987 the new wharf was opened by then prime minister David Lange built at a cost of $4000 by local residents. These days it is managed by the Pahi Regatta Committee.

Before roads were constructed in the area, dozens of boats would arrive from Helensville in the south bringing Aucklanders and from many farms around the region. As mentioned above, every year the Pahi Regatta is held which was first begun in 1887 and involves a community event of launch races, kayak contests, runabout races and and outboard powered bathtubs - a fun family day.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

A visit to Rangikapiti Pa

Road trip time! Yesterday the other half and I drove out 45 minutes to Mangonui to visit 2 historical Maori Pa sites. This was one of them - Rangikapiti Pa which was a significant site for the Ngati Kahu tribe and their ancestor Moehuri who made land fall here in his canoe.

There are amazing views over the Mangonui Harbour, terraces which were used for gardening and housing with defensive ditches around the mountain. It was extremely windy when we were standing on top so it must've been very fortified with fences for protection.

This monument was placed here in 1880 and gives tribute to what once was as well as the longitude, latitude and sea level.

Apart from some pohutukawa, most of the reserve is covered in regenerating manuka while the rest is covered in grass. This was an easy walk up hill that took us about 10 minutes and from the other side of the pa we had views over Coopers Beach and Doubtless Bay.

Here's an idea of what it would've looked like. Stay safe - kia kaha.

Monday 22 June 2020

Slushed puppy

As part of Mural Monday I've included this campervan I spotted behind the local shops over lockdown. I suspect this one is part of the Wicked Campers franchise who have been very controversial with the way their vans have been illustrated on the outside, some have been reported as being quite offensive - this one seems to promote Vodka.

The words "slushed puppy" is a term of reference as being like "sloshed" or "tipsy" and nothing to do with dogs. Inside the van there is usually enough space for a bed, toilet and sink known here for people who like to "freedom camp", something that is not well liked by many kiwis.

What I found funny though was that one of their vans is painted in the style of the Scooby Doo "Mystery Machine" - anyone of my generation and older will remember that one 😁

Stay safe. Kia kaha. Linking up with Monday Murals.

Saturday 20 June 2020

A walk through nature

This weekend we have my sister staying, she has come up for a visit so yesterday I showed her one of our nature walks we have here. There are about 9 waterfalls around Kerikeri in total so we thought we would see the river waterfall.


The walk in total is about 20 mins along an easy track with Kawakawa trees just about everywhere and the leaves can be used in a healing balm.


Some nice fungi I found on one of the old logs and because there are Kauri in the forest, near the entrance is a cleaning station where you have to scrub your shoes and spray a disinfectant on them. This is to prevent Kauri dieback disease which has affected many trees in NZ.

This is the waterfall once we got to it, we couldn't walk down to the edge as it was too slippery.

This is us both, we don't really look alike. I take after my dad, she takes after mum. Anyway we are due to spend the rest of the weekend and most of next week with heavy rain.

Stay safe. Kia kaha

Thursday 18 June 2020

A big hiccup

We have been cruising along here, people are been quite happily getting out and about feeling the freedom. I've seen friends and families shopping and enjoying coffees and local cafes - all of which is good for businesses.

Unfortunately 2 days ago we heard a news story that 2 people coming in from the UK had been given compassionate leave to attend a funeral, they were allowed to leave before the end of the supposed compulsory 14 day quarantine and hadn't been tested. By the time they got to their destination they had a test done which came back positive - I'm feeling quite angry about the stuff up as is alot of other people.

It's been said today that apparently they didn't travel by car without stopping, they got lost, had to phone an acquaintance to come and help them after which they gave this person a hug and a kiss. We are all hoping like hell here it's not going to be the start of another cluster as well have been more than 2 weeks covid free...until now.

Edited to add: Yesterday we had another person who arrived from Pakistan has also tested positive and is in quarantine. sigh.

But we have been keeping busy in our own routines. We have had Spring roses coming into my work so I will be working extra days to repot them, there's about 1000 but I don't mind.

And I made my family a custard cake, I've made these before but this one was a new recipe - link here. I try to do a spot of baking once in a while like shortbread or muffis etc - this one was quickly approved.

Hope you've had a good week. Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

St Francis de Sales and All Saints Church

This is one place that's kinda special to me because of family connections. The St Francis de Sales and All Saints Church in Devonport, Auckland looks like one grand austere old lady.  Between 1890 and 1900 the Catholic population in town doubled and the first church on this site was a former mortuary chapel barged across the Auckland Harbour from the historical Symonds Street Cemetery to be resited here in 1893. This particular suburb was first settled by colonists in 1840 and is one of the first colonial settlements in Auckland and the first on the North Shore.

St Leo's school opened across the road in 1893 and by 1904 the church was enlarged for 200 parishioners. Father Michael Furlong who was the parish priest from 1905 to 1962 sold his own property to finance the current church, above which was built in 1919. 

My mum on the right with her twin on their confirmation day in the 1950s.

Interestingly enough my mother and her siblings were raised in Devonport and attended St Leo's school and this church as they were growing up, in fact when my grandmother passed away in 1996 her funeral was held here because they were all Catholics until the last 5 years of her life when she became a Christian.  Mum has said she remembers the nuns at school being very strict and not very kind to the children.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday and My Corner of the World.

Friday 12 June 2020

The week that was

I'm one of those people who has very sensitive skin. If I change my soap, washing powder, shampoo or even drink milk my skin rebels. 2 weeks ago we bought a new bed and put an older mattress cover on it not realizing it was ripped underneath. 3 days later I started itching and although I put the cover in the rubbish, washed the sheets and aired the mattress/pillows etc it got worse. I had tried just about every cream and anti-histimine that I could.

Last night I remembered I had an old tub of Aloe Vera cream I had bought a few months ago, guess what, it worked a treat. Today I'm feeling better and hoping to get back into walking next week.

This bridge is the Kerkeri Heritage Bypass bridge which travels aross the Kerikeri River and over various walking tracks. I'm scared of heights, looking over the rails on bridges scares me so I just walk across and keep my eyes looking in front of me.

Earlier this week I had coffee with an old work friend who had recently had a baby. It was good to get out to socialise a bit and we decided the cafe where I use to work would do - nice to see alot of my old work colleagues but made me realize I'm glad I'm not in the same stressful environment.

How has your week been? Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Bicycle yarn bombing

June 1st was the first day of Winter for us - now we are into chilly nights and nippy mornings. We are up in the top of the north island so we don't get snow, it's pretty mild here. Yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and go further than I normally do with my walks - I ended up doing about 5kms in a loop from start to finish so I felt pretty good about my achievement.

Anyway the crochet coloured bicycle is something I spotted at one of our local cafes last time we were there a week ago. Here in NZ people cover trees usually with crochet creations called "Yarn Bombing" and when we lived in Tauranga we saw it alot there so I was pleasantly surprised by this - a bike is definitely different.

Tuesday 9 June 2020

The best intentions

So yesterday we decided that because the water was calm with no breeze it might be a good day to take the boat out for a fish but unfortunately it didn't quite go to plan.

Once we got out on the water the motor made the decision to play up, at first we thought there was a fuel issue but after tweaking it still was giving us problems so we played it safe and came home, bit disappointing really but better than getting stranded.

The boat in the photo above isn't ours, it was another fisherman I took a shot of while the other half was fixing ours.  I do think I need to get myself a new pair of gumboots though as mine filled up with water and it wasn't much fun sitting around with soggy wet feet. We don't get snow here as we are in the upper top of the north island but we do get damp chilly temperatures, for instance last night we got to about 5 deg celsius.

So in other news it seems we have no active coronavirus cases now.  Yesterday our government decided that at midnight last night we could move back to level 1 which is a tremendous but necessary step but that our borders will remain closed. I think everyone is happy with that.

Stafe safe - kia kaha. Linking up with Our World Tuesday.

Sunday 7 June 2020

The old Wilson Cement Works

This is one historical spot in Warkworth, north of Auckland that I use to spend regular time at when my children are alot younger and the reason why is that in Autumn the colours on the trees is pretty special, we would wander through each ruin and sit in the sunshine. 

The old Wilson Cement works was once in use from around 1850 and the lake above was once where the ground was drilled, so deep that rain has since filled it up. At one point I believe there was an issue with contamination in the water but I have since heard that it has been cleared up as people swim in it during Summer.

So boats would come up the Mahurangi River (behind the property) and then the cement would then be shipped to Auckland to be used in the original Queen Street sewer system and other construction projects.

There are only ruins there but it is a popular place for photographers.  Apparently this was NZ's first cement manufacturing works and the founder was one Nathaniel Wilson (1836-1919) who emigrated from Glasgow with his family when he was 6 years old. He originally trained as a shoemaker but in 1864 he purchased a small block of land next to his parents block south of Warkworth village.

With lime deposits found on his land he built is own kiln in 1866 and decided to manufacture his own Roche lime used in plaster and mortar.  He first became interested in cement in 1883 and after experimenting by 1885 Nathaniel and his 2 brothers John and James began trading.  

Sadly by 1918 the company was voluntarily wound up and amalgamated with the NZ Portland Cement Company.  By 1926 the closure happened and the machinery was moved to Portland near Whangarei  and this cement works closed for good in 1929.  This whole site has since been recognized by Heritage NZ as a Category 1 historic place. The photo above was taken in 1910 by William price and shows coal smoke billowing from the chimneys.

There is more extensive information here.

Friday 5 June 2020

The 6km walk

Usually when I exercise I walk for maybe 2-3 kms but a few days ago I tried to venture out a bit further down past the St James Anglican Church, which is the third church built on this site in 1878.  It has been dedicated to St James the Great of Compostela and who is associated with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. There was still some late Autumn colours on the trees and the air was crisp but as I walked further down the hill I came to the end of the road, here's where it gets even more special.

This is at the end of the road - the wharf and Kerikeri Stone Store (it's the big building with the chimney across the water) which was constructed to hold mission supplies and wheat from the mission farm at Waimate, not only that but at one point the building even store military supplies by Governor George Gray as part of the Flagstaff War. It is our country's oldest surviving stone building and was built around 1832 by Mason William Parrot and a team of Maori. Today it is a gift shop and the staff dress up as they would've done over 100 years ago. 

After I had walked back up the hill and home again I found I had walked 6kms in the end so far more than I originally planned for but I think I'll do it again on a regular basis.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday 3 June 2020

My first Kotare

Last week I was fortunate enough to get a shot of this little guy on the neighbour's roof. This is a Kingfisher or as it's known in Maori, a Kotare.  It's not often I get shots like this because my camera has a normal lens, so by the time I usually run upstairs to get the close up lens, swap them over then run to where I need to be the bird is gone. Thankfully I stuck the camera out the bedroom window which is on the 2nd floor of our house and took some photos.

These guys aren't normally seen in residential areas, they tend to live in both coastal and freshwater habitats. They dine on small crabs, tadpoles, freshwater crayfish, insects, spiders, lizards, mice and small birds but the good thing is that they aren't endangered however here they are protected.

Linking up with My Corner of the World and Wordless Wednesday.

Monday 1 June 2020

Ginger Cafe Mural

A few years back when I use to travel to Warkworth quite a bit I took this shot of a mural on the side of the Ginger Cafe, so far my efforts to find out who the artist was has proven fruitless but to me it looks like dancing coffee cups on the left in amongst clouds. I am a coffee drinker myself and I can rate their mochas very very good. I don't think they are business anymore as I can't find any trace of them online which is a pity.

I hope you're staying safe wherever you are. With today being the 1st day of Winter much of Northland has had heavy rain warnings, over the last few days we've had heavy pelting rain and last night was blowing a gale. We have had my parents up over the long weekend staying in their camper in our driveway, they are due to go back today but this morning we were up at "The Rusty Tractor Cafe", one of our favourite spots enjoying "eggs benedict". Time to hibernate I think.

Linking up with Mural Monday and Our World Tuesday.


It's not often I get to Devonport on Auckland's North Shore as there are 2 ways to get there. One is by ferry from the opposite side...