Flip Turn

I have perfected….uh…..mastered…….uh…..well, I can do a flip turn now. It has been a long time coming (years, really), but I set my mind to it and I can now do one with regularity. Goes to show you that anything is possible. Now, does it look the like person above? Absolutely not. Do I bang my heels? Yes. Do I miss the wall completely? Yes. But there I am, swimming in the Clive War Memorial Pool doing flip turns. It hasn’t really sped up my pace, but I feel like a pro now and I look down on all those dweebs not doing flip turns….well, not really.

Things have been a bit boring here as of late due to the crazy weather. We did get a bit of a respite and got a couple of walks in at Ocean Beach. Two days in a row, in fact.

Oh, the crowds.

It is really a super-nice beach and there just aren’t very many people there. There are people walking their dogs, though. That always makes us happy and we try to entice the dogs to come over so we can get a few pets in. This one German Short-haired Pointer spotted me as a sucker from a million miles away and just sprinted down the beach to come and say hi. We gave him a bunch of pets and he gave us a bunch wags and kisses. Mutuality at it best. Ah…

On the road out of Ocean Beach there was a very puzzling sign. We both thought that maybe this was one of those weird international signs that an American might not know. Or perhaps a Kiwi sign? Seen from a distance, the sign seemed to imply that you had to be careful or the kids would all fall off the cliff into certain death (yes, the sign IS next to a cliff). Now, as mentioned, the Kiwi roads are a bit intense, but this seemed hard to believe. Then we noticed the missing screw. School bus stop. Mystery solved.

Scary warning sign

It was also our 33rd anniversary on June 16th. Hard to believe. It is sometimes hard to remember all of the stuff that we have done together, but I think we both agree that somehow we have be able to find a pretty nice balance between long term and short term, good times and tough times. Our focus has been on experiences rather than things, although we did own two houses for over 20 years. Won’t do that again. Too much stuff. Life hasn’t always been easy and I know that I am at times a pretty challenging person to be around. However, when I think about it and put it into perspective, I’m pretty glad to be here on this planet with all the ups and downs of life spending a huge chunk of it with someone I genuinely like to hang out with. That’s pretty cool. We, of course, decided to go wine tasting on our anniversary. Seems to be our default when the weather is less than stellar. We ordered a platter of cheese and dips and tasted the wines at Trinity Hill.

Happy Anniversary

The dude serving was quite nice, if not a bit flamboyant in an Adam Lambert kind of way. He had one earring that was a good six inches long with lots of feathers and adornments. When I went to pay, I said to him “I like your earring.” He lit up. I don’t think he expected that from an old, bald guy. But it was cool. Might have to get one for myself.

I have not been a very good Kiwi, since I had not once had fish and chips ….the national dish of New Zealand. I actually don’t think it is the national dish of New Zealand, but in my mind, it should be. After a nice swim at the pool and many …. uh …. adequate flip turns, I stopped by and got myself some at the local takeaway. It was pretty tasty.

It seems that there is no clear agreement on what the national dish actually is. Some say lamb. Some say pies. As much as I think fish and chips should be considered, I will vote for Hangi, which is cooked in a pit, and a traditional Māori food.

The not national dish of New Zealand

A Hangi pit

The hangi is a traditional Māori form of cooking, where food like fish, meat and kumara are smoked in a pit dug into the ground. This ‘earth oven’ is the perfect way to bring people together and cook a feast, and is still used for special occasions around the country. It’s a uniquely New Zealand cuisine, and if you’re visiting, it’s worth a try.

We had one more F.A.W.C event at Craggy Range Winery. We managed to find someone to drive us there and back so we could drink wine and not have to worry about driving. It wasn’t cheap, but totally worth it. We were expecting something like what we experienced at the Te Awanga Estates event.

We showed up and headed into the restaurant where they were hosting the event. The looked up our tickets and then took us to a table for two. We both were a bit puzzled as to whether we were actually at the right event. It felt a lot more like an evening at the restaurant than a special event. The food was quite good and wine was nice, but not quite what we expected.

At one point, the couple next to us (Ed and Julie) leaned over and introduced themselves to us. They lived close by, had emigrated from England 15 years ago and moved to Hawkes Bay about 7 or 8 years ago. They seemed to know everyone in the valley. They were amazed we had managed to get tickets and told us that almost nobody who isn’t a local could get tickets to the event. I told them that I just happened to log in at the moment they opened up tickets and had the time zones in my favor.

We had fun chatting with them and I appreciated they started the conversation with us. Overall, the food and wine was good, but both of us agreed that we had way more fun at the (considerably more raucous) Te Awanga event.

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