We stopped in Dannevirke to get fuel and to pick up something to eat. Unfortunately, the only fast food shop there is KFC, so that was it. There are miles and miles of nothing as you drive through the lower North Island, and I remember it all very well from when I used to drive it far too regularly in early 1999.
Just about eleven, we arrived at Peter's place in Te Awanga, miles off the beaten track even by Hawkes Bay standards.
Peter and Ros have transformed their house! It was small before, but now it is enormous. There's still work to be done there, but it is already a very welcoming place, and we were fortunate indeed to be there.
The boys went off to bed almost as soon as we arrived, David sleeping in a sort of roof space and the rest of us in more conventional places.
Breakfast on Saturday was cereal and toast. After that, Peter and I set off for Napier to pick up Christopher at the end of his week's holiday there. He seemed to have had a good time, talking about fishing and other things he had done. He won't get to do much fishing with his own family.
Peter and I called in at a place just by his home to buy carrots for juicing. 20kg for $18. That's 44 pounds for USD 10 or GBP 6.
We went off to the water theme park at Hastings - Splash Planet. For cowards like me, the main attractions are the tepid pools ( 31C / 88F ) and the never-ending river ( 21C / 70F ) which is a ten minute circuit round the park, which you float round on rings. It always takes me at least one circuit to build up my confidence, as I remember my first trip there, when we lived just up the road from it: I fell off and lost my glasses. On Saturday, however, no such thing happened. The sun shone, then the rain fell, then the sun shone some more, then the rain fell some more and it carried on that way all day.
The boys had a good old time on the water slides. I'm not big on water slides myself, however.
After Splash Planet, we went off to Rush Munro's. Rush Munro is one of Hastings' most important attractions: a gourmet ice cream parlour, opened in 1926. Peter also told us about another important development: a completely over the top development in supermarkets. Write Price has been replaced by an enormous Pak 'n' Save supermarket with a tremendous floor area and choice, to say nothing of a huge underground car park. Amazing, and not at all what a town like Hastings needs.
After that, it was back to Te Awanga for supper and more talk. Viv and Ros spent time looking at photographs, while Christopher buried himself in Mister Men cartoon books and the rest of us just talked about nothing particular.
Sunday morning: we went off to our old church at St James, Mahora. Since we were last there, "total ministry" has taken off - three of the lay leaders have been ordained as priests and run the services themselves. It's not the same as it was, but it still seemed familiar. However, this is the way of the future, I am sure, as there will be less money to pay for ordained priests and less priests training anyway.
On Sunday, Fred was preaching from the third chapter of Jonah, and did very well at it too.
After that, we went around Hastings doing some of the things we used to do: we had lunch at burger King (in the old Georgie Pie building), did some shopping at K-Mart and fed ducks in Cornwall Park. The Chinese garden isn't in as good shape as it was.
Pretty soon, too soon, it was time to go and have afternoon tea with Peter and Ros and hit the road south. We called in at Dannevirke KFC again and got back in time for the en of the day.
Monday was the first day back at work, the first day on a new floor in the building, so I spent a fair amount of time sorting out boxes and throwing out stuff.
For lunch, I went to Abrakebabra where I met Jess and Brenda from church and we caught up with news. I gave Brenda some CDs for her to burn a Mandrake distro, so I will shortly be embarking on the adventure that is Linux.
I spent most of Monday night updating a web site, which I will advertise shortly. Not one you've seen before. Viv was at the first Upper Hutt Toastmasters meeting of the year.
Tuesday came and went in its usual way, with the BAINZ committee meeting at lunchtime. I went out tonight and paid Norrie for the work he had done on the car and settled another debt with Andrew R. Back here now, with the night still wearing on. Wash the dishes, make the coffee, go to bed.