We arrived back in Gisborne on Tuesday 1st December, in readiness for Barry’s 65th birthday party on Saturday 5th. We intend staying around the East Coast until the middle of January at which time wend our way to the South Island in NZAreandare for a while.
The Pommie Bastard Bash
In the UK summer of 2019, when we considered dates to head back to New Zealand, I talked to Barry about organising a big celebration for his 65th. Though he loves a good party, he’s not so keen, he says, when the attention’s on him. He must’ve got over himself because last Saturday’s party was immense! The guest list was around 80. Which increased to possibly 100 once Adrienne, who manages the Poverty Bay Golf Club bar, invited a few more guests who knew Barry ‘of old’ – and at the pub on Friday 4th Barry and his best mate Lee invited everyone there!
Having chosen the theme (Barry), we pondered aimlessly what to dress up as. Thankfully my younger daughter Kim gave us a few suggestions, and we felt the ‘Peaky Blinders’ one was spot on.
“Set in Birmingham, England, the series follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family in the direct aftermath of the First World War. The fictional family is loosely based on a real urban youth gang of the same name, who were active in the city from the 1890s to the early 20th century.“Peaky Blinders (TV Series) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaky_Blinders_(TV_series)
Definitely bastards. Certainly Pommies. And undoubtedly close to Barry’s heart as the UK TV series is based around the Midlands canals. We first heard about it in 2014 when we turned around under a bridge at The Black Country Living Museum. There we heard and saw all sorts of kafuffle. Steam rising. Cameras everywhere. And people dressed in early 20th century clothes. But then the latter isn’t unusual at the museum. We walked up to the bridge and asked onlookers what was occurring. We were informed they were filming an episode of the ‘Peaky Blinders’, and Sam Neil was there.
We soon started watching the series and were hooked. It’s rather violent but not in a gross way if that makes sense?. There have been many programs I can’t bear due to violence, but for whatever reason, this one drew me in from the start. The characters are powerful. Maybe it was the light blue eyes of Thomas Shelby, the main character?
Well, Barry has very similarly coloured eyes. They’re what first attracted me to him on when we were introduced by a friend, at a pub (appropriately enough!), in Gisborne, on the evening of 19th August 2005. So this character was perfect. With my curly hair and outspoken nature, Aunt Polly, the family matriarch, was my character choice. Admittedly it was weird being his ‘aunty’, but then the Shelby’s were a law unto themselves. 😂
I’d booked a DJ Barry and his mates have known for years. He asked for requests. I asked for a Pink Floyd number after ‘my speech’, assuming it’d fall to me to do one. Then, out of the blue a few days before the event, Barry announced he thought he should do a speech. I was astounded. And relieved! On the night he even had little crib cards written with prompts of who to thank and what to say. Most impressive. I took video snippets of the whole thing which I shall treasure. There’s one of these below, as I think it’ll make you titter as Frankie Howard would say:
So many lovely people came to the party – thank you all. Lee also said a few words, which included the fact that Barry chose to marry a woman born on the same day as he was – that’s me! 28th September 1959. Sadly Lee had an unexplained blackout a couple of hours later, falling with a thud at the edge of the dance floor. He banged his head on the large upright fridge by the bar and was knocked unconscious for a few minutes. Three nurses (me included) administered First Aid until an ambulance arrived. Unsurprisingly, that was the end of his party time. There seems to be a jinx surrounding Lee and Barry – I suspect alcohol could be the common denominator …
The ‘grazing platters’ buffet provided by GEM (‘Green Eyed Maori’) Cuisine was abundant and absolutely delicious. Miriam, Tom’s partner, made a scrummy Lamington-themed birthday cake.
The Day After
We walked to NZAreandare around 2 am, after a fabulous celebration of Barry’s birthday, and managed to wake up in time for our grandson’s FaceTime call just after 8 am. They wanted to watch him opening their birthday cards. After that he opened presents then we hauled ourselves out of bed ready to head to the next ‘do’ of brunch at Peppers Beachfront a short distance away.
Ray’s daughter Emma had travelled up from Wellington for the weekend, I’d organised a Skype call with Jamie, and his brother Peter and sister Jenny, and Ray brought a framed picture of Frank and June. So despite distance and death, the Teutenberg’s were out in (almost) full force! Ray also brought Barry’s ‘Super Gold Card‘, which he enjoyed showing off proudly. Cheers, Jacinda!
It was a steaming hot day, exceptionally windy, meaning we got to watch about a dozen crazy kite-surfers speeding along Waikanae Beach. It’s an amazing venue for food and drink – location wise.
Surprised By Special Gifts
As is often the case with big parties, it was a challenge keeping up with who bought what! In fact,, I didn’t even realise anyone had arrived with cards and gifts – Adrienne was the organiser in that department. Some stand out like the game of Sequence which we’ve adored playing since then – together and with Tom and Miriam. Lots of red wine to relish. Bottles of Baileys and Port – awesome! Bottles of beer. A painting adapted from a Pink Floyd album cover. A ‘Pommy’ T-shirt. Wonderful wide feet walking boots. A word cloud from family and friends in the UK. A framed photo of Barry circa around 1972. And a camping wine-table (there’s a picture of that in Barry’s slide show at the end).
Wandering & Working
There’s not a lot to tell travel-wise for a while, as we’re mostly tootling around Gizzy catching up with family and friends till the middle of January.
I’ve got heaps of work to do most days, though I’m trying to keep it to Monday to Thursday. Ad-Extra suddenly became swamped a couple of weeks ago, which is awesome. However, remaining true to the nature of our laid-back lifestyle, I’ll be taking time off from any new account builds between 18th December to 11th January. It’s not a problem working as my job is so flexible – and we have to earn more than Barry’s pension. However, I requested Barry park us up in pleasant places so I could look out at the ‘office’ view. And enjoy lunch breaks walking on the beach.
For a couple of days that was ‘The Pines’ at Wainui – the wind had continued and at one stage we heard a bang outside. A branch had dropped from a nearby pine tree. Oh my goodness! The size of the cones was astounding! I reckon each one weighed about 5kg. I dread to think what damage one of those would do if they fell on your head!
More People and Places
In between working it’s wonderful to have time to see people we love in Gizzy. We had a fun evening with Sue and Alan who have a specatcular view from their deck, and watched the sun set from their favourite beach spot. The next morning I watch it rise again – from the comfort of our campervan. Bliss.
On Thursday we decided to head further ‘up the coast’ to Tolaga Bay, where friends own land and permitted us to park overnight. En route, we popped into the ‘Sunshine Brewery Tap Room‘ to collect four boxes of beer from Barry’s brother Peter. Cheers Brew!
Overnight At Tolaga Bay
Another magnificent place, Tolaga boasts the longest wharf in the Southern Hemisphere. I believe $5 million was spent refurbishing this iconic structure a few years ago. I’ve put some images in, but they’re not nearly as impressive as Barry’s at the end of the post. Mum loved it here when we visited together in February 2016.
I had lofty intentions of getting up early to watch the sunrise at the end of the Wharf last Friday morning. My brain said “Do it!“, but my body shouted, “Not a chance!”. So I grabbed a shot from inside the van instead, with a sliver of a crescent moon on the right above the cliff, and drifted back to a dream-filled sleep.
I relished a lovely long walk along the beach later that morning. Then after a few hours work, Barry moved NZAreandare to the car park, and we headed to Broad Bill’s Uawa for a pizza lunch from Nina. What a spectacular lunch spot! Highly recommended.
After scoffing half a pizza each, and storing the remainder for the following day, we headed back down the coast for a quick cuppa with Jenny and Rick near Whangara. Jenny was an nurse at Gisborne Maternity Unit when I first worked there in 2001 to 2002, and Mum and dad were overjoyed to visit their farm with me. Such gorgeous people, they’re now ‘semi’ retired and have handed over the main farm to their son.
We were heading to town to stay overnight with Kerry and Tony Fox, who I went to France with in June 2019 – and keep forgetting to take photos of this time! Next time I promise ..
A Break From Blogging
I’ve got one more post to write about NBAreandare and what’s happening with her in the UK. She’s being well cared for at her temporary abode at Debdale Wharf and is now on hardstanding. After that, it’s likely I won’t be blogging again until the week of 4th January.
We’re eagerly anticipating a balmy Southern Hemisphere Christmas and New Year spent in the sunshine with family and friends.
Have a brilliant one wherever you are. Remember though the origins and the real reason for the season, not the highjacked one. They’re actually Pagan. Celebrating the Winter Solstice. Which for us is the Summer Solstice and LONGEST day at 11.02pm on 21st December. The reason for the season is NOT to spend ridiculous amounts of money you don’t have, on ‘stuff’ people don’t need. It’s to celebrate the sun returning – or for us to celebrate the summer! And family. Keep it real folks – it’s just one day!
We hope you’re warm and well in the UK and may see you in 2021 – if ‘the buffoon’ ever organises the country sufficiently for us to feel confident returning. I suspect that’s too much to hope for …
Barry’s Brilliant Slide show
We think it’s all fixed now, so if you’ve had issues with other posts return to them as the slide-show should be functioning fine now. Barry starts with our second visit to Lake Tutira, and continues from Wainui to Tolaga Bay. Click the first image for the show to start …