Backpacking Pensioners travel blog

The over flow rally car park

Is this a kiwi fruit? - any suggestions

Two decadent sweets

Sylvia’s Comments

Having registered for the rally and reading our programme we noticed that ‘happy hour’ was at 4 pm up in the RSL clubhouse. There was a courtesy bus to take those of from the overflow car park up the hill, but we declined the lift and opted to walk up instead. It was not too bad until we got to the last little bit which was quite steep, having been up some big hills in NZ we made it, even though we were a little out of puff. We were all welcomed to the club by the manager who informed us that this RSL has the best view in all of NZ. Looking out of the window at the rain lashing down, the sky and sea looking very grey, it was hard to believe him, perhaps tomorrow will be better.

Happy hour enabled us to meet some fellow motorhomers and learn more about the area we are now visiting. Many of the members were going to eat in the RSL restaurant, but we had food all ready out of our freezer so at 5.30pm we set off down the hill to our van to cook tea and then return for the Euchre card evening. One of our close neighbours in the car park, in a new Jayco model, came across with a trout he had caught this morning and had smoked himself. How kind people are.

Neither Jeff nor I had played Euchre and wondered if we should join in. We were made most welcome and were given advisors to assist us to learn the game. The lady acting as card master was most insistent that Jeff and I did not play together. Good, as when we do play cards we usually end up arguing as Jeff gets annoyed with me, saying I do not pay attention to the cards being played. The game was a progressive one with the winning partnership moving on in different directions at the end of each round, thus meeting up with a new partner. The losing partnership remained where they were but one moved seats to enable them to get a new partner.

If that sounds complicated the game of Euchre was more so. If the trump card was hearts then the Jack of diamonds became a heart and was second highest card behind the Jack of hearts, equally so with the black cards. Trying to remember this caused some problems and much hilarity for those of us learning the game. Good job there were a lot of good sports in the room. At the end of the evening surprisingly enough I won having never lost one round. What a surprise Jeff got when he realised who the winner was. My success warranted that I buy my advisor a drink as he had done a good job with his pupil. My prize was a handkerchief with Kiwi’s printed on it, a nice memory to have of a lovely evening.

Saturday dawned a little brighter and when we walked up the hill for morning tea we did see the lovely views out over the bay. Then the weather closed in once more and back came the rain. We spent the morning in the warmth getting some good advice for our trip up the Coromandel Peninsula. After lunch there was a sale of work with some of the members bringing some of their crafts and home made jams and chutneys to sell. So we bought some produce and presents. One gentleman had a big bag of kiwi fruit which he was giving away, they were rejects from the local kiwi packing shed as they were misshapen, but they were good enough to eat. He said that he himself had been eating kiwi fruit like it was going out of fashion. On another stall a gentleman was selling large cannonball avocados for 20p each.

Tonight we had booked a meal at the restaurant and as we were waiting to be seated the group coming in behind us wondered if having made a reservation they had to queue. With a heavy Scottish accent he said he thought he should go to the front, I laughingly said that he had to wait and where did he come from. His reply was “guess”, I said that I knew he was a Scot but from what part. His reply was from Fife, so hearing that I said he should get to the back of the line. He has been over here for 30 years and it sounded like he only left Fife last week. Once seated at our table we found ourselves close to Enica, Gerard and their family continuing their birthday weekend celebrations.

After a nice meal with a very decadent sweet we made our way back to the bar to get some good seats for the big game tonight. The All Blacks are playing some team from the Northern hemisphere fairly close to Scotland. The room was pretty crowded but we were able to get some seats by the big screen with front row coverage. We had already got our sweepstake bets on as to the nearest aggregate score so might be in the money at the end of the game. What an experience it is to sit in a room nearly full of AB fans, especially when they are the better team and won. I say nearly full of AB fans, there was one lone voice trying to cheer England on. The guys at our table kept asking Jeff when he was going to spontaneously burst into ‘Swing low sweet chariot’, I was hoping he would not subject us to that, and he obliged us. We did not win the sweepstake but the gentleman sitting with us did, and insisted in buying us a drink. He wanted to help Jeff over his disappointment.

Once the game was over the band began to play and the dancing started and a good time was had by all, and I managed to get home down the hill in one piece. Sunday morning we woke to a down pour and the car park we were on was looking like a river. We decided to use the shuttle bus this morning and joined the big queue waiting for it. This was our last ‘morning tea’ and afterwards everyone would be moving on. Many of the seventy three vans attending at the rally came from the Waikato group and next weekend they are holding a 40th birthday rally in Hamilton, and we were invited to join them. As we have to return to Hamilton to collect Jeff’s camera we accepted the invitation and booked in for the dinner. We said good-bye to new friends and returned to our van to continue our travels once more. Once more we spent a weekend with some really nice people.

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