Lasting memories for some of us anyway!

We headed further North on our last full day of this long weekend to visit my Great Aunt Mavis – she lives in Kaitaia. ‘Aunty Mae-Mae’ as we affectionately named her was a big support person for me when I had my first child. She took care of my young son when I needed to go back to work part-time (sanity or bust pretty much!). And that young boy  turned 29 today by the by.

She will turn 90 years old this year and I haven’t seen her for some time now & and my hubby said to me – Kaitaia is too close not to visit 🙂

It was another glorious day in the sunny north so with the roof down on my little Z3 & my daggy hat on we were off!  We stopped briefly to check out ‘The Jandal Fence’. IMG_8254

And passed quite a few old abandoned houses along the way….

After an 1 1/2 hours we hit Kaitaia and went straight to the rest home where were found Aunty Mae-Mae snoozing. Once awake she was enjoyed seeing the photos of the family all grown up, and the children’s wedding pics from last year. She remembered my eldest with a smile and the little song she used to sing to Jonathan  “I love you a bushell and a peck and a hug around the neck”.  We both smiled with that memory. (It was a Doris Day single from 1950.)

We happily ate her favourite Jelly Tip ice-creams we had snuck in with us and reminisced together. We were so impressed with the staff who were genuinely caring & interested in Aunty Mae-Mae – they talked about her wonderful sense of  humour, and knew all about her children, grandchildren & great-grandchild.

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Mavis Gillard  born 19/6/1926

I was more than a little more than sad to say goodbye.  I may not get to see her again but I will treasure the memory of the time we got to spend together.  We are all going to grow old – none of us can avoid it; and I was acutely reminded of that today.

We headed back South stopping to say hello to Mark – Aunty Mavis’s son who lives on the Karikari Peninsula. My hubby had not met Mark before, and I had not seen him for many years. Not since I was a kid actually – and he seemed so old too me then! Fact is we are only about 10 years apart 🙂
Mark took us on a short road trip to see his part of the world – WOW – we were both blown with the stunning coastline beaches and clear blue seas. We whistled through the Karikari Estate Winery where the grapes were being grown for as far as the eye could see. Matai Bay was amazing, and we thought it couldn’t get better until we sat up on Puheke Hill or ‘Puwheki’ meaning ‘Octopus Head’ in Maori.

Puheke Beach is a surf beach so inviting even I wanted to dive in! If you want to get away from the crowds this is the place to go. The coast sweeps around the ocean with clean white sand . It looked a tropical island 🙂 See for yourself although my photos may not have done it justice.

The rain was starting to fall as we continued our trip back to Paihia.  Just a couple more must-do/see stops before ending the day.

The first of these was Mangonui for a late lunch of ‘World Famous Fish & Chips’ – the place was busy and busier still as a tour bus pulled in with 50 young people! We ordered ‘Blue Nose’  & chunky chips and they did not disappoint 🙂

Tummies full we continued south stopping in Kerikeri for a quick visit to the ‘Kerikeri Mission Station – The Stone Store & Kemp House.’ By now the rain was quite heavy so I ventured out of the car for a quick photo – at least I could say I had been there, seen that!

These buildings are two of the country’s oldest surviving buildings -established in 1819, the Kerikeri Mission Station is one of New Zealand’s first places where Māori invited visitors to live among them. It is still open for business now and touted as a great shopping experience! – hubby was not unhappy it was closed 🙂

What a day we had. Tinged with sadness but also a happy heart. For two hours we made an old lady happy as we chatted away.  She may have forgotten our visit by the time we got down the road but it was still worth every minute.

Great Aunty Mae-Mae used to quote ‘three score and ten’ – it is from the Bible and refers to the span of our lives. It was considered that seventy years was the ‘normal’ lifespan when it was written. I wonder what she is thinking now she has reached nearly 90?

Who knows? But I can tell you she did think taking a’selfie’ on my iPad was a very odd concept 🙂

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