What a month this has been with so much going on but the rain was certainly the most dominant player.
Our property is saturated and the feet squelch when we walk on the grass.
We have had some really strong winds and one morning, when I looked out the kitchen window to see if the wisteria was in flower, I saw, to my horror, that the tree the wisteria climbed over was lying on its side.
The biggest problem was that instead of just cutting the tree down, I had to call in Norton Trees to carefully chop the branches so that bird boxes could be extracted and placed around the tree.
For a few years that old tree had looked quite weird but once the wisteria rambled over its trunk and branches it looked fabulous. Well, not anymore.
In the pouring rain Brian and I had to scramble around the fallen trunk and retrieve the bird boxes. Although the starlings had already laid claim to them, luckily, there were no eggs yet, so no great tragedy.
Over the past few months we two and our Waiau Pa friends have planned each weekend to take the train from Papakura into the city and back. The first weekend, Tony (Waiau Pa friend) was sick so we couldn’t go.
The next weekend we had planned to catch the 11.07am train but, unfortunately, Saturday morning came around and Brian was ill (this is what happens when you get older). The following Saturday we had a check and, yes, hard to believe but all four of us were well.
The 11.07am was again on the plan so we met at the station all excited, firstly, because we were all well and secondly, because at long last we were off to the city on the train. We went onto the platform looking at the machine that was to take our hopcard and started talking about where we would go once we hit Britomart.
Somehow we keep ignoring a man who was trying to talk to us. In the end we said, “yes?” He said, “I’m sorry to inform you that there are no trains today or tomorrow as they are doing maintenance on the lines.”
Disbelief! After all the planning it never occurred to us that there wouldn’t be a train. What now? I suggested we drive to the city but that went down like a lead balloon. “Let’s go to Puke,” suggested Val (other Waiau pa friend). So that’s where we ended up.
The week before I had met another girlfriend for lunch at Monarch Cafe and had my favourite dish – whitebait fritters, fantastic! So I suggested that we stranded foursome head for Monarch where those whitebait fritters would be a good consolation prize since our train was off track.
Up to Monarch we all headed and three of us had the whitebait; the other one opted for calamari. It was great – who needs the city?
Earlier this month Rural Living had a stall at the inaugural Home and Lifestyle Expo in Pukekohe. It was such a great event and so well supported by local businesses. I was really surprised that so many people turned out on the Sunday which had the worst weather.
Parking was difficult as the paddock that could be used on the Saturday was so sodden on Sunday all parking was on the surrounding roads.
Still the crowds came and our team had loads of fun especially as many readers stopped to say, hello. Yes, next year’s event promises to be a great success.
We plan to be there!
Reay Neben is a Franklin resident and publisher of Rural Living.