I'm here, really I am. Since I've been in Northland I've not had internet access except for brief occasions when I've managed to send some emails I'd already typed although I have been receiving personal emails via my phone.
At this moment I'm sitting in a café in The Town Basin in Whangarei. I have my NZ Telecom internet dongle plugged into Samantha and am going to update you.
There is so much to blog about I could sit here for the next few days and still have more to tell you. In fact I should have enough material stored up to carry me until I leave for Scotland at the end of April. Of course it won't work like that because some of it will be out of date. In fact some is out of date already.
I set out from The Cottage on Monday morning 26 January. My original intention had been to take two days to get to Pauline's near Whangarei in Northland about 600 k distant. As things turned out the journey was easy and I resisted temptation to keep stopping to see this and that and photograph things for the blog. So I arrived at Pauline's fairly early that evening.
I spent a few days exploring and a day playing croquet (yes, really) which, in itself, could merit a blog posting. Then Pauline and I set off for The North so that I could see the sights and explore 'her' area of the country. We had originally planned to arrive back yesterday (Monday) evening so that Pauline could be in work first thing this morning but we arrived back in Whangarei this lunchtime and I'm now waiting to collect Pauline after work later this afternoon.
Why are we late back? Late Saturday afternoon we were returning from Cape Reinga (the northernmost point in New Zealand) when Dora had a hissy fit and - so far as I know at this moment - shed her fanbelt tensioner with a great deal of dramatic effect. In addition to the usual things the power steering is driven by the belt and so I lost steering as well. Dora is a very heavy lady. So Dora, Pauline and I returned to Kerikeri (the nearest town to where we were staying) where Dora rests at this moment awaiting repair. We picked up a hire car and continued exploring on Sunday and Monday. Monday was a local holiday in Northland so there was no garage open to look at Dora.
So here I am waiting to see what happens next.
But it's been a wonderful opportunity for playing the Glad Game.
Although the roads in Northland are now vastly improved over their state a few years ago there are still some metalled (gravel) roads with exceptionally steep gradients and very long tight bends and very steep drops with no barriers. If Dora had lost power on one of those bends I would have been unable to steer her and we may well have ended up going over the edge. Had it happened in the very far north there would have been no cell-phone coverage. Had it happened on a steep bend we could have been a severe hazard blocking the road (passing places are scarce). Had it happened at night everything could have been so much worse. Had it happened on Sunday or Monday we could have been caught in torrential rainstorms. As it was it happened on a straight section of road with an (almost) convenient place to pull off without having to steer the car significantly, on a clear, sunny (but not too hot) late afternoon in a place with cellphone coverage only just over an hour from the nearest town.
Now how's that for an opportunity to play the Glad Game?
'Bye for now. Hopefully I'll have more news tomorrow.