DAY 278...What a Difference a Year Makes

Every morning I’m pleased I have a sense of humour, albeit rather dark and fairly off-centre. I lie in bed in the dark, listening to the day awaking. It doesn’t sound too bad outside this morning. Gradually, I become aware of a couple of birds chirruping, no real wind to mention and no rain. Maybe I’ll be able to head back to Patons Beach. I have to laugh to myself and at this crazy game I play each day. It never seems to change and it goes something like this: I turn on my laptop, make some coffee, sit down, and check the weather forecast (the winds, the swells and how much rain is falling!). But at the moment, the thing is that all I can see is not even “maybes” but just really bad gales and the like; and so the game continues every morning and every night.

But, back to my day. I had planned to go and do quite a bit today but, by the time Mother Nature has woken up, all these plans have had to be postponed. Although I did actually go to Takaka, chatted to Granddad, did some errands and stopped at a couple of roadside veggie stalls to buy local seasonal produce for a new pot of soup. I have a great feeling of satisfaction when I’m buying local in-season produce, which is far more reasonable cost-wise. I have a game I play with myself, enjoying the challenge of seeing how low my food spending can be each week. I’m lucky to have a generous supply of coffee beans and other foods from suppliers. A very big THANKS to them all.

It’s even colder today, with continuous rain, gale force winds and thick cloud cover over all the ranges. Not a day for hiking or beach walking but rather, a day to be by a fire and fortunately, I manage to find one! I have come to love a little art store in Takaka called the "Monza Art Gallery" and a gorgeous local artist called Philly Hall. Now I wanted to say “Hi!” and “Thank you” to her for a donation so, early this morning, I picked some farm daffodils, grabbed a takeaway coffee and a hot chocolate and headed her way. She has a cast iron style fire roaring in the gallery where we spent a couple of hours chatting. It was wonderful! I shall always remember this day and also her fascinating story of how she arrived in Takaka, walking over the hills and tracks with two beautiful donkeys. Now, thirty years later, she is still living here. A really beautiful story, and beautiful pictures of this wonderful woman with her donkeys!

Eventually I managed to drag myself away, back out into the cold afternoon because, damn it, I was determined to go and do some outdoor activity. Mother Nature had other ideas however and, as I drove, I had to grip the steering wheel really firmly with both hands and again concentrate on just keeping Cuzzie on the road. It was way worse than yesterday and it seemed to get even worse with every passing minute! In the end, I headed slowly back to the cottage, breathing a sigh of relief once I actually pulled up safely outside. I reckon I was very lucky not to have lost a kayak from the roof-top racks or have been blown over into a flowing roadside drain. Here I am back home again, with my knitting out and my new pot of cheap as soup busy cooking. I’ve just checked the weather reports and all I can do is laugh because I’m still stuck! I want to climb a couple of high peaks and ranges but will have to wait till it’s a clear day. Who knows, maybe there will be snow at the top. I’m ever hopeful!

Hobo is curled up asleep, my Saturday night is a normal, relaxed affair with knitting, soup, and a phone call or two. Then bedtime, listening yet again to another stormy night.

My smiles today:
Fresh local produce.
Other people’s life stories.
An e-mail from the Crowe family. From the catamaran "Honey".
This totally crazy weather.
Being so close to the end of my South Island journey but still flaming well stuck!!
The continuing support and donations from lots of different people. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Without you, it would be so much harder.

My thoughts today:
A year ago, everything seemed so different and now that I look back, I realise that a year can do a lot to a person.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, here’s hoping that the weather is being kinder to you than it is to me at the moment.

Goodnight from Red. Ma Te Wa.

Wind blown Pine Tree.

Wind blown Pine Tree.

A glimmer of light.

A glimmer of light.