DAY 255...Windy and a Return to School

A normal off-the-water day for me and, like most of New Zealand, I was woken by big, strong, easterly winds. I certainly wasn’t heading down the farm tracks to the beach this morning but rather, I sat at the kitchen table and made up a very quick set of my paddling images into a short presentation that the Collingwood Area School had asked me to do at their afternoon assembly. This, together with other internet-related tasks, took me a few hours. Then it was time to do a bit of a tidy up, chat to a local radio station about my adventure, grab some lunch and hit the road into Collingwood. I pass the inlet and it’s flat as, but there is a massive wind carving its way across the water. No time for me to paddle today as high tide is right about now (1pm) and also, I would have been completely blown over.

Cuzzie and I weave along the gravel roads, then out onto the turning and the main road to Collingwood. We get buffeted by the strong winds and the bay is covered in whitecaps, only small waves maybe but nevertheless, it’s a crazy-looking sea. At the school, I sign in and then wander with Charles over to set up my quick presentation. The kids all arrive and the school proceedings begin. It‘s a small school with a great amount of pride and I listen to the kids and the teachers who are speaking ahead of me. There is real passion in the voices of the teachers, and the kids seem to have respect for them and enjoy them. You can also see that they are all keen to end this day and end this term. What kids don’t love school holidays, and tomorrow is the last day before their holidays begin. I hope they liked the pictures and that they didn’t find my talk too boring. Hopefully, I ignited a dream in someone's mind today. But, as soon as the school bell sounded, it was like all schools. They were released and heading in all directions, in the way that schoolkids do.

As for me, I head away in Cuzzie, back to the farm. Once unloaded, it was time for me to go walking and get some beach time before dark. Hat, hoodie and jacket on. The wind pushed me all the way down to the beach and once there, the sand was being swept along the beach, sandblasting my ankles and calves. Even though the ocean is relatively flat, there are a few big swells that even this gale force wind can’t flatten. But I truly believe this insane wind could smooth and flatten anything that got in its way today. Even the ocean wasn’t putting up a fight. I climbed some rocks, looked north and south, watched a few sets of waves roll in, then turned, pulled my hat down over my ears and walked head-on into the cold, blustery wind. By the time I got back, I could feel my ears starting to ache. The cows along the way gave me the same look as the other morning. If only they could talk, doubtless they’d be shaking their heads and saying "What the heck are you doing? Have you nothing better to do today? You are one insane female." Fortunately, I can’t hear them but I can still read their minds!

Finally, I’m glad to be back in the warm house. Crocs kicked off and sitting next to the fire in this great little recliner chair. Best not get too comfortable. Tomorrow I have a trip into Takaka. Maybe I’ll locate a sheltered hike to do. Here’s hoping that everyone else is tucked away, safely inside, away from the wind and the rain. Yet again, I’m thankful not to have been stuck in a tent on a bare beach over the past few weeks of this journey. That would have been tough, way too tough.

My smiles today:
Looking at pictures of my trip so far; so many great memories.
The crazy wind today.
The beautiful school in Collingwood.
Crispy, roast potatoes.
The cows’ faces said it all today!

My thoughts today:
Happiness is not something that comes ready-made. Rather, it comes from your own actions.

Red signing off for this evening. Ma Te Wa.

Wind blown.

Wind blown.

Sand dunes on my beach.

Sand dunes on my beach.

Flying sand.

Flying sand.