Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Holiday Day 6-10: Hamilton, Huntly, Auckland

Way back at the end of March/start of April I took leave and headed up north. I wrote about it here, here, here and here. I left off in Tauranga and have been meaning to finish off the posts ever since.

So here it is:

My final day at the farm, I spent pottering about and made some cucumber pickle with some of the many cucumbers in the garden. It came out tasting rather like Chow Chow. Yum! I also took the time to hunt out my great grandfather's pickle recipes and jot them down, ready to test out next year. 

In the evening we headed up to Hamilton to have dinner with my sister. We went for Mexican - it was more tex-mex really, but I did have some pretty good stuffed chillies and even empanadas. 

Saturday and Sunday I spent in Huntly, famous for its Deka sign and power station. It's also where one of my best friends (one of the few schoolmates I keep in regular contact with) lives and as she just bought a house I really wanted to go visit. We ripped out a whole lot of weeds (mostly mint) and created a vege garden. 

It seems we have the same taste in decor too - owls and red stuff in the kitchen. You know what they say about great minds...

Our Saturday night entertainment was going out to a pub in the wop wops to watch novelty shearing. That's a kind of sheep shearing competition but of the 'shearing-sheep-inside-the-pub-under-the-influence-of-multiple-bottles-of-Waikato-draught-variety'. It was a team event with one person shearing the sheep, the next drinking a handle with a straw, then someone eating a mince pie, and finally another handle drunk with a straw. One women was obviously so talented at shoving a pie down her throat that she ate for a couple of the teams. It was quite a laugh. Only in Huntly.

It was great spending some time with my friend. I think I about cleaned her out of tea though. 

On the Sunday night I headed up to Auckland, booking myself a room at the Rydges, one block from the sky tower. The room was pretty darn nice. The first thing I did (after putting the kettle on) was to run a bath. Then it was out to my friend's house for a Sunday roast. 

Later that evening we visited the casino, as I'd never set foot inside one before. We drank cocktails and people watched, mostly checking out the punters playing roulette. They were laying down some serious (for me) money. A trip to the casino wouldn't have been complete without a spot of gambling. I lost a grand total of $5 on the pokies. I put a few coins in one of those buckets too. Ever since I saw that Friends episode when they go to Vegas, I'd wanted to sit at a pokie machine with a bucket of coins, just once in my life. It was definitely a interesting, and eye opening experience. 

Bidding my friend farewell, I headed back to the hotel and spent a night in front of the telly sitting in a chair seemingly made for knitting, knitting my scarf. Something on the room service menu caught my attention but belly still full of roast, I couldn't order it. I will have a go at making it one night though - macaroni cheese with aged cheddar and truffle oil and panko breadcrumbs. 

The next morning I headed down to the ferry terminal and purchased a day pass for the ferries/bus for only $15. First stop was Devonport. I had one reason for going there. It wasn't for the view (although the view was lovely and the buildings, very cute); it was for the yarn store. 

It was not a wasted trip. The store was gorgeous and packed full of so many Rowan yarns I haven't seen anywhere else. I also came across a couple of bootie patterns with a sheepskin sole and vintage buttons on top. Of course I had to buy everything I needed to make them. I may have bought 2 balls of Rowan cashmere merino too that have almost been turned into my winter fingerless mitts.

Before I spent too much money, I headed back across on the ferry and went for a walk around the Viaduct. Lunch was at the Fish market - fresh fish and chips and a glass of rose. 

I had planned to spend the afternoon at the zoo but rain clouds were threatening so I headed out to the museum instead. I found some gollywogs out there in the childrens' toys exhibit, ancient Peruvian pottery from Paracas/Nazca and got shaken in the volcanic house. 

After a couple of hours I was done and jumped on another (or several buses) to find a yarn store out in One Tree Hill without a map. 

I found Mishi Yarns eventually and it was worth the trek. What a cute shop. It was very much like Holland Road Yarn Company out in Petone - very cosy and with so many gorgeous yarns. The whole shop was organised by ply. Everything was so pretty I had a hard time choosing what to bring home, finally settling on some dehaired angora lace weight and a fingerless mitten pattern. I can't wait to knit it. 

After faffing about with buses I discovered that just around the corner there was a bus route that would take me directly back to the sky tower. I know for next time! I had to catch a bus out to my aunty's house for the night and then the next day flew back to Wellington.

As always, it was much too short. Ah well, not too long until I go on another mini break to discover another part of New Zealand. I'm kind of glad those two yarn stores are so far away too - if I lived near them I would be permanently skint!

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