Watching what I’m reading . . .

I had no idea when I posted last Sunday that my next Sunday post would find New Zealand in lockdown, but here we are! I really am not complaining though. We went into lockdown on Wednesday, which I spent most of at work, shutting everything off and down. I went back to work Friday for a few hours to pay the taxes – even under lockdown, the government still expects to be paid – and touching base with our staff to make sure everyone is okay. 3:00 p.m. today we will be advised if lockdown is to be extended beyond Monday. I would lay money that it will as case numbers are still climbing daily, and they’re currently trying to trace over 5,000 contacts of those who are infected.

Still, we’ve been here before and no doubt will be here again. I am enjoying the break, although I will be back at work tomorrow to pay staff and apply for the wage subsidy and whatever else is available. In meantime we have been stripping wallpaper from the lounge walls and plastering, ready to paint. We are lucky that we can go online and order everything we need and have it delivered. Got to love the internet!

Anyway, let’s get to the real reason we’re here – books. Currently I am reading The Affair by Hilary Boyd, a new author for me. Connie, the main character, is a tour guide and I have enjoyed touring through Italy, Poland and the north of Scotland with her.

I am about to start Darkness Falls by David Mark

And I am doing a read/listen to The Unwelcome Guest by Amanda Robson. If you think your mother-in-law is the one from hell, check out Caprice!

This week I planning on reading What’s Not True by Valerie Taylor.

With the court date set for her divorce and the future she’d planned with a younger man presumably kaput, Kassie O’Callaghan shifts attention to reviving her stalled marketing career. But that goal gets complicated when she unexpectedly rendezvous with her former lover in Paris. After a chance meeting with a colleague and a stroll along Pont Neuf, Kassie receives two compelling proposals. Can she possibly accept them both?

Kassie’s decision process screeches to a halt when her soon-to-be ex-husband has a heart attack, forcing her to fly home to Boston. There, she confronts his conniving and deceitful fiancée—a woman who wants not just a ring on her finger but everything that belongs to Kassie. In the ensuing battle to protect what’s legally and rightfully hers, Kassie discovers that sometimes it’s what’s not true that can set you free.

But first I need to read What’s Not Said, the first in the series, which I also have on my shelf.

Kassie O’Callaghan’s meticulous plans to divorce her emotionally abusive husband, Mike, and move in with Chris, a younger man she met five years ago on a solo vacation in Venice, are disrupted when she finds out Mike has chronic kidney disease—something he’s concealed from her for years. Once again, she postpones her path to freedom—at least, until she pokes around his pajama drawer and discovers his illness is the least of his deceits.

But Kassie is no angel, either. As she struggles to justify her own indiscretions, the secret lives she and Mike have led collide head-on, revealing a tangled web of sex, lies, and DNA. Still, mindful of her vows, Kassie commits to helping her husband find an organ donor. In the process, she uncovers a life-changing secret. Problem is, if she reveals it, her own immorality will be exposed, which means she has an impossible decision to make: Whose life will she save—her husband’s or her own.

And The Selling Point by Marci Bolden.

Darby Zamora has always gotten by with work that suits her unique way of life, but success hasn’t exactly come easy. A former bridal seamstress, Darby gave up making custom gowns years ago. Her heart was always too big for her business’s pocketbook, until she comes up with a way to make an old business new again: The Un-Do Wedding Boutique.

Selling dresses online in her bridal consignment shop has merchandise flying off the virtual shelves. People are lining up not only to buy the dress overstock that Darby’s been holding onto, but she has new clients desperate for her to help them re-sell their unused wedding items.

But success comes at a steep price when ghosts from her past resurface and make Darby and her new company confront harsh realities of life and business. With the help of her friends Jade and Taylor, Darby is forced to reassess her business, rediscover herself, and ultimately find her selling point. 

Although, again, I need to read the first in the series, The Restarting Point.

Marketing executive and mother of two, Jade Kelly can now add cancer survivor to her list of successes. But while her life looks good on paper, four months out of treatment, Jade realizes she hardly knows her college-age children and she and her husband Nick are little more than housemates.

Determined to start over, Jade schedules a family vacation to a lakefront cabin. When her kids bail and Nick stays home to handle a last minute work crisis, Jade heads to Chammont Point alone, determined to dust herself off and figure out what to do with the rest of her life.

While she’s away, the life she thought she had unravels. Secrets, lies, and old wounds drive Jade into new adventures and new relationships. With the help of family and new found friends, Jade learns starting over sometimes means finding a brand new restarting point.

So fingers crossed that lockdown continues, otherwise I won’t get the lounge finished, or meet my reading target.

I have 6 new ARCs this week plus one audio ARC. They are:

A Matter of Time by Claire Askew

Now I Found You by Mila Oliver

The Killer in the Snow by Alex Pine, another 2nd book in a series where I still have the first, The Christmas Killer, to read 😱

The Editor’s Wife by Clare Chambers, a new author for me.

Afraid of the Light by Douglas Kennedy, an author adore

And The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

The audio ARC that I received is Whisper Cottage by Ann Wynn Clark and narrated by Lauren Moakes, who I don’t believe I have listened to previously.

Where have your book travels taken you in the past week? I have been in a small village in the mountains of Greece in both 1942 and just prior to Covid; Dublin, Ireland; Warsaw, Poland in 1944 ; and London, England in both 1944 and 2019; and Venice, Lake Como, and Verona, Italy, the north of Scotland, and Somerset, England pre-Covid. Have we crossed paths?

And now I am going to bid you arivederci and watch the final 20 laps of the Indy racing from St Louis, Mo., where rookie Kiwi, Scot McLaughlin is coming 4th!

Happy reading ❤📚

Thursday Travels

Before Covid kicked off, we went up north for a family holiday. While we were based in Paihia, we stopped at Waipu on our way home. It is where my grandmother came from, and there’s quite a bit of Mackay family history in the local museum. It’s a beautiful spot, as is the nearby beach of Ruakaka. We went there for a wedding some years ago and have always intended to return.

I found this article on my newsfeed this morning and thought it would be nice to share a little more of our beautiful New Zealand countryside with you. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/go-nz-what-to-do-in-bream-bay-northland-in-winter/LESQYGYFPOC5WLUSH6DZBGUB2M/

Wednesday in Wellington, New Zealand

Finally, here are some of the photos from our few days in Wellington last month. We travelled both ways by train which is an extremely relaxing way to travel. We didn’t get many photos on the way down as it rained quite heavily most of the way, but we were extremely lucky with the weather while we were there. It was raining again when we left Wellington, but cleared about an hour into our journey home.

This was the view from our hotel room balcony. We could see from Oriental Bay, to our right, the marina was immediately in front of us, and the port off to our left. So there was always something to watch as we sat on the balcony and and rested our weary feet in the late afternoon.

These are some of the lovely old homes that line Oriental Parade in Oriental Bay.

Situated on the hill above Oriental Bay, Saint Gerard’s Monastery and Church, built in 1932 and 1908 respectively, are considered a historic landmark. After 113 years, St Gerard’s Church held its final mass at the end of May. It closed over “safety concerns” but the fate of the buildings remains unclear.

The Wellington Cable Car is a funicular railway in Wellington, New Zealand, between Lambton Quay, the main shopping street, and Kelburn, a suburb in the hills overlooking the central city, rising 120 m (394 ft) over a length of 612 m (2,008 ft).

There are a number of viaducts spanning the rivers between Te Kuiti and Wellington. This photo was taken from one in the Manawatu.

New Zealand farmland.

Home to three active volcanic mountains, and iconic and majestic landscapes, Tongariro National Park has attracted adventurers of all ages since 1887. This is Mount Ruapehu.

The main reason for doing this train trip was to travel the Raurimu Spiral, which my grandfather worked on when he first came to Te Kuiti as a young man.

The only way of really appreciating the engineering excellence and sinuous beauty of the Raurimu spiral is to see it from the air. The spiral was devised by Department of Public Works engineer Robert Holmes in 1898. His design was a clever solution to a major problem – the land between between Raurimu and National Park dropped significantly and was too steep for a train to travel along directly. Holmes’s spiral increased the distance between these two locations to by employing sweeping curves and tunnels, which allowed the railway track to follow a manageable incline. It was constructed between 1905 and 1908. The Historic Places Trust registered the spiral as a category one historic place in 2005. (Te Ara, Govt. New Zealand)

My next mission is to view it from the air.

Thank you for sharing my journey.

Matariki

This post complements my previous post today on Maori sacred sites in New Zealand.

Matariki is a special occasion in the New Zealand calendar which marks the start of the Māori New Year. Signified by the Matariki cluster of stars reappearing in our night sky, this is a time of celebration and reflection.

Traditionally, Matariki was used to determine the coming season’s crop. A warmer season, and therefore a more productive crop yield, was indicated by how bright the stars were. Matariki provides an ideal opportunity to explore the ways that people pass on and sustain aspects of their culture and heritage.

It has just been announced that Matariki celebrations will be held at the beautiful Waitomo Caves, which is twenty minutes from where we live. Click on following link to learn more about our Matariki celebrations and see a photo of our beautiful and world famous caves.

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/travel/2021/06/matariki-ki-waitomo-matariki-festival-to-be-held-in-waitomo-july-3-10.html

Waitomo is a village on the North Island of New Zealand. It’s known for its extensive underground cave systems. Thousands of glow-worms light up the Glowworm Caves. The vast Ruakuri Cave features waterfalls and limestone formations. West, Mangapohue Natural Bridge is a high limestone arch over Mangapohue Stream.

Image creditsCreator:SHAUN JEFFERSCopyright:SHAUN JEFFERS PHOTOGRAPHY

Mangapuhoe Natural Bridge

Tuesday Travels

Last year I posted when we drove to the small coastal settlement of Awakino for lunch, and spoke about it being the last time that I would pass through the Awakino tunnel. Although it is not a big tunnel, the children always loved the echo of the car horn as we passed through it.

I have attached a link to an article about the closure of the tunnel and the opening of the new bypass. There are some beautiful photos for those of you wanting some more New Zealand scenery.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/300315332/50m-awakino-tunnel-bypass-days-away-from-opening

Wandering Wednesday . . .

I had to go to Otorohanga, the next town north of here, today to pick colours for my kitchen. I was a little early for my appointment so I pulled into a small park on the bypass road. I have never stopped there before, I guess because it’s only 15 minutes from home, but it is quite pleasant.

As you can see the trees are starting to change colour.

The park pays homage to one of our swamp birds the Pukeko. It’s an ungainly bird, but quite beautiful in its own way.

There’s a large iron statue in the swamp on the far side of the lake.

These are the real things

Although their beautiful blue doesn’t show up well in these photos.

And this is Lake Huiputea in the park.

Otorohanga is also home to the Kiwi House, which is an excellent outing. I took Kayden there during the school holidays in 2019, and will have to find the photos to share with you.

Tuesday Travels

Actually this was a trip we took on Sunday to the gold mining town of Waihi in the North Island of New Zealand. Pete had bought a 1988 Nissan flat deck ute for his fishing trips and we went to pick it up. Waihi has a rich, in more ways than one, history.

Waihi is New Zealand’s ‘Heart of Gold’, with a gold mining history spanning three centuries and a local open-pit mine that is still fully operational. The Ohinemuri River flows through Waihi on its way to the ‘must-do’ Karangahake Gorge. In the gorge you can fish for trout, take walks through old mining tunnels and relics, or cycle the Hauraki Rail Trail. Waihi Beach, just 10km from Waihi, offers 9km of sweeping white sand and is one of the safest surf beaches in New Zealand.

Waihi offers plenty of opportunities to explore, with old wooden buildings, museums and history aplenty in town and a beautiful white sand beach just a short drive away where you can relax or enjoy fishing and collecting shellfish. And best of all – there’s not a shopping mall in sight!

Having said that, there’s not much open on a Sunday including the local museum which was rather disappointing.

There is a Heritage train that runs between Waihi and Waikino at the eastern end of the spectacular Karangahake Gorge. This is something we didn’t have time for as the train had just left as we arrived, but we are planning to book a bach (crib) for a weekend soon and take Luke on the train ride.

So here are the photos of places we visited in our brief visit:

The open cast Martha mine in the centre of town. Waihī began as a shanty town around a store and a hotel in the 1880s. When the invention of the cyanide process made mining profitable from 1889, the town boomed. Waihī housed a thriving electronics industry for half a century after a small radio-manufacturing and repair service opened in 1932. The first television transmission in New Zealand was made at Waihī in 1954. Underground mining finished at the Martha mine in 1952. However, rising gold prices and new, more economic mining methods rekindled interest in gold mining in the 1980s. The Martha mine re-opened in 1987, this time as an open pit mine.

And the spectacular Karangahake Gorge:

It was a lovely drive, the ute was in mint condition, so a great day. The only disappointment, other than the museum being closed, was the amount of roadside rubbish in the gorge. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves!