AA Rescue and lunch at Browns Bay
AA to the rescue and A Beer at Browns Bay
(Some of the photos were taken by Henry and Ruby and I leave you to guess which ones they are.)
Our preparations for the arrival of our family including Emily, Gary, Henry and Ruby and our close friend Lauren, whom I have known since before she was born a few weeks before Emily, were completed. Camping gear, the cup-cakes we baked ready for Ruby’s Birthday Party in the air bnb in Auckland and the rest of our paraphernalia was all tucked away in Vicky the Volvo. The concept of air bnbs was new to us. These are homes located near to airports and rented to visitors, they do not cook breakfast for visitors.
We sat enjoying a sushi lunch and thinking of Ruby turning six during the flight coming over and the fact that Vicky was using a lot of coolant. The final signature went onto our visitor visa application form and all it needed now was a copy marriage cert that was in Emily’s case.
The rain poured down outside Pak n Save as we did a final food shop, Cyclone Debbie was still having an effect.
Fortunately it had stopped by the time we set off south towards Auckland to set up the party in the house before the family arrived. Well that was the plan.
Why do these things so often happen when travelling in the fast lane of a Highway? Once my windscreen was smashed as I went to overtake a lorry on the A1. Another time while in Canada we were travelling west towards Calgary when the coil beneath the bonnet of our Safari Landrover died a death and left us drifting towards the hard shoulder just hoping the following vehicles would take avoiding action. Today steam rose in threatening clouds from beneath the bonnet as we approached the northern Auckland area.
It was rush hour but the other motorists saw the steam too and let us migrate left to safety. A friendly policeman reassured us we could use the AA free of charge for a tow if we weren’t members and they would keep an eye on us both on motorway cameras and from his bike.
Thank goodness we had taken out AA cover before we left on our last trip. Soon the AA man arrived and started re-filling the coolant tank. On fuchsia jeaned knees I knelt looking upside down under the engine thought I spotted the cause. “Aha, yes it’s pouring out underneath,” thinking there was a leak.
“That’s because I’m spilling it,” came the reply. The tow truck arrived and hauled Vicky onto its back and with us in the cab we headed for the garage.
Browns Bay is a pleasant little seaside town. We supped coffee in Starbucks and then lunched on Monteiths Original and chips in an ‘english’ bar, knowing the family had arrived, while the garage did its stuff replacing an eroded coolant cap. Emily texted “We beat you” and we motored the rest of the way to see her standing at the window waiting for us.
The cabin crew on the Emirates Airline made Ruby a giant card and the Captain made the appropriate announcement and our sixth birthday party completed her celebrations.
The next day we met Caroline, a friend of Lauren’s, in Auckland and she became our guide for the day. We tasted some nice light bagels in the ‘Ugliest Bagel Bar’ and then shot to the viewing deck and restaurant of the Sky Tower for some fine views over the city and the sight of bungee jumpers plummeting to the soft landing at the foot of the tower. Rather them than me.
Devonport is a short ferry ride from the city and is a reminder of how Auckland may have looked a hundred years ago. The Patriot pub gave us a genuine warm welcome and we crowded around a table in the pretty garden for beer, chips and onion rings while the dual purpose umbrella kept first the sun and then the drizzle off us.
Jumping puddles in the park on the way back to the ferry we noticed an old oak tree with hundreds of yellow ribbons around its girth, “Tie a yellow ribbon round an old oak tree, if you still want me”, remember the song?
That evening we had a big family dinner along with Caroline knowing that the next morning we would collect the 6 berth campervan and the family adventure proper would begin.