Posts Tagged ‘Browns Bay’

Santa Parade

So we missed the official Santa Parade in the middle of Auckland due to StartUp Weekend.  However, the girls still got to go thanks to lovely friends – and they had a fab time.

Today however was the Browns Bay Santa Parade, an altogether more intimate affair.  The most exciting thing today, was that due to Emily’s membership of cubs she got to be part of the parade!  The cubs were riding along on one of the clubs cutters, squirting the crowd with water pistols and generally having a great time.

Take a look at a few of the shots from today’s parade and see if you can spot Emily on the boat.  It seems that somewhere near the end of the whole thing the fire men decided to compete with the cubs water pistols and got their hoses out, drenching the little mites – who utterly loved it of course.

Special mention has to go to the people who brought along an actual real live donkey.  The dress-up camel was pretty awesome as well.

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I just noticed that we have a new follower on the blog.  Hello – you know who you are!

It’s prompted me into signing in and putting some new photos up.  Strangely enough the photos are from exactly the same walk as the last post in July.

It’s spring here now and the weather was glorious today, so we did some jobs then spent the afternoon walking to Brown’s Bay along the rocks.

This was the first real outing for my new camera.  I’ve replaced my trusty, but slightly older Canon 450d with a Canon 700d and 15-85 zoom lens.  In general it’s newer and better in a number of ways.  Most significantly it can capture video but that’s still to come.  Although the controls are virtually identical to my previous camera, it’s still taking a little bit to get used to.  the other one had really become part of my body and I could fly around the controls without looking in split seconds.

Anyway, here are a good selection of shots from the walk.

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Our girls are great walkers, no doubt about it.  We’ve been up Rangitoto a couple of times and round the mud pools in Rotorua and just last week a nice stroll in the bush.  One of our favourite local walks is a low tide walk along the rocks to Brown’s Bay.

Yesterday we were having breakfast and the sun was streaming in through the windows and there was an air of adventure around the table so we looked up the tide times (I now have a tide calculator app on my phone) and low tide was hitting around 11am.  Absolutely perfect for us to get our stuff together and take a really nice long meander along the waterfront to Brown’s Bay looking in rock pools and finding crabs.  We had a couple of books to return to Brown’s Bay library and needed supplies from the scoopy shop (also know as Bin Inn – a bulk buy shop that sells dried fruit etc.)  We had a plan!

Setting off we only had a vague idea that we might try and walk the whole way.  In our heads it was far more likely that we’d get a bus back from Brown’s Bay instead.

So we ambled off down to the beach, across the sand (getting a closer look at our exciting new swim pontoon for summer!) and onto the rocks.

The kids are just brilliant ages for this activity now.  They are old enough to walk confidently on the uneven surface and still completely absorbed by the whole thing.  Looking in rock pools, spotting exciting things.  The first rock pool we can to we spotted a little fish.  Something we’ve never done before in previous rock pool visits.

The pace was necessarily very slow along this part of the trip because it was all about the adventure, we had plenty of time to get where we were going.  As we wandered we used a trick that our lovely native Kiwi friends had taught us of upending rocks to discover what was underneath.  It’s very exciting because sometimes although sometimes you’ll get nothing at all, the jackpot is finding a load of crabs.  They are all hiding under the rocks having a nice relaxing stretch of the claws and then they all scatter in all directions.  The kids love it!  (So do Josie and I as a matter of fact)  On a side note I just looked up the collective noun for crabs.  There appears to be no consensus, although the words ‘Cast’ and ‘Bushel’ do seem to be suggested a fair bit.  Although ‘Consortium’ and ‘dose’ were both also suggested.  I think ‘dose’ might be referring to a different sort of crab though…

Where was I?  Oh yes, lifting up rocks.  I have no idea what sort of crabs these fellas were, but they had huge disproportionate claws to their body size.  Emily suggested that they may have been called “Big Pincer Crabs”.  Given the way most other fish seem to be named in the Australasian region, I reckon she might be spot on.  Whoever named all the fish down here would have been brilliant on Roy Walker’s “Catchphrase”… “Say what you see…”  Red fish with a big fin?  It’s a big-finned red fish…  maybe.

Half way along we heard a strange sound like  wave breaking, but behind us, and turning round we spotted a few loose pieces of the cliff face rattling down.  This was a great lesson for the girls, because ever since we started walking these routes with them we’ve emphasised the need to stay a good distance from the cliff face.  There has been one death from falling rocks since we’ve been here, although we were well aware of the potential dangers before that happened.  On this occasion it was a few pebbles and they fell harmlessly a good safe distance from us.  For the rest of the walk Lucy kept saying she was going to stay away from the cliff.  Practical lesson reinforced.

In the end we did our chores and stopped for refreshments.  Ice cream, milkshake, coffee and muffins at our favourite cafe in Browns Bay,Ben Gusto, at the Northern End of the main street.  As an aside, I recently had  fantastic coffee in a place in Takapuna and asked them which roaster they use.  It’s the same one as Ben Gusto, Supreme Coffee and I have to say that I think it’s probably the best tasting coffee I’ve had in New Zealand.  I’m going to see if I can mail-order some for the house.

Despite having already clocked up a few kms the kids insisted on a play on the playground and larked around on the roundabout for a while.  Josie and I sat on a bench nearby and had a bit of a ‘we live here’ moment, because it felt like the sort of day we used to only have when on holiday.

We set off home again and took the cliff path, because by now the water was coming up and our route back on the rocks was slowly being covered by the incoming tide.

Our route along the low tide line rockpooling and back along the cliff path

Just before writing this post I mapped our route in MapMyRun and discovered to my surprise we’d actually covered over 5km once you looked at our route around the shops. Oops. No wonder the kids were buggered. Still, they managed it brilliantly and only got a little grumbly in the last section home.  Nevertheless they still walked it all under their own steam anyway. Proud Mum and Dad!

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It’s been over a month since my last post.  That is truly dreadful, I feel quite ashamed.

A couple of weekends ago it was New Zealand Father’s Day.  It’s a different date to the UK version.  Josie got the kids all excited and whipped up into a frenzy… a week early.  She tried to tell Emily she’d made a mistake, but it didn’t stop Em bursting in on Sunday morning around 7am, shouting “Happy Father’s Day Daddy!”

A week later on the correct weekend I was truly shown a magnificent day of appreciation.  It started earaly in the morning with a written note.  The note had a big ‘L’ drawn on it and the words “lovely presents from Lucy’.  I got some fantastic choccies and biscuity stuff that Lucy had made at day care and then I got another note with an ‘E’ on it.  “Lovely presents from Emily” followed.

Very excitingly I got a Sushezi Sushi making device.  It’s an amazing thing.  It resembles an artifical insemination device you might find on a farm.  Thankfully the stuff that comes out of it is much more tasty… You boil and season your rice as normal and then load up the tube like device with 1/2 a cup or so.  You can then use part of it to make a channel in your rice and load up some filling.  As the tube is kind of split in half lengthways the final stage is to press the two halves together and then turn the screw thread plunger to compress the sushi to just the right consistency.  Once done, you can just push a perfectly formed sushi ‘sausage’ out onto some seaweed and roll it up.  Hey presto – perfect sushi.

Anyway, back to father’s day.  More notes and getting dressed, we headed out to a cafe for some yummy food.  The girls took the opportunity to make the most of the skatepark thanks to the early morning and slightly overcast weather.  Some kind soul from the previous day had smashed a bottle on the park and that was going to be really bad for any of the kids that would descend later in the day.  Looking around I spied the most likely source of a broom – The Salvation Army!  A very nice porter leant me a truly huge holy broom with which I smited the glass bottle right off the park.

The day progressed and we headed into town to visit our newly opened art gallery.  It is truly fantastic – they have done an amazing job of renovating the old part of the building and adding a lovely new part.  We stayd for ages and grabbed some nice food hall lunch before heading off.

After briefly pausing to watch some boys doing Parkour (and the girls having to have a go of course) we decided to make the final call of the day to the Wynyard Quarter.  This is an area of waterfront in Auckland that has sat undeveloped and somewhat derelict for years.  In time for the Rugby World Cup they have done an amzing job of renovating it and putting in public areas for play, rest, eating and drinking, contemplation and mediation.  Art works and sculptures sit alongside huge benches on wheels that make use of the dock areas old rails.  Really thoughtful.

I have to say it was the most lovely day of feeling loved by my girls. 🙂

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