Posts Tagged ‘Photos’

Thursday morning was a bleary-eyed and very tired one.  The wind had come up over night and the tent had been pummeled and buffeted along with squally heavy rain AND the noise from the surf on the beach down below us.  Something about the three sounds together meant that we (being me and Josie) got barely any sleep, dropping off for short periods then waking again soon after.  The girls managed to sleep through it all of course, whilst we emerged from our tent thinking that maybe we’d have been better off using all the guys and ensuring they were all pulled tight before we tucked in for the night.  Note to self:  If a tent is made with eighteen guy ropes, use eighteen guy ropes.

The previous day we’d seen a sign for ‘Northland Field Days’ just a few km away outside Dargaville and wondered what it was and if it would hold any interest for us.  We’d loosely aimed to get quite a bit further north, but decided to check out the Field Days and stay for a few hours if it was worth it.

A brief stop at an i-Site (tourist information) confirmed that the Field Days sounded hugely exciting!  A bit like a county show in the UK, Natalie was especially excited (even more so than Josie if such a thing is possible) as the whole agricultural/country-side theme is something she’s been around her whole life.

As it was the first day and still a weekday, the show wasn’t overly busy, but still very well attended.  Josie read somewhere that these Field Days, which take place around the country, are a significant economic indicator.  Farmers really do go there to buy new tractors and barns and stuff.  If people are spending money in the rural economy, the whole economy is good apparently.

The first exciting thing we stumbled across was Doug the Digger.  A mini digger set-up for kids to use.  I’m not talking a kids version – this is a proper digger you could use on a building site.  The brilliant guy manning the stand invited the girls up and Lucy charged at it.  Strapped into the seat, wearing her hi-viz, the man helped her to move the bucket and the arm.  Once Lucy had led the way, Emily reluctantly climbed up, but once she was in she forgot herself and loved it.  The man changed his patter to suit Emily’s age, a very rare skill for adults, to correctly pitch their jokes and teasing at the right level given the rapid changes kids go through as they grow.  He was more hands-off with Emily and let her control the digger without him helping.  How often do you get that kind of experience?

We split up for while leaving Rob and Nat to watch some Spanish Riding (which turned out to be english dressage by a Nana in a Spanish dress) whilst we took the kids to the Fonterra tent for some free dairy products and colouring in.  The kids managed to get some temporary tattoos all the way up their arms of various Fonterra brands whilst we were in there, which then stuck around for days and days and days.

After joining up again we were all starting to flag so headed for food with thoughts of an early exit.  Finding an angus beef stand we ordered some burgers and sausages.  It was startling how stupid the woman serving us was.  We had a ticket which quite clearly showed we had ordered 3 burgers and two sausages.  She seemed unable to match up the ticket with the food being presented to her from the grill.  First we got one burger, then two sausages, then we said we wanted two more burgers, so she tried to take the sausages away.  We explained the order was three burgers, so she gave the next two to the woman behind us in the queue.  We explained we had ordered three, so she tried to give us three more.  I was losing patience and civility by this point but thankfully (whether by coincidence or judgement) she managed to finally get our order right.

Before we left I really wanted to go and catch a fire brigade demonstration of what happens when you pur water on burning oil.  This is something everyone should see (watch the video for the critical moment!) as it’s so impressive.  Rob also had a go on a drink-driving awareness game, which involves a test of dexterity and coordination whilst wearing some goggles which disorientate you as if you were a bit drunk.  The woman who went before him showed barley any difference in her performance – used to it maybe!  Rob however, managed to entertain everyone by falling on his backside.  This attracted the attention of a local reporter who interviewed Rob for one of the smaller Northern papers.

Our final adventure of the day was to have a ride in a cherry picker owned by the power company.  A fifteen meter high ‘bucket’ used for working on live lines – the man explained to Emily and Lucy that the shaft was made of fibreglass and that his working day was spent in this ting working on live 11,000 volt power lines!  They hadn’t got a clue what he was talking about, but I was very impressed.

A few hours turned out to be enough for little people and big people who hadn’t had any sleep.  We really can’t recommend going along to one of these Field Days enough if you get the chance.  A fantastic day out and amazing value at just $10 for adults to get in.  Doug and the bucket ride were free and there were some great deals inside as well.

For us it was time to move on and strike north.  We weren’t sure how far we’d get having had our detour, but we had a full tank of gas, we were wearing shades and eating M&Ms.

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Time for some photos!  Where the North Shore ends there is a natural hill called North Head.  During the war it was a gun emplacement and the historic tunnels and some of the guns are still there.  It’s all open to the public and a great place to go on a sunny spring day.  On this particular spring day Josie and her running buddy had run from Torbay all the way down to North Head.  They’d stretched it out to a 21km run to prepare for the Auckland half-marathon some weeks later.

We timed the arrival of the rest of the family and some other friends to the end of their run and all had a picnic up on the side of the hill, looking out over Cheltenham beach.

The kids had such a fun time, firstly rolling and sliding down the steep grass banks and then investigating tunnels and caves, spotting submarines and firing imaginary guns at boats that weren’t there to win a war I hope they’ll never have to understand the reality of.

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