Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another little trip

We went to the Waikato yesterday for a family party (an engagement party) and spent the night at my mother-in-law’s before heading back today. It’s a nice, easy drive from Auckland, but we thought it would be a bit much to drive home late at night, so we decided to stay.

The party was held in a community hall, which every rural community over a certain size seems to have. This one was typical of many I’ve been in—an older frame building with really basic amenities and no fans (and certainly no air conditioning). The point of such gatherings isn’t the location, of course.

I’ve always enjoyed these country get-togethers, drawing, as they do, so many people from so many walks of (mostly) rural life. It makes for a really interesting time. Large city get-togethers aren’t “worse”, of course, they’re just different and maybe a bit more homogenous in some ways.

If you follow State Highway 2 through to Paeroa, you see a lot of typical rural North Island life—typical, at least, for the Waikato. The area is a living billboard for the “0800 GO DAIRY” television ads trying to get people to go into dairy farming (which, apparently, has a severe shortage of workers). I didn’t take any photos because I haven’t yet seen one that does justice to the area, with its wide open spaces.

At any rate, we have family and friends throughout the area and really like going there for visits. Sooner or later, there’s bound to be a chance to take a decent photo.

On our way home, we stopped at the Copper Kettle in Ngatea for lunch. It’s not for nothing that they say “You can’t go past us… without stopping”. The food and coffee is always great and we like to stop there on the way to or from Auckland. Owners Terry and Dennis are friends of ours, and real pillars of their community. So having that custard tart (as we always do) isn’t naughty—it’s, um, supporting the community—yeah, that’s it.

Tomorrow is Auckland Anniversary Day, a statutory holiday and one of the last of summer (though summer itself still has more than a month to go). So, we may have had a night away, but we still have a full day left in our weekend. To me, that’s just about perfect. And so was the trip.

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