Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Driving with Thelma... To Christchurch and Back. (Part 4)

Continuing on from the previous post of our trip...

I thought coming home would be a lot less eventful – but no not really.
We were to leave Christchurch at 5.00am and so I was packed and ready the night before, so I just needed to get up and shower the next morning.
It was a lovely morning and I even managed some breakfast and my bible reading.
At 5.20am I got a txt from Thelma to say that somehow her GPS had her on the road to Timaru (that’s 157 kilometres southwest of Christchurch – we are going north) so she would be a bit late.

I thought that might now make the trip a little pushing to get to the ferry in time if anything else happened and prayed that we would make it with no problems. I snuggled on top of the bed with Katrina for a last sort of goodbye. I don’t know when I will see her next so just a bit sad.

Finally Thelma arrived with the help of directions from her son at the local police station – must have been by phone so goodness only knows what they all thought of that – being police officers!!! Thelma wanted to drive "just to build her confidence" she said and so we started the journey to Picton.
As usual she chatted all the way and I settled into concentrating on the road and what she was doing with her hands and the gadgets while we drove.

We arrived at Cheviot (which is 114 km north of Christchurch and 72 km south of Kaikoura on State Highway 1) at 8.00am so we had made good time. We had to let Pepper out for her usual time to do her “business” and have drink. Thelma had not had her breakfast so she wanted to find something to eat. After checking one café that didn’t meet her needs we found The Paddock Café and Bar and had a nice filled roll and coffee.

I was then able to drive and Thelma continued to talk as we journeyed on with Thelma being a little worried at anything a little different in the road and not really being confident with my driving. She had contacted me a few days ago saying that she was going to get Don (a friend) down to drive us home at quiet an extra expense. I was able to persuade her to at least let me drive to Picton and then we could cross on the ferry. I suggested that maybe the reason why I had come with her was because I was going to be needed to drive the car for her. Not that God made the accident happen but He knew there was a need for me to be there.
Picton Terminal

So we were going to make our way to the ferry, cross over and have tea with Theresa and her family and then spend the night at my parents. We would then drive to the airport and pick up Don from the airport where he would drive us home. Straight forward enough surely…

Well I managed to have Thelma let me take charge with only one more stop for Pepper and we got to the ferry at 12.00 with plenty of time. We waited in line, Pepper had another walk and we were on board by 1.00pm for the 1.15 sailing.
Thelma out on deck

Once again Thelma managed to get a kennel for Pepper even though this time we were inside the boat. Up in the premier lounge again we settled in and had some lunch; macaroni cheese and salad and/or rice and beef goulash.
In the Kaitaki Plus lounge
And we waited.
 We waited and waited and finally over the loud speak came the request for drivers of certain vehicles to return to their cars etc… surely not us. No it wasn’t us but Thelma had to just go and check. It turned out that the ferry was once again fully booked and the loading of cars had not been ‘tight’ enough so some vehicles needed to be moved closer together to allow the full capacity of cars etc. to be loaded on.

Finally ¾ hour late we left Picton. The captain announced that he was sorry but the tide was with us and we would be using full throttle so he hoped to make up time and be there by 4.55pm.
Salmon farming in the Marlborough Sounds

It was a lovely sunny day with a smooth trip.

Seal just surfacing (far right)
Out on deck at one stage we saw a poor seal swimming close by but every time it surfaced for air a flock of seagulls would try to attack it.

The captain was right, we were in our cars waiting to disembark by 4.55pm so we had made up 25 minutes, just as well you don’t get tickets for speeding on the water!

As we left a friendly crew member waved out to me with a 'thumbs up' and I smiled with raised eyebrows as we drove off. I had met him when we first drove on and parked inside the ferry and we had chatted about my journey so far while Thelma had fussed around. He had been part of the crew to make sure everyone sort of got out of their vehicles and made their way upstairs and so because of our delay he was checking to see we were alright. Thelma saw his smile and thumbs up and remarked that, "You have a friend there Fiona, what have you been up to?" hmm, if only she really knew!

We popped up to my parents leaving Pepper safely inside to rest and then enjoyed tea at Theresa and her family's so I could have lots of cuddles with darling Kate.

We had another early start tomorrow to pick up Don from the airport so didn't stay too long.

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