Friday, February 13, 2015

Driving with Thelma... To Christchurch and Back. (Part 5)

Continuing with our trip from part 1part 2,  part 3,  and part 4

The last leg of the journey; nearly home….

If you have been following these entries you will want to know how it ended. I can tell you now that all was OK, but do read it anyway…

We woke early on Saturday morning. One could say we had a plane to catch but it was just as well it was for someone else not us because we would have missed it.
We were meeting Don at Wellington Airport.
Thelma had decided while in Christchurch that she (so that meant ‘we’) couldn’t drive home so we would need someone to do it for us. I had insisted that I could do it. This was why God had planned for me to be there; but Thelma cannot be talked around.
She paid for Don to fly down from Tauranga to drive us home. I had managed to change it to have him meet us in Wellington rather than Christchurch as it would have cost a fortune in flights and ferry tickets and Thelma let me change her mind.

So we rose with my alarm – well I did and she did eventually and walked Pepper. Thelma didn’t want to travel with my directions to the airport and insisted on using the GPS. I would have chosen the beautiful peaceful trip around the bays but the GPS sent us through town and the tunnel. And we arrived at the airport late - only half an hour.

The car park is huge and parking is always at a premium so we just went straight to "pick up".
Now either the signs are not clear or some people cannot follow instructions but suffice to say we didn’t go to the right part to meet/pick up Don.
“How odd!” I hear you say.
We ended up in a sort of ‘no go’ place for traffic unless you are a taxi, and a nice taxi driver tried to direct us to the right place. But some people just don’t seem to listen or follow instructions – do you know anyone like that?
OK we phoned Don and I called out to him when I saw him – someone I had never met before but could see it was him even if ‘others’ couldn’t… that sort of “Where are you look?”
With a sigh of relief – not too loud you understand – Thelma got into the back seat with Pepper and Don took over.

We filled with petrol and the offering of ice blocks (not at 8.30 in the morning thanks Thelma, before we have even had breakfast) and then we were on our way home. I could hardly wait to be in the safety and comfort of Harry’s arms. He informed me by txt that he would be there waiting….

Don decided that the first thing we would do would be to sort out the broken/missing side mirror. “No, you can’t do that. It’s an insurance Job.” Thelma said. Don just said he was not driving all the way to Tirau without one.

We stopped just out of Plimmerton for Peppers first comfort stop under a lot of flowering Pohutukawa. I had recently read in the Good magazine  that they were flowering in splendour this year.

We finally stopped for some breakfast at Paraparaumu at a little café called “Love a Coffee At the Palms” I just had a cheese scone and flat white while the others had eggs and bacon. We sat outside enjoying the late morning sun it was 9.45am.

It’s amazing what a man can do. I wish I had taken a pic, but Don bought an $8 curved mirror and a roll of strong tape from Repco at Otaki and taped up the mirror to the padded broken mirror, the mechanic had sorted for us at the time of the accident, and we had a side mirror far better than the BMW one, even if we did say so ourselves.

So from there on we just drove. On the Foxton straights we came upon a car that was being driven quite erratically. After following it for a while and watching it weave from one side of the road to the other sometimes going over the white lines Don decided it was time to let the police know and dialed *555. After talking to the traffic control center they asked for Don to stay on the line and keep a safe distance behind the car in front. So Don passed the phone to me and we followed the vehicle as it still continued to weave sometimes almost into oncoming traffic and I gave the police names of roads we passed. They had dispatched a police car and they wanted us to keep in contact with them and the offending car. When they finally caught up (Coming from the opposite direction) with their lights flashing, they pulled the car over. We were also asked to stay until the issue was sorted. It turned out that it was an elderly woman who had been on the road for a while and was contemplating a stop further up the road at Bulls. The police officer informed us that he hoped being pulled over would make her realise she was endangering others with her driving.

One really wonders how much one can have in adventures in a simple trip to Christchurch and back. I'm sure if we were a couple of young reckless teenagers we could have chosen to get up to a whole lot more mischief but we didn't plan for any of this!

We stopped at Taihape for a late lunch then continued on, stopping to have a good look at where the accident had been and take more photos of the mountains on the desert road.

We had another stop on the banks of Lake Taupo where there seemed to be a lot of different groups of people enjoying the waters in some way or another.

I must admit it was nice to sit and just relax while Don helped sort out Pepper with Thelma. I could just sort of forget about everything and just take in the scenery.

It is so easy to get caught up in the "stuff" going on around you, either the good and the bad, that you forget to stop and take a moment to really appreciate what is just there around you.
The events of the last week were certainly 'different' from anything I have experienced before and a bit of a learning curve for me in seeing the way other people are - to them quite normal. 

Sitting quietly on my own while Pepper was being catered for I came across a little family of Mallard ducks swimming by - well Mum and two ducklings. It was fun to watch her take them onto the lake and go out for a paddle. I couldn't help wonder what had happened to 'dad' and the other ducklings. They usually have at least eight ducklings in a clutch.

And for that reason I didn't even mentioned them to any dog owners near me for fear of having the last of her family disappear. I know it's a natural existence in the wild but I didn't want to be the cause of any more grief for this 'lady'.
I could almost relate with her in the fates we endure.

Back in the car (Don did all the driving from Wellington to Tirau - I did ask but he said he was fine) we made our last lap home stopping at Z Tauhara a new petrol station on the Taupo bypass. And why do I mention that - because they had the best petrol station toilets I had seen for awhile... and when you are traveling that means a lot.

Finally we arrive safely home driving through our gate and Harry was out to meet us.

I introduced Don to him and we unloaded my bag, pillow and jacket from the back of the car. I don’t know why she let her do it, but Thelma let Pepper out of the car without a leash and in a few short seconds Pepper had cornered on of our chooks and although she didn’t kill it there were feathers enough to stuff a cushion all around the lawn. We picked up the poor hen thinking at first it was dead but she was just in shock. Pepper was caught and put back into the BMW after it was sure she had “done her business”.

So now I really felt like it was time to just go our separate ways so with a brief hug and word of thanks Thelma and Don went on to their places and Harry and I just relaxed.

And what did I learn in all this?
I don’t know!!!
I will say that I believe I was to be there to support Thelma through it all. She may not have wanted me to drive but there were consequences for that and hopefully people will see that you need to take breaks when driving long distances. My patience was tested almost to the extreme and looking back I feel I sort of ‘passed’ but would add that it’s easy to see and say that now, but at the time it took a lot of talking to myself to control myself.

Would I do it again?
It’s hard to say.
It was lovely seeing and spending time with Katrina – even if it meant spending so much time helping her shift, but then it was great to be able to be there to help.
I was also able to have a brief time with Theresa and Kate.
But I would not want to do that trip again. No not at all.
So it’s a hard question to answer.

 It now seems a long time ago really though only a month so time is a great healer.

1 comment :

  1. Congratulations on surviving the trip and sharing it with us in your lovely writing style and pics