As tempted as I am, I have decided not to write about the recent away weekend in Taranaki – almost – but it will get a mention later. In the meantime I know Don Howarth has written his version of the event and hopefully Robert Morgan has too – who I delegated the duty to do so while we were away. Hopefully you will also have just seen me at our prizegiving and afternoon tea and you are planning to see us at the Navigation Trial that Don Hadfield has set out for us this month in our challenge with and against Citroen.
We have a new member, Mark Heimgartner, who has a RCZ-R, a very exciting automobile. Welcome to the club, hope to see you at an event soon – perhaps the Navigation Trial?
We have also lost Nick Watson. This is where I have a say on the weekend away. Unlike many who travelled for three nights in New Plymouth, I had two, with a night in Turangi on both sides of the weekend. After leaving Hillsborough (in Taranaki – not the Auckland suburb!) at the end of the rally I proceeded to Stratford for a bite to eat and a stroll along the main street, with Mum and Dad and took the Forgotten Highway to Taumarunui. (As it turned ou,t so did Greg who was heading for Taupo in his bright yellow 404 utility). At Taumarunui I tracked down Nick and Shona and knocked on their door, got us invited in for a coffee and I got to drive the 403 around the extended block. When I say tracked them down it did involve a bit of detective work:– the telephone was his old work number so it didn’t connect. I tried to connect through Facebook messenger; he didn’t have it turned on, so it came down to memory. When we had the last interclub with Wellington, Nick had us gallivanting around town answering various questions during which I noticed the unusual architecture of the Catholic Church and commented on it to him, at which point he revealed that they lived close to it. Based on that year-old memory I drove the streets in the vicinity and must have taken the longest route to find them being on the final leg of the figure 8 when we spotted a house with a 406 parked on the road outside – the first glimpse of success, quickly followed by the sighting of a 403 parked up the driveway. Cracked it!
Knock on the door and am welcomed in. Nick and Shona had literally just got married at the beginning of the weekend (strangely enough in New Plymouth) and I suspect that Tom, Diane and myself were their first uninvited visitors. We took the opportunity to have a natter, drink their coffee and carry on to Turangi refreshed. Whilst there I wished them well with their marriage and life ahead together and then on behalf of the club thanked Nick for his services to the club. In particular when he lived in Auckland he was on the committee (and appeared to be a big fan of 205 GTis). We lost him when he shifted to the South Island, but got him back when he came back to the North (with a fleet of older Peugeots – not a 205 to be seen). He hosted us and the Wellington Peugeot Club for our biennial competitions/get togethers, arranged dinners at the local RSA (always a highlight) and BBQs at the vintage car club, lunches at remote schools, had us staying at the old Ohura Prison and driving on two way roads that are so thin that grass grows in the middle where no tyres could reach! His Navigation Trials were always challenging but rewarding and the gymkhana events great too. On our last trip there he introduced us to Shona and she was introduced to us. For those of us that have experienced his weekends away on roads less travelled he will be missed, let’s hope we get him back from Australia in a few years’ time again!
And finally a little food report. Nick and Shona sent us away with some of their wedding biscuits. One of Shona’s friends had arranged for a number of commercially made gingerbread biscuits which were individually iced. They came in a variety of sizes including a rear view of the 403 with cans rattling off the bumper, another of his 404 ute and a third design which captured the 403 front and side on. They were delicious.