Again another month is upon me and my need to write. Frankly I thought I have little to say. The committee is just getting back into the swing of, well, being a committee again. And I thought I would write to you all about what we are up to; however it is too premature, many thoughts, still need fruitions.
One thing that is pressing on my mind however is the loss to the New Zealand Peugeot Community Sven and Coby Slager are going to be when they return to the Netherlands later this year. In their time in our country they have been members of both the Auckland and Wellington Clubs, fantastic organisers of interclub events and Sven in particular has been a great organiser of many rallies for us to enjoy in Taranaki, even if slightly prone to missing an occasional route instruction out in his navigation trail instructions. Sven has also been the owner of the most roadworthy if not the most 404s at any one time, all being close to immaculate. Sven also imported a 202 and a 504 Coupe from the Netherlands, I believe both being the only road legal examples in this country, possibly the only examples of each in this country. The 202 now resides in the South Island, the 504s future is still being negotiated, it may make it back to the Netherlands or it may stay with a new owner. I think it is only fitting we acknowledge their positive impact upon our community.
Thank you Sven and Coby, you will be missed.
On my own rambles Mandy and I have recently had three days/two nights away at Mangawhai Heads. We had a wonderful time. A highlight was travelling a little further north and getting wet and muddy in the Waipu Caves. They are free, you can touch, smell and experience them, just don’t go after or during high rainfall. We got into the car park behind a few large groups of people, but by the time they fluffed around Mandy and I were into the caves with headlamps on, around the darkened corners and into a cavern where we turned our lamps off and stood in the dark marvelling at the glow-worms for some time. We could see that we could go deeper again but were a little cautious as we could see the only way to proceed was within the underground stream. We thought better of it, so stayed put to enjoy the free ceiling light show for longer. Eventually the hordes arrived. Some groups were led by individuals experienced in the caves. They soon passed us, into the stream to deeper recesses. This of course peaked our curiosity so in we went too, Mandy being shorter got water up to her knees, me being taller had it above the knees. How does that work the logical amongst you are asking? Well it is like this, I went into the middle of the stream to avoid as much as possible the need to bend where the cave roof is low, Mandy being shorter could travel at the sides. We explored a number of offshoots including some that looped back into the main cavern, clambered on and over stalagmites and in places could reach stalactites. It was an incredible experience, even more so to think we weren’t banned from doing it, touching etc and it was all free. Just don’t forget to take a torch and old clothes if you don’t mind getting muddy.
As for Cafes I have now finally stopped at the Eutopia Cafe in Kaiwaka, having admired and wondered about its different architecture for years. What can I say? The food and coffee were good; the service was lousy – some of the worst, if not the worst I have ever experienced. Would I recommend it, well yeah, nah, or that’s a yes and no using the old language.
I would recommend stopping, having a look, maybe even using their bathroom, exploring both the interior of the cafe and its outside courtyards. They are a delight for the eye. But would I bother ordering from them again? Maybe I would give them another chance in ten years’ time, but right now I would recommend heading back up the hill and getting food and coffee from La Nonna – the Italian Bakery instead.
Oh and at Mangawhai it is hard to go past Bennetts Café. They give you real chocolate on a stick to melt into your coffee when you order a Mocha, it costs $1.50 more than just a coffee, but so worth it!