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What if the Hokey-Pokey is what it's all about?

by Pamela Blalock

Everybody runs for Hokey-Pokey
Hear the ringing on the ice-cream bell
He's got the stuff that'll cool you right down
It's the best that they ever did sell

I can't say I agree with Richard Thompson about Hokey-Pokey flavour ice-cream, but I sure do like the real fruit ice cream you can get here in the land of Hokey-Pokey ice-cream. They take regular vanilla ice-cream, some fresh fruit of your choice and put it in a mixing machine that turns it into soft serve right into a cone. It is one of our favourite things about New Zealand! So if you've been worried that we are really miserable here thanks to recent diary entries, let me put that worry to rest. Despite all our reasons for planning to move home, this is still a lovely place to be, and a lovely place to come on holiday.

The weather has turned nice again. The weather only sucks here in the early spring. Summer has warm dry days and cool nights - the same for autumn, just a few degrees cooler, and the same again for winter, with it a bit cooler still, but still warm enough to eat lunch outside. It does rain a bit in the winter, but the fine days far outnumber the rainy ones. Spring is wet and raw. But that's now behind us, and we've had long spells of really fine weather - in Nelson at least. Nelson is an ideal spot for fine weather, surrounded on three sides by protective mountains which keep the nasty stuff at bay!

Now that we've decided to head home in a few months, we are treating our remaining time here as a well deserved sabbatical. We are still finishing work on the house, and we do consider this a reasonable job. In the end, we should even make some money on the house, so all the work we've put into it over the last year could be considered real employment.

Of course we are also taking our play time seriously and making a real effort the get the most out of our Kiwi Experience. I've got flyers up at various bike shops about our Betty rides and heard from an American gal as a result of one of the flyers. Eva was here for two weeks, seeking some nice weather for sea kayaking and bike riding before heading off on an organised tour starting in Christchurch. She had arranged to rent both road and mountain bikes from Natural High here in Nelson, and joined us for several days of doing both. We had an absolutely fabulous time showing off some of our favourite routes, and coffee stops, and just really enjoyed having a few all day outings. We are actually pretty good tour guides for the area, and have even shown the locals some new roads. So for all you folks who have considered coming for a visit, now is the time. The best weather is from February through April, so call your travel agent now!

The Betty rides are continuing, although they haven't quite gained in numbers as I had hoped. My original thought was a recreational club might grow out of the effort, but our numbers have levelled off in the last few months. Given all the other activities we have planned in coming months, we'll likely end up not having rides every week, but if the others want to continue, we'll certainly still post info on the website and try to keep things going and growing.

Susan is coming back in January and she's bringing Maureen. We have plans to hike the Heaphy and the Queen Charlotte tracks. My knee has been tender since last year's efforts and especially so after our tramp on the Wangapeka. I've seen a doctor and a physiotherapist and have an appointment with a knee specialist next month. I've made some progress with the physio, so hopefully I can make it through two weeks of tramping in January. We've got plans to do the Milford and Routeburn in April!

With all that in mind, I've been trying to break the boots in some more, and we've been back out walking some of our local tracks, like Grampians and the Cable Bay Walkway. We will try to get in a couple of overnight walks before Susan arrives in the middle of January.