Kay kindly drove me to Auckland where I had booked into the YHA for the night. She had another engagement In Auckland during the afternoon so I didn’t feel she had driven there especially. The traffic is much heavier around NZ than I remembered 5 years ago!
I wasn’t due to go over to Devonport until the 2pm ferry to meet Shirley so I checked into the hostel, dumped my bags in a lock up and went for a wander down Queen Street. Quick bite to eat… some deep fried Mexican balls. Haha, they were nothing special! It took about 20 minutes to walk down to the wharf so I was at least an hour too early so popped into a quayside cafe and bought a croissant and a ginger beer and just sat and people-watched for a while. Eventually, I decided to get an earlier ferry and texted Shirley.
The crossing was beautiful – it was a hot day and there was a fantastic view of Auckland City looking back.
Shirley was there to meet me and we found a little cafe in town to relax and catch up. Shirley lives in Charlbury and I met her just last year through the Street Fair Committee and we have become firm friends. Shirley’s daughter married a Kiwi and she has now settled with her husband and two young children in Devonport. It was a delight when we realised our trips to NZ would overlap in Auckland by a couple of days.
Shirley then proceeded to show me round Devonport. But first I was drawn by a lovely sandy beach where I just had to paddle. If my togs were not locked up at the hostel I’d have been swimming!
We walked around the bay to the headland. The beach was full of shells washed up by the tide. The Navel Museum was on the Headland and after a quick look around, we headed back stopping to look round an excellent Seafront Gallery which we spied on the way.
Back in town, Shirley showed me the brand new Library which was beautifully designed in wood to emulate the sea, which was visible through its huge Windows. We walked on up through the town to another gallery where you were able to pull out individual panels of artists’ work.
By this time it was 5pm and we were ready for a Sav and settled ourselves in a pre-chosen restaurant for dinner. Shirley’s daughter, Amanda, who had been on a course at the University in Auckland all day, joined us for drinks and it was interesting chatting to her. She loved my artwork and suggested promoting it in NZ. That would be great Amanda! I can’t believe we didn’t take any pictures here but Amanda loved my veggie watercolours and was interested in having one in her new kitchen…. so here is one she particularly liked…
On that note, and finally after a huge calamari meal we had to say our goodbyes and Shirley saw me off on the ferry. Thank you for a lovely afternoon Shirley and enjoy the rest of your stay in New Zealand!