Wheel alignment

Monday 5 December 2011

A motorcycle-free weekend!

It was Jennie's birthday last Friday and our kids, bless 'em, wanted to share in it so we were away for a couple of nights enjoying their company.  We're truly blessed in that not only do we have a fantastic relationship with our kids, their partners are wonderful people and great mates too.

Friday saw Jennie and I drive to Auckland via the scenic route, stopping for a lazy lunch in a little village and then exploring the waterfront east of Auckland city.  Not only does the city itself have a beautiful, big harbour but you can get to some lightly populated beaches within a 40 minute or so drive.

 Maraetai Beach, near Auckland
hardly a soul about!

Waiheke Island car ferry from Bucklands Beach Peninsula

We stayed with our younger son and daughter-in-law and on Saturday, Jennie took off for a marathon shopping session with our Auckland-based daughter (6 hours - a guy would be demented within the first 30 minutes, haha), whilst I headed into the city with our son and D-I-L to look at car baby seats for their imminent arrival.  Enough of this domestic stuff, other than to say that crikey, there are some real high tech devices available in the baby market these days.  Recaro, long-time manufacturers of internationally-renowned sports car and rally seats have tapped into the child restraint market.  By the prices they charge, I'd imagine that the child market is their biggest profit centre!!!

The title of the post isn't 100% accurate as I needed to visit Auckland's premier motorcycle accessories store to pick up a new Pinlock anti-fog visor insert for my helmet.  The old one had lasted for the best part of 4 years but was getting slightly scratched which caused a bit of starring at night.  This was my first visit to the current location and I was impressed with their service and range of products.  A bike on a display stand caught my eye - this is it:

The McIntosh Suzuki

Anyone around the world who has a strong interest in classic motorcycle racing will know the name of Kiwi engineer Ken McIntosh who is one of the world's top restorers of Manx Nortons.  However, his talents were, and still are much broader than that.  In the early 1980's he collaborated on a project with an extraordinary rider, Dr Rodger Freeth.  Rodger Freeth was a senior lecturer in Astrophysics at university in Auckland who brought the rigours of science to the art of motorcycle riding and racing.  The McIntosh Suzuki F1 superbike was the result of this collaboration and it's fair to say that it pretty much won every race it took part in for a few years.  Its speed was devastating and in 1983 at Bathurst in Australia, it was clocked within a fraction of 300 km/hr!  What a privilege to see it again after all this time.

After the shopping, it was time to drive to the Auckland waterfront for lunch.  Driving through the suburb of Ponsonby, this old building took my eye.  It looks like the odd wedge shape design was to deliberately fit into the tight intersection between two roads!

Lovely old building

Auckland City centre from Mission Bay

A long lunch at the waterfront suburb of St Heliers followed.  Great service, great food and a favourite pastime of people-watching!  The "hill" in the background of the photo below is Rangitoto, an extinct (we hope)  island volcano in the outer harbour which was formed some 600 years ago.  A bit recent for my liking!

Our younger son and daughter in law waiting for lunch

Jennie's Xmas "shop 'till you drop" trip was a spectacular success from her viewpoint  inasmuch that the spoils wouldn't fit in her sports car for the trip home so it's a good job we'll be back in Auckland next weekend for another function with the 4x4!  That evening, we all went out for a Chinese banquet in the suburb of Kingsland.  A very ordinary, even slightly down at heel frontage with plain décor inside.  However, the clue to the wonderful reputation of this place for authentic cooking was that most of the patronage was Chinese.  Suffice to say that it was reasonably-priced, exquisite tasting and in quantities which defeated us. Special honours go to the Salt and Pepper Squid dish for anyone who is motivated to visit the Canton Cafe!

Sunday brought yet another special family occasion with a drive to the city of Hamilton to attend the baptism of our gorgeous grandchildren from our eldest son and partner .  Four other families were taking part  in the ceremony and it was an absolutely delightful occasion with all the children behaving impeccably!

All in all, a wonderful weekend and one largely without bikes too!  As a fabulous postscript, our daughter sat her final examination this morning (oral in front of a high-powered panel) for professional registration as a clinical psychologist.  She rang a short time ago and from her comments, it sounds like she aced it.  Unbelievably proud parents!


  1. Congratulations on your daughters achievement. Be proud! It's amazing isn't it. Watching these creatures make there ways in the world, is humbling and awesome, isn't it. Yes, indeed be a proud parent!

    As always great photos. Thanks for the share and I'm glad to hear that you will now only have stars in the sky to at instead of stars on your visor to look through :)

  2. Thanks very much indeed Keith. All three of our kids have done well and have been motivated without us being pushy parents. However, our greatest pride is that they're all hugely compassionate and funny with strong personal values and we love 'em to bits.

    Seeing stars through decking the bike at night is another set of stars we might now avoid!!!

  3. Great to see you showing Jenni the beautiful east. Just 15 minutes bike ride from home and and a beautiful location. Next time pop down to Pine Harbour marina, great little pub and well wort wondering around the boats there. The piers are under camera survillance but are not gated. You would of driven past the road that takes you down there.

    Canton Cafe.....a place I have been to many times and as you have said high recommeded. (It helps to that Mandarin is Terrys native tounge), Glad to see you enjoying some of what JAFA land has to offer. Perhaps you should visit more often?

  4. Rog:
    I remarked to Jennie that you'd recommended Pine Harbour previously and the intent was to go there but somehow, we missed the turn! Country yokels, sigh....

    Yeah, Auckland is a great place if it wasn't for the residents, hehe. Our son and daughter in law were bad enough poking fun every time I got the camera out! We'll take you and Terry up on the kind offer of a feed in the New Year. We'll provide the wine as you JAFA's wouldn't know a decent plonk from a sparkling grape juice ;-)

  5. Fantastic....really looking forard to the feijoa wine......

  6. Geoff:

    Nice to share a weekend with family and get to ride with Jenny in the car with civilized conversation and without the inconveniences of all that gear/helmet "stuff". Congrats also to your daughter for her achievement ! Chip off the old block . . .

    Riding the Wet Coast

  7. Bob:
    Yep, I'm certainly not complaining!

    Thanks re: Victoria but I can reveal she repeatedly tells me that she inherited both her mother's looks and brains!!

  8. Aye Geoff

    ...even in a motorcycle "free" weekend , had to get a motorcycle in the show somewhere ..lol


  9. What a great weekend. It is possible to have good times on four wheels. Just look at the great picture you have of Jennie at the beach.

    Congrats to your daughter on her oral examination.

  10. Andrew:
    Yes indeed - and a pretty special one too.

    Can't argue with that - great company, great food.... there's a time and place for all of that as long as it doesn't involve me trailing along through women's clothing shops :-).

    Thanks very much. She hears the result officially tomorrow but there's been a bit of nodding and winking going on already!

  11. Mark [Marcus Argentus of MV]6 December 2011 at 16:13

    Well, well... At this number of visits north of the Bombays in such a short time you will have to apply for "honorary Jafa-ship". Sorry but you'll never get to be a Rangitoto Yank - have to have been born on the isthmus - excludes the Shore and those reaches beyond the Whau and Tamaki Rivers. The building in Ponsonby is the old Post Office - remember those? - at the Three Lamps Corner.

    Belated Happy Birthday to the birthday girl.

  12. ello Mark!
    I have further confessions - I was up there again today on IAM business and will be up again on Saturday for our daughters' "End of Study" BBQ! Not quite accurate as she'll probably start her PhD in a couple of years, but she's had enough for now! Two of our kids becoming Aucklanders is quite sufficient, thank you ;-).

    Thanks for confirming that it was the Post Office at one time - had an argument with our son about it. IIRC, that's where all distance measurements were taken from in days gone by.

    Thanks for the good wishes - will pass on to Jennie.

    All the best for the festive season to you and Ken!

  13. Sounds like a great weekend! So interesting seeing some cityscape images that Roger never provides...hehehe. Great news all around of birthdays, babies and end of studies, if only for a little while. Happy Birthday to Jennie!

  14. Lori:
    Yeah, I got accused of being in "tourist" mode by our son who lives there by happily snapping away!

    Thank you - she did pretty well out of it!

  15. Geoff

    Always good to have a psychologist in the family!

    I was married to a lawyer once - bad mistake.

    Now I'm married to a radiologist and she can see right through me (almost as good as a psychologist!)

    N from windy England

  16. Nikos,
    Victoria has always been able to mess with my head! Our boys are an Occupational Therapist and a Food Scientist so we've got a lot of our bases covered health-wise as we get older!

    Groan...... looks like you'll be taken care of too!

    Felicitations from an equally windy NZ!


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