Friday, March 15, 2013

Ickle Brother, Bees & the Motherland

The last w/e of the BigSib's visit was spent in the glorious Hawkes Bay with the Mother, Father, Nana, BigSib+Fiancé, Ickle Brother and his gf, and of course - me.

Some background - I and BigSib were born in the HB and moved back there when I was finishing my primary schooling.  I was a day girl at the illustrious Iona College and attended for a full 7 years culminating in dux (Hah! You thought I wouldn't bring that up?!) and the parents moving away a year or two after I moved down to Dunedin for University.

Mum & Dad drove the truck, and BigSib+ Fiancé, The Nana and I took The Nana's car.  For some unfathamable reason I ended up doing all the driving, which was fine - but we chanced upon Taupo at the same time as the Iron Man contestants were cycling down the main road.  Not.  Cool.

Well, cool for them (big ups, you crazy devils), but absolutely sucky for the drivers.  There wasn't really any place for a detour, so we had a tense and dangerous trip from the coffee shop to the Napier-Taupo road.

And since its been brought up (how convenient)  the coffee shop has some very kitschy lights shades; that's a big hunk of pumice with a bulb chillin' in the middle. Ooo....kay...

The Ickle Brother is a bee keeper, and has started amassing his own bee army.  Soon after we arrived, he showed us the hives he keeps in his back yard and filled BigSib with a plethora of bee knowledge and bee hebejebies (I call chicken!).  I was filled with a surprising nostalgia for the old lab (which has had its webpage updated, finally!  Lovely.  Ok - nostalgia gone :P).


Moving on.  The Ickle Brother's gf works at Arataki, also - in the amazing information centre/shop, and is a fount of knowledge about a mass of products.  The full taste-testing station is neat, and I reaffirmed my knowledge that Thyme Honey is my favourite.  BigSib left with a full 2kgs of Manuka to take back to London with the both of them, the allowance limit.

The building remains the typical HB artdeco monolith that it has always been, and you are greeted with a brilliant giant bee model as you come in.

The info centre has several live bee colonies and a couple of labelled queens.  Its pretty cool.

So apart from the bee extravaganza, we visited old haunts in Havelock North, did a drive-by of the old school, wandered around the shops in Napier and marvelled at the new mega-"malls" (and subsequent empty shop-fronts mid-town) in Hastings.  We swam, and we went up Te Mata Peak.
The BigSib's Fiancé, BigSib, me (middle child syndrome fo' life yo), and the Ickle Brother.  (18 months between girls, 5 years between me and the baby).

It was crazy seeing how much things have changed, I hadn't been back in close to a decade (I think I popped back to visit my teachers a couple years out...), but for certain - Jackson's Bakery in Havelock Nth is still the best I have ever seen.  Blue Cheese and Steak Pies?!  Win.

We came home with a boot full of golden queen peaches and omega plums.  Its not often we get all the kids together these days.

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