Wednesday

After a much better sleep I got up to a lazy morning hanging out in the hostel, but once Anja had finished work we went to the White Cliffs brewery along with Julia and Max (Anja’s German friends) to see friends of theirs that are working there.

The brewery was about 30mins around the coast from New Plymouth, past yet more lovely countryside and finally my first sheep spot! New Zealand does not have as many sheep as you’re led to believe, there are far more cows in the fields – another letter to be written alongside the one about the rain and the cold.

We treated ourselves to a beer (apart from Anja who drove us), so many to choose from, but I went for a strawberry blonde and it was an excellent choice! We stood around in the sunshine chatting until massive pizzas went past and the temptation proved too much! We had half and half of chicken/avocado/mushroom with a cranberry base rather than tomato and a meat-a-tarian – yummy but the cranberry won!

Sadly we had to leave as Anja was also working the afternoon shift. So we headed back with the beginnings of the rain.

The afternoon was a wash out, but yesterday when I was in town I’d asked about running clubs and there’s one called Walkers and Joggers that meet in the park and I’d decided I’d join them this evening, but it was so tempting not to go with all the rain.

Thankfully as I stepped out of the door the rain stopped and so I made my way down to their meeting point at the main gates to the park.

As I arrived there were definitely some runners there so I went to say hi. They were all lovely but slightly unnerved me as they asked if I was a runner or a walker, I brought up the fact that I was a jogger having not run properly since December, but they assured me I’d be ok. However they did not give off the vibes of joggers talking about their runs, routes, times…… How right I was, we set off bang on 5:30 at quite a pace and up hill! By 0.6 miles I was already struggling with the pace and way behind them all. I was just about to give up when 3 of the guys I was talking to dropped back to keep me company! They were so nice and we chatted until the first water stop – it seems NZ has a lot of water taps scattered around! It was here that one of the women, Diane, seemed to have been designated to run with the new girl!

She was lovely and self-confessed non speedy runner, my legs were shattered from going off too fast and lack of running, but we got round our shortened route that still managed to contain some evil hills and I was happy to see I’d done 4.8 miles. Diane also kindly gave me a lift back to the lodge which was great as we were due to be heading out to the pub quiz in town at 7:30 and it was already 6:45 when I was back.

I wolfed down some pasta and pesto and had a shower but some of the others weren’t ready, so we decided we’d miss the quiz but go to the pub anyway! A nice group of us went down to the pub that I always think is called Molly something but isn’t (although right now can’t remember what it’s actually called!). It’s an Irish pub, but as Bruce soon discovered, run by a Scotsman. I’d been chatting to Bruce earlier as there was someone staying called Brust and I had no idea who that was until it occurred that it could be Bruce and after asking Anja what she thought Bruce’s name was this appeared to be the case! So I double checked with him and sure enough the accent had thrown Anja and the mysterious Brust person turned out to just be the Scotsman!

Anyway, we spent ages chatting about life, Scotland, the impending Burns Night and decided that in return for me making a rhubarb crumble he’d find a haggis – who could resist that offer!?

We weren’t out late late and treated ourselves to more beer on our return so it became a late night/early morning!!

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