The best twenty bucks ever spent & November reads

So, took a quick trip to Taupo and back today. Had to pick up a lawn-mower – long story which will end in me learning to mow lawns and getting some much-needed regular exercise. Call it an early New Year’s resolution. Anyway, we didn’t pick a great weekend to visit the Great Lake town, coz it was weekend the annual Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge was being held. Hence heaps more tourists/people/cars than usual. Hence no way were we gonna find a place to eat at midday as everywhere in the town proper was packed by the time we arrived, even as early as 11.50am! Yikes, 4 hungry adults and 2 hungrier kids on a hellishly hot day – not exactly a recipe for familial harmony.

Prudently we headed out for quieter pastures to try our luck at the Hub Cafe, which has a huge great Russian helicopter once owned by Fidel Castro sitting outside for keen cafe patrons to look through. Unfortunately that particular hope was dashed coz some assholes had recently tried to torch the place and caused such damage the helicopter was out of bounds until the decking etc was rebuilt. Bugger: two disappointed kiddies. Fabulous lunch, though, and nice and quiet, too. The plan was to head off for Aratiatia Dam to watch the dam being opened and we had about an hour to kill. What to do?

Well, since we were in the vicinity we headed of for the Honey Hive, which wouldn’t you know it, had also been the subject of an arson attack! What is with these people? And although it’d been rebuilt, the bees and working hives had not yet been relocated so in effect it was just a cafe with loads of lovely honey products – both edible and cosmetic – for sale. Not too much to hold the kiddies’ interest without live bees to ooh and aah over. Countdown: 45 minutes to fill. Oh joy.
But right next door we hit paydirt with Rock’n Ropes and their giant swing – check this out: And for $20 each, the kids had a huge thrill and the best darn swing of their lives! Didn’t have time for adults to have a go :-( but next time, for sure. And believe me, the look my 10 yo son’s face when he jumped off that platform was just priceless! As was his scream of pure delight. Daughter’s face was just as interesting – she’s 12 and a bit more self-conscious, so she just did the girly-squeak thing to the max, LOL.

Best $20 for each kid we ever spent! It’s like a really incredibly good value for money preliminary taste of the really cool stuff that we’ll get to do next time when we plan to do one of their half-day courses…if we dare! Not for the fainthearted, I assure you. Maybe another New Year’s resolution on my part?

And as for the Aratiatia Dam? Well, that was free and pretty darned incredible, too. Watching the considerable power of Nature in action….whoa!

Apologies for the non-writing-related content, but if I paste in this month’s reading list I’m hoping I’ll squeak by. And besides, if I get this post finished in the next 2 minutes I’ll actually get to bed before 11pm and have a semi-early night!

Here’ s the reading list for November: some old favorites and a new genre for me, namely “cyber-punk” with the Parrish Plessis series. Well worth checking out for the “Ass-kicking action in post-Apocalyptic Australia” (according to the SFX quote on the cover of Crash Deluxe). Gotta agree with that, it’s simply an awesome kickass series!

-Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory MacGuire
-Expectant Father by Melinda Curtis
-Eating with the Angels by Mary-Kate Lynch
-Reckless Conduct by Susan Napier
-In Bed With The Boss by Susan Napier
-The Indigo Girls by Penni Russon
-Restoree by Anne McCaffrey
-The Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey
-Killashandra by Anne McCaffrey
-Nylon Angel by Marianne de Pierres
-Code Noir by Marianne de Pierres
-Crytal Line by Anne McCaffrey
-Crash Deluxe by Marianne de Pierres
-New Moon by stephenie Meyer
-Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
-The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter
-Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
-Undead and Uneasy by Maryjanice Davidson
-All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
-Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
-Heart Dance by Robin D. Owens
-Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan
-Blue Dragon by Kylie Chan
-The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
-Vampire Knight 4 by Matsuri Hino
-The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
-Methuselah’s Children by Robert Heinlein




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