Wednesday was the first 60s Up bus trip of the year and a happy group climbed aboard the bus for our trip to Feilding. There was a little delay while we waited for latecomers – but finally we were on our way. Our driver was Peter, always a happy chappy who always has a quip for us.
First stop was to Ian and Rosemary Malcomson’s rural home on the outskirts of Feilding, to view his wonderful display of begonias. Ian discovered begonias during a South Island trip in 1999, and fell in love with the gorgeous colours and different variations available. He purchased some, carefully carried them around as they continued with their trip, and brought them home. Our host gave us a talk on growing and propagating these plants. What we didn’t know was that the plants can have both male and female flowers – fancy that! Some keen gardeners in our group purchased plants to take home.
The lady of the house has a collection too, lots of different Meer cat statues dotted about the garden. While Ian is pottering about in the shade house with his beloved begonias, Rosemary has taken charge of the other gardens, the lawns, even doing the edges.
Gouldian finches are another passion in this household. These pretty little birds flitted from branch to branch in their aviary, hardly staying still long enough for us to get our cameras focused before fluttering off again.
The bus then dropped us off in the town centre and we went our own ways to find a cafe for lunch. We lunched with our friends Robyn and Barrie who had recently joined the 60s Up group – this was their first trip away with the group. They had heard that the Rose Bowl Cafe had the best pies in town, and as a keen pie connoisseur, Barrie thought this was well worth a try. He was right, the pies were very good, and quite reasonably priced too. As Robin commented, if the local contractors flock there to buy their pies, it certainly is a good recommendation. We had time to check out a shop or two before heading back to board the bus again.
On the trip home the bus pulled into Waireka Honey and the queue was snaking out the door as we all lined up for an ice-cream. All the flavours had added rewarewa honey, we were told – after all, it is a honey shop! I chose honey and ginger, while Robin tried rum, raisin and honey, both very tasty. Just what we needed to cool us down on a hot afternoon.
Climbing back on the bus for the last time, we continued on our way home. With the combination of warm weather, full tummies, and the gentle drone of road noise, there were several heads nodding off, I noticed. Another interesting trip with the 60s Up.