We stayed somewhere completely different for our caravan rally during the weekend – Foxton Boy’s Brigade Camp, down at Foxton Beach. Two caravans arrived a night early, just because we could, and we spent a pleasant evening in Charlie and Lorraine’s caravan. One by one, the other caravan club members trickled in on Friday, it was to be a smallish contingent this rally. By late afternoon all six vans were on site. Dot and Derek caused a little excitement when they arrived with their new purchase, a Swift motor home, and those who hadn’t yet seen it had the chance to check it out over the weekend.
With bad weather forecasted, we received our share of rain over the weekend, most of the heavy stuff at night, as luck would have it, and more gentle showers fell off and on during the day. Robin shared his birthday celebrations (from the previous week) during our Saturday morning tea get-together and offered everyone slices of yummy chocolate log. Freshly baked at the local bakery just up the road, but it took us three trips to the shop to complete the purchase and transaction. Never mind, it was worth it – and don’t tell anyone, but we collected a couple of our all time favourites, chocolate éclairs, during one of our trips as we called in to see if the chocolate logs were completed – and they weren’t. Come back later in the afternoon, we were told.
We dined out in style at the Manawatu Marine Boating Club on Saturday evening. It was just as well we had booked for our group as the restaurant was quite busy with locals and families gathered for an evening out. The roast pork meals proved very popular, and Robin declared his Scotch Fillet steak cooked to perfection. The meals were so big that none of us could do justice to a dessert, so we just didn’t order any - that doesn’t happen very often!
I stepped out onto the upstairs patio at the restaurant to get a good view of the Manawatu Estuary in the twilight. This is the largest estuary on the West Coast of the southern part of the North Island, about 250 ha, comprising sand banks and a large area of salt marsh, home to rare birds and a good breeding place for native fish. The Manawatu Estuary was designated a Wetland of International Importance in July 2005, one of six wetland areas in New Zealand to have gained RAMSAR status. The Ramsar Convention (or Convention on Wetlands) is a treaty signed by over 150 countries where they agree to be part of international cooperation regarding the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.
Welcome Swallows were visitors at the Boys Brigade camp and these busy little birds were not at all happy as we went to and from the hall during the weekend, passing by their nest. These birds are relatively new to our country, and are classed as “a self-introduced species” from Australia. They were rare before the late 1950s and increased greatly through the 1960s and 1970s. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get a decent photo of them, as they flitted to and fro, waiting for us to move away from their nesting area – but Mr Google helped me out with an image.
The Boys Brigade Camp was a new venue for our club, with large grounds for parking. The buildings were getting a little tired, we felt, and the facilities were overdue for some TLC. And I was interested to read this sign, which has proudly been displayed on the hall since the 1950s, had a glaring spelling mistake! But I have since discovered that “stedfast” is an alternate spelling of “steadfast”, so perhaps it wasn’t a mistake after all!