That sounds rather grand, doesn’t it? But it was a special occasion, after all. There were three family birthdays to celebrate – my own, plus the two grand-daughters. The three of us have birthdays very close together, and we met at the Orlando Country Club for lunch, in Palmerston North.
The café was exceptionally busy for a Monday, with large groups arriving to enjoy their lunches. Today was Labour Day, a public holiday and we can thank carpenter Samuel Parnell who declared, way back in 1840, that he would only work for eight hours a day. The first Labour Day celebrated the struggle for an eight-hour working day, and parades were held in the main centres, attended by several thousand trade union members and supporters In 1899 Parliament legislated to make Labour Day a public holiday. Predating both Anzac Day and Waitangi Day, it was the first public holiday in New Zealand not associated with religion, royal birthdays or anniversaries of provincial settlement. Since 1910 Labour Day has been held on the fourth Monday in October.
Sadly, grand-daughter Megan was unwell and couldn’t join us. But the rest of us perused the menu and made our choices, and plates of fish, burgers, and pasta were delivered to our table. It was all delicious.
Fish and chips for him, and smoked salmon pasta for her
Gifts were exchanged, and it was nice to meet grand-daughter Emma’s boyfriend Shimon at last. A very pleasant young man, he did very well with meeting the grand-parents for the first time. And there was also another family birthday to celebrate, Emma reminded us. Her foal Firedancer shares the same birthday as me and is two years old today!
Enjoying our family birthday lunch
On our return trip home we drove by to check out how the work on the replacement of the Whirokino Trestle Bridge as coming along. All the big yellow machines were nicely lined up together, so it looks like the workers had the day off for Labour Day.
A temporary staging bridge has been constructed to provide access across the Manawatū River, although it was hard to spot as we whizzed over the old bridge. There was no chance to slow down and peer over the bridge to the river. The staging bridge is designed to carry the weight of the 100 tonne crane to be used for construction, concrete trucks and trucks carrying sand, fill and other materials, without impacting SH1 road users. Once the new River Bridge opens, the temporary staging bridge will be removed. It all seems to be going well, and we will be interested to watch developments as the the work progresses.