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Instow and its part in the life of John Sweet

2001




Fluffy
1982 - 2001
02FEB01
R.I.P.

After 18 years Fluff has left this world to go to the big cattery in the sky. She has been my much loved companion for the past 16 years since she adopted me when I lived at Papatoetoe. Bye Fluff.............................



Well what an experience, Molly and I went to the Waitomo region of the north island of New Zealand and visited the "Lost World".
This is a great trip which starts with a 100 metre abseil down into the bottom of  the cave entrance. The worst bit is stepping off the ledge at the top hoping the ropes will be OK. After that it is all fun until..............................
When you reach the end of the cave system you are confronted with a narrow steel ladder that goes straight up 30 meters into the darkness. They don't tell you about this before you start. Never mind we survived and the whole trip was great.

Accommodation at the Waitomo Hotel was another story. I don't think I have stayed in such a dump of a room since I was working in London nearly 40 years ago. The room was small, to match the double bed, peeling wallpaper, black mould in the bathroom and generally a dump. The meal at their restaurant was a matching experience. Best described as Faulty Tower gone wrong. Staff not knowing what items were on the menu, wrong wine brought, "he he, all the bottles look the same."

When we were asked by a local the next day what we thought of the Waitomo Hotel and I politely replied that I did not think much of the service, there response was, "you got SERVICE!!" Obviously the hotel has quite a reputation in the area. Such a shame as it is a beautiful building with great possibilities.

 


The house at 9 Hauraki Road on Waiheke Island had a coat of paint  and a new front garden. Made quite a change from the 1995 colour scheme.  


In June we went to Australia for a holiday. Flying to Sydney we picked up a rental and headed south  as far as the Victoria /  New South Wales border. From there we drove inland through the Snowy Mountains, Canberra, Cootamundra where I was hoping to catch up with Warwick Newton the first Australian I had really known back at Clarks Shoes in Street Somerset about 40 years ago. From there we made our way up to the Blue Mountains and so to Sydney for a few days.



Sydney Opera House

In Sydney we did the usual "tourist" things, harbour bridge, opera house, harbour cruise etc. We stayed in Kings Cross, noisy but nice, or should that be naughty but nice. The 'sex centre' aspect is highly over rated but it makes a good base for restaurants and close to the city. One area well worth a visit is Oxford Street and in particular the Aubery Hotel. Each night they have performances by some of the best drag queens in Sydney, well worth a visit for a great evening.



Bill, John and Rita

After a few days in Sydney Molly had to return to New Zealand due to work commitments and I picked up another car and drove up to Brisbane. En-route I visited Hunter Valley, Tamworth, Coffs Harbour, Nimbin, Byron Bay and the Gold Coast where I caught up with old friends, Bill & Rita. We had a few good meals, and wines before I carried on to Brisbane and the flight back to New Zealand



A fine Australian Chardonnay



John and Rita

One night out was at the Sheraton Mirage where we had an excellent meal with top class service.

 

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If you have the urge to contact me please send you comments here: instow@hotmail.com