Sunday, 6 November 2011


Roger Smith 2011
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The McDonald's Double Up (or double down, I forget which) arrived on its tray looking nothing like the illustration that had tempted me to part with $2 for the privilege.

A lank slice of artificially bright yellow cheese was sandwiched between two meat wafers which bore  passing resemblance to patties, but only just.  Sustaining it was not and neither was the apple crumble and ice-cream.

In the promotional poster the latter came steaming hot on a plate with a generous scoop of snow freeze ice-cream on the the side. In reality it came in a small plastic tub  topped with the ice-cream which reduced it to a mushy mess.

You will have gathered by now that I am not among the legion of fans who frequent McDonalds; in fact it is a 'meal' of last resort.  So it was today as we motored through Thames en route for Coromandel township, from where I have writing this now.  The necessity for food and the relative lack of choice suggested fast food - how wrong we were.

Coromandel is about three and a half hours easy driving from South Auckland where we live.  The only slight delay is the eighty year old Kopu bridge, built in a time when traffic was slight and a single lane with a couple of passing bays coped with most  vehicles.

This is how I remembered it from childhood trips in the late 1950's and into the 1970's.  Unfortunately when Aucklanders 'discovered' Coromandel as a quick weekend retreat the traffic grew exponentially and the old bridge created a huge bottleneck. A new one is scheduled to open before Christmas.

Heading north from Thames one follows the coast.  Even on a blustery Southerly day as it was today, the coast is pretty site although care needs to be taken on the corners.

Coromandel Panorama
Roger Smith 2011
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We are staying at the Harbour View Motel which is, as it name suggests, a series of  six units overlooking Coromandel harbour.  Ranked number one by Trip it has thus far lived up to its rating.  The unit is generous in size and well appointed with a view from the deck looking at moored yachts and an oyster factory at left.

Unfortunately the world is 'no longer my oyster' as the wretched shellfish are loaded with purines which trigger gout.  The pain of the infliction is more excruciating than missing out on the delicacy, but only just.

Duet - Coromandel
Roger Smith 2011
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Tomorrow we intend heading to the Driving Creek Railway built by NZ potting legend and railway enthusiast, Barry Brickell.

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