100ft cloud base Tauranga Air traffic had said for up the coast, as I left in the cub, after a good night’s sleep, a square meal for $20 and after a tricky passage over the mountains from the Gisborne Wine Festival.

Waihi Beach measured something less than that and as I was also low on fuel (very difficult to get fuel in NZ at 7 in the morning when your recently issued Air BP card doesn’t work) and there was a rocky beach terrain from there on, for I knew not what, I decided to land. If I could find it, Waihi little grass air field, a few hundred yards from the fantastic 10 mile sandy beach, there was the obvious alternative.

Vis. was no more than the length of the runway and it was raining lightly.

I caught sight of a cafe and shop ......ideal for breakfast and refuel, I thought ...no chance!

The runway was full of rabbits, chasing each other up and down the hedge row, but as soon as they saw my camera, they scarpered.

Cafe shut, shop shut, now really raining.

Time to fly further up the coast as a 50 to 100 ft cloud base would not let me get over the hills direct to North Shore to the north west, unless I went up round the coast east of the mountainous peninsula, topping more than 2000 ft, locally called tiger country.

As I primed the engine, I heard a faint cry from across the field and saw an apparition on a balcony through the fog, holding a mug of tea. Romeo, Romeo where art thou? (Dream on, Maurice).

Madam beckoned and as I had arrived uninvited, I most doubtedly obliged.

Upon hearing my request for fuel and the suggestion it was quicker to fly to the station, next to the beach than walk, Madam took me there.

The fact that I had established that Robin owned the field and I had offered to move in, is a story for later.

Then Monsieur James Lobet, aged 72, turned up at the hangar to work on his latest design, being the creator of the Ganagobie aircraft, even in the Oshkosh Museum of the EAA for where I am bound!

Then up turns Dave and Pam Kilborne who, with typical American panache as aviators, get me to their home for breakfast and a little conversation on some of the good things in life, something I was so starved of when suffering the stench of the Guernsey’s Administration for 10 years, purported to be still part of Great Britain, despite their ongoing conduct (see wwwkirkflyingvet.co.uk click Guernsey map).

Dave had been a pioneer in hang gliding sporting a bushy black beard and curly black hair leaping off cliffs in the 50’s and 70’s just as I did, commencing in1976, the former only to be awarded with the prestigious award of the Francis and Gertrude Rogallo, the certificate now hanging on the wall in their living room overlooking the Pacific I am about to experience.

Old movie film of ancient flying machines and a little NZ brown beer and we were back in the 70’s ...who needs Dr Who’s police box after a little Spiets?

I was able to speak to Francis in North Carolina and even threatened to visit by cub before his 94th birthday, his design having been seriously looked at by NASA in the 60’s for the moon flight recovery.

But there was much to be done and I have to get to Norfolk now the cub tanks were almost sorted. Morning had brought sunshine and blue skies so, sadly, I flew away..... but threatened to be back!

Wonderful Souls