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  • All about Gertrude

    Gertrude is the name we decided to call my cancerous breast hence the title of this blog. Although I had to keep my breast through chemo and radiation due to the nature of IBC - once it 'blew up' it no longer looked like my breast and I couldn't wait to get rid of it. Calling it Gertrude was a way of seperating it from myself. This main page is where I write about the general goings on that relate to Gertrude, there is another page that are more a diary of treatments etc This blog is a public blog so although I am being very honest about my battle with Gertrude I have "changed names to protect the innocent" - because everyone can see it if you write comments on the blog pages please use the same abbreviations for other family member or friends that I do. Please feel free to ask questions if you want clarification because then other people who might have been wondering the same thing can read your question and our answers.
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    OH- Other Half (Hubby), OD- Oldest Daughter, MD- Middle Daugher, YD- Youngest Daughter, SB- soulja boi MD's fiance in the army (now ex fiance), OD's R OD's partner, BS- Breast surgeon whose initials just happen to be BS as well, BC- our GP (family doctor), Dr H- my medical oncologist, all other friends family etc will be referred to as initials etc
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  • SUSAN’S ARMY

    No Princess Alone button

My sojourn to the South Island

I think everyone should do the scenic train trips at least once – I thoroughly enjoyed them!!

I left our local suburban Auckland Station at 8.15 in the morning on the ‘Overlander’ for the 11 hour trip to Wellington

Some of the views were spectacular especially in areas where the rail went over viaducts above rivers etc

on the viaduct high over one river

Although it was a long day it didnt feel like the train trip was 11 hours long.  There was a half-hour stop at National Park on the Central Plateau where you could get something to eat from the very nice cafe at the station or you could just got for a walk, breathing the mountain air .  It was a pity the cloud was low

Mt Ruapehu obscured by cloud

otherwise I could have got a spectacular view of Mt Ruapehu

I had a double seat all to myself so had plenty of room to move and the leg room is also a vast improvement on airplane economy seating.  The fact you could get up and walk around the train – the buffet car did a good coffee – also helped break the journey up.

One of the refreshments available from the buffet car

On arrival into Wellington I had the choice of getting a taxi or walking to my accommodation which they said was only 5 minutes walk. Both my bags had wheels so pulling the small carryon one with my right arm (the lymphodema affected one) and my large suitcase with my left I decided to walk as it was still light and good weather.  Pulling the suitcases and not being 100% certain of the street layout it took me closer to 10 minutes but it took me up past the ‘Beehive’ and then it was two minutes around the corner from there (not sure whether that is a good thing LOL).

I spent the Monday being a sightseer.  I have not been to Wellington on holiday for a very long time so it was interesting just spending the day there. I visited the iconic department store ‘Kirkcaldie and Stains’, rode the cablecar and visited the  sanctuary for New Zealand native wildlife (Zealandia) as well as wandering around central Wellington and along the waterfront.  My twitter friend Upsidebackwards had kindly left some vouchers at the reception of where I was staying for me to get some discounted or free rides.  Which made the day even more enjoyable (thank you!!!)

cable car

tui beside the path at Zealandia

City to Sea bridge on waterfront - art and functionality in one

The next day (Tuesday) I caught the ferry – I indulged myself and upgraded to Kaitaki Plus which gives you a seat in a spacious comfy lounge  -free food and drink and internet access.  Hot breakfast, pastries, sandwiches and cookies along with tea coffee wine etc – thoroughly worth the extra $40 if you have got it.  You can go out and wander round the deck and know you have a seat to come back to.

enjoying my complimentary magazine 🙂

Entering the Marlborough sounds

I spent the night at my cousins house (thanks J)

On Wednesday I caught the ‘Tranzcoastal’ between Picton and Christchurch. It doesnt leave until 1pm in the afternoon so I spent the morning in the waterfront park with a book and great views

sitting in the park

the coast near Kaikoura

hills on the other side of the track

views of river and ranges

This has been only a small selection of the wonderful views I saw on the way down to Christchurch.   It was a wonderfully relaxing way to get myself down there and I really enjoyed all four days of the trip.  Of course I then spent a week in Christchurch and environs itself.  But I’ll have to write another blog post about that 🙂

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