At Karekare, and the Wise Cicada cafe

Karekare BeKarekare beachach on Saturday’s sunny, blustery afternoon was splendid; the ocean a deep kingfisher blue, frantic white foam surging near the shore, a few hardy body boarders and just a narrow band of safety between the life guards. Matt and I walked at the edge of the incoming afternoon tide, with some caution. Last summer on such a day we were wading ankle deep when a harmless looking wavelet turned into a hip-high surge; if I hadn’t been able to clutch his taller, stronger young self the remorseless suction would have knocked me off balance and sucked me under; it was terrifying.

Just above the tide line a shaggy black and white dog – a bitch, actually – was digging a metre long shallow channel in the sand while her family was debating who would carry the picnic belongings back to the car. She stood back and watched while a shallow wave quietly surrounded and filled the channel. She turned herself in a circle a couple of times and set about digging another narrow channel as the debate above her continued. Presently another wave washed into her new channel as she stood watching, panting happily – she seemed to be grinning – then set about digging a third a little higher up the beach. Then her family set off and she danced across the burning sand behind them.

Later, Matt and I took Kitty to an early dinner at the vegan, organic Wise Cicada cafe. We all had the hot dish of the day ($12.50), a delicious potato and leek gratin with cashew cheese (for non-vegetarians: this is a non-dairy cashew cream). It was served with a side of crunchy, slightly bitter lettuce, and we each had a serving of mushroom and rice noodle salad in a light balsamic dressing ($3.90), all of which complemented the gratin. The meal suited the three of us very well indeed, from the healthy young grandson to the delicate digestion of the 90-year old. Kitty gave a couple of quiet contented murmurs during the meal – I’m sure I heard her purring – and finished with an organic coffee ($4.50) that she said was excellent.

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