Archive for June, 2011

3 more sleeps

June 27, 2011

Only 3 sleeps until I leave for Singapore, I am just testing my ability to publish blog updates from my iPad rather than from Roy’s PC. Alex and I will try to update the blog occasionally during our sojourn in Singapore and Bali, that is if we can find the time in between watching netball, drinking gin slings at Raffles, night visits to the zoo, shopping and sampling the local foodie delights. I know, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!

Back to where it all started

June 23, 2011

We have been back at Pen-y-bryn for over two weeks now, we moved in Tuesday 7th June as James and James started their adventure around the world. This was also the time that the van was delivered to the workshop for its transformation to begin. Being back at Pen-y-bryn is almost like slipping on a pair of comfy old slippers, we seemed to quickly get back into our old routines……including Roy drinking endless cups of tea as we are now back to the instant boiling water! Although I must say that I am not used to the housework, give me the van-sized housework any day! We had only just got ourselves settled into Pen-y-bryn, introduced ourselves to the dogs Ivan and Leo, when we were off on the Wednesday morning to Dunedin so that Roy could go into Mercy Hospital for his hernia op.

The operation was a success and Roy came through it all OK. Many thanks to Stuart, Emma & Toby for having me to stay the night. Thursday morning we were back on our way to Oamaru and to Pen-y-bryn. We have seamlessly settled back into routines, and added a few new ones, like taking the dogs for a walk!

The weekend passed without a hitch and Tuesday 14th sister Sue and hubby Jeff were due to arrive for a visit to see Mum & Dad. We arranged for them all plus Mike and Ann to come for dinner that evening. A lovely evening was had catching up with everyone.

It just so happened that the following morning was to be an early start as we were taking Mike & Ann to Dunedin Airport. It was on our way to Dunedin that we received the terrible news that brother John’s wife Trish (51) had passed away suddenly overnight from a brain haemorrhage. We were all in utter shock. We dropped Mike & Ann at the airport and headed back to Oamaru with plans to arrange flights, organise someone to feed the dogs, pack and head north.

The next couple of days seems as though were spent in a bit of a blur trying to arrange flights to get to Whakatane. However, it proved impossible as the Chilean volcano and the resultant ash closed down the airspace over the South Island. Apart from chartering a plane (and we are not as important, or rich, as some rugby teams!!), we were destined not to be able to get a flight. We were there in spirit. We wish John and his daughters Julie (16) and Jenny (15) love, strength and support.

Over the weekend, Roy was getting a little stir crazy, as he is not allowed to drive for 2 weeks post op. Sunday he decided we needed to get out so we hopped into the RAV and headed to Hook to see Paul & Anne, taking with us the game Sequence. A lovely afternoon was spent playing Sequence with Anne, Paul and family. And it’s nice to find someone (Michaela) who is more competitive than I am!!

Monday morning (20th) , we received a call from Roy’s sister Karel to tell us the sad news that her granddaughter Billie had passed away overnight. She was only 6, and had had a brain tumour. We send our love and condolences to Karel, Caroline and family.

Wednesday we took a trip up to Christchurch to pick up Mike & Ann from the airport, luckily they fly AirNZ as again the ash cloud has disrupted flights.

Here’s hoping that the ash does not return next week, as the 30th June Bernice is off to Singapore for the Netball World Champs, meeting up with Alex there. Watch out for them cheering in the crowds… they will have their flags waving and will be wearing their netball bibs, many thanks to Oamaru New World! Alex will be wearing either GD (Good Daughter) or WD (What have you Done?) and Bernice will be wearing C (Clever) or GS (Great Supporter)!

Last week in the van

June 5, 2011

We  left the home comforts of Mike & Ann’s before we outstayed our welcome, well, we hope we did not outstay our welcome! They  made us very welcome and have been very accommodating with allowing us the use of their vehicles to run errands as well as everything else. We cannot thank them enough. Although we have been on the look out for a vehicle to tow behind the van, it has not been as easy as it should, as there are many factors to take into account i.e. manual transmission only, size, new rules to adhere to with regards fitting an A frame to tow, suitability, price etc etc. We will keep looking.

This will be our last week in the van for a while as next week we start our stint house-sitting, first back at Pen-y-bryn then at Helen & Don’s.  As well, the van will be heading off to Inex Motorhomes & Interiors in Oamaru for a major refurbishment.  Coinciding with all this is a short stint in hospital next week for Roy for a hernia operation. Its all go.

Saturday morning we were at the Oamaru Racecourse and saw these two horses being trained on the track.

trotter 54

We left Oamaru to head slowly south with no real plans formulated, with the first stop at Katiki Beach for a spot of lunch and a wander along the beach.

Katiki 55Stopover point on the beach

Katiki 59Looking south along Katiki beach

Next we went into Waikouaiti to check out the parking spot there, it was decidedly suitable so we intended stopping for a day or two to explore and generally relax.

cricket 61Walked through the tree line and found the sportsground.  A typical country practice wicket.

rugby 63And another Saturday afternoon sport.

spectator 65Strongly supported by locals and visitors alike.

sign 67and of course all of these sites are multi-purpose

memorial 70I did not realise how early settlement was at Waikouaiti

Next morning had a wander along the levees in the Lagoon spotting a number of local and imported birds

lagoon 71

lagoon swan 73 Elegance of a morning

However, last night, Bernice found a vehicle for sale on Trade Me which might just fit the bill and was for sale in Dunedin.  A few emails and phone calls later, and a trip to Dunedin was arranged for this morning.  To cut a long story short, we are now proud owners of a wee RAV4 which we will take delivery of later in the week once a new WOF and a few other things are attended to.

Once that was sorted we headed south out of Dunedin along Brighton beaches which provided us with a lovely stop for a spot of lunch.

south brighton 75view along the beach from luncheon spot.

From there we headed on to Taieri Mouth to end up at a POP (Park over Place) there.  The weather has been truly outstanding (clear blue skies, 20C+ every day, its supposed to be winter!!) – so we are set here for a day or two.

are you sure 78A confusion of signs at the entrance to the park at the mouth.  No camping except that the fine print at the bottom notifies a POP adjoining the park.

the barThe bar at the mouth of the Taieri

evening 2 93The first evening at Taieri Mouth

dawn 2 97Dawn the next morning

spaniards 87Spaniards at the entrance to the mouth

evening 3 01evening that day

We did head back off into Dunedin (Monday) to get a few chores done however, along the way we managed to accumulate a stone chip to the front windscreen of the van, directly in the drivers view point. A quick diversion to Smith & Smith Glass to get that seen to, where we can say that the service and workmanship was truly outstanding, you would never know that there was damage done to the windscreen and it was all fixed immediately whilst we waited.  You cannot fault that for service.

dawn 4 06Dawn Wednesday morning

the fleet 3 02The fishing fleet at anchor

fleet 79Quiet water with the fleet waiting for the tide.

We stayed at Taieri Mouth until Thursday when we headed into Dunedin to pick up the newly WOF’ed RAV, then headed north.

dawn 3 11Dawn Thursday morning

Stopping once again along Katiki beach for a spot of lunch before heading to Waikouaiti for the night.  Later that afternoon, we got hold of Kay & Bill (cousin) who have not long moved to Waikouaiti from Australia.  We spent a lovely afternoon and evening with them catching up and generally sorting the world to rights.

Friday we headed towards Five Forks (not far from Oamaru) as there is a NZ Motorhome Assn Rally there this weekend, so we thought we would go and find out what these rallies are all about.  Apparently each region has one or two a year, and they tell us that the last few years they average between 14 and 17 vehicles attending the rally. This year, there are 43 and they are still coming in!

Saturday morning we went for a drive to the top of a hill where we got the most amazing panoramic views over the countryside.


sea 1 18view from the top looking out seaward

sea 2 15looking inland

Cara Bernice Murray 21      Bernice, Cara and Murray

Here we have seen through a number of vans and now are even more confused as to the intended changes we want to make to the interior of the van!  The male/female viewpoint adds to the debate but we had best get ourselves sorted over the next day or so before the van goes into the workshop!