Archive for August, 2012

Fashion faux pas

August 26, 2012

Oh dear! I have done it, I said I never would but sometimes these things just happen…… there I was the other day, just popped into town and wandering around the supermarket, happened to look down and there they were. Yes, you guessed it, I was wearing Crocs! Quelle horreur! I have had a pair of Crocs since they first came out but I never wore them as unlike everyone else, I found them very uncomfortable. However, it seems they are de rigueur for motorhome owners to wear, mainly because they are easy to slip on and off as you go in and out of your van. I have taken to wearing mine in and around the van, and yes, they have become more comfortable, BUT wear them into the shops? It is a slippery slope, whatever will be next?

It seems we have settled in here far too well, as our second week here in Kaiteriteri concludes, it looks as though we will be here for another week. We are blaming it all on the local VTNZ as we cannot get a COF (Certificate of Fitness) for the van until early next week as they are only open a couple of days a week when they send certifiers from Nelson to Motueka to man the depot. So we wait. We could of course pack up and drive over to Nelson and get it done, but….we are rather comfortable here!

fiery morning

Mornings reveals a continuing saga of red and gold cloudscapes.

Whenever we do head into Motueka, we pass a Flying Fox in Riwaka which looks rather fun and enticing. Unfortunately we have not seen the facility in action which we presume is because it is a summer activity It says that you travel at 112km/hr, anyone volunteering to join me for a ride?

fox 1fox 2

A walk on the mudflats at low tide reveals a landscape of mountains built by crabs

crab mountains 1 crab mountains 2    

More birds, kingfisher and stilts!!

kingfisher stilts

Scenery & wildlife

August 20, 2012

The male member of the party still gets up at silly hours in the morning and goes off for an early morning stroll.  But he does take pictures of the sunrise so that the female member of the party can see what that time of the day looks like!

dawn 2 dawn Dawn over the estuary.

There is an abundance of wildlife around Bethany Park, we have already posted photos of Pukekos, Oyster Catchers and Herons. As well as the usual birdlife like sparrows, thrushes and seagulls,  

sparrow 2seagull

there are also Bellbirds, Tuis and Wood Pigeons. The Pigeons come visit a tree just outside the van door and feast on the flowers that are just emerging on the trees.

pigeon 2 pigeon 3   Beautiful wood pigeons. 

quail 1 quail 2      

And seen at the lookout, a few quail.  Along with a rabbit or two hopping around, cockles and mussels from the beach and fish hiding in the water as well as whitebait, we could literally live off the land if we chose!!

Saturday and after visiting friends who are staying over at Marchwood Park by the airport in Motueka, as it is such a lovely day, we head off for a walk along the beach at Little Kaiteriteri and a walk along the headland at Kaiteriteri to admire the views.

reflection 2   View across the beach

Seen on the side of a campervan at the Beach was this sign!


Sunday and we have decided to stay on here at Kaiteriteri for another week before heading over to Takaka and Farewell Spit as we have a few things that need to be attended to this week .We have just realised that the van needs its COF by the end of the month – can it really be 6 months since we got the last one in Nelson?  So we need to book it in for that, and we need to fill up with gas and petrol, plus Roy has a bit of work to complete before we head off into the land of limited/no cell phone reception therefore the same for internet reception. 

Oh and its raining again, which is a good excuse to do some baking.   A sourdough loaf is cooked, and it is a brilliant one, meltingly delicious melting moments with passionfruit butter cream, date & walnut loaf and lemon bars.  MMmmmmmm.


August 17, 2012

How many men, and how many days, does it take to fix satellite TV reception?  Read on as the answer will be revealed.

After spending Saturday night at the NZMCA park in Murchison, we were up Sunday morning ready to continue on our journey to Kaiteriteri where we were meeting up with friends Michael & Bernadette.  The weather forecast was not brilliant with heavy rain forecast for later in the day with this in mind we thought it best we get underway and parked up before things became too soggy. 

We arrived at Kaiteriteri around midday where we were met by Michael & Bernadette then shown to the parking spot they had picked out for us.  We are at Bethany Park in Kaiteriteri which is where a number of motorhomers park up over the winter months.  We parked, set ourselves up but oh dear, no TV reception. It seems a tree was in the way of good TV reception, so pack up and a move required.  At this point, Bernice & Bernadette beat a hasty retreat and left the blokes to sort things out in their own unique manner! 

at bethany parkThat’s us all settled in to our parking spot.

Over the next few days we settle into a non-routine of chores, chillaxing, tripping into Motueka for supplies of one kind or another plus decent internet reception, coffee and tea breaks and shared meals.  Wednesday turns into a day of pretty persistent rain although we cannot complain as we see on the news that some parts of the country are pretty sodden (North Otago in particular) but at least it tests Roy’s repairs to the leaking window which I am happy to report is now leak proof.

 happy camperMichael enjoying dinner by candlelight with a glass of wine. 


dawn dawn2

Dawn after our first night at Kaiteriteri revealed low cloud or sea mist hiding the distant shore


sex on the beach A walk along the beach revealed The source of that well known cocktail “Sex on the Beach”….

There are large areas of mudflat and swamp in the area behind the main beach at Kaiteriteri revealing a large variety of birds. 

heronIncluding this Heron have an early morning wade looking for breakfast.


kaiteriteriA view of the beach front


volcanoA volcano? on the horizon

Pukekos feeding on grass roots,

dainty hold   foodthe one on the left daintily holding a root with it foot whilst eating the root away from the top of the plant. The feeding area on the right was carefully provided by a motorhome being carefully realigned.

You may have heard of Bluff oysters and Mountain oysters

land oystersbut INLAND MUD OYSTERS????

One afternoon we head off down to the beach at low tide to collect mussels off the rocks, and cockles from the beach.  We collect just enough for all of us to have a meal.


Mussel gathering  and Collecting cockles

As the saying goes, when in Germany do not mention the War, well when with Michael & Bernadette DO not mention satellite TV. They have been having the odd problem with TV reception and setting the satellite dish in the right place. Michael had been having issues with his set up and over the five days we have been here, every day has seen a new problem, new solution, dish need a change in position etc etc etc etc!  Part of the solution to finding the right angle and set up position, Michael has borrowed our satellite finder, which is a device that basically “squeals”, getting louder and louder as it hones in on the satellite.  The noise can become VERY annoying, particularly as we seem to be hearing the damn squealer on a very regular basis, which results in the girls abandoning ship to quieter quarters.  Usually what happens is that the squealer is employed initially for a very brief period in the initial set up and not used again, but because Michael has had problems with connections at each end of the cable plus other ‘issues’, he has had to use it on a very regular basis.

there was a picture Michael "fixing” things at the TV end, and yes, there was a picture….momentarily,

try again try try again try try try again well it should work

the dish was moved this way, then that way, adjusted again, and again….and again.   Roy observed and proffered advice, new pieces were purchased, things were shifted, then finally on Thursday – its working!  What is even funnier, they pack up on Friday as they are leaving.  OOps, Friday morning and its not working again.  We wish we were a fly on the wall to watch the set up at the next stop over.

This has caused much mirth, so much so, we have made a sign and named their van eeeeeee(spoken in a high pitch)


names 1  names 2

Four districts in one day

August 11, 2012

Mitre 10 Mega, Noel Leeming, Plastic Box, Kathmandu, are just a few of the stores that have had a few visits from the Vannini’s in the past couple of days.  We went off shopping with list in hand, actually make that iPad in hand as Bernice became frustrated with trying to explain exactly what it was she was after, thus with some internet trolling and pictures added to the iPad, we went shopping.  There is always something that we seem to need/want/desire, this time it was little things that just make life that little bit more comfortable.   And a very successful shopping expedition it was, we got everything  crossed off our list.

We must also congratulate the assistants in the shops, without exception,  every store we went into the assistants were pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable.  Christchurch is making a huge effort to welcome customers into their stores. You can’t ask for more than that.

Saturday 11 August

We have been parked at Steam Scene in Mclean Island for the past couple of nights.  The place is a collection of live steam exhibits, stationary steam engines, two railway systems, one full size the other small scale.  In addition there is a sawmill, rock crusher and a number of other apparatus all of which operate on live days courtesy of a number of steam producing boilers.


Unusual carriage powered by a tractor engine on the full scale railway.


One of the small scale engines


Parked up at Steam Scene


And in case you were wondering where we put guests….


this is the annexe on the road in front of us!!

We left Steam Scene in Christchurch on Saturday, heading off toward Murchison.  Our first stop was in Culverden where we met up with Pip from Sherwood Lodge for a spot of lunch.  It just so happens to be 2 years ago to the day that we stayed with Pip at Sherwood on the night before we flew out to Vancouver on our way to the UK and Europe.   How time flies, and oh how much we seem to have managed to squeeze in to the past two years.

After lunch we headed off through the Lewis Pass enjoying the scenery along the way.

lewis2 The view from the passengers seat,


and towards the drivers side.

Bernice finally figured out that she could plug her iPad into the stereo system and we could listen to some music.  The rest of the trip to Murchison went very quickly along with by some very loud music and some very off-key vocal accompaniment!

And to prove that the Sourdough breadmaking has been successful

bread1 bread6

Oh, and the reason for the title?  We left Christchurch  this morning, crossed into Amuri District, then into Buller District before finsihing the day in Nelson District.  Not quite the same as four countries in one day…but nearly!!

On The Road Again

August 9, 2012

As we drove out of town on Tuesday morning nearly 2 years to the day that we left for Europe and the start of this odyssey, Roy & I  looked at each other as Oamaru disappeared out of the rear view mirrors and smiled, woohooo!   we are back in our van and off on the next adventure.
So what have we been doing for the past 5 or so weeks since our last blog entry? Without boring you all with the minutiae, we have been housesitting back at Pen-y-bryn, which included looking after dogs, guests and housework (pffffttt!).  Friends Bill & Linda came down from Auckland to get married at Pen-y-bryn where we had a lovely, memorable weekend with them along with Bill & Estelle.  We even had a surprise visit from an Owl on their wedding day which must have made its way down the Billiard Room chimney before the groom Bill managed to catch it and release it.    A lovely visit from best mate Jacky, we had a lovely time together, chilling, cooking, knitting and chatting.
In between duties we spent time catching up with friends and family, quiz nights, netball watching,  perfecting sourdough bread making and getting a few other tasks completed. That entailed for Bernice completing a range of knitting, sewing, embroidery and crafty things that she had promised Ann, before she died, that she would finish for her.  For Roy it was head down and get lots of work done.
We had a week back with Helen & Don on the farm once our Lodge sitting duties were over, where again, time seemed to quickly slip by.  We needed to stay on until last Friday as we wrote and ran a quiz as a fundraiser for the Cancer Society on behalf of the major sponsor the National Bank.  A great night with good funds raised for this worthy cause.
It took us a couple of days to get ourselves organized, van packed and cleaned.  Our intentions are to head to Takaka and spend some time exploring that region  before crossing the ditch for the North Island sojourn.  We are particularly looking forward to another housesitting stint in Auckland over the Xmas/New Year period which means we will be able to spend time with Antony and with Simon and Anita as well as other family and friends.
Back to the here and now, first stop on our travels was Ashburton for a quick catch up with grandchildren, and to also stock up on more wool and patterns for more knitting projects.  Our first night back in the van for 11 weeks, get set to crawl into bed but……………..damn, a leak in the back window means that Bernice’s side of the bed is very damp, so fire up the heating to dry everything out, brave the elements to make a temporary repair to the leaky window, and it’s not too long before we can finally make it into our own bed. Bliss!

Wednesday 8th August
To Christchurch today and to Steam Scene where we park up & meet up with fellow permanent bus dwellers Jim & Judy. We spend the rest of the day catching up with them and looking around the park.  By mid afternoon  the rain finally decides to stop so tomorrow we will be able to make a permanent fix to the window – amazing what a little silicon can do!  We are also out of practise with the Happy Hour routine however luckily we are both fast learners.

Thursday 9th August
Happy Birthday Alex!  Can’t believe that our ‘baby’ is 26 today, hope you enjoy the Jet Planes and Pineapple lumps we sent you xox