Archive for December, 2014

Meri Kirihimete

December 26, 2014

We hope you all had a great Christmas this year, ours was certainly very relaxing this year thanks to Steve & Leslie and their families. Although we also reckon that as we have been resident in the park, away from shops, malls and the general throng, we have missed out on the commercialised hype that seems to be associated with Christmas these days.

We snuck away from our “park nark” duties on Christmas Eve and did join the traffic and the hoards of people by doing a bit of last minute food shopping but rest assured we were out of the shops pretty damn quickly. We went to Steve & Les’ for a very chilled Xmas Eve. From there we went to their daughter Sarah’s place for Christmas Day where she had everything organised for the day. Sarah has three young boys, and her sister Fran has a daughter and they all happily spent the day playing with their Christmas pressies, eating chocolates and providing entertainment for the rest of us. Oh and Uncle Antony got in on the act with the water pistols too – much to their delight!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4db/13065192/files/2014/12/img_0240.jpg Ben getting watered by Uncle Antony with Bea & Asher escaping.

We had all contributed food and wine for the Christmas table but it was particularly nice that the three girls (with everyone else also doing their bit) organised the meal. It makes a nice change for me to be out of the kitchen for the day and I can tell you it was much appreciated.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4db/13065192/files/2014/12/img_0241.jpgErin, Fran and Sarah

The day was a bit much for some, Finn fell asleep on the couch late in the afternoon with Uncle Clive keeping him company. Although Finn had a good excuse to rest his eyes as it was his 4th birthday Christmas Eve and he had had a couple of big days, but we are not sure what Clive’s excuse is though!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4db/13065192/files/2014/12/img_0242.jpg sleeping beauties

We did not miss out on the present side of things and we received a couple of lovely presents from Alex & Ian

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4db/13065192/files/2014/12/img_0235.jpgcamper van salt & pepper shakers

And an appropriate sign to hang on the van door


Christmas is a busy time in our family for birthdays, with Finns birthday on the 24th, followed by my eldest brother Mike’s birthday on Christmas Day then Boxing Day it’s Erin’s turn. From then on we have birthdays nearly every second day right through to the end of January with the pattern continuing throughout the year with some months busier than others. I guess that’s what happens when you are part of a large family.

Enjoy your festivities wherever you may be and enjoy the company of family & friends. Stay safe, love from Bernice & Roy.

Grandchildren and the return journey

December 18, 2014

It’s always lovely to catch up with the grandchildren, especially when we can visit, play, hype them up, feed them sugar and then leave 😉 no, really, we didn’t feed them lots of sugar as that would be just plain silly. We spent a good four days in Ashburton, or more accurately Eiffelton, catching up with everyone. Grandad had “help” one day playing one of the kids games on the iPad, it was extremely funny watching the grandchildren trying desperately to NOT interfere with Grandad’s game, the expressions on their faces was priceless.

Theo, Rose, Grandad, Andre and Dante.

Sunday evening we all headed in to the Ashburton Domain for Christmas in the Park which was a large gathering of families all having picnics and fun in the late afternoon sun listening to carols waiting for the fireworks display. Although the weather was fine and lovely throughout the days whilst we were south, the evenings were still very chilly. Monday morning and we all trotted off to Longbeach School to watch Dante and Rose perform their line dancing routines.

somewhere in there are a couple of grandchildren!

Soon it was time for us to head back to Christchurch, we were due to meet up with Ben as he was flying in from the UK. But unfortunately those plans went slightly awry as his plane was delayed leaving Heathrow and therefore after much re-routing and changes of planes, he landed 12hrs after his original arrival time. We met Ben and his lovely family when we were in the UK four years ago. You can read about our visit hereHowever, we did manage to visit our friends Pat & Sue as they are currently in Christchurch. We had a great catch up with all their news and joined them for dinner. It seemed as though we were just getting into the swing of things when it was time for us to leave. Hopefully we will meet up again soon and join in travelling around the country. From there it was a quick sprint out to the airport to briefly see Ben arrive safely after his loooooong journey from England. /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4db/13065192/files/2014/12/img_0214.jpg

Bernice & Ben at the airport.

We had an early morning flight to catch and we had somehow managed to accumulate a bit more luggage which required the purchase of another bag and a reshuffle of our gear. An uneventful flight back to Auckland with some great views including this shot of Mt Egmont/Taranaki.

Unfortunately the weather in Auckland on our return was not great but it was lovely to get back to our van and back to Shakespear Park where we will remain as camp hosts until the end of January.


December 13, 2014

What do you call having a holiday from your holiday lifestyle? No? I don’t know either, but that is exactly what we are doing. We have flown south and not for the temperatures that we have struck either. However the temperatures are immaterial as the warmth we have received has more than made up for the ambient temperature.

We flew into Christchurch on Wednesday, picked up our rental car, a few formalities and we were quickly underway. Our first destination was Oamaru where we headed straight to the pub to meet up with Helen & Don and Jocelyn & Lex, our quiz team mates from days past as it just also happened to be the final quiz night for the year. We managed to catch up with a few other familiar faces around the town over the next day as well as checking out what is happening in the town.

There seems to be a shift in attitude in the town, with lots of vibrant businesses and people especially around the old part of town. It is great to see the place is buzzing at last and you are spoilt for choice with plenty of good cafes and restaurants.

The seashore area in particular has received the most obvious improvements with the recent building of a steampunk themed children’s playground and a cafe which is just under its final build which will soon be opening.


IMG_0200.JPGmore of the playground


IMG_0194.JPGSteampunk Tearooms detail

We left Oamaru Friday morning heading to Ashburton to spend some time with Roy’s son Jason and wife Erica and their 4 children. They live on a few acres just south of Ashburton and lead very busy lives looking after their
menagerie which include sheep, cows, pigs, chickens and of course 4 young children. This sign was eldest grandson Dante’s bedroom door


Deck the Halls

December 4, 2014

It’s that time of the year again, time to Deck the Halls Van with some festive finery. Those that know me well will know that in years gone by I became quite obsessive with the decoration of our Christmas trees. It all started many years ago (over 25 years in fact) when my friend Diana used to come round to our house when we would spend a whole day decorating the tree, always accompanied by the odd glass of the bubbly stuff with Carols playing loudly in the background. This was always a no-go zone for young children, no matter how much they protested this was purely an activity for adults. As Di works with Air New Zealand, she was able to bring back decorations from her travels that we never saw here in NZ at that time.

These days Di decorates her whole house and yard with amazing displays collected over the years which always draw large crowds to view them and even the odd spot on the TV news. Although years later we have stopped doing the decorations together, we still call each other at Christmas decorating time to check on what each other is doing. In fact this year Di called to say she was decorating her house and had the Carols playing, and she always thinks of me when “Feliz Navidad” plays as it was many many years before she realised they were not singing ‘Bernice Navidad’!!!

Then as Alex got a bit older it was she and I that took over the decoration of the trees and house together as our mother/daughter thing. We became quite accomplished at decorating, so much so that we used to be asked to help others decorate their trees.

The trees are always colour coordinated and themed, and this was looooooong before this practise became more common as it is today. My colour themes were never repeated either and now we have in storage enough Christmas decorations to cover every eventuality, boxes are stashed away with all the colours separated into in their own boxes ; traditional colours of red, green, silver, gold, as well as the hand made decorations. Then there is the crystal & clear, pale pink, pale green, orange, purple, brown, black, bright fluorescent green and pink, as well as every shade of blue. Goodness knows what else there is stashed in those boxes as it is over four years since they saw the light of day.

Then of course there is the boxes of lights, every tree needs at least 500 lights to make it sparkle. And don’t forget the wrapping paper, chosen to compliment the colour theme of the tree along with the ribbons! Of course Santa has completely different paper and gift tags, his presents are never confused with others.

But oh how things have changed. This year our tree looks like this…

IMG_0174.JPGA New Zealand Pohutakawa Tree. We are very fortunate being here at Shakespear as the park is lined with a large number of the trees which are starting to put on an amazing display. We didn’t realise that there is such a variety of colours too with the trees ranging from deep crimson through to an orangey-red colour and even a deep pink shade. There is even a yellow variety, with one tree at Shakespear being half red and half yellow

IMG_0170.JPG we are calling these our eco friendly Christmas trees.

Not to be left out, we do deck the van with some lights, low voltage of course so we do to drain our batteries.


Actually, we do have a Christmas tree inside the van, thanks to my sister Sue who made this for me a couple of years ago.

Hopefully Santa will be able to find it and put a few small but beautiful presents under this tree!