The start of a New Year

Do you remember the summers of your childhood when it was always sunny, the days were warm and you spent all day everyday at the beach? Well, it seems as though the start of this summer is panning out to be one of ‘those’ summers and long may it continue.

It does not seem that long ago that we were welcoming in a new millennium, in just a blink of an eye it is suddenly 15 years on. We spent the last few days of 2014 with Colin & Edwina who had come out to camp/chill out with us. We spent a delightfully relaxing few days with them, not achieving much, however we did go for a swim or two in the sea to cool off and to escape the gloriously fine hot days we are currently experiencing. We enjoyed their good company, good food and the odd tipple as well and look forward to them coming again soon.

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Then it was the turn of Helen & Don to join us for a few days. They had driven up from Oamaru in their motorhome so they could spend time with their family in Cambridge for Christmas, then they headed up to join us at Shakespear for a few nights and to see in the New Year. Again, we enjoyed their company, good food and drink as well as a few games of cards over the few days they were with us and look forward to them joining us again soon. Oh, and we all went swimming too, especially as the water was so warm as it came in over the hot sands, perfect timing for the tides with high tide in the mid afternoons.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4db/13065192/files/2015/01/img_0263.jpg it seems as though we take a few photos around our table!!

And it is amazing the things you learn. Helen has to wear a “sleeve” on one arm, one of the effects of breast cancer, and as it is a tight fitting elasticised sleeve, it it difficult to put on so Don has to help. BUT to make the job a little easier apparently it is much easier if Don wears rubber gloves to get a better grip on the sleeve….nice pink ones of course!

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New Year’s Eve was seen in by sitting on the beach looking across the harbour to the Auckland Sky Tower and watching the fireworks display.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4db/13065192/files/2015/01/img_0264.pngHappy New Year everyone!

Roy and I have settled into camp life quite nicely with the camp full to capacity (160 campers) every day. Our role is just to meet & greet people and make sure they are aware of the facilities and ensure all runs smoothly. As well, we are the first port of call for any queries or problems and we get hold of the Rangers. The main part of the Park, which includes huge areas for picnicking, has been jam packed every day with hundreds of people flocking to the beach every day so what with farm work and the general public to deal with, the Rangers life is very busy and the last thing they need is to sort out minor camping issues. They are a great bunch of people and usually pop in most days to say hi and have a cuppa and a chat, and they have made us feel very much at home.

Some of the camp sites set up by families and groups are rather sophisticated with large tents, gazebos to provide shade and living space, lighting, gas powered fridges, shower tents, and anything else you can think of including the kitchen sink!! There are a huge variety of people as well, with people from all cultures and ethnicities which all adds to the colour and liveliness of the camp ground. We had a Tongan church group in over Christmas who serenaded us each evening and woke us each morning with their wonderful singing of carols and hymns. People have been very friendly and generous as well. Oh, and of course there is the Junior Ranger programme that they run here at Shakespear which keeps me busy. I issue booklets to the young people who then fill in the different sections by drawing pictures, answering questions, observe wildlife and generally become educated about life in a predator proof sanctuary. When they have completed their tasks, they return the booklets to me for marking and then they get a badge in return. Some children take their roles as Junior Rangers quite seriously, but also add much fun to the camp atmosphere and they always call out “Hi” to me as they pass me by.

We have been persuaded to stay on a little (actually a lot!) longer than we had originally planned and at this stage we shall be leaving here after Waitangi weekend which will mean we leave around the 10th of February. But we have also been conned had our arms twisted committed to coming back for next summer from around the end of November through to the end of March. Having the odd one or two of these helped in making up our minds.

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