Archive for August, 2015

Holiday vacation

August 29, 2015

This holiday business is exhausting!! I need a holiday, or at least a break – from my vacation – from our holiday lifestyle!!! It’s hard work being on holiday, and there is certainly no time in which to write up blogs, which means lucky readers, you also get a holiday…from blog entries. We are just either far too busy or far too exhausted at the end of the days to contemplate writing up entries, it makes me wonder how on earth we managed it whilst we were in Europe.

But here in Melbourne we have explored the city and walked our feet off finding things to see and do. We spent a couple of days familiarising ourselves with the city and visiting the must see places like Docklands, central city streetscapes, Queen Victoria Market, Chinatown, the Greek quarter and Italian quarter aka Lygon street, Etihad stadium, the MCG and other stadiums, libraries, art galleries and museums etc etc.

I took myself off to see the show Strictly Ballroom one evening, another day Karel & I went off for a very long day tour along the Great Ocean Road, and another day we all went to Ballarat for the day. We shall write up all these in detail at a later date so be prepared for a barrage of entries in another couple of weeks time.

Rest assured however, that we are working very hard at sightseeing, having fun, enjoying the culinary delights of every known cuisine of the world available right here in Melbourne as well as getting our cultural fix. Enjoy your blog holiday.

Auckland to Melbourne

August 26, 2015

It was an early start to the day on Saturday morning, up at 4.45am to get ourselves organised for our flight to Melbourne. After showers and a quick reorganisation of the bag we headed from the hotel to the Park & Ride facility where we would be leaving our car for the next 17 days. That was all done very quickly and efficiently and we arrived at the airport in plenty of time to check in and get out boarding passes which was all done very efficiently via kiosk. Well, sort of efficiency, the silly machine would not read Roy’s brand new passport so we had to garner some attention from an attendant. That all done, it was time for some breakfast, not much choice really apart from the usual fast food outlets and a cafe, time to head through into the duty free shops. Not that we are looking for anything in particular but we did purchase of a couple of bottles before wandering along to our gate.

It was here that I recognised an AirNZ hostess passing us by and sure enough it was our friend Diana (who used to work for Roy as a programmer when he was head of what was called EDP, now known as IT, at Kinleith many years ago). We haven’t seen Di for a year or so, so it was lovely to catch up. It turns out that she was working on our flight, albeit up the front of the aircraft in First Class, and no she couldn’t get us upgraded as that end was full! Never mind, we had reasonable seats in cattle class in the centre portion with no one beside us so we had a little room to spread ourselves out. We had just got settled into our seats when some champagne arrived for us (thanx Di) via attentive staff. And no, it’s never too early to drink champagne!!! An uneventful flight, Di did manage to sneak off to see us for a bit during the flight (delivering more champagne) and we will catch up with her on our return from Melbourne.

imageOur plane

We were off the plane pretty smartly to catch the shuttle bus into the city to our apartment home for the next 2 weeks or so.

After unpacking our bag and a quick cuppa, we were off out the door to walk around and try and get our bearings. Only 100metres or so from the door we turned the corner to find ourselves looking across at two restaurants we enjoyed on our past visit here.

We headed over to Pelligrini’s for our fix of Italian. Pelligrini’s is an iconic Melbourne cafe that remains unchanged from the 1950’s although a little disappointing this time tho and we are sure that we were overcharged as well with the amount rung on the till bearing no resemblance to what we were paid, we did query it but were quickly given the brush off. We headed off just back a couple of doors down to Grossi Florentino, where a few years ago we had the most memorable meal and service, we did not head in today but we did check out the menu.

imagePelligrini’s Bar

imageBehind that tree is Grossi Florentino

From there we wandered down Bourke Street and on into the surrounding streets before returning home to have a light dinner of a selection of delights picked up from China Town and then falling asleep on the couch at a reasonably early hour.

Sunday morning and we were out the door and off to the Queen Victoria Markets to do a bit of fresh produce shopping to see us through the next couple of weeks.

imageA prawn for the barbie??

imageHow about some veg?

imageSalami anyone?


imageChecking out what’s on offer

imageChurro’s for morning tea….and yes, they are as good as we remember them from our last visit here!!

We were done by early afternoon so went back to the apartment to await the arrival of Roy’s sister Karel. She arrived shortly after we got back and after a quick catch up we were ready to plan our exploring of the city and its environs over the next couple of weeks.

Time for a change

August 19, 2015

Ron & Jan joined us at Whakapirau for the weekend. Now this friendship goes back quite a number of years, as Roy and Janet started school together just a few years ago at Cockle Bay and they have kept the friendship going for over 65 years!!! We attended their 50th wedding anniversary at the beginning of the year which you can read about here. I forgot to take any pictures as we were too busy catching up and doing far more important things.

It was a lovely weekend, the weather wasn’t all that wonderful and the netball wasn’t much better but we managed to keep ourselves well entertained playing cards most of the weekend. Our game of choice is Samba, a three pack Canasta style of game, which we all really enjoy playing except when some people seem to get dealt complete Sambas (I did leave the table at that point …..hmmmm?!) or a proliferation of Jokers but in any case it was all great fun and hopefully we can do it all again soon.

The rest of our time here at Whakapirau has been spent pottering around doing the odd job here and there, and generally keeping out of mischief. Roy even went fishing off the wharf the other day. If you click on the photo below and zoom in, you may be able to make out Roy at the end of the wharf.image

We are about to hand over the reigns to our housesitting duties as we have sub contracted out our job to Pat & Sue (with the blessing of Jacky & Chris) as Roy & I are off to Melbourne for a bit of a holiday. I know, we lead such stressful lives that we need a holiday but someone has to do it!

When there’s an oops…

August 14, 2015

You know how it is, everything is just tootling along nicely and then you do something silly which serves as a reminder to take a little care.  We were down on the beach having put put the kite with the fishing line out and I had wandered back to the van to make us a cuppa whilst we waited for the fish to bite….yeah right!  In my haste, I opened the door of the van but neglected to hook it back in place whilst I undid my shoe laces, the wind caught the door and swung it back around toward me so I put my hand out to stop the door smashing into me but all I managed to do was to catch the back of my hand under the bottom of the door, ripping along my hand but worst of all, catching my rings.

My engagement ring now has two less clasps holding the emerald in place (at the 10 o’clock and 4 o’clock positions) and my eternity ring has one less small diamond in the centre. Bugger!


Now I guessed that the diamond would have dropped onto the ground just beneath the door, roughly where I was standing and I was sure I could see something glistening in the sun. What was a girl to do?……only one thing to do, try and find it.  I proceeded to draw a circle in the sand and gravel where I thought the diamond may be, then I hopped into the van to get a very small sieve (tea strainer) and a teaspoon then proceeded to sieve the the sand within the bounds of the circle I had drawn.   Luckily no one else was around whilst I was seiving the sand otherwise I am sure that they would have thought that I was completely nuts.

I thought I was going to be there most of the day scratching the rough the sand but it did not take me too long, only about 10 minutes or so, before ………voila, I found it!!  Well, I say that I have found the diamond, either that or the jeweller is going to laugh his head off at the very small piece of glass/sand that I hand over to him!!

Our new home!!

August 9, 2015

Have we got your attention??

Yes we have a new home….and this is the view from the deck this morning


This is our home for the next six or seven weeks whilst we housesit in Whakapirau on the Kaipara Harbour for Jacky & Chris.  It’s lovely to be here and enjoy all the “luxuries” of being in a house wherr we don’t have to watch battery levels and power consumption, nor water consumption or waste water levels.

We do have some responsibilities whilst here though, as well as the cat to look after we also have chooks to mind and this morning (our first morning) they rewarded us with 5 eggs – a record apparently!

imageA slight variation in sizes of eggs.

I am also taking advantage of the laden Seville Orange tree and have a batch of marmalade on the go


Tomorrow it will be cooked up and bottled ready for eating later.

Today is our daughter Alexandra’s 29th Birthday, we hope she has a lovely birthday and celebrates well in London where she lives.  And if she behaves herself then she may just get a special belated birthday delivery from Jacky & Chris in a week or two😉

A couple of weeks at Uretiti

August 5, 2015

Two weeks at Uretiti have passed very quickly indeed. Goodness knows where the days have gone or what we have done but the days sure do seem to fly by.  Some days were spent flying kites sending out the bait and line for a good wash but with no fish being caught at all. We were told by everyone that wandered past that no one was catching any fish, so the gear has been packed away ready for warmer weather when apparently the fish will come out to play.

We have made the odd foray into Whangarei to attend to shopping and other such essential matters  including a visit to the Saturday Farmers market where we get our fill of fresh fruit and veg but in the main we spent most of our time relaxing and attending to the never ending list of chores that we seem to make for ourselves.

imageParked up at Uretiti, Pat & Sues van in the foreground, us behind them with Brian and Marj in the back.

Uretiti Beach is in Bream Bay, with Marsden Point and Ruakaka to the north and Waipu to the South.  The beach is approximately 5kms in length and very popular especially over the summer months when the numerous camp grounds dotted along the coast line are full to capacity.  This camp is a DoC (Department of Conservation) run campground, with limited facilities i.e. fresh water, composting toilets and rubbish bins, and with no organised or allocated camp sites among the sand dunes.  Newly planted ‘islands’ are making the place look very tidy as well as affording separation and shelter for campers.  The camp is popular with motorhomers over the winter months as a good place to stop for a couple of weeks before moving on to the next port of call.

image A rainbow above our van.

Walks along the beach make for many new discoveries, especially if the sea has been a bit rough or an extra high tide brings ashore treasures.  Although we have not found Pat’s kite which fell into the sea on our first few days here, thats what sometimes happens when you forget to attach the floatation balls, the kite falls into the sea and either disappears never to be seen again, or like ours comes back shredded.  But we did find this chap standing guard over the edge of the beach..

imageSentinel on the beach.

We shall be leaving Uretiti this weekend, although the van will be staying here in storage, when we head to Whakapirau to Jacky & Chris’ to take up our hosuesitting duties.


Te Arai and Uretiti

August 1, 2015

Time to leave Shakespear, we do love this place and of course the people too but it won’t be long before December rolls around and we will be back to take up our role as summer camp hosts. We first headed to Hatfields Beach, probably best known in New Zealand as Rob Muldoon’s summer holiday retreat. Muldoon was Prime Minister from 1974 – 1982 and known as one of our most polarising PMs. To supporters he was the voice of ‘the ordinary bloke’; to critics he was a dictatorial bully. But we were here for a different reason, there is a new dump station here so we decided to check it out before heading north.imagethe new dump station at Hatfields Beach

From there is was another 75kms, with some of these kms over very twisty and dusty metal road, to Te Arai Point which is another Auckland Council managed park, with this one a very recently acquired managed park.  Here we are allowed to stay for just three nights in the Self Contained Area – for non motorhome people this means that your vehicle must have toilet and waste water contained to a certified level.

It is a lovely beach and we had only just parked up when we were on the beach with the kite out and hooks in the water.  We tried a couple more times over the next few days but all fish are safe and well somewhere out there in the ocean, not a one on our lines but never mind, it’s a lovely way to spend the day.

imageHere we are parked in the parking are along with Pat & Sue, the other motorhome is parked outside the gated area.

imageView of the vans and the beach from the point

We took took a sightseeing trip around the area including a visit to see friends eho live at Mangawhai Heads and will definitely come back here for another stay and hopefully better fishing too.

From Te Arai it was a short drive through to Uretiti DoC camp just south of Whangarei where we are for two weeks.  Ok, so one of those weeks has already passed and we have just one week left here until the van goes into hibernation mode as we head to Whakapirau to hosuesit for Jacky & Chris until the end of September.  The kites have been out a few times at Uretiti, but unfortunately nothing has been caught, apparently no one is catching anything much at the moment which is some consolation.

Improvments have been made, a new trace rack for holding all the hooks has been made and a new trolley has been purchased for carting all the gear to the beach….photos of those to follow in another blog post.

imageFishing off Uretiti beach, look carefully and you can see the kite and skyhook in the sky, with the flag and bottle in the surf.

imageRoy and Pat baiting the hooks whilst Sue holds the dropper line.