Archive for November, 2015

Farewell Matai Bay and Northland hello Shakespear

November 30, 2015

It’s time to leave the warm sunny north to start our journey south to Shakespear Regional Park which will be our home for the summer.  But first our last few days at Matai were spent reasonably quietly, mainly catching up with friends and fitting in the odd spell of fishing, although Puheke Beach (along from Rangiputa) is on my no-go list for the rest of the summer after again getting attacked by some sort of biting insect.  On doing a bit of research I discovered that this nasty little bug is colloquially known as the Mount Mauler, and inflicts its nasty bites, surreptitiously, until many hours later when they start to erupt and itch, not nice.

It was at least three days of incredibly intense itching soothed only by cool damp flannels, and yes, I tried just about every over the counter treatment as well as plenty of alternative treatments, although I can recommend a cold used tea bag daubed carefully onto the affected areas to garner a few moments of relief!!!  

Back to the fishing, we did try our luck off Tokerau Beach whilst also catching up with Pat & Steve who were parked at the Ramp Road freedom camping area.  Our fishing success was moderate but some snapper and gurnard has made it to the freezer for later. 

Back at Matai Bay, good friends Brian & Marj came to join us for our last week there, and along with Craig & Glennis and Jo, we had many an enjoyable afternoon happy hour righting the problems of the world and having a good laugh.  Someone in our travelling party  had a birthday in a few days time, but before we left Matai Bay Steve & Pat delivered some fish as a present, and Brian & Marj made me a lovely wee birthday cake complete with candle.  

We left Matai last Monday and made it to Kerikeri for a night before then continuing on to Uretiti for a couple of nights.  My birthday was on Wednesday and my bestest mate Jacky & Chris invited us to their place at Whakapirau for dinner and to stay the night which we duly did.  Earlier in the year both Roy & Chris had had noughty birthdays without much fanfare, so combined with my birthday it seemed like a good excuse to break it the decent wine.  We have been carting around a bottle of 2000 Church Road Tom for some time so it seemed appropriate to share it at this time, and we can report that as well as a lovely meal, with great company, the wine was pretty good too.

We arrived at Shakespear last Friday and ts good to be back and to see everyone here.  We shall be here for the summer so if you are in the area give us a call.  

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R&M

November 17, 2015

Like most homes, there are alway repairs and maintenance to be done in order to keep everything up to scratch, some of which we do ourselves and the rest we leave to those who know what they are doing and who also have the tools and equipment required to get the job done.  The van went in to Kaitaia Tractors last Wednesday to have the bushes replaced on the anti sway bar, as well, they had to fix and reweld into place one of the airbag supports on one side at the rear, then refit the airbag and test it.  The handbrake needed a tighten/adjustment and  as well, we had them spray the underside of the van with anti rust  gunk – that’s the technical name for the stuff – preventive maintenance,  as we spend such a lot of our time near beaches and salt laden air that we thought this was a good idea.  Once all the work was completed, we were advised not to travel on dusty roads for a day or so to allow the gunk to harden properly which meant a stay at the Kaitaia RSA for a night or two.  

After a couple or so days in Kaitaia we were more than ready to head back out to Matai Bay to the relative peace and quiet of the DoC camp,  with a little bit of fishing thrown in the mix as well.  But first more wee chores to be done, you know all those silly little things that are annoying but you never quite get round to attending to them.  The jobs that are designated to Ron, as in later-on!   Things like attach some magnetic catches to the cupboard doors above the drivers and passenger seats.  These doors have never closed tightly, and as I had found some really good magnetic catches in Kaitaia it was time to sort it out.  Roy set about screwing the catches in place, but of course it was never going to be that simple. For a start the doors lift up to open and of course do not open straight out,  they angle down slightly which meant in order to access the inside of the doors you have to twist yourself into awkward contortionist-like positions to use the drill ….then just as he was starting the job, the drill bit broke,  cue colourful language! After much muttering, dropping of tools, bits and screws, more colourful language, the doors now close tightly so no more bits flying out of cupboards on bumpy roads!  Another quick fix was to tidy up all the plugs and cords by attaching a multiplug to the wall out of the way.  

Next we had a blown bulb in one of the brake lights which meant removal of  the brake and reversing light cover, again not a simple job as one screw remained stubbornly in place and needed a special bit to drill it out.  Again, a bit of muttering ensued before replacing the offending bulb, test and reattach the covers.  Then there was the task of reattaching the small handle on the door opening for the fly screen door.  But first a clean up and removal of old glue before replacing the handle and hope it stays in place.

On our recent CoF of the van, it was pointed out to us that the running lights at the rear side of the van were the wrong colour…..the rest of the lights covers down the side of the van are amber coloured, but the ones at the very back were red.  In nearly 5 years and 10 vehicle checks since we have had the van this had never been mentioned before, apparently no red lights should be visible from the front of the vehicle.  Where were we to source such things? after checking a few auto supply shops we resorted to doing a quick internet search which resulted in two new lens covers ordered and delivered within a week, these were easily replaced.  

Roy got up on the roof of the van to check and clean the solar panels.  There have been a large number of birds leaving their calling cards on the windows and sides of the van so we thought they may have also been on the roof, but no, their aim is obviously for vertical  surfaces rather than the horizontal.  All we need to do now is give the van a good clean which we managed to do this morning in between rain showers utilising the rain to wash off the last of the dirt and dust.  A polish will be next on the agenda but that can wait until we get to Shakespear.  

Numerous other ’round-to-it’ jobs have been done, and even some fishing has been fitted in to the busy schedule.  The last piece of R&M to be done is on Roy – he broke a tooth so off to the dentist this week!

Some photos missed in passing

November 15, 2015

The following photos were taken during our visit to Wellington to view the ANZAC Exhibitions.  I have previously written about the exhibit at the National War Memorial but not the Te Papa exhibit. 

But first a picture from the National War Memorial, this first photo created quite an impression as it was taken on the exact day when my father was wounded and in Passchendaele although it is in the Australian sector rather than Abraham Heights where my father was hit by shrapnel in the face and right knee and subsequently invalided back to Hornchurch in England.

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Back to Te Papa.  I have had great difficulty in coming to grips with this exhibition so here are some photos with minimal text.

The following are photos of the models which are 1.8 times life scale.  Each shows a specific individual and is surrounded with displays of letters,  photographs and belongings of the person.  There are detailed biographical notes and also recordings of either the individual or of others who took part in the same action.  All fought at Anzac Cove or in the case of the nurse, supported those who were fighting.

Each of the persons are presented in a tableau representing specific actions on their part,  giving context to their role and action.

The detail in the tableaus is absolutely amazing

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Very expressive of the motions involved

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And that detail includes the conditions in which these persons found themselves

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The last of the tableaus gives a very good sense of  the thousand yard stare and has obviously created a very strong response by attendees as it has become decorated with poppies.

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On a much lighter note at Te Papa, this example of art from tins/cans.  The corned beef cans used were representative of those which were sold throughout the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and a wide range of markets across the world.

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Nearer to our present location the following photo is of a stained glass window in the Whatawhiwhi Church not far from Maitai Bay DoC Camp.  It was first mentioned to us by Stuart Park, a cousin who lives in Kerikeri, who was head of Historic Places in the North and had done research into a large number of churches.  His interest in New Zealand glass art is also represented here as he knew the artist and her work.  We accompanied Stuart and were very very impressed by the window.  It is a very impressive representation of the end of the Karikari Peninsular.  The twin bays at the left are Maitai Bay where the DoC camp is situated and the bottom bay is Waikato Bay.  

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The text at the base of the window translates from the Lord’s Prayer   Thy Will be Done.  The church itself is interesting as it is old but when one approaches it, it turns out that it has a concrete block exterior.  On talking to a very friendly local, it turns out that the concrete blocks are a shell erected around the original wooden exterior in order to preserve the original extrerior.  The interior is original and contains many photos of former clerics, prominent Maori and local people.  A very illuminating historic record.

Meanwhile back on the beach the picture below shows a strange creature? body? piece of flotsam washed ashore.  It consists of connected sacs some of which have filled with sand as they have washed ashore.  Identification would be appreciated, the closest we have come is squid egg sacs?

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And here is an unusual Pukeko showing signs of a malignant growth on the side of its neck.  It appears to represent no hindrance to its growth or abilities.

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Nor on its ability to appreciate an apple a day!

On our own again

November 11, 2015

Sometimes, getting what you want or need is not easy.  We needed a small part (bushes – for those of you who understand technical speak) for the steering anti sway bar  on the van.  Now our van is purpose built Ford chassis therefore parts for the motor and chassis should not be a problem in sourcing them in New Zealand even though the van is American in origin. However, it seemed that Ford in New Zealand were not being terribly helpful, so plan B was put into effect.  A quick search online and within the hour new bushes were ordered from the USA, and despatched  we are told, and will be delivered to Kaitaia Tractors  who will be doing the job within the next couple of weeks.  (Actually, they arrived Friday, just 8 days after ordering them from the States). So what are we to do in the meantime? Head back out to Matai Bay of course.

Over the weekend we went fishing again, this time four good sized snapper came in on the first haul, and not being greedy we decided that that was more than enough for us to share between us, Pat & Sue, and also give some to our neighbours in the camp.  Of course there was another event on that weekend, which made for an early start to Sunday morning.  Pat & Sue joined us to cheer on the All Blacks, and cheer loudly we did, what a fabulous game.  Nearly as good as the Silver Ferns game on Friday evening which I watched on my own from midnight through to the wee small hours!  But a great end to a wonderful weekend.  

  
We went out fishing a couple of times last week, the first time was just a little disastrous as no sooner had we got the kite up and the traces in the water when the wind suddenly dropped, meaning the line stopped going out and instead the traces hooks and bait were being tossed around in the surf, next the wind changed course heading back toward the beach, a very strange sight seeing your kite suddenly appearing over the top of your head. We decided to reel it all in, which is when we discovered that the washing machine action of the surf had tangled the line with the traces wrapped around themselves.  We removed all the traces, gathered the tangled line and returned to the van where we spent the next hour or so untangling and rewinding the line onto the reel.  Never mind, next time would be better we told ourselves.

  
And sure enough just a day later we went out fishing, again with fickle winds but this time we returned with no tangles and two very good sized snapper as well as a bucket load of Tuatuas.  A much better result, easpecialy since once we were on the beach three other lots of people came along and set  out their flashy torpedoes with not one of them returning with any fish!   Not only were the fish biting, so were the sand flies, with one of us proving particularly tasty. 

Now on to the reason behind the heading of this blog entry, last Monday morning Pat & Sue departed Matai Bay to  Auckland airport where they caught a flight to Melbourne to visit family for a few weeks. The four of us have basically been travelling together since May so it will feel a little strange for a while whilst we are on our own. It’s not often you come across friends with whom you can be with over many months and still come out as good friends at the end of it all!! We are due to catch up again once they return from their trip, as we shall be at Shakespear Park by then resuming our camp host duties then it won’t be long before they will be off to spend Christams with family down in Foxton. Fishing will not be quite the same without Pat & Sue assisting us with hauling in our line and sharing the spoils however we shall miss their good company more than anything.   But it won’t be long before we are travelling together again soon.  Besides, we are not really on our own, as other motorhoming friends have found where we are hiding and are making sure we are not lonely!!