Archive for January, 2016


January 28, 2016

A number of  friends and family have visited us since we have been at Shakespear, and it’s lovely to see them all.  Roy’s eldest son Simon and wife Anita came visiting one Sunday afternoon after Simons commitments with Auckland tennis were over (he’s the chair of Auckland tennis).  It was lovely to see them and catch up with their news and their busy lives.

Bernice’s brother Steve and wife Leslie have been to stay for the past few weekends, they have put up their tent behind our  van, which means that they can pop up after work on a Friday and leave Sunday afternoon as it is only a 30 minute drive from their home.  We have had lots of fun and laughter which is usual when we get together, Steve has also brought up his boat so that he and Roy can go out fishing.  The past two weekends they have also had one of their grandchildren with them.  First there was Ben, eldest son of their daughter Sarah.  Ben is 8, we had a great weekend with him keeping us well on our toes.  He really enjoyed getting up on Sunday morning to go with Uncle Roy on his walk along the beach collecting bags of rubbish and treasures along the way.  He also enjoyed getting up on top of the van to check out the view from up on high. 

And yes, the grass has grown around the van, note the length of the grass around the wheels!

The next weekend, Steve and Les were accompanied by their granddaughter Bea who has just celebrated her 3rd birthday.  We had a fun weekend with her, and on that particular day Sarah came up with her three boys to join in the fun for a day which included a water slide put up by some of the campers.  Ben and Finn braved the slide by themselves whilst Asher decided it was not for him as he had already had a bit of a mishap (more on that shortly),  Aunty Bernice was the only one brave enough to take Bea for a ride down the slide and I can tell you it was mighty scary!! 

 That’s Bernice and Bea flying down the slide!

Earlier that day the boys had gone off to explore the park, which included a climb up a very popular, but very steep hill.  It all went went until it came time for the descent with Ash first sliding then tumbling head over heels down the steep incline.  This is the result – warning: nudity involved in the following picture. 

 7 year old Asher’s scars!

Yesterday’s weather forecast was not looking too good with heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast, however, the day did not look too bad so Sarah and the boys decided to heck with the forecast and came up for the day.  It turned out to be a real scorcher of a day for us even if the rest of Auckland was receiving a deluge.  Most of the day was spent in the sea swimming, but we did manage to get out of the water long enough for the boys to complete their Junior Ranger Badges.  

 Aunty Bernice marking the booklets, with from front clockwise Ollie (Ben’s friend), Ben, Ash (obscured) and Finn.

PS.  We have mowed the lawns so everything looks tidy.  We had to take the van down to Silverdale to fill up with LPG as our tank is an inbuilt one, so whilst we had to move the van, we took the opportunity to mow the grass.  That should see us right until we leave here at the beginning of March.

Some people

January 14, 2016

Some people are a worry.  Over the past few days we have had a few interesting “incidents”.  It started off when I (Bernice) put my back out, I managed to do this very easily by picking up a bucket of water and twisting around at the same time.  Ouch!  I must say that it was abrather painful event and continues to be so.   I could hardly stand up let alone walk any distance without looking like an old woman with a severe stoop!  Rest, painkillers and anti inflammatory cream was the recipe for recovery, the first two of which I could happily administer myself but I had to trust Roy with the applicationof the cream.  It all went well for the first few days, I rested as best I could without aggravating things and the painkillers helped a little.  Roy was very good at rubbing in the anti flam ointment, very carefully applying the cream without inflicting too much pressure thus making by back even more painful.  That was until one evening, when he was half way through rubbing in the ointment he said “oh no this doesn’t feel right”.   Well, what is girl supposed to think? A lump? A rash? What’s wrong, I asked?  Oh damn, says he, I’ve used the wrong tube of ointment, I thought I grabbed the Voltaren gel but instead I’ve used the Polident!!  For those of you not au fait with such things, Polident is a denture fixative and now my back was covered with the stuff.  Yes, I did see the funny side of it and no, I have not discovered a new cure for backache!

On Sunday, friends Colin & Edwina arrived to stay at Shakepsear for a week, they had booked a few months ago before they knew that we were in fact returning to be Camp Hosts.  Once the greetings were over and a site sorted for them to set up camp, we set about helping them put up their tents and gazebo.  It did not take us too long to get everything ship shape, by then it was time to have some lunch.  As we were sitting at the table having lunch, Roy seemed to be constantly asking us to repeat everything being said, I noticed that I could not see his hearing aid in his left ear so asked him why he hadn’t put his hearing aids in today. Oooops, and bugger, yep, you guessed it, he had lost his hearing aid.  Well, it must be around Colin & Ed’s tent somewhere having been knocked out when he was crawling around under the tent.  After much searching without any luck, we resigned ourselves to the fact that it was well and truly lost and at cost of over $7000 per aid, it is not exactly a cheap exercise to replace them.  It did not make it any easier to find when we realised that it could have been lost at any time during the morning and anywhere within the camp as earlier in the day he had gone for for a walk wearing his headphones, and we presumed that when he has stopped to talk to people and removed his headphones that he may well have dislodged it at any time.

With lots of other campers coming and going throughout the day it was soon time for Roy to do his afternoon rounds.  This consists of welcoming in new campers and making sure everyone knows where essential amenities are located and answering any questions people may have.  Today though, he also asked campers to please keep an eye out for the missing hearing aid, and also saying that we would happily offer a reward to anyone finding it.  Well, that set the tone for the rest of the afternoon as the children of the camp (around 60 of them) took it upon themselves to do a thorough search of the camp ground.  We had a constant stream of small groups of children coming to ask where did Roy think he last had it, or could they search around the van, or has anyone found it yet.  Their diligence and eagerness was just delightful to see, I guess it was a new form of treasure hunt.  But by the time evening and darkness descended on the campground, the hearing aid was still missing.  Heavy sigh.

Next morning and the search continued with a constant stream of people stopping by to see if it had been located, and the head Ranger Bruce was going to come later in he day with his new metal detector to see if he could locate it.   Colin had crawled all through their tents feeling through the floor to see if it was under their tent, he found lots of twigs and foliage but alas no hearing aid.  We had previously executed a throrough search through the van, looking in all the usual places; beside the bed, in the bed and under the mattress, on the floor in the bedroom and bathroom, in the kitchen and living areas, under chairs, down the sides of chairs, everywhere you could think of all without any luck. Then Roy got down on the floor to have a look under his desk which is set into the front dashboard and what do you know? There, right at the very front tucked into a deep dark corner …….there it was!  Phew, relief all around.  and a collective woohoo from the campers as well, life could return to normal status. 

Some people eh?

PS.  Another search for a damn hearing aid was again mounted this morning….I definitely put it here he said! …….but no, it was found elsewhere! 


January 7, 2016

Life as camp hosts provides us with varied days, we get asked for all sorts of information such as where to get gas bottles filled, to which walking tracks take, what time do the gates close and everything in between.  Campers come looking for all sorts of things to borrow or use, everything from a needle, to scissors, pens, and even a cooking stove!

 This summer, we are supplying power for people to charge up their phones and iPads etc, all for a gold coin donation to SOSSI (Shakespear Open Sanctuary Supporters Inc) .  At this time of the year, our solar panels generate enough energy to keep our batteries full to capacity and some, so we turn on the inverter – which converts the power from the batteries to 230v – we have an external power point to which we have plugged in a multi plug unit and people come along, plug in their device and charge it up.  I have to say that we have made a small fortune so far for SOSSI, as well as making for some happy campers.  Although we have had to put a sign up to say that it is solar generated power therefore only available during daylight hours and when the sun is shining, some people have been turning up and 7am wanting power!!  They get a bit of a grumpy response from me being woken at that hour  I have to say but a sign with the hours available has corrected that.  A few days of rain put a dampner on our charging capabilities but we were quickly back to normal again once the rain stopped.  

Speaking of rain, we had a deluge over New Year’s Day, and plenty of strong winds that saw many in the camp pack up and leave, but a hardy 60 or so campers remained and sat out the horrible weather.

  The view out of the window 
We didn’t seem to have had it as bad as some parts of the country, with only a couple of gazebos getting blown apart and we did not have as much rain as was predicted, besides, it drained away very quickly. 

  The following day, this was the view.
Another day saw Roy being asked if he could fix a bell on one of the kids bikes, soon he was surrounded by eagle eyed onlookers, with  the bell being repaired and some happy children off zooming around the camp on their bikes.  

 Bike workshop!  
 Experts abound.

Life certainly isn’t dull, and we meet some very interesting people.  We are greeted by returning campers from last year like long lost friends, and have shared drinks, and the occasional meal as well.  

Today we have had a bit of another exodus of campers as heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow . As many folk are back to work next week, the thought of having to pack up wet gear in the rain and wind is not exactly appealing, so today saw many packing up their dry gear and heading home.

Living full time in a motorhome

January 2, 2016

We are often asked what it is like living in a motorhome and when are we going to finish traveling and get a “real” house.  The following is an attempt to answer some of those questions  (with some ideas and inspiration from the latest NZ American RV newsletter).

1. This is not Camping

Our version of full-time RV’ing is not camping… it’s living. In other words, we don’t consider our lives to be one big camping trip. We don’t eat at Maccas or RSA’s every night, nor do we eat dehydrated instant packet food, nor do we sit around the picnic table playing boardgames by lantern/torchlight. Yes, we stay in a camp ground occasionally, but for the most part we are not camping.

2. We do Laundry

When I lived in a house, I felt like I was always doing laundry. A load of towels, whites the next, clothing separated into dark and light for more loads.  It was a never ending cycle that I couldn’t seem to break. That is, until I moved into an RV with a small washing machine on board. Now I do laundry a couple of times a week. And it doesn’t take long.  I sometimes even use a laundromat, or utilise friends and family large washing machine for when I have big stuff to do (thanks!).  And I have finally given up ironing everything in sight, yes folks, you read it here first, I no longer iron my sheets or tea towels!!! 

3.  I will choose my tiny house, over your guest bedroom

When we visit or park in your driveway (which we appreciate greatly by the way) chances are we’ll say thanks but no thanks when you offer up your guest room. You see, the thing is that we like our tiny house with our cosy bed, favourite pillow, all our clothes within reach and the bathroom a few steps away from our bed. We travel in a motorhome because we enjoy the convenience of always having our house with us. So it’s not that we don’t appreciate the offer, but we really would prefer to sleep in our own bed. However, I will take you up on that offer to use your shower though!
4.  This is not a permanent holiday

This is a hard one for non full-timers to grasp. So you live in an RV and you get to travel to any cool place you want, yet you don’t consider yourself to be on holiday? Nope, not at all.  I think you can only function in ‘holiday’ mode for so long. At some point you have to create a normal routine with down time and off days. For us full time RV’ing is a lifestyle choice, not a permanent holiday, we choose where we want to go and when and what we want to do.

5.  I Sometimes Forget That I’m Not “Normal”.

I sometimes forget that our lifestyle is considered out of the ordinary. Especially if we’ve been spending time with other full time RV’ers who view living in a tiny house on wheels as commonplace. It usually takes an encounter with the “normal” folks to remind me that how we live is fascinating and envy-worthy.
6. I Have No Idea When I Will “Be Done”.

We get asked this a lot and I’m always tempted to reply, done with what? Done with a lifestyle that brings me joy? Done with expanding my horizons and becoming a more well rounded person? Done with meeting incredible people and making lifelong connections and friendships? Why would I want to be done with all that? The short answer is that I have no idea when I will be done, and I enjoy not knowing. There is something very appealing about a future that is open to endless possibilities. I’m confident that when we get the urge to settle in one spot, we will know when the time is right. But for now we will continue to roll down the road with no plans to “be done” any time soon 
7.  We will never see everything

We could travel around in this beautiful country of ours for many more years and still not see everything. In the beginning we enjoyed keeping track of where we had visited and making sure we checked off all the major attractions along the way. At some point we realised that it didn’t matter how many things were checked off the list, we would always be adding more. And I love that! I love discovering more things to do, see, and explore than I could possibly hope to accomplish in any amount of time. I love that our country is incredibly diverse and filled with such an array of landscapes, communities, and people that even if I travelled for decades, I could never see everything.  Besides, life isn’t about checking off lists…….. is it?

8.  Technology

Yes, we have the technology!  Not only do we have satellite TV (actually two Tv’s – one in the living area and one in the bedroom), we have a wireless router that connects us to the Internet – note to Telco’s; give us better, more and cheaper data!  We have PC’s as well as iPads, we have a large extensive library of books and movies (mostly in electronic format), we listen to podcasts on MP3 players with headphones,  we run a business from our home which has an office and yes we even have a full printer/copier/scanner.  We generate our own power from solar panels with a back up generator for when the sun doesn’t shine. We have a large bank of batteries to store all our power which we run through an inverter to give us 230v.

9.  We have a chefs kitchen!

You name it, we have it…full oven, fridge and freezer, cake mixer, blender, stick blender, wok, casserole dishes, risotto pan, brûlée torch, baking tins of all shapes and sizes, dariole molds, thermometers, meat slicer, vacuum sealer, banettons, microplanes, and a myriad of other essential gadgets like a spurtle (to stir porridge), and a special cutter to take the top off a boiled egg,  as well as knives, knives and more knives of every shape and size imaginable,   I mean, who else has two ham knives! We have a cold smoker and a hot smoker, we make our own; bacon and pastrami, sourdough bread, jams preserves and pickles, baking, and anything else you can think of.  

10.  If we won lotto…

We  get asked this often as well,”if you won Lotto, what would you do to live your dream?”  Our response is; we are living our  dream, what are you waiting for?  Sure,  a bit more cash would be very nice, but our basic lifestyle would not change much at all. Now let us just win Lotto and we’ll test out this theory!!!

So that’s it in nutshell, I hope that has answered any questions you may have had, if not, feel free to ask!