Archive for February, 2016

Stone the crows!

February 27, 2016

We had always planned to leave Shakespear Park on Thursday.  We were well prepared to do the final pack up and slowly head off across the bridge, although not too far, just to Ardmore where the NZ Motor Caravan Association has a parking area for members.  It’s about an hour and a half in journey time, depending on traffic, so not a long haul and we can get a few bits and pieces done whilst we are here such as go to our Dr for our annual checkups, collect mail from our PO Box, do last minute shopping and catch up with friends.  But then we got a call from our son Antony. It seems he had been just been taken via ambulance to Middlemore Hospital with terrible abdominal pain radiating through his back and groin.   He had waited until a reasonable hour to call us at 8.30am so  we quickly packed up, bade a hasty farewell to the Park Rangers until later in the year and hurried on over to Ardmore which fortunately is not too far from either Antony’s home or Middlemore.  

We were being kept updated on his condition on our trip over, and by the time we had arrived and parked up at Ardmore he was feeling much better with the pain dissipating, although that could well have been the drugs talking!  It seems that it all started in the early hours of the morning whilst he was at work -he works for Counties Manukau Police – he was sent home from work as he was not looking too good.  He told us later that he got within a km of home and thought he wasn’t going to make it home as the pain was intensifying.  But make it he did.  He then googled when the local emergency clinic opened which was not until 8am (this was at 6am) so in all his wisdom he decided that he needed to call an ambulance.  A nurse assessed him over the phone before despatching an ambulance .  It was obvious he was not good so he was given painkillers whilst they loaded  him into the back of the ambulance.  They had not gone too far when they realised he was getting worse so they then had to call out another ambulance with a paramedic on board to meet them half way to the hospital so that they could administer intravenous morphine as the nitrous gas,  tramadol, and other drugs were not working and the pain was getting worse!  

By the time we arrived and parked  at Ardmore we waited to hear from Antony what he need us to do, whether we had to rush in to the hospital collecting toiletries, clothes etc along the way for him or whether we could pick him up.  We waited and waited, meanwhile Antony said the pain was easing but he was waiting on test results to see if they could work out what was wrong.   Our initial thoughts were that he had appendicitis or something similar but after spending all day in the hospital they finally diagnosed that he  had an acute episode with kidney stones.  As anyone who has experienced kidney stones will tell it is a rather painful experience.  And the prognosis? Well, as this was his  first occurance of kidney stones and  the fact that the pain had subsided completely, they released him that evening.  So off we went to pick him up, he did look, and probably felt, the worse for wear, but he was happy to be out of pain as well as out of hospital.  He is off work for the next few days to ensure a full recovery.

We intend to be around Ardmore for a few more days before starting our journey southwards. Meanwhile Mum can do her “thing” and cook up a storm, wash everything in sight and tidy,  and Dad can mow lawns, tidy around the section and we can both generally annoy hell out of Antony until he will be pleased to see the back of us! 

From Shakespear to Shakespeare

February 26, 2016


  “Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”  

Those words by William Shakespeare sum up our time at Shakespear Regional Park, however these words are even more fitting as they are from Romeo & Juliet which I went to experience last evening at the Pop Up Globe in Auckland.

Edwina and I were going to see the show, we both have our own experiences with the play which have special meaning to us both. For me,  I was introduced to Romeo & Juliet at school  when studying Shakespear we went to the movies to see Roman Polanski’s version of the Bard’s work!  Then some years later I saw the ballet Romeo & Juliet (probably 20 years ago) in Auckland and was very very good.  Then on our trip through Italy, Alex & I went in search of Guillietta’s statue, tomb & balcony in Verona, which you can read about here.  And of course there was our visit to the Globe theatre in London which you can read about here.   So it went without saying that I was keen to see the play in Auckland and especially at the Pop Up Globe.  

Fist we went off to have a bite to eat and a drink before the show… 

  Well, a girls got to have a drink or two!

Then it was time to head over to the Pop Up Globe which is just off Aotea Square in central Auckland  

  View from the front
  And from the lovely bar at the back!

  This is looking across the stage
  Showing a little of the construction

  Edwina enjoying the atmosphere

The play itself was really well done, a great interpretation with a little bit of modernism in terms of props and costumes mixed with the original words along with being exceptionally well put together and acted, I can highly recommend attending a performance.  Now if only this sort of thing was around when I was studying Shakespeare at school, it would have been so much more fun.

And to end, another quote from Romeo & Juliet…

“Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall”

The final hoorah

February 25, 2016

The last week as camp hosts at Shakespear seems to have disappeared very quickly with not a lot to show for it.  Pat & Steve were with us in the camp all week with Roy & Steve managing to get the kite out off the beach and caching a few snapper.  This was done during the week when no one else was around to annoy with the kite and fishing lines.  It was rather quiet through the week with only the odd tourist or two popping in to the camp, besides the weather turned rather nasty by Thursday when we had torrential rain accompanied by spectacular thunder and lightening which left the camp ground with some small lakes and some very boggy ground in places, not great camping weather.  By Friday afternoon it was drying off nicely and we had a full house again for the weekend.

Steve & Les came with their grandsons Ben, Asher & Finn for the day, mainly to pack up their tent and gear for another year, and for the boys to enjoy a swim or two and some fun with Aunty Bernice & Uncle Roy.  Sunday dawned another stunning day which meant we could start packing up all our gear ready to move the following day as a school had booked out the camp for the week, but by midday the school had arrived a day early to set themselves up ready for the influx on Monday, a bit cheeky of them especially as there were other campers booked in, but we decided to pack up straight away and head on out……to the Self Conatined Motorhome parking area at the front of the Park!

He we stayed for a couple of nights whilst we attending to the never ending list of chores.  However, we did have a visit on Tuesday from Caroline, he daughter of dear friends Wade & Lindsay  from our Tokoroa days.  Caroline brought her 8month old son Luca to meet us, a delightful wee man who is obviously well loved.  

The end to our three months at Shakspear, but I’m sure it won’t seem long until we are back again in late November.

Final week

February 13, 2016

Where oh where has the time disappeared?  It’s our final week at Shakespear this week, we have made the decision that it’s time to move on even if the Rangers here would ideally like us to stay on until after Easter.  We have things to do and places to see!  So if any of our regular readers  and friends want to visit us then this week will be your last opportunity.  Steve & Pat (we kept running into them up north) are arriving tomorrow and they will stay a few days, as well Steve & Les will be back again next weekend for a final stay for the summer along with all three of their grandsons this time.

We have a few things to attend to before we finally get underway on our travels, not least repairs to the rear of the van.  Oh did we not mention before that on Christmas Eve we were hit by a German tourist  whilst we were parked up?  To cut a long story short, we were only trying to be helpful, these tourists had just arrived in the country, they had picked up a rental motorhome and driven straight here.  When they arrived at the park (right on dusk) their house battery was flat and no matter what we did, even following the written instructions that came with the motorhome (which bore no semblance to what was actually there), we thought that we would be nice to them so we offered for them to plug into our vehicle and we would charge them up for an hour or two or at least until their fridge started working.  But when they were backing up, they hit the accelerator instead of the brake and whammo, they reversed into the back drivers side end of the van with such great force, we thought we had been shunted off our hydraulic stabilisers.   

Then followed the Monty Pythonesque scene of apologies, tears, and trying to translate via rudimentary schoolgirl German and frantic hand gesticulations we finally got their insurance and rental details.   I shall not get into here about the slack and idle (well known) rental companies who rent out vehicles to people who have just stepped off a plane after a 36+hr flight, who admit that they are exhausted, who then have to contend with driving on the opposite side of the road, in a strange vehicle with instruction booklets that are written in English -it would not take much for them to have other languages available – and with instruction booklets which bear no resemblance of the vehicle they actually have!   We are now in the midst of sorting out insurance repairers, panel beaters & painters, and of course accommodation whilst the van is being repaired. 

Where are we off to?  The Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay,  we had good intentions to get there this time last year but circumstances conspired against us, this time!

Meanwhile, we will enjoy our last week here at Shakespear and yes, we will be back again at the end of the year.

Busy Waitangi weekend

February 10, 2016

 The weather forecast for the weekend was not looking good and it obviously scared off a number of campers as noted of the 160 booked in, we would have been lucky to have in 70 people who eventually braved the forecast.  We did have some rain on friday evening and Saturday morning but by 10am. It was clearing, hot and the sun eventually poked out its head.  Steve & Les arrived on Friday evening, and an evening of food, wine and lively debate ensued putting the world to rights.  As Saturday morning cleared, Steve went back into Browns Bay to pick up their middle grandson Asher 7,  for a weekend stay.  

Ash kept us well entertained for the weekend,

  Enjoying  a “dippy egg” for  breakfast
  His favourite Bacon & Egg pie for lunch

We had lots and lots of fun, with plenty of laughs along the way and of course lots of swimming as well. He was a pleasure to have around however you tend to forget how exhausting the constant chatter is but one very happy young man went home on Monday afternoon, and one very exhausted Great Aunty Bernice and Great Uncle Roy had an early night!!!

There was a little excitement in the park when a large part of a Pohutakawa tree at the entrance to the campground came crashing down on Saturday.  Apparently this was the largest Pohutakawa in the park.  Bruce (head Ranger) was quickly on the job clearing away some of it before arborists come in to finish off the task later this week.


And if any of you were wondering what happened to my swimming pool, it was given to Ben, Asher and Finn for use at their home.

 Gone to a good home!

It’s a small world

February 7, 2016

Whilst motorhoming around Europe five years ago, we met a lovely young New Zealand couple in southern Germany who were on their big adventure.  We did not meet up with many Kiwis on that particular trip so it was rather nice to hear a familiar accent, and we spent a lovely evening with them before dropping them off at the railway station for them to continue on their journeys.  You can read about our meeting up with Greta and Travis here.   We have kept in touch since via Facebook and knew that they had settled in Queenstown and had recently had a baby.

Our son Antony headed off to Wanaka this last weekend to a friends wedding, during the course of conversation they worked out that indeed Antony was our son, and we had met up with Greta & Travis in Germany!  It is indeed a very small world. 

Travis, Antony and Greta.

Looooong weekend

February 2, 2016

It was Auckland Anniversary weekend this past weekend and it also was the last weekend before schools start for the year which meant a full house in the camp ground. Most of the campers were made up of family groups with many of them intergenerational. It makes for a fun and entertaining weekend watching the comings and goings, the games played, children learning to ride bikes, grandparents trying to keep up, soccer games, cricket games – with a very serious match being played by a very competitive Indian family group one evening.  We joined in their competitive fun by playing the third umpire role which resulted in much hilarity and some serious discussions about rules and interpretations but all good fun.

Steve & Les were back for the weekend, Roy and Steve went out fishing a number of times but only had success on their first foray out  returning with some very nice snapper and a good sized kahawai which was smoked.  The snapper was shared with some other campers and we had a lovely meal of snapper with some of Steve’s home grown green tomatoes. 

  Steve, Roy and Lelsie enjoying the meal

We also had a few other visitors over the weekend.  Roger and Ruth came for a visit as it has been a little while since we have caught up with them both.  This friendship goes back a long way, Roy and Roger started school together at Cockle Bay (just a few years ago) as 5 year olds so they have known each other quite some time.  Roy and I spent a lovely few weeks with Roger and Ruth cruising the waterways on their canal boat in France which you can read about starting at this entry.  After catching up with  all their news and generally chatting,  we had a lovely shared lunch before we all retreated to the beach to cool off with a long swim in the sea.   Before too long it seemed the day was disappearing and Roger and Ruth had to head home but not before promising we catch up again soon. Once again, I forgot to take any photos – too busy enjoying the moment! 

Our next visitor was our son Antony who came up for the day and we also went swimming to cool off after lunch.  It helps that high tide has been around midday over the past few days and we have been able to get a good couple of swims in each day.  Antony had to go home in the late afternoon on Monday along with most of the campers, so we go from a full house of  160 down to 37 last night and only 19 tonight before we are back to a full house again this weekend for Waitangi Day. 

Over the last weekend we noticed a strange light in the evening sky, after a bit of investigation we discovered that  the light was part of an installation to mark the Tamaki Herenga Waka Festival over Anniversary Weekend.  The light beam was intended to echo the form of traditional hitching posts or mooring for waka (Maori canoe) and would only be switched on for the three nights over the weekend. 

 Light from Rangitoto