Archive for October, 2019

Tokerau Beach

October 30, 2019

(Still in catch up mode….).

We finally left Uretiti heading towards Kerikeri and the NZMCA parking site for a couple of nights to hunker down, out of the way of an impending storm that was forecast.

Apparently we missed most of the storm but we heard from others who were still at Uretiti that they suffered 100km/hr winds and terrible driving rain, and it wasn’t very pleasant at all but much better than the snow, wind and rain that we saw the rest of the country was suffering. Spring weather at its finest showing its true self.

The ground at Kerikeri was very very boggy with most of the site cordoned off and reduced to a small area that had scoria laid down, even then we sank into the ground a bit. We can report that we had no leaks through our roof so we can presume that it had been well and truly fixed.

Roy also got a chance to have a catch-up with his cousin Stuart to discuss genealogical matters and other projects going on in their respective lives. As well, we lined the pockets of a number of establishments in and around Kerikeri stocking up the larders, getting a few maintenance matters sorted, buying wool for this grandma to knit up, and some of the touring party apparently visited the chocolate shop (I resisted 😇), as well as numerous other sundry items were purchased.

After a couple of nights ‘enjoying’ the very wet ground at Kerikeri, we were soon on our way again heading further north, this time to Tokerau Beach, and the NZMCA parking area.

It wasn’t long before the blokes decided it was time to have a fish, and for Roy to perfect his method of launching his baits and line with Keith’s drone.

Glen launching his drone next to Keith’s

Keith launching his drone and line

Now for some reason I did not take many pictures of the fish caught, but suffice to say over the four or five days, quite a number of fish were caught, processed, eaten and many vacuum packed and frozen.

Roys first catch

A good start

Roy was gaining a bit of a reputation of catching the largest fish each time they went out, and he was not allowed to forget it either!!

A couple of trips into Kaitaia for laundry and shopping were done whilst we were here. My vacuum sealer finally gave out after many years of good use (it would vacuum but not seal) so a trip into the shops to buy a new one was in order.

Food vacuum sealer

The freezer is getting nicely full of fish for us to enjoy over the summer months when we are parked up camp hosting at Shakespear. As well, lots of fish is being eaten, from whole fish, to fillets cooked every which way, to curries and the like.

Fish fish fish

We have our favourite dishes that we regularly come back to, after trying many many recipes. Sometimes the simplest is the best especially for such fresh fish.

Deb had a birthday whilst we were here, Keith cooked dinner of crumbed Weiner Schnitzel with a cauliflower mash, salads and veg which was all very good and I made a dessert of lime pannacotta with citrus salad and passionfruit.

Dessert

We do eat very well.

Time to leave here and head further north whilst the weather is reasonable, again we are picking our days to travel as with another bit of windy weather due, we make the most of calmer days.

The R&M continues

October 23, 2019

I’m in catch up mode, being a couple of weeks or more behind in blogging, somehow life gets a little busy or maybe I’m just easily distracted?

In between fishing escapades whilst at Uretiti, and with the weather showing its ugly side, we discovered we had a bit of a leak. That will teach us to be oh so cocky after having the roof cleaned, obviously they cleaned it too well with some of the sealant around vents and the like parting ways with the roof. The leak was a drip drip drip right over the end of our bed. And of course there is not much you can do about it when it is actually raining.

With a bit of a break in the weather, it was time to investigate the roof. The ingress of the water wasn’t apparent, nor was it evident immediately above where it was making its way inside. As water tends to travel in not so obvious routes, finding the entry point was proving difficult.

Roy went up to investigate and Keith kindly offered to supervise the pensioner on the roof!

Roy and Keith on the search

Think we’ve found it! Even though the drip inside is on the other side of the van

We think they fixed the leak, we just have to wait for the next lot of rain to test out the hypothesis, which wasn’t too far away by the look of those dark clouds rolling in.

It did still leak a little, but just a drop or two which could well be residual moisture being pushed though by pressure….well, that’s the theory at this stage.

After a few more tweaks we think it is all solved with the magic tape that Keith had on hand for such just eventualities.

We left Uretiti on the Sunday as it was a good window of fine weather as the forecast was not looking very good for the next couple of days with heavy winds and rain expected. We thought we would head up to Kerikeri for a few days and sit out the storm there.

We arrived in clear skies but the following couple of days we were subject to a bit of wild weather. Although we didn’t get the 100km/hr winds they were experiencing back at Uretiti, we still got the rain. And very heavy rain at that. OMG what is this? The drip has moved, it is now in the toilet area coming through the light fitting. Again, not much we can do in this weather, we just have to wait it out.

A break in the weather again, everything inspected and checked, nope, can’t see where it’s coming in at all. Theories were put forward, tested, refuted and more theories put forward. What’s this? Raining again? Guess what? No leaks. Fingers crossed it’s all sorted.

Now let’s get back to the fishing.

The fish called and we answered

October 18, 2019

Contrary to some cheeky comments by those at Shakespear, we did leave the park as planned after a week of R&R. Don’t ask us what we did when we were there as I’m not really sure, apart from making lots of tea and coffee for friends and acquaintances we caught up with over the week.

We did make the final adjustments to our table, making a nice mounting plate and putting it in place. However, after a couple of days of using the table and looking at it, we came to the conclusion it wasn’t quite right. So the backing plate and mount was moved about a cm so it could be firmly fixed in place (it had a bit of a wobble), and we also had to adjust the angle of the table top as we realised that rather than being level by using a spirit level, it should really be parallel with the floor. Anyway, it’s all done now and it works well for us. Now we just have to find someone to make the table top we want.

So we left Shakespear and headed on out of town. But first a bit of a circuitous route as we first headed north to Hatfield’s Beach to the dump station and then back south to Dairy Flat to the fuel station to top up with LPG and fuel before hitting the motorway north to Uretiti Beach.

The route

We were soon parked up at Uretiti settling ourselves in for a few days. we are again with friends Keith & Deb as well as their friends Glen & Carol. We hadn’t been there long before it was decided that our first fish for the season would be a good idea. Particularly as Roy has a new system for fishing that includes a rod with electric reel, it was time to see if it all works and to do a bit of a test run.

All geared up.

The drone took the line out, and it all worked perfectly well. Glen had his drone and line out as well and then Keith put out his line.

Meanwhile back at the van, I received a text to say you had better come down to the beach as it looks like we have all caught fish. Deb & I went down to help bring in the haul. But hang on, this is getting very hard to bring in the lines, what is going on? It soon became evident we had something very big on the line, and sure enough we did……somebody’s torpedo had drifted along the beach and collected all three lines. Now all our lines are braid which means they are very thin, easily tangled…what a mess. Grrrr. With infinite patience, the lines were eventually detangled, the torpedo dragged onto the beach, however it’s line was cut a few times to detangle from the mess. Eventually it was all done, Roy had two beautiful big fish, Keith had three and Glen had five but he had to return two to the sea as they were a little small. And there were no fish on the torpedo line to make up for the shambles, plus there was no sight of the torpedo owner either. We shall try the phone number marked on its side.

Nice snapper there Roy

Guess what was on the menu for dinner?

Not to be deterred from having another go, they all went again the following night, again returning with a few fish each.

We had a lovely few days at Uretiti, managing also to catch up with Mark & Glynis one morning for brunch at the Waipu Golf Club. But all good things come to an end, as it is definitely time to move north, especially before the forecast bad weather due in the next day or so.

A clean break

October 6, 2019

Sometimes it just gets to you, being parked on gravel that it. We’d had enough of being parked at Ardmore and we were both hankering for grass, nature, beach and some space around us. We decided it was ok to leave Ardmore but we would not be going too far as we still need to be around Auckland just in case. We packed up the van ready to move but with a few tasks to do along the way it was not going to be a quick getaway.

First stop was to Bruce Pulman Park to dump the tanks and fill with fresh water, it’s within a couple of kms from Ardmore and not too far to travel. It’s a very good dump station as it has plenty of room, accessible from both sides, drive in and out and basically level as well. Job done, from there it was along the road to the petrol station to fill up with fuel. We know which stations have good, easy access for the van as not all are accessible for us. Some have very low overhead structures, some have the pumps lined up in such a way making it nigh on impossible for us to get in or out, others are just in awkward locations. Filled with fuel we are on our way, taking the Western Ring Road hence avoiding the centre of Auckland, traffic, and the Harbour Bridge.

Our next stop was in Onehunga to Cleanco Truck wash. We had heard that this company also cleans motorhomes and that they do a great job of cleaning the vehicles so we thought we would give them a try.

Lots of men washing the van

I waited for a short period of time in the customer lounge, chatting to a couple of truck drivers whilst the attendants washed the outside of the van. Roy remained inside the vehicle as he then had to move the van from that particular bay to another bay where they could access the roof via mobile stairs and gantry.

About to clean the roof

At this point I left them to it to continue on the journey in the car so I could get a bit of shopping done along the way. Roy meanwhile stayed with the van, he said he had never seen so much dirt come off the roof as they cleaned it, and in hindsight they should have cleaned the roof first before the rest of the vehicle. A lesson learnt for next time.

With wheels polished, tyres siliconed, and everything sparkly clean he was soon on his way. And at just $66 for the clean, well worth the money we thought and we will definitely use them again.

We are heading as far as Shakespear Regional Park, back to familiar territory for a week of R&R in amongst nature.

The route

I met up with Ranger Emma on my way into the Park, and was very warmly greeted before catching up on all the news from the Park. Roy arrived shortly afterwards and he had a quick catchup with Emma before it was time for us to park up….on grass!

It is so nice to be back, with plenty of space around us, the joyous sounds of prolific bird life and the crash of waves on the shore. Bliss.

Parked on grass again.

We had just finished setting up, and I had just put the kettle on for a cuppa when from across the park we hear a familiar voice calling out to us. It was head Ranger Bruce. Although he was on his days off he’d heard we were back for a visit (thanx Emma) so he came down to see us and welcome us, how lovely is that?

Over cups of tea we caught up on all the news and happenings, and no Bruce we are not starting Camp Hosting duties early, we are just having a bit of a break before heading north again. The fish are calling.

Plan B and another little task or two

October 1, 2019

We had intended to be heading on out of Auckland long before now but sometimes life just throws a curve ball at you. Actually it feels as though the curve balls have been coming at us in a continuous stream over the past year or two, and I can tell you that we are getting pretty good at batting away those balls.

So to plan B, to cut a long story short, Roy had to have a few tests and the like done which meant we had to stay around Auckland at Ardmore for an extra couple of weeks. The upshot is that he is all good and we can soon get back to plan A.

On the positive side it has meant that we’ve spent a bit of time with Antony, well, that really means that we have been heading around to his place most nights for me to cook dinner for us all, not that I mind at all and I’m sure he doesn’t either. And it’s been great to watch the rugby with him as well.

We’ve also managed to catch up with Simon, Anita and Maria and spend some time with them. Maria turned 3 the day after we returned from the UK so it was lovely to catch up and spend some time playing games that only 3 year old girls like to play! She is a delightful young lady and a pleasure to be around.

So to keep busy whilst we wait, there has been another couple of tasks that I’ve managed to get underway whilst at Ardmore.

Many years ago, my lovely sister-in-law Ann made us a beautiful quilt. Ann loved her quilting and over the years made many heirloom keepsakes for family and friends. As well, she was involved with quilting guilds on a local and national level and she loved going off with friends for weekend retreats and workshops.

We love our quilt and had been on our bed just about ever since it was gifted to us. It is made even more special since Ann sadly passed away just over 7 years ago, aged 59, but we remember her every day that we look at the quilt. However, the quilt has started to need some repair as the batting that she used inside the quilt has shrunk with washing and some of the material has started to fray.

The last time I saw my sister Sue (also an expert quilter), she said that if I unpicked all the quilting she would repair, reback, and rebuild it for me. A huge task in itself but the unpicking is not an inconsiderable task either.

Not one to back out of a challenge, I started on the incredibly laborious task of unpicking the tiny machine quilted stitching this week. With quick unpick in hand, I carefully started on one side of the quilt. After many many hours with not much to show except very sore fingers and bits of cotton everywhere, I had managed to unpick one small edge side of quilting. I was quite proud of my efforts.

See all that tiny tiny stitching in the pale coloured material? Yep, I have to unpick a queen sized quilts worth of this!!!

To give you an idea of scale, each one of these little squares is approximately 4cm…that’s an awful lots of stitching to undo

I was sitting in the van doing a bit of unpicking when some fellow motorhomers called in for a cuppa. We’d only met Debbie & Chris the week before but we enjoyed chatting with them so invited them in for morning coffee. Debbie noticed my unpicking and asked what I was doing, she said she was a seamstress/dressmaker (ok, what IS the difference between the two?) and could she show me a quicker way to unpick? Oh yes please, said I. First I needed to go and buy some one sided razor blades and she would show me what to do.

Later that same day, with a pack of razor blades in hand I was knocking on their door asking for a quick lesson in fast unpicking. Debbie showed me the method; cut the stitching with the razor blade between the backing material and batting pulling it apart to expose the stitching and cutting the thread. As we are replacing the backing material there will be no issue if I have a wee oops!

Well, now there is no stopping me. What was going to take me a month of Sunday’s before even making a dent with the unpicking, after three days I have the bulk of it done and another week should see it all finished. Thank you so much Debbie for showing me the way!

Some of the fabric is pretty fragile, I just hope that somehow Sue will be able to work some of her magic on it for us.

During the week I also got another task done, that is making my Christmas Cakes. I went round to Antony’s to utilise his oven, as one of the cakes has a 3 and half hour bake time .

Christmas cake one underway

This recipe is the one my mum used to make not only for Christmas but also for our wedding cakes. We love this cake with a slice of cheddar cheese – a Yorkshire way of eating fruit cake. The recipe is actually my grandmothers and contains just sultanas, raisins and currants (1.75kg – nearly 4lbs) and no nuts. It’s supposed to have a dash or two of brandy in it but we didn’t have any but I did find a good alternative.

Found this substitute for brandy in our stash.

We brought this Armagnac back from France some time ago so I thought it is a good swap as it is a style of brandy, and I carefully measured it in exactly the same way Mum did….a good glug or two poured straight from the bottle into the cake mix is a measure isn’t it?

Ready for the oven

and the end result

Baked and cooled

Time to wrap them up and put away in the tins for a month or two.

Then it’s onto the next cakes, these ones are a recipe I have developed over the years and is basically all fruit and nuts, some call it a stained glass window cake as when the cake is sliced it resembles a stained glass window. This time Roy sacrificed some of his rum to go into these cakes, rationed nip measures of course.

Ready to go in the oven

Once the cakes were cooked and cooled, I wrapped them tightly in tinfoil and went to put them in the tin, but guess what? each cake was just a little too long to fit into the cake tin so a sliver had to be sacrificed off each end.

Trimmed

Of course we had to sample the trimmed slices, with a cup of tea, as it would have been a waste otherwise 😉. We can report it is delicious!