Archive for December, 2019

Christmas in the camp

December 27, 2019

Christmas Eve was busy with families setting up their campsites ready for their annual holidays with lots of excited children awaiting the arrival of the jolly man dressed in red. Meanwhile, head Ranger Bruce was literally running around trying to get all his work done which included checking the tracking tunnels. So to help him out, I drove the mule (small all terrain vehicle) as he crashed and bashed his way through the undergrowth changing the tracking tunnel cards, with me picking him up at the end of a line and taking him to the next line.

The only pictures I thought to take were at the end of the last line looking down over the bay

Te Haruhi Bay with a view of the campground peeking through on the right

It was still quite windy on Christmas Eve so the wind surfers were out in force in the bay enjoying a bit of fun

Wind surfers in action

Antony arrived in the afternoon to join us and as the evening drew in, children were in bed relatively early and all was quiet waiting for Santa to arrive.

We had a leisurely start to Christmas day with a lovely breakfast, and the leisure continued from there with a very relaxed Christmas Day for us. We played cards and games most of the day under the shade of the trees.

Me trying my hand at selfies again….

We had a little excitement in the afternoon as the water for the park came to a complete stop which meant no water for the toilets, showers or drinking. But a short time later water was back on albeit a little discoloured. However, unbeknownst to us, the main part of the park was experiencing its busiest day on record which meant that even though the toilets weren’t able to be flushed, people still utilised them….I shall leave the rest to your imagination! Poor Bruce had to deal with the resulting mess which is not the best way to end your Christmas Day.

Later that evening Bruce joined us for Christmas dinner….and I forgot to take any pictures. However, it was all delicious and went down a treat.

To finish off our day we got a lovely video call from Alex, Ian and Callum and later received some photos of their Christmas fun.

Christmas Eve at Ian’s brothers place

Top L-R: Matt helping Callum, Denny family photo, Bottom L-R: Alex with Callum and his cousins, and a bit tired at the end of the day

Top: Callum opening presents, Bottom: with Brian & Julie, on Grandad’s knee

We trust you all had a lovely Christmas, all the very best for 2020.

Seasonal salutations

December 23, 2019

Seasonal salutations to you and your families, here’s looking forward to 2020. 2019 was a good year, the highlight being the welcoming of Callum to our family and especially being there for the first 3 months of his life. We are really looking forward to heading back to the UK in April to spend more time with him and his family.

We have decorated our trees in our usual fashion…

our eco friendly, organic, natural Christmas tree aka Pohutakawa.

The van has been festooned with lights

Lights along the awning

And we are geared up for visitors with the guest accommodation set up in readiness

Guest accommodation

Antony is joining us for Christmas this year, and we will no doubt collect a few more strays along the way.

Roy had a trip to Ashburton last week to spend some time with his grandchildren there, and in usual Vannini fashion, he neglected to take a single picture!! We are getting really good at this lack of photo taking abilities between the two of us. He also managed a quick trip to Geraldine to catch up with friends Bill & Linda.

Here’s wishing you all health and happiness and a very safe festive season. Enjoy!

We’re back!

December 12, 2019

Time to head back to Shakespear for the summer and our stint as Camp Hosts. We planned to arrive in time for the volunteer Christmas party which, this year, was being held at the Navy Base here at the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsular. The Navy base is also behind the Pest Proof Fence and they share common goals to keep the land predator free. There was also the enticement of a tour of some of the gun emplacements tunnels, some of which we have been in before but the opportunity to see some different tunnels as well as the naval base itself was a good enough reason for us to head down to participate.

Shakespear Park at the end of the Peninsular, the camp ground is at the far right of Te Haruhi Bay and the Naval Base is on the Northside of the Peninsular.

As you would expect, I did not take a single photo at the Christmas Party not of the base nor the tunnels, I was too busy meeting lots of other volunteers who we hadn’t met before plus catching up with lots of familiar faces. It was very interesting to hear of the work that the Navy do on their part of the sanctuary, and also great talks were given by the Rangers updating us on happenings over the past year as well as future plans for the Park. All I will say is that they all work incredibly hard protecting the flora and fauna and are all passionate about their work.

We have settled back into Camp Host mode, setting ourselves up in our usual position in the park.

Parked in the park

The view from the welcome shade of the awning

Pohutakawa starting to flower

Panoramic view

Of course all the above photos were taken in the fleeting moments that there was no one else in the camp. Keith & Deb relaxed with us for a week or so until it was time for them to carry on with their travels. And it hasn’t all been sunshine either, later during the day that they left we had torrential rain and thunderstorms.

The damp view from inside the van

We’ve had a couple of visitors already; Antony came for a visit, delivering all our mail, bringing with him is mate Andrew whom we haven’t seen in a while. The same day our long time friends Wade & Lindsay came for a visit. It’s lovely to catch up with friends and family and hear what’s happening in their lives.

I have been and had xrays on my (fractured) left hip and on my left knee as I’ve been still getting terrible pain in the hip but it turns out that is referred pain from my knee, with the hip healing nicely, but guess what the upshot of that means? Yep, the left knee is the next to be replaced, just have to plan when this will be done to fit in with our busy schedule!

We have set ourselves up comfortably in the camp and will be putting up our tent in the next few days for those visitors who wish to stay. We are taking things quietly and trying to keep away from the madness of Christmas and the need to shop for the sake of shopping.

The end of the year also means school camp, this is what it looks like when parents deliver little Johnny/Jane bringing with them everything imaginable for a two night stay

Car yard

….and when I mean everything, I mean everything, I even saw innersprung mattresses being put into tents for the darlings to sleep on!