Archive for the ‘ardmore’ Category

Back in New Zealand

March 9, 2018

After a couple of good nights sleep we were ready to head down to Kopu to pick up the van. It had been having a bit of TLC whilst we were away with some R&M done with Matt and the excellent crew at Autotech. The van was all ready for us and on a quick inspection of repairs done we were soon on our way back to Auckland where we headed for Ardmore Airport as we would be parked there for the next few days. However, those plans were soon to change.

Roy back at the wheel

The fridge and pantry needed restocking as well as the task of unpacking and sorting out wardrobes ie. put away all the winter clothing particularly as on our return Auckland was putting on its finest weather of high temperatures and energy sapping humidity. There were also appointments to be kept with doctors and specialists which required a bit of planning and tripping across the city. Both Roy and Antony had returned home with some sort of flu virus with Roy ending up with pneumonia, for the next few days he was pretty well bed bound.

But hello, we have another problem that we thought had been resolved before we ventured off on holiday, the fridge was not working and in this heat milk was turning into yoghurt overnight! Any food purchases were kept to a minimum and most of our meals we were having at Antony’s place whilst both he and a Roy recouperated. After making lots of calls to try and sort out the fridge problem, as well as making sure that the previous repairs were still under warranty from both the repairer and the manufacturer and with lots of advice from some “experts” at Ardmore, we eventually upsticks and headed over to see Peter at RVRepairs in Gelnfield. Peter quickly had us on our way after a simple fix, so we then continued northwards to return to Shakespear Park.

on the motorway/carpark!

Whilst we have been on holiday, Pat & Sue have taken over our duties as camp hosts for the summer. Oh it was so nice to be back at the beach, parked on grass and of course great to see lots of familiar faces – Rangers, Volunteers and campers alike welcomed us home like long lost friends.

We settled into our usual routines back at the camp with lots of catching up with friends and family over the past few weeks (which will be the subject of another blog entry), and we have kept ourselves very busy what with one thing and another.

With the beginning of the school year the past few weeks has seen the camp being taken over by lots of school groups so we have decamped into the Self Contained Parking area for the interim but still do our duties from there and keep a watchful eye over the rest of the park. We shall probably stay here for the next week or two as there are more school groups booked in over the coming weeks and it seems stilly to keep moving in and out.

that’s a school group enjoying the water with sailing, paddle boarding and kayaking

and that’s the Navy boys on diving exercises off the beach. They also were in doing night diving exercises some evenings as well.

Our plans at this stage are a little up in the air as Roy starts a course of radiation treatment soon so we have to sort out dates and where we shall base ourselves. And the other news? Well, I am off to see the specialist next week to see about my knees….eeeeekkkk! I have managed to defer having replacements done for 10years now but the time has come where I cannot handle the pain, discomfort nor the lack of being able to stand or walk for any length of time before my knee collapses. Watch this space for what comes next.


A flying visit

April 22, 2017

When we get a call from friends Barry & Sandra asking if we will be around to join them for morning tea, we know that it will be a flying visit – literally!

As we are currently parked at the motorhome parking area at Ardmore Airport it was an opportune time for Sandra & Barry to visit from their home at Taupo Airport.  You see they have a plane with which they hop into to make their visits and sure enough just before 10am they landed at the airstrip in front of us!

We wandered down to greet them and spent the next couple of hours at the Airport Cafe catching up on all each other’s news before putting the world to rights.

It’s not the first time that they have visited, there was the time when we were in Takaka, Kaitaia and in Thames.  As well as us visiting them at their base in Taupo and here.

We were interrupted from our chatting by the roar of engines, sure enough there were 5  Harvard planes lined up ready for a takeoff.   These are part of the Warbirds collection that regularly fly at air shows and events around the country.  And with a roar they were all off in quick succession and were soon flying in formation over the city, we presumed as practise for ANZAC Day commemorations next week. 

Soon it was time for Sandra and Barry to head back home to Taupo.  It’s always great to catch up with them and we look forward to the next time.

Sandra, Roy & Barry

Auckland stranglehold

April 19, 2017

We finally managed to escape from the North Shore when the brakes were finally sorted with the new calipers fitted and everything finally completed and tested.  We made it as far as Papakura where we stayed at the Club for a few nights before heading to the NZMCA park at Ardmore.  Roy had an appointment at Ascot Hospital so we thought it would be convenient being here for a few days before we head north.   

Whilst we were at the club Simon called in with Maria for a visit…

Grandad and Maria
Antony only lives around the corner so he called in as well to catch up although I’m not so sure that Maria was impressed!Simon, Antony and Maria

Things seem to be conspiring against us at the moment as we now have a new issue.  There is a stone chip or two in the windscreen, very small ones mind you, however one is in the drivers sightline  and as part of the COF which is due at the end of the month, we needed to get them repaired.  The chips in question are only the size of my little fingernai.  We organised to have the windscreen looked at and hopefully get the chips fixed but guess what?  Yep, the stone chips cannot be successful repaired so we have to have a new windscreen which of course means it has to be ordered and shipped from the USA.  We are told that it will be a matter of just 10 days before it arrives into the country.  Meanwhile we are stuck at Ardmore until that arrives.  Of course to complicate matters there is Easter weekend and ANZAC day in amongst the time frame which equates to lots of public holidays but hopefully it will not hold things up too much. Meanwhile we wait…..patiently?! 

Both Antony and Roy have had birthdays in the past few days which the three of us have celebrated quietly with a meal or two out.  The years keep rolling around and the numbers inevitably keep getting larger, not that we are complaining!

The weather seems to have finally settled although last week we had the predicted storm Cyclone Cook bearing down on an already soaked landscape.  Fortunately the Cyclone deviated eastwards from its projected path and apart from the odd downpour or two we came off lightly.

Plans?  Well we are not making too many as as soon as we do, something seems to come along to scupper them so stay tuned folks. 

In and around Auckland

June 6, 2016

On our way to Auckland the previous week for Judy’s funeral, we heard from Matt at AutoTech that our van would be ready to pick up that night.  We had already planned to stay with Antony for the night so we said we would return to Kopu onFriday  morning to pick it up which is exactly what we did.  It was just a short drive to the Thames Golf course to park up for the night as it seemed a good idea to go to the Thames market on Saturday morning, which we did…….in the pouring rain!

After breakfast in town, we were soon back at the van.  We decided that although the weather forecast was for gale force winds, rain, thunder and lightening, whilst the weather was reasonably ok we thought that to heck with it, we would make a dash for Auckland.  The drive was totally uneventful and we arrived at the Papakura Club and had just settled in when the heavens opened, the wind blew and the skies were lit with lightening and the roll of thunder.  

We have been attending to the more mundane chores of life since we have been here in Papakura.  But of course it also means we get to spend time with Antony whilst we are here.  We had originally planned to be here until Thursday before heading north but in the usual Vannini fashion, plans change, not just once,  but many times.  I think we are now onto version 2.4. but we will get there eventually.  

Doctors checkups and flu jabs  have been completed, mail collected and sorted, I even managed to get a haircut. Shopping has been done, laundry caught up with but best of all the biggest job sorted, that being having our large inbuilt LPG tank re-certified.  It has been a real problem trying to find and organise this to be completed.  Oh, we could find a business that would re certify the tank, but no, they do not remove them from the vehicle but we locked a business locally and the process will commence on Wednesday.  

Meanwhile we have managed to catch up with friends and family, firstly with Bill & Linda, Bill & Estelle and Ron & Jan who all came to the club for dinner last week. We again caught up with Bill & Linda on Friday night at the club, and Jan called in a couple of days throughout the week for coffee and great conversation.  

This weekend in Queens Birthday weekend which means Monday is a holiday for those who work, Saturday we attended to chores with Antony. Sunday we managed to rack up a few kms, first of al heading over the bridge to Torbay to catch up with brother Steve & wife Leslie then later in the afternoon with their eldest daughter Sarahw & Shaun  and their three boys. Then it was back over the bridge, drop Antony off in Papakura, then head out to Paparimu for a lovely dinner and evening with Ron & Jan before back to the van for the night. As per usual I did not take a single photo. 

But I did take a photo of my ‘loving mother’ chores this afternoon

Ironing shirts….haven’t done many of them for a while now!  
 We are now at Ardmore for a few nights before we make our way north. 

Destination Rangiwahia……..perhaps!

March 7, 2016

Where is Rangiwahia you may ask? just as we did when we decided to head for it.  But first, a bit of backtracking.

Saturday afternoon we spent at Antony’s place doing a bit of cooking to fill up his freezer as well as cooking dinner for us all as Ron & Janet were coming round to join us. We spent a lovely evening quietly catching up on everyone’s news and generally putting the world to rights.

We made the decision to leave Auckland on Sunday and head straight down the middle of the country to Taupo.  After saying hooray to Antony with fingers crossed that he has no more serious painful events, we left Ardmore mid morning heading south with neither of us daring to say anything about leaving the bright lights.  We arrived in Taupo in the late afternoon heading straight to the NZMCA park at the airport.  Barry & Sandra live at the airport so it was a good opportunity to meet up with them and share news.

Monday morning we were up and off, climbing up onto the Central Plateau where we noticed a considerable drop in temperatures.  The mountains were covered in a cloak of cloud and I was so mesmerised by watching the landscape in front of me that I forgot to take any pictures!!!  A stop at the Waiouru Army Museum for a welcome cuppa was in order.  Whilst we were there we made enquiries regarding centennial commemorations of the battles of Paschendaele next year as this was where Roy’s father was injured in 1917.  Gathering the information we sought it as time to get back on the road.  We had programmed the ever helpful GPS to talk us to Rangiwahia, off the beaten track a little and somewhere we had never previously been.

   Rangiwahia is where the red pin is.  

After travelling along State Highway One for some time, the turn off soon appeared.  The road quickly became very narrow, winding and started to steeply climb through some amazing country.  Although the drop off over the edge was, in places, a little breathtakingly too sheer for me to look and Roy was intently concentrating on the road ahead.


We soon arrived at Rangiwahia,obviously a thriving village at some stage but now there is little remaining part from a hall, a playground and a couple of houses.

  The Hall and the parking area.

As we had made reasonable time, we made the decision to continue moving on, we had come up with a few options of where to go, but in the end we ended up at Timona Park in Fielding.  The park is huge with plenty of room for parking and is very pleasant.  I will post pictures in the next entry as it is a little too dark to venture out now .

We nearly made it!

March 5, 2016

 The  satellite dish was repaired by RSE, it required a new LNB, and the replacement was done in good time and we were on the motorway by 3pm.  At one stage along the way we glanced at each other, smiling, saying “woohoo, we ‘re on our way”.  We arrived at Autotech in Kopu to get the insurance assessment sorted in good time and by 5pm we were settled in for the night at the Thames Golf Club and even managed a bit of TV watching.

Up bright and early Friday morning and ready to hit the road with our first destination set into the GPS;  Huntly, to see Roy’s 103 year old Aunty.  Off we set, we had only just been travelling for 5 minutes when we got a phone call,  Antony was  in an ambulance on his way to hospital in terrible pain.   Easy decision made, we shall continue to the motorway then head back to Auckland and Ardmore, park up, unhitched the car and head across to Middlemore Hospital.

Kidney  stones again, so more morphine, then ultra sound, X-rays and a CT scan, to find the culprits.   Apparently at 5mm they are too small to blast, but one is travelling between his kidney and bladder so hence the agony.  He was finally discharged late on Friday evening with a prescription in hand.  We then had to find an all night pharmacy to get it filled as he has to take medication to try to enable easier passage of the stones. 

Our next move is?……..pending!   We shall wait and ensure that Antony has no serious adverse affects to the medication and that he is on the road to recovery before we hit the road.  Poor thing, kidney stones are terribly painful so we hope that they will pass soon and he has no more attacks.  

The best laid plans…

March 3, 2016

Plans are constantly on the move with the Vannini’s this past week. But firrst of all an update on Antony, he is is well recovered from his painful kidney stone episode and returns to work this week.  Meanwhile Mum has filled the freezer, washed everything in sight, ironed said washing, cleaned and tidied whilst Dad has mowed lawns, sprayed weeds and swept paths. Done.

Saturday -we had a funeral to attend for friend Janet’s brother Douglas who died suddenly last week.  Why is it that you tend to catch up with far too many friends at funerals?  Lovely to catch up with friends, but not the circumstances in which we gathered.  Although a very sad occassion, Douglas was farewelled in a very fitting manner. At this point we had planned to get underway on our next adventure on Tuesday….lets see how that turned out!!   

Sunday -we went to see Ron & Janet for a quiet catch up before we leave Auckland, it turned out to be a very busy day as we helped them sort out a few things but filled the day with lots of good conversation,  putting the world to rights and lots of laughter.    

Monday – time for our annual medical WoF with our Doctor but  first we had to fight the traffic to get there ….aarrrggggh! An hour and a half for what should have been a 20minute trip, no wonder both of us had slightly raised blood pressure.  But I did brave the question of getting my knees replaced (finally ) as I have successfully managed to put this off for nearly 10 years now but sometimes you suddenly realise that there comes a point when you need to have them done to regain some quality of life without pain and limited mobility.  The wheels are set  in motion for this to be done, once I got over the shock of the cost of it – $35,000/knee – even though medical insurance will cover most of it, it will still be an expensive exercise.  Need for X-rays, tests etc so review plans, now plan to leave Wednesday.  Settle down for the evening only to discover that the TV would not work, or more to the point the satellite dish was not picking up the signal so tomorrow we go to get it fixed at RSE – a specialist RV TV and satellite business nearby. 

Tuesday – Roy goes out to continue assisting Ron & Janet with sorting out matters whilst I head off to have X-rays and blood tests done, being chauffeured around by Antony.   I had tried to have the blood tests taken on Monday afternoon however after many attempts by two nurses they could not get any blood from me! I  left feeling ratherlike a pin cushion so back again today where this time success (amazing what happens if you remember to drink lots of water).   Shopping done and Roy returns in time to take the van into RSE for them to look at the satellite dish, we get as far as the gate at Ardmore to discover we have a flat tyre, or should I say two flat tyres! Both inside rear tyres have mysteriously got holes in them so call out the men from Carters Tyres to sort out for us.  We call RSE to reschedule repairs until later in the day.  Carters duly turn up very promptly only to discover they have to get in replacement tyres from another source which won’t be here until tomorrow. We ring RSE and change appointment to tomorrow.

Wednesday – tyres due around 2pm.  Roy and Antony take in Ant’s car to garage for scheduled repairs, Roy returns to van for the day to await new tyres, Bernice heads to Antony’s for the day to get a few things done.  Roy rings to say tyres now due at 4.30pm so RSE reschedule for tomorrow at 1pm.  Tyres changed, sorted, checked and done very quickly and efficiently.   Now leaving tomorrow afternoon…….hopefully.

Thursday (today) – about to pack up and head off to dump station, fill up with petrol and LPG before heading to RSE where we hope (fingers crossed), that it is an easy repair and we can get underway later this afternoon.  First stop Kopu where the insurance repairs for the mishap with the German tourists can be sorted.  

Stay tuned for the next exciting instalment which we trust will not be exciting, with nothing further to report, and we are safely on our way.  Fingers crossed. 

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! 

Bowentown and an OOps!

July 6, 2015

How many of you noticed my error In the Matata post?  It was a test in observation and obviously many of you failed!   I neglected to post a picture of the damaged kite in the post on Matata  and subsequently on trying to rectify/edit the post I have not had any luck, for some reason I cannot add in any photos  so you will have to make do with a non picture blog post.
Since the last post we have been at Anzac Bay near Bowentown for a couple of days. We had another go at putting out the kite over on Waihi Beach but  we did not have any luck with the fishing.    However, we did go to the Bowentown Boat Club for dinner that evening, we saw a sign on the main road advertising $12 roast, so we all thought that we would give it a go, not holding out much hope for a half decent meal but as we had been on the beach all day until 25 mins before our 7pm booking, Sue and I definitely did not feel like cooking.   Well, were we in for a surprise, we had a choice of roast pork belly or roast lamb and it came beautifully presented with all the usual trimmings and a few more,  plus it was delicious with the pork meat very tender and not at all fatty but it did have lovely crisp crackling.  And the lamb was deliciously cooked as well.  We may not have been successful with our fishing but at least one thing for the day went well.

We have tried fishing in Anzac Bay but also without any luck, probably because of the seals that had stationed themselves at each end of the bay.  There were four at one end and five at the other, no fish for us in between. After three nights at Anzac Bay we headed off toward Thames, we had intended staying the night in Thames but the ground was very wet so after doing a bit of shopping, including replacement of the gas stove that was stolen, we headed on to Rays Rest, a parking area on the Kaiaua Shell bank.

Once settled there, we took a quick trip up the road to check out parking at the Kaiaua Boat Club (all parking areas roped off due to very wet ground) and then to our favourite park at Waharau but again, the park was closed as the ground was too wet and soft.  So back to the vans for the night to watch the Super 15 rugby final.

Sunday morning and the flounder net was set out nice and early, then we set about putting out the kite as we had a good strong off shore wind.  We soon had the kite out, left it for 45 mins then proceeded to haul it in.  Roy, Pat & Sue took turns pulling the line up the beach in whilst I wind in the reel. It was a very strong wind so it took a wee while to haul it in, but at least we caught something – two snapper and one kahawai – the latter cut up for bait and the snapper filleted for dinner.

The net was then brought in but unfortunately the flounder have apparently gone on holiday for a while so nothing caught there.  By this time (2pm Sunday afternoon), the wind was really buffeting us around and the weather prospects did not look good, so we made the call to up-sticks and head for Ardmore which is where we are now based for the next few days getting a long list of jobs done before continuing our travels northwards.

Hopefully by then we shall be able to post some pictures, until then…ciao!


May 6, 2015

We’ve  just had a couple of days in Wellington, we flew down on Saturday night and were back in Auckland  by Monday evening so it was definitely a quick trip.  The sun was setting on the large cloud bank as we flew down on Saturday evening making for a very pleasant view. 


We went to Wellington to see the two World War One Exbititions; the Weta Workshop Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa and the Peter Jackson Great War exhibition at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. They were both amazingly breathtaking and are worthy of their own separate posts, which we shall report on shortly.

Whilst in Wellington we took the opportunity to meet up with my niece Natalie and her husband Richard and their two delightful wee girls Renee (nearly 7) and Michelle (nearly 2).  Natalie met us on Saturday night for a late dinner in town at Wagamama on the waterfront.    

 Roy and Natalie

Sunday morning we walked down to the waterfront for a quick breakfast.  Wellington turned on a stunning day for us and it was very pleasant sitting out in the morning sun watching the world go by.


We met up with Natalie and family at the War Memorial for a guided tour through the exhibition before heading  off to Scorching Bay for a late lunch.     

 Someone has been busy decorating the outside of the restaurant 

It was then back into town to Te Papa to see the Gallipoli exhibition, but the queues were still very long with a minimum 45 minute wait before we could get in, so instead we headed off to view the Air New Zealand 75th anniversary exhibition.  This brought back lots of memories of trips taken when flying was a novelty and a luxury.  Do you remember getting dressed up to take your flight? And being offered a menu? When seats were large and comfortable with room to move?  We certainly enjoyed the exhibition and viewing all the displays.   

 Who could forget Waihirere  wines?  – the Sauterne was Mum & Dad’s tipple of choice!

Soon it was time for Natalie to get the girls home for their evening meal, bath and bed.  We bade farewell to them, and look forward to seeing them all again soon.    Meanwhile Roy and I headed off to see the Gallipoli exhibition,  on our flight down we sat with one of the museum curators and she gave us a bit of helpful advice – that the best time to see the exhibition was after 4pm as the crowds tend to dissipate by then.  We walked straight in and had a good couple of hours exploring this amazing display before heading off for a bite to eat.

We headed for a well known Wellington institution for our early dinner – The Green Parrot.  The food is totally unpretentious and so old fashioned that it is probably back in fashion again.  I mean, where else do you get a plate of thin sliced white bread with butter delivered to your table on your arrival?!     

 This restaurant has been around since 1926, and is a hit with politicians and movie stars with the walls covered with pictures of famous guests.   The back wall has a large painting/mural of an internal scene of the restaurant with a variety of famous faces from past and present included.  The meals are renown for being large and generous, as we had had a good lunch we both chose an entree sized portion for our evening meal and even then we struggled to finish our meal. 

Monday morning and after breakfast in town we went for a quick ride on the cable car   

  Wellingtons cable car  (which is actually a funicular) – you can google the differences.

View from the top

 Then it was back to Te Papa for a second viewing of the exhibition.  Although we got to the museum at opening time, the queues we even longer than Sunday so instead we headed to the top floor and worked our way down all the floors looking at the different exhibitions.  At Iunch time we had arranged to meet up with Natalie again, and also Roy’s cousin Dr Antonia Davin as it had been a couple of years since we had seen her.  We all had a lovely lunch at St. John’s, a short walk from Te Papa and managed to catch up with all their latest news.  Antonia has led a very interesting and varied life, her father (brother of Dan Davin the author) was in the Diplomatic Services, Antonia’s early life and education was very international having attended schools throughout NZ, as well as in London, Paris, New York, Rome and Canberra, she then went on to complete her degrees in France and Belgium.  Her working life was just as interesting and varied and it is always fun listening to her tales.   After an entertaining long lunch, it was farewell to Natalie and to Antonia, till next time. 

 Roy and Antonia 

Roy and I went back to Te Papa and as luck would have it, the queue for the War exhibition had again dispersed so we took advantage of the lack of crowds and went back through the displays, this time picking up much more information and detail.

Soon it was time for us to head off to the airport for the flight back to Auckland and to our van parked at the NZMCA park at Ardmore Airport.  We will stay there for a couple more days to catch up with Antony as well as restock the larder and get a few chores done before we go to Waharau on the Firth of Thames for a week or two.