Archive for the ‘ardmore’ Category

On the move

March 21, 2019

I’d had enough of being crammed in at Ardmore, it seems as though vehicles were jammed in everywhere with over 50 vehicles squeezed in and I guess with the motorhome show due to be held in Auckland later that week, people were starting to head on in to the city. Wednesday morning we had an early start as the van was having the underneath cleaned of surface rust and sealed so at 6.30am we were on our way, not too far to go though, just to Truck & Trailer in Spartan Road, Takanini.

We headed off to get some breakfast whilst the van was being worked on, and to do some shopping and generally keep ourselves occupied. It was 1pm when we got the call to say that the van was finished and we could pick it up. Off we trotted, we got a thorough look at what they had done and came away feeling very happy, especially when the bill came in at nearly half of what we were expecting. We will be back here again if we need any work doing on the van as we were so impressed with them. They do all maintenance work on large vehicles as well as fibreglass repairs and they even do a polishing service. And to top it off they were really friendly and helpful.

We had planned to stay the night at the Papakura Club however we decided to dump the tanks again at Bruce Pulman Park on our way. That’s when plans changed again.

It just so happened that Antony had got us tickets to the netball being played at Pulman Arena that evening (also just happened to be our wedding anniversary) and as we saw a couple of motorhomes parked up, I went and enquired about staying the night there.

the view from the door of the van, not too far to go to walk to the game.

And at the same price as staying in an NZMCA Park, it was a no brainer to stay here for the night.

After an early dinner we headed across the car park to the Arena to get our seats for the game, collecting goodie bags along the way from the sponsors inside the venue.

we ended up being seated around the mid court area, just beind the commentators

It was a good game to watch and afterwards we sauntered back to the van and had a very quiet nights sleep.

We were off the following morning to Hamilton where we ended up staying at the Car Museum, somewhere we had not visited before. Again it proved to be another very busy place to stay as we woke in the morning to find that we had neighbours move in on both sides of us both within spitting distance.

Whilst at the museum we thought we should patronise the facility particularly as though the parking is free so we had lunch in the cafe.

the outside of the museum building and the parking area before it became crowded.

We placed our order for our lunch and were wandering around looking for a suitable table when out of the corner of my eye I spied a familiar couple of faces. I stood looking for a good minute or so desperately flicking through my memory banks to put names to faces before the lightbulb finally went off and I could go say hi. They recognised us straight away. It was Chrissy & Ian, they were longtime friends with my eldest brother Mike & his late wife Ann. Chrissy and Ann were school friends and we had met Chrissy & Ian a number of times over the years so it was lovely to see them and catch up.

We also caught up with our long time friends Wade & Lindsay in the evening over a lovely dinner. It’s always good to see good friends. We also met up with Harry, Kim & family whom we had met a few weeks earlier at Shakespear. They had just been to have some solar charging issues sorted and were very impressed with the service they received from Wayne, so much so that we took his details so we could contact him at some point.

The following day we took off to AJ’s Park on the shores of Lake Karapiro.

the view through the front windscreen.

it is a lovely spot to stay, relatively quiet and peaceful so we thought we’d stay a couple of nights, but a week later we are still here! The place becomes quite busy over the weekend, and we are kept entertained by waterskiers and kids enjoying themselves being towed behind boats on various devices from knee boards to biscuits. It took us a while to figure that there is no tide here, quite a change for us as we spend so much time near the sea.

Sunday was an impromptu get together with a couple of my siblings – John & Jude called in on their way home to Whakatane, and Sue & Jeff joined us from their home not far away in Putaruru. This trip of ours is basically for us to catch up with my north island siblings before we head away to the UK, it seems we have started off quite well. Of course I forgot to take any pictures however it was a lovely afternoon with them all.

I did take some pictures later in the week as we went into Putaruru on a few occasions to spend some time with Sue & Jeff and catch up on family matters including swapping genealogy notes.

this is my sister Sue with the cheese & bacon scones she made one day for lunch……with the wrong mix she had mistakenly used from her pantry. Subsequently the scones were a strange sweet/savoury concoction 😂. And no, sweet savoury scones are not a new thing, they were relegated to the bin! Should have gone to Specsavers Sue 😘.

Roy & Jeff tackling their respective crossword puzzles.

in between visits into Putaruru I had made contact with Wayne Hunt who specialises in motorhome electric/solar systems and it just so happened that he was going to be passing Karapiro on Tuesday morning and he offered to call in. Wayne & Vicki duly arrived and over a cuppa we chatted for some time before getting onto matters we wanted to sort. We want to be able to charge the van battery when we are stationary for any length of time. Wayne designs and builds systems and he came up with a couple of options for us, now we are all sorted with what will work for us. Once we get it, I will do a blog entry on that later. We also gleaned another couple of ideas from them whilst we were chatting so it proved to be a very good couple of hours spent in their company. We can highly recommend Wayne for anything solar/electric/motorhome related, especially as he explains things so well.

Our departure day from here seems to be getting put back more and more, it may be tomorrow…but then again we may be saying the same thing again tomorrow!

And who can blame us with this for a view.

Moving on….

March 10, 2019

We are very good at changing our plans. Initially we had intended to move on from Shakespear a week ago on Sunday BUT we heard from Gary & Marg that they were coming down to Red Beach to look after their grandkids so we thought we would delay our departure for a few days and take the opportunity to catch up with them before we head out of town.

Meanwhile we are trying to get a few jobs done that we have managed to put off until now….isn’t that always the way, put off the inevitable until we have to do it!!

Our last weekend was a very busy weekend again with campers, with some lovely lovely people in. Some even shared their spoils…

yes, we had fresh fish for dinner that evening.

Inevitably it was time to bid farewell to everyone at Shakespear, after a lovely farewell from the Rangers and some other volunteers we finally headed out of the park on Thursday. But we weren’t going too far as we still had a few chores to get done. So via the LPG filing station at Dairy Flat where, when a truck pulled out from in front of us revealed this special pairing.

I have no idea what it is exactly but obviously it stands upright as there are hydraulic rams on the side near the base. I couldn’t ask the driver either as he was out of there a moment after I had taken the picture.

We headed off to South Auckland heading first to the dump station at Bruce Pullman Park in Papakura. Then it was off to the friendly fellows at VTNZ in Takanini for a COF where we had to wait in line for some time before we had our turn. By this time it was lunch time and time for a cuppa and a bite to eat whilst we waited. We soon had our COF and it was back to the dump station. Why return to the dump station? Because we had half filled the black and grey water tanks with fresh water to slosh around whilst we drive around which helps clean them out a bit, especially required after sitting for so long in one place they needed a good clean out. That all done it was off to a busy Ardmore to park up for a few days.

I had forgotten what it is like to park in a place with other vehicles so close to you, as well as parking on gravel. Give me grass any day but needs must. We are here for a week as we have booked the van in to have the underneath sealed next week, a necessary maintenance job to prevent any rust on the chassis as we so often park near salt laden sea air.

Our son Antony lives just around the corner from Ardmore so it is also a good opportunity to catch up with him, oh and utilise his cooking facilities.

It’s that time of the year again, pickling and preserving time, and first on the list was to make some sauce and soup.

two pots on the boil

And the resulting spoils

Along with the plum sauce I made a few weeks ago, the store cupboard is becoming full again. That should keep us going for some time.

Getting back to normal

July 3, 2018

Saturday was a momentous day, as I moved back into the van! After visiting the day before to make sure I could get in and out of the RV with some semblance of ease it was time to make the big move.

Bringing with me my special raised chair as well as the over-the-toilet raised seat it wasn’t long before I had comfortably taken up my place in the van. But hello, we have a problem Houston, as the seat that goes over the toilet will not fit into our toilet space, oh no, but hang on a minute, let’s just see if I can actually use the loo without the seat. And what do you know? Yes I can. What an achievement, well, it feels like a huge accomplishment. And that raised chair to sit on? It takes up an awful lot of room, but it’s the same height as our two front captains chairs, so that’s easy, I’ll just swivel the chairs around to face the cabin and sit in one of those. So apart from a pair of crutches and a picker-upperer thingy, they are the only visible things to show that life has not quite returned to normality but we are getting there. Another accomplishment made….I can put my own knickers on! With a little help from the picker-uperer thingy. Not too bad for 12 days post op.

It’s been quite an experience, especially trying to describe how it feels. Initially it felt as though someone had injected a 20kg lump of lead inside my thigh/hip as well as a dead leg/Charlie which makes for lifting your leg up, especially when lying in bed to try and get out, almost an impossible task. It makes for interesting times and ingenuity to make life’s little tasks a little easier. Today though, the lump of lead feels as though it weighs only about 15kg and I presume that each day it will become less and less as I become more and more mobile.

We are staying here at Ardmore for a day or three to make sure I am ok with everything before planning our next move. Nothing is being done in a hurry, I am content to take my time and to be patient, somewhat of a foreign concept for me, but I know that I cannot hurry the mending process along.

Simon & granddaughter Maria came to visit last Sunday. It was lovely to spend some time with them and to enviously watch Maria clamber over everything and nimbly race up and down steps with such ease…..I’m only slightly envious of such suppleness of a 22month old! Antony called around as well so it was a catch up for us all.

It’s the final countdown

June 3, 2018

We are on the final countdown, with Wednesday being Roy’s last treatment day and time for celebration. He has had no side effects, he doesn’t glow in the dark or have any superpowers although we are forever hopeful he achieves the latter! We are forever thankful that we had options and everything has gone to plan with a great outcome.

And thank goodness for Winston’s gold card. For those not in NZ, Winston Peters is a long serving MP (who will be the stand-in Prime Minister whilst Jacinda is on maternity leave) who a few years ago organised a gold card for senior citizens which entitles them to free public transport in most major cities as well as discounts at some stores. The gold card has been used by Roy every day for the past 7 and a half weeks to get the train in and out to Newmarket, then a free bus to the hospital and return. It has saved us not only many $$$’s but also in time and stress as we haven’t had to drive in, fighting the traffic, looking for parking, as well as petrol costs. Well done Winnie!

It’s been another week of catching up with friends and family. Bill & Linda came visiting last Sunday as they were having an open home is readiness to sell, so it was great to catch up with them. Gary & Marg called in on their way through Auckland for lunch on Wednesday, and of course I had my lunch “date”with Janet on Thursday. Steve & Les called in on Saturday with two of their granddaughters on their way back to Whangamata. In between we have had Drs appointments and other matters to attend to so all in all a busy old time, which is great as it means that we are never bored!

On Friday I was asked if I would drive a motorhome from the wharf to Drury as I had done the previous week. Sure, why not? So off we trotted on Friday afternoon, on the train this time into Britomart, however, I had to pay for my journey as I have a few years to go before I qualify for one of Winnie’s cards. However, this time I did take a couple of pictures of the vehicles we were picking up.

I drove the one at the rear in the above photo.

First we have to visit the petrol station just around the corner to put in enough diesel to get us back. That done we all headed off. We had discussed which exit would be the best to get off the motorway as this was Friday afternoon and it was also the start of the long weekend Queens Birthday weekend which meant that the traffic would be worse than usual, if that is all possible. Once crawling along the motorway I got to the Redoubt Road exit at Manukau and could see the traffic was at a standstill ahead so I ducked off there. Wending my way through the back roads (just as well I know my way around), avoiding schools as by this time it after 3pm and schools were finishing, however I got to Drury in good time. Then I had to wait at least 30minutes for the others to start to arrive, each one had taken a different exit hence our staggered arrival times.

The weather has been brilliant this past week, well, brilliantly fine during the day but freezing cold overnight. There is a kiwi fruit orchard over the back of Ardmore and so for a few nights helicopters have been flying over the vines for frost protection. During cold and still conditions, the down draught from the helicopter causes the slightly warmer air layered above to circulate amongst the vines, reducing the likelyhood of frost damage. Effective but noisy.

Now we have rain settled in for the day by the looks of it, oh well, at least it’s warmer.

Another week done & dusted

May 18, 2018

Yet another week of routine has crept on by interspersed by visits from friends and family. Only 2 1/2 weeks of treatment left for Roy and the daily routine of train, bus walk, bus, train, travel every day, it’s almost like having a job!! Luckily Roy has so far suffered no side effects from the treatment, long may it continue.

It was an early start on Monday morning as we were heading across town to see brother John and his partner Jude at Auckland Airport. We arrived in time for their 7.30am arrival at the Domestic terminal from Whakatane and to collect a large box of feijoas from Johns garden which will shortly be made into lots of goodies. It was then a short walk over to the International terminal, where we all met for breakfast. John & Jude are off on their overseas odyssey, first to London, then to France, Spain & Portugal where along the way Jude will be walking some of the Camino Santiago path with John driving their motorhome as support crew. But first they will be spending a few days with Alex & Ian so a few goodies from Mum & Dad were stashed into their luggage. I was only slightly envious of their coming adventures – Yeah Right!!!

To add insult to injury, I get sent a picture of John & Jude outside Morrisons….a store we became known to frequent whilst we were there, getting in supplies.

We wish them all the best and are sure they are in for an amazing time.

Bill P called in one afternoon for a cuppa and another morning both Bill P and Janet called in for morning tea, it’s so nice getting visitors especially when we feel so tied to one spot.

The days are starting to get a little cooler as well as darker earlier and earlier in the evenings. However it’s only a month away until the shortest day and then we can look forward to the evenings eking out.

Antony comes round each evening to join us for dinner or sometimes for a change we go to his place where I cook dinner. And there are always chores to be done which keep us busy.

Time for catch ups

May 12, 2018

A cunning plan is in place, the tunnels for escape are beginning to take shape, the guards distracted, just the documents and uniforms to sort!! All will come to pass in a few weeks when we can escape from what feels like captivity!

Meanwhile, this week has been just a little busy what with one thing and another, however in amongst everything else we have managed to catch up with a few friends.

Last weekend we escaped our usual routines and headed down to Hamilton to stay with good friends Wade & Lindsay. It was just so lovely to have a change of scenery and to be able to relax with them and have a few laughs.

As usual I forgot to take pictures, but I did manage to sneak in this one of Wade & Lindsay as we were all intently looking up things on our respective devices!!!

We caught up on each other’s news and had a few laughs about the things we used to get up to.

Amongst the reminiscing, I did find the following photo of their daughter Naomi and our son Antony (just a few years ago!) on one of our holidays together,

Eating oranges at Mimiwhangata …..weren’t they cute??

After a lovely relaxing time,which included eating great food and drinking some lovely wines, it was time for us to head back to the big smoke and our routine.

Later in the week we called into see Brian, a good friend who has recently given up the motorhome life and whose lovely wife Marj passed away suddenly at the beginning of the year. He is now settled into a retirement village and is looking forward with lots of plans. We shared a number of trips with Brian & Marj and it’s now good to see a bit of a spark appear back in his life. It was great to catch up and to see him looking so well and to hear all his news.

Next was a visit to Jim who has recently had a hip replacement, which hasn’t exactly gone to plan but he is now on the road to recovery and should be back to his bus soon.

Then it was a meet up of Roy’s old friends from his youth, we all met at the cafe at Ardmore for lunch and to catch up on news. Again it was great to see everyone and catch up on their news. This time I did remember to take a photo.

L-R, Roy, Ron, Jan, Bill, Estelle, Linda and Bill

Routine of sorts

April 27, 2018

We are on the countdown, Roy has completed 9 trips into Auckland Hospital for his radiation treatment so now there is just 29 to go. We have slipped into a semblance of a daily routine which involves me dropping Roy off at the train station, he travels into Newmarket, then gets the bus from there to the hospital, has his treatment then reverses the travel arrangements. The only difference in the routine are the times, as each day the appointment times vary which can mean either leaving the van for the train at anytime from 9am through to midday. And of course there is the odd day that the appointment times go out the window with an unscheduled delay holding up proceedings. Meanwhile, I either go swimming, shopping, go to Antony’s to do the washing, return to the van to do a few chores or sometimes meet up with friends.

Fellow motorhomer Jim has recently had a hip replacement, he is parked up next to us at Ardmore so we keep an eye on him and between us and a few others we manage to get him to his appointments, do his shopping and keep on top of his chores.

Antony usually comes and joins us for dinner each evening and as well, the past two weekends we have been up to Shakespear to collect wood from some of the dead trees that had to be cut down. Ranger Bruce met us last weekend on our way in to collect firewood and told us that there wasn’t much left but there was the large lengths left behind and if we waited for him to do a few jobs he would return with chainsaw in hand he would cut up the last of the logs for us.

Antony now has plenty of firewood to last the winter.

We’ve had a few visits from friends, Ron & Janet called in for a lovely visit and lunch last week, and Bill P came round for a chat and a catch up. Barry & Sandra called in on their way through Auckland and we have plans to meet up with others later in the week. We’ve been across town to have lunch with Simon & Anita and granddaughter Maria who is growing up oh so fast, she is nearly 20months old. And we also went out to dinner to Eti & Rona’s home. We met Eti & Rona at Shakespear, they come and camp there every year and over our time as camp hosts we have enjoyed their company and many a BBQ with them and their family. It was lovely to catch up with them and hope to see them again soon.

Roy had a birthday last week so Roy, Antony and I went out for dinner at a local pub/restaurant, it also happened to be quiz night at the pub so we joined on in. We didn’t win but we did ok for a small team and we had a good laugh or two as well.

Anzac Day was an early start to the day with Roy and Antony heading off to dawn parade at 5.15am. It also happens to be grandson Andre’s birthday, he is 8 this year, which necessitated a call to pass on birthday wishes. They grow up so fast don’t they? Meanwhile a couple of batches of Anzac Biscuits were made, one lot the traditional version and another batch of my version with lots of extras added.

They seem to have gone down well as there are not many left!

All in all, every day seems to be pretty busy with very little spare time which is a good thing as before we know it, we will be able to get on with other things and it will be time to get in some fishing again……it seems ages since we have been fishing and had fresh fish for dinner.

Shakespear to Ardmore

April 14, 2018

Our time at Shakespear finished last weekend and we reluctantly left on Monday heading not too far away across the harbour to Ardmore Airport and the NZMCA Park there. Along the way we had to fill with LPG and petrol, then it was off to the tyre shop to get all the pressures checked before we could get onto the motorway and head south. A quick visit to Bruce Pullman park to empty the waste tanks and fill with water before heading around the corner to Ardmore where we have parked ourselves for the next few weeks.

And yes, it is with permission that we have been allowed to park here for any length of time as Roy started his radiation treatment on Thursday. We have a little routine all sorted whereby I drop Roy off at the train station which is just 5 minutes away, he catches the train into Newmarket then it is a short bus ride to the hospital gates. Being over a certain age qualifies him for free train and bus travel which is handy. Meanwhile I go to the aquatic centre which is right next to the train station for a swim before heading back to the van to await Roy to message me his return arrival time. The treatment itself does not take very long, it’s just the travel to get there. 2 treatments down, 36 to go!

We decided that train travel for most of the journey was by far the easiest way to go, no traffic to deal with as there seems to be a holdup or accident somewhere on the motorway system just about every day, and if necessary it is less than a 15minute walk from Newmarket to the hospital if anything should delay the bus.

Antony lives just around the corner from Ardmore so we have seen a bit of him, including helping him celebrate his birthday on Friday.

We are managing to catch up with a few friends as well whilst we are here and get a few bits and pieces done as there is always something to do or shopping to be done, people to see, you get the picture! Speaking of pictures you will notice that there aren’t any in this post, no excuses, I just haven’t taken any.

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