Archive for the ‘auckland’ Category

The big move

February 21, 2019

After three and a half months in the Shakespear campground we have made the big move, just 750m Along the road to the SCC (Self Contained Certificate) camp area. This is because there is a large school group in the campground and we always vacate the campground at this stage and leave them to it. As you can see from the following photos, it’s pretty busy in here.

It does get busy over the weekends but for the rest of the week we are pretty much on our own.

We can still continue with our camp mother/camp leader roles from here and it’s pretty interesting what we see from our position here opposite the large public area whereas in the campground we are pretty much cocooned from the general public.

We did meet up with John & Sarah, they write a very good motorhome travel blog https://licencedtoretire.com. We enjoyed a lovely couple of days in their company and look forward to meeting up again soon as I neglected, yet again, to take any pictures.

I too have been taking things easy, hoping that by not doing too much my hip will heal quickly. We have had the official written report from the surgeon and for those interested the diagnosis is an “Avulsion fracture of the greater trochanter”. Sounds impressive doesn’t it? I can assure you that the only thing impressive is the pain, but with medication it is slowly coming under control, and I do get a good 3-4hours of uninterrupted sleep most nights now.

We have less than two weeks left here at Shakespear before we head off to parts unknown, and it’s not long before we are off to the UK again.

Advertisements

Visitors

February 3, 2019

In between our camp leader/camp mother roles, we do get the opportunity to meet up with friends and family.

Brian, an ex motorhomers, came to visit for an afternoon and to have a bit of a toast to Marj, his wife and best mate who past away one year ago. We had a lovely afternoon reminiscing and talking about future plans and travels.

We met up with friends Ron & Janet in Mt Eden as we were over in that part of the city after Roy had a specialist checkup. Ron & Janet had come in from Ararimu, (south of Auckland near the Hunua Ranges), they took advantage of catching the train into the city from Papakura then a bus into Mt Eden where we met at the local pub for a nice long lunch and catchup. Of course we were so busy talking I forgot to take any pictures.

Son Antony came for a visit after his big trip to South America, so we were able to catch up on all his adventures and stories from his travels. Of course I again forgot to take any pictures, although I did take a picture of his present for me.

yep, I get s#@t coffee….😂

Brother John and partner Jude came for a lovely visit last Saturday bringing with them spoils from their garden; beans, silver beet, zucchini, tomatoes, lemons, oranges. There’s nothing quite like homegrown produce for our veg fix. We had a lovely afternoon hiding from the scorching sun before venturing to the beach. This time John reminded me to take a picture. Although working out how to set the iPad to take a delayed picture and running around into position was a little funny!

L-R: Roy, Jude, Bernice, John.

Friends Lindsay & Wade were next to visit, and it is so lovely to be able to relax and pickup where we left off last time. A very nice afternoon was spent with plans made for a longer visit shortly. And yes, I did remember to take a snap.

We seem to be making a habit of catching up at this time of the year, which also happens to be their wedding anniversary. We have been together the past couple of years last year we headed to Hamilton to help them celebrate their 40th anniversary, read about that here, and the previous year here. Maybe we are becoming creatures of habit after all.

As well as friends and family we also get daily visits from the various rangers, staff and volunteers here at Shakespear, sometimes it is a quick call by to check on things or to let us know of any happenings. Other times it turns into a decent morning tea, or sometimes they will visit bringing their lunch to eat in our company or an after work relax and refreshment to end the day and catch up on life. After our 5th year here I think we are becoming part of the furniture!

Te Haruhi Bay – a poem

February 1, 2019

This poem was written and given to us by a camper, who wrote this on her recent stay with us.

I’m sure you will agree that it is a lovely piece of writing.

Te Haruhi Bay by Mary Fletcher, January 2019.

Where ancient feet have trod,

Brown feet running on soft golden sand,

Lives lived, history made, babies born, whanau died

Kaimoana at low tide,

Fat kereru nesting in tall pohutakawas, swooping, calling;

Pukekos caught, snared, shared.

Calling birds wake the people, tangata whenua

Oceans roar, oceans roar and roll.

Moonlight, starlight on the living breathing land

Flax grown, cut, pounded, kete made and remade,

– Ever on the alert, friends or enemies may arrive

Urupa used, sacred places…

Times change, times change, vision dims

History happens, ownership/guardianship transfers, willingly/unwillingly.

Sounds of cutting, slashing, burning, birdsongs dim,

oceans roar, oceans roar.

Tides come in and out,

Building roads in and out. Technology noise, tractors, cars,motors,

Top dressing planes, gates up,

Sheep baaing, cows mooing drowns more bird calls,

Oceans roar, oceans roar.

Times change, times change. Vision happens.

Gates up, gates down, housing encroaches, gates up, trees planted, fences up

Oceans roar, oceans roar.

Flax restored, natives planted, birds arrive, birds stay

Green hills sprout trees, kaimoana at low tide

Kereru swoop, morpork calls, moonlight, star light, people gather

Sanctuary restoring, land resting

Nature recovering, people enjoying, protecting fragile ecosystems,

Urupa protected, stays, sacred, hiding secrets, loves, lives, history laid down.

Te Haruhi Bay breathes again

Oceans roar, oceans roar.

Apologies, but for some reason all the formatting that I set out for the poem does not stay in place,

Te Haruhi Bay at Shakespear Regional Park.

Knee update

January 18, 2019

A number of people have asked how my knee has been post surgery, so after 6 weeks here is an update.

It has been a breeze, pain has been negligible since day one, however it has been carefully managed and I have tried not to be a hero and go without the pain meds which I am sure is part of the reason why recovery has been so easy. I had full movement back after just a week post surgery and I was diligent in doing the exercises given to me by my physio.

I continued using crutches for about 4 weeks although I could have given them up long before then but I have been very mindful to take things carefully so as not to have any mishaps. My wound healed really well, helped I am sure by the Manuka Honey Wound Gel that my surgeon suggested I use. The scar is already becoming less and less visible, now assisted by the use of rosehip oil to reduce the evidence of scarring.

the scar isn’t looking too bad at all is it?

It has been so easy that I am wondering why I put it off for so long? In fact I asked the surgeon the day after the op if he could whip me down to theatre and do the other knee whilst I was there. Unfortunately his schedule was full.

I had been putting surgery off in the hope that the research into stem cell use would be done by now. Although some people are having stem cell therapy done and with some success, my very thorough research says that clinical trials are still ongoing with advances coming all the time however there have been too many incidences of rogue cells becoming cancerous. Hence my reticence in trying it out.

I am reliable told that advances in orthopaedic surgery in the past two years has been remarkable which has probably helped my recovery as well. But having a great surgeon and anaesthetist is also a huge factor in my quick recovery I am sure.

Now just the next one to be done, I think we may just postpone that one until we return from the UK as if I have it done before we go I am pretty sure that Sod’s law will kick in and something will go wrong and I definitely don’t want to do anything to jeopardise that exciting trip.

So to sum up, it’s been such an easy surgery and recovery I wish I had had it done years ago. I even enjoyed? (not sure that is the right word) my hospital stay pretending I was on a mini holiday break with the bed made for me, meals cooked for me, with lots of rest involved. Just keep your fingers crossed that the next one goes as well.

Home alone

January 10, 2019

Backtracking a little, this was lunch on New Years Day.

The crayfish was a gift from some campers who had been out diving and the Prosecco a gift from friends Mark & Glynnis. A lovely way to start the new year.

It’s not often that I’m home alone, but for the past few days I have been all on my lonesome…oh, but with 160+ campers to keep me on my toes. Roy had gone to Ashburton to visit the grandchildren and this was the most convenient time for all of us, so off he went.

And did I say that campers would keep me on my toes? They sure have. It seems as though it has been the time for campers trying to sneak in (unbooked and unpaid), others trying to stay longer than their booking, complaints about noise from other campers, sinks needing unblocking, cars needed jump starting, beds needing to be pumped up, and then to top it all off there was a problem with water which meant asking everyone to conserve water whilst the problem was alleviated BUT there are always a few who think that it doesn’t apply to them. It seems as though I have been constantly on the go sorting out one thing or another.

I could write a book about how some people go about putting up their tents, there are major discussions and disagreements and I’m sure I could also run a marriage guidance counselling session based on how to put up a tent!! Whereas some have it all sorted and organised easily, others seem to make a mission out of every little thing and with temperatures rising as rapidly as tempers, it makes for interesting observations.

I had a wonderful catch up with my brother John and his partner Jude, they were up from Whakatane for a couple of days so I arranged to meet up them in Silverdale. Coincidentally, our niece Natalie happened to be passing through from her holiday in the north with her two young daughters Renee and Michelle. It matched up nicely with Johns visit and within 10minutes of arriving at the cafe, both John and Natalie arrived. It was a fantastic catch up and as per usual I completely forgot to take any photos, we were just too busy talking. Renee, 10 and Michelle 5, have grown a lot in the year or so since we last caught up, they are delightful young girls and we so enjoyed spending the afternoon with them.

Roy had a great time in Ashburton with the grandkids, they too have sprouted into fine young people.

Granddad with, from left Rose (who will be 13 this weekend), Dante (15 last week], Front, Andre 8 and Theo 10.

Dante with his academic prize cup for mathematics (surprise surprise – NOT! It’s in the genes).

Roy also managed to take a trip to Geraldine to catch up with lifelong friends Bill & Linda who have recently relocated there from Auckland. He tells me that he was treated to an amazing lunch and really enjoyed seeing their new home and catching up with all their news including their recent trip to the UK for Christmas. We look forward to catching up again soon.

I picked up Roy from the airport yesterday and it’s nice to have him home as I must admit it’s rather quiet (and tidy 😉) without him around!

Happy New Year

December 31, 2018

It’s been a bit of a busy old week between Christmas and New Year what with one thing or another. There are 160 campers (maximum daily capacity) to deal with and all their associated queries, assistance and issues.

Here are a few pics of the camp ground after the rain,

View from above with large areas roped off due to wet ground and lakes forming

And some of the camping set ups are quite impressive, this group of friends have their tents on the left with a corridor between their 5 gazebos all lined up in a row.

And this is one set up we rarely see, a fence around their camp site, we are not sure if it is to keep their children in, or other people out!

And we have had a few friends visit this week which has been wonderful.

First there was Brian, a very dear friend whom we met on our very first week in our motorhome and subsequently met and travelled with him and his dear wife & best mate Marj who died at the beginning of the year. We had a few trips away together including the Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay and to Cape Reinga and points in between before they sold their bus. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane reminiscing about places we had journeyed to and people we have met, and a bit of a tribute to Marj, an amazing lady who is greatly missed but remembered with lovely memories.

The following day we had a visit from Jude & Shaun, friends from Tokoroa days who now live in Te Anau. They were up in Auckland celebrating the festive season with a couple of their children who live here, and with their granddaughter who they are now raising after the tragic sudden death of their daughter Lesley. They are doing an amazing job and it was great to catch up, reminisce, then discuss and solve the problems of the world!

Of course I neglected to take any photos of either visit!

The next day Helen & Don (Oamaru) came in their motorhome to stay with us for a few days and to see the new year in.

This is the 2018 photo

And this is the 2014 version!!!

not a lot has changed!

We have been very fortunate this year with many gifts given to us from grateful campers, we have enough chocolates and wine to last us quite a while, we even got some lovely solar powered Christmas lights from some, and the live crayfish from other campers was very gratefully accepted 😉.

We would like to wish all our readers a very happy, safe, healthy and contented 2019 and we look forward to many more adventures to share. Cheers.

Merry Christmas

December 26, 2018

Merry Christmas, seasons greetings and happy New Year to you all from a very wet Shakespear Regional Park. The Pohutukawa are still putting on a fine display for Christmas Day although nearing the end of their flowering season.

We spent Christmas Eve evacuating campers to a woolshed on the park for a dry place to sleep as well as moving others to higher ground as streams overflowed, and puddles became small lakes. Some people just abandoned ship and went home returning the following day to collect all their very wet and in some cases broken camping gear.

The trees took a real battering with the wind overnight and we woke this morning to a carpet of red snow.

In the wind and rain we packed ourselves up ready to move at a moments notice as the stream at the back of where we parked rose and overflowed coming within a metre of the wheels, however we did not have to move this time. It just so happened that the worst of the downpour coincided with high tide which compounded matters. In the end, the rain eased and the tide turned enabling the water to drain.

Nevertheless most people were in good spirits and coped well with the situation.

Christmas morning was spent helping out campers who were trying to retrieve gear, dry out or find a dry spot, or needed help with a jump start for flat batteries or duct tape to mend broken tent poles. Unfortunately that meant we didn’t get to sit down to eat our (now cold) breakfast until 11.30am. Even a call from Alex was interrupted numerous times with people wanting assistance.

Roy and I enjoyed our Christmas dinner in the evening, a lovely cranberry and orange stuffed turkey breast wrapped in bacon then roasted accompanied by gravy as well as a cranberry port sauce and the usual array of vegetables. We were both too full after the main event to even think about any dessert.

Boxing Day has been a very windy day which has been really helpful to those wanting to dry out wet gear, however some tents are not handling the wind too well and minor repairs are being made.

All in all a very memorable Christmas, we trust you all enjoyed your celebrations. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.

The good news

December 10, 2018

We have both been back to our respective surgeons this past week, actually on the same day but on the opposite sides of Auckland. Roy headed off to Ascot Hospital Greenlane in the morning for his post op check up, which went well, his PSA levels are almost zero and everything else is healing fine.

My appointment was at Southern Cross Hospital in Wairau Road, and Keith came to the rescue and did his best “Driving Miss Daisy” impression and we were there in no time. I also got a good review, the allergic reaction has settled, the wound is healing nicely, so well in fact that instead of seeing the surgeon in a couple of weeks time for the post op X-rays and checkup, we have delayed it until next year as we both felt that it would be a better time frame and considering I am doing so well, there was no point in an early appointment.

But prior to our appointments we were spectators to an amazing thunder and lightning storm which also brought with it torrential rain.

the view from the door during the deluge.

The thunder and lightning was directly overhead, the noise was intense and I must admit I was a little concerned. What we didn’t find out until later in the day was that three sheep, up on the hill not 150metres from the van, were struck by lightning and killed.

The storm was over in a few short hours and was all clear by the time we needed to get away to our appointments.

The view from the door just a few hours after the storm departed. amazing really that the water was already disappearing from sight.

The following day was departure day for Keith & Debbie, we have been travelling together for the past few months and have enjoyed having their company and at various times assistance with bits and pieces especially as both Roy and I have been on light duties post surgeries. We’ve shared a few laughs, in fact a lot of laughs, and of course we have enjoyed the fishing exploits. We will meet up again next year when the freezers need filling up again with lots of lovely fresh fish.

So life for us is back to camp hosting duties, which is already proving to be interesting,, what with a terrible booking system to contend with from an end user perspective, tourists who cannot book in for whatever reason, the odd partying underage campers to deal with, campers arriving late and being noisy without regard for others and campers who arrive without essential items and come looking for assistance.

All in a days work.

All done and dusted

November 23, 2018

Yay, I’m going home. I did try and convince my surgeon to keep me in and do the other knee on Monday but apparently he’s a bit busy! This experience of knee replacement surgery has so far been a relatively painless one, hence I have no hesitation in having the other knee done. I have to say that I was prepared for the worst, everyone had told me that hips were a doddle compared to knees, that the pain would be terrible and the physio daunting. Hugh, my surgeon, was at pains to tell me how hard it was going to be and how it wasn’t going to be pleasant etc. I can remember Mum telling me that she would rather have ten hips done rather than one knee, I wish I could tell her than the opposite is true for me. Perhaps I was really prepared for it to be relay really bad, but my expectations haven’t been met.

I have been totally surprised at the lack of pain, it has been well managed by staff and I don’t think I’m on any different painkillers to last time either. I have been really well cared for by all of the friendly nursing as well as ancillary staff at Southern Cross Hospital.

Today was time to remove the dressing….look away now if you are squeamish!!!…yeah right, I am the worst one for not wanting to know or see what is going on.

this is what the dressing post op looks like. It is called a Pico dressing which has a little sucky motor attached to it to ensure everything is airtight.

According to the blurb

PICO represents a unique way of treating patients who would benefit from the application of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT). PICO has been shown to provide positive patient outcomes when applied to open wounds, closed surgical incisions and skin grafts.  

The PICO system is canister-free which means the pump is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. This makes the system very discreet and portable for the patient to wear.

The PICO pump generates an effective negative pressure of -80mmHg and provides therapy for up to 7 days.

The PICO pump is connected to a conformable, innovatively designed dressing which:

  1. Is easily applied and removed, minimising skin trauma and delivers the negative pressure across the wound bed or closed incision
  2. Is designed to reduce the risk of pressure points and supports patient comfort.
  3. Manages the fluid away from the wound or closed incision through a unique combination of absorbency and evaporation.

Very clever stuff they have these days.

once the dressing was removed, this is all there is to see,

Still got that lovely pink stuff on my skin.

And redressed ready to go home.

Now I am just waiting for the final discharge notes and prescriptions to be delivered and then we will be off home. One knee done, one to go.

Medical matters

October 14, 2018

We made our way down to Auckland as far as Whakapirau where we were staying with Jacky & Chris for the night. It’s a 5hr drive from Rarawa to Whakapirau, including a couple of comfort stops, and then a further 2 hrs to get to Auckland so it’s a good break point for us.

Roy was due at Ascot at midday ready for surgery at around 2pm. Antony came in to take me out to lunch whilst Roy was under the knife laser. Roy was having some remedial surgery of the prostate as some tissue had atrophied as a result of the hormone and radiation treatments and was causing a bit of an issue. Meanwhile Antony and I went out for a nice lunch and a bit of retail therapy returning to the hospital just as the surgeon rang to say all had gone well and he would be in his room within the next hour.

I was happy to wait for him in his room enjoying the view.

the view from his room overlooking Ellerslie Race course.

He was back pretty soon, wide awake and feeling ok after having an epidural and a sedative rather than a full anaesthetic, so good in fact that he was keen to have something to eat. I left him in the good care of the staff at Ascot in the early evening to retire to Antony’s place for the night.

The following day Roy had not had the best night, so the surgeon was checking in on him a couple of times and sorting out his pain relief before he would allow him out later in the day. Meanwhile Antony and I headed over to Southern Cross Hospital on the North Shore where I was to have an MRI done on my hip replacement due to an anomaly showing up on previous X-rays.

MRI’s are not my favourite thing, they can be very claustrophobic, especially as they tighten a special cage device over the hip area to make sure you stay still and also tie my feet together and onto the bed so nothing moves….eeeek……but I told myself it was just for an hour so just suck it up and deal with it. It was completed in around 45minutes, but then they said I had to have more done but this time with a dye injected. Breathe in…….and out……..relax, think of your happy place Bernice, all these thoughts were racing through my mind as I went back into the scanner. But it was soon over with, next came the wait to see the surgeon in a few hours time.

Again, Antony & I went out for a bite to eat and to do a few chores. I must say it was great to have him with me and we had a good chat about everything and anything. We were back at the surgeons office 45minutes early, fortunately he could see me early. And the upshot?

At the top of the trochanter (femur) has some stress fractures that appear to be healing, no wonder it’s been a bit sore! and there maybe very small bone fragments that have come away and irritating matters. As well it looks like there is a pocket of fluid which he was unsure what it was exactly.

What’s next? They want to do a biopsy on the fluid via a needle inserted into the hip area….eeeek! this is to be done under a general anaesthetic and what about having it done next week? Oh and we will also check for infection with some blood tests as well. After a bit of discussion, we agreed that I would have the blood tests straight away and see what they say and put off the needle biopsy and do it next month when I am having my knee replaced negating the need for two anaesthetics in a short period of time. That is presuming everything comes back clear with the blood tests, fingers crossed.

I did ask if I was being a wuss with regards to the pain I have but I was assured that I am not, so with new prescription in hand we were soon on our way.

Meanwhile Roy was being discharged so we could pick him up on the way home and head to Antony’s for the night. We were both feeling pretty good so we thought we would head back north, just as far as Whakapirau initially, just to be close enough to Auckland if we had to return for any reason. After a restful nights sleep, we were ready to head back home.

We were back at the van the following day, ready to take things easy for a bit as Roy is on strict light duties, and I am to rest as much as practicable. That being said, we are both feeling pretty good so hope to get back to some good fishing stories soon.