Archive for the ‘Doubtless Bay’ Category

Tokerau Beach

August 12, 2017

We spent a glorious two weeks with Marg & Gary at Tokerau, not doing much in particular but somehow managing to keep ourselves busy and occupied without getting in each other's way.

parked up on the spare section next door. Marg took this picture on one of the fine days!!!

The weather has not been particularly nice, but then again it is winter and it is what we expect. At least we have been fortunate with mild temperatures however that just means it has been very wet and windy.

There was the odd foray out to do a bit of fishing, and a bit of catching as well. As usual I neglected to take any pictures. Note to self, get yourself sorted and into the habit of picture taking again! I did get into some more knitting whilst we were at Tokerau and ended up using up all my bits to make a scarf which I gave to Marg. Just so that you are not disappointed, I kept up my picture-taking-slackness and forgot to take a picture of it!

Marg & Gary had three of their granddaughters visit one weekend and I ended up knitting a couple of bunnies for them, I can't remember the significance of why it had to be bunnies but it was a quick knit up of simple square and sew it up carefully to make a bunny.
Sewing up bunnies….and no, the rum is not mine, it's Roy's.

We left Tokerau Beach to head back down to Uretiti with a short overnight stop in Kerikeri. However, those plans quickly changed to a two night stopover in Kerikeri. One: because the weather was atrocious and we didn't feel like driving through torrential rain and gusty winds and Two: because we came away from Tokerau with a parting gift from Marg….a nasty cold with a hacking cough! Thanx Marg, just what we wanted – NOT!

We have both succumbed to the nasty bug and are doing everything we can to get rid of it as quickly as possible as tomorrow (Sunday) we are due at Whakapirau to take up our house sitting duties for a month, and we do not need to pass on our bugs to Chris before he heads off to join Jacky on their trip hiking the Norwegian fiords.

So another quick wrap up of life with the Vannini's. The blog will become much more interesting soon enough as we head off on another adventure so be sure to watch this space. Meanwhile we look forward to our sojourn at Whakapirau and visits from lots of friends and family.

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It’s been a while

August 4, 2017

I know, I know, I've been slack, I have not been posting recently and I have no excuses either. A quick update and summary of what we've been up to and where since the last blog.

Roy had a checkup appointment with the cardiologist in Auckland a few weeks ago so we headed down from Uretiti and stayed with Steve & Les for the night. Roy got the all clear from the cardiologist, so much so that he has taken him off cholesterol tablets as he says "your arteries are clear, valves good and heart is strong so why are you on cholesterol tablets?". Apart from the Atrial Fibrillation which is now under control, all is well. We returned to the van at Uretiti, staying another few days before heading north.

Next stop was Kerikeri where we managed a quick catch up with Roy's second cousin Stuart. We had a lovely dinner out in Kerikeri at the Jerusalem Cafe with Stuart where we shared a lovely Meze platter of Israeli food, and delicious it was too and the company, as always, was very good.

From there we headed up to Tokerau Beach, a particular favourite spot of ours, and where we have been for the past week camped on friends Gary & Marg's spare section behind their house. Here we have not only enjoyed their company, but we have shared meals, the odd drink or two, been out fishing a couple of times – the catching has been a different matter though with only a couple of fish landed – and generally having a very relaxing time. We only have another week left before we take up our house sitting duties at Whakapirau for a month which will then lead nicely into our upcoming 'holiday'.

Speaking of which we have finally sorted our upcoming trip and we are all booked and ready to go. We leave NZ on 27th September for London via Singapore with just a few hours stopover. We then leave London on the 17th January, this time with a three day stopover in Singapore on the journey home to arrive back in NZ on the 20th January at just before midnight. Other plans are still being formulated whilst we are away but we will be in Belgium for the 4th October Passchendaele commemoration, at some stage we will be heading to Switzerland and the Italian border to the town of Mendrisio which is where Roy's family is from originally. We then plan to meander our way back across France into Spain and Portugal. Somewhere in between we are fitting in a trip away with Alexandra & Ian, and Ian's parents, and it looks like we will be heading to the Canary Island of Lanzarote for a week of R&R in a villa on the coast. We shall be back in London ready for a white Christmas when Antony will be joining us all for the festive season. There will be tripping around the UK as well, catching up with a few of my relations and filling in the gaps on a few places we missed last time. All in all we shall be away for 4 months – I know, it's a tough job but someone has to do it!

So there we have it, a quick catch up.

Fishing and Catching

November 8, 2016

I didn’t think it would ever happen, but it has.  I have had enough fish for a while!!!  Last week was one of those weeks,  we were hoping to get out and catch a couple of  fish and it certainly started off well  as last Monday we caught 8 good snapper when we went out with with Gary & Marg.  Then on Wednesday we went out for a fish off a Tokerau Beach with Pat & Sue.  The wind was proving to be a little fickle which made putting out our lines a bit  difficult as the kite stalled getting  the line out through the breakers, then it only went out very slowly to end up only half the distance off shore that we were looking for, never mind. Meanwhile  Pat & Sue had put up their big kite and got their line out to a reasonable distance, ending up about 1.2km off shore.  

Now when we fish off the beach with Pat & Sue  (some distance apart from each other so that the lines do not tangle), we have a set little routine of helping each other bring the lines back in.  We brought our line in first as we thought that there would not be anything on the line as we were not too far offshore. The routine is that  I wind the handle on the reel whilst the three others take turns in taking hold of the the line and walking it up the beach toward the reel. We do this as if we didn’t, the pressure on the reel would be too much by winding it in directly, as well as being far too difficult for the winder, so one by one, they grab the line with glove protected hands and walk it up the beach whilst I reel in the slack line.  With three people walking the line in it doesn’t take too long so long as the wind is not too strong  or a lot of weight on the line.

We did have one good sized fish on our line so we were happy, so we quickly tidied up all our gear, put it into the car before it was our turn to go and help Pat & Sue. The only difference being that Sue winds in their reel and I take my turn walking up and down the beach along with the blokes.   We were thrilled to see that on their line they had 7 good sized snapper and a gurnard, a fantastic result and their best catch to boot.  It was then back to base at Matai Bay, clean up and leave the fish on ice overnight ready to fillet the next morning.  

Thursday morning we filleted all the fish, cleaned up and gave the fish heads away via the same process as before, through a contact made at   http://www.freefishheads.co.nz    

Roy and I were heading away on Friday to a get together of  a special group of friends but more on that in a later post – and we were keen to take some fresh fish with us to share.  So on Thursday afternoon , the four of us headed out again to Tokerau Beach to try our luck.

We each sent out our lines, this time in a good strong off shore wind, and then we sat back to wait for the fish to jump on our hooks – yeah, right!!!  This time, Pat & Sue brought their line in first so we went off to assist.  The wind was still  very strong so it was a good trek up the beach with a very strong pull on the line, it was rather strenuous exercise but all the more pleasing when we pulled in three good fish on their line.  Then it was back to our line to pull in our fish, well,  we hoped there would be fish.    It was damned hard work dragging in our line, with each of us saying that we hoped there was at least a couple of fish on the hooks as it was the hardest pull-in we have ever had.

Oh my goodness, were we ever in for a shock. One fish after another was appearing on the line as it was pulled ashore. One, two, three, four, five……twelve!!  Not only were there 12, but the were all big fish and to top it all off a few of them had become a bit cross at being caught and had got the line into a huge tangled mess.  

I should have taken a photo or two at this stage. But we were just all so busy trying to sort out the line and remove the fish. Next minute Pat  calls out to say he has a bit of a problem…..he has a fish hook well and truly embedded in his finger. Ewwww it does not look good, he and Sue head up to the car to try and sort it out, whilst Roy and I pull the fish and the remaining line in out of the surf before I check on Pat to see what we can do.  Getting the glove off his hand is proving difficult, but my trusty Swiss Army scissors on my key ring proves just the thing to cut off the glove around the hook, which is looking like it’s well and truly staying in his finger.  Hmmm, I’m not the best with this sort of thing,  made me feel rather queasy and yes, I know, imagine how poor Pat was feeling.  Between the two of them, with brute force and strength, they managed to extract the hook from his finger.  Ouch ouch ouch!

Meanwhile it was back to getting all the fish safely off hooks and into the chilly bin loaded with salt ice, putting away all our gear and heading back to Matai Bay.


All a good size (all over 40cm) with the largest one was over 5kgs.  

We think that there may have been another three on the line as three traces had broken and with the tangled mess of lines we had it was more than possible.  

So what did we do with all this fish? Well, that’s another blog entry. 

Home Alone 

September 26, 2016

It’s time for Roy to do a granddad trip, so last week he headed off, initially to Auckland, leaving me home alone at Matai Bay.  I could think of worse places to be and although I’m in the van home alone, Pat & Sue are here “babysitting”me, making sure that I behave.   I’ll let Roy do a blog entry on his adventures in getting from Auckland to Christchurch, however safe to say he made it to Ashburton where he is spending a week with the South Island branch of the Vannini family.  Meanwhile I am enjoying the warm north and getting a few chores done, as well as getting out and about.

It’s spring, so it seems fitting to have a bit of a spring clean. Roy and I started having a bit of a tidy up over the past couple of weeks with lockers and cupboards getting a major tidy up, with just a few “comesins” being jettisoned. You know, those things that you keep beacause it “comes in” handy one day. Sometimes, that one day just doesn’t come around. As well, a bit of a reshuffle and tidy up is in order, which, whilst living in a relatively small space is quite important.

Whilst we were in Tokerau the other week, we set about lining the step area with a hard wearing carpet to neaten up the stepwell and make it easier to keep clean.  It just so happened that Brett, the PoP owner, was a carpet layer in his previous working life and he offered to help me line the stairwell.  He came up with a couple of good ideas on how and what to do to make it easy and in no time at all, it was all done.  And very neat and tidy it is too. Of course I forgot to take a before or during photo but here’s how it looks now.


The bottom step has a separate removable piece of carpet, just for some added extra dirt removal.

 And a piece of carpet on the outside step, just to finish off the job. 

Then we decided that a new piece of matching carpet would be great to lay over the vinyl flooring to replace to matting we had as it would smarten things up.  This carpet has to be removable as we usually don’t have carpet on the floor over the summer months plus we need to be able to roll it up when we bring the slide-out in for travelling.  Again, Brett offered to cut it to fit and what a great job he made of it too.


Looking from the bathroom to the front

The view  from the front to the bedroom 

As a bonus, the carpet seems to have  made the van alot warmer, or maybe it’s just the weather warning up.

We also have new curtains being made for the front window which will be ready this week.  Before he left on his trip, Roy put up the new curtain rail which is now extended back over the side windows so when drawn, the curtains are well out of the way of the side windows.  Anyone have any use for a perfectly good u-shaped curtain track? I know where there is one going free!

My next job was to remove the vent linings from inside the van, first to clean them, and then paint them as over time the plastic has yellowed somewhat and they were looking a little shabby.  Being rather vertically challenged, my trusty step stool  proved invaluable to enable me to reach  and remove the fly screen covers and then the mouldings.  Next it was time to make up a makeshift spray booth outside and also mask off the fly screens as the mesh did not need to be painted white. Undercoat was done one day and the top coat was applied the following day.  And yep, again I forgot to take any pictures, and now that they are back in situ, they are impossible to take a half decent photo of.Vent linings back in place.

Now our vents have what are called MaxxAir vent covers over them which means we can leave the vents open in inclement weather.  The male member of this duo has always told me that the MaxxAir covers cannot be removed, as I’ve said previously, I am vertically challenged and don’t do climbing ladders or heights.  Pat offered to climb up onto the roof and remove the covers for me, as he assured me that he had removed his covers for cleaning and he thought that ours should be the same.  And what do you know? Pat was right.  So down they came and I set to cleaning them.

Before and after……notice the difference?

So now they are all back in place, spick and span with newly painted vent linings  inside, it makes a difference to the amount of light coming in too.

Walls and ceilings have been washed down, pantry tidied, drawers washed and tidied.  The protective covers on our leather chairs have been redyded as the black material had faded in the sun.  The outside of the van has been washed clean.  Oven has been cleaned and kitchen cupboards cleaned and tidied.

It hasn’t been all work though, there has been plenty of relax time as well as going out and about. Along with Pat & Sue, I was invited to dinner with friends Gary & Marg who live at Tokerau Beach.  We had a lovely evening, and the dinner was great too with lots of fish on the menu.Marg & Gary with the remains of the smoked fish

I was also invited to join Pat & Sue for lunch out in Mangonui to help celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary….and yes,  you guessed it, I did not take a single picture, but it was a very pleasant lunch eaten whilst sitting in the sun on the waterfront watching the world go by.

I still have a few things on my to do list, but never fear….you should see the list I have for Roy to do on his return 😘

Tokerau Beach

September 13, 2016

We have been at a PoP (Park over Property for NZMCA Members) at Tokerau Beach for just over a week now, enjoying the lovely surrounds and friendly hosts as well as the close proximity to good beaches, perfect for fishing and relaxing.

Our parking position on the property looking down toward beach.

Looking onto the site from the gate.

We have been having a bit of a spring clean, tidying lockers, sorting out cupboards and general cleaning whilst the weather is reasonably settled.  The plan is to move back to Matai Bay later in the week, but knowing us, those plans could change in an instant.  Watch this space

Fixing, fritters and fishing 

October 21, 2015

It’s so nice to be back at Matai Bay, relaxing in the warmth and sunshine and generally keeping ourselves busy with one thing or another. 

 First on the list was a trip into Kaitaia to pick up the replacement fishing kite, line and accoutrements and also to check on mail that was being forwarded to us at Kaitaia as well as catch up with extended whanau.   The parcels were duly retrieved from the courier depot then it was back to the van and the beginning of getting our lines sorted.

 This is what the damaged kite line looks like when it’s removed from the reel.

Next  it was the task of joining the last of the old line onto the new line and wind the line onto the reel.  The traces (these are the short lengths of line with the hooks at one end and clips to attach to the dropper rig at the other end)  were put onto the trace rack and a few new ones were tied.  Now it was time to try it all out and a trip to Tokerau Beach was in order, as if the fish weren’t biting, we knew that there are plenty of tuatua (shellfish) to gather in the shallows.  

No fish were harmed in that expedition but the kite and line all worked perfectly and there were  plenty of tuatua gathered.  The shellfish were left in a bucket of sea water overnight so that they purge themselves of any sand, as there is nothing worse than eating gritty fritters.  Sue and I made two batches of fritter mixture using two different methods and recipes – one an Al Brown recipe and the other Lauraine Jacobs recipe with Lauraines  version getting the thumbs up from us all.

  Sue wondering who ate all the fritters?

Another day and we headed off to another beach close by to try our luck fishing (we can’t tell you where as you would all want to go there) this time with much more success, with good sized snapper being caught and brought home, and a barracuda returned to the sea to swim again.  Of course you will have to take my word for it as we were so busy living in  the moment we forgot to take any pictures. 

However, another day and we returned from a mornings fishing and with 6 snapper, this time I remembered to take a photo of the fish.

 
Shame I neglected to take a photo of our delicious dinners the past few nights though, they were pretty damn good even if I say so myself!

Back to Matai Bay

October 13, 2015

We left Uretiti last Wednesday as we needed to get a CoF (certificate of fitness) in Whangarei, we got there by 10am and joined the queue with us being 5th in line.  Four and a half hours later! we left VTNZ with our CoF but with a couple of jobs on a to do list before our next CoF is due.  We ended up staying two nights in Whangarei, staying at the Hatea Bridge parking area, or Tippy Bridge as it is known locally, catching up on jobs such as hearing aid checks for Roy, pedicure for me and some shopping.  We also managed to catch up with fellow motorhomer Frederick and his partner Ursula as he was  on a break from his camp manager job at Port Jackson on Cormandel.  We hadnt seen him since his brief stint at Shakespear so it was fantastic to catch up.

Next stop was Kerikeri for a couple of nights and a quick catch up with Roy’s cousin Stuart before heading northto glorious Matai Bay.  We did make a quick sojourn into Kaitaia to book the van in for some maintenance which will be done in the next couple of weeks, then it was out to the Bay to settle in for a couple of weeks.

   


Next on the agenda will be some fishing, hopefully some catching too.
  

Kaitaia & Maitai

October 16, 2014

Back in Kaitaia for refreshment and recuperation.  We arrived at the RSA to find friends Brian & Marj already parked up there.  They were ‘stuck’ waiting for parts to arrive to fix a leaking loo.  Also at the RSA was another vehicle also awaiting parts for a brake problem, we soon met the owners Reg & Rima who along with our other travel companions made for a lively group in the RSA at happy hour.

We also needed a COF (Certificate of Fitness) for the van as well as an engine check and general overhaul.  We duly booked the van in for the COF with the maintenance check to be done afterwards – yes, we know it really should have been the other way round but that was just the way it worked out.  Both services were done quickly and efficiently and we were reunited with the van by lunch time with the wallet only taking a minor battering!

With all this extra fishing gear we seem to be accumulating (Kite, winches etc), we decided we really needed to put a roof rack on the RAV so we can easily store and access the equipment so it seemed logical to store it on the roof of the car,  particularly as we use the car on or near the beach. 

So how many men does it take to install the roof rack?  Just two – Brian came along to help out.

rsa 3rsa 4rsa 5rsa 1

Roof rack installed, now to figure out the best way of securely storing the necessary fishing gear. 

With that all done, and with the prospect of more rain on the way we made the decision to decamp to Maitai Bay whilst it was still relatively dry underfoot.  Meanwhile. friends Barry & Sandra had made contact as they were planning to fly up to Kaitaia in their plane to attend a funeral, however, their plans also changed as the weather forecast was not pretty, instead they drove up from Taupo.  We arranged to meet for a catch up the following morning in Kaitaia over breakfast.  It was good to catch up with them and hear all their news.

Just as well we made the decision to move when we did, as when we arrived and doing our usual walk through before driving to our preferred parking place, we noticed some very deep tyre tracks where it looked as though someone had recently got stuck.  We shall not name the culprits but we did end up parking along from where Brian & Marj were already parked! They say take photos and only leave tyre tracks but I don’t think they mean it literally Brian.

3Before the hoards arrived!

maitai 6maitai 7

After the rest arrived, from left Brian & Marj, Reg & Rima, Jim & Judy, the Vannini’s and just around the corner out of view is Gail.

An almost perfect rainbow out over the bay

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Since we were here last some very artistic? visitors had arranged a series of posts with stones and/or shells on top.  A little different from the usual stone pyramids.

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Now another conundrum for you? How many men does it take to tie a knot?  Apparently it take four!

maitai 2maitai 3

L-R Jim, Roy, Brian, Reg

Actually they were tying stoppers in the backbone of one of Jim’s long lines!!!

This time I did manage to remember to take a photo of one of the happy hour gatherings

maitai 8 maitai 9

L-R Roy, Gail, Judy, Marj, Brian (obscured), Jim, Rima and the back of Reg’s head.  Ha – got your front view Reg! 

I should add here that Reg & Rima had initially planned to head back to Auckland from Kaitaia once their vehicle was repaired, however, we persuaded them to come and join us for a day or two, which eventually stretched to ten days. Rima is almost as keen a netball fan as Bernice is,  they watched the games together adding their knowledgeable commentary to the games.  And Reg is a keen rugby league man so he and Roy watched the final.  Although no one took up our offer when we invited all to come and watch the All Blacks play South Africa, maybe it had something to do with the fact that the game was on at 3.30am?  We don’t know what is wrong with these people – us keen fans were up cheering (albeit quietly).

The lunar eclipse was on display in the clear skies over Matai Bay, this was a rare red lunar eclipse and I managed to get a few half decent shots of the phases of the eclipse, without the use of a tripod I might add.

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According to Wikipedia – A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes within Earth’s umbra (shadow). As the eclipse begins, the Earth’s shadow first darkens the Moon slightly. Then, the shadow begins to "cover" part of the Moon, turning it a dark red-brown colour (typically – the colour can vary based on atmospheric conditions). The Moon appears to be reddish because of Rayleigh Scattering (the same effect that causes sunsets to appear reddish) and the refraction of that light by the Earth’s atmosphere into its umbra.

Whilst stationary at Matai Bay, we took the opportunity to try our hand at Kite fishing off Tokerau beach.  We decided it was time for us (Roy & Bernice) to have a go at fishing by ourselves without assistance from anyone else so that we could be sure that we could actually manage the process by ourselves.  After a couple of goes, we seem to have managed the intricacies, the first time we only managed to catch a bit of weed, but the second time we could not work out why our line only went out about 500metres before it stopped.  It wasn’t until we winched it in that we discovered we had managed to catch someone’s discarded tangle of line which effectively became an anchor on our line.  However, the next time out, we did come home with a good sized gurnard and very good sized snapper.  At least we did not get our line stripped by a torpedo like Jim did – grrrrr.

Rima came along for a ride on our last venture out kite fishing – she did follow us along the beach in her vehicle on one previous trip.  However, after we had to tow her out of soft sand a couple of times, she decided it was safer to come along with us in our car.  But back to the fishing, whilst the line was out in the water, Rima and Bernice discovered a very plentiful tuatua bed in ankle deep water.  After collecting a 20litre bucket full, and leaving the tuatua  to spit out their sand overnight, the following day Rima showed me the easy, un-hand-stabbing method of opening the tuatuas!  We ate some raw, steamed open a pot full,  and I froze a good container full ready to share with family later this month. 

For those who do not know what Tuatuas are – here is a brief description; known as tuatua in the Maori language, Tuatua is a species of edible bivalve clam. It is found on all three of the main New Zealand islands, buried in fine clean sand on ocean beaches. The large shell is asymmetrical, with the hinge at one side. Its closest relative, the pipi has a symmetrical shell.

  Tuatua

Dried and salted, they also make good bait for fishing.

After 10 glorious days it was time to move on again, we had planned to move on in the morning, however, late afternoon on the Thursday it started to rain,  Roy and Reg went for a walk around the exit route to test the ground.  

maitai 5Walking in the rain

It was already getting very soft in places so instead of waiting until morning, we packed up and headed out to the exit to spend the night on hard ground before leaving for Kerikeri in the morning. And just as well we did move when we did as the ground was very muddy and boggy by the following morning. 

And if you were wondering where the bird picture was – here it is!

26_thumbA Tui covered in pollen from a flowering flax bush.  This was seen in the RSA car park in Kaitaia.

Update and upgrade

August 10, 2014

We are heading northwards, but first a bit of a catchup on things missed from the last entry.
Whilst in Kerikeri, we caught up with Mieke & Graham Apps. Many years ago Graham worked for Roy at Kinleith, and Mieke is a renown fabric artist, weaver, quilter and general very clever lady – you can see some of her work and hand dyed fabrics here. We spent a lovely afternoon catching up with all their news and renewing old friendships, we will definitely catch up again next time we are in Kerikeri.

We stayed at Tokerau Beach for nearly 2 weeks, enjoying the views, the weather and the company. Jim & Judy came and went, Brian & Marj came to stay for a while and we enjoyed their company for many a happy hour. Brian & Marj were the ones who introduced us to the idea of Sunday Brunches – to remind them that it is the end of the week and tomorrow is Monday, with this lifestyle we tend to lose track of days so a Sunday Brunch is a good reminder of the day of the week. So it was lovely to be invited to their bus last week for Sunday brunch – and what an amazing repast awaited us. Pancakes, crispy bacon, grilled banana, caramelised orange slices, blueberries, maple syrup and homemade deliciously thick yoghurt.

IMG_1589.JPG a feast to set us up for the day.

We were running low on water and with little rain due, we decided to head off into Kaitaia on Wednesday. But wouldn’t you know it? In packing up I dropped my iPad, it hit the corner of the metal table leg and cracked the screen. Oh no, what am I to do? Luckily the break is mainly in one corner so I can still use it for reading, although a crack has started to appear across the main part of the screen. Thursday I drove from Kaitaia back to Kerikeri to see about getting a replacement screen. The first sales assistant at the Noel Leeming store told me yes, they could get the screen replaced but it would have to be sent away and would cost approximately $290 plus postage, plus, plus, plus…..so I decided to treat myself to a new iPad but this time a mini iPad, much better for reading as it is much lighter and easier to hold. I chose the iPad, and a cover and was talking to another sales assistant who then informed me of someone local he knew who does the screen replacement for around $130! A quick phone call and yes, she could replace the screen but not until next week. I went ahead with my purchase anyway and will get the old one fixed so either Roy or Antony can inherit it. In the meantime, I am transferring all my books and other data from one machine to the other and enjoying the novelty of a new toy.

We are parked at the RSA in Kaitaia, a large flat parking area close to town and all the amenities we could possibly need. We are making full use of the local library with its free wifi, and I can highly recommend the coffee at the library cafe! We have ordered a new water filter and having it delivered c/- the local Post Office as well as other mail. We are even getting a few other small tasks and jobs done. Things like buying a small handle to attach to the end of the bed base to make lifting it easier to access the storage area underneath, something we have been meaning to do for the past three years! Roy has a bit of work on at the moment so he can quietly get on with it. We have managed to catch up with Beryl, my late sister-in-law Ann’s 93 year old mother, and Ann’s brother Frank and will try and see another brother Donald later. We shall stay here in Kaitaia until Tuesday or Wednesday when we will head out to Matai Bay for a couple of weeks where we have a sneaking suspicion that we may meet up with a few more friends!

And a Happy Birthday to our daughter Alex for yesterday, we look forward to seeing you in October x

Ramp Road, Tokerau beach and a little R&M

August 1, 2014

It was time to leave Kerikeri on Monday, plans were set and we were ready to move on. However, things never quite go to plan or as simply as we would like as we seemed to fluff around for ages. First it was off to the dump station to empty the waste tanks and fill up with water, but the water pressure was soooooo sloooow, it took forever. I left Roy to tend to those matters whilst I nipped into town to; 1. Retrieve a notebook I left at the library 2. Get some cash to pay for the parking 3. Get our copy of the weekly Listener magazine 4. Post off a parcel.

That completed, I then met up with Roy who said we were to go to the local franchise of Carter’s Tyres to get the airbag suspension checked and the tyre pressures checked. A 10 minute job turned into an hour. All went well until the man got to the final tyre, and he could not access the pressure valve as it was hidden by the wheel cover. Try as he might, that damn cover would not come off, after much frustration and use of many tools he finally managed to get it off without a scratch. Finally we could head off. But not quite, first off to the petrol station for some fuel, hook on the car and this time we are off!

We arrived at Ramp Road and parked ourselves along the beach front and set ourselves up in the sun.

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We put out the awning as well as the front and side wind shade which made a huge difference, particularly to the temperature inside the van as the door was now sheltered from the wind. It was whilst we were setting ourselves up that Roy came up with a brilliant idea to stop the slight flapping of the front edge of the wind break. When we got all the pieces from the manufacturer, they gave us the half zip that was left over from making. Roy asked me to get out the sewing machine and sew on ties along the edge. That done, he attached the zip to the one on the front and used the ties to attach it to a centre pole.

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20140729-165856-61136863.jpg a hole drilled into the awning roll to lock the pole into position and we are set.

More tasks on the job list to be ticked off was the cleaning and resealing of joints on the outside of the van. We have a new product to use which seems to be much better than silicone, however, it does tend to be very messy no matter how hard we tried to keep clean. We have black gooey gunk and white gooey gunk ( technical name for Simsons sealant) but first the clean up of the joints, remove old silicone, mask off the area to be done, and get it on as quickly as possible. It turns out we make a pretty damn good team and managed to make a very good job of our first efforts.

20140801-144603-53163889.jpg black sealant around the wheel arch.

We have a long way to go to complete the whole van, but we can do a little at a time and it will soon get finsihed. During this process I accidentally discovered a way of cleaning and whitening the little locker catches, I removed one to have a go at cleaning it up, as part of the cleaning process (which included the use of a toothbrush -shhhh, don’t tell Roy, I’ll put it back when I’ve finished 😉 ) I made up a solution of a nappy soaking product, left the catch soaking in it for a few hours, lo and behold, it’s nicely clean and white!

Another we task completed was how to make the access to the washing machine easier. Those who have followed our blog will remember that we installed the machine into a cupboard, but due to size constraints it was a bit of a tight squeeze to get it in and out – read about it here. On talking with friends Brian & Marj, Marj came up with the suggestion of using some of those thin plastic cutting boards placed on the base to slide the machine out. With a bit more thought and experimenting, we have solved our problem, I chopped up a few of the cutting boards as it just so happened that I have a set of them that I don’t use as I don’t like them – they are not good for my knives. So, cut a couple up, glue to the base board, stick the fluffy side of a Velcro dot onto the feet of the washing machine, and hey presto, the machine now slides in and out easily. Sometimes, it is the simple solution that is the best, thanx Marj for sewing the seed.

20140801-150250-54170980.jpg colourful slides!

And just to make some of you a little envious, this is the view from the door in the mornings.

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