Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

Uretiti & Ruakaka

May 26, 2017

After finishing with appointments around Auckland we headed back to the van at Uretiti.  Uretiti is a Department of Conservation run camp on the beach in Bream Bay just south of Whangarei.  


It’s a lovely long beach that stretches 10kms from the Waipu River mouth in the south to the Ruakaka River mouth in the north.  

It’s a long sandy beach and is popular to fish from with lots of people trying their luck via various methods of fishing, either with surf casting, torpedos or kites. The wind was favourable for us to try our luck with our kite on a couple of occasions.
Somewhere out there is a little speck which is our kite.
We did have a little success and caught these three lovely snapper one afternoon.


Whilst at Uretiti we went into Maungaturoto one day for lunch with friends Jacky & Chris as we will be housesitting for them at Whakapirau in a couple of months time.  We also managed to catch up with Mark & Glennis who have just bought a property in Ruakaka and caught up on all their news.  After we had a week at Uretiti, we looked at the weather forecast which was not brilliant so we decided that we would head to Ruakaka just a few minutes down the road to the camp ground  for a week and enjoy being connected to the grid for a change.  

Here we are all set up nicely for the week.

The view from the bedroom window looking acrodd to Whangarei Heads.

The weather hasn’t been conducive for fishing so far but we did go for a look at the Marsden Point Oil Refinery information centre which is just 5minutes along the road.  It was a very interesting place to visit with a huge model of the plant and video information about the construction and refinery process.  We were told that the model of the plant took four people two years to build at a cost of around $1million and this was in the 1980’s! Goodness knows what it would cost today.There are information boards, audio visual material and models throughout the complex and is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Our current plans are that we will stay at Ruakaka until Wednesday before heading back to Uretiti when hopefully the weather will have settled and the wind is off shore for some good fishing.

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

A Busy week

March 7, 2017

Summer may have officially slipped in autumn this last week  but the temperatures are still saying that it’s definitely summer time with lots of sunshine and warmth although I think that is about to change.   It’s also been a busy week what with one thing or another. Friends Brian & Marj came to join us for a few days, funnily enough it’s almost 6 years to the day since  we first met them.  We were real greenhorns then with just one days experience of living full time in the van but they were very kind to us and gave us lots of useful advise about living full time on the road including happy hour etiquette which you can read about here.  However this time I neglected to take a single picture of us together, I must have spent too much time chatting!

It felt as though we were constantly on the go as it was a busy week of appointments, most of which involved fighting the Auckland traffic….groan.  First off Roy had an appointment for a scan, no problem, it was not too far away in Wairau Road which is not too far from Shakespear , just 35km down the motorway.  So one hour and 35 minutes later he arrived for his appointment!  I don’t know how, or why, people commute through the madness of traffic everyday, it would drive me nuts.  But lesson learnt, don’t make any appointments during the commuter/school traffic peak times.  The next day we had another appointment but this time just down the road at Silverdale where the van was getting its brakes sorted and it was 9.30am that the van had to be in so it was a quick trip down the road.  We then went on to Steve & Les’ in Torbay for the day and also to get a bit of shopping done at Albany.  We picked the van up in the late afternoon and headed off to the dump station at Hatfield Beach to take care of necessities before heading back to Shakespear.  

But it wasn’t the end of our running around, the following morning we were both off to the Doctors in Mt Albert for our annual checkups.  This time we allowed plenty of time to get there and with a late morning appointment we had a good run through with it taking us just over an hour. From there we headed to Manukau to meet up with Antony to collect our mail and to have lunch with him before we headed back to Shakespear.  It was another  reasonable run taking just over an hour and a half this time. According to the newspapers the traffic problems are set to continue to get worse with “March madness”  occurring this month.   I think we will try and avoid travelling across the city especially at peak times.  

By the time Friday came, we were both ready to have a day without travelling anywhere!  Not that I was idle mind you, no, it was time to bottle a huge pot of beetroot!

Beetroot getting ready to be bottled.

We had visited our favourite market garden in Mangere last week when we were over that way to stock up on lovely outdoor tomatoes and lots of lovely fresh vegetables picked straight from the ground.  Soon it will be time to make  relishes, pickles and chutneys with supplies from these gardens, in particular using their flavoursome (ugly & mishapen) outdoor tomatoes. 

More visitors through the week, with Gary & Marg calling in for a catch up on their way through Auckland before heading to their home in Tokerau Beach.  It won’t be long and we will be back up their way again where we look forward to sharing some fishy tales as well as some fish!  

Colin & Ed came visiting at the weekend, and it was great to catch up and relax in the sun.  This time I did remember to take a picture 

Meanwhile, a graffitiI artist has been secretly at work as we found two labels stuck on the van, one under the passenger side wing mirror and the other on the back of the van

After extensive investigations we are pretty sure we have discovered the identity of the phantom labeller …….let’s just say that a certain bald Ranger, currently on a road trip around the South Island may get a surprise one of these days!  All in good fun of course. 

Another week of visitors

February 25, 2017

We received a phone call on Monday from Andrene & Lyall, these are friends we met when both of us lived in Oamaru, they moved to Christchurch around 11 years ago, which was probably the last time we caught up.  They were in their motor home having a look around the north island and knew we were at Shakespear so they came to stay with us for a couple  of nights.  It was a though time had stood still with the conversation flowing freely and into the night,  besides,  we haven’t changed a bit and none of us have aged at all!! 

The afternoon started with a few drinks with some fellow motorhomers who kindly took a photo of the four of us.L-R: Roy, Bernice, Andrene, Lyall

It just so happened that we had some fresh snapper ready for our dinner, caught by Roy and Steve the previous morning, as well Lyall is a keen whitebaiter and had whitebait in their freezer which resulted in a fabulous shared dinner with Whitebait patties for entree and snapper for our main and I made some focaccia bread.  Along with a salad or two it all washed down with a suitable beverage or three, a meal to savour.


We sat outside until it bacame too dark  then continued chatting in our van until it was time for bed.  

The next morning it became eveident that Andrene and I have very good tasteSome of the more observant of you may notice that the previous day we both had a liking for blue and white stripes! 

We offered Andrene & Lyall the use of our car so that rather than taking their van off to do their shopping they could nip around in the RAV4.  Lyall had ordered an inflatable boat so they were off to pick it up.  Of course on their return we had to have a trial run at putting it all together.

Roy having a dry run!

We left them to their own devices Tuesday evening as we had arranged to rendezvous with Steve that evening for a fish off the beach with Steve’s torpedo.  Once we had set the line out to fish we sat on the beach watching the sun go down as we ate pizza accompanied by a suitable beverage. Bliss.   The haul of fish was not great, we did manage to bring in four fish but only one was a keeper but we also managed to drag in an awful lot of weed so we will not be fishing off that beach again in a hurry! 

Wednesday evening we headed into Torbay to Steve & Leslie’s place for a meal and get together with Leslie’s two sisters and all the extended family.  Leslie’s youngest sister Gill & I were best friends right through primary and secondary school so it was great to catch up again with her and her daughters who were over from Perth.  Although it was only a couple of years ago since we last met.  This time was a little more restrained however it was great to have everyone together.

Steve was heading north for a couple of days for work, so Roy went along for a ride to keep him company and they just so happened to take the fishing gear with them so that they could have a fish in the evenings.  By all accounts a few fish were caught and a good time was had by all.  

Meanwhile I stayed at the van at Shakespear, helping out a few stray travellers and in particular those who do not read the signs about how to unlock the padlocks! Some people.  I even had a visit from the Jehovah’s Witness…they got the short sharp shrift and were quickly sent on their way.  

Another week or two

February 13, 2017

Another week or two has slipped on by, where oh where does the time go? Apparently this is what happens when you give up the nose-to-the-grindstone life,  all perception of time moves to another dimension. 

 I spent a week with Antony post surgery and managed to keep myself very busy, filling his freezer and fridge with meals even doing a bit of housework and laundry in between, however most evenings we watched a movie together as well as some TV shows which passed the time quite quickly.  

I returned to Roy at Shakespear in time for the long Waitangi weekend when summer finally came out to play which is typical, as soon as the long school holidays are over and when kids head back to school to sit in hot classrooms does summer seem to appear.  Not that I am complaining, now everyone has returned to work/school, the campground has emptied, we have gone from being full wih 160+ people to 18  booked in this week. Of course the weekends go back to being full again but I can tell you it is nice and  quiet now and I have just about the whole beach to myself apart from the odd dotterel or oyster catcher to keep me company.

Roy did a week at Antony’s, it’s his turn to be nursemaid and help out whilst he is recovering from surgery.  However, our plans for the next couple of months have changed slightly as we had always planned to leave Shakespear at the end of February however Roy now has a couple of appointments to keep in March.    One is for some laser surgery on both eyes, the other for a hearing specialist….apparently both are what is called “age related” issues.  So now the plan is to leave here at the end of March, but then again that could well change!  Of course we asked if it was OK if we stayed on and the positive response was an invitation to stay on as long as we like.

Of course this glorious weather means that the beach beckons most days and I have been swimming two or three times a day mainly for it’s cooling down effect but also because it is just plain lovely to swim in the warm ocean.  

More visitors this week with Steve & Leslie coming on Friday to stay overnight, their granddaughter Bea aged 3 1/2 came along to keep us all amused, and that she did making us all laugh at times. I neglected  to take a single picture, we were all too busy enjoying the moment.  It was also time for Steve & Les to take down their tent, the grass had grown a little although it was mowed all around the tent, the evidence of where the tent had been was plain to see.

Can you tell where the tent was?

As well, this week the gazebo had to be handed back, so we have gone from this ;-

To this ;-


Niece Natalie was in Auckland  up from Wellington and on Sunday she came to visit.  By this time Roy had also returned so it was a great chance to catch up as we haven’t seen Natalie since last year when Natalie & I went to the netball.  We spent a lovely afternoon with her and her aunt & uncle, Carol & Alan, catching upon all their news and generally putting the worlds to rights.  We are looking forward to another catch up at around Easter time when Natalie is heading north for a family visit and as we will undoubtedly be in the north somewhere, it’s another opportunity to meet up.

This will be our last week as Camp Hosts in the camp ground, but we are not moving far, just to the Self Contained Parking Area which is about 500m from where we are now.  Thsi is the time of the year when school groups are coming into the camp ground over the next few weeks and we are not required.  Another year as Camp Hosts comes to a close, we shall return but not until next year.

Friends

February 6, 2017

As we become a little more mature, it seems to us that friends and family become even more important in our lives.  As well as rekindling old friendships, it’s also good to make new friends and of course family is also right up there in the mix.  We’ve had a few visitors since we have been here at Shakespear,  from family to friends.  Some folk we have known for a looooooong time and it’s fantastic to meet up again and pick up from where we last met.

Glennis & Robin came to visit after we caught up with them last week at Cathy & Wayne, we last saw Glennis & Robin  when they came to visit with other friends two year ago which we blogged about here

L-R Roy, Wayne, Cathy, Glennis & Robin

Now we met Glennis many years ago when Roy & I lived in Tokoroa and we had taken up playing scrabble competitively in the mid 1980’s then continued playing when we moved to Auckland a year or two later. Over the years the inevitable happened…Roy became Chairman of NZ Scrabble, and I was at varying times, treasurer or secretary.  As well, Glennis & Rob’s daughter Rachael became our regular babysitter over the next few years but more recently in 2010 we caught up with Rachael and her family who now reside in France – which you can read about here

Cathy, Roy, Glennis, Robin & Wayne discussing the problems of the world over coffee and cake.

Cathy was also a scrabble player whom we met all those years ago, but we haven’t seen Wayne & Cathy for nearly 20 years so we had a fair bit of chin wagging to do!  It’s lovely to meet up again after all that time to reminisce.

Other visitors were niece  Sarah and her three boys.  It was Asher’s 8th birthday and he came out for his his birthday treat which included  to have his favourite lunch (Bacon & Egg Pie), a surf, and of course to see his favourite great Aunty! What more could a boy ask for?

Ben, Asher and Finn in the surf.

It was also a good opportunity for the boys to enlist Uncle Roy to help them fly their pirate ship kite which they got on a recent family holiday to Bali.
Uncle Roy, Ben and Finn set the kite flying 
Roy watching the kite fly.

It was a lovely day, albeit it very windy but good for kite flying!

Our next visitors were dear friends Wade & Lindsay, whom we knew from our Tokoroa days.  Roy and Wade were friends long before Lindsay and I came onto the scene.  Subsequently we had our children at around the same time and we shared many times together in each other’s company when the children were preschoolers and before we moved to Auckland.  As well, we spent many a lovely holiday together, sharing the childcare and giving each other precious timeout on our own, so it was lovely to meet up again as it’s been four or five years since we last met up.  Their eldest daughter Caroline lives at Gulf Harbour so it was a great opportunity to spend some time together….just like old times.

They came for dinner on Saturday afternoon, and well, one thing led to another, and they ended up staying the night in the tent (thanks Steve & Les for leaving your tent up).  I took a couple of photos with my phone, but by the time I remembered to take a picture the odd bottle or two had been emptied, the light was fading and the quality of the photo & photographer is not great!


A great way to celebrate Wade & Lindsays 39th wedding anniversary – wow, have we known each other that long?  It was  fantastic to meet up again and we look forward to our next get together in a few months time.  

Christmas is for kids

December 23, 2016

It’s that time of the year again and it’s amazing just  how quickly it rolls around these days, it must be a sign of the times.  But what makes Christmas time so much better is seeing the look on the faces of kids when they see something special.  

Our dear friend Diana always decorates her house, both inside and out, for the festive season so I asked if I could take along my great niece and nephews to have a look. I have 4 great nieces and nephews in Auckland whose ages range from 3 through to 9 which is the perfect ages for that special Christmas magic to enthrall.

We arrived while it was still quite light outside but the kids were keen to get there.  Inside the trees are decorated in all their splendorous glory, they look even more amazing once it’s dark and the lights come on but I am afraid I forgot to take any decent pictures at that stage…..the imbibing of  a little Christmas cheer probably assisted in my forgetfullness.



And a snowman


But of course it is once it is dark that everything really comes to life


 



The kids are still talking about it, and of course the look on their faces when Paul gave them a balloon each was priceless.  And they were totally blown away when they were given a gift each as well.  Thank you so much Diana & Paul for your hospitality and kindness, it all goes to making very special Christmas memories for us all.

Uretiti 

December 7, 2016

We had just one night stay in Kerikeri after leaving Kaitaia, and we ended up at the NZMCA site at Rainbow Falls as our usual parking place is now no longer available.  It was our first stay at Rainbow Falls as previously the site has been too wet and boggy for us to stay but recently some of the grounds have had a scoria base applied.

Parked up on a firm base.


In the middle of the parking area, the local committee built the shed as a replica of the Cape Reinga lighthouse.  Most NZMCA parks have a small shed where you sign in, collect information about the surrounding area and where there is often a book & magazine exchange.  Here at Kerikeri they have also undertaken planting of citrus trees along the boundary  fence lines, which is a great idea for members.  There is a lovely herb garden around the lighthouse where I must admit I gathered a good handful of parsley and mint rather than raid my own supplies.  

Roy caught up with Stuart for the afternoon whilst I used up some of our Internet data!  

From Kerikeri we headed for Uretiti DoC camp just south of Whangarei, where we met up with Pat & Sue as well as a few other motorhoming friends – Brian & Marj, Craig & Glennis, Jo to name a few.  


Parked up at Uretiti where the grass has already browned off. The long white sandy beach is just behind the van over the sand dunes.  

Jacky & Chris came to visit and it was great to catch up with them before we get settled in around Shakespear and the greater Auckland region and before the silly season kicks into effect.  

We tried a couple of times to go fishing off the beach but the wind decided not to play and seemed not to go the right way for us, so the fishing gear has been put away ready to be brought out at a later date.  Meanwhile we have plenty of fish in the freezer to keep us going for a while.

On Sunday we had a very nice farewell champagne breakfast with Pat & Sue before they left on their odyssey south.  After travelling together for nearly 6 months it seems a little strange not to have them around, but it’s testament to a good friendship that  after all that time together we are still good friends and we look forward to meeting up with them again next year.

On our way

November 29, 2016

It’s time we started our journey south ready for us to take up our camp hosting duties at Shakespear park for the summer.  We were due to leave Rarawa this week, however on Monday we were told that we had to leave that day as DoC were about to start their latest assault on the Argentine Ants (See previous post).  But before we left we thought we would have one last fish off the beach.


And just along from us are Pat & Sue


Not too many fish were harmed in this exercise.

From Rarawa it is a short 60km journey into Kaitaia, as we had also heard that our brake parts had arrived.  However through mutual agreement between Roy and Kaitaia Tractors, they are not fitting the part this time.  We have ordered a matching part to come from the USA, and the pair will be fitted early next year after we have finished at Shakespear.  Meanwhile, we are assured everything is safe and we are good to go.

So now we shall meander our way down to Auckland, stopping off at a few selected  places along the way and endeavour to get ourselves into the Christmas spirit.  Thanks Northland for a wonderful few months, we shall be back soon. 

A Gorm weekend

November 10, 2016

Many, many years ago, when we all lived in the big city of Auckland,  a group offriends  all of whom had a keen interest in good food, excellent wine and having a good time, formed a group which we called The Gourmet Society. Every month each of the four couples put money into a dedicated bank account for which there was a cheque book for the ‘Gourmet Society’.  For those of you young things who have no idea what a cheque book is, talk to your parents or grandparents and ask them!  Suffice to say that paying our bill at the end of a night out with that cheque book raised a few eyebrows.   After a while the name was shortened until we became known as the Gorms, a much more appropriate title.  The group consists of Roy & I, Jacky & Chris, Anne & Greg and Colin & Edwina, most of whom we see on  a reasonably regular basis. 

Over the years we; went out for dinners, had weekends away, did everything from camping to 5 star, involved our children in some of our weekends of fun, had themed parties – who could forget the garlic themed night?, did all sorts of crazy things like rock climbing, abseiling, and other nerve wracking events,  but we always had lots of laughs.   

Recently, some members of the Gorms were celebrating significant birthdays so we thought it was time for a get together.  It was to be held at Jacky & Chris place at Whakapirau on the Kaipara harbour, regular readers will know that we have  housesat for them over the past  few winters and spent a bit of time there.  Somewhere along the line, probably over a red wine or two, it was decided that we would have a Hangi (NZ underground oven cooked meal) with local man Grant offering to set it all in place and be in charge of proceedings.

First the hole had to be dug and the fire started.

Grant digging the hole, the fire started in the pit, then as the fire  gets hot more wood is added before adding the rocks to heat up.  All this takes time and patience, and is of course thirsty and hungry work.

Colin and the left, Roy on the right and Chris in the foreground, digging in to some ceviche and some smoked fish
Meanwhile, we girls lined the hangi basket with cabbage leaves, peeled lots of potatoes, kumara, pumpkin and carrots which once seasoned are tied into muslin bags and placed in the basket.  Chickens and a large piece of pork are then placed over the vegetables which are then all covered with more cabbage leaves before finally topped with well soaked towels and sheets before being lowered onto the hot rocks.  Then it all gets covered with topsoil to steambake for the next few hours. 

Top photo Chris, Colin and Greg look on as Roy helps remove the ash and unburned charcoal just before the food goes in.lower photo is Grant checking all is well – or is he doing pressups?  

There is of course a lot of skill involved with getting the fire right, using the right stones, using the best wood to provide the heat and getting everything to the correct temperature  but we were assured all was in hand and under control.

There was as well all the fish we had caught; some to be eaten as fish fillets, the big fish was being smoked and the rest was made into ceviche.

The smoked snapper.

A whole scotch fillet was prepared with a tasty rub and cooked on the barbecue, nicely rare of course and there were plenty of salads too.  From here on in, I neglected to take any more pictures, so there is none of the hangi being lifted or any of the food ladened tables laid out for all to help themselves, nor any of the subsequent party as neighbours and others from the local community had been invited to come and share in the feasting.  The hangi food was fantastic, and later in the evening the desserts came out for all to share.  It was lovely to meet lots of new people and enjoy a great night together over fabulous food and wine.

All in all a great weekend and fantastic  to catch up with the Gorms.  Till next time.