Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

When Sh*# happens

September 29, 2018

Sometimes you just wonder when will it ever end. This entry is all about the realities of living in a motorhome/RV so skip this one if you are of a delicate disposition.

We were in the sh#*. Literally! The valve that we open to empty the black tank had developed a leak, just a drip drip drip, but nevertheless a drip, and a smelly one at that because we are under no illusion that our crap does not stink!

Luckily we had a valve to replace the said leaky one, we’ve been carrying it around for years….just in case.

The new pieces, the black tank valve is 3 inch diameter valve (the picture shows the smaller grey tank valve).

This is where it all happens, inside the locker is the two handles to pull, one for the grey waste one for the black. By the time I took this picture we had managed to get the black valve out before the harrowing task of trying to get it all back together. How does it all work I hear you ask? You go to a dump station, place the evacuation hose into the dump station, pull the handle to open the valve and it all magically disappears down the pipes though the red hose you can see at the bottom left of the picture into the dump station, never to be seen. It is usually a no mess easy to perform task but not when there is a leak. Ewwww.

I researched how to replace the valve on YouTube, we watched the videos, it looked oh so simple, yeah right. Roy and I spent nearly a whole day trying to get the said goddam valve removed, it is in an awkward position and we had to both try to get our hands in there to undo nuts, wiggle around pipe work and other bits and generally become more and more frustrated with the whole process.

Roy contemplating the next move.

We finally got the valve removed but it was no easy task as two of the nuts and bolts were at the back of the locker behind the pipe work, almost flush against the rear of the locker. It did not help that also in this locker is the panel holding the outdoor shower and light panel which quite frankly was just a damn nuisance and got in the way.

In the end we gave up and waited for reinforcements.

Gary and Keith to the rescue. Not everyone would be ok dealing with someone else waste outlets, but in saying that we did make sure they were well and truly emptied and left empty for a couple of days to dry out.

Not only did they have to get the replacement valve in place, but it was critical that the two rubber washers were perfectly lined up so as not to create another leak and with little or no wiggle room to move the pipes apart, patience and determination were the key elements as you no sooner got the valve into position then one of the rubber washers would either fall out or be in the wrong position. Grrrrr.

three heads are better than one to nut out the problem, right? The easiest way it seems, was to also remove the grey waste valve giving a little more room to move and then replace the grey valve last as it is smaller and with less other pipe work around it. After a little while it was all done, great team work between the guys and it was time to test. I poured a bucket of water down the toilet to test for any leaks. Holding our breath we waited…..success, no leaks. Then the grey, hooray, it’s all working as it should, no leaks and all cleaned up.

all back together, handles labelled, pipes reinstated, we are now good to go.

A HUGE thank you to Gary and Keith for coming to our aid, it’s times like this that you get to know who your friends are!!!

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The things we do

September 22, 2018

Gary & Marg had sold their caravan whilst we were staying with them, however an earlier mishap meant that a new awning had to be put on the caravan before the new owners collected it. So how many people does it take to put on an awning? ….I’ll let you see for yourselves.

Luckily Keith & Debbie had arrived earlier in the day so it was all hands on deck, however the author of this blog post was told she was a little vertically challenged to be of any real assistance, the cheek of it!!! And yes, Roy’s shorts were falling down in the above picture, it got worse a little later!!

showing off the undies and builders crack!

It was a very successful effort and the awning was put in place, tested and they all stood back to admire their handiwork.

The neighbour had been out fishing and gave us some fish, some trevalli which became marinated fish and some kingfish steaks which Marg made for our dinner with a lemon caper butter sauce, it was delicious.

Not to be outdone, we are starting to get our fishing mojo back again with some good catches made. Keith had had his drone out a few times and is bringing in fish every time, including these beauties.

Another late afternoons haul

Around and about with an adventure.

September 17, 2018

We somehow manage to fill each day keeping ourselves very busy, but ask me what are we busy with, and I would be hard pressed to tell you exactly what we get up to! We are still at Gary & Margs place at Tokerau Beach, fishing, eating, talking and keeping ourselves out of mischief, well sort of.

Sue & Dave from Oamaru called in to see us during the week on their holiday to check out the north. We haven’t seen them since we left Oamaru so it was lovely to catch up with all the comings and goings in the town. And again I was too busy talking to remember to take any photos.

Another day we did go for a bit of a tiki tour up to Houhora to get some nice avocados, and at $2 a bag, they are a steal. It was a glorious day.

fishermen retrieving their boats and catches on the outgoing tide.

We decided to treat ourselves to a fish & chip lunch, sitting in the sun, watching the world go by…

Gus (dog) also enjoyed his day at the beach. What’s not to like about it?

We started to head home, but oh no, what’s this? The car is boiling over…

parked on the side of the road waiting for things to cool down.

It was then a very slow trip back to Kaitaia with hazard lights flashing, if we kept below 50km/hr the temperature gauge stayed fairly static and we could make it back safely.

At the garage….Gary showing Roy where the problem lies. I am sure that the garage mechanics will sort it out fellas!

We had to get a ride back out to Tokerau Beach with family who very kindly came to our rescue. And yes, we did get a good supply of avocados after all that. They will go very nicely with fish!

fish, now that is another story, we have been out fishing a couple of times with our kite but without great success. However what’s not to like about being on the beach in this sort of weather.

That’s Roy and Gary gathering a few tuatuas.

Roy and Gary have been out with Gary’s torpedo a couple of times, but the torpedo did have some issues. First it kept going left, which really means it would go around in circles, so off to the repair man it went to be fixed. Once it was returned Gary repaired and replaced all the sealant. That done it was out for a fish, but what’s this? Oh no, the torpedo is slowly getting lower and lower in the water the further out it goes before disappearing altogether and becoming a submarine….hmmm, apparently that new sealant doesn’t like salt water, ooops! They managed to drag the torpedo back to shore where it is now undergoing another repair but this time with the correct sealant.

Meanwhile we wait for the winds to come back so we can get out with the kites again. At least the temperatures are lovely and mild with the shorts and t shirts getting an airing and the sunscreen making an appearance. Summer is on its way.

Time drifts on by

August 20, 2018

I am always surprised at how time seems to slip through our fingers, before you know it another week has gone and we wonder what on earth we have been doing.

We are still at Uretiti enjoying the sunshine and relative peace and quiet and managing to keep ourselves very busy doing not much at all. Oh I tell lies, there are always things to be done, and places to go and people to see with little spare time for much else.

We have been to local markets to stock up on lovely fresh vegetables as well we have been in to Whangarei to do some shopping as there always seems to be those little bits and pieces to buy.

Included doing the odd things like cleaning the vents and the vent covers, cleaning the windows, and as well putting new broom holders on the wall in the laundry area.

All looking neat and tidy.

It’s been lovely having Keith & Debbie around, we all seem to get on well without living in each other’s pockets. The chaps have been out fishing on numerous occasions with very little catching being done with either the drone or the kite, but it seems as though no one is catching much off this beach right at the moment so we think it’s time for us to move further north. We’ve been on the odd excursion into Whangarei, finding new things and rediscovering others whilst always having a laugh and a half. Keith & Debbie are now off with family for a couple of weeks but we shall meet up with them again in another few weeks.

We’ve caught up with Mark & Glynis a couple of times, with the last occasion Glynis finally remembered to take a photo of us

It was a great night too, lovely food, fabulous Ata Rangi wines, and fantastic company.

Roy and I had a quick trip down to Auckland for specialists appointments and to collect our mail and have a quick catch up with Antony. Included in the mail was my new Fitbit-style activity tracker, which is keeping me on track so I know exactly how far I am walking each day.

I haven’t quite got to the recommended 10,000 steps as yet but I am getting there. I just have to get used to all the features this tracker has to make best use of it. It seems to do just about everything as it is paired to my phone so I get notified of messages, txts, emails etc as well as the tracking features, heart rate monitor etc etc. We are so impressed that we have ordered one for a Roy, his one has even more features so that should be fun.

My hip is really good now, the last annoying stitch finally fell off yesterday, and I have very little hip pain at all apart from when I do something I shouldn’t! But the knees are another story. You can tell they are giving me lots of pain and issues as I am not hesitant at all about going to back to the surgeon to get them sorted……it’s only been 12 years since I was first told I needed them replaced but I don’t think I can put it off any longer.

Other little tasks have been done like getting warrant of fitness certificate for the RAV, and then both vehicles needed registering.

Another wee job that has always gone to the “I’ll do that later” list, has finally been sorted. I am getting my engagement and eternity rings fixed after a mishap I had with catching my hand in a door some time ago. I have found a fabulous jeweller here in Whangarei that actually does design and repair work. They have suggested that they join my eternity and engagement rings together as part of the problem has been that the two rings move against each other and have resulted in damage. Brilliant idea.

There have been many other motorhoming friends pass through the camp so it has been an opportune time to catch up on all their comings and goings and what everyone is up to since we saw them last.

The hands have been busy knitting up a storm with lots of baby things done for friends and family that are having babies.

I’ve also got back into making my sourdough bread again which has proved to be very successful. So much so I’ve had to make a couple of loaves every second day to keep up with demand!

All in all we manage to keep ourselves out of mischief and we do achieve a few things occasionally!

R&R at Uretiti

July 27, 2018

We arrived at Uretiti after all the rain to be met by a few small lakes formed throughout the camp site.

Pretty reflections in the lake with the road somewhere through the middle.

We parked up along the fence line behind all the trees as shown in the above photo as our favourite spot was already taken, however the following day our favourite site was vacated so we made a quick decision to move back to where we know and like. Besides, we were expecting visitors later in the week and there would be plenty of room for them in our favourite spot.

and here we are, Keith and Deb’s vehicle in the foreground and ours facing the camera.

Since Keith & Deb are here with us it was and opportune time for the boys to play with Keith’s “toy” and get a bit of fishing in.

Setting up the baits ready to fly out with the drone

hard at work, fishing!

Unfortunately the fish have not been playing the game, steering well clear of our baits, however no one else is having much luck either so we don’t feel too bad.

Roy took Keith & Deb into Whangārei for a quick look around all the interesting places and shops whilst I relaxed back at the van as I am not up to wandering around very far as yet. They went into the farmers market as well as a few shops for essential items, coming home with a number of shopping bags full of goodies and treats.

I am getting there with my recovery, it is definitely a slow gradual process and I have very quickly learnt that overdoing it is not a good thing to do as you pay for it the following day. But I am getting there and as I have said before I am definitely the tortoise in this race.

We haven’t done too much since we have been here, limiting ourselves to walks along the beach, fishing, relaxing and generally taking things easy and enjoying being back surrounded by nature. It is definitely warmer here than the temperatures we have been accustomed to in Auckland of late although there is still a little nip in the air in the evenings and mornings, however it is nice to be able to sit outside in the warm sunshine during the day.

We went into Waipu one evening for pizza night at the pub, we have been here before and they make very good pizzas. Keith & Deb came along as did Mark & Glynis to join us for a night out to help us celebrate Roy’s good news at being given the all clear. We had a great night with lots of chat going on however, in my usual fashion I forgot to take any photos.

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.

Into single figures

May 27, 2018

Another week is done and dusted, with only 8 more treatments to go, the end is in sight.

Roy goes off on his journey there and back everyday, meanwhile I somehow manage to keep myself busy doing one thing to another. Swimming fits in between other bits and pieces but I must say that with the cooler weather it is not that enticing to make one want to strip off and get into tepid water! However, we continue.

Monday was pickle/relish/chutney making day with plenty achieved.

And I forgot to take any pictures of the previous weekends efforts of pickling where Roy made a tomato chilli relish but the cupboards are now full and it will all add some welcome tasty treats throughout the rest of the year.

Tuesday I had an interesting few hours as I was asked if I would assist with some driving, this was to pick up brand spanking new Motorhomes from the wharf and drive them to the dealers yard in Drury. Sure, I said, not a problem, it will make the day a bit different. Easy enough to drive, it was a good run along the motorway and deliver the vehicles to their new base a few hours later. The Motorhomes now await their new owners.

Janet picked me up on Thursday and we went out for lunch in Pukekohe to a lovely little cafe she frequents. It was a great day out and about with me forgetting to take any pictures as we were too busy nattering. I really enjoyed our excursion out, so much so that we are doing it again this week but at a different location….ooooh, watch out, does that mean I am becoming one of those “ladies who lunch”?

Bill came visiting one afternoon with a lovely batch of biscuits that Linda had made.

We needed to get some more LPG and also to visit the dump station this weekend. We figured that Saturday morning would be the best time to get LPG as we have a large inbuilt tank and being a Saturday meant that there would be little traffic parked around the gas station. Indeed it was an easy drive in and out again, then off to bruce Pullman Park to dump. But oh no, it Saturday morning isn’t it…when every kid in the neighbourhood is playing sport and with parents cars overflowing the car parking it was a squeeze through the parked cars to get to the dump station. But what’s this? Some muppet has parked right on the dump station ignoring the yellow lines and obviously gone off to watch their child play rugby/league or football. We waited and waited, before the car owners eventually sauntered back and moved off so we could dump. What should have been a 10 minutes job turned into more like an hour!

We were also supposed to be going up to Shakespear for the release of 40 Saddlebacks into the park but my knees and hips were very sore so we decided to sort out the domestic duties and we would see the birds next time we visit. But we understand all went well with the release and yet another species brought back into the Sanctuary.

picture of the release courtesy of SOSSI

This week has seen the arrival of cooler weather, the shorts got put away and out come the trousers, the heater has been on a couple of times and even the hot water bottles have made an appearance. And to test out all that firewood we collected earlier in the month, we went to Antony’s a couple of evenings to enjoy the warmth and coziness of the fire as well as have dinner together. Although I guess we can’t complain too much, it is winter after all!!

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.

Friends, family and reunions

March 23, 2018

In the past month or so since we have been back it has been a flurry of activity catching up with friends, family and the odd couple of reunions as well. We caught up with brother Steve & Leslie fairly soon after getting back and then we made a quick dash up to Whakapirau to see Jackie & Chris and return the luggage they had kindly lent us and to sort out this years housesitting plans with them.

Then it was off down to Hamilton to Wade & Lindsays to help them celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, it was fabulous to spend time with them and reminisce and catch up with all their news. We went out for dinner to a tapas restaurant called Gothenburg, and oh my goodness, what fabulous food, some of the best we’ve had in a very long time. The service was also brilliant and of course the company was outstanding! I asked our waiter to please take a picture of us and this is what we got,

yes, the wait staff having fun with selfies!!!

They did eventually take a couple of nice photos of the four of us though

On our return journey to Auckland we made a small diversion to Ararimu to Ron & Janet’s as there was to be a bit of a reunion of friends of Roy’s who were all at Howick District High School together…..Roy and Janet started school together, just a few years ago!

I forgot to take any photos that afternoon but here is a picture of some of them at school

Roy is second from left in the back row, another friend Roger (whom we went on a canal trip with in France in 2011) is back row 7th from left and Janet is in the second row from the front 7th from left.

We had a few days back at the van before heading off to catch up with more friends around the city. We visited Brian at his new home in Hobsonville. It just so happened to be his birthday and it was great to catch up with him and seeing him looking so well. We also managed to catch up with Gary & Marg (from Tokerau Beach) on their way through Auckland as they had a brief stopover at Gulf Harbour. We are really looking forward to getting back up to Tokerau Beach to see them again as soon as we can.

Roy had another reunion to attend, this time it was the Auckland Grammar 1958 class 60th reunion (NB some of us were not even a twinkle at that time!!!). Roy attended this reunion on his own…it’s a boy thing!!! where, by all accounts, a good time was had by all and a chance to meet up with class mates and Masters alike. Of the 150 boys in that years intake, there were 40-50 at the reunion, and a few recognisable names were amongst the roll call including Tom Schnackenberg (of America’s Cup fame), Mark Burgess, Ross Dykes and Terry Jarvis (cricket), Dave Gerard (Olympian and sports medicine) as well as many other well known business men.

that’s the 2018 version of the class of 1958.

There was a quick sprint down to Whakatane to catch up with John & Jude, they are off on a trip shortly and wanted to gather a bit of information from us from our recent trip as they will be visiting some of the places we went to. We also had to try a variety of Pedro Ximinez sherries that we all enjoy, and after our recent visit to Jerez it seemed appropriate.

the lineup!

Then we had a visit from Keith & Deb, and along with Pat & Sue we were parked in the Self Contained area at Shakespear as we were inundated with school camps in the main camp. Here we are all lined up…

One of these vans is not like the other!

Keith has a fishing drone which he kindly showed us how it works, and I have to admit that I’m smitten, it’s brilliant – you could say I’m hooked! It’s a great way of fishing off a beach and getting your line out into the water safely and as luck would have it we had a bit of success as well.

We enjoyed having their company and sharing BBQ’s

Keith, Roy, Sue, Pat and Deb

One night Keith’s daughter (my niece) Amy came to visit and we enjoyed another lovely evening and meal together

Amy, Roy, Keith and Deb.

More visits to friends around the city and then a lunch meeting in Warkworth with Mark & Glynis to catch up with them and their recent adventures on moving their launch north to Marsden Cove from Havelock in the Marlborough Sounds. We look forward to catching up with them again soon.

All in all, a busy time what with one thing and another, and if we haven’t caught up with some of you as yet, then we intend to do our best to see you soon.