Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

It’s all go here!

February 11, 2019

Tuesday last week and we were expecting friends Wade & Lindsay to arrive for a few days R&R and they would be staying in our guest wing. Sure enough they arrived late in the afternoon.

The guest suite is our tent….and it’s not doing too badly for an oldie but goodie as we think the tent is at least 26 years old and still going strong!!

It has done us very well over the years and continues to give us good service. It’s a nice sized tent, perfect for a short break away and easy to put up.

I was all organised ready for our guests to arrive, we had put up the tent a day or two earlier and had also inflated the bed. It only seemed right that I should lie on the bed for an hour or so, just to try it out and make sure it was comfortable. And just as well I did as the bed seemed to go down a little over the hour or so I was testing it therefore it was on’y right that we tried to find out if there was a leak. This involved me rolling around on the bed, feeling along all the seams to check for a pesky leak. Nothing to be found anywhere, so we turn the mattress over to check the underside. What’s this? I can feel air escaping on my cheek….but where is it coming from? On closer inspection I found a tiny wee scrape, the size of a small pinhole where the air was escaping, so it was out with the repair tape and cover it over. Perfect.

I had also been organised with what to have for dinner – Bao buns with slow roasted Pork belly and an Asian slaw, plenty for left overs too. However, the left overs would be dwindling somewhat as we also got a call from friends Pat & Steve, could they come and stay the night in their caravan on their way south? oh and they had a large box of plums for me off their tree. Sure we said, rock on up, we’d love to see you and catch up, and there’s dinner for you too!

Shortly thereafter the phone goes again, it’s Keith & Deb, they are 20minutes away. Fantastic, we can have a great time together and yes there is plenty for all for dinner.

I couldn’t wait around to meet and greet everyone as I had to race off to the specialist as it was time for my post knee surgery checkup…..more on that saga in another blog post though. By the time I returned, everyone was settled in with a drink in hand for happy hour, and what do you know? Yep, I forgot to take one single picture!!

We had a great evening catching up, with lots and lots of chatter going on into the evening. Pat & Steve were off the next morning to continue their journey south whilst the rest of us relaxed as best we could over the next few days! It’s a hard life but someone has to do it.

The next couple of days were spent reading, swimming, relaxing, talking and eating, oh as well as keeping an eye on campers. I even managed to make a couple of batches of plum sauce as well.

Wade and Lindsay’s daughter Caroline lives not to far away so she came for a visit or two before it was time for Wade & Lindsay to leave. Lindsay assured me that the bed was very comfortable and it was the best nights sleep she’d had in years, just as well I found the leak through my extensive testing regime😂.

clockwise from front left: Lindsay, Deb, Keith, Bernice and Wade

Next my niece Rebekka and her husband Paul came to stay for a couple of nights, some of you may not know but Rebekka is Keith’s youngest daughter from his earlier marriage to my sister. Paul & Rebekka arrived with some friends and we all had dinner together…I again forgot to take any pictures but the following morning the six of us had breakfast together.

From left clockwise around the table, Deb, Roy, Rebekka, Bernice, Paul.

Again it was a hard couple of days of relaxing, swimming, eating and drinking. Can you see a pattern developing?

Rebekka and Paul also stayed in our guest suite, they are seasoned campers but they have very small tents so staying in our larger tent spurred them on to buying a new tent.

Of course they had to try it out and gain some experience at putting it up. We “grownups” enjoyed sitting back and watching the young ones put up their new tent, with a few helpful pieces of advice coming from the spectators of course. Their new tent should see them right for a few years to come and hopefully it will last as long as ours has.

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Visitors

February 3, 2019

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

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

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

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

yep, I get s#@t coffee….😂

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

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

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

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

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

Home alone

January 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year

December 31, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the 2018 photo

And this is the 2014 version!!!

not a lot has changed!

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

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

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!!!

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.