Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

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.

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

December 31, 2016

It’s always interesting to look back to see what we have done over the past year, and this year has been just as interesting and as fun as ever.

After finishing our camp hosting duties as Shakespear we headed off southwards to the southern most point on the North Island, extensively explored the Wairarapa, checked out every beach along the southern east coast and Hawkes Bay before heading north to the northernmost part of the North Island as well as points in between. We have met lots of new people, met up with friends both from long ago and more recent and from near and afar.  We have wined & dined, from first class to basic with the most memorable meals  being the ones shared with good friends.

We have had great success this year fishing and catching, catching enough to feed us and to share with others as well as stock the freezer.  

We have met up with family along the way, not an easy task coming from a large family but we do try and keep in touch with all of the generations.  We have welcomed a long awaited daughter for Roy’s son Simon & wife Anita, which makes that a total of 5 grandchildren – so far…..no pressure kids!! We also welcomed three other great nieces this year – at the last count we are up to 11 nieces, 3 nephews, 12 great nieces, 12 great nephews and 2 great great nieces and one great great nephew.  Phew! 

We are both fortunate that we have experienced good health over the past year (long may it last), and apart from the odd accidental injury, our children and grandchildren are healthy as well.

We bade farewell to some good friends over the year, we remember them all fondly and especially the memories we share.

As we look forward to 2017 we know we have plenty to look forward to, culminating with a trip to the UK & Europe later in the year, a trip which we are just a little excited about.  

I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures of our set up this year at Shakespear, complete with our own Pohutakawa resplendent in all its Christmas colours.


Here’s wishing you every good health and happiness and all the best for 2017.

Living full time in a motorhome

January 2, 2016

We are often asked what it is like living in a motorhome and when are we going to finish traveling and get a “real” house.  The following is an attempt to answer some of those questions  (with some ideas and inspiration from the latest NZ American RV newsletter).

1. This is not Camping

Our version of full-time RV’ing is not camping… it’s living. In other words, we don’t consider our lives to be one big camping trip. We don’t eat at Maccas or RSA’s every night, nor do we eat dehydrated instant packet food, nor do we sit around the picnic table playing boardgames by lantern/torchlight. Yes, we stay in a camp ground occasionally, but for the most part we are not camping.


2. We do Laundry

When I lived in a house, I felt like I was always doing laundry. A load of towels, whites the next, clothing separated into dark and light for more loads.  It was a never ending cycle that I couldn’t seem to break. That is, until I moved into an RV with a small washing machine on board. Now I do laundry a couple of times a week. And it doesn’t take long.  I sometimes even use a laundromat, or utilise friends and family large washing machine for when I have big stuff to do (thanks!).  And I have finally given up ironing everything in sight, yes folks, you read it here first, I no longer iron my sheets or tea towels!!! 

3.  I will choose my tiny house, over your guest bedroom

When we visit or park in your driveway (which we appreciate greatly by the way) chances are we’ll say thanks but no thanks when you offer up your guest room. You see, the thing is that we like our tiny house with our cosy bed, favourite pillow, all our clothes within reach and the bathroom a few steps away from our bed. We travel in a motorhome because we enjoy the convenience of always having our house with us. So it’s not that we don’t appreciate the offer, but we really would prefer to sleep in our own bed. However, I will take you up on that offer to use your shower though!
4.  This is not a permanent holiday

This is a hard one for non full-timers to grasp. So you live in an RV and you get to travel to any cool place you want, yet you don’t consider yourself to be on holiday? Nope, not at all.  I think you can only function in ‘holiday’ mode for so long. At some point you have to create a normal routine with down time and off days. For us full time RV’ing is a lifestyle choice, not a permanent holiday, we choose where we want to go and when and what we want to do.

5.  I Sometimes Forget That I’m Not “Normal”.

I sometimes forget that our lifestyle is considered out of the ordinary. Especially if we’ve been spending time with other full time RV’ers who view living in a tiny house on wheels as commonplace. It usually takes an encounter with the “normal” folks to remind me that how we live is fascinating and envy-worthy.
6. I Have No Idea When I Will “Be Done”.

We get asked this a lot and I’m always tempted to reply, done with what? Done with a lifestyle that brings me joy? Done with expanding my horizons and becoming a more well rounded person? Done with meeting incredible people and making lifelong connections and friendships? Why would I want to be done with all that? The short answer is that I have no idea when I will be done, and I enjoy not knowing. There is something very appealing about a future that is open to endless possibilities. I’m confident that when we get the urge to settle in one spot, we will know when the time is right. But for now we will continue to roll down the road with no plans to “be done” any time soon 
7.  We will never see everything

We could travel around in this beautiful country of ours for many more years and still not see everything. In the beginning we enjoyed keeping track of where we had visited and making sure we checked off all the major attractions along the way. At some point we realised that it didn’t matter how many things were checked off the list, we would always be adding more. And I love that! I love discovering more things to do, see, and explore than I could possibly hope to accomplish in any amount of time. I love that our country is incredibly diverse and filled with such an array of landscapes, communities, and people that even if I travelled for decades, I could never see everything.  Besides, life isn’t about checking off lists…….. is it?

8.  Technology

Yes, we have the technology!  Not only do we have satellite TV (actually two Tv’s – one in the living area and one in the bedroom), we have a wireless router that connects us to the Internet – note to Telco’s; give us better, more and cheaper data!  We have PC’s as well as iPads, we have a large extensive library of books and movies (mostly in electronic format), we listen to podcasts on MP3 players with headphones,  we run a business from our home which has an office and yes we even have a full printer/copier/scanner.  We generate our own power from solar panels with a back up generator for when the sun doesn’t shine. We have a large bank of batteries to store all our power which we run through an inverter to give us 230v.

9.  We have a chefs kitchen!

You name it, we have it…full oven, fridge and freezer, cake mixer, blender, stick blender, wok, casserole dishes, risotto pan, brûlée torch, baking tins of all shapes and sizes, dariole molds, thermometers, meat slicer, vacuum sealer, banettons, microplanes, and a myriad of other essential gadgets like a spurtle (to stir porridge), and a special cutter to take the top off a boiled egg,  as well as knives, knives and more knives of every shape and size imaginable,   I mean, who else has two ham knives! We have a cold smoker and a hot smoker, we make our own; bacon and pastrami, sourdough bread, jams preserves and pickles, baking, and anything else you can think of.  

10.  If we won lotto…

We  get asked this often as well,”if you won Lotto, what would you do to live your dream?”  Our response is; we are living our  dream, what are you waiting for?  Sure,  a bit more cash would be very nice, but our basic lifestyle would not change much at all. Now let us just win Lotto and we’ll test out this theory!!!

So that’s it in nutshell, I hope that has answered any questions you may have had, if not, feel free to ask!

Holiday vacation

August 29, 2015

This holiday business is exhausting!! I need a holiday, or at least a break – from my vacation – from our holiday lifestyle!!! It’s hard work being on holiday, and there is certainly no time in which to write up blogs, which means lucky readers, you also get a holiday…from blog entries. We are just either far too busy or far too exhausted at the end of the days to contemplate writing up entries, it makes me wonder how on earth we managed it whilst we were in Europe.

But here in Melbourne we have explored the city and walked our feet off finding things to see and do. We spent a couple of days familiarising ourselves with the city and visiting the must see places like Docklands, central city streetscapes, Queen Victoria Market, Chinatown, the Greek quarter and Italian quarter aka Lygon street, Etihad stadium, the MCG and other stadiums, libraries, art galleries and museums etc etc.

I took myself off to see the show Strictly Ballroom one evening, another day Karel & I went off for a very long day tour along the Great Ocean Road, and another day we all went to Ballarat for the day. We shall write up all these in detail at a later date so be prepared for a barrage of entries in another couple of weeks time.

Rest assured however, that we are working very hard at sightseeing, having fun, enjoying the culinary delights of every known cuisine of the world available right here in Melbourne as well as getting our cultural fix. Enjoy your blog holiday.

Auckland to Melbourne

August 26, 2015

It was an early start to the day on Saturday morning, up at 4.45am to get ourselves organised for our flight to Melbourne. After showers and a quick reorganisation of the bag we headed from the hotel to the Park & Ride facility where we would be leaving our car for the next 17 days. That was all done very quickly and efficiently and we arrived at the airport in plenty of time to check in and get out boarding passes which was all done very efficiently via kiosk. Well, sort of efficiency, the silly machine would not read Roy’s brand new passport so we had to garner some attention from an attendant. That all done, it was time for some breakfast, not much choice really apart from the usual fast food outlets and a cafe, time to head through into the duty free shops. Not that we are looking for anything in particular but we did purchase of a couple of bottles before wandering along to our gate.

It was here that I recognised an AirNZ hostess passing us by and sure enough it was our friend Diana (who used to work for Roy as a programmer when he was head of what was called EDP, now known as IT, at Kinleith many years ago). We haven’t seen Di for a year or so, so it was lovely to catch up. It turns out that she was working on our flight, albeit up the front of the aircraft in First Class, and no she couldn’t get us upgraded as that end was full! Never mind, we had reasonable seats in cattle class in the centre portion with no one beside us so we had a little room to spread ourselves out. We had just got settled into our seats when some champagne arrived for us (thanx Di) via attentive staff. And no, it’s never too early to drink champagne!!! An uneventful flight, Di did manage to sneak off to see us for a bit during the flight (delivering more champagne) and we will catch up with her on our return from Melbourne.

imageOur plane

We were off the plane pretty smartly to catch the shuttle bus into the city to our apartment home for the next 2 weeks or so.

After unpacking our bag and a quick cuppa, we were off out the door to walk around and try and get our bearings. Only 100metres or so from the door we turned the corner to find ourselves looking across at two restaurants we enjoyed on our past visit here.

We headed over to Pelligrini’s for our fix of Italian. Pelligrini’s is an iconic Melbourne cafe that remains unchanged from the 1950’s although a little disappointing this time tho and we are sure that we were overcharged as well with the amount rung on the till bearing no resemblance to what we were paid, we did query it but were quickly given the brush off. We headed off just back a couple of doors down to Grossi Florentino, where a few years ago we had the most memorable meal and service, we did not head in today but we did check out the menu.

imagePelligrini’s Bar

imageBehind that tree is Grossi Florentino

From there we wandered down Bourke Street and on into the surrounding streets before returning home to have a light dinner of a selection of delights picked up from China Town and then falling asleep on the couch at a reasonably early hour.

Sunday morning and we were out the door and off to the Queen Victoria Markets to do a bit of fresh produce shopping to see us through the next couple of weeks.

imageA prawn for the barbie??

imageHow about some veg?

imageSalami anyone?

imageMarket

imageChecking out what’s on offer

imageChurro’s for morning tea….and yes, they are as good as we remember them from our last visit here!!

We were done by early afternoon so went back to the apartment to await the arrival of Roy’s sister Karel. She arrived shortly after we got back and after a quick catch up we were ready to plan our exploring of the city and its environs over the next couple of weeks.