Archive for the ‘Kopu’ Category

In and around Auckland

June 6, 2016

On our way to Auckland the previous week for Judy’s funeral, we heard from Matt at AutoTech that our van would be ready to pick up that night.  We had already planned to stay with Antony for the night so we said we would return to Kopu onFriday  morning to pick it up which is exactly what we did.  It was just a short drive to the Thames Golf course to park up for the night as it seemed a good idea to go to the Thames market on Saturday morning, which we did…….in the pouring rain!

After breakfast in town, we were soon back at the van.  We decided that although the weather forecast was for gale force winds, rain, thunder and lightening, whilst the weather was reasonably ok we thought that to heck with it, we would make a dash for Auckland.  The drive was totally uneventful and we arrived at the Papakura Club and had just settled in when the heavens opened, the wind blew and the skies were lit with lightening and the roll of thunder.  

We have been attending to the more mundane chores of life since we have been here in Papakura.  But of course it also means we get to spend time with Antony whilst we are here.  We had originally planned to be here until Thursday before heading north but in the usual Vannini fashion, plans change, not just once,  but many times.  I think we are now onto version 2.4. but we will get there eventually.  

Doctors checkups and flu jabs  have been completed, mail collected and sorted, I even managed to get a haircut. Shopping has been done, laundry caught up with but best of all the biggest job sorted, that being having our large inbuilt LPG tank re-certified.  It has been a real problem trying to find and organise this to be completed.  Oh, we could find a business that would re certify the tank, but no, they do not remove them from the vehicle but we locked a business locally and the process will commence on Wednesday.  

Meanwhile we have managed to catch up with friends and family, firstly with Bill & Linda, Bill & Estelle and Ron & Jan who all came to the club for dinner last week. We again caught up with Bill & Linda on Friday night at the club, and Jan called in a couple of days throughout the week for coffee and great conversation.  

This weekend in Queens Birthday weekend which means Monday is a holiday for those who work, Saturday we attended to chores with Antony. Sunday we managed to rack up a few kms, first of al heading over the bridge to Torbay to catch up with brother Steve & wife Leslie then later in the afternoon with their eldest daughter Sarahw & Shaun  and their three boys. Then it was back over the bridge, drop Antony off in Papakura, then head out to Paparimu for a lovely dinner and evening with Ron & Jan before back to the van for the night. As per usual I did not take a single photo. 

But I did take a photo of my ‘loving mother’ chores this afternoon

Ironing shirts….haven’t done many of them for a while now!  
 We are now at Ardmore for a few nights before we make our way north. 

Tauranga and escapees

May 26, 2016

We seem to be becoming creatures of habit by revisiting places we have been many times before. To back track a little,  we left Matata Friday morning and headed to Tauranga and straight to the dump station at the airport before parking up at the Marine Reserve at Sulphur Point, I think we may have done this before, many, many, times before in fact.  We decided that this short visit to Tauranga was going to be catch up time with people we haven’t seen for a while, and as it turns out fellow escapees from Oamaru! 

First, we met up with Dave & Di whom we knew from our Oamaru days when they had the wonderful restaurant Casa Nova House.  David is one fantastically innovative chef and Di ran an amazing front of house.  Their restaurant was well known throughout the country as a place to go to for good food, service and ambience.  We had previously met up with them when they were in Whangarei but we knew they had recently built in Papamoa.  We gave them a call and yes, they were home so come on round they said.  And what do we find?  that they have in fact sold their stunning modern house and were in the midst of packing up ready to move out this week.  It was fantastic to catch up with them and their son Hadley and all their exciting news and plans.  We spent all afternoon talking and laughing and sharing ideas.  We ended up going back to the van late afternoon but with the promise of them coming round for a combined effort dinner in our humble abode later that evening.  

On our way back to the van we thought we would call in on one of those semi retirement style village places, one that is touted for the 50+ age group and seems particularly popular amongst fellow motorhomers as they have parking and garaging for motorhomes.  We have had lots of comments made to us recently about the fact that we do not have a ‘base’ and what if…..well, you get the drift.  Not that we are into peer pressure or are into keeping up with the Joneses but sometimes you get a bit of a niggle in the back of your mind that maybe, just maybe…………….We did call in for a very quick look but we have to say that for many reasons it’s definitely not something that appeals to us at all so we can put that niggle to rest.

Dave, Di and Hadley came for the impromptu dinner which, between us,  I have to say was a pretty amazing but simple meal which is what happens when avid foodies get together.  We talked and talked  well into the evening about lifestyles, life, what we wanted or didn’t want or need, and came to the conclusion that we have an awful lot in common and share many, many values & ethos.  And of course we were talking so much that we all forgot to take any photos.  However, we really look forward to meeting up with them again once they return from their annual trip to the UK.

Saturday we caught up with my niece Jenna and baby Isla and enjoyed our morning spent with them.  Then it was off to lunch and to meet up with more fellow ex-Oamaruvians, this time Susan and Dave – I know, another Dave!   Sue owned a hydroponic lettuce growing business which supplied us at the Lodge (as well as David & Di’s restaurant).  It was another fabulous meal, this time at the Elizabeth Street Pantry in Tauranga, and again we talked and laughed the afternoon away before they too came back to the van for a look and a chat before we bade them farewell, until next time. 

Little did we know then that next time we would meet would be sooner than any of us thought.  Sunday morning Roy & I thought we would go back to the Elizabeth St Pantry for breakfast, and who should we meet up with there again? None other than Susan and David! A totally unscheduled coincidence to meet up again as it was a spur of the moment decision for us to go out for breakfast and not something we would normally do on moving day.   Over a lovely long breakfast we talked, laughed and schemed and again came to the same conclusion we had with Dave & Di – that we have a lot in common with many shared values.  Thanks for the laughs you two, we look forward to meeting up again soon at “Porpoise Spit”!

All in all a great weekend spent with those of us who can call ourselves ex-Oamaruvians/escapees and with all of whom we share a similar Joie de Vivre. 

We left Tauranga on Sunday to arrive in Kopu near Thames where the van is being repaired  after the hiccup when the German tourist backed into us.  

The van in the repair shop

We are in a motel until repairs are completed which will hopefully be completed by the end of the week.  

Seen around and about in Thames this  brightly coloured staircase

We did endeavour to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but I think someone else got there first.

We will be heading north again soon with our next scheduled stop to be at Whakaiprau where we will be housesitting again for Jacky & Chris until mid July, then the winterless north beckons.

Hakuna Matata

May 17, 2016

The past week at Matata has flown by with very little achieved but we have been busy with people.

Someone with a sense of humour adjusted the sign on the approach to Matata

Brian & Marj headed off early in the week , we miss their company and in particular their cheerful disposition and positive attitude to life but we look forward to meeting up with them again in Northland later in the year.   My big sister Sue & her hubby Jeff arrived on Friday morning to spend the weekend with us.  They have recently bought a small campervan and are still coming to terms with all the intricacies of their van, we were able to help them sort out a couple of things.   Not long after Sue & Jeff arrived, we also had a visit from my niece Jenna to introduce  her new baby daughter Isla to her Great Uncle and Aunty.  Another niece Amy came along as well, as well as their father Keith so it was a great day of catching up for all of us with lots and lots of chatter and laughter.   Of course I forgot to take a single photo as I was too busy playing with Isla and catching up on everyone’s news but here is a picture of Isla wearing one of the cardigans I have knitted recently.


We spent a lovely weekend with Sue & Jeff,  we all went into Whakatane over the weekend and caught up with brother John as well as getting a bit of shopping done.  Unfortunately the weather was not cooperative over the weekend for us to be able to get the kite out to do any fishing but we hope it will change later this week.

Sue & Jeff in front of their van

Although we are booked in for another week here at Matata we may head off in the next day or so as we are due at Kopu near Thames next Monday for the repairs to the van to be done, and we wouldn’t want to rush getting there would we? 

We nearly made it!

March 5, 2016

 The  satellite dish was repaired by RSE, it required a new LNB, and the replacement was done in good time and we were on the motorway by 3pm.  At one stage along the way we glanced at each other, smiling, saying “woohoo, we ‘re on our way”.  We arrived at Autotech in Kopu to get the insurance assessment sorted in good time and by 5pm we were settled in for the night at the Thames Golf Club and even managed a bit of TV watching.

Up bright and early Friday morning and ready to hit the road with our first destination set into the GPS;  Huntly, to see Roy’s 103 year old Aunty.  Off we set, we had only just been travelling for 5 minutes when we got a phone call,  Antony was  in an ambulance on his way to hospital in terrible pain.   Easy decision made, we shall continue to the motorway then head back to Auckland and Ardmore, park up, unhitched the car and head across to Middlemore Hospital.

Kidney  stones again, so more morphine, then ultra sound, X-rays and a CT scan, to find the culprits.   Apparently at 5mm they are too small to blast, but one is travelling between his kidney and bladder so hence the agony.  He was finally discharged late on Friday evening with a prescription in hand.  We then had to find an all night pharmacy to get it filled as he has to take medication to try to enable easier passage of the stones. 

Our next move is?……..pending!   We shall wait and ensure that Antony has no serious adverse affects to the medication and that he is on the road to recovery before we hit the road.  Poor thing, kidney stones are terribly painful so we hope that they will pass soon and he has no more attacks.