Archive for the ‘laundry’ Category

Rarawa – Auckland – Rarawa

November 25, 2016

We left Matai Bay on a Sunday afternoon for Kaitaia as the van was booked in for the final bit of work to be done on the brakes as the parts had arrived from the USA, as well,  a couple of other jobs  were being completed.  However, things never seem to go smoothly, the parts that we had had sent out were not the right ones.  As you were folks, put everything back together then spend the next day researching and checking on hopefully getting the right parts.  It would be so much easier if there were part numbers, or if the size matched what was supposed to be on the van.  Anyway, in the end  it was all sorted, more parts ordered and we were sent off to return at a later date.

Off we went to Rarawa and the DoC camp there, where Pat & Sue were already parked, we set ourselves up, this time in another location, tucked into a corner on the upper level. 

The weather has been pretty good, although we have had a lot of wind with some of it even from the right direction for some kite fishing. But more on that later.

A large part of the camp is roped off as they had recently closed the whole camp whilst they dealt with an infestation of Argentinian Ants.  Who knew that these tiny creatures could create such damage.  

According to the DoC website Argentine Ants  are one of the world’s most invasive and problematic ant species. They are very aggressive, and although they are not poisonous, they do bite. Unlike other ant species, Argentine ant colonies cooperate with each other, and can combine over winter into super-colonies. They reach enormous numbers, which means they have a huge appetite. It also makes them more aggressive towards other insect populations through their sheer numbers.

The best way to tell Argentine ants from other ants is by their colour and trails. Argentine ants are small (2-3 mm long)and honey-brown in colour, while most other common household ants in New Zealand are black.  

Argentine ants can have a massive impact on the natural environment. While they are one of the major household and garden pests, they pose a serious threat to the conservation values of our reserves and natural areas. These threats include:

eliminating other species of ants

competing with kiwi for food such as insects and worms

competing with other native birds and lizards for nectar

displacing and killing native invertebrates

Argentine ants are now known for many parts of Auckland and Northland, as well as Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Nelson 

The camp will be closed again from next week so that DoC can do a secondary bait laying process to make sure they are all dealt with.

Meanwhile, I (Bernice) have been to Auckland and back for a few days.  A trip which is around 5 1/2 hrs driving time each way, plus of course you have to allow more time for stops for refuelling both the car and driver as well as the odd traffic hold ups.  An interesting sight on the way down to Auckland was this convoy of three four wheel drive vehicles which were absolutely covered in mud.  

A muddy convoy which I followed from north of Kawakawa to where I turned off the motorway at Albany, a distance of over 200kms

Why was I doing this trip? Well, our son Antony had had a bit of a mishap whilst playing bubble soccer – yes, it is a ‘thing’ – with a group of mates on a weekend away in Queenstown.  Bubble soccer

Actually, it was a bit of a serious oops as it seems he has torn his MCL and ACL ligaments in his left knee. Ouch.   I went down to give him a hand with a few things and also to provide moral support when he went to see  the surgeon and make sure we asked all the right questions.  His leg is very swollen and bruised from above the knee right down to his foot, and of course rather painful.  But what I didn’t realise was that before he can have surgery to repair the damage, he has to have regained the full range of motion in his knee.  So today he starts physio.  

Meanwhile Mum did her thing, by washing, cleaning, tidying, cooking, shopping, transporting.    Oh and even a bit of ironing…some of the 17, yes that right, 17 shirts I ironed!!

Once I had done as much as I could it was back up to Rarawa. We have been fishing a few times off the beach with some success as well as a good failure when on one outing our line got caught on something and we lost all our traces, sinkers and hooks.  Luckily this all happened before I went to Auckland so I was able to call into the store to replace all the lost gear. 

But with days like this in the picture below, what could be nicer than spending an afternoon on the beach?

Somewhere out there is a kite, and of course some fish on our line too.
Next week it is back to Kaitaia to have the last bit of work done on the van before we move southward ready to start our camp hosting duties at Shakespear for the summer.


August 13, 2016

It was a busy old time in Kerikeri this visit.  We parked on the old tennis courts in front of the RSA as the NZMCA park at Rainbow Falls was totally unusable due to the soft wet ground.  Such a shame as it is a pretty spot but since it opened we have never managed a stay there as the ground has always been too boggy.  Hopefully they will get it sorted one of these days.

Our first job was to get the WoF sorted for the RAV4, on Friday morning it went off to get it done only to be returned with some work to be done on the brakes which was scheduled to be done on Monday as parts had to be delivered from Auckland. But that’s OK, we are not in any hurry and we wanted to go to the markets at the weekend in any case.   And I desperately needed a haircut so off into town to get that done.

Brian & Marj arrived later in the day to stay for a couple of nights before they headed back to Houhora where we will meet up with them again in a few weeks time.  But first we all go to the RSA for dinner where Roy ran into an old school friend so a bit of a catch up was planned for Sunday with Roy and Fairfax. Oh, and I won the meat raffle too so the freezer is well and truly full again. 

The Saturday market is a great market held mostly under cover which was just as well as the weather threw the odd shower at us throughout the morning.  We managed to fill our bags with plenty of fruit and veg as well as  our tummies with an excellent bacon & egg filled focaccia with hollandaise made with locally made bread, free range eggs,  and the bacon is homemade too  and damn delicious it was as well.  Just as we like it – flavoursome and crispy.  From there it was back to the vans and a bit of further retail therapy before settling in to watch the Super Rugby final on Saturday night.

Sunday and a quick visit to the Sunday market to top up with bits we couldn’t get the previous day, before we said toodle-loo to Brian & Marj.  Then it was off to Opua for Bernice to attend to the laundry (as the laundry in Kerikeri recently burnt down) whilst Roy caught up with Stuart and later in the day, Fairfax.   

The car was duly fixed in Monday but could not go for its WoF retest until Tuesday morning, but by 10am Tuesday we were ready to leave, first via the dump station and then to the petrol station to top up with LPG before hitting the road to our next destination, a hidden gem!

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!

I have a problem!

March 1, 2015

Hello, my name is Bernice and I am a neat freak/ironing ninja!!!  I admit it, I do have a problem.  I like my sheets to be; cotton, white and ironed thank you.  Although I must admit that over the past year or three whilst being on the road, the need for ironing the sheets (or anything really) has slowly diminished. However, whilst we are at John’s house sitting in Whakatane,  I decided I needed to tidy the linen cupboard so with everything out of the cupboard I took the opportunity to not only line the shelves with clean paper but also air and wash the linen.   Some things, like some of the pillowcases, need a bit of a soak and so I thought that I would break out a blue bag I had stashed away to really whiten the whites.  Blue bags you ask?  

Yes, I have a stash of theses old fashioned whiteners which are no longer commercially available, nor is the liquid version that we used to be able to buy called Bluo, although I do see that it is available in Australia.  For those of you who have no idea about Blue Bags and the like you can read more about it here.   Oh and they are also used as a remedy to put on bee stings. 

I have diluted the blue bag into a bottle of water so I can easily add the liquid to the rinse cycle of the wash.  Yes it does make a difference to whites, in particular making them appear whiter than white! 

With all this glorious sunshine and a nice breeze blowing I took  the opportunity to air and dry the washing on the line with the sunshine adding it’s own bleach-free whitening and sterilising properties ensuring that everything has that lovely fresh clean smell.  And after all it’s solar powered drying and it’s free! 

After a day on the line, all there was left to do was to iron everything.  I set the ironing board in front of the TV, after all there is Netball and Cricket to watch,  and proceeded to iron it all.  When we had the Lodge, I had the luxury of having laundry staff, namely Margaret, who did all the laundry, and in particular the ironing.  Margaret would dampen all the pillowcases then roll them up before leaving them for a few minutes before pressing them, and yes, I do the same using a spray bottle filled with water with the addition of little lavender oil.  By dampening the articles the wrinkles are much easier to iron out and makes the whole process a lot quicker.  

Ironing in progress

The completed pile.

And for those of you who want to know how to fold a fitted sheet easily and neatly, I am willing to share my tricks of the trade – for a price 😉.   It’s not too difficult but it does take a little practise and if you really want to know how then check out this clip

Everything put away in its right place with the sheets folded into sets i.e. a fitted sheet with matching pillowcases folded inside the flat sheet all ready to go ……and yes, I do have another “problem” with labelling!!!!. But that’s another story.


April 2, 2014

Thank you to all of you who have commented on our blog or emailed us to encourage us to continue blogging, we knew we had a reasonable number of people reading the blog from our stats but it is nice to put names to faceless numbers. So onwards, and upwards.

I returned to Auckland last week after my trip to Oamaru. Roy and the van were parked up at Ambury as it is very handy to the city as well as the airport. We moved across to Ardmore on Friday, we had to pack up and move as the van was due for its 6monthly COF (certificate of fitness), we thought it was an opportune time to continue on, fuel up, fill up with water and empty the waste tanks and with all that available at our favourite dump station at Bruce Pullman Park which is very close to Ardmore. With that all achieved, Friday afternoon we headed over to Torbay to have dinner with, and spend the night with, Steve and Les, to have a bit of a debrief of the last weeks happenings and time to chill out and relax. As well, Steve and Leslie got a new kitten on Friday, her name is Lola and it was hilarious watching Lola and their 5 month old kitten Lucy size each other up. There was much hissing, stand offs, back arching and general eyeing each other from a respectable distance. The kittens provided welcome entertainment for the evening.

Then it was back to Ardmore for a night before we headed off down to Waharau where we knew Pat & Sue were parked. This time however, we were to park in a different part of the park, not at Blackberry Flat camp area this time but at the Tainui camp which is near the main park entrance.

20140402-163238.jpg matching pair parked up in the sun.

This camp area is rather special, and I am not sure whether we should tell you about it as if too many people may find out about it we would not be able to have it to ourselves, but if you promise not to tell, shhhhh ………………..It has flush toilets, hot running water, powered sites, showers, dish washing sinks and food prep area! John will be delighted to know that we even took our washing machine out of the van to hook up to the running water and the waste!!! And yes, Pat & Sue are also now proud owners of the same type of washing machine.

20140402-163824.jpg Another matching pair

Once settled in, my first job was to bottle the beetroot that Steve had kindly given us fresh from his garden, then it was time to make and bottle up a Passata or Italian style tomato pasta sauce with the beautiful beefsteak tomatoes we purchased from a market garden in Mangere. The recipe used was one Steve gave me, and it has proved to be a real winner. We now have plenty of preserves to keep us going over the winter months, although I did go out yesterday foraging along fence lines looking for blackberries. But it has been far too dry up here for blackberries, they were dry, wizened up excuses for blackberries so we gave up on that idea. Hopefully we may be able to find some nice ones somewhere along our travels over the next week or two.

Next week we will head over to Whangamata as it will be our son Antony’s 30th birthday and we will be helping him and a few friends celebrate over the weekend. Although it is hard for us to believe that he will be 30, where did those years fly by?;

Back to the big smoke

February 22, 2014

We left Whangamata and headed up over the cloud covered hills to Kopu where we had a brief stop to fill up at the excellent Nova LPG fueling station then onto an Rv repair shop to pick up some locker catches that we had ordered the previous week. That done it was then onto Kaiaua, but first we pulled into Rays Rest to have some lunch and a cuppa as it was already after 2pm and the tummies were growling loudly in complaint. We had not been there long when we spied Fred. We had met Fred previously at Ardmore, he is a fellow full timer and blogger. After a quick catch up, we decided to stay put for the night as we were heading off in the morning anyway. Ray’s Rest lived up to our expectations of being very windy, we did not need rocking of to sleep.

Off the next morning to Auckland, more specifically back to Ardmore where we will be parked up for the next few days. On the way back to Auckland, just north of Kawakawa bay we came across a new, soon to open, regional park.

20140222-154918.jpganother park for us to explore.

Friday, and we headed off over the bridge to Torbay to see Steve and Les as we were all taking a trip up to Mahurangi to check out the venue where their daughter Frances is getting married next weekend. A stunning location (oops forgot camera!) but we will take lots of pictures next weekend. After sorting out a few bits and pieces it was a trip down to the beach and check out the camp site as this is another of the fabulous ARC Parks. Then it was back to Torbay for a bite of lunch before Leslie and I went out shopping for the afternoon, gathering together all the last minute bits and pieces for the wedding, and a few other essential items. That done we headed back to their place where Roy and Steve were busy laying the new flooring in their bathroom. We stayed on for a delicious dinner before heading back to Ardmore.

The weather here is incredibly hot, humid and sticky making it nigh on impossible to sleep at night. It’s almost like being back in Singapore for warmth and humidity. It does not make it pleasant for doing anything, however today we are getting a few jobs done, including installing the washing machine properly into the cupboard, complete with rollout access.

Jacky & Chris have very kindly let us make use of their house in Mt Eden whilst they are away for a few days as tomorrow (Sunday) Alex arrives from London. Are we excited? Just a little!!

And another week slips by

July 3, 2013

I am not sure where all the days go, but somehow they seem to disappear with some regularity. Roy duly went off to see the Orthopedic surgeon last Tuesday where it was decided that perhaps they needed an MRI scan to see better what is exactly going on. The scan was booked for last Friday with a follow up appointment to be made once the scan report was in the hands of the surgeon. The surgeons appointment is next week, however the scan was duly done on Friday, which in itself was a bit of a juggle. Bernice dropped Roy off at the clinic then whipped off to the airport to meet up with eldest brother Mike, who was returning from his sojourn to Germany and Switzerland. We arranged for Antony to meet up with Roy at the scan clinic then they both then joined Mike and I at the airport for a catch up before Mike then headed south.

20130703-121517.jpgGuess who got a new knife? Roy had his knife refurbished at the factory which Mike had visited.

Antony came for a quick visit to pick up a hat I had knitted for him


In between, we have been busy what with one thing or another. One day I went off to the movies with Pat & Sue to see Song for Marion, a good thing to do on a wet Auckland day. I enjoyed the movie although it was a little close to to home for me at times and the tissues got a work out!

Friends have visited us at Ambury, and we have been out visiting. Saturday we went to Jacky & Chris’ for lunch and also took the opportunity to do a bit of laundry. Sunday was spent with us entertaining friends with visits from Edwina, Vanessa and her children followed by a lovely afternoon spent with Ron & Janet.

A bit of maintenance on the van has been undertaken this past week or so, Pat kindly assisted by fixing some short lengths of tubing to the end of our guttering system so we can collect rain water. Rain water certainly makes a difference in taste to our cups of tea, and we just have a few more mods to do to enable us to collect water off the awning as well. Bernice has been busy removing the old caulking from around the shower and re caulking with the appropriate gunk (tech name for the stuff that you squeeze out of a large tube/caulking gun and manage to spread over most of yourself as well as the shower!!).

The weather has been very changeable with winter woollies dragged out of the cupboard, followed by wet weather gear, followed by lighter gear. Sometimes it all occurs within a few hours of each other. The birds and plants are very confused, as we have seen newly hatched Pukeko chicks, and this Manuka is on full flower right beside our van.


And some days it looks like we have set up a Chinese laundry

20130703-123531.jpgPat, Sue and Bernice watch the washing dry.

In the meantime, we wait for the next appointment and hope that they are pleased with Roy’s progress so that we can continue up on our journey. Roy is managing to walk a little way without crutches so we presume that means he is slowly on the mend.

Last but by no means least, we welcome another great niece to the family, Michelle Marie, born the day after her big sister Renee’s 5th birthday. Congratulations Natalie, Richard and Renee.

Ta ta Matata

February 4, 2013

First it was a drive up the coast a little to check out Pikowai for parking, sea conditions, swimming, fishing potential et al. It’s a lovely spot with toilets and coin operated showers just like at the DOC camp at Matata except at Pikowai you are parked very close to the sea.
20130201-151045.jpgothers all settled in.

There was hardly a soul in sight along the beach however we did come across someone’s kontiki gear.20130201-151238.jpg
A Kontiki traditionally came in the form of a very small pontoon-type boat, raft-like structure, kite or inflated object designed to be taken offshore by the wind, your fishing line can be taken out much further than by traditional surf casting. These days there are powered Kontiki’s which do not require an off shore wind.

We went for a wander and a paddle, the sea was a bit rough for swimming with strong rips in evidence but we were happy with cooling off our feet.20130201-151532.jpgthree birds in a row!
Speaking of birds, it is some time since we bored you all with a selection of bird photos but here goes!



John and Jenny came and joined us for dinner on Wednesday evening and we managed to put on a bit of a flame throwing display. Actually, I missed it but apparently the BBQ and gas had a bit of a misunderstanding and spurted flames out of the side of the BBQ. A quick switch off of the gas, remove the food to the oven in the van, and all was good.

Thursday and Roy’s cousin Robert came to visit for the day, we spent a lovely afternoon chatting, laughing, sorting out Robert’s iPad issues and going for a walk along the beach with his dog.

Although the beach was a little crowded…NOT!

Thursday and our last night in this part of NZ, we go into John’s for dinner and give him a hand in taking down his two tents. Work done, a lovely dinner and a game or 5 of Sequence before we bade our farewells to John & family and sunny Whakatane. Which reminds me, did you know that Whakatane is New Zealand’s sunshine capital, taking that mantle from Nelson last year? Whakatane thought they had the record the previous year but Nelsonians wrestled the title off them by alleging Whakatane had some dodgy recording instruments. All good things come to those who wait they say. We can attest to Whakatane’s sunny state, the weather has been utterly glorious the whole time we have been here. Till next time.

Oh and one of the best things about the camp at Matata? These laundry tubs scattered throughout the camp complete with wringers!