Archive for the ‘Shakespear’ Category

Moving on….

March 10, 2019

We are very good at changing our plans. Initially we had intended to move on from Shakespear a week ago on Sunday BUT we heard from Gary & Marg that they were coming down to Red Beach to look after their grandkids so we thought we would delay our departure for a few days and take the opportunity to catch up with them before we head out of town.

Meanwhile we are trying to get a few jobs done that we have managed to put off until now….isn’t that always the way, put off the inevitable until we have to do it!!

Our last weekend was a very busy weekend again with campers, with some lovely lovely people in. Some even shared their spoils…

yes, we had fresh fish for dinner that evening.

Inevitably it was time to bid farewell to everyone at Shakespear, after a lovely farewell from the Rangers and some other volunteers we finally headed out of the park on Thursday. But we weren’t going too far as we still had a few chores to get done. So via the LPG filing station at Dairy Flat where, when a truck pulled out from in front of us revealed this special pairing.

I have no idea what it is exactly but obviously it stands upright as there are hydraulic rams on the side near the base. I couldn’t ask the driver either as he was out of there a moment after I had taken the picture.

We headed off to South Auckland heading first to the dump station at Bruce Pullman Park in Papakura. Then it was off to the friendly fellows at VTNZ in Takanini for a COF where we had to wait in line for some time before we had our turn. By this time it was lunch time and time for a cuppa and a bite to eat whilst we waited. We soon had our COF and it was back to the dump station. Why return to the dump station? Because we had half filled the black and grey water tanks with fresh water to slosh around whilst we drive around which helps clean them out a bit, especially required after sitting for so long in one place they needed a good clean out. That all done it was off to a busy Ardmore to park up for a few days.

I had forgotten what it is like to park in a place with other vehicles so close to you, as well as parking on gravel. Give me grass any day but needs must. We are here for a week as we have booked the van in to have the underneath sealed next week, a necessary maintenance job to prevent any rust on the chassis as we so often park near salt laden sea air.

Our son Antony lives just around the corner from Ardmore so it is also a good opportunity to catch up with him, oh and utilise his cooking facilities.

It’s that time of the year again, pickling and preserving time, and first on the list was to make some sauce and soup.

two pots on the boil

And the resulting spoils

Along with the plum sauce I made a few weeks ago, the store cupboard is becoming full again. That should keep us going for some time.

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The big move

February 21, 2019

After three and a half months in the Shakespear campground we have made the big move, just 750m Along the road to the SCC (Self Contained Certificate) camp area. This is because there is a large school group in the campground and we always vacate the campground at this stage and leave them to it. As you can see from the following photos, it’s pretty busy in here.

It does get busy over the weekends but for the rest of the week we are pretty much on our own.

We can still continue with our camp mother/camp leader roles from here and it’s pretty interesting what we see from our position here opposite the large public area whereas in the campground we are pretty much cocooned from the general public.

We did meet up with John & Sarah, they write a very good motorhome travel blog https://licencedtoretire.com. We enjoyed a lovely couple of days in their company and look forward to meeting up again soon as I neglected, yet again, to take any pictures.

I too have been taking things easy, hoping that by not doing too much my hip will heal quickly. We have had the official written report from the surgeon and for those interested the diagnosis is an “Avulsion fracture of the greater trochanter”. Sounds impressive doesn’t it? I can assure you that the only thing impressive is the pain, but with medication it is slowly coming under control, and I do get a good 3-4hours of uninterrupted sleep most nights now.

We have less than two weeks left here at Shakespear before we head off to parts unknown, and it’s not long before we are off to the UK again.

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.

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!

Te Haruhi Bay – a poem

February 1, 2019

This poem was written and given to us by a camper, who wrote this on her recent stay with us.

I’m sure you will agree that it is a lovely piece of writing.

Te Haruhi Bay by Mary Fletcher, January 2019.

Where ancient feet have trod,

Brown feet running on soft golden sand,

Lives lived, history made, babies born, whanau died

Kaimoana at low tide,

Fat kereru nesting in tall pohutakawas, swooping, calling;

Pukekos caught, snared, shared.

Calling birds wake the people, tangata whenua

Oceans roar, oceans roar and roll.

Moonlight, starlight on the living breathing land

Flax grown, cut, pounded, kete made and remade,

– Ever on the alert, friends or enemies may arrive

Urupa used, sacred places…

Times change, times change, vision dims

History happens, ownership/guardianship transfers, willingly/unwillingly.

Sounds of cutting, slashing, burning, birdsongs dim,

oceans roar, oceans roar.

Tides come in and out,

Building roads in and out. Technology noise, tractors, cars,motors,

Top dressing planes, gates up,

Sheep baaing, cows mooing drowns more bird calls,

Oceans roar, oceans roar.

Times change, times change. Vision happens.

Gates up, gates down, housing encroaches, gates up, trees planted, fences up

Oceans roar, oceans roar.

Flax restored, natives planted, birds arrive, birds stay

Green hills sprout trees, kaimoana at low tide

Kereru swoop, morpork calls, moonlight, star light, people gather

Sanctuary restoring, land resting

Nature recovering, people enjoying, protecting fragile ecosystems,

Urupa protected, stays, sacred, hiding secrets, loves, lives, history laid down.

Te Haruhi Bay breathes again

Oceans roar, oceans roar.

Apologies, but for some reason all the formatting that I set out for the poem does not stay in place,

Te Haruhi Bay at Shakespear Regional Park.

Merry Christmas

December 26, 2018

Merry Christmas, seasons greetings and happy New Year to you all from a very wet Shakespear Regional Park. The Pohutukawa are still putting on a fine display for Christmas Day although nearing the end of their flowering season.

We spent Christmas Eve evacuating campers to a woolshed on the park for a dry place to sleep as well as moving others to higher ground as streams overflowed, and puddles became small lakes. Some people just abandoned ship and went home returning the following day to collect all their very wet and in some cases broken camping gear.

The trees took a real battering with the wind overnight and we woke this morning to a carpet of red snow.

In the wind and rain we packed ourselves up ready to move at a moments notice as the stream at the back of where we parked rose and overflowed coming within a metre of the wheels, however we did not have to move this time. It just so happened that the worst of the downpour coincided with high tide which compounded matters. In the end, the rain eased and the tide turned enabling the water to drain.

Nevertheless most people were in good spirits and coped well with the situation.

Christmas morning was spent helping out campers who were trying to retrieve gear, dry out or find a dry spot, or needed help with a jump start for flat batteries or duct tape to mend broken tent poles. Unfortunately that meant we didn’t get to sit down to eat our (now cold) breakfast until 11.30am. Even a call from Alex was interrupted numerous times with people wanting assistance.

Roy and I enjoyed our Christmas dinner in the evening, a lovely cranberry and orange stuffed turkey breast wrapped in bacon then roasted accompanied by gravy as well as a cranberry port sauce and the usual array of vegetables. We were both too full after the main event to even think about any dessert.

Boxing Day has been a very windy day which has been really helpful to those wanting to dry out wet gear, however some tents are not handling the wind too well and minor repairs are being made.

All in all a very memorable Christmas, we trust you all enjoyed your celebrations. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.

Bloomin’ lovely

December 15, 2018

It’s Christmas and the trees are all decorated, I mean the New Zealand native Christmas trees aka Pohutakawas, and they are particularly magnificent this year.

The pohutukawa tree (Metrosideros excelsa) with its crimson flower has become an established part of the New Zealand Christmas tradition. This iconic Kiwi Christmas tree, which often features on greeting cards and in poems and songs, has become an important symbol for New Zealanders at home and abroad.

Pohutukawa and its cousin rata also hold a prominent place in Maori tradition. Legends tell of Tawhaki, a young Maori warrior, who attempted to find heaven to seek help in avenging the death of his father. He fell to earth and the crimson flowers are said to represent his blood.

A gnarled, twisted pohutukawa on the windswept cliff top at Cape Reinga, the northern tip of New Zealand, has become of great significance to many New Zealanders. For Maori this small, venerated pohutukawa is known as ‘the place of leaping’. It is from here that the spirits of the dead begin their journey to their traditional homeland of Hawaiki. From this point the spirits leap off the headland and climb down the roots of the 800-year-old tree, descending into the underworld on their return journey.

Colours vary as well with the flowers ranging from pink to red to crimson to a bronze red. There are also yellow pohutakawa, which I like to think of as my Christmas tree decked out in golden decorations.

I love the long twisting branches and the way the tree clings improbably to cliffs. Kids love playing amongst its branches and we all love to camp or picnic beneath their arching limbs providing much needed shade from the summer sun.

In times past, I was known for my elaborately decorated Christmas trees, always colour themed, and never the same colours repeated.

Now I am just happy to see nature’s best decorated trees in all their glory.

The good news

December 10, 2018

We have both been back to our respective surgeons this past week, actually on the same day but on the opposite sides of Auckland. Roy headed off to Ascot Hospital Greenlane in the morning for his post op check up, which went well, his PSA levels are almost zero and everything else is healing fine.

My appointment was at Southern Cross Hospital in Wairau Road, and Keith came to the rescue and did his best “Driving Miss Daisy” impression and we were there in no time. I also got a good review, the allergic reaction has settled, the wound is healing nicely, so well in fact that instead of seeing the surgeon in a couple of weeks time for the post op X-rays and checkup, we have delayed it until next year as we both felt that it would be a better time frame and considering I am doing so well, there was no point in an early appointment.

But prior to our appointments we were spectators to an amazing thunder and lightning storm which also brought with it torrential rain.

the view from the door during the deluge.

The thunder and lightning was directly overhead, the noise was intense and I must admit I was a little concerned. What we didn’t find out until later in the day was that three sheep, up on the hill not 150metres from the van, were struck by lightning and killed.

The storm was over in a few short hours and was all clear by the time we needed to get away to our appointments.

The view from the door just a few hours after the storm departed. amazing really that the water was already disappearing from sight.

The following day was departure day for Keith & Debbie, we have been travelling together for the past few months and have enjoyed having their company and at various times assistance with bits and pieces especially as both Roy and I have been on light duties post surgeries. We’ve shared a few laughs, in fact a lot of laughs, and of course we have enjoyed the fishing exploits. We will meet up again next year when the freezers need filling up again with lots of lovely fresh fish.

So life for us is back to camp hosting duties, which is already proving to be interesting,, what with a terrible booking system to contend with from an end user perspective, tourists who cannot book in for whatever reason, the odd partying underage campers to deal with, campers arriving late and being noisy without regard for others and campers who arrive without essential items and come looking for assistance.

All in a days work.

Back to Shakespear

November 17, 2018

We arrived late Sunday afternoon in glorious sunshine, we were set up fairly quickly and just as well because no sooner had we finished when the skies opened and the rained poured down. But not before I managed to take a picture of us all set up.

It’s lovely to be back although it sounds as though we could be in for an interesting summer as the booking system has been completely changed. Before it was just plain terrible, now it’s diabolical! It has obviously been set up by someone who has a) never made a booking before, for anything….and b) has never been on the working end of a booking system especially from the end user perspective. It should not be so difficult or convoluted, in fact it should be very simple. We have complained about the previous system for years (along with just about every end user) and now somehow they have managed to make it even worse. I bet someone was paid a lot of money to make it such a shambles. Getting off soap box now.

This last week was a week of appointments and checkups, culminating with me (Bernice) having one of my knees replaced on Monday the 19th. Interesting wee aside though, as part of the pre Op checks and tests, I was measured and guess what? Since I had my hip replaced I am exactly one whole centimetre taller!!! Every little bit helps.

The surgery and subsequent recovery is not something I am particularly looking forward to but I am looking forward to one day being pain free and much more mobile.

Since we have been back here at Shakespear though we have been amazed at the proliferation of bird life, we have some saddlebacks here in the campground with two new chicks that are making their presence heard and kiwi can be heard most nights. In fact tonight I could have sworn that the kiwi was just outside the door it sounded so close. I went out looking with my red torchlight (red so it doesn’t hurt their eyes) but I could not see it anywhere. The Tuis are amazing not just for their call but also their flying antics. I watched them chase away a mynah and a magpie yesterday. The pukekos are everywhere, there are robins and fantails and yellow heads and whiteheads and we have a thrush that seems to particularly like us as well.

All the hard work that the rangers and volunteers put in are really paying off with the bush line extending every year, it really is a huge asset for Auckland along with the other regional parks.

Always take the weather with you

July 16, 2018

How do you know that the Vannini’s are back at Shakespear? Look at the weather!

Our view went from this

To this

It seems as though we bring extreme weather events with us to Shakespear having been here before when the rainfall has been excessive. This time the planned public planting day had to be cancelled for the first time ever. The planting of trees was to have taken place on Sunday, in fact the area chosen to be planted was around a major slip that occurred last year to stabilise the hillside. That slip took place when we were again parked in the Motorhome parking area last year which you can read about here

Never mind, it all passed pretty quickly and we were safe and dry inside the van.

We did manage to catch up with a few of the Rangers whilst we were here as well as friends whom we have met here. We visited Skip & Mindy for a very pleasant day catching up on news and travels. And we hope we have managed to assist their daughter to convince them to head off on holiday to Europe with her later this year.

and this was our view on the way out today