Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

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Hip hip boo hoo

February 15, 2019

Last week I had my follow up appointment after knee replacement surgery. I have to say that I found the knee replacement surgery a doddle and had full mobility after just a week or so, and the pain has been negligible, compared to my hip, but you will find out why that is shortly.

Here’s the X-ray of the said knee replacement, with a side view on the left and front view on the right and yes, I know the X-ray is reversed!

The knee is fully healed and I have full range of motion and what is more…no pain!

My hip replacement however, has not been all that I expected, for a start I have had continual pain, so much so that the past few months I have been unable to sleep and you know what that means? …yes, grumpy Bernice. We knew after the post op checkup X-ray and subsequent MRI that there was a probable crack in the trochanter which I was expecting it to have healed by now. There was also a suggestion at the time (and the reason I had the MRI) that something more sinister could be going on rather than a break.

There was apparently lots of discussion between radiologists and my surgeon as to what was going on but I was pretty confident that the surgeon was right and it was just a break.. did I really say that? “just” a break?

However, my surgeon was adamant that it was stress fracture, the talk of worse things he played down considerably so that I would not worry or panic. He now tells us that he discussed it with his wife, who just so happens to be a cancer specialist, and he was sure he was correct and that there was no need to put me through the trauma of a biopsy, which we discussed at the time of the first MRI when we considered having it done whilst I was under anaesthetic for the knee replacement. But the week before the knee surgery we discussed the biopsy possibilities again and I was more than comfortable with his recommendation that we don’t proceed with it. And at this stage the pain was not so bad and in fact had started to dissipate however, over the last two months the pain has increased, a lot.

Last week during the knee checkup I explained to the specialist that my hip was becoming excruciatingly painful, especially at night, and I was not a happy chappy. He quickly sent me back to the X-ray dept next door for another X-ray, this time of the hip.

And what do you know? It’s definitely fractured, with the offending piece having completely broken off at some stage! No wonder it’s been damn painful. The following pictures are of my X-ray on the lightbox so there is some shadowing and reflection.

the offending trochanter which is the knobbly piece at the top of the femur

The trochanter circled in red, the break is indicated by the yellow arrow. Not only has it completely broken off, it has moved a bit. Ouch!

So another MRI was booked and I had that on Tuesday as well as a follow up appointment with the specialist.

This latest MRI confirmed the specialists view, what has happened is that the stress fracture developed over time to become a full on fracture. I was relieved that a) it was nothing more serious and b) that I had a very reasonable excuse for being in such pain and I wasn’t just being pathetic!

We talked at length about what to do about it, coming to the conclusion that doing nothing for the trochanteric break was the only real option. It is now healing nicely albeit slower than I would like, and further surgery is definitely not in the scheme of things. The thought of them having to do further surgery to rebreak it, then reattach with screws, plates and wires is a daunting prospect particularly as everything I’ve read and studied all come to the same conclusion; the outcomes after 12 months are almost identical wether nothing is done or surgery is performed. So with good pain management the priority, we now have a plan in place and hopefully it will continue to heal and I just have to be patient (not one of my best qualities) and definitely no skydiving or other dangerous activities, even though I’ve been walking around on a fracture for months.

Apparently fractures occur in a very small number of replacements but they are the most common complication after total hip replacement surgery and of those small number of fractures about 5% are trocanteric fractures. So it’s just my shit luck to be part of the very, very small percentage to have this occur! I always knew I was a bit “special” πŸ˜‰.

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 regimeπŸ˜‚.

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….πŸ˜‚

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.

Knee update

January 18, 2019

A number of people have asked how my knee has been post surgery, so after 6 weeks here is an update.

It has been a breeze, pain has been negligible since day one, however it has been carefully managed and I have tried not to be a hero and go without the pain meds which I am sure is part of the reason why recovery has been so easy. I had full movement back after just a week post surgery and I was diligent in doing the exercises given to me by my physio.

I continued using crutches for about 4 weeks although I could have given them up long before then but I have been very mindful to take things carefully so as not to have any mishaps. My wound healed really well, helped I am sure by the Manuka Honey Wound Gel that my surgeon suggested I use. The scar is already becoming less and less visible, now assisted by the use of rosehip oil to reduce the evidence of scarring.

the scar isn’t looking too bad at all is it?

It has been so easy that I am wondering why I put it off for so long? In fact I asked the surgeon the day after the op if he could whip me down to theatre and do the other knee whilst I was there. Unfortunately his schedule was full.

I had been putting surgery off in the hope that the research into stem cell use would be done by now. Although some people are having stem cell therapy done and with some success, my very thorough research says that clinical trials are still ongoing with advances coming all the time however there have been too many incidences of rogue cells becoming cancerous. Hence my reticence in trying it out.

I am reliable told that advances in orthopaedic surgery in the past two years has been remarkable which has probably helped my recovery as well. But having a great surgeon and anaesthetist is also a huge factor in my quick recovery I am sure.

Now just the next one to be done, I think we may just postpone that one until we return from the UK as if I have it done before we go I am pretty sure that Sod’s law will kick in and something will go wrong and I definitely don’t want to do anything to jeopardise that exciting trip.

So to sum up, it’s been such an easy surgery and recovery I wish I had had it done years ago. I even enjoyed? (not sure that is the right word) my hospital stay pretending I was on a mini holiday break with the bed made for me, meals cooked for me, with lots of rest involved. Just keep your fingers crossed that the next one goes as well.

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 πŸ˜‰) 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 πŸ˜‰.

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.

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.

Early Christmas present

December 19, 2018

We’ve given ourselves an early Christmas present, we have booked and paid for our trip to London next year! We depart Auckland on the 19th May and with a quick change of planes in Hong Kong continue our journey to arrive in London in the very early hours of the 20th May, but don’t worry Alex, we will catch the train into town from Heathrow to arrive at your place at a reasonable hour.

We will arrive 12 days before Alex & Ian’s baby is due, keeping our fingers crossed that the baby doesn’t arrive early! We return to NZ on 30 August at midnight with an overnight stay in Hong Kong just to break the trip a little.

We haven’t planned anything else in between as yet but a trip to Ireland definitely looks promising. We shall leave Alex & Ian to find their feet once baby arrives, however we shall be around to provide support when and if needed. So I’m sure a few trips here and there will be in order and it will be so nice to be in England over their summer months for a change from our usual visits in winter.

And of course it will be lovely to spend time with our grandchild and do the whole spoiling, cuddling and generally annoy everyone with how it will be the cutest bestest baby ever!!

Oh and I see that the Netball World Champs are on in Liverpool in July, now that is good timing!