Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Back in the groove

October 17, 2018

We are back into our groove again, you know, get up at a leisurely hour in the mornings, look at the day, quickly dispense with any chores and then go fishing!!!

The fellas went out for an early morning fish, whilst some of us slept on…

Waiting for the fish as well as sunrise, what a beautiful morning, I’m pleased you took a picture of it so I would know what it looks like!

I think Keith was quite pleased with this catch!

The fishing gang on the beach, later in the day

somewhere in the blue shy is a little black dot, that is our kite!

Roy getting in his daily step count walking over to see Keith to discuss whose line we will bring in first (Roy is on light duties so Keith helps us to retrieve our line).

another good catch including this fantastic gurnard. We have never caught one as big before, I’m sure it will make good eating.

Roger the rooster is still here and becoming bolder and bolder, walking on the mat to the door to see if we will give him something to eat. I know what I’d really like to feed him!!!

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Medical matters

October 14, 2018

We made our way down to Auckland as far as Whakapirau where we were staying with Jacky & Chris for the night. It’s a 5hr drive from Rarawa to Whakapirau, including a couple of comfort stops, and then a further 2 hrs to get to Auckland so it’s a good break point for us.

Roy was due at Ascot at midday ready for surgery at around 2pm. Antony came in to take me out to lunch whilst Roy was under the knife laser. Roy was having some remedial surgery of the prostate as some tissue had atrophied as a result of the hormone and radiation treatments and was causing a bit of an issue. Meanwhile Antony and I went out for a nice lunch and a bit of retail therapy returning to the hospital just as the surgeon rang to say all had gone well and he would be in his room within the next hour.

I was happy to wait for him in his room enjoying the view.

the view from his room overlooking Ellerslie Race course.

He was back pretty soon, wide awake and feeling ok after having an epidural and a sedative rather than a full anaesthetic, so good in fact that he was keen to have something to eat. I left him in the good care of the staff at Ascot in the early evening to retire to Antony’s place for the night.

The following day Roy had not had the best night, so the surgeon was checking in on him a couple of times and sorting out his pain relief before he would allow him out later in the day. Meanwhile Antony and I headed over to Southern Cross Hospital on the North Shore where I was to have an MRI done on my hip replacement due to an anomaly showing up on previous X-rays.

MRI’s are not my favourite thing, they can be very claustrophobic, especially as they tighten a special cage device over the hip area to make sure you stay still and also tie my feet together and onto the bed so nothing moves….eeeek……but I told myself it was just for an hour so just suck it up and deal with it. It was completed in around 45minutes, but then they said I had to have more done but this time with a dye injected. Breathe in…….and out……..relax, think of your happy place Bernice, all these thoughts were racing through my mind as I went back into the scanner. But it was soon over with, next came the wait to see the surgeon in a few hours time.

Again, Antony & I went out for a bite to eat and to do a few chores. I must say it was great to have him with me and we had a good chat about everything and anything. We were back at the surgeons office 45minutes early, fortunately he could see me early. And the upshot?

At the top of the trochanter (femur) has some stress fractures that appear to be healing, no wonder it’s been a bit sore! and there maybe very small bone fragments that have come away and irritating matters. As well it looks like there is a pocket of fluid which he was unsure what it was exactly.

What’s next? They want to do a biopsy on the fluid via a needle inserted into the hip area….eeeek! this is to be done under a general anaesthetic and what about having it done next week? Oh and we will also check for infection with some blood tests as well. After a bit of discussion, we agreed that I would have the blood tests straight away and see what they say and put off the needle biopsy and do it next month when I am having my knee replaced negating the need for two anaesthetics in a short period of time. That is presuming everything comes back clear with the blood tests, fingers crossed.

I did ask if I was being a wuss with regards to the pain I have but I was assured that I am not, so with new prescription in hand we were soon on our way.

Meanwhile Roy was being discharged so we could pick him up on the way home and head to Antony’s for the night. We were both feeling pretty good so we thought we would head back north, just as far as Whakapirau initially, just to be close enough to Auckland if we had to return for any reason. After a restful nights sleep, we were ready to head back home.

We were back at the van the following day, ready to take things easy for a bit as Roy is on strict light duties, and I am to rest as much as practicable. That being said, we are both feeling pretty good so hope to get back to some good fishing stories soon.

Blue sky days

October 7, 2018

We have had an incredible run of beautiful blue sky days, with not a cloud in sight. The shorts and t shirts are well and truly being worn everyday and the sunscreen is being slapped on as well as a hat. And what better way to spend these stunning days than on the beach, oh, and whilst we are there we might as well have a fish.

Getting ready to fly out the baited hooks.

The following video shows what happens next.

The drone releases the line once it’s out as far as we choose it to go and then it magically returns to the beach and lands exactly where it takes off from. It’s a clever drone made here in New Zealand specifically for fishing. It has inbuilt safety mechanisms that will automatically ditch the line and return it to base if it detects that its battery is running low.

Once the line is set out, we usually wait anything for 45 minutes to an hour before bringing in the line. However, on this occasion, the line was only out for 3 minutes when the rod starting dancing. It was obvious that there was something rather large on the line. After much speculation of what it was….stingray, eel, very big snapper, and with the line continually being dragged out after just 15 minutes we decided to bring it all back in. Now the reel is also electric so doesn’t require but winding in but in this case the line was not coming in at all.

There is a fair amount of pull on that line. Not wanting to lose any gear, Keith started the slow process of getting in all in. Whatever it was, it was sure putting up a good fight, perhaps we had caught a taniwha (that means monster for you overseas readers). The line came in slowly when it was just over half way in, all of a sudden whatever it was gave up the fight and the line started coming in a little easier. However, once all in, there were only a couple of snapper on the hooks, but what’s this? A broken hook and one trace tied up into so many knots it’s not funny, whatever it was that was on the line was obviously very grumpy at being caught and made a bit of a mess of the line. Oh well, can’t complain I guess, we will go out again in the morning.

just hanging around in the sun waiting for the fish to come in. This beach has incredibly fine white silica sand tat squeaks when you walk on it.

and here they come, five or six in this set, I can’t remember!!

I’ve decided I am like the proverbial ‘banana on the boat’ jinx as the guys seem to do so much better when I am not with them, so later that day the boys went out for another fish at dusk. After such stunningly beautiful days it does cool down rather quickly in the early evenings so I am happy to stay nice and warm in the van doing my knitting!

Roy and I are heading to Auckland for a few days and we would like to be able to take some fresh fish with us for family and friends. We shall be back in a few days though so whilst we are away Keith & Deb can practise their fishing and relaxation skills ……and do something to quieten down Roger the Rooster!

Never a dull moment

October 1, 2018

The fishing was going great guns, every time the blokes went out they came home with lots of fish so we were eating it, giving it away and freezing some. Just as well as both couples were heading away for a couple of days, us a quick trip to Auckland for medical appointments and Keith & Debbie were off to Tauranga the day after we left for a family matter.

But not before a last minute fish off Tokerau Beach.

Keith with control in hand ready to send the drone out with the baits and longline.

We have lift off.

Wait for 45 minutes then press the button on the reel to bring in the line….

Enough fish to share around with family and friends.

We were very fortunate as we were going to break our journey to Auckland by staying with Jacky & Chris at Whakapirau as it is a non stop 5 1/2 hour drive from Tokerau to Auckland, and who does that sort of distance without a couple of stops at least? It’s 3 1/2 hrs to Whakapirau, but add another hour on to that for stops, road works and the like so it’s still a decent drive.

Roy had a checkup with the Urologist, the upshot being he is having some surgery to clean up the prostate on Monday 8th October. He will be in Ascot Hospital overnight or possibly two nights. Meanwhile I had my 3month checkup with my surgeon, and we made a date for knee surgery, 19th November it is scheduled for the first knee replacement, a great birthday present to myself!!

After another great stay with Jacky and Chris on our return journey home, we headed home Wednesday morning, calling in to the Jewellers in Whangarei to pick up my repaired rings and necklace.

my rings, all beautifully repaired and polished, and now all joined together so that they don’t rub against each other.

I also had my necklace repaired with a new chain put on,

This necklace is one that Roy gave to me for my 21st birthday, just a couple of years ago!

Back at the van on Thursday I received a call from my surgeon, on reviewing the latest X-ray of my hip, they’ve noticed an anomaly on the trochanter (top of the femur) which doesn’t look quite right and could I go back for an MRI scan to further investigate things? Oh no, what could it possibly be? Stress fractures possibly, but they will see once they do the scan. No wonder I still have pain!! I’ve scheduled the MRI and consult for the 9th October so we shall have to wait and see what eventuates. Bugger!

Never mind, we can hopefully get another week of fishing in, whip down to Auckland in the car for a couple of days and get everything over had done with and still be on track for knee surgery in November. Fingers crossed.

When Sh*# happens

September 29, 2018

Sometimes you just wonder when will it ever end. This entry is all about the realities of living in a motorhome/RV so skip this one if you are of a delicate disposition.

We were in the sh#*. Literally! The valve that we open to empty the black tank had developed a leak, just a drip drip drip, but nevertheless a drip, and a smelly one at that because we are under no illusion that our crap does not stink!

Luckily we had a valve to replace the said leaky one, we’ve been carrying it around for years….just in case.

The new pieces, the black tank valve is 3 inch diameter valve (the picture shows the smaller grey tank valve).

This is where it all happens, inside the locker is the two handles to pull, one for the grey waste one for the black. By the time I took this picture we had managed to get the black valve out before the harrowing task of trying to get it all back together. How does it all work I hear you ask? You go to a dump station, place the evacuation hose into the dump station, pull the handle to open the valve and it all magically disappears down the pipes though the red hose you can see at the bottom left of the picture into the dump station, never to be seen. It is usually a no mess easy to perform task but not when there is a leak. Ewwww.

I researched how to replace the valve on YouTube, we watched the videos, it looked oh so simple, yeah right. Roy and I spent nearly a whole day trying to get the said goddam valve removed, it is in an awkward position and we had to both try to get our hands in there to undo nuts, wiggle around pipe work and other bits and generally become more and more frustrated with the whole process.

Roy contemplating the next move.

We finally got the valve removed but it was no easy task as two of the nuts and bolts were at the back of the locker behind the pipe work, almost flush against the rear of the locker. It did not help that also in this locker is the panel holding the outdoor shower and light panel which quite frankly was just a damn nuisance and got in the way.

In the end we gave up and waited for reinforcements.

Gary and Keith to the rescue. Not everyone would be ok dealing with someone else waste outlets, but in saying that we did make sure they were well and truly emptied and left empty for a couple of days to dry out.

Not only did they have to get the replacement valve in place, but it was critical that the two rubber washers were perfectly lined up so as not to create another leak and with little or no wiggle room to move the pipes apart, patience and determination were the key elements as you no sooner got the valve into position then one of the rubber washers would either fall out or be in the wrong position. Grrrrr.

three heads are better than one to nut out the problem, right? The easiest way it seems, was to also remove the grey waste valve giving a little more room to move and then replace the grey valve last as it is smaller and with less other pipe work around it. After a little while it was all done, great team work between the guys and it was time to test. I poured a bucket of water down the toilet to test for any leaks. Holding our breath we waited…..success, no leaks. Then the grey, hooray, it’s all working as it should, no leaks and all cleaned up.

all back together, handles labelled, pipes reinstated, we are now good to go.

A HUGE thank you to Gary and Keith for coming to our aid, it’s times like this that you get to know who your friends are!!!

The things we do

September 22, 2018

Gary & Marg had sold their caravan whilst we were staying with them, however an earlier mishap meant that a new awning had to be put on the caravan before the new owners collected it. So how many people does it take to put on an awning? ….I’ll let you see for yourselves.

Luckily Keith & Debbie had arrived earlier in the day so it was all hands on deck, however the author of this blog post was told she was a little vertically challenged to be of any real assistance, the cheek of it!!! And yes, Roy’s shorts were falling down in the above picture, it got worse a little later!!

showing off the undies and builders crack!

It was a very successful effort and the awning was put in place, tested and they all stood back to admire their handiwork.

The neighbour had been out fishing and gave us some fish, some trevalli which became marinated fish and some kingfish steaks which Marg made for our dinner with a lemon caper butter sauce, it was delicious.

Not to be outdone, we are starting to get our fishing mojo back again with some good catches made. Keith had had his drone out a few times and is bringing in fish every time, including these beauties.

Another late afternoons haul

Tokerau Beach

August 28, 2018

We beat a hasty retreat out of Kerikeri as the NZMCA Park was jam packed with less than a quarter of the site being able to be utilised due to the very wet and boggy ground. I was going to do a bit of a rant about inconsiderate people who park their tow vehicles to take up as much room as possible so that no one else can get in, but I won’t!!!

With Stuart being away from Kerikeri on a jaunt south we decided that there was no good reason to stay in Kerikeri so with that in mind, we packed up and left after one night.

Onto Tokerau Beach….I can almost hear the sighs of pleasure emanating as we depart Kerikeri and the levels of relaxation rise the further north we go.

crossing one of the single lane bridges, this one just out of Kaeo

shall we stop here for a morning cuppa?

oh, if we must. A coffee with a view

a panoramic shot of Cable Bay

another one lane bridge, this one at Taipa which is being worked on to upgrade it to a two lane bridge.

We arrived at Tokerau Beach and are now parked at friends Gary & Marg’s place for a bit, let’s hope that the fishing is better here than we have been experiencing of late.

A few false starts

August 26, 2018

We had planned to leave Uretiti Monday after the RAV got its WoF as it was booked in for 8am we should be on our way by 10am. Yeah right! The RAV didn’t get its warrant, it needed some bushes and they had to be ordered in and would be in the following morning. Ok, so we delay our departure for another day. I take the car back to the garage on Tuesday and they said they would call when it was ready. Yep, you know what’s coming don’t you? We got a phone call around midday to say, yes, they had replaced the front bushes but he now thinks the rear ones need replacing, and did we need the car as the parts would not be arriving until Wednesday. Harumph! Oh well, another day or two spent here is not a bad thing, it’s just that we had tentative plans sorted for a change!

The parts did not arrive at the garage until late Thursday afternoon so it wasn’t until Friday morning we got the car back.

Meanwhile, we decided to have one last fish off the beach. It was all going so well, the kite launched beautifully, it pulled the line out and we soon had all the baits out and it was all sailing straight out for us. Then all of a sudden everything came to a halt, the line stopped going out and the kite began to dive. We quickly started pulling it in but unfortunately the kite fell in the water. Oh no, but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem though as it’s happened many times before. The line was VERY hard to pull in, and we were soon to find out why. We had caught not only someone else’s abandoned line but their plastic bag full of sand used as an anchor. The lines were incredibly tangled but luckily I had my trusty Swiss Army knife with me to cut off the very fine line we were tangled up with. But oh no, the kite wasn’t at the end of the line, it had broken off. Bu*#@r.

That’s it, I am not fishing off this beach again, it has never been very fruitful and it is also where we lost all our gear a while ago which you can recap on here. Luckily a friend of ours was heading down to Auckland the following day and he was happy to go to the kite shop and pick up a new one for us, which he did.

Jacky came for a quick visit on Friday, it was soo lovely to catch up and spend a little time together. We had planned to visit her all week but being without the car made that impossible, it’s always good to meet up and chat.

After Jacky’s visit we headed into Whangarei with a long shopping list including lots of things to do. First and foremost was to get the registration for the car sorted then it was on to complete a few more tasks before we decided we needed some sustenance. We headed for Deluca in downtown Whangarei where we had one of the best lunches out we have had in a long time.

mushroom and pancetta arancini with pepper aioli and rocket salad

house made squid twisters with pickled cucumber salad and chilli dipping sauce

And I have to say that the coffee was very good too. As the cafe we used to frequent has changed hands (and not so good now), we shall be returning here next time we are in town to try some of their other great sounding menu items.

Saturday was spent catching up on domestic chores such as laundry and packing up all our bits and pieces ready to move on to Kerikeri which we managed to do on Sunday nearly a week later than originally planned, just as well we don’t live life on a tight schedule!

Time drifts on by

August 20, 2018

I am always surprised at how time seems to slip through our fingers, before you know it another week has gone and we wonder what on earth we have been doing.

We are still at Uretiti enjoying the sunshine and relative peace and quiet and managing to keep ourselves very busy doing not much at all. Oh I tell lies, there are always things to be done, and places to go and people to see with little spare time for much else.

We have been to local markets to stock up on lovely fresh vegetables as well we have been in to Whangarei to do some shopping as there always seems to be those little bits and pieces to buy.

Included doing the odd things like cleaning the vents and the vent covers, cleaning the windows, and as well putting new broom holders on the wall in the laundry area.

All looking neat and tidy.

It’s been lovely having Keith & Debbie around, we all seem to get on well without living in each other’s pockets. The chaps have been out fishing on numerous occasions with very little catching being done with either the drone or the kite, but it seems as though no one is catching much off this beach right at the moment so we think it’s time for us to move further north. We’ve been on the odd excursion into Whangarei, finding new things and rediscovering others whilst always having a laugh and a half. Keith & Debbie are now off with family for a couple of weeks but we shall meet up with them again in another few weeks.

We’ve caught up with Mark & Glynis a couple of times, with the last occasion Glynis finally remembered to take a photo of us

It was a great night too, lovely food, fabulous Ata Rangi wines, and fantastic company.

Roy and I had a quick trip down to Auckland for specialists appointments and to collect our mail and have a quick catch up with Antony. Included in the mail was my new Fitbit-style activity tracker, which is keeping me on track so I know exactly how far I am walking each day.

I haven’t quite got to the recommended 10,000 steps as yet but I am getting there. I just have to get used to all the features this tracker has to make best use of it. It seems to do just about everything as it is paired to my phone so I get notified of messages, txts, emails etc as well as the tracking features, heart rate monitor etc etc. We are so impressed that we have ordered one for a Roy, his one has even more features so that should be fun.

My hip is really good now, the last annoying stitch finally fell off yesterday, and I have very little hip pain at all apart from when I do something I shouldn’t! But the knees are another story. You can tell they are giving me lots of pain and issues as I am not hesitant at all about going to back to the surgeon to get them sorted……it’s only been 12 years since I was first told I needed them replaced but I don’t think I can put it off any longer.

Other little tasks have been done like getting warrant of fitness certificate for the RAV, and then both vehicles needed registering.

Another wee job that has always gone to the “I’ll do that later” list, has finally been sorted. I am getting my engagement and eternity rings fixed after a mishap I had with catching my hand in a door some time ago. I have found a fabulous jeweller here in Whangarei that actually does design and repair work. They have suggested that they join my eternity and engagement rings together as part of the problem has been that the two rings move against each other and have resulted in damage. Brilliant idea.

There have been many other motorhoming friends pass through the camp so it has been an opportune time to catch up on all their comings and goings and what everyone is up to since we saw them last.

The hands have been busy knitting up a storm with lots of baby things done for friends and family that are having babies.

I’ve also got back into making my sourdough bread again which has proved to be very successful. So much so I’ve had to make a couple of loaves every second day to keep up with demand!

All in all we manage to keep ourselves out of mischief and we do achieve a few things occasionally!

We’ve done it again!

August 6, 2018

One of these bright fine days, we are going to learn to stop putting our hands up and to stop volunteering to help out! But not just yet, yes, we’ve done it again.

We are at Uretiti where the camp hosts are Ray & Cindy, whom we have met on our many previous visits here as well as running into them during our stint as camp hosts at Shakespear. Chatting with them during our stay, it turned out that they had a surgery appointment in Auckland and their usual stand in host was going to be away on holiday. Well you can guess what is coming next can’t you? Yes, that is exactly right, I opened my mouth and said “we can look after the place for you”.

A quick induction on the vagaries of the computer booking-in system and a couple of half days of being thrown in the deep end and managing ok, we were set for our weekend trial.

Well, we have survived. Everyone was very patient especially when I was fumbling my way through the booking system and then the eftpos machine, then allocating unique gate codes for the automatic entry/exit gates without too many stuff ups. After a few entries I was confident with all the processes and managed it without too many hassles. Meanwhile, Roy did the early morning unlocking of the main gates and the late night lock up and other general duties. All in all, we enjoyed our weekend of being stand-in camp hosts and we can’t have done too much wrong as we have been asked to stand in again later in the week!