Archive for the ‘whakatane’ Category

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig.

September 10, 2019

There’s no place like home said someone, once, and it’s so true. Although I have to quickly add that we do feel at home in England as well, especially at Alex & Ian’s.

I remember in one of my tutorials at University we were asked to define where is home…is it where you live now? or where you were born? or where you were raised? or where you went to school? You hear immigrants in particular talking of ‘home’, I remember my parents talking of ‘back home’ meaning England. Is home defined by place, people or thing? There is no right answer, everyone has a different viewpoint.

Getting over jet lag, opening mail, sorting out stuff were the order of events over the first days back. We made appointments for Doctors visits for checkups, sorted out bits and pieces and in between tried to get body clocks onto NZ time.

We had a very pleasant surprise in the mail from England. A spice kit that Alex Ian and Callum had organised for us. It’s a monthly spice kit which arrives with all the spice mixes to make delicious meals. With full instructions on the meal preparations as well as a little history on where the meal originated, a list of how to remake the spice mixes for a repeat of the meal all included.

The kit and the note from Callum

It’s something we had seen in England as Alex had bough Ian a subscription for his birthday. You receive an email notification of what is coming up in the next months kit and options to change for another kit of your choice if you so desire as there are up to 5 choices each month. You can also put a hold on receiving it for a few months if you wish and restart when it suits.

We just love the curries in England, it’s always our first choice when we arrive and it’s our choice of farewell meal as well.

Of course we were keen to give the kit a go, with the shopping list in hand (included in the kit) it was off to the shops for the main ingredients.

We were cooking this

Tonight’s dinner

it also required us to make a dum aloo, potato dish, and a spicy tomato chutney to accompany the main dishes. We had only arrived back the previous day, I should have thought a bit more about that before embarking on cooking the meal. I got 9/10ths of the way through preparing it all when Jet lag hit me, I just had to go to bed right there and then before I fell over. Roy and Antony finished off the cooking and reported that the meal was fantastic.

The result

Really flavoursome and tasty with the only chilli heat coming from the tomato chilli chutney that accompanied the meal.

We had the rest of the meal the following day and I can attest to how deliciously flavoursome it was and plenty for all of us so a generous 4 servings as per the leaflet. We really look forward to receiving the next parcel.

We had to get a WOF for the car as well as register it, that was done the afternoon of our arrival. Then we both needed a WOF for ourselves at the Doctors, that done we then could head off down to Whakatane to be reunited with our van.

The trip to Whakatane was via Hamilton so we could call in to see Wayne Hunt, a motorhome solar expert, to sort out a time to have a new charger put in that would trickle feed the van battery off the solar so that when we sit still for any length of time the van battery will be fully charged negating the need to start the engine every other day. That done we then called in to see our dear friends Wade & Lindsay for a quick catch up and lunch before heading off to Whakatane.

We arrived at John & Jude’s late in the afternoon and then spent the next few days sorting ourselves out. John had kindly sorted out our RUCs and van registration whilst we were away so we just had to take the van in to get a COF. It was all done very quickly and efficiently without any hassles at Ted’s Testing Station in Whakatane. We can highly recommend them and we will definitely use them again.

We made a day trip up to Papamoa to see friend Estelle whose husband Bill passed away whilst we were overseas. It was then on into Tauranga to see my 3 nieces and great nieces to catch up with them before we leave the Bay and make our way north.

We can’t thank John & Jude enough for looking after our home on wheels whilst we were away, it was great to know that it was safe and sound in their care and well looked after.

Countdown is on

May 14, 2019

This time next week we will be in London and to say that we are just a little excited is an understatement. Even the thought of being kept captive inside a thin metal tube for 26 hours isn’t that daunting, it’s just something that we have to get on with.

We are basically flying straight through with just a 2 1/2 hour stopover in Hong Kong. Yes, we are going through Hong Kong this time, we are still refusing to go through the USA – our little protest against adding to the tourism figures of a certain orange coloured figure that is pretending to be President – and as we went through Singapore last time, Vancouver the previous trip, this time Hong Kong draws the straw. We are flying with Cathay Pacific and we haven’t travelled with them before so this will all be new.

We are starting to write lists of what we want to take with us, but one suitcase has already been filled with goodies for Alex, Ian and the baby. There are things to sort out with bits and pieces here before we go and there is always something at the back of your mind that you can’t quite recall but you are positive that you have forgotten something. Time will tell.

Of course things haven’t exactly gone to plan. With just one week until we fly out, I was heading to bed when I noticed that the carpet at the end of the bed felt very very cold, no hang on a minute, that’s not cold, it’s damp. A bit of a feel around the carpet area and yes, it’s definitely wet, I called Roy to come and check it out. Initially I though I must have knocked over my water bottle and it had leaked a bit but no, that wasn’t the problem. Next idea was to lift up the bed and have a look under the bed as this is where our water tank is located. After moving stuff out of the way we found that the carpet in one corner was also wet, following it back we figured it was coming from the pump. It looked like the seals in the pump may have given up with a leak dripping from a joint in the main pump. Bugger.

To cut a long story short, we were heading the following day to go visit friends in Papamoa so a slight diversion into Tauranga was required. At the store (which shall remain nameless) we were ushered to the correct part of the store to look at options, we were being strongly persuaded to buy a particular brand, the cheapest one, which they told us were being put into new motorhomes and used as replacements and they sell heaps of them. However, not one to be swayed by an effusive salesmen’s patter, we said we would carefully look through the options on our own for a while. After a bit of googling we decided against their advice and go for a more expensive one, in fact the same brand as the one we were replacing.

the new pump installed.

Roy had the new pump installed and the tank refilled with water and tested in no time at all. There were hardly and ¥{§&< words spoken either during the installation, or not that I heard, as I removed myself from the van and earshot to the safety of the house 😂.

Well, what a revelation, the pump is so quiet that we cannot hear it at all when we run a tap. Our old pump must have been getting noisier and noisier but so gradual that over time we hadn’t noticed. And the pressure is better too so all in all a good fix especially before we go away knowing that we would not come back to a swimming pool!

Only 5 more sleeps and we are off, my next entry will probably be from Old Blighty. So cheerio old chaps!

PS. Oh and just in case you were wondering…..

I adjusted the sign 😂.

For Sale

May 8, 2019

I bet that headline got your attention! No, definitely not us but brother John has decided it’s time to sell his 10acre block of land which includes a large 4 bedroom home and numerous outbuildings, located just outside Whakatane near the Golf Course and Airport, it’s in an ideal location for those who like the idea of becoming a little more self sufficient plus live near the beach with the added advantage of being just 5-10mins from Whakatane township. Whakatane is famous for being the sunshine capital of NZ, ok Nelson also makes that claim, but it has a lovely temperate climate.

For John & Jude it’s time to travel a bit more and relax a bit rather than mowing lawns, feeding out to cattle, shifting fences and all the other things that go along with a lifestyle block. But let’s face it, you’re getting on a tad John 😘.

The driveway is lined with rows of fruit trees, citrus of all varieties plus avocados, olives and feijoas and many more. He has a very productive veg garden, a testament to the good soil, and he runs cattle on the land but it has also been used to grown corn. Successful duck shooting also takes place on the boundary, with chickens providing a good supply of eggs.

We came home to this sight the other day, someone’s idea of a joke…

No, the van is definitely NOT for sale, and nor is the platform ladder for that matter but some people thought this was funny 😬.

So if any of you know anyone who is looking for a good lifestyle block then give John a call on the number in the picture.


May 6, 2019

John & Jude have been the “lucky?” recipients of our company for the past week or two and whilst we have been in Whakatane we have had a couple of other family visitsas well.

Nephew Stuart, along with partner Emma and their three children Toby, Maggie and Mack arrived for an overnight stay and it was great to see them and catch up with all their news. They live in Dunedin so it’s not too often we get to see them.

The kids loved coming into the van and playing,

Mack driving us off into the sunset!

And of course we had to have a family portrait

They have changed a little in the 3 years since the last photo was taken

We managed to get them to stand in just about the same spot so we could compare the changes, my how the young ones sprout in such a short period of time.

Next we went up to Auckland for a few days for final rounds of appointments before we leave for the UK. But first it’s a visit to brother Steve and wife Leslie in Whangamata for a few days before we brave the big city lights.

Steve & Les retired to Whangamata last year and since then have undertaken major renovations to their home including picking up the entire building and moving it to a different position on the section. You would not recognise it now from its beginnings as an Initial home (one of the Lockwood homes). Ceilings have been removed to expose rafters, all the wood paneling has been painted out and decks, boardwalks, outdoor areas added to complete the transformation. Rooms have been redesigned and all new kitchen has been added. It really is like a new build and a fitting testament to the hard work they have put in.

Of course I neglected to take any pictures whilst we were there.

For us it was time to head on up to Auckland and to stay with son Antony for a few days whilst we had medical appointments to attend. We also managed to fit in a few visits to friends and family as well with a quick visit to son Simon who was home from work recovering from knee surgery. I had more xrays to see what was happening with my hip fracture and a visit to the surgeon, the upshot? Leave it alone and let it heal by itself and just cope with pain medication which suits me just fine. Apart from that, all is well with everything else, and it’s up to me to make the call when I want the other knee replacement done.

We went out for dinner one evening with friends Ron & Janet as well as Antony, this time I remembered to ask Antony to take a picture of us

I will spare you the selfie that Antony took of himself on my phone when I asked him to take this picture as it was less than flattering!!

And then it was back to Whakatane where my sister Sue joined us for a couple of days.

Sue & Jeffs camper parked up beside us.

We were comparing more genealogy notes and amongst some of the papers we discovered a picture of John and Sue taken just a couple of years ago, so we decided to take a picture of them with the picture.

no they haven’t changed much at all have they? And just love the haircut Sue!!

one half of the siblings, one could argue the good looking half!!!

Happy birthday & Easter

April 22, 2019

Another birthday rolls around, and as the number becomes larger we are forever grateful to know that the number is in fact increasing, much like the waistlines!

We left Matata DoC camp on Roy’s birthday, the Thursday before Easter and before Easter madness ensues with everyone out and about hoping to enjoy the last of the good weather. As well, this year the school holiday break is the week either side of Easter so it promised to be a busy old time, especially on the roads. We weren’t going far though, just a few kms down the road to John’s place just out of Whakatane. But first a slight detour to Edgecumbe to dump before we park up at John’s.

Here we are all parked up in relative peace and quiet on the driveway to the house surrounded by fields.

and as you can see, the weather is playing nicely too.

We celebrated Roy’s birthday with a nice rib eye steak for dinner with veg from the garden, all washed down with a Moët.

I really must teach you some decent plating skills John!!!


To finish off there was a Pedro Ximinez, a drink that we introduced to John & Jude some time ago, and one we all really enjoy. So much so that when we were in Spain just over a year ago we just had to make a special trip to Jerez and do a tasting or two.

this picture was taken in Jerez, at the Lustau Bodega where Roy and I enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon tasting 14 sherries, vermouth and Pedro. We came away feeling very happy I can assure you, just as well we were catching the train back to our accommodation in Seville.

A lovely end to another lovely day here in the very quiet surrounds of John’s 10 acre lifestyle block (more about the block in a later blog ).

Chum, the black lab, comes to visit us most mornings. As well as bringing a ball for us to throw he also bring us oranges from one of the many citrus trees lining the long driveway, he likes to eat them but can we peel it for him first…please?

Who could resist those big brown eyes??

Friends and family

April 17, 2019

It’s not often that I get together with more than one sibling at a time but last week we managed to meet up with two of my brothers.

Steve & Les were staying with John & Jude for a couple of nights so we went in to join them one day.

We all went into Whakatane to get a few things for dinner that evening, but first we had to check out a couple of bike shops as Leslie was getting a new e-bike. Once we had viewed and checked out what was on offer, it was lunch time.

John and Steve waiting for lunch to be delivered. Note, we were sitting outside in glorious sunshine but within 10minutes we were running for cover as the heavens opened, and thunder and lightening crackled and crashed overhead. Then another 10 minutes later we were back in sunshine.

It was then back to the shop of choice for Leslie to have a test ride,

whizzing along

Back to John’s place where Steve had volunteered to cook up a seafood paella or two for our dinner using not only a paella pan that John & Jude brought back from Spain last year, but also some paella seasoning.

Steve with two pans of paella on the go. Seafood paella which included prawns, shrimps, mussels, squid, and scallops.

I forgot to take a picture of the finished dishes, but I can assure you they looked as good as they tasted. And it was very good too, in fact both John and I reckoned that it was much better than the paella’s we had tried in Spain!!!

sitting in the lounge relaxing after dinner.

Roy and I headed up to Tauranga and the Mount for a day of visiting. First was to see niece Jenna and her new arrival, baby Ashlyn.

getting a few cuddles in.

From there it was over to Mount Maunganui where we were meeting up with one of our ex staff members Margaret and her daughter Suzy along with a few of their friends.

Margaret and I deep in conversation (I think I was sorting out her tablet issues for her).

Roy and Ian solving the worlds problems.

Please note the venue though, the house is right on the beachfront and it was a glorious day to sit out on the deck.

Lunchtime, conversation and company, a lovely afternoon.

But we did note some strange creature in the sand dunes in front of the house…..we presume that they were making a film.

the making of a movie?

We had another call to make to Roy’s friends Bill & Estelle who moved to Papamoa from Auckland a couple of years ago. We caught up with them over a cuppa before heading back to Matata.

parked up in the sunshine at Matata, our last day here before moving on. The weather has been very kind to us for our two week stay and with Easter very nearly upon us, it usually heralds a change in the weather. Let’s hope we still get plenty of sunshine before we head to the northern hemisphere.


June 1, 2015

After our allowed two nights at Anzac Bay we headed to Tauranga for a couple of nights mainly to restock the larder, fill up with fuel and get a couple of chores done before heading down the coast to Matata and the lovely DoC camp there.  Whilst at Matata  we had a couple of goes of trying to get the kite up for some fishing off the beach, however, either the wind was too strong, in the wrong direction or not strong enough.  Talk about frustrating!   We tried!

From Matata it is just a short jaunt down the highway to John’s place, here we are for the next week or two whilst John & Jude are away.  Again, it is a good opportunity to get lots of chores done whilst we have access to everything we could possibly need.  

The weather forecast was for and calm conditions so John suggested we head off early (relatively speaking) on Thursday morning for a mornings fishing.  We were up in time to get the boat ready and on our way by 8am, and boy was it chilly with a good frost on the ground.  We were rugged up in our best warm gear; hats, gloves, scarves, possum/merino jackets, with a lot of it having not seen the light of day for a good couple of years. Oh and not forgetting Roy and his Waikato socks. These socks are renown amongst some of our friends as the indicator that it is becoming definitely chilly.   It’s a bit like that ad we used to get on TV many years ago for something that I cannot  now remember (I think it may have been an antiseptic or sticking plasters?) but the ad was of a small blond headed boy playing rugby with the catch line of “oh no, Snow cops it again”, when that ad appeared on our screens we knew that it was winter time.  Well, when Roy wears his Waikato socks, we know it’s winter! 

 Roy geared up with his Waikato socks on.

And not to be outdone, John was wearing his lucky bright orange fishing hat and Jude had kindly lent me her lucky bright yellow fluoro hat….hmmmm, not too sure about the look – or the luck in my case!


 I think we have become accustomed to the warmer climes especially during the winter months, I mean, these days if we have a temperature getting down into single figures we think we are frozen!  It was not so long ago that we used to get excited when the winter temperature got out of single figures! How quickly we adapt.  Anyway, back to the fishing.

We headed off over the Whakatane bar for a favourite fishing spot just down the coast.

  A lovely day for fishing

It wasn’t long before a few fish were being landed, however, many of them were sent back to go tell their granddad to jump on our lines.  But it wasn’t too long before we had enough for dinner so it was time to head back to land.  

We ended up with a reasonable mornings catch… 

 One Kahawai, two trevally, three snapper and seven gurnard.

Next came the filleting lessons. 

  Roy and John at the filleting table with the cat and dog waiting expectantly for some tasty morsels

Chum, the dog, just loves the snapper skins.  It’s no wonder he has such a lovely glossy coat and is full of energy.  Filleting lessons complete, it was time to clean up the boat before storing it away, tidy up around the filleting table before we could enjoy some of our catch.  The Kahawai was smoked and make into pâtè to have with drinks the next day, but tonight we were to have the trevally as sashimi  


For dinner we had snapper and gurnard fillets with enough gurnard left for dinner the next day.  Fresh fish is just the best and we throughly enjoyed every morsel. Now we just have to wait for the next expedition!


March 23, 2015

Whilst we have been here in Whakatane we have managed to get lots of little, and not so little, jobs done.  The sealing around all the lockers, windows and joins on the van with the sticky black Simsons Sealer product is finally finished.  Don’t  ask me why but for some reason the black stuff seems to get everywhere and onto everything but the white product doesn’t! I think they call it something like ‘Sod’s Law’.  There was also an attempt to straighten the road sweeper that is attached to the back of the van. after an altercation with an inanimate object some time ago. It has been a little lower on one side but attempts to jack it up were not terribly successful but a good effort was made.  Lots of other little jobs have been completed, silly little things like reattaching the wire to the waste cap so it cannot be left behind anywhere, and fixing locker latches etc.  I even broke out the sewing machine to make some slip covers for the chairs, oh and not forgetting getting major things done like the upholstery.  All in all a very good couple of weeks well spent.  

In the middle of our time in Whakatane there was of course Cyclone Pam.  The storm had devastating effects on islands such as Vanuatu, so we were preparing ourselves for strong winds and torrential rain. We moved off the grass onto hard ground and made sure we were protected as much as possible from potential high winds, filled the water tanks and made sure everything was battened down.  However, it turned into more of a storm in a tea cup than a major storm and certainly nothing like what we experienced last year at Whanaknaki.  Yes the sea was very rough with an impressive large swell running and the bar entrance into Whakatane was closed for some time but we really didn’t have any strong winds or the lashings of rain – thank goodness.

A day or so after the storms passing we headed off to Opotiki with John, first stopping off at Jude’s place in Waiotahi to make sure all was well there.  Then it was off to the Two Fish Cafe in Opotiki for brunch.  Now it is not often that I can highly recommend somewhere for a really good coffee but the Two Fish Cafe serves probably one of the best coffees in NZ, certainly in the top three in any case.  Not only was the coffee fabulous but the food was great as well.  We loved the quirky style of this cafe, and if you are ever heading toward Opotiki, call in for a real treat, you’ll not be disappointed.

After two and a half weeks of being in Whakatane it was time to move on.  Thursday morning and we were all packed up and ready to go at a reasonable hour, just hook up the RAV and check the lights.  Bugger, the lights aren’t working, so after some fiddling, spraying contacts, attacking things with screwdrivers, we headed off into Whakatane to the auto electrician so they could check it all out for us.  But wouldn’t you know it? as soon as we got there, everything worked just fine!  But to make sure, we got them to check everything out, lo and behold, there was a problem…..insert here techno babble for whatever was wrong, something about a wire with low, or was that high? resistance, switches and relays …… The park lights were very dull.  Not that that is necessarily a problem as we try to avoid driving at night at all times,  but best to sort it out now.  After much testing and removal of one of the dash panels, they finally find the fault.  The park lights were wired up to the dashboard dimmer switch!  How had we not found that out before now?  Anyway, wires were cut, rejoined in the right place and after a couple of hours we were on our way.  And we must praise here the business involved – Langleys Auto Electrical – as all that was done for next to nothing with no waiting around and they were very pleasant to deal with.

  Dashboard dismantled.

We finally headed out of Whakatane to Tauranga where we spent a night there before heading on to Kopu (near Thames)  for a couple of nights as the van is booked in on Monday for a repair/replacement hydraulic stabiliser jack to be made as well as getting a new seal ordered for around the slide out.  The Electrical WoF will also be done whilst we are here.

Finally, many many thanks to John and Jude for the lovely goodies they gave us, particularly as it was so unexpected.  We look forward to enjoying all the lovely drinks (so pleased we introduced them to Pedro Ximinez), chocolates, Al Brown Oils and dressings that were all packaged up so neatly in a flax kit bag – which John tells me is one from the fishing shop in Scarborough where Dad used to buy all his gear from.   We are more than happy to return for more house sitting duties when required!

Getting covered

March 16, 2015

We thought it was about time, time to get covered or should that be recovered.  Our two front seats i.e. the drivers seat and passengers seat had started to become rather worn and were starting to look a little worse for wear.  So whilst being parked up at John & Jude’s we took the opportunity to have them recovered with the most difficult task choosing the  material and agreeing upon our choice!  

First we had to remove the seats from the van.

Roy was on his knees, then…

Flat out on the floor.

Off the chairs were taken to the upholsterer here in Whakatane and after a week, we headed off to pick them up and reinstall them.  

Here are the before and after shots

As you can see,  a marked improvement on the old coverings.  

We have also done away with the skirt around the base of the chairs, as they did not really serve any purpose and looked messy.  Now they are much neater and streamlined.  

Whilst the chairs were out of the van I took the opportunity to upholster the lift up desk in the dashboard.  I had a piece of material left over from the seat in the lounge which I also used previously to cover the headboard, which you can read about  here.  And hour or so later and it is looking much better.

I can’t lay my hands on a before photo but there is one here from when we first had the work done on the inside of the van.  NB that the inside out looking piece of material is the glove box insert.  When the desk top is folded down then the original hard glovebox would not allow the top to close, so I made a cloth one in its place.

All in all a nice tidy up. 

Cooking up a storm

March 13, 2015

John & Jude returned from their trip to Melbourne last Saturday, only to head off again on Wednesday for a fishing competition off Whitianga which means we are still here in Whakatane minding the ranch.  Not that we mind as wehave not been completely idle, we have been cooking up a storm.  By that, I don’t mean that it has anything to do with the impending arrival of Cyclone Pam, just that we have been busy in the kitchen.

Myrtle, Mabel and Mildred(the hens) have kept us well supplied with fresh eggs every day.  I used some of the eggs to add to the Passionfruit proliferation by making some Passionfruit Curd as well as some Passionfruit Syllabub.  The hens give us one egg each a day but on one particular day, one of them obviously decided to give us an egg the size of the other two together!!

We are unsure which of the hens is responsible for this monster, but it was a double yolker.   Roy has also been busy in the kitchen,  both inside and out.  John has a cold smoking unit as well as a large hot smoker, but it is the cold smoker in which we have put to good use.  First there was the making of some pastrami,  giving it a burst in the cold smoker before steaming it.

He also made a batch of bacon, also using the cold smoker – oh and of course John’s electric slicer to neatly slice it all up.  We then packaged it all up into portion sizes and vacuum packed it ready to stack neatly into our small freezer. I neglected to take any photos of this process.  Howeve we did buy ourselves a new vacuum sealer as our other one had decided to die on us.  The vacuum sealer is very handy for us in the van as we can repackage everything that goes into the freezer into portion sizes as well as being able to efficiently stack much more into the small space.  Not to mention being able to seal up smelly fish bait!

Another day and we decide it’s time to make some fresh pasta.  I had purchased a new Pasta machine last year but the other day I finally found a pasta drying rack which pulls apart and packs away neatly into a small box thus not taking up too much room. Now there is no excuse to making fresh pasta.  It hardly took any time at all before we had beautiful silky pasta for our dinner.  With a simple sauce of lemon, oil garlic and rocket, it was a delicious, light and quick evening meal.  

And then there was a batch of mint sauce to make (with mint jelly on the to-do list), this did not take more than half an hour to make which included sterilising the bottles and lids as well as making the sauce, with the longest time spent of chopping the mint.  Now we have plenty of mint sauce to accompany the traditional roast lamb.

Pickles and relishes are also on the to-do list but these will be done once we are back through Auckland so that we can go to our favourite market gardens in Manukau to pick the produce required.  Watch this space!

PS.   it’s our wedding anniversary today – 33 years, and yes, I was a child bride 😉