Archive for the ‘whangamata’ Category

Family

November 4, 2014

Before we left Ambury we had the usual encounter with the bird life.  There were Pukeko of various sizes from the newly hatched to the nearly fledged.

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And then there was this curious family of ducks who made themselves at home on our doorstep.

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Whilst stationary the chef could not resist making more jam so here we have Strawberry Jam with just a touch! of Grand Marnier.

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Then it was on to Ardmore where we met up with Jim and Judy.   Notice in this photo the other major undertaking at Ambury – the purchase and fitting of a tray on the roof rack and a tube for fishing equipment and other long poles. And since our last visit to Ardmore, about half of the parking area has been levelled and gravelled.

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And finally the day had arrived.  Off to the airport to welcome Alexandra and Ian

I think they expected someone to meet them!!!

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And finally they did

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Of course they then turned around and deserted us to attend a wedding in Christchurch so after a dinner on the night of their arrival with Antony, Simon and Anita they were off next morning.

We then had a  long wait until they returned the next Sunday when we had dinner at Antony’s place.

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And finally we got off to Whangamata on the Tuesday.  We were joined by Alexandra’s friends Jessica and Jarrad.

This led to the inevitable games of cards

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We allowed Antony to be king of the cards!

We also managed to get our hands on some of the new Chocolate milk, a collaboration between Lewis Road Creamery and Whitakers Chocolate.  MMmmmmm.

20Chocolate Milk moustaches21Getting out every last drop!

A great few days together with the younger members of the touring party heading off on day trips to places like Hot Water Beach and Wenderholm Falls.  Before too long, is was time to leave.

Birthday weekend

April 14, 2014

What a weekend! Roy and I headed to Whangamata for the weekend as it was Antony’s 30th birthday celebrations and what is more, we were invited! We had our van parked on the lawn at Steve & Les’ place and the house was being filled with lots of young people. Friday night was relatively quiet as Ants, Meg & Phillippa had just come off night shift and Sarah had had a busy week so they were all pretty tired. Saturday and the rest arrived; Neil, Andrew & Bridgit, Tim & Jocelyn, John & Louise arrived throughout the day and joined in the fun. The evening dress code was themed to dress as a childhood hero……

20140414-103509.jpg Maverick (Top Gun) with the White Rabbit and Alice.

20140414-105303.jpgand a few more of us!

The weather stayed fine and warm, with most heading off for a swim at the beach on Sunday morning. Roy and I spent the weekend making sure everyone was well fed and watered, which we did in our usual manner. I have to admit that these fit types sure do manage to put away the food!!! We played all sorts of games, ran a quiz and generally had lots of fun…..what goes on at the party , stays at the party!! By late Sunday afternoon everyone had left and we were back to just the two of us. A bit of a clean up and tidy up to follow but I have to say that there was little to do except change beds and do the washing as they all pitched in and had everything tidied by the time brunch was over on Sunday morning.

A fabulous weekend all in all, surrounded by a great group of talented, friendly and all round welcoming young people. They included a couple of PE teachers, a couple of Olympic Rowers, a High performance Triathlete coach, Police staff, and more. We feel privileged to have been able to be part of their weekend of fun. Happy Birthday Antony, we are very proud of you.

Onwards

April 2, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

20140402-163824.jpg Another matching pair

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

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

A week of Whangamata

February 17, 2014

It doesn’t seem like we have been in Whangamata for a week, but we have and we have even managed to keep ourselves busy and out of mischief.

Roy has been very busy working on his new computer program which he is hoping that he will have completed in the next day or two. These things always take much longer than anticipated but he is getting there. This is for our business of producing user specific online Exposition and Safety Manuals for small aircraft and helicopter companies that carry passengers. These Manuals are a CAA requirement, originally many years ago Roy & Barry developed a computer/Internet based Manual system to replace the cumbersome paper based system. The new program will encompass safety management systems as well as the exposition. Our clients are based all around the country and as it is a computer based system, it means that we can run the business from anywhere in the country (or world) so long as we have Internet access. Bernice does the ‘office’ work and makes sure Roy is fed and watered and kept happy!

Toward this end, I have been busy making more zucchini pickle, not only for ourselves but for Alexandra, as it is her favourite pickle and I know she wants to take some back to London.

20140217-114207.jpgzucchini pickle

Alex arrives back in NZ next week, for a short one week visit as she is chief bridesmaid for her friend Lee who is getting married in Gore. For those of you who are long time blog followers, you may recall that when we were in London we had a fabulous weekend with Alex, Lee and Matthew, see brvannini.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/moving-day/ . We would have loved to have joined Lee & Matt in celebrating their big day but we have our niece Fran’s wedding to attend in Auckland the same day and we cannot be in two places at once. We will only get to see Alex for a day or two but she will be back in October for another wedding so we will just have to make sure we have lots of fun together in the few days we have.

I have also been perfecting my sourdough bread making skills. Some days the bread is fabulous, other days not quite so good and the strange thing is that I cannot work out why some days the bread is light and fluffy and another day it would make a good brick! But here is the latest loaf, light and deliciously tasty.

20140217-114230.jpgAnd yes, it pairs well with the pickle and a little cheese.

One day last week we got a call from friends Brian and Marj, as they were heading through Kaiaua on their way southwards and were wondering if we were anywhere nearby. We decided that as it was only just over an hour away we would pop up and see them and share a bit of lunch whilst we have a catch up.

20140217-114253.jpgabout to tuck into lunch at Ray’s Rest near Kaiaua.

Living full time in our Motorhome means that we are constantly making adjustments and improvements to the van and the gear we have with us, ditching some unnecessary items and adding new pieces. This can be anything from buying new fishing gear (or net), to more tools – btw thanx Steve for the drill, donating a few unwanted items to local charity shops, to our latest acquisition….

20140217-114137.jpg yes, the washing machine at the Bach has had a baby!!!

Much debate over many years has taken place as to whether getting a small washing machine would be advantageous over the current washing method see https://brvannini.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/. I cannot pass up a bargain though and when I found this brand new, never been used, Motorhome washing machine for sale on Trade Me, I put in a cheeky bid. Much to my surprise I won the auction! A quick trip to Tauranga to pick it up and voila, we now have a washing machine. The machine itself only weighs 17kgs, and does a load of 2.2kgs. Although it is fully automatic, I can save water only using 20 litres maximum, by reusing the washing water and doing the whites first, take them out and do the coloureds etc etc then spin them all. I can do a whole wash using relatively little water as I use Simply Living Washing Balls which negate the need for rinsing. A bit of messing around but, in this busy life on the road, I am sure I can find time!

The next job of course is to figure out where we can install the machine and store it so that it is not in the way. I have sacrificed a cupboard in the toilet area, it was a drop forward bin-type of cupboard which was supposed to be a laundry hamper except we used it to store odds and ends. And as we have had a clean out of all the lockers we have had a reshuffle to ensure everything has a home as well as donating a few unwanted items to a local charity shop.
We had to remove the cupboard by taking the door off and removing the hinges from the base, remove the sides and base of the cupboard from the door -as it was all one unit, then make a slightly larger opening by cutting the base of the frame, installing a floor and reattaching the door to make it side opening.

20140217-114323.jpg door removed, base of opening cut down, and base of cupboard to be made.

20140217-114347.jpg washing machine in place

20140217-114415.jpg safely housed behind the door.

We have to make a few more adjustments to make it easier to use, such as put in sliders on the baseplate so that the machine can be rolled out of the cupboard to use and a tray made to sit the machine in to contain any possible leakages, but that will all have to wait until we get to Auckland later in the week. Anyone in the market for a very good hand wringer???

Waharau to Whangamata

February 11, 2014

 

Our week at Waharau seems to have flown by, it is such a lovely, peaceful, sheltered,  relaxing place to spend  time and enjoy the surrounds.   It is a great place to observe and listen to the sounds of nature, the predominant sound at the moment is the chirrup of the Cicada which, to me, always epitomises the sound of summer.

Cicadas live underground as nymphs for most of their lives, emerging when the summer warmth seeps into the ground.  They then shed their skins on a nearby plant and emerge as adults. The abandoned exoskeleton, remains, still clinging to the bark of trees.  Everywhere you look there are cicada cases, a great game as kids was to collect as many body shells as possible and attach to your clothing!  or collect large piles of them to see who could get the most.

 0103Cicada shells covering trees.

There have also been a number of Kingfishers (Kotare)  close by, we seem to be seeing more and more of these colourful birds.

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From the door of the van is this view of a lovely small stream that meanders through the park, the sound of water bubbling over rocks and trees is another voice in natures chorus.

  04View from the door

On Tuesday friends Barry & Sandra contacted us to see if we would be interested in meeting up for lunch in Thames.   Of course we said yes so we hopped into our car and drove the 45 minutes down to Thames whilst they hopped into their plane and flew the 45minutes  from their base in Taupo. 

06Landing at Thames airport, and no, the cows in the picture were not really anywhere near the runway.

After a lovely long lunch and catch up, it was time for them to return to Taupo and us to our van.

05All aboard.

Wednesday and it was time for us to move on, this time we were heading to Whangamata to catch up with Bernice’s brother Steve and his wife Leslie, as Thursday was a national holiday (Waitangi Day) and they were making it a long weekend by having Friday off work.  

07Here we are parked up on the front lawn of the Bach at Whangamata. 

The weather wasn’t the best the first couple of days but by the weekend it had cleared and was beautifully fine and hot.  We had a great few days with them before they had to return to Auckland on Sunday.

However, for us, Sunday was another day of catching up with friends. This time we headed off to Tauranga to meet up with our travelling mates Pat & Sue.  And with it being a Sunday, of course we had to meet up for brunch to continue the tradition we started on our travels throughout Northland before Christmas.  It was great to catch up with them again, and they have some exciting new plans of which we will reveal in a later blog as we plan to meet up again in a week or two.

We are staying on in Whangamata for a few more days as it gives us an opportunity to get a few things done as well as giving everything a good clean out.  Actually, read that as Bernice is let loose with the cleaning gear, rubbish bin and labelling machine whilst Roy gets some serious programming work done!