Uretiti

June 13, 2018

It’s lovely being back on the road, albeit for a brief time and even better being back at Uretiti. Parked up in our favourite spot where there is no one else in sight we can hear the sea just over the sand dunes, and it’s warmer than we have been for a while with overnight temperatures dropping to 15C! A bit better than the frosts and cool weather we had been experiencing at Ardmore. And it’s so nice to be parked on grass again, I’m sure it’s probably psychological but I think it’s warmer than being parked on gravel.

parked up

Hidden behind a few bushes

And just across the road is the beach access, with a Kingfisher/Kotare sitting atop the wind indicator.

Since our last visit, the sand has built up and covered the fence line toward the beach.

with the beach end of the fence disappearing under the sand dunes.

It’s a beautiful day with hardly a soul in sight, and although the wind direction would be perfect for kite fishing neither a Roy nor I feel up to any strenuous exercise right at this moment. Never mind, there will be another time soon I’m sure.

And a panoramic shot of the beach

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For him and for her

June 12, 2018

No, we are not really sexist in our views or in what we do. Roy cooks and cleans as I much I as do repairs and maintenance. However, Roy’s PC had decided it didn’t want to work properly for him, especially some parts of the keyboard which proved very interesting when he was trying to get some work done. After a few days of muttering, mumbling and frustration levels ever increasing, he went off to buy a new laptop. I could go into details of what he got, but in fact I have no idea…it’s black, it’s a laptop, there are no longer any mutterings emanating from the desk and it works, isn’t that all that matters??

It looks something like this

Apparently it does what he wants it to do and very quickly as well so he is a happy chappy.

Not to be left out, I finally found something I have been looking for for a while now. No, not nirvana or the winning lotto numbers, although I wouldn’t say no to the latter, but a pipe thingy for my handheld vacuum. Yes, I was silly when I bought my handheld Dyson a few years ago, I should have bought the stick version. But after borrowing the pipe from Brian & Marj a couple of years ago to try, I knew one would fit and it would work ok if I could just lay my hands on one, or more precisely do some serious looking for one. Last week I decided I needed to get my a into g and so I did a quick search and lo and behold Mr Google came to my rescue. Ordered one day, delivered the next, brilliant!

My handheld before –

The said stick/pipe/wand

And after

No more bending down to vacuum or crawl around on hands and knees. Perfect for post surgery ……I’ll still be able to vacuum 😂😂

I, or should I say we, can zoom around quickly and easily getting the floors vacuumed, and even reach those high places that the vertically challenged member of the household could not previously reach without precariously balancing on a stool.

Oh why oh why did I leave it so long to actually get one? I have no idea!

Escape and a bank

June 10, 2018

The tunnels were secretly dug, which one should we take? Tom, Dick or Harry? the fake uniforms ready to go and the documents were forged. In the full light of day our escape from Auckland is set and we are off like a you know what! heading to Uretiti for a week of R&R before we return in a weeks time.

on our way, Whangarei here we come!

It seems we needed a couple of tunnels, the Waterview Tunnel and the Johnstones Hill Tunnel, however no uniforms or documents were required but we did have to pay tolls before our escape was complete. Phew!

We are both really enjoying being back at Uretiti, we had forgotten how much warmer it is here even though it’s only a couple of hours further north than Ardmore and I guess being by the sea is also a contributing factor. It’s also so nice being back parked on grass and having a bit more space around us without close neighbours.

Hopefully we will be able to get some fishing in as well this week, we just need the wind to blow the right way for us to launch the kite….that’s if we can remember how to set up our kite as it seems like such a long time since we have been kite fishing.

Back to the title of this blog, and no we didn’t rob a bank on our way out of town.

On Friday I had my pre op check with the surgeon, and all is well. I have filled in the copious number of forms and submitted them to the right people and places, and now just have a week to wait.

Interestingly, I received a phone call the other day from the Bone Bank (who knew that there was such a thing) asking me if I would be interested in donating my hip joint to be used in other surgeries where pieces of bone or crushed bone need to be used. Sure, I said, it’s no use to me and if it can help others then go for it.

People with a variety of conditions need donated bone for their treatment. It’s used to treat:

• children with scoliosis having spinal surgery

• adults having repeat hip replacement surgery or needing bone grafts for spinal and other orthopaedic surgery

• children with cancer who have bone fractures that won’t heal.

I’ve been a blood donor for many many years but I did not realise that they also collected bone. I wonder if they want a couple of crappy knees as well??!!! They are next on the agenda for replacement once the hip has recovered. Soon, I’ll have a decent leg to stand on!

Done!

June 7, 2018

It’s all done and dusted, finished, completed, ended, kaput, stopped, wrapped up…..you get the picture?

Yes, Roy had his last treatment yesterday and without so much as a fanfare, it’s all over rover. I made a batch of muffins for him to take in to the lovely staff at Auckland hospital which apparently was well received.

And how did we celebrate? Well for a start with a Rum & Coke, as during treatment anything with a fizz in it was on the banned list. And for dinner I made a boeuf bourguignon complete with lots of onions and garlic (also on the banned list), accompanied by more previously banned foods as in leeks and broccoli. And damned delicious it was too, especially on a very chilly evening.

So now we return to some semblance of normality, well for a short period of time as it will be my turn next.

It’s the final countdown

June 3, 2018

We are on the final countdown, with Wednesday being Roy’s last treatment day and time for celebration. He has had no side effects, he doesn’t glow in the dark or have any superpowers although we are forever hopeful he achieves the latter! We are forever thankful that we had options and everything has gone to plan with a great outcome.

And thank goodness for Winston’s gold card. For those not in NZ, Winston Peters is a long serving MP (who will be the stand-in Prime Minister whilst Jacinda is on maternity leave) who a few years ago organised a gold card for senior citizens which entitles them to free public transport in most major cities as well as discounts at some stores. The gold card has been used by Roy every day for the past 7 and a half weeks to get the train in and out to Newmarket, then a free bus to the hospital and return. It has saved us not only many $$$’s but also in time and stress as we haven’t had to drive in, fighting the traffic, looking for parking, as well as petrol costs. Well done Winnie!

It’s been another week of catching up with friends and family. Bill & Linda came visiting last Sunday as they were having an open home is readiness to sell, so it was great to catch up with them. Gary & Marg called in on their way through Auckland for lunch on Wednesday, and of course I had my lunch “date”with Janet on Thursday. Steve & Les called in on Saturday with two of their granddaughters on their way back to Whangamata. In between we have had Drs appointments and other matters to attend to so all in all a busy old time, which is great as it means that we are never bored!

On Friday I was asked if I would drive a motorhome from the wharf to Drury as I had done the previous week. Sure, why not? So off we trotted on Friday afternoon, on the train this time into Britomart, however, I had to pay for my journey as I have a few years to go before I qualify for one of Winnie’s cards. However, this time I did take a couple of pictures of the vehicles we were picking up.

I drove the one at the rear in the above photo.

First we have to visit the petrol station just around the corner to put in enough diesel to get us back. That done we all headed off. We had discussed which exit would be the best to get off the motorway as this was Friday afternoon and it was also the start of the long weekend Queens Birthday weekend which meant that the traffic would be worse than usual, if that is all possible. Once crawling along the motorway I got to the Redoubt Road exit at Manukau and could see the traffic was at a standstill ahead so I ducked off there. Wending my way through the back roads (just as well I know my way around), avoiding schools as by this time it after 3pm and schools were finishing, however I got to Drury in good time. Then I had to wait at least 30minutes for the others to start to arrive, each one had taken a different exit hence our staggered arrival times.

The weather has been brilliant this past week, well, brilliantly fine during the day but freezing cold overnight. There is a kiwi fruit orchard over the back of Ardmore and so for a few nights helicopters have been flying over the vines for frost protection. During cold and still conditions, the down draught from the helicopter causes the slightly warmer air layered above to circulate amongst the vines, reducing the likelyhood of frost damage. Effective but noisy.

Now we have rain settled in for the day by the looks of it, oh well, at least it’s warmer.

Into single figures

May 27, 2018

Another week is done and dusted, with only 8 more treatments to go, the end is in sight.

Roy goes off on his journey there and back everyday, meanwhile I somehow manage to keep myself busy doing one thing to another. Swimming fits in between other bits and pieces but I must say that with the cooler weather it is not that enticing to make one want to strip off and get into tepid water! However, we continue.

Monday was pickle/relish/chutney making day with plenty achieved.

And I forgot to take any pictures of the previous weekends efforts of pickling where Roy made a tomato chilli relish but the cupboards are now full and it will all add some welcome tasty treats throughout the rest of the year.

Tuesday I had an interesting few hours as I was asked if I would assist with some driving, this was to pick up brand spanking new Motorhomes from the wharf and drive them to the dealers yard in Drury. Sure, I said, not a problem, it will make the day a bit different. Easy enough to drive, it was a good run along the motorway and deliver the vehicles to their new base a few hours later. The Motorhomes now await their new owners.

Janet picked me up on Thursday and we went out for lunch in Pukekohe to a lovely little cafe she frequents. It was a great day out and about with me forgetting to take any pictures as we were too busy nattering. I really enjoyed our excursion out, so much so that we are doing it again this week but at a different location….ooooh, watch out, does that mean I am becoming one of those “ladies who lunch”?

Bill came visiting one afternoon with a lovely batch of biscuits that Linda had made.

We needed to get some more LPG and also to visit the dump station this weekend. We figured that Saturday morning would be the best time to get LPG as we have a large inbuilt tank and being a Saturday meant that there would be little traffic parked around the gas station. Indeed it was an easy drive in and out again, then off to bruce Pullman Park to dump. But oh no, it Saturday morning isn’t it…when every kid in the neighbourhood is playing sport and with parents cars overflowing the car parking it was a squeeze through the parked cars to get to the dump station. But what’s this? Some muppet has parked right on the dump station ignoring the yellow lines and obviously gone off to watch their child play rugby/league or football. We waited and waited, before the car owners eventually sauntered back and moved off so we could dump. What should have been a 10 minutes job turned into more like an hour!

We were also supposed to be going up to Shakespear for the release of 40 Saddlebacks into the park but my knees and hips were very sore so we decided to sort out the domestic duties and we would see the birds next time we visit. But we understand all went well with the release and yet another species brought back into the Sanctuary.

picture of the release courtesy of SOSSI

This week has seen the arrival of cooler weather, the shorts got put away and out come the trousers, the heater has been on a couple of times and even the hot water bottles have made an appearance. And to test out all that firewood we collected earlier in the month, we went to Antony’s a couple of evenings to enjoy the warmth and coziness of the fire as well as have dinner together. Although I guess we can’t complain too much, it is winter after all!!

Another week done & dusted

May 18, 2018

Yet another week of routine has crept on by interspersed by visits from friends and family. Only 2 1/2 weeks of treatment left for Roy and the daily routine of train, bus walk, bus, train, travel every day, it’s almost like having a job!! Luckily Roy has so far suffered no side effects from the treatment, long may it continue.

It was an early start on Monday morning as we were heading across town to see brother John and his partner Jude at Auckland Airport. We arrived in time for their 7.30am arrival at the Domestic terminal from Whakatane and to collect a large box of feijoas from Johns garden which will shortly be made into lots of goodies. It was then a short walk over to the International terminal, where we all met for breakfast. John & Jude are off on their overseas odyssey, first to London, then to France, Spain & Portugal where along the way Jude will be walking some of the Camino Santiago path with John driving their motorhome as support crew. But first they will be spending a few days with Alex & Ian so a few goodies from Mum & Dad were stashed into their luggage. I was only slightly envious of their coming adventures – Yeah Right!!!

To add insult to injury, I get sent a picture of John & Jude outside Morrisons….a store we became known to frequent whilst we were there, getting in supplies.

We wish them all the best and are sure they are in for an amazing time.

Bill P called in one afternoon for a cuppa and another morning both Bill P and Janet called in for morning tea, it’s so nice getting visitors especially when we feel so tied to one spot.

The days are starting to get a little cooler as well as darker earlier and earlier in the evenings. However it’s only a month away until the shortest day and then we can look forward to the evenings eking out.

Antony comes round each evening to join us for dinner or sometimes for a change we go to his place where I cook dinner. And there are always chores to be done which keep us busy.

Time for catch ups

May 12, 2018

A cunning plan is in place, the tunnels for escape are beginning to take shape, the guards distracted, just the documents and uniforms to sort!! All will come to pass in a few weeks when we can escape from what feels like captivity!

Meanwhile, this week has been just a little busy what with one thing and another, however in amongst everything else we have managed to catch up with a few friends.

Last weekend we escaped our usual routines and headed down to Hamilton to stay with good friends Wade & Lindsay. It was just so lovely to have a change of scenery and to be able to relax with them and have a few laughs.

As usual I forgot to take pictures, but I did manage to sneak in this one of Wade & Lindsay as we were all intently looking up things on our respective devices!!!

We caught up on each other’s news and had a few laughs about the things we used to get up to.

Amongst the reminiscing, I did find the following photo of their daughter Naomi and our son Antony (just a few years ago!) on one of our holidays together,

Eating oranges at Mimiwhangata …..weren’t they cute??

After a lovely relaxing time,which included eating great food and drinking some lovely wines, it was time for us to head back to the big smoke and our routine.

Later in the week we called into see Brian, a good friend who has recently given up the motorhome life and whose lovely wife Marj passed away suddenly at the beginning of the year. He is now settled into a retirement village and is looking forward with lots of plans. We shared a number of trips with Brian & Marj and it’s now good to see a bit of a spark appear back in his life. It was great to catch up and to see him looking so well and to hear all his news.

Next was a visit to Jim who has recently had a hip replacement, which hasn’t exactly gone to plan but he is now on the road to recovery and should be back to his bus soon.

Then it was a meet up of Roy’s old friends from his youth, we all met at the cafe at Ardmore for lunch and to catch up on news. Again it was great to see everyone and catch up on their news. This time I did remember to take a photo.

L-R, Roy, Ron, Jan, Bill, Estelle, Linda and Bill

Half way

May 9, 2018

Roy is halfway through his treatment regime, we are getting good at this routine of me dropping him off at the station, he trains into town, buses to the hospital (when he doesn’t fall asleep and miss his stop that is!!), has his treatment and then reverses the process.

I went in with him on Monday as he had his checkup with the Oncologist, and yes, it’s all going well. But I also went with him to see what happens with the treatment. It’s a fascinating process that is amazing to see.

First he hops onto a bed where they line up his tattooed dots with laser beams, then whilst he lies still on the table we retreat from that room and go next door where there is an array of computer screens.

the machine looks a little like this.

or this.

A CAT scan is done to make sure everything is lined up and in position, with the technicians making adjustments to Roy’s position by remotely tilting and twisting the bed. There are cameras in the room as well so all the time the patient is being monitored on one of the computer screens.

The technicians show me on their screens the prostate and the area within that they are focussing on, around it are a couple of different coloured margin lines which are the safety margins.

Once they are satisfied everything is ok, the treatment begins with the machine rotating in one direction for a full rotation and then back the other way for one full rotation. It takes all of three minutes and it’s done. They tell me that it is accurate to within a millimetre and whilst the machine is rotating and sending the beam of radiation, it is constantly changing its intensity and direction to completely line up with the area they are targeting. Very clever stuff.

Roy’s last treatment will be on the 7th June and after I went to the orthopaedic surgeon yesterday, I will have a pre op check on 8th June with hip replacement surgery done on the 18th June at Ascot Hospital. During the consultation yesterday the surgeon answered the great long list of questions I had prepared before I had a chance to ask them!!! How did he know what I would be asking? Anyone would think that he has done this all before!

And guess what? Yes, I will be a little taller after surgery, anywhere between 6 and 11mm taller….does that mean I will walk in circles afterwards 😉

Meeting a reader.

May 3, 2018

It’s not often that you get a call out of the blue from someone saying “you don’t know me but I read your blog, and I’d like to meet up for a coffee.”

Which is exactly what happened today when I met up with blog reader Susan as she happened to be coming up to Papakura from her home in Onewhero for the day. We met at a coffee shop in town where the next couple of hours quickly went by as we talked, talked and talked about all and sundry.

It is interesting meeting someone who knows all about you when you know little or nothing about them, it makes the conversation interesting and varied to say the least, and the conversation flowed easily and pleasantly. After a couple of hours chatting, it was time for me to leave.

Susan gave me a lovely parting gift, a bag she had made. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Front view

Reverse side

And a glimpse of the inside complete with zippered pocket.

Thank you so much Susan, I shall treasure it.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the two of us, we were too busy talking however there is always next time!