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!

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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!

Another woohoo

August 1, 2018

Yes it’s another woohoo in the Vannini vanhold bushold rvhold household.

I had my checkup with my surgeon yesterday and everything is looking good. I still have some pain, just minor stuff which is just things taking their time to heal after bones being bashed and sawn, muscles & nerves being chopped – goodness me sounds more like butchery than surgery – however we are getting back into shape and we are getting there. I see the surgeon again in 8weeks time when we make the BIG decision on which knee to do first.

Funnily enough it has always been my left knee that has caused the most pain and grief but since having the left hip replaced it is the right knee that is now causing the most angst. Apparently that is to be expected as some of the knee pain was coming from the hip and of course relying on the other knee heavily whilst recovering from surgery has put added pressure on the right knee. Anyway, we shall see what happens in a couple of months time when we make the decision to go with the left or the right. And NOT having a ‘Lieutenant Dan’ (Forest Gump reference) as my delightful son suggested!!!

Meanwhile we are still at Uretiti…..there is a story behind that but more on that later!

R&R at Uretiti

July 27, 2018

We arrived at Uretiti after all the rain to be met by a few small lakes formed throughout the camp site.

Pretty reflections in the lake with the road somewhere through the middle.

We parked up along the fence line behind all the trees as shown in the above photo as our favourite spot was already taken, however the following day our favourite site was vacated so we made a quick decision to move back to where we know and like. Besides, we were expecting visitors later in the week and there would be plenty of room for them in our favourite spot.

and here we are, Keith and Deb’s vehicle in the foreground and ours facing the camera.

Since Keith & Deb are here with us it was and opportune time for the boys to play with Keith’s “toy” and get a bit of fishing in.

Setting up the baits ready to fly out with the drone

hard at work, fishing!

Unfortunately the fish have not been playing the game, steering well clear of our baits, however no one else is having much luck either so we don’t feel too bad.

Roy took Keith & Deb into Whangārei for a quick look around all the interesting places and shops whilst I relaxed back at the van as I am not up to wandering around very far as yet. They went into the farmers market as well as a few shops for essential items, coming home with a number of shopping bags full of goodies and treats.

I am getting there with my recovery, it is definitely a slow gradual process and I have very quickly learnt that overdoing it is not a good thing to do as you pay for it the following day. But I am getting there and as I have said before I am definitely the tortoise in this race.

We haven’t done too much since we have been here, limiting ourselves to walks along the beach, fishing, relaxing and generally taking things easy and enjoying being back surrounded by nature. It is definitely warmer here than the temperatures we have been accustomed to in Auckland of late although there is still a little nip in the air in the evenings and mornings, however it is nice to be able to sit outside in the warm sunshine during the day.

We went into Waipu one evening for pizza night at the pub, we have been here before and they make very good pizzas. Keith & Deb came along as did Mark & Glynis to join us for a night out to help us celebrate Roy’s good news at being given the all clear. We had a great night with lots of chat going on however, in my usual fashion I forgot to take any photos.

Woohoo

July 24, 2018

We have some good news. Roy had an appointment yesterday with the Oncologist for a follow up after all of his treatment recently which we are delighted to say came back with all good news.

He has been given the all clear and has been discharged from their care with no more appointments or follow ups to be done, apart from the usual checks with our GP. Woohoo!

Always take the weather with you

July 16, 2018

How do you know that the Vannini’s are back at Shakespear? Look at the weather!

Our view went from this

To this

It seems as though we bring extreme weather events with us to Shakespear having been here before when the rainfall has been excessive. This time the planned public planting day had to be cancelled for the first time ever. The planting of trees was to have taken place on Sunday, in fact the area chosen to be planted was around a major slip that occurred last year to stabilise the hillside. That slip took place when we were again parked in the Motorhome parking area last year which you can read about here

Never mind, it all passed pretty quickly and we were safe and dry inside the van.

We did manage to catch up with a few of the Rangers whilst we were here as well as friends whom we have met here. We visited Skip & Mindy for a very pleasant day catching up on news and travels. And we hope we have managed to assist their daughter to convince them to head off on holiday to Europe with her later this year.

and this was our view on the way out today

On the road again

July 13, 2018

After nearly two weeks at Ardmore taking things very quietly, we decided that it was about time we got a move on. First things first though, we need a COF which is due at the end of the month but we might as well get it done whilst we are here.

On Wednesday we took a trip down to the VTNZ testing station in Takanini to see the friendly fellows that work there. We only had to wait a short time in the queue before it was our turn. Why is it that it feels like you are taking your child off to sit some important exam, you are nervous and on tenterhooks, hoping like mad that your precious baby passes all its milestones? Of course it passed its COF and with a friendly wave from the very personable staff, we were on our way again, back to Ardmore via the petrol station for a quick fill.

We wanted to stay another night at Ardmore so that Roy could again get up a silly hour to go round to Antony’s to watch the football. Thursday morning was the England vs Croatia game and we were all hoping that against all odds that England just may be able to make it through to the finals. However, it was not to be.

After Roy had returned from watching the game, we got ourselves sorted and by midday we were on the road again. This time we are not heading too far away as we are not sure how I will fair, sitting for any length of time with my hip still in recovery mode. But with padding from some cushions for the one and half hour journey north, we were soon parked up at Shakespear Regional Park.

I cannot begin to explain how nice it is to be back here, the quietness is almost deafening with just bird calls adding a lovely background noise. The sea is calm so there is almost no noise from waves lapping the shore and as it is winter there is hardly another soul around. Bliss.

We are staying here for a few days to catch up with Rangers and other volunteers whom we have become friends with over our years camp hosting here before wending our way north. Watch out snapper, here we come!

Getting back to normal

July 3, 2018

Saturday was a momentous day, as I moved back into the van! After visiting the day before to make sure I could get in and out of the RV with some semblance of ease it was time to make the big move.

Bringing with me my special raised chair as well as the over-the-toilet raised seat it wasn’t long before I had comfortably taken up my place in the van. But hello, we have a problem Houston, as the seat that goes over the toilet will not fit into our toilet space, oh no, but hang on a minute, let’s just see if I can actually use the loo without the seat. And what do you know? Yes I can. What an achievement, well, it feels like a huge accomplishment. And that raised chair to sit on? It takes up an awful lot of room, but it’s the same height as our two front captains chairs, so that’s easy, I’ll just swivel the chairs around to face the cabin and sit in one of those. So apart from a pair of crutches and a picker-upperer thingy, they are the only visible things to show that life has not quite returned to normality but we are getting there. Another accomplishment made….I can put my own knickers on! With a little help from the picker-uperer thingy. Not too bad for 12 days post op.

It’s been quite an experience, especially trying to describe how it feels. Initially it felt as though someone had injected a 20kg lump of lead inside my thigh/hip as well as a dead leg/Charlie which makes for lifting your leg up, especially when lying in bed to try and get out, almost an impossible task. It makes for interesting times and ingenuity to make life’s little tasks a little easier. Today though, the lump of lead feels as though it weighs only about 15kg and I presume that each day it will become less and less as I become more and more mobile.

We are staying here at Ardmore for a day or three to make sure I am ok with everything before planning our next move. Nothing is being done in a hurry, I am content to take my time and to be patient, somewhat of a foreign concept for me, but I know that I cannot hurry the mending process along.

Simon & granddaughter Maria came to visit last Sunday. It was lovely to spend some time with them and to enviously watch Maria clamber over everything and nimbly race up and down steps with such ease…..I’m only slightly envious of such suppleness of a 22month old! Antony called around as well so it was a catch up for us all.

Hip hip hooray

June 26, 2018

Firstly many thanx to family, friends and acquaintances from near and far who have rung, emailed, messaged or managed some other means of communication to wish me well and to see how I was going. I especially appreciated those of you who stayed away due to having cold bugs etc, and for not sharing them with me. And to those of you who sent messages telepathically, they may have got a little muddled in translation but I got the gist! It has all been very much appreciated, and Jacky’s visit on Friday was just the tonic I needed before leaving the hospital.

Now that the anaesthetic fog has lifted and the pain meds are reducing, I almost feel human like again. Every day things are a little easier but as I have said before I am definitely the tortoise in this race.

Antony and Roy are looking after me well, making sure I do exactly as I have been told, and it is nice to be here in front of the fire and out of the damn awful weather that we seem to be experiencing. Oh yeah, it’s winter, right. The boys are honing their cooking skills showing that some knowledge is passed on via osmosis. Long may it continue.

Oh, and I have received a letter from the Bone Bank thanking me for my donation of the old hip and that the bone has been accepted and already been used to help someone else. I wish them all the best.