Success is getting what you want; happiness is liking what you get

Monday, September 15, 2014

What happened to the Sunshine?

The heavy rain came down on Saturday night while we were tucked up inside our caravans at the Levin Holiday Park.  Some of the sites were awash and we did wonder how Selwyn and Kath would get out of their van and over to the hall for morning tea without sinking up to their ankles in muddy water.  It was such a damp and squelchy  morning (but not too cold) that there was no reason to hang about the camp for lunch, we all just wanted to get on home.  I braved the rain to snap a couple of wet misty morning photos.

P9140021 Parked up at Levin Holiday Park

P9140018 Looking towards the Tararua Ranges

It was just a short drive home and we quickly unpacked the caravan – we will do the cleaning later in the week.  It was a lovely surprise to find that a couple of our beautiful purple iris bulbs had burst into flower in the front garden – it was almost like they were welcoming us home.  These bulbs have a bit of a history.  Some years ago we went with our SLG friends for a trip up to New Plymouth to see the annual Rhododendron  Festival.  The famous Pukeiti Park with it’s beautiful flowering rhodo bushes was the star of the show, but many other private gardens were also open to the public.  Our friend Rex purchased some iris bulbs at one garden and presented us all with a bulb.  Ours was duly planted in the garden when we lived at Upper Hutt and multiplied over the years, as they do.  When I knew we were moving house, I dug up a few plants, leaving some behind.  They lived in a bucket for quite some months before I finally transplanted them into our new garden.  I love that beautiful rich purple colour.

P9140023 Rex’s iris bulbs in flower

Poor Robin was starting to feel a bit poorly when we arrived home and took himself off to bed.  Just hope he isn’t  coming down with the same dreaded lurgey that D & D can’t seem to shake off.  I’m doing my best to play sympathetic nursemaid and make him feel better.  Must be just about time to make him a nice hot cuppa.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saturday at Levin Holiday Park

After a glorious day on Friday, Saturday dawned bright and sunny and was just as nice for our weekend rally at the Levin Holiday Park.  Sadly, our Rally Family, Dot and Derek, had come down with the dreaded lurgey and were too poorly to attend.   So that was a shame, we certainly missed them.   But after all this time, we are well versed in the rally weekend timetable.  We could amuse ourselves as long as the rituals like morning teas and 4zees are adhered to.

And what a morning tea we had, with a double dose of visitors calling in to see us, laden with home cooked goodies.  First to arrive were former members Nahlene and Bruce, who moved away several years ago, and have now shifted back to the area.  Nahlene brought along some tasty savoury muffins, which she offered around to the group. 

P9130006 Nahlene with her savoury muffins

She didn’t take too much persuasion to give yesterday’s Birthday Boy a Happy Birthday kiss and a cuddle!

P9130007 Happy Birthday for yesterday

Next club members Lorraine and Charlie arrived.  They couldn’t make the weekend  rally but popped in to see us on Saturday morning.  Lorraine carried in a big basket full of freshly made pikelets along with butter and jam to spread on them.  Recovering from a shoulder operation doesn’t slow this lady down one little bit!  Thanks very much ladies, for going to all that trouble, it was most appreciated.

P9130008 But wait – there’s more.  Yummy pikelets from Lorraine.

We pooled cars after lunch and drove up to Murrayfield Museum and Cafe – arrangements previously put in place by Dot and Derek for the rally weekend.  A package deal got us into the museum, followed by afternoon tea.  Robin and I had just visited the museum just a couple of weeks ago, so we opted for only the afternoon tea part of the deal.

P9130015 Murrayfield Museum and Cafe

While the others were looking through, I wandered outside to   check on the animals.  The donkey was standing stoically in the paddock, and only approached the fence if someone had food for him.

P9130010I won‘t move till you show me the food

And here’s something you don’t see much of these days - guinea pigs.   My daughter had a couple of these  many years ago.  Wonder if you can guess who got to clean out the cage every day after the excitement cooled off?  Our guinea pigs came to a sticky end when they were killed by a nasty little terrier belonging to a neighbour.   Oh dear, that certainly upset the household.
  P9130013 One of the Murrayfield guinea pigs

And a fine looking goat

By the time I got back inside the cafe the rest of our group were exiting the  museum, and our afternoon tea was laid out on the adjacent table for us.  Tea and coffee, two different types of muffins, and scones with jam and cream.  These were the largest scones I had seen for a long time – they were huge!  But we did our best, and valiantly managed to eat most of the goodies laid out before us.  4zzees was fairly quiet – we were all too full!

Being a keen All Black supporter, Robin decided he would pop home in the evening and watch the All Blacks play the Springboks live on Sky TV.   Who wanted to join him?  Selwyn and Barry kept him company and the three of them drove off – it was only a 5 minute drive away.  About 35,000 keen supporters watched the game at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, with our three blokes barracking just as loudly in Levin.   The 14-10 victory allowed the All Blacks to retain the Freedom Cup and extend their unbeaten run at home to five years. 

All Black Julian Savea moves forward against South Africa in Westpac Stadium.
All Black Julian Savea moves forward against South Africa in Westpac Stadium.
Photo: PHOTOSPORT / Chris Symes

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Birthday Boy

The birthday boy got to celebrate his special day with his caravan club buddies yesterday.  Another year older – but is he any wiser? This is a “close to home”  rally, we travelled about 1km down the road to Levin Holiday Park.  We celebrated with a couple of cream sponges and some home made chocolate balls at afternoon tea time, enjoyed while sitting out in the sunshine.

P9120002 Happy Birthday Robin

P9120003 Almost too big for his mouth!

What’s better than a selfie photo?  A groupie – of course.  Using the delayed timer function, Robin set the camera up on a small table, then rushed back to sit down before it went off.  It took two tries to accomplish this feat, he just didn’t move fast enough on the first attempt.

P9120005 Our happy group

Robin’s Mum came calling during the afternoon, on the way down to a medical appointment.  At nearly 91, she is finding it hard to get around these days, and has recently acquired the loan of a wheelchair.  It was a bit hard for her to get up the steps into our caravan, but with a lot of help she finally made it.  She hadn’t seen our new van, and she was most impressed.  Robin’s parents had a Zephyr caravan many years ago, and he can remember many happy trips in it.  There was time for a cuppa and birthday wishes before she was whisked away for her appointment.

P9120001 Robin and his Mum

Friday, September 12, 2014

From Purple Haze to the Black Stump

Any day out also involves a fair bit of sustenance, we have noticed, and our “60s Up” bus trip to Eketahuna on Wednesday was no exception.  A full bus load of ladies with just a sprinkling of men climbed aboard and settled back for our day’s outing.  With friendly bus driver Peter at the wheel, we were in good hands.  This year old bus can “kneel” down in front which helps the older members get off and on the bus a little easier.  Mind you, the steps inside are still quite steep for some of them to cope with.

P9100015 Peter and Robin talking about buses

Our trip took us north, and we negotiated the Manawatu Gorge.  Then we turned off at Woodville, and it was an easy run down to Mangatainoka, the home of Tui Breweries.  Peter suggested that we might like to stop there later in the day for our ladies to try out as a Tui Girl for the next Beer advertisement – yeah, right!  Although, surprisingly, there seemed to be some interest from a couple of our members!   But our stop was not to be the brewery, but just a little further along the road at Purple Haze, for morning tea.

P9100009 Lavender bushes at Purple Haze

We have been to this cafe several times, and the owner Sally always provides lovely tasty food.    Morning tea was self service, and when everyone had poured themselves a cuppa, chosen a couple of tasty items to nibble, we settled ourselves down at the tables for morning tea.  Later on, some looked through the lavender items on sale, a few took themselves outside for a smoke, while others looked at the birds in the aviary.  The cage was full of canaries, all happy and chirping away, nineteen to the dozen, in the lovely Spring sunshine.  There is nothing like the trill of a canary, and these happy little birds were singing their hearts out.

P9100011 Canaries at Purple Haze Cafe

After our visit to Middleton Model Railway at Eketahuna, it was time to drive back to Pahiatua for lunch.  This was at the Black Stump Cafe, and the building formerly served the public as a bank. 

P9100034 Lunch at the Black Stump

This was a new cafe to us, having never been here before.  The trip organisers had arranged for a roast meal, and what a beauty it was.  We seated ourselves in the restaurant in the back of the establishment, and the busy staff delivered our meals to the tables.  With servings of both roast pork and beef smothered with gravy, roast potatoes, kumara, pumpkin, parsnip and peas, it was a great hearty meal.  (We gobbled it all up without a thought of taking a photo or two.)   Then we had a choice of tea or coffee, and a choice of a slice or cake to finish up with.  I chose a delicious little lemon meringue pie, yummy!  After a big midday meal like that, we  didn’t have to worry too much about cooking when we got home. 

The trip home was much quieter, with many of the group nodding off after our big lunch.  Myself included, and Robin had the cheek to say I was snoring, surely not, I don’t believe that!  But he was adamant – how embarrassing!  Perhaps the ladies will think it was him instead.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Middleton Model Railway and Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese

It was a full day out when the 60s Up group boarded the bus bright and early in Levin for a trip to Ekatahuna.  We were off to visit the Middleton Model Railway, a huge layout built up over many years.  Set in the English Midlands the trains trundle around the imaginary town and surrounding countryside of Middleton.  The layout contains over 300m of track, 227 points, 10 stations, a marshalling yard, harbour, ironstone mine and a chalk quarry.  Colin set the trains running on the main track, and there are plenty of buttons to push to get things moving on the other lines of the layout.



P9108475 Plenty of action on the rails

The ”00” gauge  trains running represent the decades from the 1950s to 1990s, and are rotated regularly.  Currently trains from the 1960s are running.

P9108480 The sets were very interesting, we saw a lovely old church modelled on an European Cathedral

P9100027 And a ruined castle

And for those model train enthusiasts who want to start or add to their own layout, the shop has plenty of things for sale.  Engines, rolling stock, tracks, and items to make realistic looking sets line the walls, just waiting for a new owner to take them home. We believe that this layout is insured for 6 figures.

P9100024 All for sale

The more limber visitors can clamber through a low slung tunnel and pop up in the middle of the train set.  I tried it, but oh, my aching back when I scrambled through the low opening looking rather like to Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Cheese maker Biddy then told us that the easy way through is to sit on the wheeled chair and scoot yourself through.  So I made the return journey like that, but you still need to keep your head down low so you don’t bump your head.

P9100023 Coming back through – watch the head room

Biddy runs the cheese side of the business, and had samples for us to taste, and each had the name(s) of the cows who produced the milk.  I tasted cheese produced from Holly and Patsy, and some by Holly and Isobel, and a little from Dizzy, and some from just one cow.  Milking four pampered Jersey cows, she knows exactly which milk goes into each cheese.  We love boutique cheeses, so I just had to take two pieces of Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese home with me – made with the milk produced by different cows of course.  These cheeses have a royal connection and were chosen to be served at the official reception during the recent visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to New Zealand.  It was also served at Prince George's playgroup when he met up with some Kiwi Plunket group youngsters and their Mums. 

P9100017 Biddy cutting me some cheese

It was an interesting morning with plenty to see.  It’s nearly lunchtime – all aboard for our next destination. 

P9100033 This way back to the bus

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Stop Sulking and Stand up Straight!

Those rhubarb plants have had a good talking to.  They have been sulking lately, you know.  Yes, we know they’ve had a bit of a rough time -  dug up and their roots pulled out of the garden where they were quite happily settled.  And then suffered the indignity of been split in half with a shovel though their roots.  But they’ve got a nice new bed now, with plenty of room to spread out.   Robin dug in a whole lot of pony poo to give them a good start so they can wiggle their toes in that.  (It’s our secret weapon, rhubarb just loves pony poo).  So stop sulking and stand up straight – we’re looking forward to a good crop of rhubarb as soon as these plants get a growing spurt on!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Gidday, Frederick

The Fredrock Cafe bus was in the area, so we invited the driver up for lunch.    We keep up with his travels and adventures through his blog, (do pop over and check it out)  but hadn’t seen him in a wee while.  He used his handy GPS to find us, and the big bus slowly trundled through our village as he looked for our villa.  It’s the one with the flag flying, Frederick, we should have told him. 

With our friends D & D away for the weekend, we borrowed their motor-home parking space to park Fredrock Cafe in for a couple of hours.

P9060001 Romany Rambler and Fredrock Cafe

There was plenty of news from both sides to catch up with, and then we had a leisurely lunch.  The French Onion Soup had been simmering away for hours in the Crock-pot,  and was tasty topped with some cheese topped toasted French Bread.   Nothing beats home made soup, I always think.  We finished off with a plate of sausage rolls straight from the oven, (served with Robin’s favourite Tui Tomatoe Sauce) and a lemon muffin or two washed down with yet another cup of coffee.

P9060003 Frederick and Robin finishing their lunch

After putting the world to rights, and making a decision on where he would stay for the next night or two, it was time for Frederick to take his leave.  This was delayed in the parking area where neighbours and fellow vanners Bruce and John were both doing a little maintenance on their respective motor-homes, so introductions were made.  Any new van needs checking out and the two of them gladly took the invitation to climb aboard Fredrock Cafe for a look around. 

It was great to meet up you again, Frederick, we’ll see you on the road again soon, no doubt.