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

Friday, October 13, 2017

Ultra Fast Broadband in our Village

There has been a posse of workmen from Chorus busy in our village starting to lay Ultra Fast Broadband.  As we live in a village situation, the majority of residents had to agree to this work.  When it was explained that having broadband available to each property was an important point for those selling their properties in the future, residents readily agreed.  This current work is to lay the fibre around the village, and it is up to the individual owners whether they get the connection to their homes through their own internet service providers.  Chorus provided the Body Corporate with a detailed plan showing how this work would be achieved.

Narrow trenches have been dug, as required

The whine of concrete cutters has been heard throughout the village

And the dinky little digger has made a big hole in front of our home

Into the hole went a very big junction box

Cones and rails now in place to stop us falling in the hole

Not all of the work has been so disruptive, in some places only a mere narrow slot needed to be cut through the concrete path and across the road.  The cables end in the the pale green boxes in front of each villa, and from there will go into each household when required.

Neat and tidy, and the slots will be covered over shortly

There is still more work to be done, but no doubt the recurring wet weather stops progress.  The workmen have assured us time and time again that everything will be put back as it should.  We can’t complain, as all this work is being done at no cost.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Spring is in the Air

Our Spring weather has been very wet lately, and the grounds are sodden.  Where does all this rain come from, I often wonder.  Although after a several days of almost non stop rain the sun has finally come out.  Our kowhai tree in the back yard is in flower.  We are really pleased with it’s growth as we brought this tree with us as a rather spindly sapling when we moved from Upper Hutt.


Kowhai tree in bloom

Spring also means that the new season asparagus is ready.  We get ours direct from the grower, just a short drive up SH1.  There is nothing nicer than steamed asparagus with a knob of butter on top, or even better, asparagus mornay. 

Fresh asparagus – yummy

There were workmen busy playing with their big machines on the property.  The asparagus farm is going to be growing strawberries, we were told, and workmen are busy preparing the ground to put raised beds in.  I’m sure we will notice a big change here the  next time we arrive to buy some more asparagus.

Preparing the ground for raised strawberry beds

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Family Gathering

After a couple of missed calls and a text, Robin’s baby sister finally made contact with us.  Kaye and Jan were up from Nelson, travelling on the Taupo, and could we meet up somewhere for coffee as they passed by?  Robin’s brother Gary joined us too.  Luckily we could rearrange our morning and we spent a couple of happy, if rather noisy hours in a local café. 

Kaye and Jan, Gary and Robin

There was plenty to catch up on, news of the extended family, a nephew's wedding coming up, and  travel plans. Health news too, as sadly we are all getting a little older.  It was a very enjoyable family get-together.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Once you turn 70……

Look what happens once you turn 70 – your birthday balloon goes down and gives you that deflated feeling.  Oh dear – never mind.


We’re having a quiet Sunday at home for a change, no rushing around today.  The morning started off with the man of the house cooking the obligatory bacon and eggs for breakfast.  Now  Robin is in his happy place – watching the All Blacks play the Argentina team on TV.  Go the All Blacks!

And I’m pottering around quietly in the background, preparing a beef pot roast in the crock pot for dinner.  And a little baking perhaps.   Hope everyone is having a restful Sunday before another busy week starts again.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Last days at Wanganui

We had mixed weather at Wanganui, some rain, some sunshine, but luckily not too much wind.  Members came and went, some stayed for four nights, while others stayed two or three nights, to suit their circumstances.  It was great to welcome prospective members Owen and Helen who came to join us, and ended up winning the quiz, good on them!

Some of our vans at Wanganui

Our last evening was spent gathered in a circle and playing a game with three dice.  Twenty cent coins changed hands regularly and the finally the person who had the last coin was declared winner and took the pool.  Not a huge fortune – probably about $3 or so, but it was all a bit of a laugh.

We were intrigued to see a machine in camp that promised hot chips in 70 seconds.  Although I didn’t see it in action, a couple of our members put their coins in the slot and had freshly cooked chips with their evening meal.

Hot chips, anyone?

The young couple running the camp have done all sorts of improvements since our last visit.  The two and four wheeled hire bikes were very popular with youngsters and they pedaled round and round the camp.  And the birds kept us entertained in the aviary.


We packed up and left on Monday morning, hoping to get home before the expected rain, and passing plenty of dairy cows on the way.


Our four nights at Wanganui was the conclusion of our two weeks away.  Our trip started in Taupo, then we moved on to the Motor Home Show at Hamilton.  Several people have asked us if we put an order in for a new caravan at the show – no, not this time.  During our homeward journey we stayed at Piopio, New Plymouth and Hawera, before meeting up at Wanganui for a caravan club rally. So all in all it was a great little trip away, catching up with old friends, seeing new things, and finding somewhere “new to us” to stay.  Now – when are we going away next?  I’ve just checked, and it’s in five weeks time.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Two Towers, a Tunnel and a Elevator

Sunday at Wanganui involved a real treat – a trip to Durie Hill.  Although we had been to the top of the hill before, we had never been up in the historic elevator, so were very pleased that a visit had been arranged during our caravan rally.


To get to the historic elevator we had to walk through the 205 m long tunnel.  Luckily it is painted white and is well lit or it could well be a  rather spooky for nervous travelers.

Jenny and Dot at the entrance to the tunnel

The vintage elevator is at the end of the tunnel, and entering was certainly like was stepping back in time.  Zena Mabbot has been operating it since 1971 and stands in front of a newspaper article when she started her job – although she now only works 3 days a week, she told us.  We were charged $2 each for the 66m ride up to the top and saved us walking up 191 concrete steps.

Zena, the long serving elevator operator

The Durie Hill Underground Elevator was built to provide residents of the garden suburb easier access to the growing city. Built in 1919, it is the country’s only public underground Elevator and is still used on a daily basis by locals and visitors.    The Elevator engine is a converted electric Tram engine, which used to use castor oil as lubrication.

Our elevator ride stopped with a shake and a shudder and didn’t line up with the floor – too much weight perhaps, so we hauled ourselves up and out the door.  Several of us took the challenge of walking up the spiral staircase of the elevator tower – and sadly I forgot to take a photo of this interesting building.   It was so windy at the top  I took a quick photo of the river before we climbed down again.

View from the elevator tower

There is a second tower on top of Durie Hill, the War Memorial Tower which is registered as a Category 2 Historic Place. The tower is the official Wanganui Memorial to the 513 people from the district who died in the First World War and was unveiled in 1925.  It is constructed of cemented marine sandstone containing shell fragments (called shellrock) from a nearby quarry. It is 33.5m high (104 feet) and the rock is estimated to be more than 2 million years old.
War Memorial Tower

Only three of us climbed this tower, Barry and Derek who were much fitter than me and arrived at the top with no trouble at all.  I was much slower, but really pleased that I made it all the way to the top too, huffing and puffing all the way.   There is a heavy safety frame on top of the tower to stop any accidents.


Views from the War Memorial Tower

We saw quite an assortment of padlocks attached to the safety frame.  It seems that these “love locks” as they are known, fastening a lock marked with lovers’ names to a public place and the key thrown away symbolizes everlasting love.  Wonder if they come back and cut them off if the love match turns sour?

Locked in love at the top of the tower

After the mammoth task of climbing all those stairs we were faced with the downhill journey – this seems to use a different set of muscles and I will probably pay for all this exercise!  Many thanks to the Rally Captains for a great afternoon out.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Kitchen Mishap and the General Election

With Robin’s 70th Birthday almost a mere memory, we decided to have a celebratory morning tea with our caravan club friends on Saturday morning.  That’s where the cookie dough from Yarrows of Manaia came in – we will bake some tasty macadamia and white chocolate cookies to share, we decided..  But we didn’t have a baking tray for our small caravan oven.  Tried to use the the monster gas oven in the camp kitchen, but it wouldn’t light.   So back to Plan B and then we ran out of gas half way through baking the cookies in two lots on the baking pan in the caravan.  Certainly not my finest morning in the kitchen.  Next time, we will bake at home and take the goodies with us.

My cookies didn’t go to plan

After lunch our group went to visit St Paul's Anglican Memorial Church at Putiki, Wanganui.  Nothing out of the ordinary, just a  plain white church from the outside, it seemed.


What an absolute delight the church was inside.  No photos were permitted inside so this has come from the web site.  The church features some of New Zealand’s finest modern Māori carving some of which uses paua shell. The church includes a painted rib ceiling which, as with the interior’s tukutuku panels, recalls Māori meeting houses, as well as, two beautiful etched-glass and two stained-glass windows.  Just beautiful, and our guide told us about the history of this wonderful church building.

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Interior of St Paul’s Church

Driving back to camp we crossed my favourite bridge in Wanganui – one of several bridges crossing the river.  The  Dublin Street Bridge looks rather like it was made from a Meccano set, I always think.

Dublin Street Bridge

With the very important General Election taking place while our caravan club was at Wanganui, everyone took the opportunity to vote early.  With our democratic duty done, we were then free to enjoy the rally without worrying about casting a special vote as we were out of our election areas.  During the evening we were glued to the camp TV watching the results come in.  National seems to have won, but the Special Votes from overseas still need to be counted.  And with MMP here, they will need to form a coalition with one of the minor parties to form a government.  Meanwhile – the country waits.