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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Green Machine

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As we have a large Land Cruiser to tow our caravan this picture took our fancy.  Maybe this the way things will be when the oil runs out!  Would be a bit slow travelling over any large hills like our Rimutaka Hill.  Would probably need more than one of them I think.  What would we do for tucker for them and think of all the dung.  Jenny would want to give them names!

It could be used to move canal boats too!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let’s visit Glendhu

The gale force winds at Martinborough last weekend precluded any “sitting outside in the sunshine”, like we usually do. Perhaps a trip in the car would be in order? So out came our trusty road atlas to see where we could go, preferably somewhere new to us. We had not travelled the road down to the coast to Glendhu, or seen the Glendhu Rocks, so why not go exploring down there? Just out of town we spotted a couple of cute pigs in the front of a life style block. I really needed to stop and say hello to them. They must know a pig lover when they see one as they both came trotting over to say hello back to me.

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I love pigs, aren’t they cute.

Our 50km trip took us on sealed roads passing Tablelands – nothing much to see there. We turned on to the gravel road and came to a crossroad with a jumble of road signs, following the signs to Pahaoa and Glendhu. The narrow road took us across quite hilly bush clad country, it was slow driving as we went up hill and down dale. The white flowering Manuka bushes looked like the hills were sprinkled with snow. We noticed several groups of bee hives placed besides the Manuka bushes. Manuka honey is a strong flavoured honey with health giving properties and is a New Zealand speciality.

DSCF2235 Just follow the sign and we will get there

Where was the coast, we wondered. We must getting nearer as we drove beside the Pahaoa River. Now, what is this formidable looking sign? We have never come across anything like this before. Obviously the farmers have experienced heavy stock losses. We don’t qualify as thieves or poachers and as long as we keep off private property we won’t be trespassing either.

DSCF2234 A few more miles and we finally arrived at the coast, with the Geddhu Rocks glistening white in the sunshine. The wind was still blowing a gale as we gingerly climbed down the bank and walked along the river bed. The surrounding land was private property belonging to the Glendhu Station but travellers are free to go down the river to get to the sea.

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On our return trip back Robin kept looking for a couple of strange objects he had noticed earlier. What on earth were they? They looked like a couple of containers perched precariously on top of some large wooden poles. If they were ever used for storage they have obviously outlived their usefulness now.

PB210251Another 50kms on the return trip and then we were back in civilisation again. There is nothing so interesting as travelling to a new unexplored area, along a road we had not driven before.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fondue fun

Our caravan club spent the weekend at Martinborough, that South Wairarapa town founded by John Martin,  (1822-92), an Irish immigrant who purchased the large Wairarapa sheep station "Huangarua" in 1879.   This was subdivided  into 593 sections to create the a town. The street names such as Venice, Panama, Suez and New York  and the central square and streets laid out in a Union Jack pattern, were inspired from a world tour John Martin undertook.  These days Martinborough is well known for producing award winning wines.  The hot summer conditions together with dry stony soil has proved to be excellent for growing grapes and the region is dotted with boutique wineries.  Some of the vineyards have powered turbines to move the air around on frosty mornings.

DSCF2225 On of the many vineyards in Martinborough

Our Saturday evening get-together was quite intriguing.  We had been asked to provide our choice of bananas, tangerines, strawberries, or marshmallows which would be used to make us all a shared dessert.  So on Saturday evening we all gathered together in the camp dining room to see what Kath and Pete had prepared for us.  Set out on the table were dishes with chopped fruit, bowls of marshmallows, and two bowls of warmed chocolate.  We were having a fondue party!!

DSCF2246 It’s fondue time

Tea lights burning under the bowls kept the chocolate at just the right consistency.  I couldn't decide which was nicer, the normal chocolate, or the white chocolate flavoured with Kirch.  As we nibbled on chocolate coated fruit and marshmallows Pete played his musical competition to test our brains.  It was reasonably easy to remember the song titles,  but remembering the artist’s names was quite a bit harder.  Still, we all did very well, and had fun singing along to the songs while the other campers in the dining room looked on in amusement.  Or perhaps that should be, in amazement!  It was certainly a great night.

DSCF2248 Martinborough campgrounds

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where’s our fence gone?

We came home from work one day to find our fence had gone.  In it’s place were a couple of orange and white striped “witches hats”.  What was going on?

DSCF2105 Where has our fence gone?

The timber fence in the front of our property between us and the next door neighbour was finally being replaced.  The original fence was constructed many years ago and was badly in need of repair.  The timber posts were made from untreated timber and were rotting away.  Our neighbour Teresa obtained a good quote and we agreed to pay half the costs in replacing the fence.

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The tradesman dug out the old rotten posts and concreted nice new ones.  I came home from work to find him measuring up the long lengths of timber.  “Guess it’s a bit like sewing, measure twice and cut once”, I commented.  Then the lengths were lifted into position.   Bang, bang, he nailed them on with a power nail gun. 

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That didn’t take long

The following day the fence was completed.  The tradesman had reused the original capping rail as there was nothing wrong with this particular piece of timber.  Now all that needs doing is to sand it down, stain the fence and paint the capping rail.  Teresa is claiming this job as her Christmas project and is looking forward to getting on with her outside job.  We were all very impressed with the tradesman and very pleased with our nice new shared fence.        

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Playing with the Water Blaster

It must be Spring as Robin got to work today with the water blaster.  The back deck was badly in need of a clean up.  The timber decking is made with grooved timber, which over winter, gets gunge and debris imbedded in the grooves.  Over time this gets quite grubby looking and today was the day that it was getting dealt with.  The deck isn’t huge but it still took some time to complete the job.

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Robin has a  bright yellow Karcher water blaster and it was humming away merrily as he ran the circular brushes over the timber.  It was a long slow job, and once completed, he then cleaned the steps, the upright posts and the railing.  All this took several hours, but the deck now  looks sparkly clean, all ready for summer barbeques.

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While Robin was busy outside, I was busy on the kitchen, cooking him up a hearty meal after all his hard work.  Hope he appreciates corned beef, carrots, parsnips, cabbage and boiled potatoes with mustard sauce, followed by golden syrup steamed pudding.  That should perk him up again and put a smile on his face!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Buses and Trains

Lucky me had a couple of days off work early this week so I decided to take a trip to Wellington.  What better way to travel but on the big orange bus, otherwise known as the Airport Flyer.  It leaves from Upper Hutt, through the suburbs, travels right though the CBD and the Wellington shopping area, to end up at Wellington Airport.  Sitting all around me was a sea of grey, silver and white heads.  The pensioners were out in force.  All superannuates in New Zealand are able to travel free with their “gold card”on the local buses and trains.  (One more year and I will be old enough to have  my own gold card too). 

DSCF2189 All aboard the big orange bus

This particular bus was a beauty, obviously one of the newer ones.  We sat comfortably on red and black leather seats.  An automated voice kept informing us where the bus would stop next.  There were two TV screens positioned in the bus and I watched them with interest.  News flashes appeared on screen, just to keep us up to date with what was going on in the world.  Then there was a list of airport arrivals and departures.  Very handy if you were on the way to meet someone, and if by chance you were caught in a traffic jam, you could work out exactly how long there was before your flight left without you.  Next up was a street map showing the position of the bus as it travelled merrily along.  And not forgetting the temperatures for the next few days.  All this and free Wifi on board for those travellers who had their lap tops with them.  It was a rather like cruising along in an aircraft.  Robin used to drive the Airport Flyers several years ago and they were not as grand as they are now.

 DSCF2191 Posh leather seats in the bus

On my return home I noticed quite a bit of activity in the Upper Hutt rail yards.  There were men in orange overalls and various machines everywhere.  They were obviously making repairs to the tracks.  This first machine seemed to be compressing the shingle over the railway sleepers. The frontend loader was standing by ready to drop the next load  of shingle.

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Hard at work in the shunting yard

Then I saw a really strange machine ( to a bloke this was a digger -  Robin).  It pulled itself over to the rails, climbed on top then rode right along the rails.  The driver of this machine banged the bucket up and down on the railway lines, goodness knows what that was for.  It all looked very busy and interesting  and I am sure that those of the masculine gender would have no trouble understanding what was going on.  As I had never seen anything quite like this going on I took a few snaps for interest’s sake.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fireworks at Koputaroa

Koputaroa, in rural Levin, had 70 motor homes and caravans parked up on the school grounds for the weekend.  This small country school has a roll of approximately 160 children.  We were there to attend the Guy Fawkes Rally hosted by the Wellington Area of the Motor Home Association.  The local community hall is right next to the school which gave us all somewhere to gather indoors in the evenings.

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We went for a walk up the road and came across the Koputaroa Maori Cemetery on a hill looking over the Main Trunk Railway Line.  This cemetery is registered with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as it contains the grave of a Maori soldier from 1939-1945 war. Some of the graves were quite old and made very interesting reading.  It was obvious that a lot of restoration work had been done recently with new headstones adorning some of the older graves.

DSCF2168 Koputaroa Maori Cemetery

During the day the children were all busily making their guys,  We noticed that one set of grand-parents had brought along a bale of straw to put inside the guy, good thinking, that should burn well.  The guys were all taken inside the hall and lined up on the stage  for judging,  not an easy task after all the hard work the children had put in.

PB070217 A penny for the guy

Night time is a long time coming now we have daylight saving but finally it was dark enough to light the bonfire and start the fireworks display.  Everyone gathered along side the fence line to the adjacent paddock where the bonfire was set out all ready to light.  It didn’t take long to crackle into life and then the fire took on a life of it’s own as the flames roared away consuming the stacked wood and guys alike. 

DSCF2123 The bonfire buns brightly

The committee had purchased fireworks and many people also made donations so there was a good selection.  The men in charge carefully lit the fireworks and all of us safely behind the fence out of harms way oohed and aahed at the colourful displays.  The little kids gathered in a circle and waved their sparklers in the air.  Wood smoke drifted here and there and cameras clicked away recording the sights.  We all had a great night.   Who would have imagined in 1605 that Guy Fawkes would be remembered centuries later?

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   Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot ;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It sneaked up on us

Today is our Anniversary – 26 years to be exact.  We didn't celebrate our 25th Anniversary until March this year with a couple of belated lunches with family and friends, and then we had a wonderful decadent anniversary dinner at Logan Browns last month using up our restaurant voucher.  So this anniversary sort of sneaked up on us.  Anyway, Happy Anniversary to us – and may we have many more!!

AnniCard

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween in Hastings

The house in Hastings looked just like a crime scene.  Our caravan was behind the gate tied with yellow “danger” tape and just in front on the driveway was a chalk outline of a body.  What on earth was going on?  Luckily we were not caught up in the middle of a police investigation – our family in Hastings were having friends around for a Halloween Pot Luck Dinner. 

DSCF2098 What is going on here?

Various small witches, goblins and devils arrived for the fun and games.  They had to negotiate past the witch who was standing guard on the back deck, and make sure they didn’t brush up against the cobwebs and spiders which festooned the windows.  Robin had taken his Halloween orange masterpiece from last weekend to show young Kate.  She was so impressed that two more were quickly made and they became the table centrepiece.

DSCF2099 The welcoming committee

The kids ran off steam running around outside playing games.  “Hunt the parcel”, proved quite popular, with the adults calling out whether the children were getting “warmer”or “colder” as they searched in all the hiding places they could think of to find the prize.  Jaffa the cat was no where to be seen.  She is rather shy at the best of times, and all those noisy kids running around was just too much for her to cope with.

 PA310170 Kate – all dressed up

After all the fun and games it was time to tuck in to the Pot Luck meal.  There was plenty of food for everyone including chicken and chips, garlic bread, and “toxic punch”for the children to drink.  Pavlova, chocolate crackles, chocolate muffins all dressed up as large spiders, sweets  and gingerbread men filled in any gaps.  After the meal the children sat down and told themselves scary stories.  It was a fun evening and everyone had a good fun time.

 PA310193 Watch out – I’m going to eat you up!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hastings and back

We have our very own “pop-over-property” to stay at when we visit my sister and her family in Hastings.  There is an authentic caravan  power point wired in to their house which enables us to be on power.  Hastings is usually much warmer than the Wellington region but during the latter part of the week experienced cold temperatures which seem to be gripping the whole country.  As a major fruit growing area, the recent hail storms caused a lot of damage to the valuable crops.  We prepared breakfast for everyone on Saturday morning.  The pancakes could have been a little bigger, but they still tasted nice smothered with boysenberries and whipped cream, or drizzled with honey/maple syrup.

DSCF2086  Robin hard at work making pancakes for breakfast

Hastings has rail tracks running right through the city centre.  Right through a water feature complete with small bubbling fountains, in fact.  The days of the Wellington to Napier Railcar are long gone.  I can remember travelling on these railcars many times to visit Kathleen.  These days the city centre only sees the occasional goods train using the tracks.

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Rail tracks running through the city centre

We had a quick trip to the Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning.  These types of markets are really popular.  Organic meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, preserves, chocolates and gelato ice-cream were some of the products on offer.  We bought some new season’s strawberries to take back home, a couple of nice pastries for our road trip , apples, and a lovely hot latte for me to enjoy while we sat in the sunshine while watching all the shoppers .  We said our goodbyes to the family, hooked up the caravan and started the trip back home.  The farms were full of  baby lambs and young calves in the paddocks, munching on grass in the warm spring sunshine.

PB010206 The historic Anzac Bridge at Kaiparoi

Each time we make the trip to Hastings we pass the Anzac Bridge at Kaiparo, south of Eketahuna, and on our return trip we were determined to stop and investigate this very special piece of history.  Local mill owner, Alfred Faulkner, had lost his youngest son and his nephew in WW1.  Alfred was a draughtsman and drew up the plans for the bridge and the local community raised half of the 800 pounds needed to build it.  The bridge was opened in December 1922, and the plaques unveiled on Anzac Day the following year. Further names were added after WW11, and Anzac Day commemorations are still held each year at the bridge.  The Anzac Bridge is a Registered Building under the NZ Historic Places Trust, and in 1956 a replacement bridge was built.

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