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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Anyone with a Shoe Fetish?

The Kapiti Coast Museum in Waikanae is usually open weekends only, but the volunteers kindly opened up for our group midweek.  Housed in the former Waikanae Post Office building, it has many items from the original Post Office and telephone exchange on display.

DSCF3212

Also on display is an amazing collection of shoes.  These were donated to the museum by Jim McIntosh, Kapiti shoemaker and collector, and only a portion of the collection is displayed here.  The shoes date from the early 1880s to 1990.

DSCF3187 Some of the shoes on display

DSCF3188To tread the grapes at harvest

Kiwis will remember former Prime Minister Rob Muldoon,  who was in the top job from December 1975 to July 1984.  You  either loved him or hated him.  To supporters he was the voice of ‘the ordinary bloke’; but to critics he was a dictatorial bully.  Sure enough, there is a pair of Rob Muldoon’s shoes on display, which he wore on the eve of his announcing the fateful snap election in 1984.  His party was soundly trounced at this election.  After being deposed as leader, Muldoon sat on the back benches, and he died a year after leaving Parliament.

DSCF3189 Prime Minister Rob Muldoon’s black brogues

There was everything from boots, evening shoes, sandals made from car tyres and much more.  For some “Kiwi Kitch” how about these paua shell shoes?

DSCF3191 Paua shell shoes

The tiny little pair of red shoes  for Chinese ladies with bound feet were quite sobering to see, and we discussed how terribly painful it must have been to have your feet manipulated in this way.  But it was considered both a sign of wealth and beauty and no doubt the ladies concerned, and their husbands,  were very proud of their tiny little feet.

DSCF3192Chinese shoes for bound feet

There were all sorts of other interesting old items on display, from the early Post Office days, household items, school desks, together with ink pots quills and slates.  And these lovely old musical instruments too.  We could just imagine family and friends getting together for an evening sing-along around the old gramophone player.

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DSCF3211Making music in the old days

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mobile Internetness

As many of our readers know we travel around in our caravan a lot and it is important to us to be able to regularly connect to the internet if for nothing else to update this blog and Jenny’s Quilting blog.

Our foray was to purchase a Sierra Wireless 326 “T” Stick from Telecom. This device has worked very well for us. We chose Telecom network mainly as our friends are on the Vodafone network and as coverage is very similar this gave us a point of difference. This T stick worked well with our laptop and as we are contemplating buying a second laptop both may need to on the internet at the same time, so it was time to purchase some type of router.

PA257571 Sierra Wireless 326 “T” Stick

Our friends have a battery 3G travel router they purchased in the UK but sadly this device is not available in NZ. Therefore I have been trolling the internet for a locally sold alternative. I dismissed the offerings from both Telecom and Vodafone as their units were locked to their systems and this limited a possible change of provider later on down the track.

To cut a long story short, I had my eye on one brand but that is not sold anymore, and looking around (Google is a great friend) I located “LevelOne WBR-6803 150Mbps Wireless 3G Travel Router”. This router supported both Vodafone and Telecom “T” Sticks. However it did not support the Sierra Wireless “T” Stick we have. (According to the Supplier) but did support Telecom’s MF190 “T” Stick

PA257563 LevelOne WBR-6803 150Mbps Wireless 3G Travel Router

I have since purchased an MF190 “T” Stick, configured the router, plugged it all up and Hey Presto it works.

PA257549 Telecom MF190 “T” Stick

Now both Sierra and LevelOne informed me that the 326 would not work with the router so the devil in me just had to try. Low and Behold it worked without a hiccup. We have not tried all this in anger yet as no money has been loaded onto either “T” Stick so the proof will be when we next are away in the caravan for an extended period. Will report back later.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A glimpse of classic cars

We attended a day time concert at Southwards Theatre recently, adjacent to the world famous Southwards Car Museum. With more than 400 classic, vintage and rare cars, Southwards is the largest car museum in the southern hemisphere.  A visit to the museum was not on the agenda, but several interesting cars from the collection were dotted around the entrance for us to admire.

The racy red supercharged 1930 Alfa Romeo has a top speed of 150 and took just 14 seconds to go from 0-60 MPH.

DSCF3172 1930 Alpha Romeo

The lovely old 1904 Wolseley Tourer, with black leather seats and plenty of brass fittings has a bit of a history.  It was the first car to travel from New Zealand to participate in the famous London to Brighton run.  This trip didn’t happen till 1962 when the car was 58 years old!

DSCF31741904 Wolseley Tourer

Listed as “New Zealand’s Oldest Surviving Car” was the 1895 Benz.  It has been restored to its original specifications as supplied by the Daimler Benz museum in Stuttgart, and is one of the two remaining models of this year in the world.  Originally purchased in Paris by Mr Oates of Christchurch, he then shipped it to England and toured the country, driving over 1000 miles on the trip.  The car was then shipped over to his home town in New Zealand, arriving shortly before the turn of the century.

DSCF3176 1895 Benz

The rest of the 400 cars on display were temptingly out of reach through the glass doors of the museum.  For car buffs, this is well worth a visit if you are in this part of the country, there is plenty here to keep you interested for hours.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

“Razzle Dazzle” day-time Concert by Operatunity

Ever heard of Operatunity?  We certainly hadn’t, although the company has been around for ten years.  Their objective to “present an incredible concert, brimming with joy, delivered with profession and warmth and bucket loads of fun” was well and truly met.  John, one of our SLG friends, organised for our group to attend the Razzle Dazzle concert at Southwards Theatre, Paraparaumu.  We filed into the auditorium, found some seats amongst the hundreds of other mainly grey haired concert lovers, and settled down expectantly.

DSCF3181 Waiting for the show to start

The five artists accompanied by the pianist kept our toes tapping as they delivered song and dance routines from well known shows.  Bouncy routines from Chicago and Cabaret got the concert off to a rollicking start.  Audience participation was required in the “Oom-pah-pah” song and we certainly did our very best.  The tempo slowed and I was in heaven as the handsome young man on stage crooned the beautiful lyrics of “On the night of a thousand stars” from Evita.  I just can’t help it, romantic love songs are my kind of music!

“Master of the House”, from Les Miserables was performed by a couple of real rogues, and a pair of frustrated American sailors lamented the lack of female company in “There’s nothing like a dame”, from South Pacific.  Yet another lovely song which brought tears to my eyes was Leonard Cohen’s classic "Hallelujah", beautifully harmonised by the four younger members of the cast.  (After the show had ended several of our group commented that this particular song gave them goosebumps).

Can you imagine what the elderly audience looked like when we were up on our feet and doing the moves to the song “Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Show?  We jumped to the left, and stepped to the right, that wasn’t so bad.  But the words kept coming and we were exhorted to do the pelvic thrusts, which drive you insane!  The mind boggles what those on stage were thinking as the audience dutifully did as they were instructed before collapsing back on their seats.

DSCF3183 The final song

It was a wonderful show, but it didn’t end there.  A light lunch was provided back stage as part of the ticket price, and the singers mixed and mingled as they took plates of food around.   Would I go to another of their shows?  Absolutely, I just loved it.  Sadly, Robin had to miss out on the day’s outing as he was busy providing transport to take his Mum to her hospital appointment.  But you can be sure that I told him all about it, and how much I had enjoyed the day.  He was sad to have missed out, he said.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Gypsy Rover’s owners are on the move

Our friends Dot and Derek from Gypsy Rover fame moved house, and we offered to help.  (We must be gluttons for punishment, as we did all this for Robin’s brother several months ago).  Come about 9.00am we were told.  The carriers were already there, the two fit young men made short work of packing the heavy furniture into the truck.  My task was to run the vacuum cleaner around to pick up any bits of dirt or fluff which had been left behind.

DSCF3220 Cleaning lady 

Robin folded the back seats of our 4WD down and the area was packed up with bags and crates of food items and such like. 
   
DSCF3222 4WD packed up

Then we hooked up the (previously packed) trailer and checked the lights to make sure they were connected properly.  Dot and Derek’s little car was also packed to the gunnels. Then it was “goodbye old house”, and on we drove to the new accommodation. 

DSCF3223Time to move on

The hard working truckers had other loads to deliver along the way so we arrived an hour or so ahead of them.  That gave us time to unload the cars and trailer, and pop down to the shops to buy Subways all round for lunch.  Plus a chewy chocolate chip cookie for extra energy, after lugging all those heavy boxes inside. 

DSCF3225 The truck finally arrived

Those afore-mentioned young fit men then carried in the heavy furniture, carefully checking with Dot and Derek which room each piece was to go.  However, carrying some of the furniture upstairs proved to be a bit of a challenge.
 
DSCF3229 Will it fit?
DSCF3231 It will if we lift it over the banister

Whew…. that’s the last piece in.  Time for a cuppa, and then we headed back home, leaving Dot and Derek the unenviable job of unpacking all those boxes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Where did you get that Hat?

It was my turn to wear the silly hat yesterday.  It was my birthday, after all.  This rather dashing Happy Birthday hat was sent to me by a very special friend a couple of years ago.  So I decreed that each birthday it should come out of hiding for a special birthday photo.

DSCF3159Jenny in the Birthday Hat

We had travelled home yesterday from our long weekend away staying at the Himitangi Beach Holiday Park.  With a couple of stops to make on the way home, it was late afternoon before we finally arrived home.  Not that I had to think about what to cook last night, as birthdays in our house mean going out somewhere nice for a meal.

We tried a new Thai restaurant in town, so new it had only been opened for a couple of weeks.  Now then, what shall we order?  We are certainly no experts in Thai cuisine so it was all a matter of what sounded the nicest.  The menu came with pictures of the meals so we knew what to expect.  For starters we decided on Satay Chicken Kebabs and Stuffed Mushrooms, they were served piping hot and were just so tasty and the plate of Roti Bread was light and tasty too.  Our mains were Beef in Sweet Chilli Sauce, and  Crispy and BBQ Pork, both served with rice.  Oh my, they were both heavenly. 
 DSCF3160 At Thai House Express Restaurant

We just loved the food, and declared that we would certainly be back again soon.  There are no pretensions here, no wine list or fancy coffee machine hissing away in the corner, just good honest delicious food.  The prices were very reasonable, and they do take-ways too.  It was a lovely birthday treat and we went home feeling well satisfied with our choices.  Now, how soon can we go again?

DSCF3161 Fancy cut veggies on our plates

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Wind Never Stops

Camping by the beach at Himitangi may well sound like fun, but believe us, that wind just never stopped blowing.  That pesky wind was so cold, we never got to sit outside at all over the weekend.  Luckily there was a large recreation room available for us to use.  The camp has been undergoing an upgrading programme over the last couple of years, and is now completed with the addition of a new laundry block and two new disabled showers and toilets.  This camp is always very well run, and we certainly enjoy our weekends here.  There is a large collection of various metal art pieces attached to the fences, ranging from fish sculptures to an assortment of jandals

DSCF3152Fish - catch of the day

Sunday night was BBQ night, and the steak, sausages, hash browns  and pork chops sizzled away. 

DSCF3149 Geoff and Robin in charge of the BBQ

We all ate our meal together in the recreation  room.  Margaret the manager had kindly presented our club with two bottles of South African wine to share, which was much appreciated.
   DSCF3102Compliments of the camp

Most of our caravan club buddies packed up and headed for home on Monday morning, all except us and Don and Pamela who were staying an extra night.  We were joined by friends Geoff and Pauline Cole, who were part of our “South Island Odyssey” group earlier in the year
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DSCF3150 Three of us staying an extra night

The rest of the camp had emptied out considerably too.  The permanent awnings were shut up tight, with dune buggies and bikes safely locked away till next time.  The weekenders loaded up their kids and dogs and headed back to suburbia, leaving us three in a very quiet camp indeed.   We spent the afternoon together in the rec room, safely away from that awful wind.  Just getting in and out of the caravan door was a challenge, as the force of the wind almost ripped the door off the hinges!

It must have been “Murphy’s Law” because, would would you believe it, we woke on Tuesday morning to silence.  No wind whatsoever.  Hard to believe after what we had put up with over the weekend.  Packing up, we said our goodbyes, and started for home, stopping off in Levin to top up the fuel again.  We were rather dwarfed at the Truck Stop by the large truck with it’s load of new cars. 

DSCF3155 Fill up time again

Rural life is never far away as just over the back fence we saw some young calves with their mothers.  You wouldn’t think the main road was so close to this rural scene.

DSCF3156 Young calves in town

We had a couple of things to attend to on our journey home, finally arriving in the late afternoon. Windy or not, it was still a great weekend away. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Day in the Country

As we were staying at Himitangi for the weekend, it was less than an hour’s drive north to visit the family at Kiwitea.  We set off after our club morning tea on Sunday, arriving just in time for lunch.  Sadly, we were told of the recent demise of the resident chook, Henny Penny, a former rescued caged laying hen who  had the run of the family small holding for the last few years.  At least her remaining years were spent doing exactly what hens should be doing, roaming around the grounds, pecking and scratching in the dirt, and in Henny Penny’s case, keeping the big burley farm dogs well and truly in order.

Our farming family love their horses, and we were taken to see a bit of animal husbandry done.  Son-in-law Robert had to attend to the feet of a couple of his horses. First up was Sonata, who needed to be re-shod.   Shoeing can be done either “hot” or “cold” and Robert does cold shoeing.  Clean out the hoof, off with the old shoe, and bang, bang, bang, the new shoe was speedily replaced.

DSCF3114 Robert cold shoeing Sonata

Next up was Montana, who needed her feet trimmed.  The horses waited patiently while Robert picked up one foot after another, trimmed the feet, then filed the front of the hooves.

DSCF3123 Montana getting a pedicure

Grand-daughter Emma was very keen to show me her latest horse, three year old  “Saffron”, her pride and joy.  Saffron is a beautiful auburn colour and Emma is keen to start competing with her. 

DSCF3128  Emma and Saffron

Meanwhile, I was keeping a safe distance from all these horses with their big clompy feet.  With my gum-boots on my feet, I wonder if I would pass for a country girl?  Ernie the horse had sidled up behind me to get himself included in the photo too.

DSCF3120 Jenny and Ernie

With the horses' feet attended to, next stop was to a neighbour’s farm to see a giant rooster.  He was huge indeed, the biggest we had ever seen, about the size of a small dog – although the photo doesn’t really convey his size properly.
 DSCF3142 The giant black rooster

There were more normal sized hens in another run.  Much smaller was the tiny little chicken, only a few days old,  running around.  The baby’s mother was a lovely black and white speckled hen.

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DSCF3146 Chicken Licken and her mum

Robert had recently taken ownership of two well bred horses which he wanted to show us.  Neither of these horses have been handled much at all and they will need breaking in.  This “Morgan” breed horse will be perfect for carriage work, we were told.

DSCF3130 Morgan breed horse

The other new acquisition was  “Friesian” horse, not a breed this townie had come across before.

DSCF3131 Emma with the new Friesian horse

With all the stock duly attended to, and admired, there was one more thing to see.  “Come and see my new tack room, Nana”, Emma entreated.  All the items were very neatly arranged, bridles, nose bands, girth straps, bits, blankets, saddles, everything a well turned out show horse could possibly need. 

DSCF3147 Emma’s tack room

After a last cup of coffee, we said our goodbyes before heading back to Himitangi Beach Motor Camp to continue with our camping weekend.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Long Weekend at Himitangi

The three day Labour Weekend in October is the last long weekend before the Christmas holidays.  We joined our caravan club friends for a rally at Himitangi Beach Motor Camp on Friday.  Loading up supplies in the rain, we trudged in and out of the house, to the caravan and back again.  With another  “Open Home” due of Sunday, we had a quick tidy up inside.  Robin was on bathroom duties while I wielded the vacuum cleaner, dusted, plumped up cushions, gathered up loose papers and all that sort of thing.  Whew – we really deserved a weekend away after all that!  With the car and caravan hooked up, our cat safely inside the car, it was time to go.  First stop was at Plimmerton to the Truck Stop to fuel up the 4WD.

DSCF3097 Truck Stop at Plimmerton

We arrived at the motor camp in time for a late lunch.  The weather was sunny, but the cold wind was blowing in straight from the beach.

DSCF3101 Himatangi Beach Motor Camp

The men were interested to hear Robin’s story of our car troubles and lost no time in checking out the new head under the bonnet.

DSCF3098 Yes, that does look like an expensive job

Being a long weekend, the camp was full to overflowing.  Many people have caravans with a permanent lean-to and come to the camp every weekend.  Dune buggies and motor bikes are a very popular mode of transport and many families have quite a supply, one each for the parents and every child. 

DSCF3104 A bike or buggy for every member of the family

Passenger buses are big and roomy and this partially converted City Line bus arrived in camp for the weekend.   The new owners will really need to paint the exterior to make it look more individual and not like one still in regular service.

DSCF3105 Converted passenger bus

The cute little retro “Starliner Standard” caravan caused a lot of interest on arrival.  The current owners have had it for several years and really love this unique little caravan.  The owner told me that he loaned his pride and joy to a friend who used it while following the Rugby World Cup around the country, and caused a sensation wherever it went.

DSCF3106Starliner caravan

I was invited to have a peep inside, and it was surprisingly roomy.  This is a family caravan, with bunks at one end, and a double bed down the other.  The owner’s wife refuses to part with it for a newer model, I was told, and just loves her little “home away from home on wheels”.

DSCF3108
DSCF3107 Interior of Starliner caravan

Our club members all enjoyed a meal at the local Himitangi Cosmopolitan and Fishing Club, with our group taking up most of the available tables in the dining area.  There was plenty of choice on the menu, and the four of us on our table all had the fish of the day, cooked in delicious crispy batter. 

DSCF3111Jenny, Robin, Peter and Elaine, with other club members in the background

The weather over the first couple of days of the weekend varied from sunshine with strong winds, rain, and a spectacularly loud hail storm overnight.  The rat-ta-tat of hail stones hitting the aluminium roof of our caravan at midnight was very loud indeed.  Wonder what the rest of the weekend will bring?