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

Friday, 15 February 2019

Wainui and Day’s Bay on Valentine’s Day

We spent Valentine’s Day with our SLG friends, starting with meeting up at our friend Trish’s home for a delicious morning tea in her beautiful garden.  As you can see, it was another lovely sunny day in paradise here in New Zealand.

Gnomes in the garden

Trish was in charge of organizing our day out, and thought we would be interested in driving up the Wainuiomata Hill to view the new Pukeatua Lookout, Bridge and Walkway.

I used to live in Wainuiomata (in a former life many years ago) and it was a busy bustling suburb filled with young families, and known then as Nappy Valley.  Three of us climbed the short walk up the hill to check out the new foot bridge.  A couple of keen joggers ran past us on their way up the hill track, and there was plenty of traffic hurtling along the road underneath us.

Lunch was next on the agenda and we drove around the Eastern Bays to Day’s Bay.  We were lunching at the trendy café/restaurant Sea Salt, although we remembered it being the best place to buy ice-creams many years ago when it was trading as a dairy.   Whitebait was on the menu, a real delicacy in this part of the world, and I certainly considered having this.  In the end I chose prawns in a creamy sauce, and Robin’s lunch was a bacon butty, sharing a bowl of curly fries.  Everyone enjoyed their meals, with several ordering the whitebait omelet.

Lunch at Sea Salt, Day’s Bay

We had a great view from our table out to the beach outside.  Day’s Bay has long been a favourite place to visit in the summer, very popular with families with safe swimming, boats for hire for the keen and active, a wharf to explore and an adjacent park over the road.  There were a few in swimming, a couple of sun bathers, we noticed.  We have spent many happy sunny days here over the years.

Day’s Bay

Our day concluded with a trip back to Trish’s home and another cuppa, then we got on with the very important job of “drawing the month” for the next lot of outings.  Everyone pulled a folded piece of paper out of a bowl to see which month they had to plan their next outing.  There were a few swaps between ourselves to enable lee-way for holidays and special occasions and we all went away clutching our little bits of paper.  Wonder what will be planned for our next round of SLG outings?  Whatever happens, it’s sure to be fun.

Monday, 11 February 2019

The Hot Weather Continues

There’s been plenty of hotter than average weather around over the last couple of weeks.  Great BBQ weather, we decided.  So out came the Weber, and on went a large chicken.  The handy thermometer which gets inserted tells us when our roast is done.  There’s nothing wore than undercooked chicken, is there?

While Robin was watching over the BBQ with a cool beer in his hand, I was busy in the kitchen preparing the rest of the meal.

All this hot weather has consequences, especially down in the South Island city of Nelson.  Often dubbed the “sunniest place in New Zealand”, the city is hoping for rain.  A large fire has been burning out of control for the last seven days, spurred on by tinder dry landscape and windy conditions.  The fire has been burning for nearly a week and 3000 people remain evacuated - most from the town of Wakefield.  Hot dry and windy weather is expected for the Nelson-Tasman region for at least a week.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Family Lunch

How long was it, we wondered, since we four siblings had all been together?  Too long, of course, and this was finally rectified last weekend in Masterton.  Big brother Brian flew in with his wife Noeleen from Brisbane, to stay with younger sister Karla.  Elder sister Kathleen, with daughter Lisa and G-D Kate came down from Hastings.  And, as it happened, Robin and I were camping in Masterton for the weekend, so it all worked out well.

Jenny, Brian, Kathleen and Karla

As to be expected, there was plenty of chatter going on while we ate our lunch at the Cafe Strada.  Travel plans were discussed - LIsa and Kate are heading over to the UK soon, and we want are going to rebook the Indian Pacific train trip.

Kate, Karla, Jenny, Brian, Kathleen, Lisa and Noeleen

It was so nice to catch up again, let's hope it's not too long till the next get-together.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Solway A & P Showgrounds, Masterton

Solway Showgrounds has just opened up their grounds for campers about a year ago.  Our Caravan Club spent a lovely weekend here.

Agricultural and pastoral shows have been held nearly every year in Masterton since 1885. The present site  was purchased in 1908, with the showgrounds completed in 1911.  Lots of delightful buildings are on site, to accommodate the sheep, pigs, cattle  and poultry during the A & P Show days.

Most of our group arrived extra early on Thursday, and we made the most of sitting outside in the evening enjoying the beautiful sunset.

The final two vans arrived on Friday. The weather was scorching, so we made the most of sheltering under the large mature shady trees.

There was a handy water tap nearby and Selwyn took over the duties of water monitor, with a bit of help from the others.

Gemma enjoys being outside investigating fluttering leaves, and sharpening her claws on the tree by our van.  But she was a bit perturbed when a large magpie landed on the grass close by.  She was keeping a wary eye behind a tree on this unwelcome visitor who has a rather large sharp beak.

There was plenty organized to keep us busy over the weekend.  A trip out to a local café Clareville Bakery for Afternoon Tea was very pleasant indeed.  This building has seen a lot of changes.  Built in 1872 by W W Corpe as a Chapel and Sunday School, it was later known as Clareville Hall.  In 2002 it became  Country Charm Antiques, and then 2007 the café Devine at Clareville, and now trading as the award winning Clareville Bakery since 2013.

Then we had a BBQ meal followed by shared dessert, where everyone took along a dish to share.  Later in the evening there was a quiz to keep our brains active, won by us, Team Benton.  Our camping area emptied out on  Sunday after lunch, with just two vans staying an extra night, us and Don and Pamela.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Our Tiny Garden

We’re not great gardeners, by any means, but it’s a real thrill when we have veggies to pick straight from the garden.  At the moment we have some butter beans and tomatoes just starting to produce.
Yes, we know, it’s hardly enough to keep the wolf from the door, but these little lovelies are growing in our garden, so that’s exciting.
And we have a fine crop of rhubarb growing, which seems to take care of itself. Our home grown rhubarb went very nicely in a baked rhubarb sponge pudding I whipped up for dinner last evening.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Strawberries and Ice-cream

We were eating strawberries and ice-cream for a good cause.  The Strawberry Festival was organized by Property Brokers Levin to raise funds for Arohanui Hospice which provides specialist end-of-life care to patients in our area.  The hospice service is free and two thirds of the patients are cared for in their own homes.  Support for their families is also provided.

People were queuing up for their sweet treat, and Property Brokers staff were doing a great job.  Selling tickets, putting scoops of ice-cream into containers, adding strawberries, fruit sauce, and topping it all off with a shake or two of icing sugar.  It was a real team effort.

As we stopped to enjoy our strawberries, we listened to local singer Geoff who provided the entertainment.  At $5 per serving, it was money well spent, and all going to a wonderful cause.  Mind you, I did hear one man ask if he could have it for free, that was a bit cheeky, I thought.  Just as well he was refused. 

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Changing Over

We caught up with our friends Louise and Robert recently, and got to check out their new acquisition.  They recently changed their Leisureline caravan for a 5th Wheeler.  The large American 5th Wheelers with multiple pull-outs did not appeal at all, so they purchased an Australian built Travelhome.
Unfortunately I forgot to take indoor photos, but the description of spacious and light sums it up.  There is plenty of room around the queen sized bed, and the walls are finished with light coloured laminex type wall board.  Louise and Robert are fitness fanatics, as the pair of electric bikes on the back of the rig testify.  Robert constructed the bike stand himself, using a fitting so that the laden stand swings out of the way if he wants to access the back cupboard.
We wont see them at the upcoming Leisureline Rally now they have changed over,  but hopefully will meet up on the road again somewhere soon.