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

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Time to turn the clocks back

It’s Day 11 on our Lockdown to beat the Corona Virus, the weather is warm and autumnal, and things are still ticking along.  Last night Day Light Saving ended for the season and we had to turn our clocks back an hour.  Only three needed changing, as due to the wonder of the internet, the laptops, tablets and cell phones magically change themselves.

So what have we been doing?  Not as many jobs are getting started as probably should be, but goodness me, the days are still busy.  For people who never usually watch daytime TV, things have certainly changed in that regard.  We now watch the Covid 19 Health Report each day at 1.00pm, then the Prime Minister’s follow up report at 3.00pm.  The media are given an opportunity to ask questions at both of these meetings.

After reading about Teddy Bears popping up in windows all around the country and overseas, Big Ted came out of hibernation to look out our front window.  The original idea was to keep children entertained as they go for a walk with their parents around their local streets.   There are no children here,  but many of our neighbours take a little walk around the village.  Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted she also has a teddy in her window, so Big Ted is in good company and is really pleased to be now doing his bit for the good of the  country.  We spotted a few other soft toys as we walked around so he is not the only one waiting to be discovered.

Hello from Big Ted

The weather has been nice enough to sit outside on the patio most days for coffee, reading, or in my case, a bit of hand stitching.  Gemma  enjoys  the fresh are too, particularly when she finds insects to pounce on.  We watched her closely follow a cricket, who then prudently jumped down into the drain to escape. 

It’s down here somewhere

Sadly the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, with over 1000 now, but only 1 death so far.  We have been told that the numbers will probably get worse until the peak, and staying inside will stop the spread.  Most of the population are happy to do their bit, obey the rules and stay inside, but regrettably, there are always idiots who flout the rules.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Lock Down Shopping

In line with the medical view that over 70s should not be going out to get their groceries during the lockdown, we investigated on-line shopping and delivery.  It would be well worth the charge to get it safely delivered to our door.  First, we had to register, then spent quite some time checking the website for the products we needed. Then came the frustration, with our order ready, we had to pick a “slot” (day and time) for either pick-up or delivery.  But there were no slots available, and seemingly no way of leaving the order ready on-line for the next available slot.  All this took a couple of hours, grrrr!

Robin rang through to the office and told the person on the other end of the phone about our predicament.  How could we stay home as advised and get our groceries delivered.  The answer was, “Come down now, the queue is not too long”.  So that’s what we did, donning a couple of face masks which Robin found kicking around somewhere.

The line outside the shop was orderly, all standing well apart, and the one at the front of the queue was handed a trolley and allowed in the door each time someone exited with their trolley of groceries.  After 15 minutes of waiting, it was finally our turn – although shoppers are meant to go on their own, he allowed both of us in together.  Perhaps we looked rather old and doddery?  With a list in hand, we quickly got what we wanted.  But then we had to wait in an even longer queue snaking around the store till we finally reached the checkout.  Goodness knows how the really elderly cope with all this standing and waiting.

We knew that the checkouts had changed somewhat, although this was our first experience of the changes.  We unloaded the items at the end of the counter, then stood well back behind the Perspex screen.  The items were scanned and placed into another trolley behind the operator, who then wheeled it around, for us to collect.  Payment was made by credit card, no cash allowed, and although I didn't witness it, I presume that the terminal would be wiped down between customers.  We had to pack our own groceries into bags, which we did at the car.

There was a bit of excitement while we were patiently queuing and waiting our turn at the check-out.  A younger woman had walked down between the aisles and sneaked in front, instead of walking back around the store and going to the end of the queue.  She had been told to move but just stayed at the front, finally walking up to the next available checkout and unloading her trolley.  The manager came rushing up, telling her to put her things back into her trolley and get to the end of the line, as she had already been told!  F*%# You, she said, and flounced out of the store, leaving someone else, of course, to put all her items back on the shelves.

Walking around the shop it was good to note that we never noticed a single case of anyone coughing, sneezing or spluttering, so that was good.  Still couldn't buy any flour though, although there seemed to be plenty of TP in stock.  And as a treat, a packet or two of Easter Eggs jumped into our trolley, we needed them after all that stress!

We will give on-line shopping another try in the near future, hopefully it will be more successful next time we try.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Lockdown - Day Three

Is it only day three, seems much longer, but then we have been staying inside self isolating most of the week.  And today is a good day to hunker down.  The temperature has dropped, and it’s been raining quite hard. 

View out of our window

One of the downsides of being in lockdown is that our heat pump has not yet been fixed.  We will have to wait out the four week period, which may well be extended another couple of weeks, will just have to wait and see.  Then I hope we will get to see the repairman soon after when all non essential businesses are up and running again - hope the weather doesn’t get too wintry.

The Prime Minister and Government officials (Health, Police, Civil Defence, whoever is appropriate on the day) front a daily TV conference, telling us numbers of new cases, answering reporters questions.  We are encouraged to keep abreast of changes through the official website, Covid 19.  So we are kept well informed, and there is plenty of transparency on all the Government actions in this current State of Emergency.

And although we are in lockdown, we can leave the house to purchase groceries or medical reasons, go outside for exercise as long as we keep well distanced from others, but are to stay in our local communities.  I incorrectly  said we can go out for drives in the car in the last blog, this is not correct, as car trips must be for essential reasons only.  We are both pottering around and keeping busy inside.  There’s been several new recipes tried for dinner, one or two not worth repeating but at least we are trying new things.  Been keeping in touch with friends and family by phone and snap chats, so that’s good, even had a phone call from our Probus Club to make sure we were OK.  Stay safely at home everyone, and be kind to yourselves, and your housemates, we are all in this together.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Changing Times

Times certainly are changing these days with Government  interventions put in place to stop the spread of the Corona virus.  This weekend we were expecting to attend our Heretaunga Caravan Club Rally.  This was cancelled, and those scheduled in the near future, a prudent course of action after being advised that New Zealand Motor Home Assoc (NZMCA) have cancelled their own rallies.  The advice is:  “keep calm, stay safe and stay at home”.  The directives from our Government are that over 70s (that’s us), because many in this age group have underlying health issues, should be limited movement outside their homes.  Also all New Zealanders should be limiting their travel throughout the country because every unnecessary movement gives Covis 9 a chance to spread.  So there should be more time for this.

More time for cuddles

Gemma doesn't understand about this virus, but is always happy for more attention, and cuddles.  The various clubs and groups we attend have been put on hold, and the Levin Community Health Shuttle has just advised that all their volunteer drivers who are over 70 will be stood down for the foreseeable future to protect their health.  Robin usually has a Tuesday afternoon shift driving the shuttle each week. 

We are not confined to the house, can venture outside, or go for drives, or quick trips to collect groceries.  Just as long as we keep away from close contact with others.  It is terrifying how quickly the number of confirmed cases have risen from our first case , to over 60 now in a matter of weeks.  But we will keep calm, and carry on.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Lack of Communication

That’s what the serviceman told us, when he came to check out our heat pump and find out why it had stopped working.  Seems that the heat pump in the sitting room could not communicate with the outside unit.  So that was why it wasn't working – no speakies between them!  Nothing to do with the clean that Robin had recently done to the filters.  Further investigation confirmed that the fan motor had failed and that has shorted out the main circuit board.     And of course, the warranty had run out last year.  Sounds expensive, doesn't it?

Checking out what was wrong

Expensive or not, the heat pump will have to be repaired, with winter just a couple of months away.  We are awaiting prices for the parts and installation, so will take it from there.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Over the Hill to Petone

Our time at cold and blowy Cape Palliser had come to an end.  It was time to hitch up, in our case, or start the engines for the motor homes and head off to our next stop, up and over the Rimutaka Hill.  There was a Devonshire Tea waiting for us at Aston Norwood (formerly known as Kaitoke Country Gardens) at the bottom of the hill.  It was a bit of a juggle to get all the motorhomes into the carpark, with some electing to park beside the busy road.  There was a room set aside for us, with the tables nicely set.  This is the same room where we celebrated Robin’s 50th Birthday with family and friends, quite some time ago now.  We all enjoyed our tea or coffee, and freshly baked scones served with jam and cream.

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Devonshire Tea at Aston Norwood

The last stop on our ICA Rally “Art Deco to the Capitol” was at the Petone Rugby Club.   Although we had booked the car park space for the next two nights, that hadn't stopped the local workers from parking there early in the morning.   We all squeezed in as best we could, and when the last workers car had left for the day, rearranged ourselves a bit better.

At Petone Rugby Club

The Petone Rugby Club, known as the Home of Champions, has produced 30 All Blacks, 3 Black Ferns and 16 NZ Maori representatives. Andy Leslie  was the club’s first appointed All Black touring captain to Britain (1974) and South Africa (1976). Tana Umaga became an All Black in 1997 and became captain in 2004. As well as this Petone players have represented New Zealand at all levels of the game including Under 20s and Sevens.  We saw some of the youngers ones arrive for practice the afternoon we arrived.

Good keen rugby players

The next day a few of us took a trip around the Day’s Bay pavilion for lunch.  Days Bay and Williams Park have long been the place to go for a swim and picnic or in earlier times, a thrilling ride down the water shute.   Back in the heady years of 1907-12, thrill seekers flocked to a newfangled water chute that sent riders rocketing down a 67-metre drop in boats that hit the lake at speeds of up to 50kmh before bouncing them across to dry ground. The vessels held eight people and skidded off the pond below before skipping three times and delivering passengers back to terra firma.  But daytrippers faced a long queue before getting a ride – on fine weekends up to 5000 people travelled on the ferry from Wellington to Days Bay, attracted by what was then the largest water chute in Australasia.  What fun that would have been!

The famous water shute

Then we took a drive further round the bays to Eastbourne, as the others had not seen  the Wahine Memorial.  The sinking of the Lyttelton–Wellington ferry Wahine on 10 April 1968 was New Zealand’s worst modern maritime disaster. The Wahine was within sight of land and many other vessels, including the smaller New Zealand Railways Wellington-Picton ferry Aramoana, which stood by to pick up survivors. Many were blown across the harbour towards Eastbourne Beach, an area with difficult access. Rescue teams found the road to Eastbourne blocked by slips. Eventually 200 survivors struggled through the surf to safety on this coast, but it was here that most of the 51 fatalities occurred. A number of people who reached shore alive did not receive medical attention quickly enough to prevent death from exposure. Others were drowned or killed when thrown against rocks.  This tragedy was a coming of age for television news broadcasting in New Zealand as images of the disaster were beamed into the nation’s living rooms. The footage was later screened around the world as the international media spotlight focused on Wellington.  What a terrible day that was.  I was home in Wainuiomata with my two young children, terrified the large picture windows on our new house would be blown out in the storm.  Robin was working in Wellington, and had to bunk down at a co-workers home as the Wellington Station came to a standstill and all trains were cancelled, buses too, road slips everywhere.


Wahine Memorial in Eastbourne

Later that evening we all gathered in the Rugby Club bar for our Farewell Dinner, catered by Chalet Caterers.  What a wonderful meal it was, a great array of dishes on offer, all cooked to perfection.  Bill and Val were thanked for their stirling efforts in planning, organising and running the three week ICA Art Deco to the Capital Rally and were presented with a token of our thanks.

Bill and Val

Everyone said their goodbyes, with a group of our happy travelers heading down to the South Island for a fishing adventure.  Some were staying locally for a few days to catch up with friends, and others, like us, were heading home.  We personally had a great time on this rally, going to some “new to us” locations and some old favourites.  It was our first time experiencing the Art Deco weekend, that was a lot of fun.  Many thanks to Bill and Val for all their hard work in making this ICA Rally such a success.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Ngawi and beyond

The weather was wet, rough and blowing a gale during our second day at Cape Palliser, no gathering outside for us.  After lunch things started to improve so we headed off to Ngawi, a small fishing village  just a short way up the road.  Ngawi has more bulldozers per capita than anywhere else, we read.  The bulldozers are used to haul fishing boats into and out of the water as there is no wharf or other access to the ocean other than the beach, which can be notoriously rough.  Ngawi is known for its exposed climate, its intense and prolonged wind and the fact that there are almost no trees nearby. The weather can be extremely hot in summer.  We parked on the shingle and went to check them out, beside the shiny red bulldozer dwarfing our car.

Bulldozers and fishing boats on Ngawi Beach

It was a few kms up the road to  see Cape Palliser Lighthouse,  perched high on a cliff, and owned and operated by Maritime New Zealand.  The lighthouse  was built in 1897 and was originally fueled by oil.  Several changes were made over the years, the oil lamp was replaced with an electric one powered by a local diesel generator,  later replaced by a connection to the mains grid in 1967, and the light was fully automated in 1986 and is now managed from a control room in Wellington.

Cape Palliser Lighthouse

The base of the lighthouse is reached by climbing a staircase with 258 steps, up a 58 metre cliff. The staircase was built in 1912, and replaced a dangerous dirt track.  We decided not to climb the stairs this time, although we certainly did on our last visit here.  There were a couple of brave souls climbing very slowly down the steps, we noticed, perhaps they were having knee problems too?

The steps up to the lighthouse

There is a large fur seal colony in residence at the cape with the breeding season from mid-November to mid-January.   We saw seals on the rocks, and laying about, looking  fat and contented,  on the grassy shore.


New Zealand Fur Seals

This sign certainly piqued our interest- wonder where the house owner got it from?  We are sure there is no ice on this shore, falling or otherwise!

Sign at the beach

Our trip to the end of the road to see the sights  certainly blew the cobwebs away.  Then it was time to head back to camp and put the kettle on and warm up with a hot drink – this area has rather bracing conditions!