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

Monday, 18 March 2019

Generator to the Rescue

Our caravan batteries decided enough was enough during our weekend away at Oroua Downs School and stopped working.  So Robin made an early morning trip back home to collect our Honda generator to charge them up again. With the generator chugging away for a couple of hours, it soon brought the battery charge back up.  The batteries haven’t misbehaved before, but we have had this caravan about five years so they could be due for replacement.

Generator to the rescue

There was a  strange colourful caravan parked up at the school.   It was the Tooth Booth, a caravan fitted out as a travelling dental clinic.  In my school days, most primary schools had a dental clinic building on site.  I certainly remember those foot operated dental drills which seem to take forever as we sat there in fear!  When one of our class mates was called over to the clinic, they came back clutching the name of the next pupil to go to the “Murder House”.  We all hoped it wasn’t our name on that piece of paper.  There was no escape, sooner or later you got your turn to visit the dental nurse.

The Tooth Booth

The weekend weather was nice and sunny, and we spent some time outside under the shade.   On Saturday evening Geoff and Eileen had booked a table for us at The Wines in Himitangi,  a fairly casual place which was doing a roaring trade.  Orders of steak, burgers and fish were delivered to our table, and Robin was the only one who opted for a plate of ribs.

Ribs for Robin

It was a nice warm evening and there were groups of people enjoying themselves outside.  The place was decorated with plenty of motor bike memorabilia, and there was quite a crowd of bikers outside.

As one was leaving we saw him lift a small dog up onto the bike.  Off I went with my camera for a closer look.  And there was four year old Millie, or maybe he said Minnie,  happily settled into her seat on the bike.  The owner had his helmet on and I couldn’t quite make out her name.   Now four years old, the little terrier has been riding around since she was a little pup of four months, the owner told me.

Biker dog

As the night wore on, the juke box was cranked up loud and we could hardly hear ourselves talk.  The final straw was the arrival of the Party Bus, full with noisy young women who could well have been just a little intoxicated!  Time for our group of OAPs getting back to our vans, we decided.

Juke Box

The temperatures were still very mild back at the school grounds so we spent a very pleasant hour or two sitting outside in the evening twilight putting the world to rights.  There is always plenty to chat about when we get together.  Many thanks to Barry and Diane who brought along some apples to share from their trees.  Most gratefully accepted and I’m sure there will be plenty of apple delights on the menu this week, and in the freezer too for later. 

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Off to Oroua Downs and Sad News

Here we go again, away to take part in another Caravan Club weekend rally.  Not too far away, just 32 kms up SH1 to Oroua Downs School.  Schools do not allow entry to their grounds till after the pupils have all departed, so we stopped for an hour at Foxton  and met up with fellow members filling in time too.

It was while we were here that we became aware of the terrible events unfolding in Christchurch.  Shooters had been on a rampage in two mosques in Christchurch, schools and businesses were in lockdown, and by the early evening 49 people were confirmed dead.  48 people with gunshot wounds had been treated at Christchurch Hospital, with others going to other health facilities around the city.  Patients ranged from young children to adults, with minor to critical injuries.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the shootings a terrorist attack.  "It is clear that this is one of New Zealand's darkest days," she said. "This is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence."  What a sad way to start the weekend.

Oroua Downs in a small farming community just north of Foxton.  The name means:  Ō: place of; roua: dredging for shellfish.

Seems that this will be a small attendance this weekend, with several of our members away on various holiday trips.  Small numbers or not, we are sure to have fun.  Rally Family Geoff and Eileen have some plans in place for us.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Rembrandt Remastered Art Exhibition

We enjoyed several hours of culture looking through this exhibition at the Te Awahou Niewe Stroon Museum at Foxton recently.  This museum sits close by de Molen, a full size operational 17th century replica Dutch windmill is open to the public, not visiting this time, just a quick snap as we walked into the museum.

Windmill and Museum

As we were local library card holders, the entry fee was only $2 each.  The full price of $5 seemed very reasonable too, we thought.  No photos were allowed to be taken inside.

The Rembrandt Remastered exhibition brought 57 digitally remastered life sized paintings, looking as they would have when they left Rembrandt's studio 400 years ago.  We particularly enjoyed seeing The Night watch as we had viewed this painting some years ago at  Rijks Museum  during our whizz-bang European bus tour.  It is a group portrait of the Militia Company under the command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq.  The primary purpose of these guardsmen was to serve as defenders of their cities, guarding gates, policing streets, putting out fires, and generally maintaining order throughout the city.

The exhibition consisted mainly of portraits, but sprinkled here and there were several charming landscapes.  Groups of people were there at the same time of us to enjoy the art, including a couple with a seemingly never ending stream of children.  The young boys didn’t know quite what to do when they came face to face with the huge painting of a reclining nude woman!  It was a life-sized depiction of the character Danaë from Greek mythology, the mother of Perseus. She is presumably depicted as welcoming Zeus, who impregnated her in the form of a shower of gold.  Although the artist's wife Saskia was the original model for Danaë, Rembrandt later changed the figure's face to that of his mistress Geertje Dircx.

We didn’t realize that Rembrandt was declared bankrupt in 1656 and had to endure the forced sale of his paintings, prints, drawings and the contents of his house.  And sadly, when he died in 1669 he was buried in an unknown rented grave.  While the location of his grave is still unknown, historians believe it is located along the northern wall of Westerkerk, one of the city’s most notable churches.  A memorial plaque inside of the church honours the great painter. Rembrandt’s son Titus van Rijn and his lover Hendrickje Stoffels are also buried here.

There was an added bonus to our day out – by showing our exhibition entrance wristbands at the museum café we got 10% off the cost of our purchase.  A good reason to stay for lunch, and my smoked fish pie was delicious!


Saturday, 9 March 2019

“The Beast” launches in Foxton

The Levin Menz Shed blokes were out in force, joining the crowd of about 1000 people gathered around the Manawatū Marine Boating Club in Foxton Beach on Thursday to watch  The Beast take to the water.  The monster boat was built for New Zealand jeweller, entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Michael Hill and is 39.5m long and 12m wide.  It was built by Profab Engineering in Palmerston North and can sleep up to 22 people. 

The previous day the boat was maneuvered on to the boat ramp and put on to airbags to wait for high tide. The boat launched about midday on Thursday to cheers from onlookers.

Profab owner Carl Ferguson said it took 22 months to build the boat prior to shipping it from Palmerston North, and it is one of the largest boats constructed in New Zealand.  After two years of working on the catamaran, he was relieved the boat was finally at sea.  The Beast will travel to Wellington for some finishing touches, and then the crew will take it to Auckland. 

We returned to the Boating Club today to catch a glimpse of The Beast without all the crowds of launch day.  And there she was, not a pretty boat by any means, with her name painted very discretely on the side.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Running Boards and Chinese for Lunch

Our Jeep finally has running boards fitted – this makes getting in and out of the vehicle so much easier.  The job was efficiently done at Brent Body Motors in Palmerston North.   There has been a real saga about these running boards.  Robin originally purchased a set overseas (at a very competitive price) and because some companies in USA will not ship to New Zealand, had to get them sent to a distribution centre.  They arrived safely but………would you believe it, they were just a little oversize and our parcel could not/would not be sent to us.  After many emails back and forth between the distribution centre and the couriers, there was nothing for it but arrange to send our order back, and ask for a refund.  Then we had an email saying that the oversize aspect could be waived, and our parcel sent on to us!  Too late, it had already been returned to sender.

Anyway, the running boards were finally purchased and fitted locally, and Robin seems very pleased.

We decided to treat ourselves and  had lunch at  China Town.  This is very reasonably priced, is always busy and offers lots of  interesting dishes to help yourself.  Another excellent point is that many local Chinese eat here, so that certainly shows that the food is very good.  Mind you, the Chinese people seem to order off the menu, while most of the other customers are happy to serve themselves from the buffet.

It was a good day out in nice sunny weather, with several jobs being ticked off our “to do” list, and a lovely lunch.  At only $15 each it was certainly value for money, with soup, desserts and coffee included in the price

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Weekend at Sanson

Sanson is not a place which originally springs to mind for a caravan weekend away.  But camp there we did, at the Sanson School over the weekend, a total of 9 vans joining in with members of Wellington Caravan club for  a combined rally.  Sanson (originally known as Sandon), is located on the junction of State Highways 1 and 3, and was named after Henry Sanson, the secretary of the Hutt Small Farm Association.

At Sanson School

The school backed on to farmland, and we kept an eye on the livestock over the fence.

And just a little further away we could watch the colourful Blokarts from the Manawatu Blokart Club  as they were put through their paces.  Some of our group walked over to have a much closer look and came back declaring they would love to have a go at this sport sometime.

Blokarts zipping along in the breeze

Being so close to Viv’s Kitchen, “world famous in Sanson” a group of us pooled cars and drove there for afternoon tea.  Most chose a very large cream horn, and for a change, I tried a (new to me) Matchbox pastry, which took rather a lot of eating, I can tell you!

My Matchbox and Robin’s slightly demolished Cream Horn

We had use of the school hall, which was very handy to gather in.  The Wellington Club had organized quizzes and  games to keep our brains active,  and we all  brought along a dish for the Pot Luck Shared Dessert on Saturday evening.  The expected rain arrived just in time for packing up on Sunday morning.  Luckily the gale force winds which had been promised never arrived, so we really got off lightly.  There is nothing worse than towing in heavy wind, is there?

What’s he doing out there?

The rain had eased to a drizzle when we arrived home and unpacked the van, so that wasn’t so bad.  Next rally – three weeks away and we will do it all again.   

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.