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

Monday, 27 September 2021

Homeward Bound

Leaving New Plymouth behind, we drove southwards.  Our ongoing battery problems meant that we really needed to stay somewhere on power, so our first stop was Ashley Park, north of Wanganui.  It is many years since we have been to this camp, and there are new owners since our last visit.  The ground was a little boggy after heavy rainfall, and we were the only ones staying in camp.

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Staying at Ashley Park

There are lots of birds and animals on display here and we went for a walk around.    The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo Goldie had a lot to say and we were amused by his repertoire.  Had to watch our fingers though, there was a sign warning about him biting.

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Val having a chat with Goldie

Its a well known fact that I love pigs but this kune kune pig was much to busy snuffling in the mud to pay much attention to me.  I tried talking to him but he wasn’t answering.

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Hello piggy

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After a night’s stay, we drove onto Wanganui, stopping for lunch at the Wanganui Racecourse.

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Then on to  last stop of the trip, Whanganui Seaside Holiday Park.  We had never stayed here before, and it is a nice little camp with young enthusiastic owners.  There is a small swimming pool for warmer times, and the ablution block has recently been renovated.

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There was all sorts going on the following morning as we were packing up to leave.  Three old wooden cabins had been sold and were being removed.  We watched as the first cabin was lifted up a little, and the sling was slid underneath, then up, up and away the cabin was lifted up onto a truck.  All done, luckily, without mishap.  I walked around to the back of the cabins to see what was happening, then had a birds eye view through the caravan window.

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Going to a new home

We had a great 10 day trip away, starting with our weekend caravan rally at Betts Farm, then heading north with Bill and Val.  Bill managed to complete his ICA arrangements, and we caught up with our friend Glenys, had a nice meal out with Bill and Val, and visited a new place or two.  The weather could have been better but it is always a bit marginal in Spring, can’t seem to make up it’s mind, sometimes it’s nice and other times it’s horrible.  And for those wondering about our battery woes, Robin has been in touch with the professionals, and we are waiting on a date to do the job.  Should be soon, we hope.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Taranaki, here we come

After our weekend at Betts Farm we  packed up and headed to the “Naki”, Robin’s old stomping grounds.  We were traveling with Val and Bill, keeping them company as they wanted to finalise arrangements for a future ICA rally.  We hadn’t gone too far on our travels before our first stop, lunch at Viv’s Kitchen in Sanson.   Bill and Val couldn’t go past the world famous in Sanson Cream Horns, while we opted for Chocolate Eclairs.  As it happened, we didn’t manage to eat our cream delights with our lunch, so had them packed up to take away and eat later in the day.  And yes, our choc eclairs were delicious.

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Lunch stop at Viv’s Kitchen

Our stop for the night was Stanley School, Wharehuia, in Stratford, a 250km trip, arriving mid afternoon.  Apart from the large noisy dog over the fence who took exception to our arrival, it was a pleasant place to stay overnight.

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Overnighting in Stratford

It was a much shorter trip on Monday, only 40km to destination for the next three nights, Ninia Park-Over Property, where we opted for power sites, very reasonable at $10 per night.  Our battery was playing up again, and not holding a charge, so Robin is having a serious conversation with Motorhome Solar to get it fixed shortly.  We have stayed at this POP before, which was formerly a tamarillo orchard, and is a lovely pleasant place to stay.  We practically had the place to ourselves, and Gemma was kept entertained with all the birds hopping around outside – she didn’t notice the rabbits though, wonder what she would have thought of them?

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Staying at Ninia

It wouldn’t be a trip to New Plymouth if we didn’t have a meal at Sun World Chinese Restaurant.  Being in Level 2 this was a different experience – there was smorgasbord as usual, but we were served by the staff as we made our selections.  The food is always very nice here, but we noticed the bookings were very light, perhaps the public weren't quite ready to venture out just yet.  

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Out to dinner

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Full moon tonight

Rain came down overnight and Wednesday dawned wet and miserable.  It was a busy morning, meeting our friend Glenys in town for morning tea and having a nice catch-up with her.  Then we drove around to Urenui  as Bill and Val had another couple of ICA arrangements to complete.  We all purchased fish and chips from the local shop and drove down to the Urenui Estuary to enjoy our lunch. Sadly, it was still raining so we couldn't take advantage of the picnic tables, instead we enjoyed our lunch in our respective cars, looking out over the estuary.

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Urenui Estuary

Before heading back to camp we decided to drive the short distance to Urenui Beach, driving through a huge Motor Camp to get to the shore.  The camp was fairly empty at this time, but will surely be filled to capacity during Summer.

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Urenui Beach

With the weather being so wet, there was no chance to get a photo of Mt Egmont/Mt Taranaki, sadly.  We are moving south tomorrow, perhaps the weather will clear by then, and we may see the mountain in all it’s glory, if we are lucky.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Weekend at Betts Farm

Time to pack the van for a weekend away, and what happened?  The rain came down all day so the packing was abandoned on Thursday and was done as a rush job on Friday morning.  Never mind, we finally got the job done and headed away by late morning.

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Too wet to pack today

It was just a short 16km trip to Betts Farm and we arrived to find several vans already set up.  We all slotted into a space with a bit of help, we were camping in a reasonably small area around a circular driveway, but all managed to fit in as the late comers arrived.

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All parked up

Our previous caravan club rally had been cancelled due to Covid lockdown, so there was plenty of news to catch up with our caravan buddies.  The night ended with a lovely sunset, always so nice to see the gorgeous colours in the sky.

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Sunset over Betts Farm

Glenys was celebrating her birthday on Saturday so she rushed home to bake some delicious scones for morning tea.  They were delicious, Happy Birthday Glenys.  We all love home baking, and the scones were delicious.

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Home made scones for morning tea

I was not a happy camper as my wedding ring had slipped off my finger sometime during the morning.  We had searched high and low throughout the van, and then I remembered I had leaned out the bedroom window to hang the towels on the portable clothesline hanging from the window.  Sue rushed over to our van to check and sure enough, there it was hiding in the grass – she came back triumphant!

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Thanks so much Sue

The Rally Captains had planned a busy Saturday for us.  We had lunch at the Quarter Acre Cafe.

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Then it was on to visit the Studebaker Museum,  a place of heaven for American car lovers.  I found a little bit of heaven too – look who was inside ready to welcome me!  High on my Wish List is a visit to Gracelands, but that probably wont happen now, I guess.

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Hello Elvis

The museum is the passion of father and son John and Brent Everiss and they pointed out the very first Studebaker purchased.  This one has not been restored.

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The one which started the collection

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There were plenty of bright shiny cars for the enthusiasts to drool over

Also on display was a dinky little retro caravan.  So cute!

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This little van drew many admiring glances

Back at camp the fun wasn’t yet over, Helen and Owen had made some Mulled Wine for us all to sample at 4zeees.  I’m not really a wine drinker, but I found it delicious!

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Anyone for a top-up?

We were kept amused on Sunday morning as we sat around having morning tea prior to departure.  A little finch could see his reflection under our car’s bumper and spent ages jumping up to frighten it away, giving his head a whack each time.  Of course, he never did manage to chase the rival away and would have ended up with a sore head!.

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This little finch was bravely chasing the rival away

Many thanks to rally captains Dot, Helen and Owen for arranging such a great weekend for us.  But we didn’t head for home, our caravan adventures are not quite over, we are heading north for a week.  More later………

Monday, 13 September 2021

Happy Birthday Robin and remembering 9/11

It was Robin’s birthday on Sunday, but he still did his family duty and cooked Sunday breakfast for us both.  Mmmm, very tasty it was too.

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Sunday breakfast

The weather was atrocious, freezing cold and wet, so we were pleased that we could hibernate at home for the day and didn’t need to venture out into the bad weather.  Dinner, at his request, was Satay Pork and veggies served on rice, followed with a slice of birthday fruit cake, and a glass or two of bubbly.  It was an occasion, after all.

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Cheers for the Birthday Boy

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Special request for his birthday dinner

We can certainly remember the terrible time 20 years ago.    Not that we knew of the events unfounding at the time, when we were out for the evening with a group of friends enjoying a meal at a Malaysian restaurant.  It was a great night out, celebrating with three of our group who were having September birthdays. On leaving, we were told that the Efpos machine was playing up, so we had to pay manually, the old fashioned way.  Then we drove around to the petrol station to top the car up with fuel, and the same thing happened – the machine wasn’t working, strange, but we didn’t really dwell on it at all.   It wasn't till some time later that we were told that all credit card transactions were routed from New Zealand via the Trade Centre in the Twin Towers.  Who would have known that, we certainly didn’t.  We all said our goodbyes and returned to our respective homes to get to bed, unaware of what was happening half a world away.

What a shock early the next morning to hear the dreadful news on the radio as we were preparing to leave for work.  We snatched a little time in front of the TV and watched in horror as the terrible scenes were replayed over and over again, then had to travel to our places of work.  Back home in the evening, we were glued to the TV as the story unfounded, trying to make sense of what we were watching.  It wasn’t just the Twin Towers which had been attacked, but the Pentagon as well, and a fourth hijacked plane which was brought down by brave passengers who had found out what was happening and decided to fight back.  It was all so unbelievable.

Fast forward to 2008 and we were on an overseas trip, spending a week in New York after a couple of months tripping around England.  We wanted to see what had happened to Ground Zero.  Construction had started and we were lucky to be guided to a building overlooking the site where we had very good views through a large glass window.  It was certainly quite sobering to be looking out over the busy building site and reflect back on that terrible time when terrorists attacked the USA.  Even living half a world away, down here in New Zealand, we felt the pain and horror of that day.  Of course, it all went on for months, as the recovery missions and clearing up went on and on. 

We watched the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 on TV and the brave relatives as they read out the names of those lost.  Our thoughts are with you America, on this anniversary.  

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Down to Level 2

From midnight last night, the covid levels have dropped down to Level 2 for the bulk of New Zealand.  Auckland, where the majority of the cases have been recorded, must remain at Level 4 in the meantime.  It has been so scary to see the infection go from one individual to more than 800 during this outbreak  in such a short time, with sadly one death recorded. 

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Prime Minister Jacinda Adern at the daily Covid briefing

We can get out and about during Level 2, so caravanning here we come!  Scanning the QR codes on entering business is now mandatory, as is wearing masks when going into shops, malls, and the like.  Libraries are now open, that’s good, so I can finally return my books – without fear of overdue fines as these were all waived while the country was in lockdown.  And we can go out for lunch, dinner or just a coffee too.  And no, we don't have to try and eat with out masks on, we don't have to wear then once we are inside these establishments, although there are rules about seating and table service.  So things are moving along well here.

So what have we been doing over the last week or so, along with being riveted to the TV briefings each day?  As seems to be a common trend during lockdown, everyone has ben doing a lot of cooking, Robin lent a helping hand the other night.  Although takeaways can now be purchased, we decided to do our own and cooked up hamburgers and chips “fake-aways”.  With a hamburger patty, cooked onions, bacon and egg, the burger was delicious. 

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Bacon and egg burger and chips

The last few days have been wet, cold and miserable.  The rain finally stopped, the shies cleared, so I went out for a quick walk around the village.  And look, there’s a sprinkling of snow on the Tararua Ranges behind us.

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Snow on the ranges

We have a weekend caravan rally coming up soon, and we may well extend the time away.  Robin is getting cabin fever, he tells me!

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Lockdown BBQ

Life is much quieter in lockdown, with no going out except for essential supplies are medical reasons.  Not that we would have wanted to go out over the last few days as heavy rain kept coming down, thank goodness for our heat pump and double glazing to keep us warm.    Roast chicken was on the menu last night and Robin decided it might be nice to fire up the Weber BBQ and cook outside.  Luckily for him the rain eased in the afternoon so he didn't get wet – actually, if it was still raining he would have been protected under the Archgola.

The chicken and roast veggies cooked so nicely on the BBQ and I made stuffing in our little oven inside, gravy, plus some leeks in cheese sauce.  We really should make use of cooking on the barbie more often, as it is wonderful for roasts.

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Chicken dinner cooking

After our meal we sat and watched some TV, sipping on perked coffee, a glass of port in hand and nibbling on a little chocolate.  This lockdown life isn't too bad at all, is it?

Today Sunday, we received our grocery order.  Being retired and in that “vulnerable age group” the supermarket make customers like us a priority so we only had to wait two days for this order.  Sadly, our preferred supermarket doesn’t seem to have priority bookings, and we couldn’t even book a delivery spot at all.  So we ordered from the opposition and got great service indeed, delivered by a nice cheerful young man who dropped the bags on the doorstep for us.  We placed a couple of bags on the seat of my walker as we were bringing them inside and Gemma decided to check if their were any treats inside for her.

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Lockdown shopping delivery

Wonder what the next week will bring here in New Zealand?  All regions except Auckland (where the bulk of the cases are) will be dropping down to Level 3 from Wednesday.  Not too many changes to our lives in this lower level, except many will be rushing out to buy click and collect fast foods and coffee, or getting these fast food orders delivered to their homes  I don’t think we will bother with takeaways at this stage.  No getting away in the caravan just yet, we will just have to be patient for a while longer.

Friday, 27 August 2021

Waiting…….

It hasn’t been much of a day today, cold, wet and miserable.  Our leafless tree outside does say “winter”, doesn't it.  But we got busy in the morning and between us we did a little housework, about time too, I think.  Yes, we have to admit that  it does look better now.

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A chilly wet day

Guess the highlight of our day during lockdown has been the daily Covid briefing on TV, hosted by Jacinda and Ashley.  The country was waiting with baited breath today to see if the Alert Levels would be dropped down in the coming week.  At the moment the whole country is in Level 4.  We were told that Auckland would remain in level 4 for the next two weeks, not at all unexpected as the bulk of the cases have been found there.  The rest of the country will drop to level 3 next week.

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TV briefing today

Some people call level 3 “level 4 with takeaways” as fast food outlets can now open and offer home deliveries.  Cafes and restaurants can also sell click and collect food and coffees.

So we wont be able to get away in the caravan until we get down to level 2.    Meanwhile, we will stay safely tucked up at home.  We have just put in a grocery order to be delivered, nice to know we are “priority” because of our vulnerable ages, so that will be delivered on Sunday.  We can always pop around to the dairy for milk as needed, and our veggies growers offer a pre-ordered pick up service.  With plenty of things in the freezer. I don’t think we will starve!

Gemma enjoys us being home – with laps to snuggle up on and plenty of cuddles coming her way she is in pussy cat heaven.  This morning she decided a change of outlook was in order and we looked around to discover her way on top of the wall unit.  Goodness knows how she got up there!  And there was no trouble getting down, she jumped jumped to the floor in a single leap!

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What is she doing up there?