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

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Winter Weather

Our winter weather here in Levin is very changeable.  Sunny with showers, and then the sun coming out again,  nice still days followed by pesky winds.  We even had a bout of thunder and lightning the other day.  All that noise overhead made Gemma scarper in fear of her life, and we found her later hiding in the bottom of the wardrobe.  She thinks she is rather brave and fearless cat, but loud noises turn her into a real scardey cat! 

Hiding in the bottom of the wardrobe

It’s been cold enough to have the heat pump on most nights, and I really pleased that we have finally purchased a tumble drier, so handy for finishing off the washing which doesn’t quite dry off during the day.

All the leaves have finally dropped from the weeping tree (not sure what kind it is) in the front of the house.  We heard birds noisily chirping and looked out to see a tui singing his heart out.  It looked a very wintry scene indeed, with the tui sitting on the bare branches.

Tui in winter

We will still have plenty of cold, wet, wintry weather for a while, but now we have passed the shortest day, we can take heart that the days are counting down to summer!

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Wet Weekend Rally at Carterton

Arriving a day early on Thursday at the caravan club rally at Carterton eased us nicely into the weekend.  Just a pity about the weather, low temperatures, rain and wind.  Our caravan buddies arrived on Friday and the rain hardly let up, with reasonably strong winds to make their journeys a little more unpleasant.  We were so pleased we traveled the previous day.  Nine caravans arrived for the weekend, including three prospective new members.

Yes, it’s still raining outside

We had the use of the large dining room at the camp, which we made good use of, meeting for morning tea, 4zees, and in the evenings.  Even with the heaters on,  most of us kept our jackets on for a little extra warmth.

All rugged up in the dining room

It was a fairly laid back rally, with time to do our own thing, go visiting, or whatever else we wanted to do.  A couple of quizzes tested our brain cells and the highlight of the weekend for the rugby supporters was the Super Rugby 2019 Final between the Crusaders (NZ) and Jaguares (Argentina).  The camp manager came and set up the TV for Sky Sports so all the rugby enthusiasts were happy.  And even more happy when New Zealand won 19-3.


After all that bad weather we could have predicted that Sunday would dawn clear and sunny – how often does this happen when it’s time to go back home?  The camp had that “freshly washed” look about it in the winter sunshine.



Hooking up the van we left for home after morning tea on Sunday, fare welling our caravan club buddies, and headed on our way.  What’s that?  Looks like a little snow on the Wairarapa side of the Taraurua Ranges.


Retracing our journey, we headed back through Eketahuna, which calls itself Kiwi Country.  Probably because this little town is not too far from Pukaha National Wildlife Centre, which has bred some rare white kiwis.


After a two hour journey we arrive home, just as more rain sets in, so we quickly unpacked in the rain.  Can’t complain, it is winter after all.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Away to Carterton

After heavy rain most of Wednesday night, Thursday dawned a little damp, but at least the rain had stopped so we could pack the caravan.  We were off to Carterton for a caravan club weekend, and decided to go a day early, just because we could.  With the van finally packed, Robin hooked up and we were on our way.

Almost finished

It was a matter of “find the cat” as she decided to hide herself in the wardrobe.  The noise of a band of workmen over the back fence trimming trees with with noisy saws was just too much for her.  With a bit of reassurance, she was gathered up and strapped into the back seat of the car for our trip away.

Gemma hiding in the wardrobe, away from all that horrible noise

Two and a half hours and 155kms later we arrived at our destination, Carterton Holiday Park.  We were the first to arrive from our club, so were encouraged to pick our own site.  We decided on site 27, a more generous sized site, and one where we had spent several Christmas/New Year holidays in the past.  With plenty of room, we used to bring our large gazebo on these holidays, for much needed shade over the summer season.


Bill and Val arrived soon after us, and we settled down to see who else might be coming a day early too.  No one, as it turned out, just us.  The others will roll in on Friday.

Early birds on site

There have been many improvements at this camp since our last visit.  The ablution block has had a makeover, and there is now a little hot tub for hire.

Hot tub in a cute timber cabin

It may well be wet and wintry, but the new managers have been really busy and the grounds are looking good.  The camp is blessed with many mature trees which are beautiful, even those which have lost their leaves.

Park like setting

I took a walk around the camp and came across these two in the paddock over the fence.  One ordinary sheep, and the other must be valued for it’s coloured fleece, I’m sure.  We don't usually see piebald sheep like this, I must say.

These sheep were watching me carefully

We spent a convivial 4zees together with Bill and Val, catching up with news, and putting the world to rights, as we do.  Wonder which of our caravan club members will be the first to arrive on Friday?

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Menz Shed to the Rescue

With a new drier purchased we needed it fitted on the wall above the washing machine.  With no spare floor room in the garage, and a top loader washing machine,  that was the only place for it to go.  Believe it or not, the store we bought it from could not help, saying they had no one who would do this job.  Luckily, Robin’s mates from the Menz Shed came to the rescue.

Robin, Brian and Phil

Brian was in charge of the operation and looked very professional in his tool belt.  Robin and Phil were there to help as required.  The fittings to hang the drier were screwed into place onto the back of the drier, and a sturdy piece of timber was fixed on the wall.  I didn’t hang around in the garage to watch it being lifted over head and fitted in place, it all seemed a bit stressful to me, and felt that the workmen didn’t need me looking on.  But by all accounts, it went up without a hitch.


Tub, washing machine, chest freezer in  row, with the drier on the wall

After 5 years managing without a drier, I decided I wanted one after all.  Not that we tend to use driers a lot here in New Zealand, most of us like to hang our laundry outside in the sun shine and fresh air.  But now it’s winter, there are sure to be cold wet days when a drier will be very handy.  Guess I'll have to read the instruction booklet.

Gemma wasn’t at all pleased with the loud voices, bangs and whirring noises coming from the garage, and hid herself away in her box on the cat tower.  Even that didn’t feel safe enough, and she soon took herself off to hide away in the wardrobe.

Gemma hiding away

The blokes told me when they arrived that they work very cheap.  They certainly did, not even stopping for a cuppa after the job was completed.  Another job beckoned, and they were on their way.  Many thanks to Brian and Phil for doing this job for us, most appreciated.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Good on you, Trish

Our friend Trish has been a member of our SLG (Super Leisure Group) for many years.  We have monthly outings with this group of friends, and regularly blog about our time together.  Trish now has another claim to fame – imagine how surprised we were when we opened up the little local paper, Horowhenua Mail.  There was Trish smiling out of the paper, with a write up after being nominated as a "Nice Neighbour". 


Her neighbour Heather wrote “Over the years, Trish has continually shared her kitchen and garden goodies.  She is an amazing cook and baker and her garden is something we all benefit from.  We often return home to find a bunch of roses, scones or muffins on the doorstep.”

Our Super Leisure Group knows that Trish is a special friend indeed to have in our lives, and we are thrilled that she has received the public acknowledgement of being such a “Nice Neighbour” as well.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Visiting the Valley

It was a trip “back home” recently when we spent the day in the Hutt Valley, our old home town.  With a couple of things on the agenda, we left home bright and early at 8.30am .  A fine but chilly morning, with the temperatures hovering at 4 degrees C, it was certainly a cool start to the day.   The roads were busy, with lots of workers heading off to their daily grind, and we slowed down for the never ending road works along the way. 

We stopped briefly at the Pauatahanui Inlet for a photo stop.  Self contained caravans and campervans can stay at this tranquil place overnight, very handy with toilets available.  And while I was taking a few photos of the estuary, I noticed a keen photographer setting up his tripod ready to do the same.

Pauatahanui Inlet

Once over the Haywards Hill, we turned north and drove on to Upper Hutt, crossing over the Hutt River to the suburb of Totara Park.  That certainly brought back memories, we lived in Totara Park for quite some years before moving up to Levin.  Of course, we just had to drive past our former home and see if it still looked the same. The only difference we noticed was that the owner has a boat on a trailer parked up where our caravan used to go.

Totara Park Bridge

We were visiting Tony and Jeanette for morning tea.  Tony is a Life Member of the Levin Menz Shed, and the pair of them recently moved from Levin to Upper Hutt.  As we were passing by, so to speak, we took the opportunity to visit them.  The family dog greeted us enthusiastically, woof, woof, with lots of tail wagging, then soon settled down as we caught up with each other’s new.  It was so nice to see them again, and many thanks for the refreshments.  We had a look around the garden, Jeanette  has done a lot since they moved in.  But you know what keen gardeners are like, there are still many plans she wants to get on with.

Jeanette and Tony

Two cups of coffee later it was time to go and head off for our next appointment.  We were meeting up with our SLG friends for lunch.  Trish was in charge of our day out and had chosen the café at Boulcott’s Farm Heritage Golf Club, somewhere we hadn’t been before.  The area has an interesting history and was the scene of fierce fighting between the settlers and the local Maori people.

Our lunch stop

The Battle of Boulcott Farm took place on 16th May 1846.  Disagreements over land purchases and opposition to European settlers led to fighting between the local Maori people and government forces.  Te Mamaku of Ngāti Haua-te-rangi of Whanganui led the attack on the British outpost at Boulcott Farm, he arrived with 200 fighters to support the local Maori.  The Maori warriors crossed the Hutt River at dawn and surprised the garrison. Six soldiers were killed and two more Europeans were mortally wounded in the attack, a demoralizing blow to the settler community.

George Page painting of Boulcott’s Stockade, 1846 (Alexander Turnbull Library, B-081-002)

Our group all arrived in good time, we found our reserved table in the café and settled down to peruse the menu.  What to have is always a bit of a trial for me, I finally settled on a hot roast beef sandwich and Robin ordered a burger and chips.  Everyone seemed happy with their choices, and we happily munched away.  As usual, we had plenty of news to catch up with, so the talking hardly stopped.  Sadly, not everyone could make it, so we wished our absent friends well.  A kindly member of staff took some photos for us.

Yvonne, Ashley, Les, Robin, Jenny and Trish

Then it was coffee and cake at Trish's home, to help her celebrate her upcoming birthday.  Not just any old birthday, our “young at heart” Trish will be 80 next week.  Her family are whisking her away for a special family holiday next week, so we were pleased that our SLG friends could celebrate this day with her before she heads away.  The carrot cake was delicious, and afterwards Trish was presented with our joint gift.

Happy 80th Birthday Trish

Then it was time to get started on the homeward journey – we had the longest trip so wanted to get on our way and not get caught up with the workers heading home at the end of the day.  The road works are still progressing on the 27km Transmission Gully Project
Transmission Gully

Driving on the homeward stretch up SH1 Kapiti Island came into view, situated about 5km off the coastline.  Kapiti Island is now a tranquil island bird sanctuary and one of New Zealand’s most accessible nature reserves. It's a unique visitor experience in a predator-free paradise. Access is by approved tour operators only, well worth a visit if you are in the area with a little time to spare.

Kapiti Island

Once safely home our cat Gemma greeted us very warmly - after all, she had been left home alone all day!  Another great day out, catching up with Tony and Jeanette,  and so nice to help celebrate Trish’s Big Birthday with her.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

He wore the old one out

Robin’s cell phone was playing up.  Items on the screen kept jumping around, and it got to the stage when he couldn’t even power it off.  There was something drastically wrong with the buttons across the bottom of the screen.  Nothing for it but to go shopping and buy a new one.  This is what he came home with.  A bright and shiny Oppo.  For a small fee, the phone nerd put all of his apps and contacts on the new phone.


Robin didn’t feel quite so bad when the young person serving told him that this was a common fault on his previous phone.  Mind you, he uses it a lot, to check the news and the weather and all sorts of other things.  Not like me, I’m the sort of person who only uses my cell phone to make the occasional phone call.  And as for texting – I hate it.

Things are ticking along at home.  Plenty to keep us busy, plus a cat to keep us in line.  Gemma has decided that she is really comfortable sitting on the TV cabinet in the evenings.  She likes to keep an eye on the TV screen, particularly when all sorts of things are whizzing by.  She’s not really in the way, she tells us, can’t we just look around and over her?

Who is in charge of this house?