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

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

At Last!

The day had arrived at last – after two long years of waiting due to the dastardly Covid making an appearance, finally Robin’s knee replacement was to take place.  It was an early start on a busy day, the alarm clock was set for 5.00am, we left home at 6.00, and were due at Crest Hospital at 7.00.  Things certainly went smoothly, settled into his room, hospital gown on, questions asked, tests taken, including the ever important RAT test.  Several weeks earlier the surgeon had told us, “Don't get Covid”, and remarked that several patients on the theatre list had to be sent home due to having Covid and their surgery rescheduled some months later.  Whew – luckily Robin passed the test so we were good to go.  The anesthetist came for a chat and tell us of possible side effects, horrible things which we didn't really want to hear.  Then the surgeon popped in with his marker pen and drew an arrow on the correct leg.

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This knee here

Then it was a matter of waiting till it was time for him to be wheeled along the corridor and into the operating theatre.  Time for me to make myself scarce.  Several hours later I received a phone call from the nurse in recovery, and I made my way back to the hospital to see how Robin was feeling.  Not too bright, as it turned out, and still very sleepy, so after an hour or so I took myself home.

Things are always better the next day, and I travelled up to Crest Hospital  on the Health Shuttle.  Today  he had been helped out of bed several times, shown how to use the crutches, walked around a little, and spent some time sitting in the arm chair.  Then back to bed again till the next time.  And yes, he does feel much better wearing his own pajamas, instead of that hospital gown.

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Crutches at the ready, and he is looking a bit brighter

The highlight of every hospital stay is choosing the menu for the next day.  The food here seems very tasty indeed, his choice  was lamb shanks and gravy tonight.  I’ll be back again tomorrow to see how things are progressing, although we have been told that the next day can be rather painful, but it is very necessary to make sure that it is all working correctly.  Hang in there Robin, do what is required of you, and we can start planning that South Island holiday.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Farmers Market and Car Museum

Our Caravan Club rally at Solway Park got off to a great start on Friday, with the sun rise painting the sky a golden apricot colour at the start of the day.  Our four early bird members enjoyed morning tea in the sunshine. One by one the other vans arrived and settled in.    Sadly the day got colder and colder, sending us inside for 4zees.

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Sun rise at Solway Park

Saturday was a better day, and we were joined for morning tea by three members of the local Wairarapa Caravan Club.  It was so nice to welcome Harry, Dave and Rae – but I think they came to welcome us to their home town.

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Morning tea with our Wairarapa friends

Two of our newer members were presented with their club name badges by our Vice President Don.  Welcome to our group,Flo and John.

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Welcome Flo and John

The local Farmers Market was being held in Solway Park, just a short walk away behind the grand stand, so we wandered over to see what was available.  Mmm, fancy cheese, I couldn't go past that stall.  And not just any cheese, this is made from sheep milk!  We bought a few other bits and pieces too, including locally grown mushrooms.

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At the Market

We had planned a trip to Pointon's Car Museum in the afternoon – this was a real hit with the men in our group.  Many, many vintage cars had been collected and restored over the years.  I was rather taken with this lovely white Morgan convertible, and I asked the owner to pose with the car for a photo opportunity.

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The owner with his pride and joy

There were so many vintage beauties to check out and admire.  I was interested to see that some of the early cars had wooden spokes in the wheels, the next step up from a horse drawn carriage, I expect.

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Just a small selection of what is on display

Mrs Pointon has a passion for collecting vintage gowns, and I really enjoyed looking at these.  Club member Dave did some photo bombing, perhaps he rather likes ball gowns too.

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Which one do you like best, Dave?

Everyone was asked to bring a donation of a can of food to the rally, and I collected these and split them into two bags.  A lucky draw was held at morning tea on Sunday, with Helen and Val taking home an assortment of cans.  Thanks for everyone for taking part.

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Bags full of cans

We packed up and left late morning.  There is a dump station at this camp, nice and handy indeed.  With that all taken care of, we drove down through the Wairarapa towns of Carterton, Greytown and Featherston, then up and over the Rimutaka Hill.  I remember seeing photos of this hill when the only way to travel over the Rimutaka Hill was by bullock cart on a rather narrow track.  The rough jolty trip would have taken ages.

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Over the Rimutaka Hill

Driving through Transmission Gully is quick and easy, our rig travelled along no trouble at all.  It was well worth the many years wait to get this road finally built and it is a real asset, we feel.

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Transmission Gully

Home at last, it was the usual unpacking, sorting out the laundry and all that sort of thing, before sitting down with a cuppa.  Wonder when our next trip away will be?

Friday, 16 September 2022

Solway Park for the Weekend

We departed for our weekend caravan rally a day early on Thursday, just because a three day weekend is always so much nicer than just two days.  There was a discussion which way we would go – travelling to the Wairarapa means crossing the Tararua Ranges in the North, or the Rimutaka Hill in the south.  Both trips take about two hours, just a shame there isn't a handy tunnel close by.  In the end we decided to head north, and we may well do the complete circle on Sunday and drive back home taking the southern route.  So up and over the Pahiatua Track we went, passing quite close to those huge wind turbines.

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One of the many turbines

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Sign at the top

Once down the other side I got our lunch out to eat while we were driving.  “Something I prepared earlier”, as the TV cooks say.  Bacon sandwiches, a muffin  and coffee were very welcome as we drove along.

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Lunch on the go

A little further along we were slowed down with a Stop-Go sign and road cones keeping the traffic to one lane.  It was the “tree fellas”  busy trimming some trees below the power lines on the side of the road.  There’s always something to see when you drive along.

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Working on the trees

We soon turned into Solway Park and found where we were to park up.  There are a limited number of power sites available, so it is a matter of first come, best served.

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Robin put the club flag up, and there were four early bird vans which arrived on Thursday.  The weather was a bit too chilly so our first 4zees of the weekend was spent inside Bill and Val’s van, thanks very much.

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Early birds, three vans and a motorhome

Later in the afternoon we heard the clip clop as horses walked past.  Here they go, with the riders all kitted out in their riding gear.

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So nice to see the equestrians go by

Unfortunately there is no handy hall for our club to use so we will just have to work around the weather and hope the weekend stays fine. 

Monday, 12 September 2022

Happy 75th Birthday

It was time to celebrate Robin’s 75th birthday, and we had a lovely gathering of family here at our (small)  home.  We were so lucky with the weather, it was warm and sunny so it was very pleasant out on the patio with  extra seating, sheltering under the archgola.  The blokes joined Robin for a beer or two outside as he tended to the lamb on his Webber BBQ.

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Brother Gary, Shimon, SIL Robert, Brother Neil, Robin and Murray

Once the meat was cooked, our casual lunch was ready.  To go with the lamb we had bacon and egg pie and chicken quiche, potato salad, green salad, gherkins and fancy cheeses, and buttered bred rolls.  Dessert was a selection of sweet treats, many thanks to my sister Karla for making some delicious chocolate eclairs.

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BBQed legs of lamb

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Granddaughters Emma and Megan, and daughter Nicky

Then came the cake cutting time, and we all sung Happy Birthday to the birthday boy.  The carrot cake was delicious – but we didn't bother with 75 candles.  Glasses of bubbly were raised to wish Robin Happy Birthday and many more.

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Cutting the cake

Our poor cat Gemma is used to a quiet life with just the two of us at home.  So she was getting a little anxious with so many people in the house.  I put her in our bedroom and shut the door, but she wasn’t happy with that turn of events either!  Many thanks to the family for coming to share Robin’s special day with him.

Friday, 9 September 2022

A Day in Naenae

We met our SLG friends in Naenae for lunch on Thursday.  Yes, it is a rather strange name, and this is what it means:  “Naenae is a translation from the Māori, meaning "mosquito" or "sandfly", recalling a time prior to the draining of the area, when the mosquito population predominated”.

Naenae started life as a State Housing area.  Even before the war had ended the state began to invest in housing to cope with the return of the men from overseas and to cater for the expected baby boom, with a large state housing project that involved the construction of some 1,100 houses and a community centre.  Naenae was based on garden-city ideas with all the houses built by the State, placed on curvilinear streets and surrounding a amenity and shopping area. The chief designer was Ernst Plischke who had in mind European cities built surrounding a central square. The design included New Zealand first pedestrian mall, Hillary Court. A rail station provided easy commuter access to Lower Hutt and Wellington. Naenae Olympic Pool was the jewel in the crown when it was added to the mix, closing in 2019 thanks to earthquake safety concerns.

We were lunching at the Naenae Bowling Club Café.  This is a huge building and features both an indoor and outdoor bowling green.

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Enter this way

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Huge indoor bowls area

Our friends all arrived, we found our reserved table and settled down.  There was a blackboard menu to read, what to eat today?  Most chose battered fish and salad, which really looked delicious, while two of us had the roast of the day.  The helpings were very generous indeed.  Several rather large ice cream sundaes were delivered to our table, at only $3 they certainly seemed a bargain.  A friendly patron from an adjoining table kindly took a photo for us.

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Ashley, Robin, Trish, Helen, Calvin, Yvonne and Jenny

As usual, there was catching up to do, and plenty to chat about, upcoming holidays included, and Robin’s knee op too.  Calvin was able to give Robin some helpful tips on what to expect,speaking from his own experience.  Finally, we said our goodbyes, and headed homewards.  Many thanks to Calvin for arranging this lunch date to work around Robin’s hospital date.

What’s happening here, I wondered, at the huge mounds of earth and a big digger or two?  It was the site of the original Naenae Olympic Swimming Pool, now dug up, and a new one is in the works.  I can remember, as a young teenager, coming to this pool with my boyfriend many moons ago.  Those were the days!  Its good that the pool is being replaced, it is a real asset to the community.

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New swimming pool in progress

We drove back home along Transmission Gully road, it’s always rather busy but the traffic just whizzes along with no problems. Heading along the final downward slope, we caught a glimpse of Kapiti Beach.

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Kapiti Beach

Monday, 5 September 2022

A Weekend at Woodville

Somewhere different for the weekend, we were off to the Central Region Caravan Club rally at Woodville.  Not too far away from home, about 90km each way.  We started off late Friday morning, and decided on a lunch stop at Ashhurst Domain.  This is such a pretty place, surrounded by wonderful mature trees, and we were surprised to find most of the power sites taken.  Not that it affected us, as we were only there for lunch, but we weren't expecting so many campers in the cooler weather.

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Nice place to stop for lunch

The rally was held at the Woodville Racing Club grounds, a new place for us.  In fact, we weren't aware that Woodville even had a race course, as we usually travel through the middle of town on our way through.  We didn't know many people in this club, although there were a few familiar faces with several couples we had met up with over the years at different rallies.  4zees was a noisy affair, with a hall full of people all busy chattering away.  Being a Friday evening we decided to sample the local fish and chips for tea.

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Woodville Race Course

Saturday was a busy day, after morning tea there was a visit to Gottfried Lindauer Studio, a replica of his original studio.  Born in Bohemia, Lindauer came to New Zealand in 1874 and was well known for his portraits of Maori people and settlers.  After travelling and painting his way around the country, he settled in Woodville in 1887 until his death in 1926.

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Gottfried Lindauer Studio

Every time we drive through Woodville on the way to somewhere else, we pass by the Yummy Mummy Cheesecake shop.  Not this time though.  So many delicious flavours on offer, and as the girls told me, there was a special offer if I purchased two.  So I did, chocolate, and raspberry with white chocolate.  These small cheesecakes were enough for two, so we enjoyed them for dessert for two nights in a row.

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The girls were happy to have their photo taken

It was a 4zees with a difference for us when the club songbooks came out, the guitar and piano were played and everyone joined in for a sing-along.  All those old vintage songs where everyone knows the chorus, but the verses, not so much.  There was a games evening organized in the evening, but the only game Robin was interested in was the All Blacks – Argentina match.  The rain was coming down, the wind got up, so we were happy to be tucked up warm and cozy in our van.

By Sunday morning it was even windier, and freezing cold, typical Spring weather.  After morning tea it was time to pack up, and Robin was blown about by the strong wind.  Windy weather is always a worry when towing, especially for me, being a worry-wort type of passenger in the front seat.

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Hooking up in the windy conditions

Our journey home took us over the concrete bridge at Pahiatua – have to admit I've got a real admiration for interesting old bridges.  Just look at those graceful curves.

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Bridge at Pahiatua

Then it was up and over the Pahiatua Track, the wind turbines were going flat out making plenty of power to put into the grid with all that wind.  I did mention to Robin a we drove past all these huge pieces of engineering that I hoped that the bases were well concreted into the ground – just in case!  The drive home was not at all comfortable as we were buffered about by the strong winds as we drove along.  No wonder I'm a worry-wort.

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Wind turbines on the top of the hill

Just in case you thought the name Woodville was unique to New Zealand, check out this sign post – there are Woodville’s everywhere.

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Monday, 29 August 2022

Working around Road Closures

I had arranged to meet up with our SLG friends for lunch on Friday at Fisherman’s Table, Paekakariki,  but there was a problem earlier in the week.  SH 59 which runs along the coast was closed from Pukerua Bay to Paekakariki due to a land slip.  This wouldn't affect us as we were further north, but our friends were travelling up from the Hutt Valley.  Goodness me, what to do, would our lunch go ahead?  A few phone calls later and it was all worked out.  First I had to make sure that the restaurant was still open and operating – yes it was.  But the receptionist informed me  that there was a further slip just north of the restaurant, when a car fell down the Paekakariki Hill!  We have had an awful lot of rain fall this last week, no wonder there were slips happening.  Our friends would have to take the Transmission Gully Road, exit a little north of Paekakariki, turn around and drive a short way back to the restaurant.

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SH 59 closed at the restaurant

We all arrived safely, thank goodness, the others were there ahead of us, we were running a little late due to the traffic and speed restrictions on the way down.  Never mind, I’m sure they could chat amongst themselves.

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Fisherman’s Table

There they were, we found our table and settled down.  Of course we had plenty to chat about.  Then it was time to check the menu and make our choices – we all had fish although there were other things on the menu.  And surprisingly, most of us also had a dessert.  That doesn't usually happen, but I expect the others heard me declare that I really must have a “Crème Brule”, a special favourite of mine. 

I spied a rather misty looking Kapiti Island through the window.  On a nice sunny day people can choose to eat outside, if they wish.

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Kapiti Island off the coast

After a pleasant couple of hours we left to make our way home.  Goodness knows why, but I didn't get photos of our table, too much talking, I expect.

We were affected by the road closure just north of the restaurant with the slip on Paekakariki Hill involving a car, so we were told.  Contractors were working on clearing the road and we were directed around a few corners, through the small township, then back onto the motorway.  Our drive home was uneventful, just as we like it.  It was a nice day out, catching up with our SLG friends.

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Detour this way