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

Friday, 16 August 2019

Family Time at Speights

With our trip to Australia fast approaching, together with daughter Nicky’s birthday it was time for a long overdue catch up with the family.  We arranged to meet Nicky for lunch at Speights Ale House in Palmerston North.  Son-in-law Robert organized his  work day to come along too, and grand-daughter Megan took some time off work and joined us a little later. 


Speights Ale House

Speight’s Brewery has always produced award winning, traditional ales & beers, using only the finest quality  ingredients & purest water.  The popular restaurant is always busy,  usually a sign of good food and service.  We took some time checking the menu and finally made our choices.  Roast pork for me and pie of the day for Robin.  Robert ordered a pie as well, and Nicky had lamb's fry and bacon, served on top of of a huge mound of mashed potatoes and smothered in gravy.  Robin and Robert’s meal were washed down with one of the award winning Speight’s beers.  With such very filling lunches, we will only need something very light for our evening meal.

Our two meals

It was great to catch up with them, and give Nicky her birthday gift, as we are starting our trip to Oz on her birthday.

Robin and Jenny, Nicky and Robert

After we had finished our meals, grand-daughter Megan came breezing in, bright and bubbly as usual.  As it was getting later, made do with just a coffee.


The conversation centred around horses, this family lives, breathes, and talks about horses and competitions.  All except Nicky, who really doesn’t want anything to do with them, especially when they get into her garden.  The two girls are excellent horsewomen, and Robert was a former jockey, so has been around horses for most of his life.

We said our farewells and went our separate ways.  We had one more catch up, had arranged to meet up with grand-daughter Emma in Feilding after she had finished work in the afternoon. And the conservation centred around, you've guessed it, Emma’s horses.  Certainly an all abiding passion for her.

Jenny and Emma

It was so nice to be able to see all members of this family before we head away.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

More Fun at Himatangi

Our caravan club rally at Himatangi kept us busy, with the usual Morning Teas, 4zees, after dinner get togethers and a couple of quizzes to test our brain cells.  On Saturday morning we pooled cars and drove up to Viv’s Kitchen, “world famous in Sanson” and home of the giant cream horns.  Viv is now the proud owner of two little dinky vans, the yellow one being a recent acquisition, and they were proudly on display in the car park.


We all found seats at the reserved tables and settled back to enjoy our morning tea.  Cream horns aren’t compulsory, there are other delights available too, if you so desire.

Chocolate éclair for her, cream horn for him

The sound level dropped dramatically as everyone ate their morning tea, only to get loud again once the food had been consumed.  This crowd certainly has plenty to talk about, covering a wide range of topics.

Enjoying our morning tea

Back at camp Dave’s dog came to say hello.  Dogs are allowed at Himatangi Beach Camp, as long as they are under control.  Several of our club members now have dogs which are not necessarily welcome at all camps.


A fair bit of “male bonding” took place.  Wonder if they were commiserating about the All Blacks getting beaten by the Aussies in the Bledisloe Cup game?

Wonder what they are talking about?

The beach was just a short walk away, so after a quick trip to the local dairy I popped down to have a look.  It was rather rough, strong cold winds, with drift wood all over the beach.

Himatangi Beach

Sunday morning tea was supplied by camp proprietors Reuben and Alice.  Much appreciated and many thanks indeed.  Our new President Barry welcomed Wayne into the club, (his first official duty he commented) after Wayne had completed the necessary three rallies.  Everyone then packed up and left before lunch as bad weather was on the way and we all wanted to get home before it arrived.  Thanks to Selwyn and Kath for arranging a great rally.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Off to Himatangi

We went off to Himatangi Beach Holiday Park for the weekend, and decided to arrive a day early, just because we could.  In fact, there were six vans from our caravan club with the same idea, so there was quite a little gathering of us making the most of an extra day away.


The camp cat was waiting to say hello as we walked past.  Wonder if she knows that we have a cat in our van?  Perhaps she will want to come and play.

The camp cat says hello.

Colourful jandals decorating the fence

The weather was fine and sunny, pleasant enough to sit outside under the awning.  That’s what life should be all about when camping, sitting outside, chatting with friends, enjoying the fresh air.

Our little part of the camp

Gemma came outside to enjoy the fresh air too.  Her head kept turning this way and that, as she kept an eye on all the birds flying about.  She certainly has a well honed hunting instinct and no doubt would love to be free of her harness and able to try this bird hunting lark!

Watching the birds

Dot arrived in her new (to her) van.  This was a good first rally for her, not too far from home, and with plenty of caravan club members around to help with any questions, such as why the TV wasn’t working!  After a twist and turn of the knob, Selwyn soon had it up and running.

Dot and her new van

Other vans rolled in on Friday, there was certainly a good turnout for our weekend at Himatangi.  Selwyn and Kath were the Rally Family and had some fun things  arranged for the weekend.


Thursday, 8 August 2019

Let’s Do Lunch

It was my turn to organize an outing for our SLG friends and it was very fortunate that the stars aligned.  Originally I decided to invite our friends up to our home, and I would cater lunch for us all.  Then by a stroke of good luck, I discovered that the Horowhenua Learning Centre was open for lunch at the training restaurant, cooked and served by the pupils.  That seemed a much better idea, and would save me hours in the kitchen.  Everyone gathered at our place for morning tea, and my only spot of cooking was to bake some tasty cheese puffs.  Served with butter warm from the oven with a cuppa, they were delicious.

Fresh  from the oven

I had a copy of the menu at home which we passed around,  and after much discussion, decided what we would like for lunch.  The chicken dish sounded nice, and what about the Seven Seas Pie?  It’s always so hard to decided.  Dessert was easy, it was going to be Profiteroles for me – but then, the Chocolate Berry Trifle could be a winner too.


Then it was time to drive the short distance  the rather posh sounding restaurant, 152 on Bath.  This building had a former life as the local Maternity Hospital.  HLC offer a wide range of courses, from hospitality, business studies, tourism and trades.

This way for lunch

We were shown to our table and discovered that all those discussions on what sounded best for our lunch choices had been in vain.  I hadn’t read the menu properly, as it clearly stated that lunch was a buffet, and we could in fact have a little of everything, if we so desired.  After trying a bowl of spinach and potato soup, I then tried some of the mains.  The oven baked chicken served with sage, orange and juniper gravy was the winner in my view.

Buffet lunch

Les, Robin and Calvin were all smiles as they inspected the desserts on offer.

It was a lovely meal, and great value t $20 a head.  We will certainly be happy to return here again on another of their Open Days. We returned to our home for a while, and Robin played a DVD showing photos of Pam one of our SLG members who passed away 10 years ago.  That certainly brought back many memories, especially the photo of glamorous Pam going for a ride on the back of a rather large Harley Davidson!  As these photos spanned many years of our get togethers, we commented on how young we used to be way back then!  So nice to have our group of friends up in our home town, and to take them to somewhere completely new to us all.  After many years of monthly outings, there are not many places we haven’t been.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Caravan Screen Door Repairs

Our Birman cat Gemma usually enjoys going away in the caravan with us, but she has developed a bad habit.  When we have been away and left her home alone in the van, she has started scratching at the security screen door.  Unfortunately the mesh seems to be nylon, and she made several holes along the bottom of the door.  Ahhh, bad cat!

Look what Gemma did!

After making a few enquiries, we discovered that there is a product call “pet mesh”.  Sounded like  just the thing, and we arranged for SecureTPlus to call and change the mesh on our caravan screen door.


There was a little hiccough when it was discovered that the pet mesh was thicker that the original and new retaining rubber was required.  After a trip back to the workshop to collect it, the job soon got underway.

Adding the new rubber and changing the mesh

It didn’t take too long at all and it was all done.  Let’s hope that this pet mesh is the answer to the problem.  We are all set now for a three day weekend trip next week.

It’s been a gorgeous sunny winter day today, with snow dusting the tops of the Tararua Ranges behind us.  The snow seems to be melting fast but we may get some more in a day or so.  Icy winds traveling up from Antarctica bringing freezing temperatures have been forecast over the next few days, starting at the South Island and moving up here onto the North Island.  Brr, how cold is it going to get, I wonder?

Light snow on the ranges

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Wonderful Wairarapa

We recently enjoyed a day in the wonderful Wairarapa with our SLG friends.  Leaving Levin bright and early our 122km journey took us past major road works along the way, coming along well, by the look of it.  Let’s just hope they all meet up in the middle when completed.  We had a quick stop at Pauatahanui Inlet, with a glorious view over the estuary.

Pauatahanui Estuary

Once through our old home town of Upper Hutt, we drove up and over the Rimutaka Hill.  Always plenty of traffic on the hill, including many big trucks – most of them seemed to be loaded up with logs. We stopped to take a photo of this handsome new sign at the entrance of Featherston.  Can you see the shiny black bantam rooster at the base of the sign?  He was clucking away and enjoying the sunshine. Our friend Les was organizing our day out, and we met at his home in Featherston for coffee and cake. 

New sign at Featherston

Morning tea over, plus a good catch up with our SLG friends, we drove through to Greytown for lunch.  Greytown is a pretty little town, quite a trendy place and chock full of shops and cafes.  Our stop for lunch was the Corner Café, a popular establishment with an extensive menu.  Orders coming to our table included a couple of variations of their  fancy home made pies, and a couple of fish meals.  Les couldn't go past his old favourite, lambs fry and bacon, and I enjoyed a plate of locally grown  Parkdale Mushrooms on toast.  After lunch some of us popped in to see Les’s wife Anne, a much loved former SLG member who is now cared for in a local  Rest Home. 

The Corner Café

Our last visit of the day was to stop at Schoc Chocolates,  makers of hand made chocolates.  In December 2002 Schoc Chocolates was born. In a tiny turn-of-the century cottage, in gourmet Greytown’s main street (the original confectioners shop), owner and creator Murray Langham of the Chocolate Therapy books opened the doors for customers to buy his sumptuous hand-made chocolates.


My excuse for stopping here, as if I really needed one, was to buy something to pop in with my daughter’s birthday gift.  With 60 flavours available, it was lucky that we could have a few tastings to help us make up our mind.  I found a little something for Nicky, and an interesting  cake of raspberry, pear and apple dark chocolate came home with us.

Schoc Chocolates in Greytown

Saying farewell to our friends, we started on the return journey, getting caught up in homeward bound traffic once we reached SH1.  We were in stop-start mode for half an hour as the traffic banked up between Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay – it’s  always a bottleneck here.

Hardly moving at all along this stretch of road

The sun had set on the last part of our journey and we finally made it home.  Our cat Gemma was so pleased to welcome us, winding round and round our legs, after all, she had been home alone all day.  I think it was just cupboard love, as she soon settled down to the business of eating her dinner when I filled her dish.


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!