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

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Local Goodies

It’s asparagus season once again so we took a trip to the Lewis Farm property to buy a bag of these tasty goodies.  After all, what could be nicer than freshly cooked asparagus dripping with butter, or perhaps smothered in cheese sauce?  The factory was in full swing, clattering away as the asparagus traveled along the lines as it was washed, sorted and graded.  Then packed into bags waiting for the happy customers to come and purchase.  I believe a lot of the crop is also sent overseas.

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Fresh asparagus

Asparagus is not the only crop grown here.  Recently the company has added several huge tunnel houses to grow strawberries and raspberries.  And with some of that fruit they make and sell soft serve fruit ice-cream.  Just what Robin fancied!  I decided on a lovely barista coffee instead.

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Enjoying his ice-cream

On the way back through town we stopped to have a look at a huge cat mural which had appeared a while ago.  I walked over to take a photo but couldn't see a name on the painting.  Mind you, there were cars parked in front and a container down the far end, so it could well have ben covered up.

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Cat mural in town

I asked Mr Google and he gave me the answer.  This amazing 5mt by 20mt mural painted on the side of the Novus Glass building in Oxford St was  the work of SwiftMantis of Palmerston North, and took three weeks to paint.  Commissioned by the Horowhenua District Council and the funding for the mural comes under council's recently adopted Community and Social Development Action plan.  The star of the artwork is local cat Niko, a rescue who now lives on a feijoa orchard just out of town, and the perspective of the Tararua Ranges is from directly above his home near Potts Rd.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

When can we go?

We waited with baited breath for the Monday afternoon Covid Update to hear when/if the Waikato will go down to Level 2 thereby allowing traffic to and from the area.  Sadly, it was not to be because of Covid cases, which means our trip to Hamilton to get work done on our caravan has been put on hold again.

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PM Jacinda Adern giving the daily update

Consequently, Robin moved our caravan from the carparks in front of our home, back to the designated parking place around the back.

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Back where it belongs

All is not lost though, as we have a new booking at the Leisureline  factory for our service in early November, and Motorhome Solar have said they will do all they can to fit us in during that week.  Dependent of course on us being able to travel by then, fingers crossed! 

We went out to lunch the other day to the local Cossie Club.  The chef was offering a “Covid Lunch Special”  three courses for $16.00 a head.  Excellent value, we thought.

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Later in the evening Robin spent some time getting close and personal with the dishwasher, which had decided to stop part way through the cycle and beep softly at us.  Now, where was the instruction book?  He pulled it to bits, gave everything a good clean, then put it back together again.  Success, at least partial success, as it certainly started going again, but stopped part way and needed the button pushing again to resume the cycle.  “Built in Planned Obsolescent” came to mind, as we have already had to replace the heat pump after being in this house for only 7 years.  Appliances don't seem to last long these days, not like our original chest freezer which chugged along for over 40 years (and a former marriage) before giving up the ghost and dying. 

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Plans Change

Robin had done a great job of organising work to be done on the caravan up in Hamilton this week, 430kms away.  The caravan was to have it’s annual service and recall work done on our water heater at the Leisureline factory on Wednesday.  Then moving on to Motorhome Solar the following day to get a new battery and another solar panel installed.  All these plans came crashing down last Friday when we found out that Hamilton and surrounding areas had been placed in Level 3 for the next 5 days due to Covid cases appearing in the area.  What a bummer, the caravan had been moved to the car park outside our home, packed up and ready to go.

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As the days are rolling by, and numbers of community cases in the Hamilton area keep rising, it appears unlikely that Level 3 restrictions will be lifted at the end of the week.  Which means, of course, that we will be unlikely to drive up to Hamilton next week for rescheduled appointments.  

On a happier note, I have some good health news to report.  Last week I attended  my follow-up appointment at Palmerston North Hospital with the neurosurgical team after my spinal surgery back in May.  I had been for a MRI several weeks ago, so they had an up-to-date picture of my spine.  Things are progressing well, I was told, so well that they won’t want to see me for another 12 months, and will order a further MRI prior to this appointment.  They showed me a picture of my spinal cord prior to surgery, and I could clearly see the fistula snaking forwards and back across my spinal cord about six times in a row, this was putting pressure and squeezing causing me all kinds of problems.  I am just so thankful this condition was finally diagnosed and the surgery was so successful.

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At Palmerston North Hospital

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.