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

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?

Monday, 10 June 2019

Winter Sunset

The nights are drawing in so much earlier now we have moved from Autumn to Winter.  Today was one of those calm but cold days, with a morning shower thrown into the mix.  I was pleased to get a snap of this stunning sunset from our village.  You have to be quick with the camera, a few moments later and that glorious colour had disappeared.

Sunset in Levin

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Homeward Bound

Sunday at Foxton was another freezing cold day, the wind was vicious!  Thank goodness we had the use of the hall to meet in for Morning Tea and 4zees.  I don’t think we would have survived sitting outside with our cuppas!  Because of the wind, most of us made sure to take our awnings down overnight.  Lorraine didn’t, and came back to camp to find her awning had ripped the ropes out of the pegs and blown over the top of the caravan!  We could hear the sounds of roaring coming from the nearby beach – the sea must have been rough with the waves running high.

Our new white board

Sunday was quite a lazy day spent socializing, shopping, reading, just doing what took your fancy.  I did some sewing and Robin took a nap!  In the evening we went to the restaurant in the Bowling Club just a short walk away over the fence.  Not one of our better meals out – enough said.  

Monday dawned sunny and calm, such a change in the weather.  No wonder the temperatures had been so cold, the Tararua Ranges were covered in snow.  Such a lovely sight with the snow glistening in the sunshine.

Snow on the Tararua Ranges

Later in the morning we finally got the chance to sit outside in the sunshine.  It was so lovely and calm – thank goodness that nasty wind had gone.  Gemma came too, the first time she had been outside all weekend.  Rolling on the road is always the first order of business, she always enjoys a big roll when she goes outside, and then she happily trotted around for a while with Robin, then joined us by our folding chairs.  Birds were chirping and flying around over the fence, so much for her to see, and so exciting.  She would dearly love to catch one, so it is just as well she is on her harness and lead.

Time for some fresh air

Being so close to the beach, it is not surprising that the camp has been decorated with driftwood sculptures.  The Christmas Tree has been around for a couple of years now, but still looks fine, with the baubles still in place.  And we noticed several “art works” by the fence where we were parked.  Someone has been busy.

Driftwood decorations

We ate lunch inside, tidied up, and hooked up the van ready to go.  Then it was time to say our goodbyes and head on the 20km trip home.  Another good weekend  caravan rally with friends, and having four days away was a bonus.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Saturday at Foxton Beach

It was shades of “A Dark and Stormy Night” overnight as the caravan shook around, the rain came down relentlessly and things rattled and shook outside  in the dark.  We were promised rough weather for the weekend and it was certainly delivered to us with a vengeance.  Only to be expected, now that winter arrived on 1st June.  The showers cleared for a while and we met in the hall for morning tea, followed by the annual AGM.  This went off quite well, with all committee places filled, a couple of rule changes, together with a little spirited discussion to liven things up.  Welcome to the new committee members, and many thanks to the outgoing members.

Our outgoing President Selwyn had the pleasant task of making two presentations.  One to Dennis who constructed a new notice board for us, (white board) and insisted he didn’t want any payment for his efforts.  Many thanks, Dennis.  Our old blackboard had seen many years of service, often got left out in the rain, and was generally looking rather dilapidated, so it was great to get an updated model.

Dennis – many thanks for the noticeboard

It was a double celebration for Lorraine.  Not only was it her birthday, but she was awarded her 300 rally badge. That’s an awful lot of caravan club weekends away!

Lorraine and Selwyn

The day was spent catching up with fellow members, followed by 4zees in the hall.  The puddles dried up, then the rain came down again, just to keep us on our toes, while that cold, nasty wind kept blowing.  In the evening we had booked a table at the local RSA restaurant (Returned Servicemen’s Association).  A very busy restaurant indeed, all the tables in the restaurant was full, and the meals kept coming out of the kitchen in a seemingly never ending stream.  The pair of us had scallops and steak, while others at our table enjoyed fish, burgers, or big  bowls of Irish Stew.

P1280164 P1280165
Scallops for her and steak for him

Gemma came away with us too, of course, and was fascinated with the rain drops trailing down the front window.  Try as she might, she couldn’t catch them.  Never mind, perhaps a little snooze instead, so she tucked herself up in her favourite corner.

Gemma curled up inside away from the bad weather

The strong winds, heavy rain and cold temperatures are still around, but we haven't fared as badly as some areas.  There has been snow around the country from the Southern Alps to Nelson Lakes, to the Desert Road, Met Service said.

Photo from TVNZ

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Foxton Beach

Why have a three day weekend away when we can go a day early and have four days?  So that s what we did, arriving at the Manawatu Caravan Club grounds at Foxton Beach on Thursday.  This camp has a large number of static caravans on site, with an area set aside for visitors, like us.  Just three vans took the opportunity, as we did, to arrive a day early.  The others ambled in on Friday.  The weather was marginal, with strong winds and rain forecast over the weekend, so we were pleased we arrived when we did.


Manawatu Caravan Club grounds.

Robin was facing a “dry weekend” without a bottle of beer in the van, so we had to take a trip to the supermarket to remedy this oversight.  On the way back to camp we stopped off to have a look at the beach.  There were a few hardy souls out for a brisk beach walk, with the wind surely blowing any cobwebs away.

Foxton Beach

Most club members were on site in time for 4zees on Friday.  Luckily we had use of the hall over the weekend.

Heretaunga Caravan Club vans on site

Our entertainment on Friday night was the film “Catch me if you Can”,  the true story of Frank Abagnale Jnr.  Between the ages of 15 and 21 he forged cheques and assumed the eight new identities including those of an airline pilot, a lawyer, a doctor and a prison agent.  He was finally caught by an FBI Agent who was obsessed with his capture.  After serving five years in prison, the FBI offers Frank a deal by which he can live out the remainder of his sentence working for the bank fraud department of the FBI, which Frank accepts.  He is currently a consultant and lecturer for the FBI academy and field offices. He also runs Abagnale & Associates, a financial fraud consultancy company.  Starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hanks, this intriguing true story was one which most of us had never heard of before.

Friday was Movie Night

This promises to be a busy weekend, with the AGM taking place, and a meal out on Saturday evening.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Rally at Carterton

You can’t say we weren’t warned!  The local campers told us that the overnight temperatures for Friday night would drop to minus 1 degrees – and it did!  Brr, it was certainly cold!  But a cold chilly night is generally followed by a nice sunny day.

There were 16 caravans in residence over the weekend for the Combined Rally at Carterton School, with Wairarapa being the host club.  Our orange club flag soon joined their green one, and they fluttered together in the breeze.

Camping at Carterton School

There was a strange cloud in the sky on Saturday night, so we just had to get a photo.  Long and thin, with a seemingly red line running  through the middle.  Wonder what that is all about?

Strange looking cloud in the sky

We all ate together in the hall on Saturday night, cooking and eating our own main courses.  This was followed by a shared dessert, with everyone bringing their contributions.  As always, there was a great selection on the table.

Plenty of choices here

After the tables were cleared and the dishes done, we played several games of “Card Bingo”,  with Harry doing a great  job as Caller.  Sadly, neither Robin or I had a win, so didn’t get rich with our gambling.  But never mind, it was quite a fun game with our “Eyes down and Looking”.

My cards for Card Bingo

Visitors called in on Sunday morning, well known to most of us.  It was Diane and Pete, who previously  ran the Carterton Holiday Park for 8 years or so.  They keep up with our adventures through our blog, they told us.

Pete, Robin with Gemma, and Diane

We packed up and headed for home about 11.30am on Sunday.  With two hours drive ahead of us, we wanted to get on our way.  On our return trip we traveled north, up and over the Pahiatua Track, passing by the Big Kiwi at Eketahuna.

Big Kiwi at Eketahuna

You know what it’s like when you get home from a weekend rally.  The caravan gets unpacked, the fridge cleaned and emptied, the bag of laundry taken inside, and the floors vacuumed.  Once all that was done, we sat down for a late lunch.  It had been a great weekend away, crisp sunny Autumn weather, and great company.