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

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Planning the Road Trip

After much deliberation and pouring over the AA Road Atlas, the Britain (and Ireland, but we're not going there this time) Road Map and our trusty Rough Guide to Britain Guide book we have finally come up with an intended route for our Big OE next month. We arrive in London and have a week re-acquainting ourselves with this wonderful city and exploring places of interest, which will include a trip on the London Eye!! Then it's off by train to catch up with our friends Dot and Derek and their Narrowboat Gypsy Rover to travel the length of the Llangollen Canal for a week.
We then collect our rental car and the planned intineray is as follows:
Birmingham, Cambridge, Cotswold's, Bristol, Salisbury, Tunbridge Wells, Canterbury and places in between of course. We have allowed for a few extra days spare towards the end to give us a bit of flexibility with our travels.
Jenny has taken possession of the Rough Guide book and has "pink stickered" so many places to go and visit we don't really think we will get to see them all!! But planning a trip is half the fun isn't it.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Winter Solstice

It's the time of the Winter Solstice here in New Zealand. Which means of course that it is Summer Solstice in Great Britain. ON the TV news tonight we saw pictures of thousands of people attending the Solstice celebrations at the wonderful Stonehenge. Here in New Zealand we have our own version of this famous monument, Stonehenge Aotearoa. Many gathered there also to celebrate the Solstice and honour the old ways.

We attended a Winter Solstice mid-year Christmas lunch at the James Cook Hotel today with a group of friends, in the Whitby Room Restaurant. The James Cook Hotel is a Wellington landmark. The dining tables looked lovely dressed with crisp white linen, with a gold foil Christmas cracker for each patron. There was plenty of choices from the smorgasbord menu. Roast turkey and hot carved ham were favourites, as was the traditional Christmas plum pudding and hot custard.

A group of ladies caused a bit of a stir when they arrived later in the afternoon for their "High Tea". They were all attired in fur jackets and fancy hats!!. "How many foxes died to make your coat?", one of our group asked. "None", was the reply, it's fake".

The entrance of the James Cook Hotel, Wellington

Saturday, 21 June 2008

The dreaded lurgy strikes twice.

The dreaded lurgy crept into our household on Wednesday night and then it pounced. Jenny was tossing and turning, feeling more and more unwell. Then it was all on. Thursday was a wash-out, no way could she go to work. In fact she stayed in bed most of the day. Started to feel human by Friday PM.
On Saturday it was Robin's turn to feel the effects. The nursing duties have been swapped over and he couldn't even manage to stay up and watch the All Blacks on TV, so he must be feeling bad. With any luck it will be a change for the better tomorrow.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

By Jove - she's done it!!!

There was great excitement in our household today, Jenny took her very first funeral service!!!
Previously she had done baby namings and house blessings, (even a caravan blessing) and these types of ceremonies are rather fun to do. A funeral of course is quite a different matter. First step is meeting with the family, asking questions and taking notes, then going home to write the service and the life narrative. This can take a long time with several re-writes. A few changes always need to be made here and there, facts added, some things amended. Then it is a matter of practice, practice, practice, the sentences need to flow nicely. A celebrant does not need to know it all off by heart, but must be able to speak to the audience, and not just read the words.
Whew - it's done. Several people came up to say what a nice service it was, so that was very kind of them. And the family was most appreciative, which is the main thing.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

7 weeks and counting!!

We checked the calendar and it is now only 7 weeks till our big OE to England via Singapore. Plans are coming along quite well and and now it is just a matter of tidying up a few loose ends.
We have now: Ordered and received Robin's new passport. (Jenny's one is OK, we checked)
Booked our London accommodation.
Booked the rental car.
Renewed our Historic Places subscription - we can use it in UK.
Organised our health insurance - extremely important for travellers.
Booked and paid for our air fares - we don't care if the price goes up now!!
Booked and paid for our 5 day New York-Niagara Falls bus tour.
Arranged to meet up with our friends to do the Llangollen Canal on their narrow boat. They kindly organised the train fares London-Wales.
And today........... We have purchased new wheelie suit-cases each.

Last time we went overseas we only had "ordinary" suitcases and what a nuisance they were trundling round the airports and on trains. We bought these nice new ones today and procrastinated over the selection for ages. Shall we buy the medium size or the large? We voted for medium as they have to fit in the boot of the rental car easily. The ones we really liked had a 10 year warranty, but were not on special. Luckily the store supervisor offered them to us at at 40% discount, it certainly was our lucky day!!

One of Jenny's colleagues brought in her photo album of her own UK trip done a few years ago. They spent a couple of days on the Llangollen Canal and there were lots of good photos for us to peruse. We, of course, are lucky enough to be going on a private boat for an 8 day trip over this picturesque canal, and are really looking forward to it, and to catching up with Dot and Derek. Now if only Jenny can remember where she put that "little something" away safe and sound to take over for them!!! Let's hope she can find it soon so it can go in the new suitcase.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Trouble Down Under

The Sunday paper said it all- "Fill up now before price shock hits". On Sunday a litre of 91 petrol cost $2.00. Today it had risen 6c a litre to $2.06, with the price of Super reaching $2.13 and diesel is now $1.79. The little blue Astra was three quarters full so Robin took it for a top up today , and that cost $40.00. That's over $150.00 to completely fill the tank of a smallish car. Goodness knows what the Isuzu 4WD would cost to fill!!!

Luckily we both work fairly close to home, so commuting costs are relatively low. But we all realize high fuel prices have spin off effects on all areas of life. There have been calls for the Government to reduce the tax on fuel while the prices continue to sky-rocket, but as the Tui ad says, "Yeah - right."

On another topic, we've all heard of "road rage", now there is "web rage", as also reported in the Sunday paper. Seems a disgruntled Trade Me user who objected to negative feedback drove 40 kms across Auckland to his victim's house, assaulted him and forced him to remove the negative comment from the web site. The article warns against sharing personal information. Jenny dabbles in Trade Me from time to time and doesn't see how to get around this warning. After all, one must put the return address on a parcel, surely?

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Rugby, rain and Jenny's little helper

What a wet miserable couple of days we have had. Both Friday and Saturday were wet, wet. wet. Robin didn't really care as he had the Rugby Test to look forward to on TV on Saturday evening, played between the mighty All Blacks and the touring team from Ireland. The game was held at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, known to locals affectionately as the "Cake Tin". Pity the sportsmen (and the spectators) who were out in the most appalling conditions. The score was New Zealand 21 and Ireland 11.

Those who know us realize that Jenny is not really a sports lover so her time this weekend was spent working on 2 very special "Memory Quilts". Our grand-daughter Emma's boyfriend Geoffrey died in a boating mishap recently. Jenny has offered to make Memory Quilts for both Emma and Geoffrey's mother using his tee shirts, sweat shirts, even his school ball shirt, and whatever else was provided.

When all the pieces were laid out on the floor our Birman Muffy decided to help out and inspect the works in progress.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Carterton 30 May - 2 June 2008

Queen’s Birthday Weekend

A long weekend holiday and we don’t have to tangle with the Kapiti traffic, what a nice relaxing drive over the hill we had. We were the last of five caravans to arrive on Friday afternoon, with Keith and Mary, Bill, Barbara and Jacqui, Peter and Elaine, and Graeme and Kathryn already on site. Pamela and Don arrived later on to take up residence in one of the motel units, and they invited over to their very roomy unit for our Friday evening get-together.

Saturday morning dawned fine with a very heavy frost. In the afternoon we took everyone for a visit to “Shear Discovery”. This museum showcases shearing related memorabilia and is housed in two wonderful old buildings joined together which were gifted to the organization. We were very lucky to have a local volunteer on hand who showed us townies the art of sheep shearing. It was interesting to see how the sheep sat quietly while they were shorn; it is obviously all in the technique. One of the sheep got its own back later on when it escaped while being loaded on to the back of the ute, it enjoyed several minutes of freedom out the back before being captured again

On Saturday evening we gathered in the dining room dressed in our orange finery. The CEO of Tui Brewery had sent a dozen bottles in appreciation of the club’s support of their product, and one of the glamorous Tui girls also put in an appearance. Everyone was asked to help Tui Brewery in their new ad campaign and come up with some catchy slogans. Graeme won the contest with his witty offering:

“I go to caravan rallies for the intellectual stimulation – Yeah right!!”

Another frost on Sunday morning did not deter our intrepid balloonists Graeme and Kathryn or their photo support team from setting their respective alarm clocks and getting up in the dark. The balloon flight had already been cancelled twice so it was third time lucky. We drove around to the Paua Shell factory and our balloonists were put to work straight away helping to inflate the balloon. Then they climbed into the basket and up, up and away. As they quietly glided over the camp ground, Elaine got so excited that she whipped her dressing gown off and waved it over her head!!!

The Queen! - Yeah Right!

The Queen came to call on Sunday evening all decked out in her best tiara, after all it was her birthday weekend. Couples were split into two teams, the Queens and the Consorts and took part in a verbal quiz relating to queenly questions. Sadly the Queens were soundly beaten by the Consorts, this was most unexpected, and the Queen was not amused. Robin then showed the digital photos he had taken that morning through the TV. Then Pamela and Don provided a glass of bubbly to celebrate Pamela becoming a Kiwi.