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

Monday, 18 June 2018

Homeward Bound

We packed up on Sunday morning, and said our goodbyes to the Dick and Elly, the camp owners.  Dick had kindly brought us some freshly picked mandarins from his tree, which were gratefully accepted. Before departing, we moved closer to the tap to replenish our water tank, parking beside the large 5th Wheeler which Dick is working on before heading off on a trip.  We always enjoy staying here, and are sure to be back again before too long.

Topping up the water tank

Travelling southwards through central Hawkes bay, we stopped off at Waipawa, the oldest inland town in Hawke’s Bay, to use the dump station.  Waipawa was founded on the banks of the Waipawa River by runholder Frederick Abbott in 1860. The town, originally named Abbottsford, was located next to a ford in the river. Settlers preferred its Māori name, Waipawa.  The tall clock tower was made as a war memorial and was unveiled on July 1922 by Governor General Lord Jellicoe to remember those men who died in the First World War.

Clock tower in Waipawa

Plenty of stock along the way

Our lunch stop was at Woodville, parked alongside the attractive Fountaine Square.  Eating our chicken sandwiches in the van, we noticed a steady stream of cars stopping at the very handy adjacent ablution block.

Lunch stop at Woodville

On our way again, we whizzed past the “world famous in New Zealand” Tui Brewery tower at Mangtainoka.  For those who don’t know, Tui beer is the beer of choice for good keen Kiwi blokes, and is supposedly made here, so the adverts tell us, by a bevy of beauties in skimpy clothes!  But you can’t believe everything you see on TV.

Tui Brewery Tower

We turned right at Pahiatua township, over the interesting concrete arched bridge  to start our trip over the Tararua Ranges on the Pahiatua Track. 

Pahiatua Bridge

The blue skies had disappeared, it was getting cold and windy, and the weather was trying it’s best to rain with dark clouds gathering overhead.  But all Mother Nature could conjure up was a little drizzle here and there along the way.  Thank goodness for that, there is nothing worse than unpacking the van in the rain, so we were safe from that indignity.  I’m always amazed at just how quickly we can unpack the van when we return home, compared to the time it takes to pack up for a trip away.  With the fridge and bathroom cleaned, the van put back into it’s space, the laundry bag taken indoors, we are all ready for the next trip away.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Seen around Hastings

We are currently staying at a CAP (cost applicable parking) at an apple orchard, where we were lucky to find a space as apple picking is still in full swing.    Most of the sites  are taken with people staying here in their caravans and motor-homes who have seasonal work at the nearby packing houses.  Boxes of apples are waiting to be collected and taken to the processing centre.


We are tucked away in front of the managers Ross and Rose’s site, making sure they still had a good line of sight over the grounds to look out for any visitors or new arrivals.  They have a playful new puppy now, so that makes two fluffy white Bichons and a big grey and white cat to keep them company.  The grounds are still rather wet after a lot of rain.

Staying at the apple orchard

It seems that no matter how often you visit a region, there is always something new to see.   Such as the interesting range of sculpture we spotted as we were driving out to Havelock North.  What was that we just passed, we wondered, so quickly turned the car around to have another look.  The little house had been made out of concrete blocks placed one on top of another, and various bits of rusty metal sculptures were dotted around the paddock.

Sculptures in the country

We were on our way to Birdwoods Sweet Shop, and what a lovely little place it was.  Robin had been lamenting to a couple of campers about how hard to was to buy blackball sweets these days.  You must go to Birdwoods, he was told, must admit that we had never heard of this establishment before.  Just look at all those temptations in the glass jars.  We purchased blackballs, acid drops and raspberry drops.

Birdwoods Sweet Shop

Birdwoods is a whole lot more than the sweet shop, we soon discovered.  There is a gallery and café housed  in the relocated  church hall from St Peter's in Waipawa built in 1894. The café was buzzing with customers and the food looked delicious so we will be returning to try it out on our next visit up this way.  And out the back was an amazing sculpture garden which we were invited to wander around at our leisure.  Many of the pieces had an African flavour.


Giraffe, herons and crocodile

The white ducks at the far end of the pond were keeping well away from the hippo lurking in the water.

Ducks and the lonely hippo

It wasn’t all African art, these colourful birds were made by a local potter and looked so pretty sitting there in a row.

Birds in a row

This is such a lovely establishment, and there is no doubt we will be returning.  After all, and we will need some more blackballs and acid drops next time we visit Hastings.  Plus a visit to the café too, I’m sure.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Driving through to Hastings

With an unexpected trip to Hastings coming up we packed the van and set off after an early lunch today.  We drove our usual route over the Pahiatua Track, and drove a rather convoluted way wondering if we had in fact got lost in the rural countryside.  But luckily we reached the Ballance Bridge, crossing the Manawatu River and onto Woodville, so we weren’t lost after all.

Ballance Bridge over the Manawatu River

Then it was up SH2 through farmland and small towns, through rain showers, with a few road works along the way, stopping at Waipukurau, the largest town in the Central Hawke's Bay District.  The old station building houses a quirky little coffee shack, and we certainly needed coffee after several hours on the road.

Stopping at Waipukurau Railway Station

It was obvious as we drove closer to Hastings that there had been quite a lot of heavy rain recently.  These low lying paddocks have water almost swallowing the fences.

Flooding south of Hastings

We pulled into the driveway at one of our favourite CAPs (charges apply parking) at Dick and Elly’s apple orchard.  My goodness, there were vans and buses everywhere – hope there is room for us.  Manager Rose  welcomed us with open arms, as did Dick and Elly, we always get such a friendly reception here.  Dick helped us get on site in the muddy conditions, and commented that his property has had plenty of rain and flooding  too.  Once we were organised, the power plugged in, we went to join the others having Happy Hour under the awning.

Just in time for Happy Hour

There was plenty of chatter going on around the table, and one couple recognised us from our last stay here back in March.  As the light started to fade, it is mid winter after all, we all departed back to our vans to prepare the evening meal.  There was just a little bit of colour in the western sky on the way back to our van.

And the sun sets in Hastings

We are making this trip to support my sister Kathleen and Dennis as their younger daughter died of a brain hemorrhage in Australia last week.  We are joining the family at a  memorial get together on Saturday to remember Jody and celebrate her life.  

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Telly Watching

We watched a brilliant (to us) new show on the History Chanel the other night, called “Secrets of Britain’s Great Cathedrals”.  The first episode told the stories of York Minster, and Canterbury Cathedral.  It was like a trip down memory lane as we had visited both of these famous buildings when we were holidaying in the UK some years ago.  Whenever we visited a castle, church, palace or cathedral, I purchased booklets like these in the adjacent gift shops.  Printed by Pitkin, they were reasonably priced, chock full of beautiful photos, packed with information, and light enough to tuck into my suitcase.  In fact, I ended up mailing a bunch back home  just so I would have room to buy a few more on our travels.   Watching this programme was a good excuse to find my books and refresh my memory on all the history and features of these glorious buildings.


It’s telly watching of a different kind tonight – the All Blacks are playing the French in a series of three tests.  Robin is engrossed in front of the TV so that will keep him quiet for the next couple of hours.  It was a good start with the stirring La Marseillaise, the national anthem of France, followed by the singing of our own one, God Defend New Zealand.  Then the haka – always a sight to see.  The man of the house watched the game on TV with rapt attention, sipping on a Glava or two as the minutes rolled by, the rucks and line-outs evolved and the tries were scored.  And yes, New Zealand won the first rugby test of three, so “Go, the All Blacks”.

All Black haka

Friday, 8 June 2018

Getting the Blokes in

We had a couple of tradesmen come calling the other day, and watched with interest as they arrived and got straight on with the job.  We had ordered an Archgola to be erected over our patio area to give us some much needed shade over the summer months.  These products are custom  made for each property, cut to size in the factory, and the metal components are powder coated to match the house joinery. The fittings are attached with brackets to a heavy board put in place under the soffits, and then the other mountings added.



The two men worked well together, each up and down the ladders numerous times, screwing the pieces together, and then spray-painting over the top of the metal screw heads so that everything blended together.  Then the roofing sheets were added – we had chosen tinted sheets to reduce the glare from the sun.

Nearly done

To complete the job, out came the “Mag Vac”.  This simple device picked up all the tiny slivers of metal which had dropped to the ground.  We were amazed at the quantity collected. 

The mag vac collecting metal shavings

With the job done, the men helped us move our tables back into place.  The job didn’t take too long at all, they workmen arrived at 8.00am, and left at mid day, with a stop for morning tea.
All done.

The Archgola just peeps over the front fence, but isn’t too intrusive, we feel.  And we will get a lot more use in the patio area with all that extra shade in the summer – a sun umbrella in the patio table just doesn’t offer enough shade.  One of our neighbours came down to check it out, and asked the boss man to come and measure up and give him a quote too, so he is very interested as well.

Front of the property

Monday, 4 June 2018

AGM Rally at Manawatu Caravan Club Grounds

There was a good turn out for the AGM rally, with most of us happily  in place on Friday, with the lucky last  motor-home arriving on Saturday morning.

All in a  line for the weekend rally

The all important caravan club AGM took place on Saturday morning, and we were fortunate to have use of the hall to hold our meeting.  Luckily it was fairly cut and dried, with applicants received for all positions prior to the AGM.  The annual subs were set, (no change from the current year) and rally venues for the forthcoming year were discussed.  So that’s it all over for another year.

In the afternoon there was a bit of a working bee to find out why the electrical power was not working on one of our member’s vans.  A couple of blokes got busy checking the electrical fittings, plugs and cords to try and find the answer.  Seems that the fittings on the power cord was faulty and needed an adjustment to get it in top working order so it was taken away to be worked on. 

Robin and Selwyn checking out the problem

We had visitors on Sunday afternoon when daughter Nicky and son-in-law called in on their way home after helping a friend celebrate her 50th birthday in Wellington city.

Robert and Nicky – oh no, Mum’s got the camera out again.

Housie was our evening entertainment on Sunday evening, and several families from the camp came to join our caravan club members to try and make their fortunes.  So the evening was spent “eyes down and looking” while Derek called the numbers, and Selwyn took care of the money received and calculated the pay outs.

Selwyn and Derek checking one of the winning cards

The Manawatu Caravan Club is a little different it is a non touring club.  It is a large campsite that is mostly set up for permanent residents, who have a static caravan and attached awning on their site and come and go in the weekends.  There is  row of powered sites for casual vans, and we booked most of these for our weekend rally.  We had the use of the spacious hall, there is a small kitchen and laundry available, and large ablution blocks with lovely hot free showers. 

Permanent vans and awnings at the club grounds

All the footpaths lead to the large ablution blocks on the top of the rise, and tucked away behind the buildings was this rather quirky toilet cassette dump point.  And by the entry gate I spotted a large Christmas Tree constructed from driftwood, and hung with sea shells.  With a star on top and treaded with lights, it looks like the tree has been in use for the last Christmas or so.

Seen around the camp

Several vans, like us, had arrived a day early, which makes for a nice, relaxed weekend.  And two were staying on after most of us left on Monday, a good idea to avoid the traffic build up on a long weekend.    Luckily our trip home was fairy short and uneventful, the van was unpacked and put back in it’s parking area, all ready for next time.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Long Weekend at Manawatu Caravan Club Grounds

It’s Queen’s Birthday Weekend here in New Zealand which means we have a three day weekend  to look forward too.  Why not make it even longer we thought, and leave on Thursday instead of Friday and have four nights away?  Seemed a good plan to us, so we did.

Manawatu Caravan Club grounds, Foxton

There were road works happening right outside the camp, so that made us stop and think.  The workmen advised us against driving over the wet tar as there was no chip laid on top at this stage, and the car and wheels would have been covered in hot tar.  Instead they advised us to drive along the grass verge and then turn into the camp gates.  It was a matter of “follow that car” ahead of us which was doing the same thing as we had been instructed to do. A bright yellow road compactor drove up and down making short work of pressing the shingle into the hot tar.


Road works outside the camp

By mid afternoon four vans had arrived a day early and we gathered for 4zees sitting outside in the late afternoon sunshine.  The temps were dropping so we all experienced a rather chilly night.

Early birds at the rally

We awoke to a frost on Friday morning – no wonder it was so chilly the previous night.  Our club members continued to arrive during the day – all arrived in time for Friday afternoon 4zees except one van who was due the following day.  It is a bit of a tradition when staying at this camp to go to the Bowling Club just through the fence for a meal on Friday night.  Just a two minute walk and we were there.

Warning – what danger lies behind this gate?

This is a very popular venue with the locals and campers alike, and our group of 18 certainly swelled the numbers.  After perusing the menu we went to place our order.  Fish, scallops, roast pork and mixed grill all seemed popular choices at our table.


At the restaurant counter

The meals were certainly very generous portions indeed, and several of us couldn’t quite manage to eat all of what was on our plates.  That didn’t stop one or two from ordering dessert though, I noticed.  On our return to camp some of us gathered in the club hall for our usual Friday night get-together and joke telling.  It was a good start to the holiday weekend.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Day out at Pataka Museum

Yesterday we gathered with our SLG friends, organised by Ashley this month, and met them all at Pataka Museum, Porirua.  As we drove down from Levin, the closer we got to our destination, the worse the weather got. 

Wet weather today

We had a table booked at the very popular Kaizen Café, just as well there was a table waiting for us, as the café was crowded with happy punters.  Our group all arrived promptly, and we sat and perused the menu to see what took our fancy for lunch.  You can’t go past soup on a cold day, I always think, so that was my choice, Robin had beef snitzel and mash, others ordered pancakes and bacon, toasted sandwiches, and an omelet.

Kaizen Café for lunch

Then we went into the museum (in the same building) which had several interesting exhibitions.  Such as a selection of “wake huia”.  Waka huia are carved wooden treasure boxes shaped like a waka. Highly prized by Māori, they were used to store huia feathers and other adornments worn by high-born people. During the late 19th and early 20th Centuries many of these boxes were taken from New Zealand and traded or sold on the European ‘Curios and Collectables’ market. This exhibition showed waka huia purchased and traded in England and tell the story of their eventual return to New Zealand.
Owen Mapp has been carving bone objects for 50 years and had an interesting selection on show.  I particularly loved this taniwha, (legendary water monster).  His work is held in the collections of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Museum, Canterbury Museum, The Dowse, and The Suter, as well as in a number of collections internationally.

Bone carving

The museum is full of little galleries which run into each other, and I was delighted to walk into the gallery featuring colourful Tivaivai (bed covers).  “Taku Mama” exhibits the work of Pacific women in the community, keeping their island culture alive and passing on their skills to younger women.

A selection of tivaivai on display

I left the museum to find some of group resting outside on a seat, waiting for a bus, they said.  I commented that they looked rather like the group from Last of the Summer Wine!

Les, Anne, Calvin, Helen and Robin

We thanked Ashley for organising our day out and all headed for home.  We had one more local stop to make, to Pete’s Emporium.  That’s where Robin buys his flags, and our current New Zealand flag is getting rather tattered and worn and needed replacing – so he purchased two! Pete’s Emporium is a real treasure trove, with plenty of goodies for everyone.


Kapiti Island was clear on our way home, after being shrouded in mist during our morning trip down to Porirua.  So of course I needed to take another photo or two, just because I could.  Don't know why, but I'm always rather drawn to islands.

Kapiti Island