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

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

Monday, 28 May 2018

Why can’t a Man wear a Tutu?

Why not indeed?  And it was all for a good cause.  Here’s Dave just back from a spot of duck shooting when he slipped on a pretty pink tutu over his camouflage gear to join the ladies for a Pink Ribbon High Tea.  He’s a real man’s man but wasn’t too proud to show his support.


Grand-daughter Megan and her land-lady Jane had worked very hard to produce a stunning feast for the Pink Ribbon High Tea.  Guest brought along contributions too, and the table was groaning with goodies.


We all know friends and family members who have been touched by Breast Cancer – this year is the 10th Anniversary of Pink Ribbon events.  So many thanks to Megan and Jane for gathering friends and family together for a lovely morning tea.

Grand-daughter Megan did a great job

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

It was a Rough Trip Home

Returning home from Carterton last Sunday was certainly a trip to remember.  We were just departing the camp when shouts and people waving their arms stopped us in our tracks.  Seems we had left one of the steadies unsecured – thank goodness our caravan club buddies had noticed before our two hour drive home.

Then, would you believe, we were just heading north from Carterton when a car pulls in front of us, tooting the horn and waving wildly at us.  Something was obviously wrong, so we pulled over to the side of the road to find out what was happening.   One of our outside locker doors had come undone, and the people in the car reported seeing our fold up chairs hurtling out onto the side of the road.  Oh dear – I was to blame, and remembered locking those doors myself.  But it seems that I hadn’t made sure the doors were  firmly closed before turning the key, so they weren’t really locked at all.  So we turned the van around, looking closely on the road side till we found the missing chairs.  They were slightly damaged, but not too bad.  Surely nothing else will go wrong?

The weather started to deteriorate, with showers sweeping down from the hills, and then the rain set in.

Here comes the rain

Nearing Mt Bruce, the rain lashed down, and the wind blew fiercely, fierce enough to rip the cover off the spare wheel on the 4WD.  It is often a bit rough passing through this area, and it was fortunate that Robin spotted it in the rear view mirror as it was happening. Oh dear, now what?  We had to find an area to stop, turn the caravan around, and travel back till we found the cover looking sodden and forlorn in the middle of the road.  I climbed out in the pouring rain to retrieve it, watching carefully for oncoming traffic, while Robin drove on a little, to find an area to turn around once again. 

The rest of the trip home was rather subdued, as we battled wind and rain, but luckily no other disasters happened.  It certainly was a rough trip home!

The spare wheel cover has since been replaced as the old one was damaged beyond repair.

Monday, 21 May 2018

New Caravan and a Wedding

Its always quite an occasion when one of our club members turn up at a rally with a new caravan.  Helen and Owen had been waiting for their new Platinum Leisure line to roll off the production line so they could take delivery.  Just in time for the Carterton rally, and they were more than happy to host “Open Home” viewings over the weekend.  This new design features a flat floor, meaning it is built a little higher so that the wheel arches are now under the floor and do not protrude into the caravan.  It is a lovely van, with lots of exciting new features, and we wish Helen and Owen many happy adventures in it.

New van for Helen and Owen

On Saturday afternoon some members took a trip out to view the Pointon Collection of vintage cars and clothing.  We had done this previously so ventured down to the local café Wild Oats with Dot and Derek for a coffee and a little something to nibble.

Wild Oats Café

Slap bang in the café grounds is a sculpture of Charles Rooking Carter, the founder of Carterton and a  philanthropist  who left may legacies to the benefit of the area.  He was a strong advocate for Wairarapa settlers and was instrumental in developing many public services in Carterton including the library, an astronomical observatory, cemetery, post office, court-house and police station. His most notable gifts to the town were the Carter Home for aged men, now known as Carter Court, and the Carter Reserve, an area of native bush land.

Charles Rooking Carter 1822-1896

We gathered back in hall in the evening and Barry presented us another quiz to test our brains.  This one was pictures of brand marks from earlier years, and wonder of wonders, Robin and I scraped in with the most correct answers.

Saturday night brain teaser

The highlight of the evening was of course, the Royal Wedding.  Eileen was so excited she dressed up in her finery and put the rest of us to shame.  I knew I should have packed my tiara!

All dressed for the royal wedding

Some members weren’t interested and took themselves back to the vans, but most stayed in the hall and watch the momentous occasion unfold.  There were plenty going on before the service as happy royal watchers were interviewed, and the big question, who designed “The Dress” was discussed at length.  With the time difference between UK and New Zealand, it was going to be a very long night for us.  I took myself back to the van at about 10.00pm, settled down in bed with the TV on, and watched and waited as important guests arrived, and the ceremony finally began.  It was a long night, and we finally turned the light out and went to sleep at 1.30am.


Sunday, 20 May 2018

On to Carterton

It was just a short 12 km trip from Solway Park and we arrived for our weekend with the caravan club at Carterton. We were staying at Carterton Holiday Park, one of our favourite motor camps.  It didn’t take too long to find a site and settle down.  The new managers have made a lot of changes in the camp, such as trimming down the tall trees on the boundary, which now makes it easier to get that all important TV signal.  The bathroom blocks are being upgraded too.

Parked up with friends at Carterton Holiday Park

The caravans continued to roll in on Friday afternoon, with most of us there in time for 4zees.  Then we met back in the hall in the evening for one of those tricky brain teasers.  Barry and Dianne were the rally family this weekend, and with Barry’s long interest in music, it was no surprise that the quiz featured songs he had recorded.  But to make it even more interesting, the answer wasn’t the name of each song, but the film or show they featured in.  Sadly, we didn’t do too well at all at this quiz, as we told Barry, most of the shows were well before our time!

After a rainy night, Saturday dawned a little drizzly, but cleared up nicely as the day drew on.

Robin, Glennis, Dennis, and Selwyn

I took a walk around the camp, with my camera in hand, to see what I could see.  And discovered some friendly sheep, down in the area with the stored caravans.  They came up to say hello, but I suspect they were really looking for a handout.

Sheep in the back paddock

This pretty corner by the Manager’s office has been nicely landscaped and decorated.  Happy little birds were chirping in the small aviary as they fluttered around enjoying the morning sun shine. 


Views of the motor camp

Friday, 18 May 2018

Solway Park Showgrounds

With a caravan club rally to look forward to over the weekend, we decided to make the most of it and leave home a day early. The packing was finished on Thursday morning, we hitched up and set off over the Pahiatua Track to the Wairarapa.  The sign of the Kiwi at Eketahuna urged us to drive safely on our journey.  Early pioneers originally named the town Mellemskov, which means “Heart of the Forest”. This name was eventually discarded for ‘Eketahuna’, a Maori word which means to “run aground on a sandbank” (this name originated because Maori canoes could not paddle beyond this part of the Makakahi River).

Kiwi sign at Ekatahuna

It wasn’t too long before we whizzed past Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, where they have rare white kiwis on show.  No time to stop this time, we were travelling down to Masterton.

National Wildlife Centre

Our overnight stop was at the Solway Showgrounds in Masterton, and this site boasts a long history, stretching over 150 years. The Masterton A&P Association was formed in 1885 as a go-it-alone organization. Agricultural and pastoral shows have been held nearly every year in Masterton since that date. It was resolved to purchase the present site in 1908, with the showgrounds completed in 1911.


Late last year the Solway Showgrounds started welcoming motorhomes and campervans after becoming a registered Park Over Property (POP), with power sites available.  The 50 acre site can accommodate self-contained motorhomes and caravans and will help reinforce Masterton’s official status a Motorhome Friendly Town.  Visitors can use the onsite toilet and shower block facility and an upgraded laundry facility is also due to be completed soon.


We arrived to park under the large trees to find Bill and Val already on site, and Geoff and Eileen soon joined us.  That’s six of us enjoying an extra night away.


This is such a lovely place to stay, lots of room to park up, surrounded with beautiful large trees.  The grass was carpeted with golden leaves which rustle and crunch underfoot as you walk by.

Surrounded by autumn leaves

Bill and Val suggested dining out at a local restaurant which they discovered on their last visit.  Needless to say, the rest of us didn’t need to much persuading to join them at for a night out at the Wairarapa Trading Company.

Wairarapa Trading Company

With Pork Belly on the menu, several of us chose that, with fried fish and steak also ordered.  It was an enjoyable night out, and a great finish to the day.

A Bevy of Blokes - Geoff, Bill and Robin

All of us together, Geoff, Bill, Robin, Jenny, Val and Eileen

Then it was back to the vans for a cuppa and even more talking, except for me, I was nursing my cough and sore throat so went to bed early with a good book.  Next stop, Carterton, to meet up with even more of our caravan club  buddies.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Mother’s Day Dinner

It’s Mother’s Day down here in the Antipodes, and we celebrated a day early with a Mothers Day Dinner at Waitarere Beach.  This was  new establishment to us, we had never been to Pipi Point Restaurant before, and a group of about 20 of us pooled cars and drove up for a night out.


Inside, the place was humming, and most of the tables were full.  Just as well we had a booking for us all in the back room.

Welcome, enter inside

We all found a seat and settled down.  It’s not surprising that this restaurant specializes in fish meals.  I enjoyed a Fish Basket which included tasty seafood wontons, very yummy, and Robin had Fish of the Day.

My fish basket

The food was great, and very large portions indeed.  I noticed several taking a doggy bag home as they couldn’t finish the meal.  There was plenty of chatter going on around the large table, and once again, it was amazing to find out from our table partners that we have friends in common.  And Robin discovered that he and another man who looked vaguely familiar worked at Post Office Headquarters together many years ago.  It’s certainly a small world.

Enjoying out meal at Pipi Point

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

New Arrival in our Street

Driving out of our village yesterday we saw a new arrival just around the corner on the street.  An instant pop-up house.


The new house must have arrived some time earlier so we didn’t see all the fun and games as it was maneuvered into position and propped up on jacks. You can see the piles being put into position underneath. It seems to be a kit set model complete with internal fittings, as we could see a kitchen through the windows.   And today it looked this.


The jacks have been lowered leaving the house resting on the piles. We must have missed that bit of excitement.  The new owners were inside opening crates and boxes and putting their possessions away.  But the plumbers, drain layers, electricians and who ever else have to come before the house is habitual.

Our Autumn weather continues to be mild and sunny, so we are making the most of it before Winter comes calling. 

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Another Job Ticked off the List

After talking about it for ages, and agreeing that it would be a good idea, it’s finally done and dusted.  Yesterday we went and purchased a garage door insulation kit for the DIYer.  Everything was included, sheets of insulation, door liners, glue, and the all important instruction sheet.  All Robin had to find was a knife and a steel ruler to cut the sheets to size, and several spare hours plus patience to complete the job.  Just as well we had a free Sunday.


I kept well out of the way as there is nothing worse than someone checking up and asking in a bright voice “how’s it going?”  So I kept myself busy on kitchen duties, cooking up some tasty soup and toast for lunch.  Everything seemed to go well, and after a lunch break he continued with the job.  And then got the vacuum cleaner out at the end to clean up the mess – how’s that for service!


With winter just around the corner, this is sure to make a big difference.  Now, what’s next on my list?