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

Friday, 27 July 2018

Part Two Completed

Part two of our building/drainage work is now complete.  With the gutter and channel in place, Bruce and Robin then laid a small concrete pad for our emergency water supply tank. Mixed the old fashioned way, by hand, in the wheelbarrow.

Mixing concrete the old way

Bruce then took some measurements, and some pieces of timber, then took himself back to his home workshop to construct a stand to place the water tank on.  It needed to be high enough to get a bucket under the tap when we want to get some water out.  The empty tank was placed on top of the stand to see if any adjustments needed to be made.

Trying the stand out for size

Still not finished as far as Bruce was concerned - he took it home again and stained it with some of his left over decking stain.  Doesn’t it look great.  It is really sturdy, full of bolts and recessed joinery.


Then the tank fittings and fixtures had to be put in place.  The rainfall off our Archgola will run down the drainpipe and across into the black pipe to fill the water tank.  And once the tank is full, there is a valve which diverts the rain water back into the drainpipe, which then runs off into our storm-water system - very cleverly designed, isn’t it.  And now after some rain fall, it didn’t take too long at all for our 200 litre emergency water supply tank to fill up to the top.


Saturday, 21 July 2018

There and Back Again

It was a long day – a trip to Taupo and back again in the same day.  At long last, Robin had found a new to us vehicle which ticked all the boxes and we were changing cars.   Our new purchase was being delivered down from Tauranga, and we were driving up to Taupo – to meet at midday at Lake Taupo.  This was to be the final trip in our trusty 1995 Toyota Landcruiser 4WD, and we pulled in to the Truck Stop at Sanson to top up with diesel.

Truck Stop at Sanson

As we drove further north the skies darkened, with the sun trying hard to break through the clouds.  It did seem rather strange, appearing to look like dusk rather than mid morning.


By the time we stopped at the coffee cart at Taihape the clouds had disappeared and the skies were clear and blue again.
Coffee time

There was a young family parked beside us in the car park, and the children were so excited to going on a mystery car trip.  They were in Taihape to have a gumboot throwing competition, they said.  It certainly is the right place to be – Taihape is known as “The Gumboot Capital of the World” and boasts a large corrugated iron gumboot on the edge of town.

The famous gumboot at Taihape

Driving through the Desert Road we had wonderful views of the mountains.  We pulled into some off road parking and joined car loads of tourist snapping  away.  The glistening white snow looked wonderful against the clear blue sky. 

Mt Ruapehu

And a little further along we had a great view of Mt Ngauruhoe’s conical shape.

Mt Ngauruhoe

We were to meet at the Hole in One Golf Challenge on the lakeside.  Anyone who makes the winning shot wins $10,000, so no wonder there was a steady stream of golfers trying for the prize.  We could see a huge number of golf balls in the lake which never made it to the destination, a diver in a wet suit bobbing about under the water as he gathered them up.


And there was our new acquisition, a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee.  We parked beside it and Robin got a run down of all the new features before it was handed over.  With a final check to make sure we had gathered up all our belongings, and remembering to remove the sheepskin covers on the front seats, we were good to go.

The new and the old

While all this was happening I took a walk along the lake edge and was delighted to see a small float plane come buzzing over and land on the lake.

Tiny float plane landing on Lake Taupo

After a quick lunch we had to go and purchase some more road user charges.  Although we had 3,000 on the car we traded in, the replacement  came with only 600 or so, which wouldn’t take us very far at all.  Driving back over the Desert Road Mt Ruapehu looked so nice with the sun on it’s snow covered peaks that we just had to stop for another photo shoot.

Mt Ruapehu again

We like to listen to “Magic” radio station which plays all the songs from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, enjoying every song as we know all the words.  But the dial on  our new car says it is “Oldies Music”, we are not that old, surely?


Driving back home through the town of Bulls, we noticed that there were several more statues of black bulls dotted around.  There was a great big one on wheels by the medical centre, and a realistic one peeping out between two buildings.

Black bulls on the loose in Bulls

The skies were darkening and the rain was setting in on our final part of the journey.  Robin was intrigued with the rain sensing window wipers which come on by themselves – there are a lot of new (to him) features which he will have to familiarize himself with, so there be a lot of reading of the owners handbook.  We were pleased to get back home, a long day driving about 550kms

The new tow car

Monday, 16 July 2018

A New Arrival

After months of waiting it was time to collect our new kitten Gemma yesterday.  She is not too sure what’s happening in her life just now – where are her brothers and sisters and her Mum?  I’m sure she will settle down in a day or so, and stop hiding in corners and under the bed!  We are giving her space to find her feet, after all, it is a big change for her.

We were encouraged to come and visit the kittens over the last month or so.  The litter of five certainly grew between visits.




Yesterday was her first day alone in a strange place.  But she is slowly getting braver, comes out from under the bed when she is called, and has spent some time this morning playing in her tunnel.  Hunger has sent her to polish off her first meal with us, and she has found and used her dirt box. What a clever kitten!  I’m sure that in a few more days she will be much more settled.

Our new seal point Birman kitten, Gemma

Saturday, 14 July 2018

A Little Drainage Work

We have been lucky to have our friendly neighbour Bruce help out on some drainage over the last few weeks. Bruce likes to keep busy, he tells us, and he has been supervising and lending his expertise to do the various stages of this job.  Bags of Ready Mix  concrete were involved, and these had to be kept safely under cover in the shed, until needed.


There were two small jobs which needed doing, one was to lay a concrete pad for the emergency water tank we recently purchased.  The rainfall off our Archgola will run through the drainpipe to fill the water tank.  But first we needed a drainage system to take any excess water away.  A length of gutter and channel was to be inserted along the edge of the concrete patio to do this job.  Out came the spades,and the boys got to work digging the small trench.


Then they had to work out how to join the this into our new existing drain.  First there was some concrete which needed cutting, and luckily Bruce had his very own concrete cutting blade.  With a hiss and a roar, and plenty of concrete dust, it soon made short work of this task.


Work stopped for a few days as Robin had to go and purchase some fittings to take drainage from the new gutter into the drain.  I thought that might be a big problem, but obviously male minds work better than mine, the bit and pieces were soon all joined up and that part of  the job was completed. 


Stage two of the job had to wait for the ground to dry out after some rather heavy rain, which was to lay a small concrete pad under our water tank.    Out came the concrete and it was mixed the old way, by hand.  Bruce commented that it was great to have an apprentice on the job to help with the heavy jobs.



With the concrete pad laid, Bruce then concreted around the drain, working with the tiniest trowel I had seen.  One he made himself, he told us. 


Once the concreting was complete, the barrow and tools washed and clean, they both sat down for a well earned rest.  Thanks so much Bruce, we really appreciate your help.


The next job, Bruce tells us, is to make a wooden frame for the hold the water tank, then plumb it in to the downpipe.  Knowing Bruce, he will be here again soon, whistling merrily as he arrives with all his tools, ready and eager to get on with the job.  He likes to keep busy, he tells us, and we certainly appreciate his help.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

“Close to Home” Caravan Rally

With just a km or so to drive to our rally destination for the weekend, we arrived at the Levin Kiwi Holiday Park in no time at all.  Managers Debbie and Repi warmly welcomed us back, although it had been a while since our previous visit, they certainly remembered us.  The ground was quite wet and slushy and sadly it continued to rain during the weekend, but we certainly didn’t let the precipitation dampen our spirits.

Early arrivals

Things had certainly been happening at the camp with quite a bit of work taking place. The large central grassy area had been dug up, with new cabins and tourist flats being added to increase the accommodation options at the camp.

Work being done at the camp

Friday evenings are usually casual get-togethers at a rally weekend.  We were fortunate to have the use of the small hall, and met to socialise and relate our usual Friday night jokes.  The pretty sunset coloured the sky just long enough for me to take a few snaps, before fading away into darkness.

Sun set at the motor camp

This sight rather took my fancy the following morning, a long row of sparrows lined up on a caravan roof.  Wonder if they were waiting for a hand out for breakfast?

Sparrows on top of the van

On Saturday afternoon our planned drive our for coffee was delayed a little by a minor catastrophe – Rally Family Don and Pamela’s car  had a flattie.  Or as one of our blokes commented, “all the air had gone to the top”.  Luckily several of our club members were only too willing to help Don out and the question was, “how many men does it take to change a tyre?”  Several it seems, with a couple looking on at the sidelines to make sure the job is done correctly, plus another interested party (me) snapping a few photos.

Helping to change Don’s tyre

Once this little job was accomplished we car pooled and drove up to Murrayfield Café.  With orders taken we sat down to enjoy our coffees and cake, with several up our end of the table deciding to indulge in a milkshake instead. 

Afternoon Tea at Murrayfield’s Café

Don and Pamela had organised a couple of brain teasers in the hall on Saturday evening.  Everyone was asked to bring a baby or toddler photo of themselves, and most remembered, although some admitted to not having any early photos.  The photos were numbered and laid out on a table, and then we had to guess who was who, not an easy task at all.

Just who are these youngsters?

Earlier in the day we had been invited to bring in something unusual from our vans, to see if the items could be easily identified.  There was much head scratching going on as these items were closely inspected, picked up and turned over.  Some were relatively easy for us to make an inspired guess, while others kept their secret till the owner disclosed what it was and what it was used for.

Checking out the mystery items.

Our weekend concluded after morning tea on Sunday, and we all packed up and went on our way.  With all the wet weather and mud and puddles underfoot, there was no point in staying over for lunch as we often do on nicer days.  Wet weather or not, it was still a great weekend, it’s always nice to get away and meet up with our caravan club friends.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

A busy week

It’s been a busy old week, and we have to wonder where the days go.  Meetings and appointments for us both, and Menz Shed plus a Health Shuttle drive for the man on the house soon makes the week roll by.   The weather has been lovely and clear mostly this week, warming us nicely during the day, but rather chilly once the sun goes down. 


We are off to a caravan rally tomorrow, not too far to go at all.  But as we caravan club members say, it doesn't matter how close to home the rally is, its all about the company we meet with.  So true.  Being one of the closest to the rally site, I do hope we don’t arrive last!