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

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Christmas and Away

Christmas morning got off to a good start with our usual Christmas breakfast fare.  The first cut from our ham went into some croissants, cheese added, and warmed through in the oven.  Nice and tasty, and easy to prepare.


The pork roast was soon sizzling away in the Weber BBQ and was smelling delicious.  The inserted thermometer tells us via the cell phone when the meat is cooked.  I’m not sure how that works, it’s all a bit new fangled to me but Robin seems to understand the technology.


We welcomed our guests in the pouring rain so there was no lounging about outside on the patio.  They brought copious quantities of food, and added with ours, no one was ever going to go hungry.  We toasted each other with bubbly, ate our Christmas Lunch and sat back in the afternoon, replete!  Robin’s brother Gary and his wife Debbie arrived later in the afternoon, and there was so much talking going on that I forgot to take any more photos.

On Boxing Day we loaded up the caravan and headed down to the NZMCA Park at Plimmerton.  It was just as well we were traveling south as the northbound traffic was practically at a standstill for much of the day.

NZMCZ Park at Plimmerton

Plimmerton is a handy place to stay if you want to visit Wellington.  The railway station is just a short walk away from the camp, so we planned a day in the Big Smoke, traveling in style on the trains.  Using our Gold Cards, train travel is free.  But wouldn’t you know it, the trains were off the rails for the next week or so for track maintenance, and the services were replaced by buses.

Bus from Plimmerton

Arriving in Wellington we wandered up the so called Golden Mile, marveling at all the changes which had taken place since our last visit.  Then we decided to get the Flyer Bus to Wellington Airport and have lunch there.  It’s amazing the conversations you hear on public transport.  As we drove past the St George Hotel one old bloke commented that his daughter had been in the crowds outside the hotel in 1964 when the Beatles stayed there.  I always regret that I wasn’t one of the crowd too,  my first and last chance to see the Beatles.    Another lady was loudly critical of the driver when he stopped to help passengers on and off the bus as he was making her late for her flight – how rude was that, I thought.

Airport Flyer Bus

Even the airport had changed since our previous visit.  We were in awe of the giant eagles hanging over the café eating areas.  One of them had Gandolf riding on top.  Made by Weta Workshop, one of them was shaken loose during an earthquake and had to be re-installed using a new hanging structure that is able to handle considerably higher loads.


Giant Eagles at Wellington Airport

We sat in front of the large picture windows, watching the planes arrive and depart.  Perhaps we will have another trip away soon, we hope.  Lunch was Pie and a Pint for him, and Salmon Pasta for her, all very nice and tasty.


Then we retraced our steps, taking buses back to Plimmerton.  It was a great day out exploring.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all our readers who follow our travels and adventures around our beautiful country.  Best wishes to all the other bloggers who keep us entertained with their own adventures – we enjoy reading your daily/weekly tales too. Wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.   Perhaps we will see you on the road one day soon.


Saturday, 22 December 2018

Farewell to Danny

Danny is our very popular village care-taker who was sadly leaving us due to ill health.  We couldn’t let him go without acknowledging his years of helpful service, so the Body Corp Committee  organized a presentation for him.  Donations came flooding in, and we were able to purchase a very generous “Pressie Card” for Danny to spend as he wished.  An extra gift came from Stafford, who made a beautiful Rimu bowl, turned on a wood lathe down at the Menz Shed, for Danny.

Rimu bowl for Danny

Many of the village residents gathered in the Village Green to farewell Danny.  Robin and Derek made the presentation, thanking Danny for his years of work around our village.

Robin, Danny and Derek

Then Bruce, Julie, and Heather sang “So Long, it;s been good to know you”, with everyone joining in the chorus.

Musical interlude by Bruce, Julie and Heather

There were plenty of hugs from all the ladies and hand shakes from the men as they came up to wish Danny all the best for the future.  He will certainly be missed. 

Thursday, 20 December 2018

And the Lights came on

Each year our local community newspaper prints a list of homes decorated for Christmas.  One “not to miss” we were told, was down at the sleepy little village of Waikawa Beach. On arrival, the first thing we saw was this huge “tree” glowing in the dark.


This display was a little different to the norm, and was made up of lots of frames, where the characters appear to busily move about, full of activity.


We watched as the helicopter went on it’s way, Santa climbed a ladder, a skier busy on the slopes, elves loading Santa’s sleigh, and a little alien popped out of a spaceship.  There were things happening everywhere!

Christmas display at Waikawa Beach

Back in town again we checked out another display on our list.  And as it happened, it was the home of fellow Menz Shed member, Phil.  He likes to come and talk to the visitors when they arrive, and told us the sad tale of thieves coming back in the dead of night who made off with some of his display last year.

Lights up at Phil’s home

The home owners who do these displays are to be commended, they bring wonder and joy to visitors over the festive season.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

The Week that Was

There’s no two ways about it, it was one occasion after another this week.  We met up with our Super Leisure Group friends on Tuesday for a Christmas Lunch.  On Wednesday the pair of us had a Christmas break-up at our respective club meetings.  Then it was double trouble on Friday, starting with a BBQ Lunch for the Cancer Society Volunteers.  While the sausages and meat patties were cooking on the BBQ, the volunteers were filling up the table with all sorts of other dishes.


Friday was a “big night out” with the Menz Shed members and spouses, and quite a number met at the local Cobb and Co Restaurant for dinner.  



After the meal it was announced that Stafford had been awarded “Shedder of the Year” by popular vote.  Well done, Stafford.  President Paul presented the plaque.

Stafford and Paul

Getting in the Christmas spirit – Dot and Derek, and us

Saturday was a rest day as far as social activities went, so we took advantage of a free day to join the hoards shopping for Christmas.  Phew – thank goodness that job is done.  Sunday was a rather special day when we caught up with family.  Daughter Nicky had arranged for us to meet up at the Strong Room Restaurant in Feilding for lunch.


The meals were very nice and it was great to catch up with them again.  The waitress kindly took a couple of snaps for me.

G-daughter Megan, Robert, Robin, Nicky and me

Feilding is a lovely little town with a handsome clock tower in the town centre and has been voted  'NZ's Most Beautiful Town' an astonishing 16 times. 


Friendly Feilding

Next week won’t be quite so busy, with only one social outing to contend with.  No doubt there will be last minute shopping to do for perishables, and some preparation and cooking to do for the Christmas menu.  Then we can settle down for a low key Christmas Day here at home before we tootle off in the caravan.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Christmas Outing with SLG Friends

Our last SLG outing for the year was held on Tuesday – where has the year gone to, we wondered?  Calvin arranged our outing, and we met first at his and Helen’s lovely home for a festive morning tea.  And a look around their lovely garden, our hosts are great gardeners and it really shows.


Inside the house Helen had her Christmas decorations on display, lovingly collected over the years.  Plenty of Santa's, of course,  and we were intrigued by the Christmas trains.  With a flick of a switch, the sound effects started, they could even blow smoke from the chimneys, we were told.

Santa’s trains and car

Now in a positively festive mood, we continued on our way to the Upper Hutt Cossie Club for Christmas Lunch, where Calvin had reserved a table for our group.


Not only a very reasonably priced lunch, but we were also entertained while we ate.  All sorts of music, some Christmas songs of course, with others encompassing a good variety of well known tunes from over the years.


Lunchtime entertainment at the Cossie Club

Our meals were hot ham served with plenty of veggies, followed by pavlova and fruit salad, all for the grand sum of $18, with free entertainment.  You certainly can’t beat that price.  Any drinks, of course, were extra.


Our group always has plenty to talk about.  We discussed our respective Christmas plans, reminisced about outings we had been on, members who were no longer with us, wished each other well, and when mid afternoon rolled around, made our way home. 

We have the longest distance of our group to travel home, and there were plenty of road works around.  The massive job of building the road through Transmission Gully is making a good start.   The 27 kilometre four-lane motorway will run from MacKay's Crossing in Paekakariki to Linden, through Transmission Gully. Four interchanges and two new link roads will connect the route to MacKay's, SH58, eastern Porirua and Kenepuru. The Transmission Gully motorway is scheduled to be open for traffic in 2020.

Work on Transmission Gully, Paekakariki end

Work continues on the walkway around the Pauatahanui Inlet, and is being constructed in stages, it appears. 

Working on the Pauatahanui Inlet Walkway

There is another major job under way,  from Peka Peka to Otaki.  There is plenty happening just north of  Otaki, including moving part of the railway line.  We always watch with interest as we pass to and fro to see how things are progressing on this ongoing project.

Work at Otaki

Roadworks not withstanding, we made it safely back home.  What to have for dinner, was the next question?  Just something light,  we decided, we were still full from our pre-Christmas Lunch.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Climbing the Ladder

Putting up the Christmas lights is rather like living life on the edge these days, especially with a pair of sore knees.  But Robin persevered over a few days, and the job is done.  It was so much easier once that nasty wind had dropped, and I was there to steady the ladder for him, and pass up the necessary items.  We don’t go overboard with outside lights, just a few strings here and there. This string of pom pom lights, (actually we call them the toilet brush lights) didn’t fare at all well in the wind, and seemed to have snapped a wire or two, so they had to come down.


This was replaced with a thick string of sparkly red tinsel, entwined with little red lights which come on at night.


It’s not easy to get photos of Christmas lights flicking on and off, but this will give you some idea of what it looks like.  It’s always better in real life, of course.


The spiral rope tree sitting outside by the front door looks all white and insipid during the day, but comes alive once it gets dark and the lights are switched on.  This was quite a good buy on sale some years ago and it collapses for easy storage.

Our spiral rope tree

Some of our near neighbours in the village have lights up outside too, so nice to see others getting into the festive spirit. It doesn’t have to be a lot to make a salute to Christmas.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

It’s the Silly Season

It's that time of the year, the Silly Season and the Christmas break-up get-togethers are coming thick and fast.  We had our last Probus Club meeting earlier in the week, followed by a Christmas Lunch at a local café.  It was a good turnout, with about 70 members attending.  We were presented with a little bag of “Old Age Pills”, they are sure to come in handy for our various ailments.


The tasty meal was buffet style, with hot ham and lamb in gravy served, then we helped ourselves to the veggies and salads.  Followed by Christmas Pudding, custard and cream for dessert, and we heard murmurings around the table that there would be no evening meal served in most households that night.


As usual when in a crowd, the conversation flowed around the tables, covering all sorts of topics, although we noticed that the sound level dropped dramatically once everyone was tucking into their lunches.  We pulled our Christmas crackers, donned the hats, read the jokes, and had a great time.

Lots of happy diners

And as it happens, we will be dining back in this establishment on Friday night, for another Christmas get-together. 


Monday, 3 December 2018

Spit Roast for Dinner

We were parked all over our hosts front lawn for the weekend, caravans and campers tucked in just so, and surrounded with beautiful gardens.  The weather was fine but a little breezy, the birds were singing, and we could hear the stock calling out in the adjacent paddocks.  To remind us we were in rural surroundings  there was a notice up on the driveway explaining country ways to the townies.



It seemed that our Christmas Caravan Club Rally was all about food.  Which seems to be the way at functions, this time of year.  And the “piece de la resistance” was the spit roast hogget dinner on Saturday evening – our host Don is the master of the spit roast, and he was justifiably proud of his effort .  Yes, it tasted as great as it looked, and the smell of the meat slowly cooking was divine. 

Spit roast for dinner

On Saturday evening we had a small competition – the correct way to fold a fitted sheet.  Those darn things are not easy to fold neatly, and I always roll my sheets to put them away, so I was not even in the running for a prize.  At the end Selwyn showed us how it should be done, seems rather long winded but it does make it look nice.

Our hostess Sandra had made a beautiful Christmas Cake which was raffled with the funds going to the club coffers.  We were all quite keen to win, but it didn’t come home with us.  Lorraine was the lucky winner, with Don taking second prize.  Many thanks to Sandra for her generous offer, and well done to the winners.


The raffle winners

There’s something about opening up a bonnet to bring all the blokes over to have a look.  Seems that Robin was showing them the finer points of our new to us Jeep tow car.

What’s under here?

Our weekend concluded with Christmas Mince Pies for Sunday morning tea out in the sunshine, as the temperatures steadily grew higher.  Just as well most of us had sun glasses and shady hats on.

Kath with the morning tea

Most of us stayed on for lunch and sheltered under the caravan awnings.  My goodness, that sun was scorching hot.  Gemma was looking for shade too, here she is tucked under the caravan step, with just her head poking out.

Gemma under the step

It was a lovely weekend rally, our final one for the year - great weather, great company, and great food.  As we departed, we wished each other well for the festive season.  Some of us may well be meeting up again at the “Drop In” rally between Christmas and New Year, a very informal rally, so we will just have to see how the plans go.