Sunday, 25 February 2018

The southern odyssey has begun

We are now in Blenheim at a Top 10 motorcamp, it is pouring with rain, David has had a cooked breakfast delivered to him in bed and is still in bed watching the Netflix documentary series The House of Windsor. I am dressed and sitting at the table, having cooked said breakfast, and I am catching up on blogging. Last night I got caught up on Facebook stuff esp with the group I belong to of mainly US people who strongly object to Trump and his government's perfidy, general untrustworthiness and frankly criminal behaviour.My laptop had got sick about a month ago and was in laptop hospital for a few weeks, so I was back to using my old Macbook Air - a trusty little machine, but David had been reconfiguring it and moving stuff around, as is the wont of an IT manager, and I found it rather too frustrating to use much. And I was taking a break from the unremitting awfulness of Trump (the dumbster, as I call him)

As it is raining, and will be for most of the day, I can relax and be comfortable in our little living space here in the motorhome. (You'll note that I am not calling it The Mote - as I predicted previously, David is talking AGAIN about what it should be called ... AAARRRGGGHHH!!!)

Anyway, we had a lovely sailing down to Picton - calm seas and lots of sunshine. I ensconced myself in a window seat and read my kindle, looked out the window, minded David's bag while he went wandering a couple of times, and I generally relaxed.

I had sought my lovely sister Dee's advice on where to stay in Picton overnight - she and Murray had spent several months down there when Murray was doing the wine run between Blenheim and Napier a while back. So the Picton Top 10 Motorcamp it was. Quite lovely, very friendly, and well served with well serviced facilities. My only criticism is that while the motorhome pitches are an OK size, reversing into them from a one way access road can be a bit of a test! We managed it though with David helping the people across the way to move a wooden picnic table that I could have  avoided, but it was easier without having to navigate that potential obstacle ...

We had arranged with our lovely friend Lynne to meet up at the motorhome for dinner, so once we were parked up, with power on etc, I started on dinner prep. Once the salad was made, the potatoes peeled and the steaks peppered and salted, I just had to stop for a chardonnay - well, we are on holiday and it had been a bit of a stressful day! Read on ...

Getting out of the house by noon was NOT accomplished as David still wasn't ready! I do wonder what can take so long when he only had to pack his clothes and the technology (oops, there's the answer - it's that damn technology that takes the time - you know the stuff that is meant to save time - well, it takes more sorting and packing than the rest of the motorhome contents put together!) I, on the other hand, had disgorged the contents of the fridge, the freezer, the pantry, my bedroom drawers, and stored them in the motorhome preceded by rearranging the cupboards in said vehicle ... David's last job was meant to be unhooking us from the house power, but I was beyond waiting for that to occur, so I did it myself, presumptuous woman that I am. However as a mark of rebellion, I did not wind the power cord on to its new reel, but hurled it willy-nilly into the motorhome's garage and piled the reel on top of it. I then collected the four plastic containers of laptops/phones/camera cables from David's office, hustled him out the front door and into his seat and off we went, only 25 minutes after we'd decided we would leave by ... So not a restful and relaxed start to the holiday!

However once we got to the ferry terminal before final check-in time, all was well.

So back to dinner in Picton: I cooked my first ever steaks on the Weber - they were excellent - I had handed over control of them to Lynne who is an experienced Weber cook. Dessert was rhubarb (from Helen and Alan's garden in Katikati) and custard - such a nostalgia trip for me as we often had that when I was a kid.

Our trauma yesterday morning was trying to make the water heating work. We couldn't get it started after dinner so abandoned it in favour of boiling a kettle of water to wash the dishes. But yesterday we tried to problem solve. The issue was that it didn't work on either electricity or gas and we got an error message that wasn't shown in the Alde manual. I am not sure how we resolved it in the end, but at some point, after switching things off and on, we could get it to work on the gas but still not on electricity. To paraphrase Meatloaf 'one out of two ain't bad'. And at least we have hot water. We will get the leccy option sorted when we get back home unless we see an Alde specialist on our rounds of the South Island.

Sorting that meant we were late leaving the motorcamp, and we had arranged to meet Lynne for lunch at a vineyard. She was picking us up from wherever we found to stay. The water heating problem had meant we couldn't sort it out before we left Picton, so we decided to find a place when we arrived. Lo and behold, the Top 10 motorcamp is just accross the bridge as you enter Blenheim. So as we had joined their loyalty scheme, we decided to stop and have a look. It is much more spacious than its Picton cousin, so here we are, up on the stopbank, close to the river on a large pitch with plenty of space. The facilities are lovely and clean, we can hear the traffic crossing the bridge, but the surrounds are lovely. (Lynne and I took Coco for a walk later in the afternoon - the river and the pukekos and the ducks were a treat.)

We had a very yummy lunch at Allan Scott vineyard - Lynne paid for the food and we paid for the beverages - she said it was to say thank you for letting her use our house while we were away in the UK last year. As she is homeless currently, waiting for her apartment to be built, we expect a few more meals out to recompense us for her staying again this year. I am already scouting out expensive restaurants ...

The view out over the vineyard from Allan Scott.

David thought this was a good photo - at least there are no double chins showing ...

Across the troubled waters in the restaurant.

As Lynne no longer drinks wine, I thought it was safe to get her to give me a trim after lunch - I was feeling little pain after two glasses of lovely chardonnay, and I trust her.
It was sunny yesterday and I was very relaxed being given a haircut. Coco was happily watching what else was going on. Or maybe she was too scared to watch Lynne using clippers on a human for the first time ...

Today I was expecting that we would see Jenny and Robin of Romany Rambler blog fame - they are heading to Blenheim today - or were expecting to do so, but the weather may decide them to stay put instead wherever they are. In the meantime, I think I will occupy myself with trying out cheese scones in the motorhome oven - it is always good to test new equipment with old favourites!

David, still in bed.

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