Saturday 13 July 2024

Various bits and bobs

The social scene

 In the interests of finding a suitable time for David and I, Jim and Judy to go and visit John and Adair, given John is very poorly, I've been identifying days that we need to be at home here in Waikanae. Bloody hell, the social calendar is quite full! What with drinks on Fridays, Quiz night and Bingo each once a month on Fridays (contemporaneous with drinks where I am occasionally on serving food, bar duty or just socialising), Monthly dinners, Sector 10 meetings and monthly Residents' Association committee meetings, plus podiatrist and osteopath appointments, it looks like we have no spare time at all!

That's not true by any stretch, as can be seen by the days of empty spaces in the calendar. So rest easy, because I am! David, on the other hand, continues to be pretty fully occupied with his Weaving Memories work. And he does such a good job on it.

Yesterday morning we had Bruce, Gary, David R, John and Leith here for breakfast. We generally go out for breakfast together but the choice of places has palled on me a bit. So as we finished up last Saturday at a place which was pretty disappointing for us as vegetarians, I resolved to have everyone come here yesterday. David brought in our additional tabletop to increase the size of the table so we could easily fit 7 of us plus multiple serving dishes.

If I do say so myself, the brekkie was very good:

  • scrambled eggs, bacon, chilli beans, potato roasties (not rostis), cooked tomato/capsicum/onion/garlic spicy mix, guacamole, sauces, tortillas and sourdough toast.

The kitchen and dining table did look like a tip after the guys left, but while David ferried stuff from the table to the kitchen, I rinsed dishes and pans and loaded the dishwasher and washed the stuff that wouldn't fit. Didn't take long at all for us to have the place shipshape - complete with the tabletop being taken off and put back in the garage, and the tablecloth and sertviettes being processed through the washing machine. We make a good efficient team!

Dinner tonight

There were some leftovers: chilli beans and roasties, plus a goodly amount of the tomato spicy mixture. David finished the beans and roasties for dinner last night and I have prepared a sort of lasagne (SOL, made with fusilli - no lasagne in the pantry...) for tonight's dinner. I had deliberately cooked extra of the tomato mixture expressly for this  purpose. The other ingredient of the SOL is my mushroom sauce. And David is currently making one of our favourite salads to go with it: beetroot and carrot.

Potential new resident

A friend of ours has been phoned by Parkwood to come and look at villas, so on Friday I joined her on the sightseeing. Two things:

  • I realised just how small our villa is in comparison to others here - and that I wouldn't change to a larger one even if it was offered: we are fabulously sited for sun, privacy and external spaciousness, we have wonderful neighbours, and our place is small but perfectly formed and suits us very well
  • our friend saw a villa that she really liked, and she has an option on it - we looked at 3 that are available but one stood out as being just right for her - a bit like Goldilocks ...

The Great Escapers

 Have you seen the movie The Great Escapers with Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson? If not, find out where you can see it and get on to it. It's wonderful. One day last week, Janet and I saw it at the Shoreline Cinema. Two amazing actors and an excellent supporting cast, and a true story of an 89 year old WWII veteran who travelled alone to France for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings that he had been part of as an Able Seaman on one of the barges back in 1944.

NYT puzzles

Other things that have been occupying my mind, at least for 15 - 30 minutes or so each day are 3 New York Times puzzles: Wordle, Connections and the Mini Crossword; the latter two were recommended to me by Olek, our lovely 19 year old grandson.

Wordle is more or less challenging each day, depending on the results of my starting word, so sometimes I get it in 3 or 4 (most often), occasionally I get it in 2, sometimes 5, less frequently 6 and even less frequently I get an x/6. I console myself with the thought that it really is just a guessing game and chance plays a big part. Well, that's what I tell myself and others...

Connections can be simple/obvious, but other times and more often than not, it can be diabolical in its fatuous, obscure, tenuous, and/or American links among the sets of four words. I often give up, just choose random sets of 4 words so that it tells me I have run out of allowable mistakes and tells me the answers which gobsmack me with their idiocy.

A fail - I only got two sets of four connected words...
Success!! All four with no mistakes - this doesn't happen for me very often. But yay when it does!!

The Mini Crossword is achievable although sometimes I have to google stuff to find answers that are USA specific. I don't consider it cheating - I consider it adding to my body of knowledge.

New words...

For instance, this morning while reading a JD Kirk Scottish detective novel (no, not highbrow at all) I came across the word philtrum - go ahead, look it up. 

The beauty of reading on a Kindle is that you can press on the word and the dictionary function comes in to play and tells you the meaning. I found this particularly useful when reading Christopher Hitchens! 

The other fab thing is that the Vocabulary Builder function records all the words you've looked up and you can got back and check them out - and see the flashcard behind each word. How bloody cool is that?

Kiwi Drip Stand

Adair has constructed this for the distilled water required for John's AirVo machine - to keep moisture mixed in with the oxygen. Ingenious, eh? I'm surprised that the hospital didn't discharge him with this piece of equipment, but Adair found a solution!

Important information


My lovely nephew (son of my little big sister Dee) yellow carded me for that fb post. But read on ... His wife is a gem!

This is not something I want coming towards me at speed. You?

I have grown this abutalon from a cutting that was nurtured by Denny Meyer, from a tree now removed from the section beside theirs in Whanganui. It makes me happy!

Thursday 4 July 2024

The husband, aka ACP and TB, is in the clear

 Readers of the previous post, in the spirit of being adherents to the misinformed view that David has a hard life and should be known as Poor David, will be pleased to know that punitive measures have ceased. The howls have died down.

This morning at about 2.51 (approximately or thereabouts...) an email from IRD came in. When I saw it at 5am I forwarded it to the TB (I'm not ignoring those emails again!), and thoughtfully waited until 6.30am before informing said TB. He immediately got up and logged in, as the email required. 

And yay, he is so very lucky: the GST balance is $0.00, including penalties.

And why is he lucky, you ask? Well, punitive measures have ceased and, as he is now the only income earner, he would have had to pay the penalty if it hadn't been wiped. So yes, he is lucky.

In other news: 

Yesterday morning before I was properly awake, David yelped that he had cramp in his foot. Off he hobbled to the bathroom to get his foot on the cold floor, which apart from my wrenching his foot back to break the cramp's hold, is the only way we know how to fix it. And then later, before we got up and while I was typing something in my phone, he yelped even more loudly and said it was back. He got out of bed and said he couldn't walk. Well, I was busy composing, so clearly I wasn't available to help. So I suggested he crawl. And then I couldn't help, because I was laughing so much.

Because I already had my phone out, I was able to take a photo:

I sent this to Olek, as any good grandmother would...

Tamarillos are back in season! Pond accoutrements and my GST bill...


If you aren't an NZer you may not understand my excitement or even what I am excited about.

Tamarillos are one of my two favourite fruits and they are strictly seasonal. And fortunately each one is available at a slightly different time of year.

Feijoas are Favourite A and Tamarillos are Favourite 1, and they are both wonderful. I don't think I could grow tamarillos here in Parkwood, but I'm happy to give it a go. And we now have 3 small feijoa trees planted along the west wall of the house. All we have to do is keep the damn pukekos away.

But I digress, as usual.

Earlier this week I was in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket and saw tamarillos, looking luscious and delicious and a beautiful deep ruby/crimson colour. The price was $24.99 a kilo, so I bought 10 of them and to hell with the expense... which I didn't look at, by the way. That is a strategy I adopted a long time ago, and I know it's a strategy of privilege and good income. I first took it up when we were having a bathroom fitted in the moonporch (sunporch that got no sun) of Cherswud, our Johnsonville home. It had windows on the two outside walls and needed an imposing windowsill to cover the 10" deep stone walls. I had the choice between a piece of 1" dressed rimu or 2" dressed rimu. I chose the 2" and said to the builder not to tell me how much it cost.

So for the last two days I have had tamarillos, yoghurt and muesli for brekkie - delicious! And today I bought online two boxes of tamarillos at slightly less than I paid per kg in the supermarket. Yay!!!

Accoutrements for the ponds:

And we are getting a pump and fountain in the ponds outside our place and Janet's. The two ponds are a lovely feature however ours has always had clear water that is full of algae and Janet's water is cloudy but the algae, if present, doesn't clump. A pump and fountain will keep the water circulating and clear and limit algae growth. So we can get fish in our pond, just as Janet has in hers. We do have really lovely waterlilies in their season and we had a frog earlier this year. Maybe with clearer water we will have more frogs - that will be cool.

My GST bill:

Almost since I started contracting way way back in the 90s, ACP has completed my tax returns, both withholding payments and GST (VAT to you UK people). He took it on when I had a grief-stricken tantrum over my GST return and stabbed the paper form with the pen, having made a couple of rookie mistakes. The problem was that the form was on the Winnie-ther-Pooh mousemat, and I stabbed Piglet...multiple times, as I have just been reminded. πŸ‘ΏπŸ‘ΏπŸ‘ΏπŸ˜“πŸ˜“πŸ˜“

And he has always done a sterling job, apart from once when he was late filing his own return and used my tax return to pay his overdue fee!

But he has now badly blotted his copybook and I may have to punish him severely. When I get emails from IRD I confidently ignore them because my TB (Tax B*tch - his name for himself, not mine!) has it all in hand. In fact it's something he is religious about, nay - almost obsessive about - akin to his obsession with USA politics and podcasts on that subject, but that's another story.

I have recently had a couple of emails from IRD which, as I said, I confidently ignored. But yesterday the TB informed me that I owed IRD $2000 in late fees and interest because I hadn't filed a GST return for the six months ending March 31 this year. Considering I haven't earned anything since December 22 and my last payment came through in January 23, the GST return for Oct 23 - Mar24 would have been a NIL return.

But had my TB filed it? Had he heck. And of course, it's no longer possible to phone IRD up, speak to a person and explain. So after much gnashing of teeth and no success at getting through the phone system using voice recognition, we sent IRD an email on their contact form. I had to apologise for overlooking the return. And it somehow didn't seem appropriate to say in the email that my TB was undergoing punitive measures for his oversight.

Naturally the NIL return was filed last night, so now we await a decision on clemency or no clemency. Punitive measures could be increased if clemency is not forthcoming. Listen for the howls...

Friday 28 June 2024

A cold, Brisbane, Association, a weekend away and Covid

 A man cold:

When we got back from our South Island trip it was only a few weeks before David was heading to Brisbane to stay with his sister Ginny and her husband Graham. However in the meantime, he came down with a really bad cold. I knew it was really bad because it was a man cold, and they are known to be the very worst. We had some Day and Night Nurse medication that we had brought back from the UK, however Mr I-can't-see-very-well-but-I-am-rigorous-about-checking-almost invisible-expiry-dates told me they were past their use by date. As the only other choice was panadol, I offered him that and said he could make his own decision. Sensibly, in my view, he opted for the Day and Night Nurse...

But of course, he needed to be clear of the cold and congested sinuses before flying - being 25,000 feet in the air with blocked sinuses is very painful, as I can attest from personal experience; therefore we had to get him healthy. So he avoided Friday drinks and the quiz, Saturday breakfast with the guys, and our sector meeting.

And because he was coughing a lot he slept in the spare bedroom/office on one of our newly purchased and very lovely sofa-bed chairs. I could still hear him coughing but it wasn't right in my ear or such a sharp noise that lifted my head off.


David had 5 nights away with Ginny and Graham and had a lovely time - the weather was much warmer in Brisbane than here, and it was great for them to catch up.

Ginny and David at lunch - Graham took on the role of paparazzi.

He also spent an afternoon with our friend Viv who only lives a short distance from G&G. Viv is a friend we met when we were first together, way back nearly 51 years ago, in Okoia, a little village outside Whanganui. She and John come and spend a great deal of the summer over here in Foxton at their static caravan - too hot in Brisbane in the summer, I think.

While David was away, I had my first taste of being on my own in this house. And for the first time when I've been on my own, I actually cooked for myself. In all the other times David has been away over the years since the kids left home, I have just had a sandwich or a boiled egg or something that I wouldn't consider to be a proper meal. Not sure what was different this time. It may be that we are surrounded by people living on their own who cook proper meals all the time...


While we were away in the South Island, our neighbour Janet rang me to say she and Wendy wanted to nominate me for the Parkwood Residents' Association. And because there was one fewer nominees than positions, there didn't have to be an election. So I didn't have the stress of the possibility of not being chosen. All those memories of being the last one chosen for a team...😒 I am now on the committee and looking forward to seeing what it entails.

A weekend away:

Back in early May, Judy had suggested a Zero Degrees Club weekend, so we made it happen. And because it was mid-winter, we had a mid winter Xmas dinner contributed to by us all. (On the narrowboat, we instituted having a mid-summer kiwi Xmas party, so it seemed sensible to do the mid-winter thing now we are no longer having endless summers. Thank heavens for that, I say!) We also had Secret Santa: maximum spend $8.

Jim with his rainbow bow tie
Pauline received a lovely pottery jug. That's Barry and his walker at the far end of the sofa.

Sparkly butterfly hairclips for Judy

A lovely necklace for Jenny and Judy's hairclips looking cool.

A tie for Chris. Quite stylish. Barry is out of shot, but the bell he got is down beside him - Pauline, as a 24/7 carer,  did not look thrilled at that present.πŸ˜”πŸ˜Ÿ

David got a banana slicer - apt as he has a banana with his breakfast each day. However his demonstration took far longer than using a knife. But the novelty value was worth it. πŸ˜˜πŸ˜πŸ˜›

I was given an elf hat - apparently because I had been an ideal Elf for Santa by doing lots of organising and cooking and making sure everyone knew what they needed to bring/do for the weekend... Such a stretch for me to be doing that kind of stuff, don't you think? I will wear the elf hat a lot, I think. Suits my shy personality, eh?

Somehow, I didn't get photos of John and Adair's presents. I know Adair got a cookbook that she used that night - some spicy shrimp recipe that she said was yummy. And I cannot remember what John got.

 Mid-winter Xmas lunch:

The stove at the place we were staying was a bit dodgy - its thermostat is probably faulty, because even on 140 deg it burnt stuff ... However, well-cooked (at 170 deg!!) lamb is fine for those who eat meat - I bought it but asked that someone else cook it as the smell of cooking blood turns my stomach. Jenny did the honours.

Main Menu:

  • roast pumpkin and parsnips
  • boiled potatoes
  • carrots and peas
  • nut roast
  • roast lamb
  • mushroom sauce

Followed by:

  • pavlova with cream and strawberries
  • sticky toffee pudding with dark caramel sauce
  • custard

At our Zero Degrees weekends, we usually have a meeting the first agenda item of which has often been a health report. However as we are ageing and our health is getting poorer, I thought it would be better to make the health report more of a fun activity than a sure fire way of bringing the mood down. So I had printed out for everyone an outline of a person. The instructions given were to draw/colour in/write where it hurt and why.

There was quite a lot of hilarity. One thing I didn't ask for was a list of medications - I'm not sure there would have been enough room on some people's pages. πŸ˜… But don't get me wrong - I am a sensitive soul really ...πŸ˜‡

We agreed we need to have another get together in November - if we leave it much later, it's likely that those currently circling the drain will have disappeared down it. Harsh 😈😈 but (possibly and sadly) true!

Barry and Pauline, Jenny and Chris left on Sunday after lunch. Chris was not happy that the lovely bacon and egg pie that Jenny had made got its top burnt when being reheated at 140 deg C for lunch - wtaf?? While the rest of us had soup first, Chris eschewed soup, so his heart was set on B&E pie. Judy shaved the dark brown top layer off the puff pastry so while the pie didn't look as fab as it had prior to its accidental incineration, it still tasted great.

The last ones left were Jim and Judy, David and me - we were staying an extra night. And because the ground had got rather wet with overnight rain on Saturday and the driveway was a bit muddy and slippery with a couple of quite deep dips** in it, I decided to move the motorhome out on to the street for the last night. David found some things to fill/obviate the dips, and once J&C, P&B had departed, Jim and David guided me (Jim in front of me keeping an eye on my proximity to the fenc, David behind keeping an eye on the other side and the powerpole - important to avoid that...) as I reversed up the sloping, slippery and rather narrow driveway out on to the road. Success and relief! (** deep dips are not good for motorhomes with quite long overhangs behind the rear wheels)

In the morning, the four of us did a clean up of the house and headed away about 10.30ish. We all called in on John and Adair for a cup of tea, shortbread (mine) and cake (Adair's) at Pukawa before heading home.

On the way I wasn't feeling too flash and took some neurofen. When that didn't shift my headache I got suspicious...

Covid, dammit:

Once we arrived home, I left David to the unpacking and while he changed the sheets on our bed, I did a covid test and had a shower. Bugger - the test showed two red lines quite quickly, well before the 15 minutes. So it was into bed for me, masks on for both of us, and David once more set up to sleep in the office. 

I got the antivirals delivered by the local pharmacy that evening and let the care team here at Parkwood know. I also let the Zero Degrees team know, and the next morning both Adair and Pauline had also tested positive. None of us can work out where we picked it up from, but I guess it's not surprising given we are in the midst of the 6th wave here in NZ and it's winter.

I've been in bed pretty much ever since. I tested negative yesterday morning but am still taking it easy. Adair has tested negative too, but Pauline is still a bit under the weather. I just spoke to her on the phone - she is sitting out at the beach with Barry and they are having lunch in the fresh air. In the interests of fresh air, I have had one window in the bedroom wide open since I got into bed on Monday - the bedroom is cold but I love that! and the air is not turgid and germ-filled!

David has returned two negative tests and has been looking after me really well which has been great and very much appreciated. Pauline and Adair have not been so lucky - they are both full-time carers for their husbands.

A beautifully arranged fruit lunch with a couple of crackers and cheese for protein. Thank you, darling David.

News from the UK:

Olek and I were in a WhatsApp conversation about Wordle, Connections,  and my having covid. He sent me this photo just to remind me how short I am... As the tall grandson he's showing me how he sees me. He apparently is looking at me from the perspective of the camera and I am him as he sees me from a great height. He's not far off given he is at least 30cm taller than me...

Waka Huia is in London - David and I never took the boat into the city. Charlie and Lucy booked a mooring near St Pancras. Such a cool thing to be able to do.

Doesn't that look idyllic? I wonder if our friend David Robinson saw Waka Huia when he did a walk along the canal towpath in London before he left?

And some funny stuff:


I sent this one to Jim and Judy who have Tom, a lovely big black labrador. They reckon he would concur.

Wednesday 5 June 2024

To Kaikoura and Waikanae - the last 310 kms

 First things first, the unremembered dog's name from the last post is Archie - sorry, Archie. We should have remembered that, as our lovely friends Robert and Glenn have a very lovely Archie too.

We were both interested to note that as we approached the end of the trip, we started to wish it was going to be longer, while also being happy to head for home. I guess what it signals is that we are definitely not ready to let the mh go just yet. In contrast to when we decided to sell nb Waka Huia where we were definitely ready to let it go, while still holding intact the lovely memories of our travels and the friends we made and the places we saw and explored and enjoyed.

I think the key factor for us both is that we didn't stay every night in the mh this time - we had a night in a motel in Alexandra and 2 nights in the Fiordland Lodge and 2 nights on the Fiordland Navigator. It's a learning we will put into place on our future longer trips - not such fancy and expensive accommodation as the Fiordland Lodge, mind you! But staying the occasional night in a motel allows us space to spread out, and to move around a living area without having to do the kitchen ballet, as I call it. And motel bathrooms are decidedly bigger...

We had loved staying parked up on the driveway at Megan and Forbes' place, in spite of D&F's bad and unsporting behaviour at 5 Crowns.

  • We headed for Kaikoura and it was on the way there that we had a phone call from our friend Robin to say that her partner Brian had died the previous day. Brian was a lovely friend, and he was the man whose villa we moved into temporarily here at Parkwood before our villa was ready. For the rest of that journey, we spoke about Brian and remembered him, his wry sense of humour, his kindness and his amazingly agile mind.
  • Hearing about Brian was a bit unsettling and we decided that we would stay one night at the lovely Top10 camp rather than the two we originally planned. I think we wanted to get closer to home as soon as we could. Weird, as we weren't changing our ferry booking.
Now, can you fault that as a view from a camp site? The Seaward Kaikouras.

It is just magnificent.
The view from our habitation door at breakfast.


  •  Shopping at the New World Kaikoura is definitely enhanced by the fabulous views of the mountains!
  • We added an extra night to our last stay of the trip at Marine Holiday Park in Waikawa Bay.
    • We arrived the night before Ann and Salvi did
    • In the morning, I made cheese scones in the holiday park kitchen
    • I used a large pot borrowed from the holiday park owners and made a veg and lentil curry that I cooked in the camp kitchen on a full sized stovetop - sensible, as I could have done it in the mh, but there wouldn't have been room for anything else!
    • I wanted everything to be cooked before A&S arrived so we could just socialise
    • And, as always, it was wonderful to see them
  • Salvi had made us a beautiful lazy susan, so it was imperative that we had naan breads, poppadoms and a number of chutneys and sauces to go with the curry- a replication of the feast we had (and that Gavin and Deb missed out on) at Dean and Phaedra's - but this time with a lazy susan to hold the sharing staff.

The lazy susan in action. A very successful and beautiful piece of construction, thank you, Salvi darling.
  • We played Crosshand Poker - the first time was a learning game for A&S and the second was serious stuff... I'm not sure why we haven't played this with Ann and Salvi before. (It's a game my mum loved and was immensely skilled at, and my sister Dee is skilled at it too, dammit. We played it a lot with Kirsty and Olek on our holiday with them last year having borrowed Dee's - formerly Mum's - set. When we got home I bought a set online - secondhand, as for some inexplicable reason, it's not longer in production!)
    • We used the lazy susan for the x-hand poker board so we could rotate it - it sort of helped, but if we weren't watching carefully, the place we had selected for our next killer move was lost in the shifting!
  • And we played 5 Crowns, and none of the losing on purpose stuff either!
    • and the guys wanted to use the lazy susan again for card games - it's a bit confusing, and it opens up the possibility of rotating it very hard so the deck scatters ... We know, cos we tried!
      The view from the verandah of Ann and Salvi's cabin with our motorhome just across the way and the hills beyond. Nowhere near as spectacular as Kaikoura, but those are only hills in the background.
      The afternoon was lovely, so we sat outside. ACP had a noisy sleep.
  • Day two we walked down to The Jolly Roger pub, David and I had a (non-alcoholic) drink, A&S didn't. Clearly we didn't walk for the alcohol, just for the exercise. Salvi went down into the marina area and checked out the yachts and boats - he is a sailor from a way back, and he took to steering the narrowboat with consummate ease when they came to stay with us in 2019. Although, while perched on the stern and leaning out, he did lose his phone from his back pocket into one of the Knowle flight of locks... Naturally, we never fail to remind him.
    • then we walked home along the bush path which was much nicer than coming down the road - which is also actually quite pleasant. But the bush walk was really lovely.
  • We had planned to have breakfast in a cafe on the day we were all leaving, but when I thought about finding parking for the motorhome in Picton town centre with roads closed and roadworks happening and rain falling, I suggested we have breakfast in A&S's cabin
    • scrambled eggs, hash browns, falafels, sourdough toast.
    • and I made a tomato mixture with red pepper and onion
    •  altogether, very nice and much cheaper, and it helped towards emptying our fridge and freezer - not much, but it was a start...
    David was just being silly by standing on the step...
      Our lovely friend, Ann, who is clearly so tall I need to stand on our step for a photo together!
It was sad to see them go, but it had been great fun, as always!
  • When A&S had gone, we drove down to Burnsco and bought some new ramps - ours are as old as the motorhome and well used. So we thought it wise to have a new set in reserve in case the old ones collapsed under load when we really needed them.
  • Once we had navigated around the roadworks on the way to the terminal and interpreted the signs, we happily lined up early-ish to get on the 1.30 ferry, and once loading started, it was funny to watch people who had clearly got into their caravans or the habitation part of their motorhomes for lunch or a cuppa, having to scurry when the vehicles in front of them had already moved off to be loaded.
  • As we had upgraded to the Premium Lounge, we knew we would be fed and watered and sitting peacefully once onboard, and after our substantial breakfast, we didn't need to eat prior to boarding - or even onboard, to be fair...
    • we had not booked the Premium Lounge on the way down; instead we booked the Queen Charlotte Lounge. Its only benefit is that it has no through traffic, but it's nothing to write home about.
    • we decided that we could upgrade to the Premium Lounge for the trip home and not notice the additional cost because it was so long since we'd paid the original fare that the extra wouldn't seem too much... Well, that's what we told ourselves - and it worked.
      • Excellent food: lunch, then afternoon tea, then fresh scones, then cheese and crackers - it just kept on coming!
      • Biscuits in the jars, lunch items in the bain maries. Very easy to overeat...
      • If we were into alcohol, we could have had as much of anything we chose.
    • The ferry left early because there wasn't a full passenger load, and we arrived in Wellington early too - yay!!
  • We drove home with the rush hour traffic, in the rain and the dark, and we went along the old coast road rather than Transmission Gully - given the dark and the rain, I wanted to be travelling at a sedate pace - I am clearly getting old!
  • It was great to get home - I parked frontwards on the lawn beside our place and inside we went - David did only the bare minimum of unpacking, i.e. the stuff we needed for the night and first thing in the morning: food for dinner and breakfast, pillows, kindle, earplugs, milk.
  • Our friend Kat was there - she had arrived earlier in the afternoon from one of her house/pet sitting jobs in Whanganui and after a couple of hours chatting with Janet, Janet had let her in to our place - the maintenance team had made sure to turn on the water at the outside toby, Janet had turned on the heating. Such kind people here.
    • I made toast and heated some of the leftover tomato mixture from breakfast for Kat and David - nothing for me as I had eaten plenty (i.e. much more than enough) on the ferry.
    • then I was off to bed - good heavens, being in our own bed was blissful!
Kat with 2 short old people.

David channelling Olek who likes to pull faces. Kat and I, sensible as ever!

Over six weeks away and over 2000 kms driven. The next trip is to Turangi in June for a Zero Degrees weekend and mid-winter xmas together. A tiddler of a trip - only 530kms return.


Tuesday 28 May 2024

And then we started heading home

There were approximately another 1000 kms to drive to get back to the Picton Ferry and it took us 10 days. The first half of the journey was us retracing our steps back up to Oxford. There was:

  • one night at the NZMCA camp at Lowburn where I managed to rip the drain pipe off the watertank - I went over a bump that was a tad too high. I had missed the turn off (the sign is very small and set well back off the road - I'm not saying it's NZMCA's fault, but I am blaming them, okay?) so I pulled off to the side of the road and then, instead of turning around, I went over the ridge on the road side. Didn't notice the dangling pipe at that point though.
In the evening we went for a short walk along beside the Clutha River/Lake Dunstan - such beautiful clear calm water.
The evening view across to SH 8 to Tarras, Lindis Pass and Omarama. Beautiful reflections and light on the hills to the east.
Such beautiful clear water down here.

  • a visit to Mt Pisa Landings to see Luke Win of PeakRV who sorted the leak from the awning brackets.
The first view of the Southern Alps on our way to Mt Pisa
Luke said he couldn't scrape out the debri between the awning and the motorhome body. My suggestion of a leaf blower prompted him to use his leaf vacuum. I want one, by the way... Pukekos are buggers for strewing bark chips and mulch and dirt across the concrete. Bastards!
This battery powered applicator for flashing in a tube is amazing - but very expensive, so I don't want one of them. But I reckon Luke Nattrass would have coveted one if he was still on the tools...
I could have flipped the photo over 180 deg but it would have looked like Luke Win was upside down. Sabre Bond Right Grabby Adhesive is the go!


  • the drive to Omarama Top 10 for 2 nights, for the first of which the motorhome was waterless. When we stopped on the way there at Tarras to get lunch, I noticed the bracket for the water tank emptying pipe was bent and the pipe was dangling. I moved off the road, and David's job was to secure the two things together. But unfortunately, the pipe from the tank is a push-in one rather than a screw in. So when he put some tension on the tape the pipe just pulled out. Dammit! And the tank drained immediately.
    • Do you know just how often you turn on the tap when you are prepping veg and cooking? Not a happy evening. One of my more spectacular and sustained tantrums... David wisely stayed away, clever man!
    • However, in spite of and simultaneously with the tantrum, I made a fabulous vegetable cottage pie. Just yummy! I think I can remember the recipe I made up as I cooked and created through my red haze. 
      • I know it had red lentils because, in an effort to calm my mind, I had walked over to the 4 Square shop looking for a can of lentils and found they only had the dried variety. A much better option - cheaper and more of them!
      • it occurs to me I may have been channelling Gordon Ramsay during the tantrum phase! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‡πŸ˜ˆ
  • Once the temperature outside rose above 2 deg the following morning, I drove back to Cromwell (slowly in case there was ice on the roads) to get Luke from PeakRV to sort that 'no possibility of water' problem out. Took him 15 minutes and most of that was going to the hardware shop to get a threaded fitting and a cap. Champion chap!
    • While I was doing that trip on my own (plus doing supermarketing), David did the laundry - Omarama Top10 has excellent laundry facilities. Honestly, he did not want to come back to Cromwell, so getting the laundry done and sitting in the guest lounge watching a downloaded programme on Netflix was a much better option for us both. Of course, he would happily have sat in the guest lounge the whole time, but there was no way I could simultaneously do the laundry and drive to Cromwell and back, even though I can multitask. Remote transfer of wet laundry into the dryer is such a chore ...
  • The second night at Omarama was much more peaceful and we had leftover cottage pie which was still yummy.
  • Then it was back to Ashburton, but that trip was not without incident. We stopped at the Fairlie Bakehouse to buy pies for our dinner with Greg and Alan. And so that I had a break from driving, we stopped at a little layby around the corner, David got the chairs out and we ate the most delicious apple shortcake tart from the Bakehouse and drank tea in the sunshine. We were just about to leave (I had started the engine) when a young woman knocked on my window and asked if we could help them as they'd had an accident. Long story short is that I went into problem solving mode - I think it's my default setting actually after more than 3 decades of doing it for a living:
    • I phoned the local panelbeater and got him to come and assess the damage (verdict: car was not driveable more than 500 metres to his yard)
    • I rang their Christchurch motel and said they wouldn't be there till the next day, and then rang and checked that the motel attached to the campsite we were staying at in Ashburton had space for them
    • The rental car company 
      • wanted them to drive back to CHC in the damaged car, then
      • decided they should wait in Fairlie while the company delivered another car to them
    • I told the rental car company that neither of those were viable options and that we would take them to Ashburton that evening and then drop them in CHC the next day (David's excellent suggestions, by the way πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ˜), and that the company could collect the car from the Fairlie panelbeater's place.
    • We drove Iris and Jerry to Ashburton - it was a lovely trip until Geraldine when the gale force wind arose - the strongest I've ever experienced in the motorhome. Very scary!
  • Once we were all checked in, David and I were picked up by Greg along with pies and salad ingredients. Much chatting while we waited for Alan to get home from work - well, someone has to be an income earner!
  • In the morning, we took Iris and Jerry to breakfast at the Somerset Grocer in Ashburton and then drove on the Christchurch and dropped them at their motel - a very lovely place: Golden Star Motel. If we happen to be in CHC and need a motel, that will be the place to stay.
Jerry and Iris were on their honeymoon and two days from returning home to Taipei when they had the accident. But breakfast at the Somerset Grocer was a good antidote. Such lovely young people.
There are some nice photos of us on this holiday. πŸ’–πŸ’ž
Lovely young people


  • We wanted to do a supermarket shop before leaving CHC and seemed to drive in circles along very narrow streets with a wide vehicle - until I remembered that there had been a New World on Fendalton Road that we were near.
    • Did you know there is a dress code at that New World? Did you guess that I didn't meet it, even though I was wearing a beautiful $300 possum and merino jersey? Not tailored enough - and insult to injury, my hair was too spiky. Definitely not suitably coiffed ...
  • We were due at Oxford to stay overnight with Dean and Phaedra again. The plan was that Gavin and Deb would come for dinner, but Gav wasn't feeling too good, so it was just the four of us, and a very good thing too!
You wouldn't think that 4 people (Dean, Phaedra, David and me) could polish off this lot, would you? But yes we did! There was some curry and rice left, but not much. The poppadoms and naan bread and dips and chutneys were demolished. AND we had apple and feijoa crumble with icecream for dessert. Talk about piglets!
There was a significant frost overnight with a temperature of about -4 deg C, I think. We were warm and snuggly in the motorhome, but Dean had put a mat across the end of their wooden pathway to the house as it gets slippery in this kind of weather. The deck and the table took a while to become frost-free!
The view across Dean and Phaedra's place over to the hills beyond but not far from Oxford
Before we left Oxford we went to the dump station. I was on photography while David was doing the cassette (euphemism for emptying the last few days' shopping ...) Probably one of best views from a dump station that I remember seeing. Although the one outside Hokitika takes some beating, to be fair.


  • Next day we thought we'd meet Gav and Deb for lunch, but Deb's son Louis had just tested positive for Covid. So no lunch with them. By the time I'd found that out, I had already purchased sushi - with chicken in it for them. So we left it in their letterbox as a treat. 
  • We had our lunch at Northcote Park in Rangiora, about 700metres down the road from Gav and Deb's place - well away from Louis' covid bugs ...
  • Our next stop was at Woodend, where we parked overnight on Megan and Forbes' driveway. You'll remember that Megan and Forbes are our new friends who we met at Fiordland Lodge and spent a lot of time with on the Doubtful Sound cruise.
    • Indian takeaways for dinner, and lots of games of 5 Crowns. Megan and I won...
    • lots of cuddles for David with Megan and Forbes' 3 dogs, Molly, Jock and the dog with the unremembered name - I have texted Megan to ask but so far she hasn't responded. She's probably at work...
Molly is on the right hand arm of the chair, Jock is down beside her, and the other little one wants to be in on the cuddling action too.
This qualifies as heaven for David

And while I don't like being licked by a dog, David has no such scruples...
There are two dogs in there ...


    • because Megan and I were winning 5 Crowns convincingly, David and Forbes decided to take on the card game 500 technique of Misere - aiming to 'go out the back door'. In 500 you do it by scoring no points, i.e. winning no tricks. In 5 Crowns you do it by losing each hand and doing so by ditching wildcards and jokers for your opponents and picking up every high scoring card. Those moves pretty much guaranteed they picked up a huge number of points and lost by about 795 to 200ish. Bastards...  But Megan and I will get them back the next time we are all together - that has yet to be arranged!
M&M won the first game, and by the 3rd hand of the second game we were winning by 63 points. That is when D&F changed strategy...
Given their strategy of cheating, I wouldn't be surprised if they both turned out to be ACT supporters! 😑




And, on that note, here is my strategy and my values.