Wednesday 28 December 2022

A brief Taranaki sojourn, a peaceful Xmas, holding David back, and shopping

Taranaki Sojourn

On the Sunday before Xmas, after a fun dinner here the previous night at Cafe Rata with Rob, Glenn, Jane and Simon (caramelised onion, brie and mushroom pies; asparagus; plus corn, avocado and tomato salad followed by roasted stone fruit) we headed off to Taranaki. We had a snooze stop at Whanganui for half an hour or so and then on to Waitara to stay with my lovely sister Dee and family at the Holiday Park. I forgot to take any photos but it was lovely to see them all. Dee and David and I had brunch in town on one morning and bought reef shoes - somehow we have lost our former pairs of them. They will turn up very soon of course, having been put somewhere safe and obvious, never to be found again ...

We wanted to have a couple of nights at Tongaporutu so we collected Judy from Onaero and headed north. Jim was going to come up for dinner and they'd head home after that. However, as we approached Wai-iti the heavens opened, the sky was extremely black and we almost turned around and headed back to Onaero. The rain through the Mimi Valley was torrential - mimi is Māori for urine - and it was pissing down! I'm not sure why we persisted, but I think in the main it was because we had already driven 200 miles to get there and I really wanted to touch it again - more aptly, I wanted it to touch me. It's the place I consider my turangawaewae, the place where my roots are, so to get so close and not do that seemed wrong. Also, I never worried about rain up there as a child and teenager - it's where I started my mantra of 'it's only water'.

It was still raining when we arrived, so we had decided we wouldn't stay overnight - the access to the best spots for camping can be a bit dodgy in/after heavy rain. So we parked in the day visitors' carpark and the sun came out! Yay!!

Judy and I decided we would go for a walk around the front and it was just wonderful to be there.

The river mouth at low tide

Two happy women, facing away from State Highway 3 which you can see in the background on the other side of the river.

The mud and sand (mostly mud) to be traversed - that round rock is one of those accretions I am sure I have posted about before. It came down from the cliff above a few years ago, and I am amazed it was survived the twice daily tides.
The most seaward of the Sisters - used to be number 2 of 3 but is now about number 4 because of the erosion happening on the Taranaki Coast

There's 4 in view there and more forming from the eroding cliffs - the farm up there is getting smaller ...

There they are again

That greenery was at the top of the cliff before...

There's those women again!

There were several people who took advantage of the break in the weather to do the walk - lovely to see people enjoying it. Judy and I encouraged some Harley Davidson riders (younger than us but not young) to go around - they did, but went in their biking gear. We didn't stay around to see the state of their boots and leathers when they got back... But, honest, I had suggested they take them off!

We had planned to stay the night at Onaero parked in Jim and Judy's driveway, but on the way back, Judy had a text to say that the woman she'd been at yoga with that morning had tested positive for Covid. So on with our masks in case Judy was already harbouring and incubating the virus. We dropped her off and headed for Hāwera - and just in case, we weren't prepared to go back to Waitara where we would come into contact with numerous people ...

So we stayed at the Hāwera NZMCA park - a very quiet location and were up and away heading home early in the morning - so early that we didn't have brekkie till we got here!

We've tested negative each time since then, so have dodged that bullet again thankfully.

A peaceful Xmas

We were pleased about that, because we would not have been happy having to miss out on Xmas dinner at Bruce and Gary's. It's a shared pot luck meal and is always yummy. David and I avoided the meats (ham, turkey, lamb) and indulged in the vegetables as well as the salads that I took (potato; coleslaw with vinaigrette; avocado, corn and tomato with lemon, honey and ginger dressing) plus caramelised onion, brie and mushroom pies.

Boxing Day breakfast was at ours - there were lots of new potatoes left over from xmas dinner so I suggested that the chaps come up for breakfast and I'd do the things that went with the potatoes. Gary brought bacon; and because I didn't have enough eggs to do scrambled or poached for 8 people, I made a quiche with sauteed onions, silverbeet, salmon, feta, parsley, eggs, cream and cheese. It was yummy - thank you, Sarah, for the inspiration. Along with baked beans, sourdough toast, bacon, asparagus, and a medley of onions, mushrooms and capsicum, I am fairly sure no one left still feeling hungry. Leith brought along some sparkling red wine - an Italian one that could easily have me resile from being a non drinker ...

 Holding David back

David has for some reason decided that he needs to start packing (and get me to start packing) the house up NOW - and it's 6 weeks until we have to move out. (I know we are going away for a couple of weeks in that time, but even so, there's plenty of time - two weeks would be sufficient, honestly.)

Even though I had said to him once we had an unconditional offer on the house that I did not want to have the next 2 months living in a semi- or partially-packed up house, he has not been able to resist. So given he has been sorting the attic (i.e. bringing things down and placing them in the most inconvenient places), and sorting his former office (i.e pulling crap out of the wardrobe and placing it in the most inconvenient places), I have got increasingly stressed.

Gentle reminders and gentle requests had zero effect. So I had a tantrum - mini, by my standards, but there was no doubt I was very pissed off   grumpy ... (Please note that the situation has been rectified and things are being sorted but are proactively corralled now. However I notice the op-shop pile keeps being added to ...)

Apart from the house looking like a tip or an auction house or an op-shop, the things that made me grumpy were:

  • being required to ooh and aah at his progress** (didn't look like progress to me; it just looked like more widely spread mess) ** there is a wonderful book called Reflecting Men at Twice their Natural Size - I think of it often when required to give praise...
  • the way his crap/tat/equipment started spreading out around the house:
    • in the hallway - stuff I needed to review for whether it should go to the op-shop (aaarrrggghhh)
    • in the sunroom (which had formerly been my office and was then cleared for the sale process - and I liked the way it looked, just as I'd liked the way David's office had looked when it was cleared for the same reason - how short-lived was THAT, I ask you (double aaarrrggghhh)
    • in our bedroom under a desk he'd parked there alongside another table with the printer on it so it was out of his way in his office (triple aaarrrggghhh)
  • knowing that he would keep doing this until mid-February and that one or the other of us would be dead by then - if the dead one was him, I'd be in police custody and there'd be no need for the villa at Parkwood, unless of course, a jury of women would refuse to convict me!

 So, as noted above (praise where praise is due) the mess/tat/crap has been retrieved and confined to his office, apart from the stuff that is still accumulating in the hall for a trip to the op-shop. I've already been there about 5 times and will go again on Saturday morning.

I've done a recce of my tat (Lesley will be pleased to know) and have selected a number of cups and saucer sets that I can live without - the aim is to reduce my china cabinet count from 3 to 2. I have been in touch with Kirsty's friend Lisa to see if she would like some of the ones I can live without. She is coming out tomorrow. If there are any that Lisa doesn't want, I will take them to the op shop. I am planning to take a few to Scotland for Marta next year, so will sort them and pack them.

Please don't think that I am depriving Kirsty of them - she wants a couple of them (to remember me by perhaps ...) but has long declared that they are not her style.


To ensure David didn't spend the day sorting and spreading and packing, (well not after 9am anyway - he did start at 5.30am though) we headed off to Palmerston North to 

  • choose material for roman blinds for the lounge and our bedroom at Parkwood, 
  • buy a new topper pad for the murphy (drop-down) bed in the sunroom - the current one is tatty and we'd like to leave a nice one for the new owners
  • buy a couple of light fittings for the Parkwood house that the Paraparaumu store didn't have.

I'd checked out Spotlight's range online but the fabric I'd tentatively selected wasn't available (doh - why was it on the website?) and one I saw in store wasn't going to be available for about 16 weeks, even if then... 

So off to Guthrie Bowron's where I'd purchased the fabric for our current bedroom's blinds 8 years ago. We found some very lovely fabric, very similar to the bedroom blind material, and that was an instant yes.

For the blinds in the lounge and dining area, I have chosen the same fabric in a dark grey.

It was a good day to be shopping using the car to move between spread out places (Palmerston North could definitely not be described as compact). It's been very very hot and the UV rating has been excessive. Aircon on in the car and a husband who fell asleep on the way home...

Wednesday 21 December 2022

It's all change again

 It is a long time since I posted and I have been wanting to from almost the day after I put the last post up. However I had to wait until things were settled.

We have now been resident in Waikanae for 8 years, and having moved out here from the house we bought in 1980 that I wanted to be my forever home, I was clear that we were not moving again. However about 3 weeks after we moved in to this house in late 2014, ACP told me that he wanted us to sign up for retirement villages here. It would not be an overstatement to say that I exploded! I had just moved out of the house I'd been the prime mover in renovating into a beautiful home that I didn't want to leave, only to be told that the place we had just moved into and which I was declaring my allegiance to by starting the redecoration process and the garden restoration process was purely temporary. FFS in loud capitals! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Much unhappiness ensued - I felt betrayed and conned. I could understand why David wanted to get our names down in retirement villages as he had just coped with his dad's Alzheimer's and he wanted us to be prepared in case ill health struck either of us and meant one of us would need fulltime care. But even so - his timing was not well considered...

So after I calmed down and reluctantly said okay, I'd sign on but I was NOT under any circumstances moving anywhere for ages, we investigated and found the place we most wanted to eventually (note the emphasis) move into was Parkwood Retirement Village, and we signed up to their waiting list. (Check them out here.) At the time, the wait was about 5 or 6 years. So every year or so, we would go and visit Debbie at Parkwood and let her know we were waiting and seeing and not yet ready. 

In the last couple of years, with David's eye hassles and the prostate cancer, we have moved on in our thinking, to the point that when we were considering our now annual visit to talk with Debbie, I said I was almost ready to be ready to move. Our thinking (yes, David's too) was that after we come back from the UK next September/October we would look to sell up Cafe Rata and move into a villa at Parkwood. So off we trundle to see Debbie, who shocked us by saying she had something she could show us now.

OK, so yes we will have a look. And very quickly, i.e. within the first 15 minutes, we knew we could live in it. So we said yes we would take it.

Debbie was shocked because people often turn down several places before saying yes to one that they are happy with. 

However a night or so later, I had a panic attack about it and (with David's blessing) went to see Debbie to tell her I'd changed my mind. She was very understanding and sent me off to look at a couple of others that were coming available and I took David to look around one of them. We quickly realised that the one I was turning down was much more spacious and better appointed; so first thing in the morning, I raced around to the office and caught Debbie as she arrived and said I wanted to change my mind. Fortunately, even though she had already phoned the next person on the list, they hadn't been to see it. Phew! 

One of the things that had tripped me up and caused panic was that I had thought that we would have to live in it pretty much as is and while it was acceptable, it didn't have much pizzazz or character. However David (he's a lovely man really) said we needed to make it lovely by putting our stamp on it. So my imagination has been allowed free rein...

Cafe Rata went on the market and we sold within 3 weeks - got an excellent price even in a falling market.

The difference between the price of the villa and the amount we sold Cafe Rata for gives us plenty to play with in terms of making the new place fabulous.

So we are having:

  • a new kitchen (seriously, David insisted, and it was beige so it wasn't a hard sell ...)
  • new doors and door furniture throughout
  • all new windows and external doors - double glazed but new rather than retrofitted
  • an extra  window in the 2nd bedroom to take advantage of the afternoon sun
  • renovating the main bathroom so it isn't a hospital style space (it's going to have a quadrant shower with a fancy shower mixer and the same slider and halo shower head we have here, instead of a jungle gym of grab bars and a wet room floor that I think is very unsafe because there is no way to have level/stable footing in a shower with a central drain and a floor sloping inwards from all directions)
  • new carpet and vinyl throughout, including garage carpet
  • all new light fittings
  • the wardrobe in our room extended by about 40%
  • the hall cupboard made into a second pantry (I have two pantries here and how I will downsize into 2 smaller ones I have yet to work out ...)
  • all new appliances except for one of our fridges and our freezer (Parkwood gets a very good discount so all we had to do was select what we wanted and give them the details)
  • total internal repaint (Sandfly Point walls, white ceilings, doors, architraves and scotia)
  • new blinds - still to be chosen
  • a new patio with trellising and rose cuttings from here as well as feijoa trees and other pieces transplanted or grown from cuttings of favourite stuff in our garden (hydrangeas, alstromerias, canna lilies, herbs, all of my pots ...)
  • a new pathway to the front door and a new driveway plus a concrete pad and trellis for the new clothesline.

Work has already started:

  • I've bought the light fittings and have a few more to select and purchase
  • all the appliances have been ordered (the stove arrived yesterday)
  • the old carpet and vinyl have been removed,
  • blinds and curtains are down (now in the car to be taken to the op shop), 
  • doors and door furniture have arrived, 
  • the shower was going in and the kitchen waste pipe was being moved today, 
  • we've met with the electrician, the builder and the plumber, plus the head gardener 
  • an allergy inducing privet and a dead/dying protea have been removed - the privet, as well as being bad for asthmatics, was blocking the sunlight/daylight from the second bedroom so it had to go on two counts!

Our Kia Sportage doesn't fit easily in the garage - I can get it in with about 2cm to spare outside each wing mirror (eek!), but David can't get out of the car once it's inside and we cannot walk around the front or back of it... So rather than store the car outside, we decided to buy a new smaller car. We have ordered a Toyota Yaris Cross Hybrid, a smaller SUV that fits in the garage beautifully with room to spare and we can move all around it. I have ordered the ruby red one - of course! It should be delivered by late September/early October next year.

Salvi and Ann are buying our Sportage - it seemed sensible to offer it to them considering Salvi kept referring to it as his truck when they were here last. And what is even more sensible is that they are buying it when we head to the UK in April rather than it sitting doing nothing for 5 months while we are away. Plans have already been made that we will drive ourselves to Wgtn airport on our departure day and they will meet us there and take it back on the ferry. Good planning, or what??

Our moving in date is 7 March and our moving out from here date is 15 February - we were going to be homeless and living in the motorhome for the intervening period. However our neighbour has a place in Parkwood that he doesn't use, so we are borrowing that for the interim - excellent situation as his place is between our new place and the workshop so we will be able to monitor the work attendance rate ...