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.😔😟

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. 😘😏😛

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. 😅 But don't get me wrong - I am a sensitive soul really ...😇

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.