Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gainfully Unemployed

I was totally humbled on Thursday at my going away do from work. We all headed off the the wonderful Hoppin' Stoppin' Cafe in Taupiri, (Their facebook page) just south of Huntly for lunch and the testimonials(?) that people delivered really were awesome.
You seldom get to comprehend what your impact is on people around you, the community that you work in until time like this. It was a bit of a wake up moment for me as person after person got up and said things about me that really blew me out of the water. Up until Thursday it has always been difficult for me to accept praise (I'm just doing my job etc) and what hit me at lunch was that these people are for real and I am actually quite good at what I do and am an ok sort of person. I know that I am not perfect (too modest for that ;) ) but it really got me thinking about who I really am vs the face that I show to the world under usual circumstances.
I believe that my time working in Huntly has allowed me to be the 'real' me rather than a fake, this is who they expect me to be, type of person.
I leave Huntly with a huge respect for my friends and collegues there, they have taught me a lot and from what they said I have taught them a lot in return, so it really has been a great experience for us all.
I thank you all for my gifts of your spoken words, your gifts of your written words and the pounamu taonga which has an awesome piece of coincidence attached. 
I am not sure whether the person who chose this for me realised that Manaia is the mountain that I relate to, it being one of the first that I climbed.
This book of awesome words from a group of awesome people will be treasured and be re-read often as affirmation of what sort of person I really am.
I thank you all for the matching towels and hand towels for the bus as well, just wonderful.

So as of Thursday afternoon, I am now back into retirement or rather gainfully unemployed!
After lunch I  headed up to Auckland with my boss as a passenger. He was flying out to his sister's birthday in Hawaii late Thursday night so I offered to drive him up. It didn't take much persuading....
We had a great chat on the way and Huki, I will always be grateful for what you have taught and shared with me and what you enabled me to do by employing me at Whanui.

So then it was BBQ at my neice Nicole and her husband Sam's place in Takanini, but as The Dragons' Rest was in their driveway, The Fredrock Cafe had to park back at Val's around the road, where I stayed the night. 
Nicole attempted to light the BBQ before Sam got home, so I told her in no uncertain terms to leave it alone! 'Mans work!' which got some interesting responses, but anyway I offered and was accepted as the BBQ chef for the evening. A lovely meal of marinated steak, asparagus wrapped in bacon and sausages with salad. Lovely meal, followed by crackers with a lovely mango fruit cheese. Val had brought some maple liqueur back from her trip to Canada so we all sampled that! Yummy.

Friday morning saw me head over to Henderson to finally pick up a filtration system for the bus.
Dave from Water Filters Online was great. We looked at the bus, looked at what I was going to be doing and then he assembled a system that will allow me to fill up from almost any water supply and have clean, non tasting water to drink! 
FIlter system

From there it was off to do a quick grocery shop and then decided to try out the NZMCA Park Over Property at Tui Glen in Henderson. 
Lovely quiet spot just minutes walk from the centre of Henderson, so wandered over to the mall and spend a couple of hours window shopping.
Lovely quiet night, apart from the emergency sirens (you forget what it's like is a busy city after a while),

So Saturday started off with a trip down the motorway to Bunnings in Manukau.
How much fun is that, isles and isles of great toys and things!
Anyway was quite restrained and bought only some great matting for my front steps into the bus.
I'd been looking at artificial grass, but when I found what I thought I was looking for it was pretty ugly, so after searching through the things that they had I found a great matting that allows sand and stuff to fall through and is heavy enough to stay put and looks great, so will cut and put into place once the steps have had their final coat of rustproof paint applied.
new doorstep matting

Also I finally found a washing machine that will work in the bus. So now I just have to drill some holes and all will be sweet with the world.

So after that I decided to go for a blat on the mountain bike out in Hunua, so headed out there and over to the great mountain bike tracks out around the upper dam. The road is interesting out to the dam, metal, steep and windy, but very little traffic and the road had been recently graded so was good trip.
Once there I unloaded the bike and headed off for a blat. 
The ARC who looks after the area have put a 'post your plans here' box, so I wrote down what I was doing, when I left and who I was and posted it into the box. I tried to text my sister to tell her but 'no signal - searching'.
A great ride around the river loop track for about 1 1/2 hours and when I got back had a chat to a guy who had just spend 2hours running through the walking tracks, he was looking like he had run quite a distance and his shoes and lover legs were covered in mud, so it had obviously been a fun run!
He was intrigued by the bus so we chatted about what I was doing and he asked if I was blogging this and so I went to give him a card and showed him through the bus. When we went back out his ride had arrived so he headed off with some ideas and more enthusiasm to work towards his goals.
After a quick bit to eat and a shower, I headed off to my friends Dave and Yana in Ararimu, where Dave has a business shooting and editing videos for the web and Yana paints and sells her work. Between that they are raising two awesome boys, 6 chooks and two aging dogs.
We had an awesome dinner of BBQ rotissary chicken (not one of theirs) and a lovely roast vegetable and goats feta salad, followed by an amazing lemon cheesecake thingy, frozen not cooked! Just wonderful. Loads of a lovely red wine and some great conversation, followed by the first half of a movie....we all started to nod part 2 tonight.
Dave is going to help me shoot a video for Cullen Engineering, the guys who are making my kayak loader. He is also trying to get me thinking about getting back into production again..

Anyway this needs to be posted, as I sit here in the sunshine waiting for the household to stir on a lovely morning in Ararimu.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rapurapu Kauri Track

Nestled about a quarter of the way up the Kaimai's between Matamata and Tauranga there is a walkway to the Rapurapu Kauri Grove.
DOC website
This is a wonderful track in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park. It was a relatively easy trek with 8 river crossings to be made on the way to the Kauri Grove at the end of the track, and 8 river crossings on the way back!
I managed to do it with completely dry feet. My travelling companions took the easy route through the lovely clear cool water of the Rapurapu Stream.
Crossing 1

Crossing 2
Crossing 3
Crossing 4
Crossing 5
Crossing 6
Crossing 7
Crossing 8
Luckily Brenda was on hand to take some pics of me....

Dry feet all the way
Bridge over the River Rapurapu 
Morning tea at the kauri grove 
Still got dry feet
Awesome bridge!
So another great morning was had. Managed to get some great ideas for some pottery stuff while walking through the fern groves and seeing all the lovely leaves and things.
Here is one that has me thinking....
Birds Nest Fern... awesome vase maybe?
Am getting some pieces made for a possible firing next weekend or when we get back from Auckland...or when I get a kilm full!
Will post some pics tomorrow of the pottery work to date.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Te Tapui and further potterings

Well an amazingly productive weekend again this weekend.
Roger had spent a great deal of the week putting together the panels to make the potting shed and so there was very little for me to do except do the final riveting.
Unfortunately Roger has a rather large hole in the thumb pad of his left hand where he tried to drill a hole with a broken drill. It has bruised badly right through to the back of his hand and up over his wrist! Good thing is that it has been healing well with not the slightest sign of infection.
So we started the putting together of the pieces.
2 walls

three walls

4 let me out!

4 walls and a roof!
Then the kiln and the pottery wheel were carefully levered, wheeled, jigged and pushed into place. Unfortunately there were three pairs of hands needed so no hands left over for pictures!
Still, won't be long before I can start work.
So yesterday (Sunday) it was decided to take a day off and go for a walk.
As I have been gathering all the bits and pieces to enable me to go tramping, it was subtly suggested that I should take the pack and fill it and carry it for the walk....mmmm
So I did and we headed off, me with pack, sleeping bag, tent, sleeping pad, food, cooking gear, 3 litres of water and some wet weather gear. came to about 12kg all up.
We headed up the road to Te Tapui Scenic Reserve, see Te Tapui Loop Track

We decided to walk this loop track short sharp going up and slower, longer coming home. It was good choice. It was quite a nice walk for the most part, with afew little grinds until the last long grind to the summit, which was a fair hike and was quite exhausting.
Note to self: need to get fitter!
...are we there yet?

Trying two walking poles

There were some wonderful views from the top as there is an amazing structure built at the summit to view over the bush canopy.
amazing structure
Up the stairs
View from the top

Looking east

view to the north east

So a great day was had, some people were more exhausted than others, but a good trip was had.

Unfortunately on a sad note I was rung early Monday to let me know of the tangi of the father of one of my workmates so had to cut the weekend short to head back for the tangi in Ngaruawahia.
My condolences go out to Raima, Mo and the family.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pottering around

For those of you who may not know me as well as you should  ;)
sometimes when I have the urge I sit down with a lump of clay and create stuff.
A lidded box from 2012
I am a very straight line creative and love creating geometric shapes and do a lot of slab work with the occasional thrown piece.
I am a bit out of practice on the wheel but am aiming to get it back.
So where is this leading you may ask.....

Boxing in place

First row of concrete

Completed base for new studio
What has happened is that I have been allowed (thanks B&R) to put up a shed so that I can have a space to potter around. It will hold the kiln and the wheel and gives me an area for working in. 
It is interesting how the creative urge takes hold from time to time and now that I am able to commit to a set amount of time to create, allow to dry quietly, construct, fire, glaze and complete some works then it will happen more often.
I already have two commissions to start this exercise, a set of herb markers and a bird bath. For the bird bath I am considering using a rhubarb leaf as the base design as per the pics below which are NOT my work but are creative ideas for me to follow....

So there you have the current plan for excitements in my life.

But after completing the concreting on Saturday morning, we all headed off to Ray's Rest, Kaiaua again for a bit of a rest.
Well taken but there were about 30 vehicles there....
Roger and I headed out on Sunday, when the tide was high enough, in their kayak to try a bit of fishing. Roger got upset with my paddling and should have whacked me upside the head with his paddle but was very polite about it!
Heading out
I would have brought back some fish if there had been any nice enough to get on the end of our lines, but apart from 5 or 6 touches, there was very little action out there.
Still a nice relaxing hour or so (will post the picture of the slightly burnt leg with its pattern) and when we turned to go home, the wind had risen a little and it was face full of waves on the way back as my weight in the front lowered the bow enough for some serious water splashing. 
Still despite getting very wet, a great time was had.
On Monday, the weather was pretty iffy so we packed up. During the wash-down of the kayak, using my new front-of-bus hose, I realised that the temperature of the water was rising. I was laughing fit to kill as I realised that we had hooked into the wrong side of the hot water cylinder and I was washing down with hot water!
One expects that the red pipe coming form the hot water system would be the hot water outlet but no.....
So that's a little exercise to swop that one around!
Roger was quite surprised when I told him to put his hand out and I sprayed him with hot water...we both were laughing for quite a while.

Note to self.... check everything and assume nothing!

So now I am in countdown mode, as of today I have 7 days of work to go!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Back on schedule.....

Well a working weekend this weekend, not having faith in the weather!
Friday was spent doing work on the bus, keeping on top of little rust spots and revamping the water pipes under the bed. Changing them from diagonally across the storage space to now neatly angled and out of the way.

Also Roger had suggested that we put a wash down hose in the front of the bus hidden in a little compartment there. 1-Day has a curly hose on special so I got one (actually got two) and we spent the day running the piping to the front of the bus.
We now have a tap and hose at the front of the bus so not only can I wash down the kayak and feet, I can water the garden!

I also finally got the fly screen cut, sewn and redone.....

 and the weather was beautiful, deciding what to do tomorrow now......

Day 2 at Dicky Flat

So still a week behind but here goes.....
On Saturday morning we did a little wander up river to the river crossing. Was a great trip through some great NZ bush.

Ponga growth
When we left Dicky Flat I watched a pair of young men head out in running gear. When we got back, these two had obviously just retuned as well so I was cheeky enough to ask them where they had been. They had just run one of the tracks that has a three hour walking time and they had just run it in 45 mins!
Sitting having morning tea at the river crossing
The rest of the day was relaxing.... ie doing nothing!

The following morning (Sunday) we decided to head down to the cycle trail and head off to Waihi for a cycle. We decided to take the buses with us and move on for Sunday night. We had realised that our spots would probably be gone if we came back as there were heaps of people there.

The cycleway was a great trip and I spent most of the trip talking my sister through using her gears more. Unfortunately I think I pushed her too far and she was not feeling well when we got to Waihi so I offered to head back and bring my bus through and pick them up and return them to their bus . 
Despite that there were some great sights on the way.
Looking for waterfalls....

Weir on the river

Great little cutting

Bridge just short of Waihi

Waterfall on the way

Train snapped by Brenda waiting for me to get back

Train full of cyclists
We then had a wander around the waterfall back where we had parked the buses and then decided to head home.