Monday, October 27, 2014

Heavyweights, Water Balloons and Raffles

After a bit of a pause due to health issues I am back on the road (still not 100% but OK) and this Labour Day weekend saw me leave Auckland on Thursday afternoon, heading north towards Warkworth for a Heavyweights rally. For those who don’t know about the Heavyweights, it is a special interest group within the NZMCA. It was started many years ago for families living in large busses and house trucks and the likes. It was very family orientated and they used to have some huge rallies. Over the years the younger children have grown up and started to lead their own lives but are now starting to return to the lifestyle with their own children.

Anyway I headed north over the harbour bridge and wound my way up to Puhoi via Orewa as I wasn’t going to pay $4.40 for the pleasure of travelling on the toll road! The great thing was that although it too more then an hour over the time that the GPS told me that it would take to get there, there was very little traffic on the Orewa - Waiwera portion of the journey. The motorway at 4.30pm was full…..

So I stayed the night at the Puhoi pub. At the POP stop opposite the pub actually, but it was a very quiet peaceful evening. Had a drink and meal at the pub and spent some considerable time reading the walls, looking at the photos and all the iron hanging on the walls.

A lovely quiet drive through to Warkworth on Friday morning, where I had a bit of a wander along the riverbank there. I didn’t want to be too early to the rally, but as it turned out, the organisers were there the night before. So at the Mahurangi Rugby Club we all started to congregate….

The weather on Friday was interesting with some showers, some fine and then more showers. That didn’t worry me too much but the organisers were starting to worry.

After lunch, “There and Back” arrived. Ursula and Warren. I went to intermediate and high school with Ursula and it was great to catch up again in person. We had connected via Facebook and had a quick meet up some months ago but was good to spend some time with them and we had a great time over the weekend playing 5 Crowns.

On Saturday they headed out to Goat Island but I stayed to make some more bread and be a bit crafty….

Thanks to Bernice for the suggestion of using cheap plastic shower caps from the $2 shop for covering the proofing bread, they work well and the banneton I got from off TradeMe worked well. Still a work in progress but getting there.

I also have started doing some macramé plant hangers for my niece…

Its a bit of fun and I have been amazed at how quickly my hands have got back to doing it.

At Happy Hour on Saturday night I managed to win a raffle, a lovely breakfast meat pack. The guy next to me told me that I need not buy another ticked as I had no hope of winning again and promptly did so, but as it was the same breakfast pack, I put one back for a redraw. then the following night I won another one! So quite a good weekend! I had part of one for dinner on Saturday night. Yummy!  Breakfast sausages, bacon, egg and black pudding!

So on Sunday morning we all decided that we would head into town for a walk.

We found a lovely walking trail that wound around the river and into town.

The riverside dock was a great sight and the boats there are great restorations. The Jane Gifford used to sail around Waiuku and the Manukau Harbour and it was quite interesting to see her on the east coast.

Sunday afternoon was a bit of fun and games for both the kids and adults alike, with plank racing, three legged races and water balloon shooting.

One of the guys had a huge slingshot that took three people to operate but it shot water balloons over 150m. We didn’t shoot them that far, but they did manage to have one young man hit in the face with a water balloon. Ouch!  A great deal of fun was had and a number of them were actually caught intact, but the majority were splattered over the rugby field.

So a great weekend of fun, games and meeting of some wonderful people. Was good to catch up with Mark and Frances of Buzzin Around from Whakatane again. We had first met at Mystery Creek back in February.

Also really great to talk to some of the long time full timers who are in the old Bedfords. There were some great stories told!

So Monday morning, Moving Day, and after a great final morning tea with everyone and the handing out of the awards, including the ‘Breakdown Award” for one of the busses that wont be moving for a couple of days until the radiator gets replaced! The award is a wonderful wooden piece with a lovely wooden piston and crankshaft. Awesome work!

The Bunny award went to the guy who refused/forgot to listen to his other half and didn’t replace the batteries in the TV and it failed during Corro Street, much to her disgust!

After saying goodbye to everyone, I headed north again and have ended up at Te Arai Point for the night. A bit breezy but still a lovely spot.

Tomorrow I might get as far as Uretiti……

But as I couldn’t upload this yesterday….

Last night I was going for a post dinner perambulation and ended up chatting to a couple in another bus and then got talking to yet another  (place was full!) and we ended up assisting in the setting of a kontiki. There were three young guys from Germany who were very interested in what was happening and so it was all explained to them and as we were hauling it back in after an hour or so, they were back to assist.

A good haul of 5 great snapper and two gurnard was the catch but the largest snapper was released back as it looked like she was full of roe.

The catch was shared out amongst everyone and then I headed up to the bus to show the young guys how to fillet their snapper! I showed them and they went away very happy with two lovely snapper fillets for dinner or breakfast, we were not sure which.

I have ended up with some lovely gurnard which I will smoke for lunch.

The weather this morning was rainy and very overcast, couldn’t see any of the islands, Little Barrier or The Hen and Chicks, so I decided to head to WHangarei and see my sister. Decided to try and find a park near my niece’s shop and turned into Rust Ave from Bank Street only to have all sorts of lights flash at me warning me I was over-height and wouldn’t fit under the railway bridge, so I had to do a U turn on Rust Ave and headed out again. Would have been nice to have a warning before the turn into Rust Ave!

So safely at Lorna’s and will go see Tracy later!

I hope everyone got home safely.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Loaves and fishes....

Well, only the loaves at this point.
On Saturday I went over to Ambury Park to visit with Roy and Bernice, fellow fulltimers. Bernice had kindly offered me some of her sourdough starter. Not being one to turn down such an offer, I took my sister Valerie, who's driveway I am currently parked up in while I wait for the medical stuff to sort itself out.
I had baked some date and cranberry scones and Bernice had made some awesome lemon muffins, complete with cream cheese centres, lovely!
So we chatted and attempted to solve the problems of the world, unsuccessfully I must admit, but progress was made!
It was a bit of a rainy day on and off but after leaving there Valerie and I headed over to Roger's Plants in Mangere. What an amazing place and we walked out empty handed as we couldn't find what she wanted and the queues were just huge and the weather was very damp.
So after returning home I decided that I would start the bread making process.
So after 2 days of fun with dough, I have ended up with the following.

Two very different loaves with different tastes, considering that they started off from the same mix. I altered the rising and resting and kneading for each loaf and got an amazing result. The cob loaf is slightly under cooked, but still very edible with a lovely open crumb and a great taste. The loaf is a tighter crumb with a slightly stronger taste with a great crust and soft crumb.
I am quite chuffed with the result and look forward to making heaps more.

Update on what is going on.....
Medical issues still outstanding, waiting for a CT scan on the other ear as there seems to be an issue developing there....
Stone cold deaf in the left ear at the moment with not a good outlook for the future, suffering from awesome vertigo and dizzyness but have good drugs to cope with that.
So a bit in limbo for the next little bit while this all gets sorted out.....or not!
Not going to let this get to me, what will be, will be.

So after a couple of meetings this week I am heading up to the Heavyweights Rally in Warkworth this weekend, then heading up to see my lovely sister in Whangarei and maybe staying for my niece's Halloween weekend.
After that.....who knows!

Safe travels everyone.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bits and Pieces….

One of the great things about having a brother-in-law like Roger is that his mind works in wondrous and mysterious ways, and when I have a project or a problem, I tend to send it to him for perusal and thought and eventually he will come up with a wonderful solution and way to create/solve said task, project or issue. So this weekend has been a great success so far.

But before getting on to those, a quick update on Joe.

DSCF2313  DSCF2314

He is doing well and tomorrow (Sunday) he and I are going to get very closely acquainted over a kneading board and hot oven.

Medical update… getting there very slowly. Dr visited on Thursday for suture removal and packing removal. I explained to him the fact that I was very unstable, suffering badly from tinnitus, vertigo and feeling of nausea. He then made another appointment to see the surgeon next week as this should not be happening apparently. So will keep you all posted.

So Task 1: I have been deliberating over some form of planter on the shelf in front of the windscreen of the bus with some flowers or edibles in and so I finally found a great planter, saucer and pot stuck together which I think will look great there.


The issue was to lock it into position so it won’t decide to head out through said windscreen of it’s own volition and create a mess. I was exploring to possibility of using some bungee cord over the saucer when Roger appears with a couple of L shaped screw hooks. “Try these”. So the outcome with some judicious plastic tubing is ….


SO there are two hooks at each end and they can be opened (not easily) for removal of planter, but when locked in the planter has absolutely no movement at all.

Currently planted in it is a patio tomato (miniature) and two Angel’s Wings. We will see how they all survive.


Task 2: There has been a bit of an issue moving my Minicat when it is assembled and rather than drag it on the keel, I have been looking around for a way of supporting the boat on wheels and enabling me to drag it down to the water. After much searching I found….

wheels 1

and surprisingly enough not interested at that price, but still the ideas started…..

SO I sent off a picture to Roger and said that I was looking to make something similar using the existing wheels for the kayak so that I didn’t have to store another set of wheels…

So after finding an old housewash brush…


we removed the handle and used it to create…..


So now with a couple of rivets, a pair of old bunge cords, a length of new bungee cord we now have….


That works like….



So I can now lift and pull from the front, protecting the keels under the pontoons, and when sailing…


It sits there beautifully out of the way and I don’t have to head back to the bus to keep it safe.

The cost…..mmmm about $2.50 all up for two pieces of bungee cord and 4 rivets (we had to redo them as we ended up with the wheels too close to the pontoons first time round. . The washbrush was heading for recycling, the bungee cords were shot so we reused the ends of them and about 3 mins of drilling holes.

So two things done and I’m now set up to have a bread making session tomorrow with Joseph.

Hopefully I’ll remember to take some pics on the way tomorrow…

Safe travels everyone…