Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm Back briefly

Sorry I haven't been awol for so long, but life has been very hectic.   Have just returned from a month away in our motorhome and will come back in the next few days and post where we have been and some fabulous photographs.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Our Trip to Twizel - Part 2

Day Three, Four and Five

Wednesday night we stayed at Lake Tekapo.  A beautiful camp right on the lake front.  Weather was fantastic, hot but still with that wind hanging around.   Caught up on domestic chores and then had a restful night of relaxing.

Beautiful Lake Tekapo

Thursday morning - not too early- we headed for Twizel.  We woke to sun and the most magnificent day that we had had so far.  The trip from Lake Tekapo took us through some of the most desolate but beautiful country in the South Island. 

Mt Cook was at it most spectacular and caught be seen all along this route.

Mt Cook was at it most spectacular and could be seen all along this route.

Mt Cook in all its glory.
 We arrived in Twizel and called into see our friends (parents of the bride) before going to Twizel motor camp which was walking distance to their place.  After lunch we walked back to the house and spent the afternoon catching up with friends that we had not seen for a long time.
Dinner was a barbeque.  Wow what a spread.  Wild venison, minted lamb, salads, etc etc.  Truly the best of south island produce.
Friday was spent relaxing, although I did walk over to meet some friends and had lunch with them in the lovely town centre of Twizel.
Saturday was the big day and most of it was spent helping set up the wedding venue which was near Lake Ruataniwha.  Again it was a windy but beautiful day.
We returned to Picton on Sunday and caught the afternoon ferry home.
It was a lovely break away and one that we want to experience again in the not too distant future.
Now its time to think about Christmas and presents.
Hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Our trip to Twizel

Day one and two.

The Aratere on her second attempt at berthing.
 The trip started off on the wrong foot. The Aratere came into port and couldn’t hook up to the railway linkspan. After trying for some time it steamed away from the wharf again. Of course all those waiting to board were thinking the worst. Were we going to be stuck on the wharf until the next boat came in at 6.25pm. Staff members from Interislander came and told everyone that they had to wait until the tide went down before trying to link up again. This would be approximately an hour.

Going onto the Aratere
 Luckily this time it worked and finally at 3.25pm (an hour and twenty minutes late) we boarded the boat and made our way upstairs to the Aratere lounge. For those who have been on the Kaitaki this is very similar to that. It is a private lounge where you can relax in comfortable seats, have free food and drink, use your computer, or just blob. We did the latter.

The service in the lounge was absolutely fabulous. They lady in charge even went away and got different food for us as the beef enchilada’s were too stuffy for both Ian and I.

The trip across the straits was uneventful. No large swells, a few minor ups and downs, but nothing too bad.

We stayed the night at the Top 10 Holiday Park on the outskirts of Blenheim. By this time it was blowing quite hard.

Around the Kaikoura cost in the rain and wind.
 After a good nights sleep we set off towards Kaikoura. Now came the rain and wind which made driving quite difficult. But it also had the seals out in their droves on the rocks alongside the road.

Nins Binn Crayfish shop
We had to stop here to get a crayfish which became part of our lunch. Boy was it delicious. A little expensive, but well worth the cost especially if you haven’t had one for awhile.

Our lunch stop on the Hundlees.

Our stop for the night was at a Motor caravan park in Parnassus. This was originally the primary school but was closed down as pupil numbers had declined. The Motor Caravan Association bought it and have converted it into a stopover park for its members. By now the weather had really turned bad. Raining really hard and blowing, but we were very cosy tucked away in our campervan. Early to bed with a book then the best nights sleep I have had in a long time.

Tuesday we headed to Timaru. We stayed at Levels Motor Racing Track for the night then drove towards Fairlie on Wednesday morning.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spring 2011

I can't believe how long it is since I updated my blog, spring last year.  So much has happened since then - conferences, loss of friends, illness etc, etc.
But spring as usual brings its unpredictable weather, its beautiful sights and sounds.  Below is a photo taken in August. This was on the road into Masterton, as you can see it was white-out conditions.

And then we had beautiful hot weather, followed by cold conditions, again!
Now it is blowing.  But through it all my garden has survived.  The freisia's make a magnificent site as you walk through our front gate, and the smell is to die for.

The kowhai tree below is always full of birds in particular tui's.  At times we have up to 15 all gorging themselves on nectar.

Lets hope that from now on in the weather improves.

On a more recent front my new book "Enduring Love" is now available at   Go to my website where an excerpt will be up in the next few days.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spring is here.

I have always loved spring.  The freshness of the air and the wonderful blossoms and flowers that herald the start of a new season.
But this year the whole cycle of spring has been Topsy turvey.  We have had so  much rain that the plants and flowers think they are back in winter.
But in my garden the freesias have been magnificent. 

My trilliums are also flowering profusely, and the plants themselves are looking very healthy.
But it is the vegetable garden that has really shot ahead.  I currently have broad bean plants flowering, radishes poking through the ground, carrots poking their heads upwards and potatoes snuggled in their beds ready to burst into life.
Labour weekend is the time to plant tomatoes, and mine are sitting waiting under shelter for this to happen.  Lets hope the weather is kind to us and we can all get out in the garden over the long weekend.  Happy gardening.
And if the weather does turn out horrible then what a good excuse to stay inside snuggled up by the fire with a book, or at the computer writing.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Our trip South


Snow on the Hope saddle

What an adventure. We decided to head south in our Motorhome on Monday 24th May instead of waiting for our scheduled crossing on Tuesday due to weather conditions.
That went well, smooth crossing, but then the drama's started. It rained so much we decided to spend the night in Blenheim instead of heading further south.
Next morning it was still raining so had a slight change of plan and headed for Nelson to spend a few days with family. On Thursday afternoon heard that their were adverse weather conditions approaching so got moving towards Murchison.

At the top of Hope saddle

It was still raining and blowing and as we went over the Hope Saddle (just out of Nelson) it started to snow. This was so bad at times we could hardly see in front of the bus, it made for a slow tortuous crawl into Springs Junction. By this time it was dark (although only 5pm) and after checking with the petrol station owner decided to stay in his carpark for the night. According to him it was chains if you wanted to go over Lewis Pass.

Going up Lewis Pass

Next morning after a lovely healthy breakfast of bacon, eggs and hash browns,(well we did need warming up), we set off across the pass. It had been snowing most of the night but the road was clear and passable. Once off the pass we got more rain, then snow again and as we turned on to SH1 along came the wind which we had until we were through Christchurch.

Knowing that the weather was meant to turn really nasty we decided to go as far as Oamaru and spend the night there. Well it was a good decision but as we went through the flooded roads and the detours involved we did have second thoughts. Boy the people living in this area of the South Island have had it really bad. As far as the eye could see there was water, water and more water. And it was still raining so there was going to be no let up for them.

Water across the road north of Oamaru

Next morning bright and early we set off once more, stopping for petrol on the way to be told that there was flooding at Milton and if we wanted to get through today we would have to hurry.
Arriving at Waihola disaster struck. A long queue of cars was ahead of us and we could see fireman walking back and stopping to talk to each individual driver. When he got to us we found out that we wouldn't be going down SH1 any time soon. There was flooding in several places and the small town of Milton was isolated. Like everyone else we turned around and sat waiting for news. After an hour it was very clear that it was not going to be good news.

This was scarey, didn't know how deep it was going to be.

Out came the maps and a route via Ranfurly, Alexandra and Gore was plotted. So back we went along the route we had formerly travelled to turn off by the Dunedin airport. We had hardly gone 5kms down this road when we came across more flooding. This was so deep that it came up to the hubs of the wheels on the bus. But we got through safely.

Then began the arduous and long journey through Central Otago. Again we had snow, this time not falling but very thick on the side of the road. We also had fog, wind and rain.

This snow was really deep on SH85

And then there was fog.

What a relief to finally get to Gore and know that we were only an hour and a bit away from our destination.

By now it was dark, cold and we were over all sorts of weather. Just to add to the drama's one of the headlights on the bus went out and so we had to drive with only one headlight which was a bit disconcerting in the weather conditions.

Finally we arrived at our friends at 8pm, tired but so glad to be there.
They have had none of the weather bombs that the towns just a few kms up the road have had. In fact today is brilliantly fine but just a little cool.
Lets hope that the trip home is not filled with so many drama's.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our First Motor Home Trip.

We have just done our first trip in our motor home. I have diaryed our progress over the ten days we were away.
We left Wellington at 8pm on Friday and arrived at 11.00pm in Picton we drove to the motor camp in Blenheim under the SH1 Bridge After a good first sleep in the comfortable beds we drove down to Ward Beach (see picture below) for our second nights stay. Motorhome was going really well.

This is at a POP [Park over Property --- exclusive for Motor caravan club members] site at Ward Beach it costs a donation to park in the site which is high above the beach and very sheltered from the wind. A small river comes out down by the rocks in the background. There were white baiters netting in the river and a number of divers out off the beach gathering crayfish, paua and kina. We walked down to the river mouth which is only about half a metre wide.

On day three we left about 11.30 and stopped off at one of the crayfish shops on the roadside before Kaikoura. Lunch was fresh crayfish and buns. Yummy.

Night Three was spent in Boat Harbour Camp just south of Kaikoura before the road turns inland. Nice camp and despite being just off the main road very quiet, sheltered and with good hot showers and excellent clothes washing facilities which we used as we weren’t sure when we would be able to do this further down the line.

There were a lot of seals right close to us as well the one in the photo has a badly gashed flipper!

On Day Four we drove further south into a howling gale which made driving very interesting. We visited a great site at Gore Bay – just look at the Cathedral Pipe Cliffs. They are absolutely magnificent and a scary drop from where we were standing.

Our bus is the first in the line. Other than Friday night when it blew so hard we were worried about the trees falling on the buses we were very cosy.

That was our first adventure in our motor home. A most enjoyable trip and one we want to repeat again very soon.