A long, long weekend in Palmerston North

It seemed a long time since I had made the 45 minute trip north to my special place, my happy place. Initially I was going for two nights, that’s happened before lol  😉  I had been waiting for the first opportunity since Dasha and I did our four week South Island tour but the weather had not been great or the forecast had been awful and at the last minute it had cleared. Too late . . . . . If Phee wasn’t so timid, he could some too. I would love that.

From the large to the small.

From the large to the small.

Since my first epic adventure last July a lot has changed. The Ducato is set up for a quick escape with everything needed from toiletries, to make up, food and clothing for three days and food staples and easy meals. There is even an electric toothbrush (maybe I’ll add a flosser when I can manage my home one better). Everything but perishables.

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The loo and shower (which I don’t use).

I have gas for cooking and heating and I need to buy a meter of some sort to know how much gas I have. I wouldn’t like to run out and if I did I could use the camp facilities to cook no problem but heating? I don’t remember it being this cold over night last year; maybe I am getting soft.

These bins are useful, I keep clothing in here permanently.

These bins are useful, I keep clothing in here permanently.

On Thursday night I was one of three camper vans, on Friday night, I was the only one. It seems that more Kiwis are buying caravans, from really big ones with pop out sides down to a little pop top A frame. Camping people are usually very friendly and we often chat, especially the ones who have NZ Motor Caravan Association ‘wings’ on their vehicles. I am member 60600, so there are many of us.

Puss comes and visits, she lives here.

Puss comes and visits, she lives here.

On Friday I did some work and had lots of work phone calls. I’m taking  Min’s acupuncture business phone calls and doing her appointments while she is overseas.

I sleep the other end now so I can see TV

I sleep the other end now so I can see TV

Over the last 1o months I have modified my bed style. Initially I used the full two person bed but this was awkward in getting to the loo, so I downsized to a smaller version (new sheets required). I also had the cushions refilled to make them more comfortable and refigured them to be various widths. Then I bought a single (expensive) memory foam topper and now have a very comfortable (slightly bigger than) single bed. I used to be quite fussy about making the bed too, fitted bottom sheets and neatly made. Now in winter I used my sleeping bag for the bottom sheet, it’s warmer and takes me 5 minutes to make and unmake the bed. When I win Lotto I will have a camper van with a bed that comes down from up in the ceiling and that can be kept made. I can’t see the point in having a permanent bed at the back, I would rather have space to relax in.

I was interested to see what changes there were in the Esplanade. Last time I was here, in March, it was autumn but very warm. Now it was almost winter (depending on whether you subscribe to the equinoctial seasonal theory, which I do) and cold but calm and sunny. Perfect weather for a long, long weekend.

Spring is coming!

Spring is coming!

The leaves where falling on the many deciduous trees though the best colour shows had passed. Still, it was pretty. I feel for the managers who spend a lot of time raking and removing them. I seem to manage to get them stuck on the bottom of my shoes. The weather conditions had been perfect for fungi. The roses were well past their best but some were still flowering and jonquils were showing too. I though mine were late this year until I discovered I had been mowing them. Oops!! The camellias and rhododendrons were in flower, early I am sure. There is always plenty of colour at the Esplanade.

Sunset if often spectacular.

Sunset if often spectacular.

There were changes happening along the river bank last time. The Manawatu River has had some big flood episodes in the past and despite the big stop banks protecting the housing, the damage to the river banks with erosion was considerable. I remember coming over the Fitzherbert Bridge the day after the 2o02 floods and the water was close to the under side of the bridge. That was the flood that covered miles and miles of the coast and brought down, amongst other things, thousand of onions to my local beach.

The duck pond, busy during duck shooting season.

The duck pond, busy during duck shooting season.

They had roped off a large section of the river walk in March and were building rock walls to contain the river. Many of the lovely trees that the birds liked to feed on had been chopped back and I was pleased to see some had re-sprouted. Willows are hardy. I have a favourite tree and am happy it had been pruned but not removed.

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The river walk.

I had some lovely walks, there is always plenty of people, dogs, cyclists and occasionally horses. It is well used and valued by the locals and by visitors.

And like anywhere I stay, there is always housework to do!

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Emptying the toilet 🙂

22 August 2016

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At Paeroa

Paeroa is a tiny town, population 4,000, and famous for a soft drink (soda), L&P (Lemon and Paeroa). There are hot water springs locally and the “Paeroa” comes from the carbonated mineral water, the lemon is self explanatory . There really is a huge bottle there and I didn’t see it, hence the borrowed photo.

landpWhen we arrived we contacted the guy who was selling it on behalf of the seller and we able to see the Ducato immediately. While I thought the van was just what I wanted at first glance, I thought the guy was a dork. Lena took it for a drive in a rural area and eventually, with no traffic in sight,  I climbed up and drove. It seemed so long and so high to my little granny car.

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Lena noticed an occasional “clunk”. I rang Leonie, my former neighbour who now lives in the area. She had kindly gone and looked at the Ducato some weeks earlier and now recommended a good mechanic to do an inspection. I called him, he couldn’t do it but recommended someone else in Thames. I was beginning to panic as it was after 4pm on a Friday and everything closes at 5pm.

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We got to Thames (population 7,500 and the gateway to the beautiful Coromandel), Lena driving, left it to inspected and went for coffee. Next-door was the i-Site that was a very informative centre and we poked around in there until it was 5pm and time to go back. The mechanic thought it was mechanically sound and thought the “clunk” was the engine mount and it would be perfectly fine to get back to Levin.

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We took the scenic route home, my phone battery died and on it was the “dork’s contact details. By now it was very dark.
I did some bargaining with the “dork” and achieved the price I was prepared to pay. He would take it to Thames for an independent warrant (he worked for a car dealership) and do 3 months registration. All good . . . . . . no! He requested the  funds had to be in the bank the following day, a Saturday, if not I would have to wait until Monday or Tuesday when they would be cleared. Lena had to go back to Levin on Saturday. Panic!! I had a few tense text conversations with him, very tense (on my part). Eventually I rang my bank and they promised me the funds would be transferred overnight.

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Lena and I drove (in her Ducato) to the RV centre to park up for the night. There was a motor home club function happening and they were very welcoming (and a lively lot indeed). We were given soup and a bun and retired for an early night. I had hired a caravan ($10) for the night. I slept soundly. Exhausted. Emotionally.

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