To Palmy for three days.

The familiar drive to Palmerston North was not to be. At the north end of Shannon there were Police cars and a diversion was in place!

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Shannon, population 1506.

I later read there had been a serious accident and I am grateful for multiple routes to Palmerston North, in many places in New Zealand there isn’t always a choice. I asked the guy who was directing the traffic where I was going: “Turn right past the dams” was his response. I’m familiar with this road and was not familiar with any dams. I followed the road for some distance with a huge line of traffic behind me, past the sewage ponds, over the Manawatu River and over the flood gates, maybe this was what he meant by dams.

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Over the Manawatu River and the dam????????

Sometime later there was another road to the right so I turned, followed by an ever increasing line of traffic. They all turned too and it’s quite a responsibility being the lead vehicle. This was going to be a success or a dismal failure! It was a minor farming road (complete with tractors and harvesters) that eventually joined another road I knew, so I had made the correct choice to turn 🙂

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The convoy coming in the opposite direction 🙂

I had some gift vouchers to spend, went to the supermarket and bought lots of expensive tasty treats I wouldn’t usually buy then to The Warehouse to buy a new radio and a couple of DVDs with the other voucher. I rarely watch TV but find talkback radio at night, especially, amusing!

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The welcoming committee ❤

I received an enthusiastic welcome Raewyn, one of the managers at the Palmerston North Holiday Park, she is a lovely lady, and settled in for a lazy day reading and people watching. It was quite warm, 26C, no wind or clouds, and I was reminded I needed a stronger fan but it was bearable. I pulled out the awning, opened the back door and had a nice through breeze.

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She was a most attentive mummy duck, sheltering her babies from the sun.

I also had a duck welcoming committee. There are still some ducklings, I was content.

 Later on in the day I had the need to oversee some ducklings who were being chased and taunted by a horrible child, the look on his face was malicious. I understand the draw of chasing ducks for small children but this one was about 10. Later on I saw him with some other children at the play area and, yep, he was a bully. I didn’t feel too sad when he was running up the slide, blocking the smaller kids and fell over and hurt himself. He was also a sooky!

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The flowers looked pretty after the rain . . . . . . .

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. . . . . .  so did the insects!I

I did absolutely nothing, read, ate, listened to the radio and relaxed, although it was necessary to visit the cafe in the Botanical Gardens, next door for a treat. I also went for a river walk on the only night there was no sunset. Typical!
Not the usual me but it felt good.I’m no spring chicken and sometimes feel my age!! And that’s OK.

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A Black-fronted Dotterel, my first ever sighting, though it isn’t a rare bird. They colonised here in the 1950s from Australia.

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The toilet block had been painted. Although attractive, I think I preferred the original.

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My coffee cup fell off and landed in the green bin, where I usually store my laptop and iPad.I am so lucky they weren’t in there.

One thing that has intrigued since I was a child was the “rocket” just outside Palmerston North which I had gone past hundreds of times and was a landmark for me and my children. I believed that it was something to do with boy scouts, that was my childhood memory. My memory was entirely false, not even close 🙂
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The Tiakitahuna Rocket was placed on the corner of SH56 by locals wanting to mark the locality after the the Foxton Branch railway was closed.The original rocket was made of 44 gallon oil drums welded end to end. The rocket was rebuilt about the 1980’s with the assistance of a local brewery and painted bright red. In 2014 it had a makeover to commemorate the 150-year anniversary. It was also”earthquake strengthened”. 🙂

28, 29, 30, 31 January 2017

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My next Being Mobile blog will be from Australia!!

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On the road (but not very far)!

Before I ‘hit the road’ there were some things that needed attention, including the ‘clunk’, the engine mount. That was sorted and then there was a different ‘clunk’, this time a gearbox mount. The engine mount was available in New Zealand, the gearbox mount was not! Some panic moments and dollar signs flashing before my eyes, thinking about importing from Italy and also the time it would take. (I had factored the cost of the engine mount into the amount I paid for the Ducato and the cost of both were within that amount). Fortunately we were able to source a very good second hand one and after a full service, we were ready to roll.

I had a few weeks at home, getting the things I though I may need (some of which I didn’t) and settling in without going away. I booked a night at the Palmerston North Holiday Park, set up Phee’s automatic feeders and off I went on what was to become a regular thing. It was 31 July 2015.

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Palmerston North is a mere 50 kilometres (30 miles) give or take a few, from home, so not an arduous trek.

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I chose to go there as there is lots to do in “Palmy”, walking into the city centre from the motor camp is less than half an hour (good exercise), it is by the river and is through the gate to the Esplanade. I remember going there as a child!

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The official title is the Victoria Esplanade Gardens and it was created to celebrate Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1897. It’s vast, with a huge rose garden (more than 5000 varieties), a cherry blossom trees lined entrance, there are many varieties of camellias, rhododendrons, spring bulbs, massive trees, both deciduous and native (which are evergreens), bush walks, a duck pond, a paddling pool for the children, a bird aviary (the same one I saw as a child), a fabulous children’s playground, a miniature railway that winds through the bush and open park, free BBQs and is adjacent to a large sports ground.

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The motor camp is pleasant and has become my happy place. It has many older big deciduous trees, rhododendrons and other trees, lovely little gardens, a great children’s play area and accommodation of various types plus powered and unpowered sites. There are permanent residents too, maybe 30. Some are real characters! There are two sets of managers, husbands and wives (or partners, I haven’t asked) and all are lovely and so helpful. As I have continued to visit, I have got to know them well. Initially I got them to reverse onto my powered site, now I do it myself.

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The children love the train in the Botanical Gardens.

A new venture is about creating traditions and it is satisfying to consciously be doing this. Most of our traditions are those of our family or just seem to arrive; these new ones are mine!
One of these is to take food basics (or have them already in the Ducato) but visit the nearby supermarket and choose dinner and TREATS!! Dinner is often salmon, steak or lamb chops as I have two burners on the gas stove plus the microwave, so simple is the best. I also do one dish meals like beef stroganoff and chicken laksa. Treats are often from the bakery (much nicer than our local one in Levin), pate, dip (salmon is nice) and other tasty munchies to keep me happy. Dinner tonight is leftover beef stroganoff, homemade potato salad and cos salad with tomato and feta. I’m not starving. There is also a Chinese/fish and chip shop a mere 10 minute walk away, I don’t go often but it’s nice for a change.

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One of the aviary birds

I always managed to forget something. Once it was my FitBit charger, once leggings (which I wear in winter), my fleece (and it was cool that weekend) and margarine. I have, at the same time, learned to take less as space is at a premium and I am the sort that packs everything and more. I don’t use a list now so that a step forward.

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Being mobile has also resulted in my having a mobile office. Friday is my full office day and it seemed a good idea to sometimes have it in Palmy. Although I have the mobile phone for contact I didn’t realise just how often the landline rings. In becoming mobile I now use iCloud, have bought myself a new iPad and a new iPhone. Initially I was buying an internet plan at the motor camp, with the new phone I have rollover data and I am tethering the iPad/laptop to the phone, I have fewer distraction here (even with the ducks, birds and lovely setting) than I do at home.

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The satellite dish for TV was initially a challenge, it seemed so straightforward when it was explained by the expert. Thirteen turns, point the black arrow to the north, then line it up to 120 somethings and it was done. I didn’t have TV for the first two visits and didn’t miss it really, maybe the news but I have a radio. I have used the compass on the phone, bought a compass, looked at other campers dishes and now can manage it after 15 minutes of frustrating fiddling and getting in and out the van to look at that jolly thing! When I got it right I took a photo with the phone which helped a little but not a lot.

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The TV satellite dish adjusting thingie.

The satellite was one of the reasons that, until November, I stayed tethered to my site via the electricity cord, the other was that I was slowly gaining confidence at driving the Ducato in the city. Palmerston North isn’t a big city by world standards but in a country of 4.5 million people (half of whom live in Auckland) it is all relative to what we are used to. I live rurally near a small town! Returning home after my first visit I noticed I had forgotten to lock the LPG gas door 😦 I saw it in the wing mirrors and pulled over and shut it, feeling very embarrassed!

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I know my way around Palmy well but it has taken a little time to get used to the size of the Ducato in comparison to my tiny granny car.

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