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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
22 August 2016