31 May 2020

Lockdown - still getting those jobs done

How is life treating you?  Sick of lockdown?  Sticking to the rules?

We finished the laundry room last week and we are really happy with it.  The room seems so much bigger with the units in place and the run of worktop makes sorting the laundry so much easier.  No one chucking it on the floor. The whole job cost £117 which was for the worktop and the extension hose for the washing machine.  The units were painted with a tin of Ronseal garden paint I had bought last year then decided it was wrong for that particular job.  The blind was from one of the bedrooms and I tarted it up with a string of pompom bunting which I simply glue gunned on.  I pains takingly scrubbed the life back into the floor tiles, whilst not brilliant they are more than suitable for what is a room off the back of the garage. All the other paint was left over from when the house was redecorated, so it turned out to be a very thrifty makeover.

We have been busy keeping on top of the garden and it is looking lovely right now, May is one of the best months in the garden. We found a newly opened nursery only 10 minutes drive away and I have found myself there on the last four Sundays, I went today and met with our youngest daughter, for bedding plants for my wall pots now that we have an irrigation system in place and I could have gone crazy, so many lovely plants but to be honest I really don't have too much more space for them.  Once some of the early perennials have gone over I'll have a better idea.

We are hoping that we may get back to France soon as the borders are reopening, though we will need to quarantine at both sides unless Boris changes his mind.  This tit for tat quarantining is helping no one.  I do worry that this virus is here to stay for some time and just what life is going to be like in the near future.

I/we (not all) have been knitting, baking, cooking, walking and reading.  

My first proper loaf of bread, which turned out pretty well

Oven baked Chorizo scotch eggs

Asparagus ends soup - saved wasting them and it turned out well

Pretend 'pub visit' after a 6 mile walk

I finished my cardigan, but still awaiting the delivery of buttons.  I mean does it really take over a week to put 8 buttons in an envelope? I have started making the next 20 hot water bottles, I have 5 completed so far but not taken any photos

I met up with my friend Manda on Tuesday for a socially distancing catch up, so good to be out and able to sit and have a natter.  Had a WhatsApp video call with Joan, which we have been enjoying since lockdown started. We are looking forward to being able to have a proper visit with the grandchildren, talking over video just isn't the same, for one they don't keep still for 5 minutes.  Life feels a little more like normal, in that there are more people about but with it comes the fear.  In some respects I wish there was a compulsory mask order then you would know that everyone was doing it rather than just a few, and I have a real problem with people who just don't respect space.  I can't see me rushing back to the shops anytime soon, though just to have the choice would be good. I think that's all anyone wants, the choice to make up your own mind about your life.  

And with that I will call it a day.  The sun is shining, my book - The Dutch House - is waiting and it must be nearly gin o'clock.  Take care xx

22 May 2020

Retirement Trip - South goes North

Saturday dawned misty so we decided we would head over to Picton and chance our arm on changing our ferry crossing.  We arrived at 9:45am parked up and went to the ticket office.  We were told that we could change to the 11am ferry as long as we were in the check-in queue by 10am, needless to say we made a mad dash back to the camper and straight round to the check-in.  No time to worry about the fact that we were going on a nearly 4 hour sea crossing - I'm not a great lover of boats - seasick and all that.  But as it turned out it was a beautiful day and we got ourselves a bench out on the front deck of the ship, sunny but very breezy.  The views were amazing and neither of us felt sick which was great. Though Peter got did get sunburnt.

As we disembarked we got a huge shock - so much traffic - after three weeks in the South with very quiet roads it was a bit disconcerting. Once we cleared Wellington and its suburbs we finally started to encounter the type of roads we had been used too though with more vehicles. We had a great twisty climb up Rimutaka Hill.  Luckily we had parked up when a long convoy of trucks came in the opposite direction, pulling into the parking bay to let the miles of traffic pass that had built up behind them.  Photos below

Once clear of the hill the land turned flat and featureless, burnt yellow from the drought conditions, poor cattle trying to nibble at non existent green shoots.  We ended the day on a campsite in Masterton, a long sprawling town built mainly on one level.  We ended up having Chinese for dinner which was actually very good, huge portions with lots of lovely veggies

Sunday 15 March

Another bright and sunny start, we headed off towards Lake Taupo for a two night stay.  Along to way we stopped into Napier - The Art Deco capital of New Zealand - .  Napier was destroyed by earthquake and rebuilt in the Art Deco style, I took so many photographs, I hope you are ready

It was an enjoyable wander round. We got a Mexican lunch and checked in on the news, things were really starting to look grim around the world, but still nothing from the Foreign Office to cause alarm.

Left Napier mid afternoon and motored up the Thermal Explorer Highway scenic route ending the day at a campsite just on the outskirts of Lake Taupo - this is where I stopped filling in my journal, so where we went next will be down to my photographs and the maps.

I'll leave you there today