Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Grand Union

I had slept like a log.  Hubby not so.  He had been kept awake by three inconsiderate backpackers in the next room.  Two male and one female were being raucous until about 4.30 am when another guest knocked on their door.  The men then took their conversation to the Internet room which just happened to be on our other side.  I suppose I am so used to loud noises during the night (I don't snore!!) from a certain quarter, that I am able to sleep through lesser sounds.

So, I was quite perky at breakfast and Hubby bleary-eyed.  Once more into the peanut butter and ham, dear friends!  I love it.  So much so that I made a couple of butties to consume on our bus journey.  We didn't have to vacate our room until 11am, so Hubby had time for a little more shut-eye and snore-nose.  

There was a regular bus route down to the Harbour.  At only 50 cents each, it was a no-brainer, especially as the rain was drizzling.  The driver only charged for one of us.  Perhaps he misunderstood my request.  I had to be honest (and I didn't want to be thrown off if the inspector got on).  He was a lovely chap and I wouldn't want his takings to be down.

At the Harbour front it was blowing a right hoolie (that means it was very windy).  We both struggled to walk and had to lean forwards into the wind to make any headway.  Our 13kg wheelie bags (as weighed by airport staff). Suddenly became unwieldy beings.  Their little wheels left the floor and we had a right fight on to bring them down to Earth.  Clutching coats, hats and bags, we made our way around the corner into the safety of cafe.

I left Hubby there, drinking a hot chocolate and playing on the free wifi.  Like Captain Scott's friend 'I may be some time', I headed off wondering if I would ever make it back and thinking our roles should have been reversed.

My aim was to purchase the Wifi and mobile we had seen yesterday.  The shop in question had the grand title of - Dick Smith!  The assistant looked puzzled when I asked for the Huawei (my pronunciation being Harway).  'Oh you mean Who are We.  That's because no one knows where they come from'.  Sold to the lady.  She liked the humour.  I also picked up a neat little Vodafone phone for 12 dollars.  It gave 20 dollars worth of calls plus unlimited texts, so it seemed like a bargain.  

Hubby took some persuading to move from his cosy corner.  The news that the wind had quietened was the deciding factor.  Our Naked Bus waited around the corner.  No, we didn't have to take our clothes off.  Shame really.  There were a few fine specimens on board.  Sadly, we were not allowed to take food or drink on the bus.  Good job my butties were well hidden.  Thankfully they didn't have a sniffer dog to check.

I asked the driver what time we could board.  'In two seconds my dear.  Just wait there.'  So, I was first on.  Straight into the front seat.  No queasy travelling for me today.

Our driver was a happy chappie but he was insistent on keeping to time.  At the next stop, a young Maori girl was struggling with the windy conditions.  Her hat blew one way, papers another.  Her little sister ran around collecting them.  Fully loaded, yet wearing no shoes (quite usual over here), she went to say goodbye to her family.  The driver hurried her along as he thought the wind was delaying him.  

Later in the journey, we were given instructions that there would be a 5 minute toilet stop.  After 4 minutes he would sound his horn (demonstration of ear-blasting noise).  Anyone not back dead on 5 minutes would be left behind.  He had done it before and he would do it again.  Hubby and I leaped off as soon as the bus stopped.  We hobbledy skipped back the 200 yards and crossed the road to the inconveniently placed conveniences.  'Don't wait for me.  I won't wait for you!' I said desperately.  Rushing in, I dropped my pants and plonked myself down.  Nothing happened.  Not a drop.  Come on.  Come on.  I knew my bladder was full.  Think of a running tap.  Nothing.  Think of a waterfall.  Nothing.  Think of the elephant in Cambodia.  Ah relief.  Still zipping up, I flew out the door, almost into Hubby's arms.  Hobbledy skipping we were just in time to hear the driver say, 'This'll wake the young bu..ars up' as he sounded the horn.  The smokers on the pavement almost zoomed into orbit.  

Off we went.  Suddenly we started recognising places and things.  There was a massive P and L bottle, the emblem of Paeroa, where the famous drink is produced.  (Google it if you have never heard of it).   A friend back in Derbyshire introduced us to this refreshing pop.  

Further along was the mine at Waihi.  We had visited that last time.  Next stop was Katikati and the moment of truth.  Would Paul really exist or would our Motorhome now be in the hands of a ruthless fraudster??  The bus pulled over and we climbed down.  I had no idea what this man looked like.  How would we know him??

'There he is,' said Hubby confidently, striding out, arm outstretched to greet a strange man.  By strange, I don't mean odd.  I should have written unfiliar.  By Jove, Hubby was right ( he always is ). All our calculations and travels had come to fruition.  We were here in New Zealand about to meet our Motorhome.  It had been on its own journey across the ocean and through the Panama Canal.  Now it would be our home for the best part of the next six months.

Before that I needed to purchase some necessities.  I flew round a local supermarket tossing some staple foods into a trley.  Breads, eggs, milk, chocolate biscuits and MORE chocolate biscuits.  The New Zealand dollar was easier to understand than the dong or baht.  

We drove the short distance to Paul's workshop where our vehicle had been stored to protect it from some earlier heavy winds.  Paul told us about glass windows which had been blown out of sky scrapers in Auckland.  That accounted for the sirens and fire engines we had seen earlier.  Glad they hadn't landed on us.  

He opened the garage doors and there she was.  Looking lovely apart from a little damage caused to the bumper in transit.  Some things we knew how to operate; others Paul gave instructions; others we would learn by trial and error or reading the manual.  

Before we drove away we thought it best to sort out the insurance.  It wasn't compulsory but we thought it best.  As Paul's premises did not have good coverage, I had to crouch by a roadside hedge.  The wind howled and the traffic roared.  I must have said 'Pardon' fifty times and I could envisage having to but more phone credit before the day was over.  The patient person on the other end of the line had made some sense of my ramblings.  We were insured.

Paul said he had arranged for us to stay the first night on the nearby campsite.  Perhaps he had but the lady on reception had never heard of him.  Maybe he spoke to another.  They had room for us close to the laundry room and distant from other Motorhomes.  She could obviously tell we needed fresh clothes and showers.  I saw her nose wrinkle and not in a Samantha way.  

I asked the receptionist how we should park.  The strict ethics of the UK Caravan Club had not reached this part of the world.  There was no pole which had to be aligned with the centre rear of our vehicle and no attendant to tut if you got it slightly wrong.  We were allowed to park just as we liked as long as we were on our own plot.

We trundled round and  had just started to plug into the mains (the Motorhome, not us.  Fizzzzzz!!!) when a lady in PJs and dressing gown came a-calling.  She had a good tale or two or three or four or more to tell.  My time was precious and I needed to wash my clothes before midnight or goodness knows what they would turn into.  Making polite excuses, I climbed onboard to sort my laundry.  Hubby said he had none.  He suddenly acquired quite a large pile!!

The lady at reception had changed my NZ notes for coins.  I had enough for the 2 and 1 machines (new terminology for a washing machine with slots for 2 dollar and 1 dollar coins. I will have a laundrology by the end of this trip.  I must let Ms Lipman know). 

Washing whirring nicely, I fancied a hot drink.  Now either our kettle had never been hidden away by the Motorhome company ( slapped wrists) or someone in NZ Customs had confiscated it (handcuffed wrists). Either way we shall never know.  We had no way of boiling water.  Back to reception I trudged.  No lady there.  Her husband was on duty.  I explained my quandary.  'Come to me shed,' he said.  Was this a NZ euphemism for something sinister.  I hoped not.  It wasn't.  I had a good furtle in his shed ( I said his SHED you naughty people!!) I found a very dusty electric kettle which he loaned us for that night.  

So, our first meal in our new home was the auspicious delight of ham and peanut butter sandwiches ( remember, I smuggled them onto the Naked Bus) washed down with the very last morsels of our UK hot chocolate drink.  We toasted our good health and happiness with our splendid plastic mugs.  They had travelled all the way with us.  

Using my friend Mally's saying 'A place for everything and everything in its place', I started to store our belongings.  Oh - no coathangers.  Just fold them and put them in the wardrobe.  Little by little, I realised all the items I needed to help our home function properly.  It began with kettle and ended with nail clippers.

Over to the laundry to pop everything into the tumble drier.  Too dark to hang on the line now.  Back to the 'home' to sort out the new 'Who are we' Wifi.  Failed miserably.  Boo hoo.  Time had run out for me to relax in the mineral spas which the receptionist had effused about.  I had just enough time to collect and fold the clean clothes, then make the bed with our exported new covers, pillows and duvet.  Thank you to the bottom patting store for those.  I was whacked but happy to climb into my new little bed with my not so new and not so little Hubby.

PS For those of you wondering what Himself was up to all this time - his turn will come tomorrow when the real driving starts.  He must be fresh and relaxed for that - ha ha!!!!!!!
PPS Apologies for lack of photos, especially of new home.  I was so excited I forgot to take any more.  Tomorrow is another day.  You will have to wait just a little longer x 

1 comment:

  1. Cannot wait for the photos + tour of NZ. Take care + keep up the blogging. More pics plse. Love Cape Town girls.