Apologies for delay in publishing latest blog………….
Leaving Houhora we decided it would be rude not to head back to Tauranga Bay and it was there that another (hohum) lockdown alert was triggered. As we had been travelling we were more conscious about social distancing but I guess the rest of the travellers didn’t receive the memo and so coffee mornings and happy hours occurred with gay abandon. We stayed for a month and then headed south to Ruakaka to stay with the boys; Greg and Brendan to complete some work before our COF was due and to do some tech maintenance to our 240 inverter and diesel heater wiring.
The quiet, country lifestyle has been an idyllic and stressless (almost) sojourn in the history of Dogonit. We have been privileged to be able to settle here in Ruakaka thanks to the gracious hospitality of Greg and Brendan; guys we initially met in New Plymouth who invited us to park up when we were travelling through. Who knew we would been here for 2 months while New Zealand entered another chapter of the book of life entitled Covid-19 the dark years.
There isn’t a great deal to add to this chapter suffice to say that Mac and Rose now consider it another home and get so excited when Greg and Brendan arrive home on the weekdays. Mac and Rose are very happy to spend time with the boys going off to move the cattle, Rose particularly likes to go on the tractor.
I also have to add that Greg makes a mean pizza!!! We have enjoyed two pizza nights since we arrived but we tend to respect each other’s space and the boys have commented that they forget we are here lol; I find that hard to believe although Brendan did comment that he was reminded when he could hear me yell Mac/Rose…..1, Mac/Rose………..2 as they ignored instructions and were too focused doing their own thing.
There has been reciprocity as we use their facilities and sharing of RV/caravan knowledge and tools. We are exceedingly grateful for their generosity regarding length of stay and we enjoy the banter that comes from being comfortable in each other’s company. You meet all sorts on the road; some we are happy to never see again lol, some have become entrenched in our hearts………too deep and meaningful?…..I’ll move on.
Living the rural lifestyle has been interesting The boys spend time with their small herd of cattle; talking to them, scratching them and when they are moved they just quietly follow them to the next pasture.
The usual rabbit and possum issues arise and is quietly taken care of with an air rifle or trap and the process is as humane as possible. I like that!! Traffic has been light too……..although we have several incidents of being held up on the road by inconsiderate poultry.
We have done the usual maintenance and Rod had no issue with getting the COF done on Dogonit which is why we came to Whangarei in the first instance. We were also able to arrange to have our gas system certified which was another tick on the list. We also managed to make new wills/trust while here (the old ones were so out of date); thought it was relevant with Covid making it’s presence felt in New Zealand.
Keeping in touch and staying connected with friends via the internet has been a blessing, Facebook, txts, emails, even playing cards (500) on Trickster are some of the ways we have worked on staying connected with those we cannot see face to face. On wet, rainy days we have watched the entire re-runs of Mash as we snuggle down on Dogonit.
Getting equipment from overseas has become far more expensive and difficult to source. As you know we have had oven issues in the past and these have never fully resolved so we contacted Furion who offered us a good deal but the freighting was exorbitant to say the least and we were considering a less desirable option. However a call to an old business mate of Rod’s meant that we had a less expensive option to freight a new oven over and this is currently a work in progress.
We have celebrated an annniversary since our arrival and it was nice to be able to enjoy the event having dinner out rather than being locked down. We have avoided Auckland over this lockdown (the first outside Auckland for us) but it is saddening to watch friends who have had their lives impacted so adversely for 90 days +……… I guess the other issue regarding this is that not everyone complies with the regulations and this just adds to the unfairness of watching close friends/family struggle with huge loss over that time. There appears to be no impartiality to how some people are given consent to cross borders and others are rejected.
So…………………moving on to Dargaville tomorrow for 10 days. We are considering heading to Auckland but have concerns that Aunty Jacinda may again make an announcement about an announcement and lock them down again. Hard to make decisions in such an indecisive boundaries that can change at a whim…..sad!
An interesting diversion on-route to Dargaville when we were pulled over for a random check on the truck and Dogonit, ensuring we were compliant for the road. The officer was thorough but had a great sense of humour so we couldn’t resist a photo opportunity.
Situations change as rapidly as a Covid outbreak in an unvaccinated world……………..we had been staying in Dargaville enjoying the luxury of a concrete pad rather than grass/sand/gravel and had spent a morning visiting Glinks Gully which is a beach outside of Dargaville. It had been 4-5 years since we were last there and las time feasted gleefully on Tuatuas but sadly none were to be had this time around…….the only things I found of interest were some broken sand dollars, a home for lost soles and the crooked little house.
We returned home from our beach trip to an alarm stridently sounding off. The last of the Chinese-purchased tech gear had failed. Note to self: DO NOT PURCHASE TECHNICAL GEAR IN CHINA!! Our experience has been that they fail well before their expected date. We have had to replace our lithium batteries, one 240 volt inverter and now the 120 inverter in two years……sad!! Although it is more expensive to purchase these items in New Zealand at least you can have the safety of the Consumer Guarantees Act tofall back on.
We had some hassle purchasing a replacement and then getting a Sub-60 courier (on a Friday) to deliver it to Wade and Trish for pick-up by us planned for Saturday. I cannot express enough how friends have been so supportive and gone an extra mile or 100 during our times of need!! We would have been in difficulty if not for Wade and Trish picking up the slack and racing over the hill like the US Calvary.
We packed up and left Dargarville (reluctantly I might add) and headed towards the border of Auckland in Covid-country. The delay at the border was short but were worried when one of the young Navy lads asked if we had had a covid test….oops…..no. We were waved over to the side to await the police check.
The Police sergeant then asked about our reason for travelling and we explained that Auckland was our home……….did we have proof of that? Yes we said and produced an invoice with our address on it. He then asked how long we had been away…………….explained we had run away from home 2 years ago except for a couple of short visits to pick/drop off gear on our way through. He asked how long we had been up north…………..8 months we explained. Did we have proof……………yes we said, but the Covid app only goes to September so I opened my bank account and went to April/May so he could see purchases made in Northland. He did make a comment on the amount spent in a liquor shop lol. We were then waved on. We were absolutely shocked by the sheer volume of traffic on the road………………..wow we had forgotten about that!!
We met Wade and Trish at a gas station on Oteha Valley Road; taking up too much space and making it difficult for traffic to pass through……………….sorry to those we inconvenienced. We had a very brief hug before heading back on the road NOT to our address of residence but to Waiuku; sorry for the misdirection officer.
Thanks to other generous friends Allan and Donna (great name) who have a small lifestyle block with a paddock in which are currently ensconced in a large fenced area and it is great. How did we get so fortunate? Rod has already fitted the new inverter and we are again at full capacity so all is well!! We will be here for a while as he has a hearing specialist appt later this month so an ETD is unknown at this stage.