Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Back from a wee break- Party Time; Part 2


Continued on from Part 1

After arriving home from Melbourne we had a couple of days to adjust to NZ time and get ship-shape before family started arriving from out of town to help Mum & Dad celebrate their Diamond wedding anniversary (60 years). We held a function at the local RSA for everyone on the Saturday night. We all had a ball, there was lots of laughs as old family stories and tall tales were told. It was lovely to see so many happy, smiling people enjoying themselves.

A lot of the credit for the fun and laughter has to go to my two cousins (twin sisters) who acted as MCs for the night. They added to the high-jinks and really helped make the night one to remember.

Mum & Dad were married in 1958 and one of the twins' daughters owns this 1958 Morrie so the twins arrived in the carpark making one hell of a noise with the rattling cans dragging behind and signs on the windows. My uncle, who'd caught a ride with his daughters, had slunk down low in the backseat, highly embarrassed- he collects classic Chevs!

Here's one photo I wanted to share with you; females reign supreme on Mum's side of the family, she is the oldest of eight; 2 boys & 6 girls. Most of the siblings had girls and their daughters have also had plenty of girls. Johnstone girls are high-spirited, fun, loud, energetic and some (most) of them can talk the bottom off a tin can. Here's a photo of the Johnstone cousins that attended, my brother was the only male there. That's my sister on the left, me, then three groups of sisters- you work out who belongs to who.  

We hosted a BBQ lunch at home for everyone the next day as Mum was also celebrating a significant birthday. It was a good chance to catch up with the extended family that had arrived from out-of town and some of the younger family members that weren't at the party the night before. 

Across the generations- Mum's reading the Queens 60th anniversary message to her great-nieces, Eva, Rosa & Lucy. Mum & Dad also received congratulatory cards from the Governor General, Prime Minister, Minister for Seniors and the local MP. 

Once we'd wound down from the festivities and seen the last of the family back to their home town, David & I set about arranging to have some of  the fifth-wheeler's interior refurbished. After six years, the upholstery and carpet were getting a little worn (in fact I'd worn a patch of carpet away below the dining table- it's where I sit at my computer). 

I'd found Douglas Auto & Marine Upholstery in Hastings on the internet, we had a chat with them, were happy with the quote so booked the van in for the 5 days they needed it for. We emptied our gear into Mum & Dads' garage which was very convenient, we wouldn't have managed without it. David then removed the bed bases and dinning bench seats so the carpet could be laid under them. Mum & Dad had a spare bed for us but we had to go to Tauranga for a few days so it worked out well, we drove up there and stayed at a friend's B&B while 'Out There' was getting a makeover.

We also decided, while we were at it, that we'd replace the concertinaed blinds and heavy material pelmets which I've had a tolerate/hate relationship with since the beginning! We were hoping that by removing the pelmets it would open the room up and make it more airy & spacious. With so much wood and the beige walls (American's love their dark wood and upholstery) we decided not to move too far away from the original colour scheme, just freshen it up a little. 

David located a great place in Onekawa, Blinds 2000 Ltd, they measured and ordered the blinds after we decided on the type and colour. The only fly in the ointment was the three week delivery time frame. Originally we were going to be heading off at the beginning of August and we thought they'd have to send them on to us for David to fit but in the end we decided to stay put (winter colds helped make that decision) and the blinds did arrive a week earlier than expected anyway.

You'll probably not notice too much difference but it really has given the interior a pick-me-up. The upholstery looks quite pinkish in some of the 'after' photos but it's not, that's the camera playing tricks. It is a lot lighter than the old material though. Here are the before (2013) & after photos, I now think it's time to change my cushions and floor rug!

And with the blinds closed-

These are Thermacell blinds, the honeycomb effect traps air and provides a barrier against the cold but the best part is that they have 'black-out' colour inside the concertinaed pleats, it's now lovely and dark which may mean I might miss a few sunrises!

We also replaced the two venetians in the kitchen, they now drop from under the cupboards making it look like we have a large back window.

We are both thrilled with the changes and very pleased with the service received from both companies. I'd have no hesitation in recommending them if you're looking to do some interior work. Douglas' also do awnings.

Back 'Out There' .....

.... just as the itchy feet started to return we headed to one of our favourite camps with our motorhoming family for a few days. 

Glenfalls DOC Camp is on the banks of the Mohaka River, 50kms north of Napier and 8kms off the Napier-Taupo road. Over summer it can sometimes be a very busy place but in the middle of winter there was just one other motorhome and us three. 

Mind you, the site wasn't looking it's best due to a winter storm that has flooded down the nearby stream from the range behind and spread silt, rocks and mud out over the track at the southern end of the camp. Someone in a digger has 'helpfully' tried to clear the track but has instead dug it deeper and got bogged down dumping the silt. And it was also a boggy mess at the northern end too! The middle though, where we usually go, was just right- high, dry and flat! 

And then there was one! We stayed on for another day just as the sky cleared and the trout started biting. 

It'll be another week or so before we're back on the road, so until the next blog here's a photo to keep you going- freesias and bees, a sure sign that spring has arrived!


  1. What a lovely time you all had at your mum and dads 60th wedding anniversary. I’m loving your improvements to the interior of your fifth-wheeler. Looking very flash indeed, makes a big difference. May I ask, did you cover your seating in leather?

    1. Thanks Jill, glad you like the improvements. No, it's not leather, the old stuff was that faux leather (it started breaking down where the sun shone on the seat backs). This is a heavy duty upholstery vinyl.

  2. The improvements are great and enjoyed your story.i love seeing people happy. cheers Andrea.

  3. Glad to read loads of great news especially about the youngest and the eldest in the family. Please extend our belated congratulations to Mum & Dad - what an achievement! I also like the makeover of the blinds very much, it makes a lot of difference ambience and practical wise. I smiled when I read that you were taking photos more and more with handphones. I can't remember the last time I took out my conventional camera, had been unconsciously converted by the convenience of new technology...

    1. Hi Offstone, lovely to hear from you again. Hope you are both well and planning your next holiday. Mum& Dad say thanks for the congrats, they had a wonderful time with family & friends. Pleased you like the makeover too. And also sorry to tell you but I'll never swap to my cellphone for photos :) I only use it as backup (and in Aussie because it was more of a family time and it was easier to use my phone instead of lugging camera and a baby about! Take care.


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