Narrowboat AREandARE

From the 2009 & 2010 tantalising tales, traumas and stunning photographs of Barry (photographer) and Sandra (writer) from New Zealand aboard NB 'Northern Pride', to the stories of their 2013 return journey, purchase of 'AREandARE', progress on sustaining their live aboard continuous cruiser lifestyle, and Barry's quest to gain residency and 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' in UK ...

Thursday 25 August 2011

A few days down South - part two New Zealand

This blog is a little distraction from completing our 2010 canal trip, to showcase the South Island of New Zealand.

A couple of weeks ago we spent five days in Queenstown as Barry's niece was getting married.  It was a rare opportunity for Barry and his siblings to get together, as well as other family members who hadn't seen each other for a while.

I booked the trip as soon as Emma and Mathu announced their wedding date, finding a bargain price of a flight from Auckland to Queenstown for 25% of the cost of flying from Gisborne.  The problem with living in a city so remote from anywhere is that most of the flights are far more expensive than those from the major centres.  We also booked accommodation early via the 'Holiday Homes' website that we also rent our house with, which was a 20 minute walk into town.  This was fine going in, but coming home at night time after a few drinks in an Irish bar called Pog Mahone's (that we seemd to spend an inordinate amount of time in!) was a bit of a struggle as it was mostly uphill, but it was well worth it for the outstanding views ...

P1440345 The view from our studio apartment - breathtaking isn't it?


 And a closer look from the balcony ...



























 It really is the most picturesque place 

P1440420A Guess where the rich people live in Queenstown? In their pots of gold at the end of the rainbow of course! 


 Looking down the Frankton Arm to Queenstown Bay


 The majestic TSS Earnslaw, reported to be the only coal-fired passenger-carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere, which takes tourists out for trips daily


 Spectacular scenery whichever way you turn ...


 The very remarkable Remarkables!












 Sandra and Ray all dressed up for the climate 


 Barry's sister Jenny, brother Ray, mum June, Sandra and Barry's brother Peter














 A trip on 'The Million Dollar' cruise - Sandra and June checking out the houses at the end of the rainbow! 


 The beauty of going on the cheaper boat trip is that you get to see the more expensive one from a better angle!


 Stunning setting - and below some of the million dollar residences ...


















 P1440573  Our accommodation unit middle left on the ground floor 


 Lake Wakatipu is drained by the Kawarau River, which flows out from the Frankton Arm, 8 km east of Queenstown











"Ahoy" Captain Sandra - a little larger than Northern Pride - and June, the matriarch of the vessel 











Fun with a spot of ice-skating - Sandra relives her childhood (though fortunately not the part at her friend's 12th birthday party where she fell over and someone skated over her fingers!!) 


The sun sets on another perfect day in paradise

There's no photos of the wedding here as the bride hasn't yet seen them - Barry was the photographer of course!  The ceremony was in the mountains with a backdrop of a ruined building and was a very personalised event.  Around thirty five guests were taken there by a private bus, which subsequently took us all on a tour of a couple of wineries as the reception, one of which was based in an underground, man-made cave.  A most unusual and enjoyable day until the end of the bus trip when Barry's sister Jenny tripped over some fallen slate as she walked back to the vehicle (yes, a little wine had been consumed!), and managed to cause a deep gash in her leg.  I, being the nurse on the bus (!), gave her initial first aid and got the driver to take her to the Medical Centre in Queenstown where she had six stitches put in!  Returning to Pog Mahone's for the remainder of the reception, I then found myself searching for Barry, who'd discovered that trying to catch up with everyone else's drinking after being the official photographer meant that he didn't eat too well and became rather unwell - so my night ended taking the injured Jenny and rather green looking Barry, home!!

Monday 22 August 2011

A few days down south - part one England

Only a week left to complete for our 2010 journey, I don't think we'll string it out until the end of October!   Barry's been upsetting himself looking at narrowboats for sale, and saw an almost perfect one the other day called guess what?  'Moonshine'!  It ticked every one of our essential boxes apart from one, and made us feel impatient to be coming back to live on the canals.  Never mind, on the bright side we were reassured that we can get the boat that's in our vision, and time is slipping by so quickly that 2013 will be upon us in a flash!

It's been pretty cool here in the late winter of New Zealand, with Auckland and Wellington getting some rare snow falls - luckily it missed out Gisborne, apart from a good cover on the hills that surround the city.  Our next blog will show some stunning photos from our recent trip to Queenstown, where the week after we left they had a huge 'dump' of snow - I'm not sure if I was sad or glad to have missed that!

Today we can feel spring in the air, the sun is shining and the blossom's blooming, snowdrops are flowering and there's a few daffodils around.  The most wonderful things for me in the spring here, that I've missed out on over the past few years, are the wild freesias that grow along the dunes at Wainui beach.  I walked there with my dear friend Therese a few days ago and picked some - they smell divine and are sitting next to me as I type.

Friday 22 October to Monday 25th October

We drove in our rental car down to the New Forest in England for a 'Walsh' family long-weekend away.  We'd previously spent four get-togethers at an amazing place called 'Northmoor House' in Dulverton, Somerset, in the Exmoor National Park, but as our family has grown considerably since our last visit in 2008 we didn't think we'd all fit in so decided to try somewhere different.  With parents, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as husbands and partners, there were 29 of us with just one person sadly missing as he wasn't feeling too well - shame you missed it Rob, we'll get you next year!

Sadly the place we chose wasn't a patch on Northmoor House, but we had lots of fun and laughter anyway.  Barry and I have booked to return to England for just under three weeks in March 2011 and I'm so excited that we have discovered we CAN fit all our family into Northmoor House if we book the Lodge as well - yahoo!











 A walk in the woods with Kim and Lisa - and guess where Christchurch, NZ, got its name from? 


 Photo opportunities around every corner - a relaxing waterfall ...


 ... and a stormy sea


 We'll all just watch the waves, no sufers amongst us!















 Some brave folks were making the most of the swells


 What a great photo of Kim, Sandra and Lisa












 Two of the additions to the Walsh family - Phil and Ria-May


 Across the sea is the Isle of Wight and the Needles


 A spot of lunch for 15!










 A rather affluent area with some delightful cottages


 The obligatory family portrait, Barry just managed to organise everyone by dusk!


 Saying goodbye to Kim at the station


 The ferry to the Isle of Wight














 Loads of money around at Lymmington!


 Imagine if these all went out to sea at the same time?!










 A family walkabout - shame for Sandra's parents, at 77 and 91 they still hold hands 














 Quaint, colourful buildings in Lymmington 




 And a rather old street light still survives ...


 ... possibly a similar age to Sandra's father?  What an amazing man ...


 ... after having four daughters he gave up and bought himself a train set!!


A rare get-together for Katherine, Linda, Sandra and Viv

It was certainly a full-on weekend, Barry's first with the whole of my family, and he coped admirably - only taking off down the pub the once on the Sunday and leading a few of the other males astray (I recall having a little trouble getting them to return to eat, which didn't go down too well!!).  We played 'sardines' where someone has to go and hide, then whoever finds them has to hide with them until the last person makes it - hilarious in tight spots but not nearly as fun as it is at Northmoor in a huge stately home!  We also had a fantastic quiz night, that my niece and nephew organised, and we all played in different coloured teams.

The house we stayed in was actually three houses together, so it was a little fraught at times and we're all now looking forward to March 2011 ...