Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
The deadline has been lifted and the pressure is off. The only pressure left is financial. The girls had called on the 9th to wish her goodbye, even Alex was sending texts asking what time her flight was so she could call. I can't begin to describe their reaction when Sinead told them she'd extended her flight 'again'.
Following a quick visit in Christchurch to catch up with a few emails, we headed slightly North to a small town called Kaiapoi, for no other reason than it would make a change and 'why not?'
We've been here at the Riverlands Holiday Park for the last six nights. Sinead has been foot resting and catching up with her journal, I've been catching up with the largely unfinished Travelogue that has needed attention and completion for quite a while. It's a very quiet, peaceful place here and the perfect opportunity to catch up with things. The people are really friendly (lots of them live here permanently) and it's been very worthwhile staying.
As I've spent most of the time catching up with things, there's not a great deal to report, though I suppose there are a couple of things worth a mention. Regarding the van, we've worked out a better way to 'lounge' using Bob's handy backrests, giving us more room and a lot more comfort. I've also managed to fix the electrics underneath the bed in a more permanent and convenient way so that all that needs doing on camp site arrival is to plug directly in to the hookup from the back of the van - a lot more straightforward than before.
After messing around for so long with mobile phone calculators, breaking down receipts, time wasting and generally tearing our hair out, we've finally decided to have a kitty. After working out a worse-case scenario budget for food, beer, accommodation, laundry, petrol, and other bits and bobs, we drew our cash on Friday and filled the 'Kitty' full. So at the moment it's a case of trial and error and discovering what the reality costs of living and travelling are, even though we've stayed put for a while and costs are a little lower. Interestingly, after negotiating a better rate for our pitch with the site manager based on us staying a few more nights, Sinead has quite keenly started a book listing daily expenditure for the different categories and enthusiastically forecasting how 'ahead' of budget we are for each of these different categories with all sorts of running totals and breakdowns of mealtimes and things! Mmmm - a different side to the laid back, smiley Sinnyad we all know? I'll have to keep a close eye on her or the girls will have to come and rescue me from 'Monica'! Her foot's getting a lot better now which is good, though she does comment now and again how it 'clicks' sometimes (!)
Oh, another nice little surprise the other day; I bumped in to Dean crossing the road in Christchurch, totally out of the blue. He hadn't noticed me at first then came over and wrapped his arms around me. It was so good to see him and we swiftly nipped off for a coffee and a catch up. He's looking really well too which we concluded was down to the introduction of Tofu in to his current vegan diet structure. He's been having a great time and we arranged to meet up for a few beers over the next few days. I also heard from Esther a couple of days ago who was also due to arrive in Christchurch. I actually met up with her earlier today for lunch in the Asian food court before she left, again for Wellington. It felt like I hadn't seen her for ages but it was really good to catch up. She's decided to head back to Welly to find work and a flat of some sort, and to just settle for a couple of months. After lunch and a good catch up I drove her to the airport where we said our goodbyes, for now. It was really great to see her and catch up and share some stories. As I understand it too, Young Neil is currently in Wellington and may be moving over to the land of the South in the not too distant future. I've also heard from Micky who has finally managed to leave Paihia and the far North and who's now currently donning the flattering uniform of 'New World' at their store in Wanaka. I just have to see that.
The weather has been terrible today, cold and rainy with a lot of wind. This evening we decided to sit in the van listening to music. I'd found a way earlier to fix the small speakers I'd bought on 'refurb day' to the tops of the curtains by the back door without them falling off. It worked quite well and sounded good enough so we were just sat there chilling for a while in the van. The next thing, Sinead starts looking oddly out of the front window at the vehicle that had just pulled up and parked right up close to the front of the van, nose to nose. After a bit of confusion and closer inspection she said 'that's never Mannion!' A moment later, the side door was open and we were looking at the beaming smiles of Traoine, Chicken and Jen who had decided to surprise us and stay here for one night before heading off to Akaroa for Jen's last few days. They'd booked themselves in to a cabin just opposite the kitchen. Half an hour later we were all piled in, sharing an exciting night of giggles and travel tales. They've all had a great time touring some of the South Island and couldn't believe our stories, especially Sinead's cliff jumping antics!