Quite a lot has happened since the last blog and I'd rather be concise than long winded. We've arrived in Keri Keri, Northland, with our motorhome, hired en-route in Auckland (note the step up from previously planned 'campervan') which the company kindly upgraded from a 4 to 6 berth. I thought just to fill you in with a few details of this van which we have rented until mid December. It is classed as a 'heavy truck', and we think of it as either 'The Beast' or 'The Horsebox'. The gearbox takes a bit of getting used to and having driven The Beast through Auckland at rush hour, trying to find the motorway slip road, throwing it into reverse by mistake at traffic lights, my language became that of the proverbial trooper. We cannot however, fault the facilities, and it is what they call 'self contained'. Basically, as well as a three ringed cooker, fridge, microwave, sink, hot water and TV, it has a loo and shower on board, and such vehicles are allowed to 'free camp'. This might sound like a great deal, but in reality it means that we can stay informally on designated sites that aren't campgrounds.
We have to admit being a couple of frauds since we spend the first two nights in Keri Keri in 'The Colonial Motel'. It's probably the first time that a horsebox sized motorhome has been parked outside one of their units, not least of all by the approach to the motel which we make with brushes and scrapes of the low hanging tree branches. No harm done to the paintwork, I'm pleased to say.
Keri Keri is the location of Lesley's PRIME course, the weekend of the 1st/2nd and also 8th/9th. She is required to pass this course as she will be working in rural practice. She and another 10 people spend much time practising on a $ 20,000 mannequin called 'Rescussie Annie' which has a heartbeat, breathes and speaks. I decide to take the truck out and explore nearby Keri Keri and get used to the workings of this new home and park up in a small turning area overlooking a beautiful bay. A small beat up campervan (the sort that has a bed and nothing else inside) pulls up alongside and a young couple jump out. He pulls out a gas cooker and sits it on the grass. She proceeds to sit on the grass and peel a cucumber, seems like lunchtime. It's about to be showdown time, The Beast vs The Minnow, but I do what anyone else would do, offer them water from my van. I think that the offer was lost in the translation, and they pile into my van with a pan, the cucumber, spaghetti, a jar of sauce and one quarter of a pavlova. The young French couple then proceed to christen our gas cooker and cook up a simple meal, then do the washing up. Honest, they would not let me do a thing!
In fact our fridge is not working, and the van's owner make a 10 hour round trip from Hamilton to check or replace the unit. All credit to Rob at Nomad Rentals, when he gets to Keri Keri and pulls out the fridge, it is only a loose connection which he fixes in an hour. Now that is real service.