2019-12-07 to 2020-01-04
Robert Anderson, Robyn Anderson, Simon Anderson, Nic Anderson, Jacqui Anderson, Evelyn Anderson, Edward Anderson, Vincent Anderson, Benjamin Davies, William Davies & Alistair Garland & Earl, Marion, Lily
Apart from ferocious winds upon arrival accompanied by two days of heavy rainfall, we enjoyed fine weather for the duration. Winds were low throughout.
Robert and Robyn arrived via the Mail Boat on the 7th of December for an extended stay brought about by the request from Neville Watson for access to 'our' facilities during an on-site Heki which, in the end, took place a month earlier (his mistake.) At various times we were joined by friends Earl, Marion and Daughter Lily (two nights) also Alister and Wendy (four nights) and our grandchildren and their parents Nic and Jacqui (eight nights) along with Simon (two weeks.) We departed via Helicopter exchange with Bruce and Karin on the 4th of January 2020.
Solar worked brilliantly throughout. The monitoring equipment Simon installed proved to be very informative and helpful. The display tablet permits close surveillance and management of the energy supply (when to use the various appliances, when to conserve, etc.) Most days the batteries were fully charged by late morning. For the bulk of our stay we managed to keep the battery charge above 88%.
Water We recommend that the main valve at the filters be turned off as poart of the shutdown procedure and that, for the first four minutes when it is switched back on, the filters are flushed to get rid of the inevitable sludge build up. The other reason is that when we arrived this time the toilet cistern in the Bach was overflowing into the breezeway, (This was remedied by bending the arm of the ballcock.) The water warning 'alarm' was triggered twice -once because a short stick had become lodged in the outlet of the water catcher and once for an unknown reason.
Hot Water Finally, finally, finally… Following a conversation with Dave Cunliffe during which I vented my frustration with the poorly functioning water heater he suggested we focus on the gas regulator and the next day we experimented by swapping the regulator from the old barbeque and yes, bingo! The system didn't fail again during our stay. In retrospect I am amazed that none of the professionals I had spoken to during the last (almost) two years had raised the thought that the regulator might be at fault. Apparently it is well known that gas regulators fail regularly!
Urupa A complicated story- where to begin. The 'standoff' between Trevor and Neville appears to be worsening. When I asked Trevor “how did the Heki go?” he replied that he didn't know because he “took off and left Neville and co. to it.” He then went further and indicated that he is unhappy that the trustees that he had proposed for some particular role had been rejected. He also said that Neville had indicated to the Maori Land Court (?) that he was looking after the Urupa but is doing absolutely nothing. Trevor has ceased caring for the Urupa although he has made an offer to the Elders to do so for $400 per month, payable six months in advance. He also said that he has registered a caveat over the newly-allocated land to the effect that nothing can be done without the agreement of the three Watson brothers. Meanwhile Trevor's daughter Mihi also opened up during a visit and expressed wonderment at how Neville thinks he will transport his (now completed) mobile tiny house, together with meeting sanitation requirements and finding a water source. She also pointed out that some areas are Tapu and that the 'Elders' won't allow Neville to locate his tiny house in those areas. Whether this applies to 'our' front lawn in unclear. Trevor seemed to indicate he is in favour of the land swap proposal- but I can't be sure. The reason the tiny house is on wheels is to circumvent planning consent requirements (although some Councils are now clamping down on this.) Attaching the tiny house in some fashion to the woolshed might also avoid the need for planning consent. What next? I still think we should 'sit tight.' I don't think we should approach the MDC just yet in fear that should it become known that we have been asking questions, the land swap idea might collapse.
Gate signs On arrival for our last two visits the front gate has been left open. (Makes one wonder who might be visiting the place in our absence.) We attached a double-sided “Please shut the gates” sign to the front gate, However, a wild piglet had already taken up residence. We attempted to flush it out of the long grass for Tony Tristrum to shoot it, but without luck.
Lawns Mowed three times- two in quick succession upon arrival and another one week prior to our departure.
Firewood In return for Simon and I providing Deb Foster and Tony with five hours of wood splitting assistance they kindly gave us three (flat) trailer loads of wood which should be dry enough to burn by mid-winter. (A heaped load of wood is too heavy for the quad bike to haul up the hills.) We should have enough wood for next year.
Plantings As a Christmas gift we gave each grandchild a plant (with plaque) which we located at various points in the area beyond the fence on the northern end of the property. Simon also transplanted some 15 Manuka plants in a strip radiating from the corner stile towards the big Karaka tree.
Old Barbecue Converted into a stand (base) for the new barbeque. If it is agreeable in concept, it might pay to paint the stand.
Bird feeder Relocated to the front fence but because of its exposed position it may not attract the birds.
Curtains Robyn Sourced some replacement curtains for the Bach area. We purchased some new curtain rods (sliders.) They look great. The all-up cost was $150 for which we would appreciate reimbursement please.
Puffin The puffin boat is a great addition. I have bolted a block of wood to the tailgate of the trailer to enable the motor to be attached and transported to the beach. The boat itself is light enough for two people to carry it single-handed. The platform in the bush behind the Bach had collapsed, so we relocated it to the southern side of the Lodge to provide a base for storing the puffin.
Aakron I tried re-glueing the oar seat to the right-hand pontoon but without success. The must surely be a product for doing this. (The glue provided is useless.)
Internet Picton Fresh Choice new requires ordering on-line. The time might be arising when we need to consider establishing a permanent Internet connection.
Firebox The LHS baffle in the log fire is cracked. (This is not unusual.) We just need to keep an eye on it for now.
Maddock handle We broke the handle of the maddock (pick axe.) I'll bring a replacement next time.
Track to Tony's house There has been some minor washouts along the track and we would urge caution riding the quad bike along it.
Fuel stack I suggest we ensure a minimum of three petrol, three gas and one deisel containers as the target base stock. During our stay Tony Tristrum kindle refilled two petrol and one gas container for which we paid him $130. Give the length of our stay compared to the other two families this time, we are happy to meet that cost.
Possible plumber visit New neighbours Steve and Michelle are planning to engage a plumber on-site sometime in February. Tony Tristrum has indicated that he has some tasks and will share the cost. Now that we seem to have solved our water heating problem, we don't have an urgent need for a plumber, altough I do worry about the fact that when the hot water tap is turned on, there is a low pressure response until such time as the heater 'kicks in' whereupon there is a significant pressure surge. I suspect the input filter in the heater may be partially blocked which is a problem for us to fix. A new gas regulator for the stove gas supply might not be a bad idea, along with the need to install a new regulator with an extended hose (minimum of 900mm) for the hot water gas supply line. A service check of the water heater is probably advisable. At some stage we need to remove the flu from the old water heater. I don't think this is a major project and one which we could attend to ourselves (remove the flu and sealing flange, cut a patch from one of the corrugated iron sheets from under the front deck. Unscrew the roofing bolts as needed for inserting the patch, spray some silicon sealant as needed, lay down the patch which will extend under the roof ridge and screw into place. Sounds Easy?! I have the equipment needed for the task. Thoughts on whether we need to partner with our neighbours in hiring a plumber. One of us will need to be on-site at the time.
R & R
(Addendum from Simon: added a new WiFi access point for better radio coverage and for DNS. New Display Panel working correctly.)