There may be only one letter in it, but our new home in New Zealand is a world away from our UK address in Derbyshire. And this week sees us swapping marina life for six months ‘down under’ in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, which the Lonely Planet rightly describes as ‘the coolest little capital in the world.’
But in the middle of the preparations and planning for this long absence, we also had the arrival of our waterside lodge that, with our narrowboat, will be our UK home on our return in July.
|Another successful shopping raid at Ikea|
Getting the lodge finished, delivered, sited and provisioned was always going to be close-run thing. We were expecting it on site the first week of January, then it was going to be last Wednesday and finally it arrived last Friday. Pat and I had been willing the BBC Midlands weather girl Shefali, to give us a good weather forecast for arrival date and she did not disappoint. We might have woken to minus temperatures last Friday morning, but by the time we were up and about, the two trucks carrying the lodge had arrived and the crane to lift it was not far behind. Pat and I were worried about the plunging temperatures and the chance of snow delaying it, but the assembly crew were more concerned with wind. The large crane will not lift anything if the wind is over 17 mph, which is quite common around here, so a still day was an added bonus.
|Hazel Lodge arrives on two trucks|
|The first half gets craned into place|
|The other half is lifted off the truck...|
|...and the kitchen is exposed|
|....and swung into place|
|The site the following morning|
It was a smooth operation and a bit bizarre watching the lodge effectively cut in half, on the back of two trailers. By 11am both halves had been swung into place and we left the crew to it, as they set about making the lodge water-tight.
Saturday saw John Lewis deliver beds and assorted furnishings and also the remainder of the furniture we had put into storage was delivered. “Easy Johnny”, yes, that is his name, arrived around twoish, with all our stuff, and with the help of my boating buddy Rik, and Penny and Bob, two of our oldest friends, who came up for the weekend, we got it unloaded in a couple of hours.
There were no workmen on site Sunday, and despite a couple of inches of snow, our first at the marina this winter, we were assembling wardrobes and chairs by 9.30pm and welcoming several of our pontoon pals later that afternoon. Unfortunately we had no electricity, but the gas worked and we had cold water, so at least we could make everybody a cup of tea.
|Roger puts together the last of the dining room chairs|
I must say we are both delighted with the lodge, its position and its aspect, and I am so glad Pat is happy with it. The poor girl has lived and breathed this project for the last few months, and her forward planning and attention to detail has resulted in us getting an excellent new home, which, I am sure, will look great, once we have got it all straight.
That’s all got to happen over the next four days though. We already have our first rental booked and a number of our boating pals are using it and snagging it for us over the next few weeks, to make sure everything works, prior to the first letting.
As for us, we leave the marina on Thursday lunchtime and head south. We hope to see our son Kev on Thursday evening, as well as my best mate John in St Albans, and we fly out of Heathrow with Qantus on Friday evening, getting to Wellington around 6pm their time on Sunday. We lose Saturday along the way. I think it’s a 28-hour flight. I’ve booked myself one of the seats near the emergency exit, so I can get to stretch my legs out. It cost a few bob, but I think it’s well worth it. Pat’s sitting behind me.
Keep in touch via E Mail, and looking forward to seeing some of our pals in NZ over the next few months. Otherwise we are back early July.
Roger & Pat