Saturday, 29 January 2011


So lets go backwards, mainly because the events of the last 12 hours remain freshest in my memory...first let me paint an idyllic picture...

Lake Waikaremoana - in the middle of the native New Zealand bush.  On a map, the road access is dotted, implying parts of the road are missing.  Ah ha! we thought.  Adventure is ahead.  But this story regales an adventure that wasn't quite what I had in mind.

Upon arriving to our lakeside camping ground we were already tired from a morning of walking to lookout points and other nearby lakes so finding a cheap, mostly vacant camping spot was perfect.  This being the second time that we'd put up our new tent, we were getting pretty speedy at it and within 20 minutes I was laid flat inside 'guarding' the tent from mosquitos... After some reading, dinner was on our camping stove at 5pm - packet pasta carbonara and drinking red wine from the bottle.  Classy.  We were in the tent playing gin rummi by 6pm.  

At this point let me add the recent NZ weather pattern to give you some background...after arrive last Friday, we had 3 days of solid rain, a cyclone.  Thank you New Zealand summer.  We had enjoyed 3 days of sun but had heard about cyclone Wilma that was a'coming.  But don't worry, it'll be 'falling apart' by the time it hits the north island and if you get rain it'll be on Saturday afternoon...

So last night (Friday) we were greeted with red sky at night (shepherd's delight, I hear you say). No.  We were awake for most of the night to a steady downpour but no wind so didn't think much of it...530am we both awoke instantly - 'We're in water!' we said to each other.  And as luck would have it our tent had a few inches of water in it and about a foot underneath it.  Panic set in.  Head torches were on.  We opened then tent and the foot deep water came in.  Frantically picking up everything valuable Tim said 'Get a dry bag!'
What?!  Does it look like there is anything dry here?!  We found and lost and found and lost the car keys in amongst the mess of water and floating sleeping bags.  We emptied the inside of the tent into the boot and tried to wring dry material items (this is an unsuccessful activity in sheet rain).  A last check in the tent searching for any other goods felt more like a Crystal Maze activity in the Ocean Zone.  Luckily we were semi laughing...ish....  We got the tent down, chucked it in the boot and we were off.  But our car, the size of a shoe box (in fact it's rental name is The Juice Box) was also in the same flood!  Tim's expert driving got us on to the road.  The gravel road.  The uphill, unsealed, landslide filled, shear-drop sided, gravel road.

I tell you what, prayer was the only thing on my mind and every hymn/worship song I've ever sung.  We had 100km of this road and you could only go 30km an hour on it.  After passing through 3 broken rivers crossing the road, 9 landslides that left 80% road unpassable and 2 hours, we found tarmac.  Our new life-long friend. Tim drove another hour on this and we arrived in Taupo, at my Godmum's both in random tops and towels round our waists (anything we could find in the car that meant we weren't in our undies...) 7 hours early, much wetter than intended and thoroughly exhausted.

RIP Tim's walking sandals, the ipod, the ipod docking station and the camera.

I could tell you of funny incidents that had happened before this, like Tim thinking he'd seen a rhino in a field (Penny: very similar to the pteryodactyl incident in Cornwall) or when I thought a maori was going to break into the beach house we were staying in (it was only a hedgehog) but I feel that this waterworld event has been our bestest so far.  

I do apologise if you have been bored senseless through this unloading of information of our most recent event.  I myself have never read a blog before so am confused why we're writing one, but we are, so I hope that you have enjoyed a little of our adventure thus far.

Ta ta for now.

Tic Toc xx

Friday, 21 January 2011

...get set...

2 hours to go before leaving for the airport and the passports were nowhere to be found.  Having spent the last 2 weeks packing up our house, it could have been in any boxes at 3 different locations.  Panic set in.  Just before we started praying for them to miraculously appear, I located them in that super safe place I'd put them days ago.  God knows what we need before we do :o)

We flew from London, towards LA...the headset on my chair was dodgy and after a little bit of mentioning it to the staff, the 'concierge' (yes, Air NZ have a concierge service for economy) apologised, offered us a business class wine and cheese tasting and then a bottle of champagne to celebrate our honeymoon trip!  (Note: I told her that we were recently married and going to NZ to meet Mum's family for the first time...she took it as honeymoon, and no, we didn't correct her!)  So, so far so good...

Our transit at LAX led Tim to say 'We're in LA! This is where 24 is! Anything could happen!'  As it was, we stayed sat on the floor waiting for the plane to be cleared for a couple of hours, keeping ourselves entertained with travel Yatzee, complimentary crisps and water as Jack Bauer was nowhere to be found.

We're now in New Zealand - in the hospitable hands of my aunt and uncle.  We're currently surviving off of very little sleep from the flight but the promising smell of roast lamb in the oven for dinner is definitely worth pushing through... 

Our journeys begin on Monday - please pray for me as we will be camping.  I WILL be the outdoorsy kiwi that I have in me... Please pray for Tim - he has to put up with the slightly-less-active British lazy bones that I'd rather be...

Much love to all,

Tic Toc xx