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While the bodies still can and we still have our marbles!

Category: Caravan Living (page 2 of 2)

EVICTED HOMELESS SOAPBOX

How have we allowed society to become so imbalanced whereby some continue to be saved, at the expense of those being screwed?

Spencer Park made it into the press media over the weekend.

That’s because it’s currently home to a family living in tents whom were evicted from their rental property due to non-payment of rent.

It’s fantastic that the family are now on the ‘Housing New Zealand’ radar to sort out a more permanent residence for them.  I would hasten to guess that Work & Income New Zealand (WINZ and another Government Department) would also be involved somewhere.

That means the tax payer are contributing to assisting this family to get sorted and perhaps beyond.  Well done people.

Evicted Homeless Soapbox1 - Neighbours MobileHowever, full credit to the young couple who moved onto a site beside us three months or so ago.  They are deserved of extra appreciation for sacrificing their ambitions of home ownership for the sake of the tent family.

This young couple were evicted from their rental abode too.

No, they were not behind in rent arrears.  Yes they kept the property in a manner conducive to being at the ready for a spot landlord inspection.  Yes they both work and pay their taxes.  In-fact, they had nearly saved the 10% deposit for their first home.

They were evicted because of EQC repairs to the property.  Understandable.  Once the repairs were to be completed, the landlord was increasing the rent.  It’s market norm.

Evicted Homeless Soapbox2However, around the same time notice was served to vacate, the Reserve Bank changed the rules for first home borrowers to now require a minimum of 20% deposit.  Economic policy supposedly for the better of everyone.

This young couple could no longer afford to pay the extra rent and save the extra deposit amount at the same time.  Furthermore, any form of Government assistance is not available because they fall just above the thresh hold of being classed as middle-class ‘rich’ citizens.

Now they live beside us in a mobile home with open minds to save some more to get that first home.  Family planning too has been put on hold.  Where is the ‘richness’ in their situation I ask?

Oh that’s right, another two to three years of sacrifice to save their hard earned income, so that the Government can take a cut of the interest earned on the deposit savings.  That’s where the richness goes!

Evicted Homeless Soapbox3No one deserves to live in a tent as a last resort before becoming homeless to live on the street.  No one deserves to live in a mobile home as a last resort to save for their first home.  Those in jail or refugees accepted into our country so as to be seen favourably on the global stage get better living conditions!

What about the previous tent family’s landlord now disadvantaged through inconvenience to return his property back to a standard fit for renting.  Or being out of pocket for rent arrears?

Personal responsibility and making individual choices are two freedoms we have by living in New Zealand.

Or do we?

Hurry up Housing New Zealand and make good on the media promise of you finding a home to save the tent family.

Out of sight, out of mind so that getting screwed can carry on here at Spencer Park.

WHERE MOTHER NATURE TAKES ON GOD, AND WON

Easter time at Spencer Beach Holiday Park is not your average bunny or egg atmosphere.

EC9 - Fences and tents under constructionThe camp is fully out sourced to an external party to conduct the coming together of religious denominations to celebrate the biblical aspect of Easter.  They come from all over the South Island to take part.

Permanent caravan stalwarts are moved from parts of the acreage to either vacate the camp or squeeze in beside other permanents in designated areas.  Police checks are enforced upon us to ensure we tick off precautionary law abiding citizenship – otherwise you have to vacate.  Our designated area is fenced off so as mobility around our home is restricted to being able to come and go freely, although if you aren’t able to produce the ‘yellow’ wrist band at the camp barrier arms then entry is forbidden.  The only other zone of allowable access to are the urinals, toilets and showers commonly shared.

Otherwise, it’s total lock down!

EC25Leading up to Easter, traffic in and out was continuous as what was once bare land soon becomes tent city – similar to housing the homeless after a natural disaster or refugees fleeing their home land to neighbouring countries because of internal turmoil.  Marque tents are constructed for eating, socializing and praying – the largest tent can hold up to 3000+ people.  A Ferris Wheel ride, Merry-Go-Round ride and other fun park attractions were stationed to entertain as part of the festivities.  Orange coated ‘Team CARE’ soldiers parade the compound as security as much as in readiness to marshal the attendees when they start arriving.

For four days, Spencer Park’s population was to swell by 4500 – mostly teenagers both young and older.

Confinement for us was embraced.  Why?

Because for a small snippet in time, we fit into a system that has the atmosphere of one big happy family where smiles, laughter and conversation is uplifting and contributing.  It’s a happy place to be observing kids living life with purpose – living our lifestyle free from the realms of malls, television and fast food takeaways.

Everyone is equal.

EC32 - Camp site awash11However, on Thursday night as the hoards started to arrive, the inclement weather during the day had turned the access roads to Spencerville; to Spencer Beach Holiday Park; and to camp sites awash with rising flooding waters – knee deep in lots of places!

People not driving to the conditions ploughed into the water at speed causing a tidal splash to oncoming cars without fellow road user regards.

And the rain tumbling down did not abate as daylight became darkness.

Cars pulled up to drop off teenagers with their worldly ‘three-day’ belongings.  Anything without protection were at the mercy of wet and dampness.  Puffer jackets worn was the trend – rain wear worn was sparse – only the Orange-coated marshals were weathered up to the conditions – that’s because they were conditioned from being on site during the day getting hammered.  Some of the arrivals had already converted to bare feet if no gumboots were part of their packing list.  Anything else was bound to become sodden within the first few steps of leaving the warmth of the car.

EC22 - Camp site awash6Traffic flow was one way, our road frontage was used to exit the camp.  Impatient parents happy to drop and go left the road to drive on the green grassed field.  It wasn’t long before it turned the field into mud slop whereby convoy followers slid, spun or became stuck needing push or tow.

Some kids thought splashing in puddles was fun and it certainly looked it.  What they didn’t understand was that being wet in such a damp environment with the temperature yet to drop another 5 degrees invites the cold to sleep over.  Did they even know about hypothermia or were they putting their faith in the big-fellow up top to see them through the coming days.  Group leaders looked concerned but I wondered if they were just miserable themselves because of the rain.

The rain kept falling.

EC13 - Camp site awash3And then confusion started to appear with new arrivals.  Registering at the camp kitchen/television room had groups pointed in the direction to where their abodes were.  Re-turning back sometime later because tent sites were under water now had some err of panic presenting itself.  What is plan-b regarding where to get dry, warm and sleep for the night.  Grins were now grimaces.

It was the start of the end for the Easter Camp.

Parents were returning to pick up again.  Buses dropping off the out of town attendees were boarded to head to churches made available as temporary accommodation around the city.  Wave after wave the camp started to empty.

Full compliments to the organisers to effecting a continuity plan so as it didn’t turn into some state of emergency.

EC17We ventured out to socialize with friends for the evening, returning home at some un-godly early hour of the following morning.  By then, the camp was silent.  Only the Orange-coats silhouetted between shadows doing security watch.  I would say that for some of them, it was a long night.

The rain was now joined by a wind from the south.

 

By the time we rose to peak out our caravan window, the Easter Camp had been cancelled.

Although the place we call home was a mess, it will recover.

EC9 - Easter campers leavingFor the event organisers and the 4500 believers who made the pilgrimage, there were feelings of empathy.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature took on God, and won!

Perhaps a positive, Easter eggs taste the same … no matter the weather.

Nor who is in charge.

ABSENCE OF A SEASON – SORRY FOR LEAFING IT SO LONG!

Autumn 2014 ColoursWow, nearly 90 days have passed since the last entry on therurus blog!  That’s a whole season if you think about it.  And as fingers tap the keyboard, that is actually in-fact what has happened – a change of seasons at the caravan campsite.

The reverse of spring colour is now the colour of autumn – reds, ambers, yellows, browns and purples.

As trees continue to shed their summer coats, the leaf rake has never been so popular.  And given we back onto a row of Poplar trees, some of them had some rather fully laden furs!

Poplar Trees Behind CaravanBut raking isn’t a chore not enjoyed.  Starting in one spot and zig-zagging the ground our home rests upon, it doesn’t take long for green to reappear housing piles of leaves to look like an acne landscape.

A bonus is the thoughts that one unconsciously reflects about scraping the earth’s surface in the peace and solitude of owning the rake.  A cool breeze blows slightly, but the mounds hold together providing enough time to be bundled up and placed into compost bags.

Bugger, no one around to throw them at!

Autumn Leaves 2014Daylight saving has kicked in – what used to be 6.00am is now 5.00am.  Some sleep the extra hour of trying not to adjust to the new time zone.  I welcome the extra hour of darkness because that is when wildlife out here are at their best – bird songs and calls remind us of how fortunate we are to be away from the pollution of suburbia.

However, some sunrises boast the colour of cloud crimson.

It reminds me of that old saying, “Red sky at night, shepherds delight; red sky in the morning, shepherds warning.”

Piles of Leaves Ready For CompostAnother season is nigh – that would be the winter one.

And it started early this year, with a vengeance!

Time to store the summer costumes and get out our winter furs.

More importantly, I’ll try not to ‘leaf’ not blogging for so long!

DEATH AT THE CAMP – PART TWO

The next morning brought death at the camp.

Using the showers early, I had to encounter sharing the ablutions with the foreigners from the Das Rolande Hotel who had obviously held wind till they were safely positioned above a toilet.  The smell did not make for a pleasant experience and fortunately I could breath through my mouth so as not to smell the stench.

Unfortunately, the fumes were over powering for many and there was death everywhere – huhu beetles, wasps, mosquito’s, moths and sand fly’s, their lifeless bodies lay on the tiled floor with back sides up and legs curled.

Death at the Camp - Part 2(1) Death at the Camp - Part 2(2) Death at the Camp - Part2(4) Death at the Camp - Part 2(5)

Little respect was shown for the dying or the dead.  There were no prayers either.

Eventually the Rotel Tours trundled off to live another day and with it, the coffin hotel.  Life after death returned to normal.Death at the Camp - Part2(6)

Breathing through the nostrils did too, one is happy to exhale!

DEATH AT THE CAMP – PART ONE

Rotel Tours Hotel (1)A truck and massive trailer unit pulled onto the campsite ground opposite and located itself on levelled ground as best that can be found.  Boxed shaped windows were spaced out evenly down one side of the trailer unit and the other side was closed in with the words, ‘Rotel Tours – Das Rolande Hotel.’  A bright orange, it looks like a horse float more than anything once it was unhooked and stabilized.

Apparently not, this is a hotel on wheels for international visitors to our land of the long white cloud.  It’s a rack ’em and stack ’em cheaper accommodation option with the boxed compartments more in tune with coffin sized spaces!Rotel Tours Hotel (2)

The operator opened up the closed in side expanding the floor by a couple of metres for the walkway to the three levelled bunk system inside.  Only the ends have mattresses side by side for couples to share a compartment to snuggle, the remaining are single.  Sharing intimacy would require stealth in such close quarters, one would imagine.

Only clothes that you plan to wear the next day are hung in the walkway making space to manoeuvre the body to your coffin, I mean bed, so as to clamber into. All other baggage is stowed away over night.  Snoring, farting, and incontinence would also require stealth in such close quarters, one would hope!

Rotel Tours Hotel (3)The back opened up to expose a mini-kitchen with an awning hanging off the end to give shelter for the area to prepare food.  Un-stacked tables from underneath were unfolded onto an area close by, a hose connected for running water and the power plugged in for the electricals.  Very clever indeed.

Later in the day, a bus arrived.  People disembarked both young and old and you have to wonder what they thought of their first nights sleeping arrangements when their travel attire would suit five star credentials.  I left the caravan in flip flops, shorts, no tee shirt and sun glasses to wander over to the ablutions and the language was certainly foreign – not too sure if they were in awe of what was or swearing of what is going to be.

Rotel Tours Hotel (4)However, the next hour was spent by our new neighbours in a frenzy with bags being opened, garments sorted, ant trail to the ablutions to shit, shower, shave and shampoo so as to freshen up.  The ovens were soon steaming with food and as the group slowly got sorted, bottles of Heineken were de-capped and ale sloshed down.  They looked more relaxed and wandered about to stretch out before the food was served up like an army mess tent.

The odd salutation was exchanged and as darkness fell upon the camp, the numbers dwindled into the back of the truck for the night, resting in peace!

A NEW YEAR YAWNED

Tandem RidesOur background is in primary aged childcare and therefore, our last day for 2013 was spent entertaining camping children during the daylight hours.  Taking them for rides on a tandem gave them moments of share thrills as the route chosen took us over tree roots and slight rising sand dunes.  Wearing no helmets meant the wind could breeze through their hair, the shrieks of laughter were better than a honk of a car giving pedestrians the heads up to stay left.  The queue for passengers incrementally grew, handing over the front seat, brakes, gears and steering to volunteering Dad’s was welcomed when it happened.

Zombie tag featured as a loved game by the kids.  This is where one person starts off wearing a wrist band with the name ‘Zombie Tag’.  Giving the other players 20 seconds to scatter, a whistle is blown and off the first zombie goes to try to tag others to become zombies.  They too have a wrist band affixed once tagged and then head out to try to tag others.  The last person tagged wins and with it, a chocolate Freedo Frog prize as reward.  I was the first Zombie for the first game so that had them scattering further afield than usual.  During the last game, I was the last to be tagged as a Zombie so had 20 odd kids chasing after me and when they cottoned onto taking relay turns to run me down, I eventually ran out of puff and collapsed onto the ground!

As light faded, spirits had certainly lifted around the camp on the eve of the new year, there was happiness because the sun had delivered a summers day that was one of the best yet.  It had nothing to do with the rum, vodka, bourbon spirits or wine and beer being lifted to people’s mouths!

Spencer Holiday Beach Park had set up a disco for revellers to shake their booty leading up to the count-down.  The music blemished old and new, kids danced liked there was no one watching where as adults, they danced only when night had fallen so as to hide their embarrassment … because everyone was in-fact watching.  Bad booty I guess!

Zombie TagYou wouldn’t have seen me dancing neither, I could hardly walk after the tag games earlier in the day.  So much so that for me, it was a new year yawn and asleep for this zombie-fied body.  I was happy.

Age is unforgiving when you try to act like a kid y’know.

Happy New Year everyone.

TEARS OF DISBELIEF

Camp EntranceWhen the weather is inclement, the only sound that can be heard is the thud from rain meeting the roof, the slush from wheels carving through puddles or the dull echo of mumbled voices from dampened canvas abodes.  The persistent down pours frustrated both old and young – it’s supposed to be the time of year where adults worship the sun whilst kids vanish to play amongst the abyss of tentage.

We watched from the comforts of our caravan some who gave into mother nature and packed up their belongings and drove away.  Will it be a Christmas Holiday they will remember or one they would like to forget?  We watched others tough it out showing glimpses of life to venture across to the toilets, showers or kitchen wondering if they have a system as to who does what or whether the weather had them draw straws to be the one to fight the deluges.Surface Flooding 1

Then there were the hardened determined arrivals who weren’t going to let moisture deter them from their god given moment to make the most of the holidays and arrive to set up camp under the awful conditions.  It’s not easy to duck down in the caravan so as not to make eye contact and hide either as they soldiered on to set up camp.  Guilt got the better of me and before long, the jacket was donned on and out into the elements one went to offer a hand to speed up their discomfort quicker!

Surface Flooding 2Some construction needed engineering backgrounds just to erect the poles whilst some were the traditional three roomed green canvassed ones with colour coded poles we grew up only needing ‘poles two, three, six and seven’ pushed together.  Either types didn’t require a hammer to bang in the pegs, they were easily pushed in by foot because the ground underneath was so saturated.

The ground since the quakes has slightly rippled the land meaning undulation on some sites causing water to pool at the lowest elevation. Unfortunately, our next door neighbour was one such site and it was hard to distinguish what was rain splattered cheeks or tears of disbelief as the water levels rose to start her home to float … inside the tent.Trench Waterfare

Out came the spades from around the gated community and soon a trench was dug to channel the water, it’s flow draining the site leaving a moat to do more protecting from further carnage.  The camp tractor arrived with a couple of scoops of bark.  This was dumped where once the lake had ponded, rakes levelling the mounds to curve with the landscape.

We sheltered under the gazebo to intermittently dash out and re-groove or slice the earth to navigate more liquid to dissipate.  It allowed for conversations to be had as if we had been neighbours way longer than the introduction salutations just a couple of days before.

Barking LakeHow cool it was that the weather isobars overhead presented opportunities for new friendships to be struck up like they were.  This became the habit for the next day, and the next across the camp ground.

There was no ducking down or hiding anymore.  Even if it was weather for the ducks.

CAMP CHIT CHAT AT THE CAMP URINAL … NO DICKING AROUND!

Christmas day is always a day that for some reason lets the disciplines evaporate and allow for binge consumption of food and beverage to be entertained.  This one was no exception.  Hydration too was paramount under the blazing yellow ball up in the sky as the mercury started to rise and being given a carton of Stella Artois stubbies as a gift didn’t help matters neither!

What happened to handkerchiefs and ‘Blue Stratus’ after shave lotion as presents from your local pharmacy like yesteryear?

Cameron and LClaire arrived for brunch mid-morning to kick start the festivities and the juice of choice to wash down the ham and cheese filled croissant was a beer.  Everyone was conscious that not pacing oneself would result in some kind of drunk and disorderly behaviour quicker than planned, however, the temptation to say, “oh bugger it, it’s Christmas Day and I’ve earnt it” led into a second ale, then another.

DSC09009BClaire’s clan arrived for the main course of the day, bar-b-q chicken and potato salad; coleslaw and shaved ham on a bone.  Dessert was just as easy with strawberries and ice cream.  Beers took a back seat position as bubbles were corked, poured and glasses raised to salute peace on earth and goodwill to mankind.  By now the weather had done a complete one eighty with grey clouds shedding tears of joy.  The sides of the gazebo were affixed to protect from the elements and one by one, the party of revellers dispersed leaving four of us to continue on … or drink more if you didn’t get the gist of it.  I would also imagine that the same story would have played out across the lands not too dissimilar to ours.

Beer turned to red wine and red wine turned to Jamaican Rum interrupted by a cup of tea before positioning the body into the sleep position.  With two extra’s in the caravan staying over, it didn’t take long for the air to become stale and the feeling of uneasiness from a gut full of liquids to remind me of how weak I was not to keep the discipline of drinking in moderation versus binge.

At some ungodly hour, BClaire successfully navigated her way over to the toilet ablutions to be sick, why she just didn’t stick her head out of the awning door to chuck and let the bird life feast on it in the morning, who knows!  I too contemplated such when I went looking for her but didn’t and that was the mistake I made.  Like a barrel being tossed around in an ocean storm, my barrel was getting swirled around from the tossing and turning at trying to get comfortable so as not to puke.

Before I knew it, birds started singing and I had wondered if at all I had been to sleep.  I wasn’t hung over as such, more the soak pit sloth feeling, life around the camp on this new day would be a long one I was thinking.  Venturing wearily over to the ablutions again and standing at the urinals just minding my own business, doing my business – this three year old stepped up onto the step and went about his, business.

Catching him looking up at me, I returned the smile to hear him say, “I spewed last night.”

Shit, how much alcohol did he drink?

Camp chit chat at the camp urinals … no dicking around!

CATCHING A NEIGHBOUR RED FOOTED DOING GRAFFITI

At present, we are Brent and Claire Ruru ‘no friends’ or to be more exact, ‘no neighbours.’

Brent & Claire No FriendsOur caravan backs onto a fence line of poplar trees and outwards onto adjacent camping ground which for most part of the year lies empty and open.

Up until two weeks ago, we had semi-permanent neighbours either side of us however, they had to vacate their sites in readiness for the Christmas Holiday festive season campers due out in the coming week or so.  Our solitude, peace and tranquillity is going to become one of cohabitation, tent city and population growth to full capacity with the hope of befriending some during their stay.

Through the poplar tree fence line live a bunch of folk like us who also reside in caravans, approximately 20 abodes in all.  Of course, we are friends with a number of them and are often the butt of jokes to get ridiculed about being smelly neighbours and hence, no neighbours.  Either that, or we are classed as over-stayers because we negotiated with camp welfare to be allowed to stay on our site indefinitely.

Our site is large enough to park our car on it, however, for most of the time  we have tended to park it on the opposite side of the road in a spot that will soon be the earth of a holiday camper.  In jest, I made the remark to a tree line neighbour that we should get a disability car park sign painted on the ground (no offence) to reserve the current spot and be able to park our car there during the coming busy time as a joke.  Let’s face it, everyone  keeps reminding BClaire that she married someone with some kind of disability!

Disabled Car ParkTo wake up and unzip the awning door the next morning and see someone had in fact painted a red square around our car in dye overnight was quite entertaining.  Even more hilarious was that the culprit dyed the grass in jandals or flip flops and therefore, coloured his feet the same coloured dye meaning that he was caught red footed as being the guilty one for doing the graffiti!

It’s been five days since the episode and we have naturally continued to park inside the square on arriving home as a habit.

‘Wayne’ the neighbour has worn knee high socks since then also.

Caught Red FootedSome friend after all, thank god he’s not our immediate next door neighbour!

LAUGHING AT US IS ENCOURAGED … HELL, WE DO!

“Kia Ora” and “Haere Mai”.

When translated, they mean “Greetings” and “Welcome”.

Welcome to our blog.

At the time of scripting this first blog post, we reside back on our home turf in Christchurch, New Zealand.

DSC08905‘Turf’ is the most appropriate word to describe where our feet are firmly placed because we in-fact live in a caravan on a square patch of dirt at Spencer Beach Holiday Park in Christchurch, New Zealand.  And this is by choice.

During 2011 after exiting our life in Dubai, we travelled through Turkey, Spain and East Africa before returning home.  During our travels through Spain, we conjured up this adventure of living in a tent on our return and so we did!

It lasted seven weeks waiting for Summer to arrive, that didn’t!  The continuous noise of wind that sounded like 40,000 ducks from the reserve across the road flapping their wings inside our tent; the rain whereby it sounded like the ducks hovered over the tent ‘shitting’ and frequent water levels lapping electrical cords connected to the mains motivated us to make a decision to upgrade from canvas and invest in something more permanent – a caravan!

S0035224We lived a year in our new abode before we ventured off again to spend another seven months travelling during 2012/2013, this time to Borneo, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and lastly Nepal.  Our return had us haul our caravan abode out of storage and residing back on our home turf  ‘piece of dirt’.  We have been on terra-firma now for just on seven and a half months.

Many a folk think we are crazy for choosing the caravan way of life over the suburbia approach, however, to gain a greater perspective of our state of mind, we’d like to share our back story that featured in the online EPICMENTORS e-MAGAZINE, November 2013.

Click to read:http://issuu.com/epicmentors/docs/issue_31?e=3328716%2F579

I’m confident that as you read, you will gain a greater perspective into what the Ruru’s are all about pretty much up to this point in time because by 2015, we start the journey to visit every single one of our friends in person on our face book page where ever they are located on the planet to share a glass of wine or beer or cup or tea or coffee.

ISCW3 301013It therefore means that the blog will initially reflect our ‘living in a caravan’ lifestyle at Spencer Beach Holiday Park to eventually migrate into journaling our travel goal adventures.

We live on the same planet as you but perhaps in a different world.  Join us as Ruru escapades are weaved to share stories that entertain – from our piece of dirt/turf.

Laughing at us is encouraged … hell, we do!

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