Brent & Claire Ruru

T.I.M.E. Habits • Minimalists • Travel Enthusiasts ... while the bodies still can and we still have our marbles!

Tag: #caravanliving (page 1 of 2)


Living a minimalist lifestyle in a caravan allows for creativity conducive to the space available.

Our Christmas tree is usually some tiny artificial thing that sits comfortably on a seat ledge barely 25cm tall, unable to have any of our decorations hung we’ve collected from the different places visited during our travels.  But it’s the thought that counts, and what it represents – a time of giving.

So for our 2014 tree, our impromptu creative juices turned to constructing an outdoor one.

161214 CT9With our young adult children Cameron and Claire, we ventured into the neighbouring plantation to collect different pine tree branch lengths, and some pine cones.  Laying the branches into a shape of a triangular tree, wire was moulded to affix them into position.


Another time was planned to complete the project, however, this was as far we got due to the bike fall and clavicle experience (refer blog post 050114 A Christmas Break Like No Other).

Christmas came and went.  Folk who arrived to camp had probably dismantled or discarded their trees already. Ours still stood skeletal, uncompleted.

291214 CT10 - Finishing the christmas tree, building the bird feeders291214 CT12291214 CT14It didn’t take much to motivate the camping kids that surrounded our caravan to be sitting at our picnic table smothering peanut butter onto the pine cones.  This was after a camping Dad drilled a hole for another camping Dad to thread the wire to hang them from the tree. And this was done after the kids rolled the cones in bird seed like ice cream being rolled in lolly chips.  It allowed for Mum’s to have some ‘mum time’ as we had fun being kids again ourselves.  Once hung, melted honey was drizzled over the seed, peanut butter and cones giving that glistening tinsel effect when the sun beamed.

291214 CT16 The whispers of joyful absorption were unanimous as the first birds landed to start pecking at the treat bestowed to them.  The numbers of birds and bird species have been plentiful since.  Other passer by campers and children stopped at the sight of the tree and birds dining on the hanging decorations.  Kids radiated expressions were just brilliant.



291214 CT17As the camp ground we reside at has now had the campers depart to open up the space of emptiness more, we will have the pleasure of experiencing a Christmas tree that feeds nature, all year round.



291214 CT18 Living a minimalist lifestyle in a caravan can come with abundance and thus, fulfillment.  Nothing artificial about that.


There are many reasons why we choose to live in a caravan. Some days we question our sanity at going against the flow … swimming against the current so to speak.

However, there is beauty in keeping with it for the achievement of something greater down the road … and down the road from the caravan this morning, was the beauty in a song themselves.

These feathered things called Bell Birds.

They make us appreciate the choices we have made … and be grateful that sometimes being insane is about going against the flow … with bells on.

Waimakariri Walkway Pitstop

22/6/14 Waimakariri Walk


The 1st of June signalled the start of winter and it would be fair to write that we have had some hum dinger frosts during the first week whereby the temperature got below 0°C and down to -5.

Jack Frost WindowThe water freezes in the pipes meaning having filled containers the night before at the ready; the de-humidifier in the awning freezes up meaning having to bring it indoors to de-frost; the awning zipper freezes up meaning we have to tip water from the jug (kettle) to loosen it up to be able to unfasten; and a towel has to be placed over the car windscreen because the heater takes a kilometre or two for warm air to blow through.


The morning ritual to shower, shave and shampoo still must go on hesitantly.  The walk from caravan to ablutions with jack frost underfoot echos a crunch noise that drowns out the morning song of roosters in the distance.  Nasal juice drips profusely from the cold air and if left un-wiped, forms icicles pointing at the ground.  Vapours exhaled from the mouth is instant steam.

The shower takes a couple of minutes to push through the heat of water so getting naked has to be precise.  Stepping off the mat onto the cold concrete floor invites chill blains if you get it wrong but the technique has been crafted and mastered over the warmer months.  So has showering with the neighbour, however neither of us will ever admit to having hypothermia to exact the act of body to body contact as part of a rescue!

One has to hover the buttocks above the porcelain if needing to sit, the bum chill blains are even worse!

SpiderNow, the spider that decided to come in from the cold without telling us and take up squatting rights in a blue bin just inside the door had me shit myself!  It was obviously curled up in the foetal position from the cold when I departed but had certainly spread its wings, I mean legs when I returned to have me scream a bark of blasphemy in the hope Claire would come running and rescue me.

Nope, she didn’t!

As I stood there in my soiled underpants crustily freezing up, I questioned how Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries had missed it at the border.  What was worse was that the beast was between me and the napalm I needed to extinguish its existence.  The laughter from inside the caravan didn’t help my self-confidence neither!

Well I manned up and faced my fears.  I crunched over to me shower neighbour and asked politely for help with the situation.  It wasn’t long before the eight legged monster was a stiff somewhere out on the grass adjacent.

Calm returned soon after a second shower, as did the heat around the campground becoming the butt of everyone’s banter on the frosty mornings following!  I would hasten to bet that others like me now check shoes and boots before putting them on.

As I would they keep their spider spray at the door wearing a blanket so as not to freeze up!

Let’s hope for a speedy winter, not a spidy one!


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.


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.


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!


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!


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!


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.

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