We pay tribute to Vicki Bostock, loving wife of Jonny Bostock, mother to their boys.
To us Vicki has been a huge supporter. She was involved as a U-Turn trustee, and particularly involved with setting up Te Aranga Community Garden.
Pam O'Keefe tells me Vicki would be in the garden most days during the time when our garden was being established.
Vicki was passionate about improving access to fresh fruit and vegetables for Flaxmere families. The support we receive from the Bostock family is incredible and we thank you.
Most people when they holiday during winter months head to the mountain for skiing or head overseas to warmer climates. Goobs and I decided we will head to Mountain Valley Adventure Lodge and Camping Ground on the Napier-Taupo Rd.
We are here to try out our new camper trailer ... well our new second-hand camper trailer.
A canvas tent extends out from the trailer - with annexe and a bed accessed via a ladder - set on top of the trailer. The occasion is Goobs' birthday.
The checkout staff at New World Supermarket Hastings look astonished when I share that we are off camping "in this weather". But we are not to be deterred. We have been planning this long weekend for weeks.
We have passed the Mountain Valley Adventure Lodge and Camping Ground sign so many times. It is located just on the Taupo side of the Mohaka Bridge on McVicar Rd.
We arrive just in time to set up in the remaining daylight.
According to our hosts, Doug and Julie, we have selected the most remote spot in the whole camping ground. This sheltered spot is right on the Mohaka River, perfect for fires and our dogs. Being fire and dog friendly is a must for us.
When we booked we understood from our hosts that there was to be a family reunion with 70 people this same weekend. However, when we arrive we learn from our hosts that the family reunion had been cancelled - a very last-minute cancellation. Not so good for our hosts.
What was also disappointing for our hosts was that they had turned people away because of the prior booking.
We have the whole place to ourselves. The camping ground has cabins with shared facilities, self-contained cottages, powered and unpowered sites. We camp in the unpowered site. We have enough power with a generator, solar panel with a marine 12-volt battery to probably power the whole site.
Very generously our hosts offer to set up their bar restaurant, where we can watch the rugby, (what a game) cook us dinner and enjoy a very tasty reserve Mission red wine in front of a roaring fire - just for us. Our conversation includes the crippling cost of compliance when running an outdoor experiences offered by Mountain Valley: horse trekking, river rafting, bush walks, obstacle courses, very good fishing - there is a lot on hand for families and visitors.
But what is lovely about camping in winter is slowing down, enjoying a good book - and in my case watching episode four of Breaking Bad. I am hooked.
This series is fantastic. As someone says, the story just gets better. A great excuse to watch this, because it rains, and it's cold. The hot-water bottle is a good idea. The gas showers are fantastic. The camper lasts very well - in pretty extreme weather. It's surprising how busy a camp site can be. Cups of tea, walks around the camping ground. We have been tinkering with the new camper trailer during the weekend-airing out, levelling the trailer - bed, putting up the annexe. It's roomy and it's a great design.
Goobs has his generator running, music, Kiwi sizzler, fire going. We sit at night and share stories and remind ourselves how lucky we are and plan our next camper trailer holiday.
Our last night teems down with rain. We wake during the night anxious that we will be decamping.
-Ana Apatu is chief executive of the U-Turn Trust, based at Te Aranga Marae in Flaxmere.