A Day at a Beach and Bureaucratic Frustrations

Friday 27 March

Not a lot happened on this day that I can remember. I must have filled up the fresh water tank – this takes a while. And we worked our afternoon shift from 3.30pm to 7.30pm.

Bowentown  and Anzac Bay Saturday 28 March

This was a day off for us.  We were late up to find it was a sunny morning. We decided to make the most of the rest of the day and heading north a bit, and out to the coast at Atherlee. We checked out the camping ground there – it has its own hot pools.  It was on the estuary, and looked like a nice relaxed place. We went on to Bowentown, at the eastern end of the Waihi Beach. We had a paddle in the water, but didn’t feel compelled to swim. We checked out the camping ground there as well – a very tidy and well-organised place, and very friendly management. We figured out there was another side to Bowentown, and drove over to what we discovered was called Anzac Bay, which is on the harbour/estuary side. It is a delightful little bay, with lots of people picnicing, swimming, kayaking, fishing, boating etc.  We had lunch here, and then sat on the beach and relaxed and read our books. The shadows were getting longer by the time we left, and made our way back to our home at the back of the packhouse.

A Whole Day of Work Sunday 29 March

The packhouse was working at full steam on Sunday – unusual but there was a load to get to a ship to go somewhere. We volunteered to work.  It was a shock to us to have to get up to start by 7.30am, but we managed it. It helps that it only takes about 4 minutes to walk to the front of the packhouse to get to work. Wyn was on bulk packing all day – boring. I ended up as a stacker, taking the boxes off the packing lines and putting labels on them and stacking them on pallets. And stacking them ever higher. My wee arms got rather weary as the day went on, and there were patterns and rules of stacking to get the hang of. But it did keep me busy, and the day did go by quicker. We were both relieved when we got to the end at 5.30pm. We’d managed a 9.5 hour day, even if we did have new aches and pains.

To the Dump and the Estuary Monday 30 March

It was waste dump day – which involves readying Suzi for the road – putting things away and making sure things are ready for travel. Later we took the car into town, Wyn went to the Post Shop to get a top-up for her Vodaphone phone. We had run out of money on it, and had tried to put more on via the phone. However there was some problem so she couldn’t. With pre-pay accounts you can talk to a human at Vodaphone, but it costs you $1 for the priviledge. And if you haven’t got any money on your phone, then they cannot get their $1 so won’t let you talk to them. If your problem began because you ran out of money and were getting grief from their system trying to load more money, then you have a stupid Catch-22. It is very very dumb to require your customers having trouble getting money on their phone to already have money on their phone when that was what started them trying to add the money. It is a great way to encourage your customers to find a better service.

Meanwhile I was trying to renew my drivers licence. The form demands a residential address, so I rang them up. I was assured that there was an agency in Katikati, as you have to find an agency to renew in person. It turned out that the person on the phone confused Kerikeri with Katikati, giving me a wild goosechase in Katikati. I also tacked the issue of not having a residential address with him. He suggested I could use the address of a relative, but I pointed out that I was expected to sign the form as having correct information, so could hardly put a false residential address.  I also pointed out that their process reqires me to produce proof of my address by way of an electricity account or bank statement, and I’d hardly be able to do that with someone else’s address. He had to concede that these were both good points, and went off to check the legislation again. He finally decided that a PO Box address would be satisfactory, having told me initially that it wasn’t.  It remains to be seen however as I’ve not yet found an agency to have the discussion with. After finding out that he’d given me the address of an agency in the Far North, I discovered that Katikati does have its own agency. That was the good news. The bad news was that it is only once every two months that they set up in town. The good news is that the next occasion is in early April. I might have to try them with my PO Box residential address.

After all this, we went down Beach Road in Katikati to find the harbour/estuary, and had a short walk around it. After lunch which was our main meal, we worked in the packhouse 3.30pm – 7.30pm, Wyn on grading and me on stacking. Then we did our cleaning stint until 10pm, bny which time we were tuckered out.

Tuesday 31 March

We did a load of washing, on an overcast morning, and later went for a bikeride up the road we work on. We discovered another packhouse, lots of kiwifruit orchards, and a subdivision at the top. And got a nice cruise back down again.  Then we had our meal, and worked from 3.30pm, finishing our cleaning before 10pm. I got down and dirty with the dust and debris. Kiwifruit is very dusty, and it settles everywhere. Cleaning it up is even more dusty, and in the end I’d managed to transfer a fair amount to myself.  Once back to Suzi, I start the process of cleaning me with the outside shower cleaning my hands and arms. Later there was rain on the roof for about a minute – it really hasn’t rained much since we got to Katikati.

Wednesday 1 April

It was overcast at first, but warm when we greeted the day after 9am. I filled our fresh water tanks again, and there was more washing to be done – especially of the clothes worn while cleaning. The sun broke through about 1pm. We started work at our usual 3.30pm, and it was a shorter evening as the packhouse was stopping for three days – not enough fruit it seems. We finished early at 6.30pm, and zoomed into the cleaning, this time with the two we share cleaning duties with. There was extra to be done, and we all got stuck in and gave the place a good clean up. And got ourselves dirty in the process.  We were facing three days of no work, so decided to make the most of it and get away somewhere, with our motorhome.  The forecast was  good and the beaches beckoned.

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