Seasons change

Winter stops, sometimes quickly, sometimes it hangs on. This year it left quickly with warm wet winds stripping the snow base from the lower mountain and despite Turoa declaring Snovember we didn’t head up there at all through October, November. 

This is from the last big dump in early October, snow fell as far down as the house, and for the first time I was there for that. This is on the mountain road on the way up to Turoa. 

So, we now turn our minds to the warmer months, bike rides, mountain walks, river swimming, golf, BBQ, whatever. 

So, a long warm Summer is requested, and time with friends and family – hope you all have the same.


And still the work goes on…

Summer time in Raetihi was probably fairly quiet only a few years back, I know when we brought RaetihiRetro and started the renovations there didn’t seem to be much traffic or people around during the warmer months.

Raetihi Main

It’s great that this has changed – last weekend as I sampled a great breakfast at Angel Louise Cafe (between applying 1st and 2nd coats of stain to the new deck – more on that later) there was a steady stream of tourist vehicles pulling in (you know the Moa’s, Britz’s etc – NZ RV’s) and a number of languages spoken.

The German couple who asked about the best option to get to Pipiriki had already had a GPS induced calamity a day or so earlier so were happy to take my suggestion of taking SH4 towards Whanganui and turning in towards Pipiriki from there, they also enjoyed their coffees and cheese scones before they headed off.

Deck - Unstained1 Deck - Unstained2

With the help of Mal and Ian (a builder of great expertise and calmness, and the two lady hammer hands – I as usual did the food / drink duties) the deck was created and completed in two days over the New Year, my job last weekend was to apply the stain.

Another first for me, (cue the Aussie ad for the guy with the great deek) but all went smoothly, though a few minor touchups may be required this coming weekend.

Dec4 Deck1


Now, we have to move the spa into the space in the corner, put up the fencing and have the local sparky run power, probably rerun the gas pipe to the opposite corner for ease of access and that’ll be the deck, spa area ready for use through the Summer, Autumn and into Winter.

Heating will have to be sorted, Zoe does want to put the ‘fire pit’ up on the deck, I’m not convinced as yet – this on the deck may not be the wisest option…..


Anyway, another step on the journey to have the house completed, however those eagle eyed of you may have noted that the house now, by comparison to the deck looks (as Zoe put it) every so slightly huckery…..Kiwi slang for ‘not up to it, short of the mark, ugly’ so now we have a house waiting party to arrange, all welcome.

Bright & Shiny, floors like new…..

before the furniture goes back in

The lounge floor before the furniture goes back in

From day one we always wanted to get the floors done, the Matai boards were aged and somewhat dulled through many feet across them; then we thought to do it all ourselves but talking with friends the advice was to bring in an expert (Bryan Searle – Whanganui) did the work and what work.

Warm Manuka honey and gold tones and every area just glows.

the burn mark treated well

And then all the furniture got added back in – we’d lifted the original carpet from the bedroom and had Norca Rugs in Levin edge/bind this and now it’s gracing the lounge floor instead.

Fully set up and looking great

The main bedroom now has the fuzzy rug down and the floor reflects the tapa and curtain colours – this room gets evening sun and lights up in that warmth.

main bedroom

So, it’s all come together nicely, gleaming wood and in start contrast in some places we now have to go back and redo the work that earlier we though t’good enough’ and touch up skirting boards, and door frames etc


Now the plans extend to a deck out from the French doors at the end of the   kitchen, the family keep saying ‘add a spa pool’ in which comment I only hear more work for me, but we shall see. The deck will have some level of cover, either slide down sides with a half roof, this will allow winter time use with a brazier or heating source out there, will be stunning when done

The 2013 season……………..

So, the first dusting of snow has graced the mountain, not as early as last year where that dump in February led to a hesitant year, one where we drove North / South in hope that the weather would treat us kindly – and spent some days looking up hoping that the rain wasn’t washing all that was there away.

Given the long warm and very dry summer, some are positing that we will have a settled winter also, well that’s fine but first we need some heavy falls, and sorry the rest of the country, but that requires some cold days and weeks to achieve that.


We laid in the first load of pine Easter weekend, good starting wood, and will get a second load of hardwood soon, ahead of the unseemly rush caused by us winter folk.

It will be different this year, Bryn is winding down his end of season at Whistler, working and living away from home on his gap year, meaning unless Eve can get time away from her new job (retail) I may be up there by myself a fair portion of the year. I assume there will be others willing to take advantage of the spare rooms and warmth etc

Before that though I may live there short term, selling the house in Wgtn may happen faster than planned for and with no real idea of what we are looking for next Raetihi may be an easy option.

And for that to happen reliable transport – the Legacy blew the primary turbo at the top end of the Taihape deviation on Good Friday and languishes still at CJ’s in Waiouru waiting on a transporter with space to stop by to collect her, maybe a lease may be the easiest option….we will see.

See you on the slopes

Christmas at RaetihiRetro

Christmas at RaetihiRetro

I wrote this on Christmas Eve 2012 and published it to one of my other blogs – error, so here it is, where it should have been

Almost the end of 2012 and while the house was purchased and set up as a winter getaway place we are also now using it through the summer escape Wellington which the last two days has been a good thing (Wellington has had a couple of days of sea fog and weird weather)

Christmas Day will have us all here, Zoe jets back in from the US, Boston, Phoenix, Chicago and Las Vegas being her last 4 weeks, Jon and Dana flying in from Melbourne then driving up with Nanny and Eve and Bryn here with me helping me set up already.

And now the prep begins for tomorrows eating;

Christmas Dinner – Menu

Cheese Board, including – – OMG Double Delight (Goat & Cow milk Brie – – Castello Danish Blue – – Kapiti Kanuka Waxed Havarti – – Puhoi Valley Rolling Pastures – triple cream brie – – Barry’s Bay Canterbury Red(Double Gloucester) – – Kapiti Cumin Seed Gouda – – along with – – Varied Fruit pastes, Dried fruits, Nuts and crackers.

Roast Spatchcocked Turkey, with sage butter
Roast Beef Tri-Tip – rubbed with mustards, sea salt, pepper and spices, then slow roasted
Butterflied leg of lamb – garlic, rosemary and thyme rubbed and slow roasted
Spuds two ways – roasted new Agrias, also baby new jerseys, steamed with mint butter alongside
Assorted Carrots, steamed whole
Asparagus (roasted with balsamic glaze)
Green salad, whatever is fresh and available locally

Nanny’s Christmas pud, with custard, cream and ice cream
Nanny’s Mince pies
Spanish style Orange ‘Creme’ Caramels with macadamia toffee drizzle
Fresh Fruits

White and Red Wines (still and fizzy) — possible sweet and reserved towards the end of the meal
Cider / Beer
Adult Soft Drinks
Punch (non – alcoholic but stimulating all the same)
Tea – (For Nanny as required)

and incidentals which may show up or not according to chef’s frame of mind, temperament and alcoholic variances.

and yet there’s more……

Not far from Raetihi the famed bridge to Nowhere is a well know tourist destination, at RaetihiRetro the French Doors to Nowhere are yet to catch on with the punters.

When we have had time in summer to create the enclosed deck that will provide firm footing outside of these doors, maybe then the locals will start making a noise about the tourist value of such a destination, or maybe only those in the know will bother with a visit.

Also completed was the addition of both ‘real’ 1960’s artwork, the J H Lynch print (Woodland Goddess) is in it’s original frame and came from the antiques store at Turakina, ( )I got this as a birthday present for Zoe earlier in August, but then she chose to buy some very cool snow wear while in America so it became an anniversary gift.

The other painting is newer, painted in the ‘style of’ by Fifi Colston ( and presented to me by Zoe as a dual present, for both my recent 50th and also our 10th re-wedding anniversary, which fall on the same day.

All in all the two look very good as features on the lounge walls.