And the Spa is complete (almost)

This year has been the year (so far) of getting the deck built and the spa put into place and then setting it up to work correctly and be easy to use. So until last weekend we had much of this sorted, but not the last part.

Over the last weeks the electrician and gas guy/pumber  (it’s a gas powered unit remember) worked together; result, a permanent power source to the spa was installed.





The gas line put into place and made easy to access alongside the deck, at the bottom of the back porch stairs.






Then the heating unit was refitted, all electrical connections tested and certified.





Finally, all was in place, so when we arrived last weekend and set it all up we were very expectant of being able to set it up, get it going and enjoy a spa on Saturday evening. We flicked the main switch to on and everything burst into life, the airjets swirled, the digital readout lit up and the temperature started going up – very slowly, very very slowly.

Then it stopped. And would go no further.

A quick call to the gas guy (2.30 saturday afternoon) and remotely he toook me through a range of remedial options, bleed the gas line, check the fitting here / there etc. It seemed to work, then again we topped out at about 17 degrees, not warm at all. Saturday night spa was off. Sunday morning the gas guy rang, “I’m coming down” he said, be there about 11.30am.

He arrived, did his own testing, we checked all electrical fittings as well, strange – no power at the igniter switch – stood there scratching our heads…….then light bulb moment.

The airjets were running, not the water jets, and if there was no water running through the igniter switch, there was no ignition – the unit requires pressure there to get the spark going, so a quick push on the button on the top of the spa, air jets off, water jets on, ignition, flame = heat.

So, for all who come after us the set up is simple. If the spa is empty, fill from the hose reel fitted to the back wall of the house, fill to above the water jet nozzles, but below the mosiac line.







Attach gas bottle, turn on power, turn on main switch (the one of the right – the red one has to be in the on position as well) listen for the water jets to be running inside the pool and then the ignition kicks in and magic happens.

And, thanks to the gas guy / plumber we also have a drainage process that isn’t manual labout and involves buckets. The drain plug sits at the base of the spa, connect the hose and run the hose to the drain, then open the panel and reach inside, turn the red handle and the spa empties.

The gas guy / plumber?

Mike from Tuamaranui Plumbing, can’t say thank you, loud enough for all his efforts, he and team there are very, very good indeed. Use them if you can.


From huckery to elegant

So, some of you will have seen the recent updates about the new deck being in place and stained etc, Zoe’s immediate comment was that the house now looked ‘huckery’ – which led to a flurry of explanations to our overseas friends on the providence of that term in Kiwi slang.


So, there has been much conjecture and conversation around possible colour combinations – much of this online through Zoe’s FB page and the final options were only chosen in the carpark of Resene, Whanganui last Friday.


I had a almost full day call on Saturday so Zoe first purchased a new water-blaster (told me the old one had no oomph) and then took the back wall of the house on (in the rain most of the time) with an immense grin on her face. Sunday, we got a first coat on that wall and Zoe couldn’t resist adding the orange just to see what the overall effect will be.

There’s a heap of cutting in and a second coat for this wall, I’ve got the water-blasting to do on the other three sides, a local builder to come and manage some minor repairs to eaves and fascia and of course the spa to be moved into place, fenced and the gas guy to come to refit the hoses etc before it’s back up and running.


By the way, our lovely friend Fifi, did the render of what our initial colours could look like -Zoe pulled the two images together and they match!


More images and details to come as the summer slowly begins it’s wind down into Autumn, but winters still a while away, so if you’re keen on getting some walking in, some cycling (the local companies do a stunning job getting to to and from the start / end points of some of the best riding in the region) let me know and come and experience RaetihiRetro for yourself.

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

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.

The end of the season


So, the season is coming to an end as it’s been for much of the year, another weekend where the weather has been poor, while delivering snow. That’s right, the indicator for today and tomorrow is for snow, the first weekend of November – more snow!

It’s been an odd year from the start, snow early, way back in May there was a snow fall that didn’t last long but which had us hoping for a long season, we got that in the length, but not in the days on the mountain.

It felt something like a few years ago where the weather patterns had it fine Monday to Thursday, clouding up on Friday then rain and wind for the weekend, every weekend, for the entire winter.

My sons rugby season that year was less than 10 games, from a scheduled 22.

So, we head into summer, the thoughts move to what’s next? I’ve already purchased my first trout rod, well the first I’ll have owned in maybe 30 years, where’s my bike, have to locate that from whoever I loaned it to, and I need to buy a BBQ for the house, and do I need Xmas lights for that later afternoon dinner we are planning for that day?

I guess as the seasons change we just move to the next thing, the lifties and instructors have already migrated North, following the snow to Canada, France etc. and those of us left behind, we move into a new routine of later evenings, lighter days and waiting for that first snow fall in 2013.

Have a great summer folks, I’ll be loading this blog up with summer and autumn holiday options in the Ruapehu area very soon.

Getting ready to open the door and welcome customers

The first weekend of the season went off, with 1m of new snow in the week prior the Sunday / Monday delivered bluebird conditions with well groomed trails and the lifts opening up when possible.

HighNoon opened late Sunday and unfortunately Movenpick was closed Monday due to a mechanical fault – that’s been sorted quickly and is open again.


this was the view from the top of High Noon on Monday afternoon.

The house is close to ready, there is some painting to be finished – small areas to be redone and architraves getting final coats, also the floors. We originally hoped to get the floors sanded / sealed etc much earlier in the year and now it’s winter we can’t get it done – it just doesn’t work at this time of year.

So the kitchen floor is unpolished and the bathroom floor is a hodgepodge of varying surfaces which we will cover asap – just need to decide what the surface will be and who/when it will be laid.


As you can see it needs doing.


And we need to finish a few other things, silicon around the tiling and some other little things, then it’s all open for business.