Our engagement bling!
As mentioned briefly last time, we were finally able to move back into our van shortly after our return from Dunedin and thank heavens all traces of painty pong have gone. We're still not sure why the heck it took so long for the paint to dry, obviously the cold temperatures and damp air didn't help but we came to the conclusion that the actual timber itself must have also been too damp for the paint to be able to dry. Not that we could do anything about it at this time of year! Still, at least it's done now and Ken looks much smarter with his fresh, white paint rather than wet, mouldy timber! It's still not perfect, whilst it seems to have taken care of the mould (at least for now, time will tell), we still have the problem of the foam mattresses getting soaking wet underneath. This means every couple of days when the weather allows we have to dismantle the bed and do our best to air dry or heater dry the squabs in between sleeps. It's not ideal but it is what it is; we looked into other mattress options but they were all horrendously expensive or too big or both. 'Tis all just part and parcel of van life in winter!
Ken now has shiny white timber bench seats, instead of damp, mouldy ones!
Here you can see where we have had to drill heaps of large holes to aid
ventilation. This goes some way to prevent all our stuff contained in the bench seats from
getting damp and mouldy. Hopefully now the storage interior has now been painted, it should
help even more. We hope!
We also took the opportunity of giving Ken some nice new upholstery as his side panels had also been affected by the moisture. He feels much nicer and brighter now and with a bit of luck our renovations will see us through to the end of winter. I'm really proud that we've made it this far, but in all honesty the winter is really not that bad here, we love it. Here in Gore we seem to miss a lot of the weather extremes the rest of the country gets hammered with, and after years in the Waikato and Coromandel we don't miss the incessant rain and wind one bit!
Our incredibly technical and expensive upholstery procedure
Ken now has a nice touch of Kiwiana with his paua shell fabric!
And at last we are finished
Besides, today one of my biggest wishes came true! Although we had a smattering of snow a few weeks back, it didn't come to much and we missed it actually snowing. I'd been watching the weather forecast all week and although all the weather reports were warning of snow storms across the south, I wasn't overly confident we would get that much in our little weather haven, if any at all. 'I wish just once it would snow when we could see it and actually be out in it, rather than when we were asleep', I pouted to Gareth. 'I'd love to see snowflakes again!' The last time I saw snow falling was when I was about 13, back in England. The first flakes started to fall around 10pm last night and I stuck my head out of the van for a few seconds, grinning like an idiot at the white flecks spattering the night sky. Even if we didn't get any more than that, at least I'd seen it. We planned to wake up early though, just in case.
A lovely sight to wake up to!
'Looks pretty white out there!' called Gareth, as he peeked out behind the curtain around 7am. 'Awesome!' I said, taking a look. It wasn't the three feet I'd hoped for, but it was still a decent couple of inches; the most either of us had seen in a long time. And it wasn't snowing; once again we had missed it overnight but at least we could go out and play in it! I hopped outside with Minnie to take some photos and couldn't stop smiling at the sight of everything covered in a snow blanket as far as the eye could see. The hills, the trees, the cars, the buildings, Brian and Evelyn's bus. And then all of a sudden my wish came true. It started snowing, REALLY snowing, millions of snowflakes falling all over me and Minnie. It was magic, it really was. Honestly, I felt as though I was in Narnia or something!
One very happy big kid!
The first of several snow showers we got to enjoy through the day
Gareth came out to join me and everyone we saw was smiling. Our new friends, Fred and Linda who had arrived the day before. Brian and Evelyn, with little Brandy bouncing along in her bright blue jacket and of course Bevin and Inca. Inca was beside herself with excitement, rolling around in the snow, tearing around like a mad thing and demolishing snowballs with her paws. Her enthusiasm rubbed off on a rather bemused Minnie and the two of them were a delightful sight as Minnie tried her best to keep up with her exuberant friend!
Minnie still hasn't decided if she REALLY likes snow. But she certainly likes eating it!
The perfect spot for snowman building!
One very large snowman, complete with funky Steampunk glasses!
In all the years I've lived in NZ I've seen snow twice, at Mount Ruapehu on the ski fields. Both times however I was a bit disappointed - the snow was so hard, it was more like ice and although you could toboggan on it, you couldn't actually play in it; being hit with a snowball was more like being stung by a paintball! The snow today though was perfect. Soft, crunchy, powdery, perfect for making snowballs - and snowmen! It didn't take long for momentum to gather as we rolled what was to become our snowman's head and body around the field. In fact, they grew so big, it was quite a challenge to lift the enormous sections on top of each other! But we got there and we patted and preened and smoothed him off until he stood even taller than Gareth! Our beautiful big snowman attracted quite a few admirers and much hilarity was had as we raided our vegie supplies from the van to give him potatoes for eyes, a yam for a nose and a celery stick for a mouth. We had so much fun that once we finished we didn't want to stop, so built a snow lady as well, to keep him company!
We made snow us'es!
I don't know what it is about snow that turns grown adults into big kids but it really was the most perfect day and the most unbelievable fun. Who knows whether we will get treated to another spectacle again any time soon but if not, that's OK. I've already got my wish!