General New Zealand Tiki 2020 Ramblings

Sandboarding? Silly old me….

I thought you might enjoy reading about my latest late-midlife crisis, which started when I found an end of range boogie board for sale just after we arrived here in Feb. It was $7. So this essential purchase has been in our hire car, unwrapped, waiting for the suitable opportunity to use it which finally arrived at our visit to the giant Te Paki sand dunes just north of where we stayed at the wonderful Protea Park Farm Houhora, in the Northlands (top of the North Island). 


It’s been a few years, (well actually 45), but it’s like riding a bicycle right?  


I’ll let the pictures do the talking but suffice to say there is a fine line between hurtling downhill at 60km an hour on a piece of compressed plastic while having your face sandblasted back to a baby-like complexion, and lying prostrate on the same bit of plastic doing an impression of a giant turtle laying its eggs. And I never found the right side of the line. 

The dunes. Much higher and steeper than they look here. You can see the slope used by the brave.

Realising I should start on a more gentle incline, I found what I thought was a suitable nursery slope.

Heather was enthralled.

I launch myself (the slope is again much steeper than it looks, promise).

Oh dear. Maybe it’s the wrong type of sand.

Understandably disappointed with what she has seen, Heather goes back to the car (when she stops laughing).

I follow Heather back to the car, my sand boarding days clearly behind me. Oh well, at least I didn’t have to hire a board, which would have been $15 – so I saved $8 there… And with my buff covering my face, and my embarrassment, I preserved my neck. 

And if you know anyone who needs a lightly used boogie board which has had one just careful owner….. 

General Ramblings

Beef and Stout Potjie

A simple recipe which would have the purists spluttering into their braai pits. Why? The use of a Weber for one thing. And the speed of cooking. But it tasted great so I’m recording this as is.


  • stewing or braising steak – 500gsm cut into 3cm or so cubes.
  • 3 large parsnips
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 medium to large sweet potato
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 rashers of smoked bacon
  • 1/3rd jar of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • 12 small cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • large pinch pepper
  • can of 400ml or so of stout

Heat flat bottomed cast iron pot (large) on the Weber grill over lump wood charcoal.

Chop onions and soften in heated olive oil until translucent but not brown. Add cubed steak and bacon and brown the steak. This should take about 5 minutes. Add layers of parsnip, carrots and sweet potato.

Add stout and dried herbs and season to taste. Once the stout has settled, add the tomatoes, both raw and sun dried.

Leave the lid off the potpie but put the lid of Weber on to retain the heat and circulate the smoke which will then favour the dish. Leave to simmer for about an hour, but check steak is cooked and tender. You might need to add two or three pieces of wood to keep the charcoal hot.

Then add the sliced chestnut mushrooms and adjust the seasoning. Simmer for a further 10-15 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked but not too soft.

Serve with generous amounts of mashed potatoes and green peas.






General Ramblings

Physiotherapists – how do they do that?

I’ve been being treated by Jo at the North Downs Hospital, Caterham, and had another session of treatment today. The knee is improving all the time and Jo is confident of a full recovery.

What amazed me was her ability to feel where I was in pain, just through touch. I don’t mean that she would prod me and I would leap off the table, but she could sense almost before I could where the pain was likely to be. Extraordinary!

I’ve been given some more different exercises to do and a gentle suggestion that maybe it is time to get back in the gym a bit more. Based on my expanding waist line, no argument from me there…

I’ll get back on the Wii Fit Board straight away and work out what to do about the gym.

Looking forward now to doing some stages of the Glyndwyr Way in a week’s time  – Jo has said that really there is no problem with what I need to do, just to “listen” to my knee. 3-4 miles recently doing maintenance on the WCW caching circuit in Woldingham went well, and having Ruby and Yogi to stay meant we were out walking them quite a bit.

My only advice to those who have had an arthroscopy is to avoid standing still for any length of time – I was doing some cooking last week and it caused so much pain I had to sit down and put ice on my knee for the first time since the op. Apparently Jo said that no blood circulates through the joint and you are putting a lot of load on the joint at the same time when standing still for any length of time, and so walking is much better than standing still.

My Fitbit reports that I did 23.5 miles last week – if I can get that up to 35 or more and keep it there, maybe my weight will start going down a bit. I certainly don’t want to drag the extra pounds along the Glydwyr…

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 12.17.40