It’s been so long since I put an entry into the blog, I’m not sure where to start.

Our son, Giles came back home, after living in wellington for 8 years, & then heading overseas. Since he has been home we have been undergoing a transformation, we are now the “Team at Millstream” & have a new website & blog, we’ve completed the changeover to new labels & undertaken an ambitious new project designing a new range of tins with beautiful retro kiwi labels with matching postcards. We have found a number of outlets for these, but as yet have decided not to sell online, because we want the shops they are in to have the benefit of being exclusive.

Retro NZ Tin StandThe reason I’m telling you this, is that the new tins were the impetus for Geoff & I to do one of our rare sales trips/ holiday escapades. The first leg of the trip from home to Taupo went smoothly, towing our old caravan & we anticipated getting through the Auckland traffic well ahead of rush hour. Just outside of Tokoroa we had a mishap (understatement of the year!) suddenly there was a strange juddering, we pulled over thinking we had a flat tyre on the caravan, imagine our surprise & horror to discover that on one side we had no wheel at all. It had vanished into thin air, leaving four snapped off bolts & the caravan lurching sickeningly onto one side. All our happy thoughts dissolved in a second & dire thoughts replaced them.

where's the wheel goneprecariousCaravan

While we waited for AA to come to our rescue we scouted the other side of the road for the errant wheel, eventually finding it, in one piece up against a fence in some undergrowth, it was so lucky that it hadn’t caused an accident as it sped across that very busy road. The AA  tow truck   man  was unphased, he hooked the caravan up onto the deck, hanging precariously off the back, & took us back to Tokoroa. After visiting several garages who were too busy to help, we found a kindly gentleman at Pit Stop Garage who sent us off to buy bolts, then proceeded to check out the axle & brakes, & replace the wheel. Half an hour & $70 later (including bolts) we were back on the road, limping a little & a bit nervous, but definitely counting our blessings & grateful for acts of kindness from strangers.

DSCF1605Kiwi mail boxeshundterwasser toilets

Luckily we stayed a night at my Aunt & Uncles, & had all the materials we needed to repair the body work & internal framing that had been munched. Once we had that sorted we headed cautiously northwards. We spent a night at Mangawhai Heads, which was quite nostalgic for me, since we lived near Te Hana when we first came to NZ in 1976, & Mangawhai was the first beach I saw here. We drove along the coast, through Waipu to Whangarei, then on to Paihia, via the toilets at Kawakawa. Kerikeri then across to Rawene, then turned south again through Dargaville, Kaiwaka (my old stomping ground, where we lived for some time in a community, back in 1978) & then back onto familiar territory. Although we cut the trip a bit short, to avoid shaking the caravan too much we had some lovely times & met a lot of helpful & friendly people. I think I may have overcome my dread of marketing, although Geoff is a natural & doesn’t stress at all.

Northland 120Boathouse Cafe, RaweneBush, Northland

Highlights were:

The Quarry Arts Centre in Whangarei, where we explored all sorts of eccentic buildings & admired beautiful art works & some exquisite wood turning.

Haruru Falls Motel & Motorcamp, just north of Paihia, a blissful spot on the edge of the water, lots of bird life & quiet.

The Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa

The Stone Store at Kerikeri with it’s authentic shop

The Boatshed Cafe at Rawene, the best seafood pizza ever, & such a cool spot, lovely staff too, even though they were rushed off their feet.

The bush drive from Opononi to outskirts of Dargaville, beautiful.

Matakohe Kauri Museum, haven’t been there for 30 years, it has grown so much. Love the life sized models, all the figures are replicas of local people who’s families are part of the history of the place.

Bush drive from Tirau to Rotorua, very special we’ve never been on that road before.

Best of all: arriving safely in our own driveway.

If you want to source our tins, you’ll have to go visiting:

The Cream of Matakana, at Matakana,  Country Trenz, Town Basin Whangarei

Ancient Kauri Kingdom, Paihia,   The Stone Store, Kerikeri

The Kauri Museum, Matakohe,   Rotorua Museum

Art Deco Trust, Napier,     Gallery at the Mission, Greenmeadows

Arataki Honey, Havelock North