After a period looking after my brother and sister in laws dog (Goldie) and 2 cockatiels in Runanga, it was time to head to Christchurch to do some retail therapy for the lodge. img_2090 img_2070 There are a few furniture items being removed, which suits me as they are not in the image of a lodge that I want. So, what is purported to be a 3 hour 20 minute trip, becomes in a camper van a lot longer. Five hours in fact, after getting gas, groceries, and then finding the first 3 holiday camps were not available. Two had been changed into housing due to the earthquake. And the third had no one at the office. As it happens all things occur for a reason. On this occasion, it was that at the fourth holiday camp when I said I had two dogs the staff member asked if I was here for the National Dog show. "No, I was here to buy antiques". Now this is when a frustrating trip, and hours spent looking for accommodation which does not exist becomes a blessing. The lady staff member states that there is in fact an Antique fair this weekend, and finds it for me in the newspaper. I think at this stage the only decent thing I can do is pay $3 for the newspaper. And lo and behold I find there is a Persian rug sale on too! The upside of the dog show and all the dogs who were winning best in breed and agility, is that there is a lot of eye candy for Monty and Daisy to look at.


Today I had a meeting with Helen the current owner of the lodge to take stock of the chattels which remain for the lodge, and look at items she wants to take which will need replacing. I’m looking forward to putting my stamp on the Great Room, add some antiques and some lodge furniture which will reflect my idea of what a lodge should look like. I adore the colours of the fireplace in the Great Room, and think it is the perfect starting place to get a palate to work with, as is the Hokitika gorge colours. img_1988 To complete the day, Miss Daisy had a date with the groomer. She squeezed her into a tight diary when I pleaded. I had been recommended her by her neighbour who I met in town when he was collecting for the arthritis foundation. He commented that my dogs need a groom, I agreed and he gave me the name of the groomer. They are a friendly lot here. She did a lovely job with Daisy, but we did chuckle about the poofy bow. img_2057 We also drove past my new local pub, which alas I still have not had time to visit, and the owner is a chef and the food is said to be great. Known as the Woodstock it is just down the road from the lodge. img_2054


I am completing one last mystery shop for a client. It will cover the cost of a good quality coffee machine and a barista course in Christchurch! Therefore, I am staying put in one place to complete the shop, and have chosen Greymouth, where there are lots of great dog walks. We walked past this lovely monument to all the lost coal miners over the years in the Greymouth district mines. And the list is extensive, a clearly high risk vocation. Included amongst the names were the miners from the Strongman mine explosion in 1967 where 19 miners were lost, and more recently the 29 Pike River miners who were lost in the 2010 mine explosion. img_2011


Signed sealed delivered, Rimu lodge is mine! rimu-exterior Rimu lodge is officially mine, assuming all the compliance is OK. I will take over the lodge on the 8th November when I am back from Rarotonga. Also I have a week with Helen to learn the ropes before I take over. rimu-lodge-hokitika1 Today I found a great barista course in Christchurch which only takes a day, and means that whilst there I can look at the coffee machines. rimu-lodge-breakfast-lrge-1 My B&B  course can be done anytime, but earlier rather than later would be good. I am so excited about starting school! And I have been writing the business plan for the lodge. Which means I am able to go mad with fabulous ideas, one is to have the venue registered with wedding planners. I’m so excited! I just can’t hide it!


Finalising all the details of the purchase with the lawyer and accountant. It seems most things the vendor is happy with, but I may have to pay the depreciated price of the ride-on mower. I’ve always wanted a ride-on mower but never had enough land to warrant it! Now with 3 acres, it will be necessary even if I do get lambs and chooks. I have a final mystery shop to complete which will pay for the Rocket Espresso maker so my guests will have a perfect coffee. So in order to do the last client shop I will stay in Greymouth for a bit longer. We took a nice walk down to the river in Greymouth and found these cool coal containers. img_2003


Today my day started with trepidation, could I secure the lodge of my dreams? Yes! I bought a lodge! No time to celebrate, it was time to get a few ducks in a row to enable the purchase to go ahead. I did visit one more of Hokitika’s gems; the ‘National kiwi centre’. I saw eel feeding, those eels are up to 110 years old, and they are all females! Asked if I wanted to feed or stroke them, the answer was a very firm “NO”. img_2002 The kiwi was obliging and came out for a viewing. I have never been so close to a kiwi. I saw the native tree frog and many other critters.


We left early to go to the Hokitika gorge, in peak hour traffic. img_1971 It was worth the drive, the colour of the water was amazing, like a turquoise blue. img_1991 I’m not sure that the dogs were thrilled with the swing bridge, which bounces when walked on. img_1993 I’m told the colour is because of the sediments in the water. It’s the number one Hokitika attraction on Tripadvisor and its not far from the lodge I like. img_1988 We are staying at a free camp on the Hokitika river where the farm is cordoned off by a live electric fence, Daisy is just the right height for her tail to graze the live wire, fortunately the tip of her tail didn’t set it off! img_1995 And look at all the white baiters, I so need to buy a whitebait net. img_1969


My brother & sister in law visited the lodge on Saturday. Thankfully it got the tick of approval. Chris’s only concern was that it is a large property for one person to look after. One solution we came up with was to put two sheep in the bottom paddock. They could be a hit with tourists as well, and I would like chickens free roaming in the upper paddock, so that would take care of half the lawns. Also the eggs would come in handy when they go through 16 eggs on days when fully booked. rimu-lodge-aerialview


I viewed a property today, and I fell in love. It ticks all my boxes: It has a stunning outlook, views of a river, where one can fish for salmon and trout. And should one want a whitebait fritter, it is currently whitebait season. img_5353_4_5_fused-2590-x-1727 The property sits on 3 acres, it has stunning gardens; nectarines, peaches, feijoa, walnut, cranberry, red currant, strawberries, rhubarb, quince. Amongst many. The raised vegetable garden produces all the spinach for the eggs benedict for the lodge breakfasts. The property is fully fenced and has an area for a dog (or two) so they are out of the way of guests entering the property. rimu-lodge-sittingroom It was a hideous day today, I decided as the camper was rocking with the wind, that I couldn’t drive. So I asked the real estate man to collect me and take me to the property. We visited for over 3 hours, and I saw it at its worst. And yet it was still stunning in my eyes. In the afternoon when the rain subsided I walked the beach with Daisy and Monty and found this heart shaped piece of pounamu, perhaps it’s a sign? IMG_1911


What a great party with everyone entering into the fun of a costume party. The theme was come as your favourite decade, and we had people representing 1920’s to 1990’s. I was 1950’s, and a lovely girl who is studying art did my makeup for the decade. IMG_1899 On the Sunday morning I went to see the exhibition of my makeup artist Georgia in Cuba street, after walking 30 minutes I find it is closed. What a shame, I would have liked to support her by buying some of her art. I then went to the Te Papa museum to view the Gallipoli exhibition, and it was truly amazing with giant sculptures. I left feeling quite exhausted and flat, it was truly moving. IMG_1902IMG_1904