Sunday Summary No #1 - October 2018

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For those who don’t know yet:

We’ve bought the quite dashing van of a paint accessories distributor (2005 Nissan Vanette) here in Kiwi Land and have been busy with converting the damsel into a campervan for several weeks now. The plan is, to explore the country with her, as soon as everything fits into the right places. Her name is "Vanette", she is tiny but feisty and you will hear and see a lot of her in the future.

In Auckland, we already finished the following work:

- The floor was insulated and laminate has been laid

- We got a sofa from Salvation Army that can be folded down to a bed, scaled it down and welded it together again (we had proffesional help with that)

- We built a shelving system from scratch with a neat worktop including small sink

- The bed was raised to create storage space underneath

- More storage space in form of a hinged chest which is connected to the bed with an integrated secret compartment for valuables. There's still some work to be done to it.

- In Auckland haben wir bereits folgende Arbeiten erledigt:

- Der Boden wurde gedämmt und Laminat verlegt

- Wir haben ein Sofa, dass sich zu einem Bett umklappen lässt verkleinert und eingesetzt

- Ein Regalsystem mit aufgesetzter Arbeitsfläche inklusive kleinem Waschbecken verbaut

- Das Bett wurde höher gelegt um Stauraum darunter zu schaffen

- Stauraum in Form einer ans Bett angeschlossener aufklappbaren Truhe & Ablagefläche mit integriertem Geheimfach für Wertgegenstände. Da muss noch dran gewerkelt werden.

After an amazing birthday weekend, our third week here in Mangonui started rainy. We spent our time mostly to get ahead with the car conversion.

Basically, “Vanette” is ready to roll, as we have already covered several miles across the country from Auckland to the far north. But to be called a tiny home, she still lacks the final touch. Measuring all out and planning the interior design alone took forever and when we finally got into the construction phase, we figuratively moved into the hardware store, spending hours and hours find the best (and cheapest) solutions. Well, since the purchase of the tradie, a lot has already happened and very slowly we are approaching the home straight. This week we have finally fixed the ceiling lighting - we had to pull out the whole roof lining for that. Well, it was about time to clean the headliner anyway… Since there’s not much head space we wanted to fix the lights flush with the ceiling, so we had to drill about 100 holes into the panels and pull the chain of lights through each and every one of it. What started out pretty easy at first turned out to be more protracted than expected. Anyway, good things come to those who, uhhm, don’t take the easy road maybe? The fabulous and inexpensive DIY interior lighting in our camper is now complete and we are super happy with the result. In addition to the light installation, we have also dealt with a brand new curtain design. We don’t like the often used standard sliding method of many RVs, and we wanted an all-in-one solution with integrated insulation against heat and cold. As if we don’t have enough to do already, we sewed all curtains by hand (we travel without a sewing machine, so there was no way around swinging the needle and thread for days) and this week the postman finally brought us the self-adhesive velcro tape. The Velcro holds just perfect on the car, the fabric of the curtains on the other hand is less adhesive and we had to pick up the needle again. We are still sewing a couple of hours a day and by now it feels like we work in a crappy sweat shop, where we don’t get paid, but can keep the flubbed curtains if we get them finished someday. But yeah, I don’t wanna complain, after a whole week, two of the five curtains are already done. Hurray.. ;)

George and Anna exploring the coast line of Coopers Beach

George and Anna exploring the coast line of Coopers Beach

Downer of the week:

Once more it becomes abundantly clear that pet-sitting doesn’t mean doggy vacation. As you can read in our reviews on, we take the job very serious (after all, we are germans) and have become quite professionalized by now. If something goes wrong, you need strong nerves and have to be able to calmly but quickly start the emergency routines. At the weekend George put us to the test. As we set off on a walk through the surrounding olive groves on Friday night, George finds a bright blue block while snivelling through the bushes: damned rat poison! The garage of the owners is full of it, the things are nailed to every shelf. At some point, a rodent must have managed to drag a block out and left it there. George has just picked it up when Toby saw what was going on and savagely snatched at it. He was able to pull the poison out of the doggos mouth in an instant, but rat poison is no joke - we can’t be perfectly sure that he hasn’t gulped some of it down and the active toxin dilutes the blood, until it can lead to bleeding organs and thus the death of the animal. However, in order to fool the clever rats, the poison takes effect much later, sometimes up to 48 hours after the bait was consumed. As a first aid measure, we give George all of the charcoal pills we find in our first aid kit. The activated carbon is said to bind the poison, before it is absorbed by the body in the colon. After that we spend our Friday night calling the vet emergency service and discussing our options. The next practice is a 40 minute-long drive afar and is closed now anyway, no one can help us here in the boondocks tonight. The vet is is pretty relaxed, though: We should first wait and watch out for possible symptoms. The poison works, if at all, not before the next few hours. For now, George looks and acts absolutely normal, without any sign of poisoning. Of course, we have also contacted Georges owners, who are currently spending their holidays in France. They told us that George has been there before and had once eaten a whole box (!) of rat poison. They had to pump his stomach, but otherwise it did no harm. What a tough little bugger!

They advise us to wait and check him frequently for symptoms and if we notice anything unusual, we had to rush to the next vet for a Vitamin K treatment. The night has been quite restless, we constantly had to make sure George has no nosebleed, his breathing is still steady and the mucous membranes don’t show the classic pinhead-sized bleedings that are typical for a Brodifacoum poisoning... The next day we drive to Kaitaia, even if we were given to understand that we can not get an appointment on short notice. But heck, if there’s an emergency they won’t send us away, will they?! Of course, George doesn’t understand the whole drama. He's a jester, chases birds, eats like a wolverine as usual and shows no sign of poisoning until today (Sunday). The latency of the effect has now passed. We are still looking out for any symptoms our little cormorant could show, but are pretty optimistic.

Wow, what a weekend! Meanwhile, our nerves have calmed down and while the dog snores like a champ next to us on the carpet, we continue working on the homepage: the new design is now implemented and we are curious what you guys think about it.

Our location right now:


Mangonui, Far North District, North Island, New Zealand

Highlight of the week:

We love to take George out for long walks and he loves to sprint through high grass and scrubland and hunting for birds (he never gets them;). His tail wags uninterrupted and often this is the only body part, which protrudes in the distance from the high grass. Our current favorite trail is approximately four miles afar from home and leads across lush grassy hills and ancient gnarled trees up to rocky cliffs, rewarding you with a fantastic panoramic view of the turquoise-blue Tasman Sea. From here starts a circular route that leads from small bays to a vast beach. In between, there is scrubland and paths overgrown with tree ferns along a torrent where the water is so clear that you can see every single pebble. A 40-minute long nature experience of the coastal landscapes of NZ!

Postcard of the week


Anna about homesickness

Hurray, this was our first Sunday Summary! The first time we had to make up for the last weeks, the next One will probably be a little shorter ;) We hope you like the new format and we wish you a great start into the new week!