In Sickness and in Health

Posted by Angela

Our park up in Tawa opposite Hamish's cousin's house.

Wild Child Bushcraft Day in Kapiti

'Seagulls trying to steal the Herons egg' game played at the Wildchild day at Kapiti Coast in the bush.

As my children play their game of hide and seek in the bus...

("Mummy, where should I hide?"

"Err um, well you are in a bus buddy, kinda tricky aye...but I do love your optimism...".)

....I contemplate the past 6 weeks of life parked up in the Wellington area.  Not actual Wellington, as it seems that is the height of impossibility in a bus 11m long.  I'm not sure that that much flat land actually exists in Wellington, other than the airport!

We spent 3 weeks up the Kapiti coast in Raumati South in our new friends driveway, which existed up a steep hill. I nearly embedded the towbar in the road once again, but recalled lessons learnt in Tekapo and stopped moments before impact. It also happened to be the precise moment a Policeman drove past.  The irony of it all!  I am seriously wondering if the new spy laws passed allows tracking of 11m buses that rip up roads?  He stopped, questioned whether we were stuck, "No sir (not yet anyway)", then moved on.  Phew!

I attended my first ever week of retreat, childless, husbandless, surrounded by pure Aotearoa beauty, ahhh bliss.  Then upon my return I was greeted by the assault of children with spew bugs.  Nothing quite like the reality of vomiting children to rip all experience of bliss out from under ones feet.

Moved to a new driveway in Maungaraki and bunkered down into quarantine.  10 days later came up for air, all sanity lost by this point.  The reality of home educating, no grandparents to babysit and hubby working ridiculous hours means when 1 child is sick, 3 others bounce off the walls as no outings are possible....and the walls in the bus are rather small.

We clawed our way out of that hole, then onwards and....sideways.  Snotty noses next.....agh!  New island, new bugs it seems, not cool.  We then moved on to our next park up in Tawa, pulling out all the home remedies to treat the colds, and build the immune systems once again whilst trying to make the most of time with extended family.  

We then moved on to Newlands, ahhhh Newlands, boy is it foggy in Newlands!  So after experiencing several weeks of cabin fever due to sickness we were then faced with days of rain on end.  

However, despite this and amongst it all, there have been many moments of new fun.  Days spent enjoying the company of many new home educating friends, a superbly exciting day spent in the bush with the "wild child" group.  Many, many visits to a number of libraries, museums, parks and beaches. (My library card collection has grown greatly!).  We have navigated trains, buses, rush hour and life in the city; a far cry from little ole' country town living.  Each has been a learning experience in its own right.  Governance and 'who is in charge' are themes of interest at present so I am guessing a trip to Parliament would seem appropriate soon.

Our little home on wheels is serving us well as we push the boundaries of living in a small space as a family.  I did manage to snap my drivers wing mirror off and smash it thoroughly, (due to rust, not bad driving) thus having to drive without it. Suffice to say this was very disconcerting and was a priority to be fixed.   But other than this we have been warm, dry, and still immensely happy.

Posted by Angela


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  1. Mark McGuire on 13 Apr 2:52 p.m.

    I just bumped into Hamish on Twitter. So, you're home(bus) schooling? How's that going? There must be NZ-wide organised effort around that, but I'm not in that loop. How do you manage your internet connection? How will (Will) you ever be able to take the wheels off, once you've gotten used to this (are you used to it yet)? Also, I'm not a CommentBot (I had to say that, 'cause my blog attracts mostly #SpamBotPoetry).

  2. Hamish on 13 Apr 5:50 p.m.

    There is a NZ-wide organised effort around that. In fact it seems there are quite a few because the home-schooling category is an exceptionally varied one.

    Cellular data and friend's wifi. It's the new fiver, can you loan me some wifi?

    Thoughts of taking the wheels off are not given much time at the moment - other than when considering smelly teenage boys.

    I think we are used to it, you get used to the small space quickly, maybe now getting used to the "this weeks new place" the last few weeks stuck in wellington has us getting itchy feet to carry on.

  3. Tracy on 14 Apr 2:36 p.m.

    Inspiring stuff.... no really.... I mean it! I have a husband who is becoming obsessed with the Tiny House Movement and gave me a suitably tiny frame at Xmas with the message inside it "Go small to live big" I'm starting to feel afraid. All is good on sunny days when everyone is well, not always the case though eh?

  4. Angela Fraser on 14 Apr 7:22 p.m.

    Hi Tracy. Fear not! I reckon I have the perfect cure for your husbands growing obsession......a weeks free stay in our bus perhaps specifically at a time when we have sick kids......what ya reckon? perhaps on second thoughts, 24 hours should cure it!

  5. Lulastic on 14 Apr 8:35 p.m.

    Oh wow, sounds like you've had a few trials and tribulations! But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, eh? :D
    Awesome update x

  6. Tracy on 15 Apr 9:58 a.m.

    Great idea Ange! I'm thinking he can have his Tiny House, AKA a man shed on the back lawn!

5 boys in a bus

Posted by Hamish

Is this or is this not Mums plane?

This is the bit where I confess I was to timid to write about this adventure in advance because I wasn't quite sure how it was going to roll. You see Ange has now been gone for 6 (of 8) nights and left me with a bus (I can't drive) and 4 boys, one of who requires weaning and is (was) also gluten and dairy free.

Not that that was all that was going on. I had plenty else on my plate and so started the week quite tired and not exactly on task.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm pretty task orientated but not so great on the planning. What I've learnt this week is that you need to be fairly good at planning when faced with 4 hungry mouths and rising levels of angst caused by empty stomachs. You also need to clean and clean and clean.

I told the Verb crew I was taking a weeks holiday and mentally settled in as best I could for what I've started calling boot camp. We took Ange to the train station with the youngest so he would see her leave and hopefully not spend a week running out onto the road to look for her. Sad goodbyes, this was the longest Ange and I have ever spent apart and it was also Ange's first night away from Mr 2yr old. The train rolled away and Mr 2yr who was tired barely gave it a second thought. We hopped back in the car and headed for the fish n chip shop to grab tea. 

That night went surprisingly well, the next day was hot and sunny so we caught up with friends at a park and I tried to keep everyone's hats on (couldn't find that sun screen). That night I cooked tea and the boys didn't like it and so I figured I must be doing things right. Mr 2yr's now eats gluten and a bit of dairy when Dad isn't looking - what a clever chap.

Actually Mr 2yrs eating is what has consumed all of my time. Baked beans, prunes, carrots, bread (oi)!, prunes, cereal (gluten free), broth, apples, bananas, prunes, more cereal, water melon, more baked beans, cheese (oi!), crackers, biscuits, ice-blocks, prunes, dinner (at least he likes my cooking). He is exceptionally self directed and so will raid the fridge when my back is turned. The first day he successfully cracked a raw egg into the remains of his dinner while his brothers laughed hysterically. He is seriously addicted to prunes and has also kept me company with the odd sanity trip to a local bakery I found which makes really, really good coffee (he gets a soy fluffy). Today I found him spreading marmite on some bread on the kitchen floor. He'll grab the yogurt, milk, cereal box, and a bowl and put them all on the table and then grab me and point at them. If he can't find me he commits to the arranging of these ingredients himself to varying effects. Today I feed him his tea before the others which consisted of some large water melons pieces, broth, baked beans, crackers (self fetched), prunes, a bowl of cereal with yogurt, two big pieces of cucumber and then I served up Pad Thai to the boys, two of whom didn't like it, so Mr 2yr got stuck into both their meals as well.

He only stops eating when we go swimming. We've been swimming a lot this week! The (new) pool at Kapiti is really, really nice and is really well suited for us. The kids, for some weird reason, then made massive progress with their swimming this week compared to the last 3 years. I have no idea where their massive confidence boost has come from but I'm totally claiming credit for it. However, it may have been the ultra friendly life guards that let them jump continually into the pool.

Oh and I took them on a three hour train ride around Wellington. I have to admit I hadn't quite thought that one through (they were super keen to ride the trains) and it's quite a long way from Raumati to Petone via Wellington. They were however absolute stars as measured by the old ladies who came up and praised me for such and I quote "exceptionally well behaved boys" - yea we're freaks. Getting on a train with 4 boys does get some interesting responses. Audible groans from middle aged men, freaked out counting from young mums (that guy's got 3 kids!!!! no hang on 4!!!!!!!!!), longing gazes from the older ladies including the very nice one at Wellington station that just had to ask if they were all mine and then carrying on to tell me that she had 5 boys and the youngest was now 43 (woah woah - no more ok!!). The train trip was probably long enough and I haven't heard about trains since.

Washing, I did a lot of washing. Here's a tip right here - it also pays to put the swimming togs on the line to dry after a swim because it takes a cool 30 minutes longer (with lots of noise) to get cold wet togs on Mr 2yr old compared to nice dry ones.

Also a bus with 5 boys in it gets real messy fast. I'm not exaggerating at all here and by Wednesday I reached my own personal mess threshold. It was nearly tea time but there was no where to cook and the bus was just gaaaaaaah. So I kicked everyone out, said no to all food requests and got stuck in. It took me about an hour an a half to get the front half of the bus cleaned and by that point it was to late to cook so we had fish n chips. The boys were stoked and I'm not sure anyone learnt anything constructive out of that.

Finally I think we're all good mates. Me and Mr 2yrs have had our moments where I haven't understood him but he's sleeping like a baby right next to me as I write this and I'm thinking we're getting along awesome. Man have we had some laughs, especially when he's in that tired happy place he finds around 5pm. I also haven't been counting the days, in fact I was a whole further day ahead than I thought and while I can't wait to get Ange back - I'm also feeling that this week has been pretty special. 

Posted by Hamish


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  1. Sascha "The Random German" Bardua on 14 Mar 12:22 a.m.

    Hey guys, thats sounds like a pretty awesome and exiting week (and pretty much what I expected)! Told you Mr 2yrs is the one and only gourmet in that bus, cracking his egg in his far too normal dinner. For that my respect how you managed that week and to the boys as they did as usual their best they can to make this bus the coolest bus ever! :)
    The best regards from (too) far away!

  2. Rimke on 14 Mar 12:27 a.m.

    Awesome read!

  3. Ange on 14 Mar 7:57 a.m.

    We miss our "Random German" passenger - I think Mr 2 yrs is just trying to spice up his meals to his German predecessors standards!`

  4. Nana on 20 Mar 10:21 a.m.

    Well done Ham. That;s the funniest read I've had for a long time. Missing you all heaps

  5. Kathy on 25 Mar 10:09 a.m.

    Hi you guys, I think every dad should have this experience seriously thinking a weeks holiday sounds good for me! Good on u Hamish, and Ange glad you are having a well deserved break xxxx

  6. Carrie on 27 Mar 8:28 p.m.

    Glad you survived! Was laughing out loud reading your story! Miss you guys! Our girls are asking when they are going to see the "boys in the bus" again!

  7. Staz & Hayden on 2 Apr 12:40 p.m.

    Its great to hear a male perspective on looking after kids... And funny to find its pretty much the same!! Cooking, cleaning and trying to have eyes in the back of your head.
    Bet you enjoyed a well deserved break Ange.

  8. Claire on 14 Apr 7:48 p.m.

    Great read Hamish, I was laughing out loud & glad everything is going well for you all. Love reading all about your adventures. :)

Farewell to The South and Hello to The North

Posted by Angela

Spot the bus at Pohara

Our view of the sounds

The fog had lifted, amusingly Wellingtonians spent the day telling us that the fog is proof that it's not always windy, love you guys!

We sit here sipping port in salute to our final night in the South Island before heading 'overseas' to the North, bright and early in the morn.  We are parked in our final South Island park up in Koromiko, with what seems like every traveller in the South Island!  It is amazing where they can squeeze their vans in!  I just hope they are early rises and head off before us, as we are now parked in.  Given the size of our bus, and its noise starting up, I am sure they won't appreciate my early morning antics of trying to manoeuvre out without flattening anyone.

It has been a glorious ride over the last 4 months, from bottom to top of this incredible land we call home.  The scenery has been breathtaking, the people beautiful and the new experiences memorable.  It is with a twinge of sadness we leave the mainland....I think that means I'm really a South Island gal at heart.  However,  this of course is mixed with the excitement of travelling to Wellington once again.  A place we have a very soft spot for.  In fact, funnily enough, the last time I crossed over on the ferry was 8 years ago when we moved from Wellington to Timaru, with only one child who was 9 months old at the time!  My time flies!

The boys are very excited to be going on the ferry...that may wear off after the first hour!  

We had a fabulous time in Nelson, Motueka, Takaka, and Collingwood.  We have been experiencing summer at her finest with day after day of hot, hot sun.  Many hours have been spent swimming in every available river, sea and pool.  The bus has been running like a dream.  I have even had my own personal chef on board the last few days.  Our German friend joined us once again for some 'tickytouring'.  I have decided it's a unique form of 'Woof-ing' that we could offer (may need to rename it thou aye...) - I'll drive you around the country in style if you cook the dinner.......pretty good deal I reckon.  Keen anyone?

Posted by Angela


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  1. Lulastic on 23 Feb 10:40 a.m.

    Wow, what a beautiful description of this breathtaking country!
    (Mind you, no wonder you are finding it all so awesome, if you are drinking port for breakfast ;) Hehehe)

  2. Ange on 27 Feb 1:13 p.m.

    Hi Lulastic. Aren't we lucky to live in such a stunning land aye! Think the Port was a nighttime nightcap salute to the South...not so sure I'm made of staunch enough stuff to take nips at breakfast :-))) haha!