Rotorua, New Zealand. 30th December, 2020

Happy New Year

2020 is almost is an end. It will be a year we will not easily forget. The Pandemic, Brexit and the US election, which despite being decidedly beaten, Trump still refuses, weeks later, to admit he lost. There must have been some good times, but they are overshadowed by these momentous events.

I fear it is going to be a while before the UK, Europe and the US are Covid free and life gets back to normal. Hopefully the coming of Spring and increased use of the various vaccines, will improve the situation.

I am not sure I will hurry to have the vaccine at the moment. I would rather wait and see if any side affects are identified. It does seem to have been rushed into production and I am not certain rigorous enough testing has been undertaken. I expect if we want to travel though, airlines are going to demand vaccination, or countries will require vaccination as a condition of entry.

We had hoped we might be able to go back to South America and continue our journey by May 2021. Probably this is going to be too optimistic, but at the moment we simply can’t make any plans as the future is so uncertain. All we know is, we definitely want to finish our trip, when we can.

Yesterday we met Carl and Renee, a young Kiwi couple we met in Guatemala. We were all staying at the campsite at Pasajcap beside Lake Atitlan. Carl and Renee, plus 4 other campers left Pasajcap in March. Having agreed to go with them, we then changed our minds, as we hoped the virus would pass and we could continue our journey. We all know now that this was not possible, but we waited until May, before giving up.

Carl and Renee managed to get a 10 year Temporary Import Permit for their camper van which they have left in Mexico. When they flew back to NZ, quarantine had only been introduced a couple of days beforehand and was pretty chaotic. A very good Thai lunch was enjoyed, while reminiscing about Guatemala and swapping information on the current whereabouts of our fellow campers.

We have been out of quarantine for about 6 weeks now and it is brilliant to be living a ‘normal’ life. New Zealand is so fortunate. In anticipation we may spend a winter here this year, if travel continues to be so difficult, we bought a poly tunnel to grow vegetables for a longer period. Some updating to our house is also being undertaken. New windows, as the current frames are beyond redemption and some better insulation.

Our lifestyle, before we set off on our round the world adventure, had us spending summer in both hemispheres, so we have never experienced winter in this house!

Since returning to NZ our focus has been on the house and garden. Little travel at the moment. Just a visit to Palmerston North and Wellington. A doctor’s appointment, a visit to our rental house and visits to catch up with several friends. Christmas was spent in Snell’s Beach with Dennis’s sister and family. A summer Christmas on the beach still seems all wrong to me.

Dennis has returned to his element. He can be found in his ‘man cave’ where he is working on restoring a 1963 Humber 90, christened Blerta. This required a trip to Raetihi, where we collected another wreck, which will be cannibalised for parts.

As we are members of the Veteran Car Club here in Rotorua, we have been on a couple of Club rallies. The first to Lake Okataina (it means lake of laughter), was for a picnic in torrential rain. Not terribly amusing, but we were under cover. The second, a tour around Rotorua, with a quiz relating to local sights, ending at the Club Chairman’s house, where we had a very tasty Christmas lunch.

Sometimes we have taken our 1983 Series 3, Stage 1 Land Rover to rallies. Being more than 30 years old she qualifies as a veteran. Dennis’s wish is to take Blerta once (if 😀) she is road worthy.

Poki is tucked up under a cover at our holiday lodge in West Sussex, U.K. Hopefully we will be able to return to use her at least for some UK and European trips next year.

Thank you everyone for taking the trouble to read our ramblings. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our family, friends and readers a very Happy New Year. Let’s hope 2021 will be a better year for everyone and we can visit you all.

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  1. Not sure if I was supposed to ” connect” to your family annual story but it sounds like you have a busy international life (normally) with heaps of travel and old auto fun. Keep it up as long as Covid allows ????? Nice straight V there Dennis, are you sure its not recoverable in it own right ? Cheers, Graeme, P.Nth

    • Hi Graeme, was caught up in reminiscing myself…:). Be my guest, it’s a public site. Yes, the Minx is fairly straight but very porous!! Motor seems fine and the steering box will hopefully work for us. Will be down to Palmy again in a month or so and will pop in for a chat. Thanks again for the excellent information. We are booked in for the Humber AGM? in Havelock North in March.


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