Bad experience

We are living on a farm north of Dargaville, in a district known as Mamaranui. We are house-sitting (or farm-sitting) for the owners, who are in the South Island for work. We came here on 4 October, and will be here until 2 December. We are enjoying the stay here very much. It is a comfortable home, and I just love the farm!

I had a sore throat the weekend before last. I bought some throat spray, and used that. The soreness went away, but then I had a cough, and pain in the lungs. I bought some LemSip syrup, and that seemed to help for the chest. After about 2 days, it was better.

Saturday I started feeling soreness in the throat again, and by Sunday, it was severe. Food had no taste, and, of course, I cannot smell either. I sprayed my throat on Sunday evening, hoping that it would improve overnight.

I woke up with a very sore throat, and felt pretty miserable. I decided to go to town and see a doctor. I phoned the Dargaville Medical Centre, and they informed me that there is only one doctor there today, but I could come in and wait, as they do have a walk-in medical facility. I showered, and left. Alida stayed at home.

I reported to the counter, where the lady had me fill in the necessary forms, and soon after the screening nurse called me over. She had a look at my throat, and took me directly to see the doctor. The doctor lady had a look, and decided to give me Amoxicillin antibiotics to cure the throat. She also gave me Paracetamol for the pain. I went to the pharmacy to get the drugs. I also bought pies from the pie shop, and a bottle of water. I took the Amoxicillin and Paracetamol in the car before I drove out of town.

At home, I was not feeling too great, so I took the car to the shed where the chickens are kept. While there, I started feeling worse, and decided to return home as soon as possible. I parked the car outside, instead of in the garage, just in case I had to go back to hospital.

As I came into the house, I started feeling really bad. I went into the lounge, where Alida was busy with needlework, and plopped into a chair. She asked if I was alright, I told her I was feeling really bad. Then I started feeling nauseas, and got up to go to the bathroom. As always, it is too late, but luckily I had not eaten or had anything to drink since the previous evening, so I made it to the toilet bowl before anything came out.

It was a horrible experience! I retched and retched, but very little came out. I could not see properly, everything was white, and very bright! Alida asked what she could do, I asked her to make some scrambled eggs, so that I could get something in my stomach. I thought the reaction was because I had taken the tablets on an empty stomach. I sat down on the bathroom floor, feeling very flat, and it was an effort just to lift an arm.

When the food was ready, I stood up, and stumbled to the kitchen, where I took a few bites of the food. I then went back to the lounge, and sat down. My eyesight became worse, there were things floating around, and everything was very bright, but in a hazy sort of way. There was a lot of white, and I could not see the objects in front of me, only vaguely seeing the objects in my peripheral vision.

I asked Alida to take me to the hospital. I was passing out, and knew that if that happened, Alida would be unable to get me into the car. I stumbled out to the car, and she followed. She left her oxygen concentrator, her purse, etc. and came out to the car. We drove off the farm, I opened the gates, because I knew it would be much quicker than waiting for her to do it. While travelling in the car, I felt this terrible itching! My arms were red, and itching! The more I scratched, the more it itched! It was maddening! My neck, legs, everywhere started itching! I tried not to scratch, rather rubbed the skin, but it was driving me crazy!

We went straight to the hospital, I explained to the lady what the problem is, and they almost immediately took me through to a bed. There was a barrage of nurses and doctors coming in and looking, and asking many questions. They put a drip in my hand, with some solution dripping into my veins. Finally, one of the doctors asked me to follow him to his room, where he again asked many questions, and examined me, took blood pressure, etc. My blood pressure was very low, 95/56.
I again started passing out, and told him I was going to vomit. Alida passed me bucket, and I retched and retched.

The doctor then decided I should be taken up in hospital. They put more stuff into the drip, one of which I heard was a steroid. I lay on the bed, shivering and shaking from the cold. The nurse thought it strange, because she said my body was hot to the touch. I could not control the shaking, it was quite embarrassing.

After a while, I started feeling better, and the doctor came in, said I should get up, and walk around a bit, so that they could see if I am going to be alright to go home, otherwise I would have to stay overnight in the hospital. I was not keen on this, as it meant Alida would have to spend the night alone on the farm.

At around 18:30, a nurse came in, and took readings again. They were satisfied that the Amoxicillin was out of my system, or at least that the concentration was now so low, that there would not be further reactions. They said I could go home.

We came home, and had pies for supper. I went to bed around 21:00, and slept well.



While at Dairy Flat house sitting, I received an email from a lady, asking if we could house sit for them for a period in August. As we had already accepted an invitation to house sit for another family during that time, I had to decline. The lady was a good friend of the parents of the Dairy Flat family. I felt quite bad, because they had expressed that their friends were very impressed with us as house sitters. However, I just could not get myself to cancel the already arranged house sit.

About 2 weeks later, the arranged house sit owners cancelled their arrangements! I immediately contacted the lady from Glendowie, and told her we were now available. She was very happy, as they had not been able to secure house sitters. We were also happy, as it was connected to the current house sit owners.

We arranged to meet the owners on a Friday. When we arrived there, it was chaos! They had experienced a rare power failure earlier the morning, and the electric gate would not work, and the alarm system was in chaos, going off every few minutes. The lady was in a flat spin! She had to leave for an appointment, and her husband arrived. He and myself went for a walk, and chatted for a while.

They have a very successful business, one which they have worked very hard at for the past 30 odd years. They have a very beautiful house, with all the amenities. It is large, has 4 bedrooms, one of which has been set up as a study. 3 Bathrooms, a lovely kitchen, TV room, and a formal lounge. The laundry is between the kitchen and garage. The house is on a cliff top, overlooking the bay. The garden is lovely, and is maintained by a garden service. They have cleaners which come in once a week, to clean the house.

The bathrooms have heated floors, which is absolutely wonderful! It is so great to get out of the shower, and step onto the heated floor!

They have an old Jack Russel, Trevor, or Trev for short. He is a very easy dog to look after. He has taken a liking to me and Alida. He is really so easy to mind. I take him for walks every morning, and every afternoon. This is the highlight of his day!

View of the house from the cliff fence
Kitchen and TV room
Passageway to the rooms
Dining room
View from the deck
View of the deck
Another view from the deck
Looking out over the bay
Passing ferry
Outside shower and hot tub

The day I saw the pellet


Author: Derick Hulley

Place: Kenilworth, Kimberley

Date written: 29 September 2015

The Day I Saw The Pellet

An awakening

This event took place in Kenilworth, where we lived. It is a little township, a few kilometres outside Kimberley. It belonged to the diamond mining company, De Beers, and consisted of three streets, each with a row of houses. De Beers employees lived in the houses, and were subsidised by the company, with regards to water, electricity, and rent. We lived in 3rd Avenue, the second last house in the street. It must have been around 1965, when I was about 13 years old.

I was always led to believe that a bullet is too fast to be seen. When fired, it reached the target almost instantaneously, and was so fast, it could not be seen. I was also told, that because it was so fast, it travelled in a straight line.

We had been taught to shoot with air guns, also called pellet guns. My step father, Jan Brand, went to South West Africa (now called Namibia) almost every year, to visit his family, and also to hunt. We would go with, and were given air guns, with which we were allowed to shoot birds, small mammals, like mice, rats, etc., or anything else we could find. My brothers, Hilton and Dicky, and myself, became crack marksmen, and could shoot a bird from it’s perch without a problem. We used to go out into the veld, alone, for hours at a time, hunting, and killing.

Although we were not allowed to shoot with the guns at home, I had taken the pellet gun one afternoon, and walked into the veld. I shot at birds, and anything else that moved. At one stage, I aimed, and pulled the trigger. For a split second, I thought I saw the pellet in flight! However, I was taught that it is too fast to see, so I did not believe that I had actually seen it. I stood in the same position, re-loaded, and fired another shot, concentrating on looking ahead to see if I could see it. Sure enough, I saw the pellet, following a trajectory, rising away from me, then levelling off, and finally dropping to the ground.

I was amazed! I thought that I had some super power, to be able to see a bullet! I was also confused, as to why it did not travel in a straight line! Why did it go up, and then level off, and then drop to earth? Why had I not seen it before? I had fired hundreds of pellets from the air guns, but had not seen it before.

I fired a number of shots over and over, and each time I was able to see the pellet. Each time, it travelled along the same trajectory.

Later, I was on the way home, and took a shot at some target. I could not see the pellet! I realised that the sunlight was not in the same position as before, and, when I faced the same direction as earlier, I could actually see the pellet, but barely so. I came to the conclusion that the light has to be just right, and behind me, to see it clearly.

I did some research as to why it followed a trajectory, and did not fly in a straight line, and discovered that gravity acts on all objects, even on bullets, despite the speed they are travelling at. I also then discovered the importance of adjusting the sights on the gun for different distances, and understood it, instead of just accepting it.

I finally had to accept that I did not, in fact, have super powers, and that anybody could actually see a pellet flying from an air gun, providing that the conditions were correct.

Dairy Flat

Dairy Flat

We received a message on Kiwi House Sitters web site from a lady who wanted to know whether we are interested in house sitting for them in Dairy Flat, while they are away on holiday. We were available for that period, and started talking to the owners.

I had always said that I would love to stay out on Dairy Flat, and so I was very keen to do it. We made a date, and went to see the owners. The lady was at home, and she showed us around. It is a very nice house, large, modern, and very comfortable. They have 2 meduim/large dogs, which we need to take care of. The dogs are very well mannered, and love people!

They were happy with us living in their home, and we loved the house! They left for their month-long holiday overseas, and we moved in. It is very relaxing here, it’s easy to keep clean, and I do not need to do any gardening. The weather has been appalling, since we moved in. There has been a lot of rain, and the garden is permanently flooded! Being mainly clay, it remains waterlogged for a long time. There is no chance at all of mowing the lawns!

The grounds are very large, probably around 4 acres. There are stables, where they keep their horses, but the horses are not on the property. They are being taken care of by some other people.

In the evening, as dusk settles in, hundreds of birds come to roost in a row of large bamboo plants lining a paddock. They are very vociferous, and it creates quite a din! The crescendo increases as it becomes darker, and then, as if on a signal, they all pipe down, there is a couple of chirps, and then quiet!

We are close to the North Shore Airport, in fact, we are right in line with the only runway. On days when the weather is conducive to flying, there is a constant stream of small aircraft overhead, either taking off, or landing, depending on the wind direction. I like airplanes, and so it is a treat for me.

There is a lovely pool in the back, just off the deck. However, being winter, and with all the rain, the water is very cold! I am definitely not going in there! The hob in the kitchen is gas fired, the ovens are electric. The water heaters are also gas fired. The wooden floors are beautiful, polished, and in very good condition. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 large family rooms, a lovely kitchen, and a large dining room. There is a double garage, where the car is kept while they are away. In the back, there is a wood fired pizza oven, and a large outdoor table. They tell me they have lovely get-togethers there, as the husband is an expert pizza maker!

The younger dog is a Golden Labrador. She has been trained as a Guide dog for the blind, but she has turned out to be too energetic to lead a blind person. She has been removed from the programme, and allocated to a permanent home. She has not been with the family for long, only about 2 months now. Both dogs are female, and they enjoy each other a lot! They play most of the time, running, chasing, tug-of-war, etc.

The dogs have collars, with a unit affixed. There is a wire running around the perimeter of the property, which emits some signal. When the dog approaches the perimeter, the unit gives a warning buzz. If the dog ignores this, and approaches the perimeter, the unit shocks the dog. This is a very good deterrent, and the dogs soon learnt that they are not too approach the fences!

The past weekend, Dedré and family came over after church for lunch. I explained this to Steve, and he said he wondered how severe the shock was, if there was any shock at all! We decided to find out! I took the collar off the dog, and gave it to Steve. We walked down the driveway, and approached the gate. When we came to within about 4 metres from the gate, there was an audible buzz from the unit, and a slight vibration. We retreated, and it stopped. I still wondered whether there was actually a more severe reaction. Steve held the unit, and cautiously approached the gate again. It buzzed again, but he continued going forward, then “Wow!” And he threw the unit away! I laughed, but was still not convinced that it did actually deliver a shock! The look on his face should have told me! I took the unit, and walked toward the gate. Wham! I also dropped it, as the electric shock banged through my arm!

I have to say immediately, that the shock is not severe at all! There is no cruelty to the animals, it is just an unexpected shock! It does not hurt at all, just causes a fright to whoever, or whatever has the unit!

We are enjoying it here! Chief priority though, is to keep the property and animals safe!

Bad Weather
Back porch
Poplars in bad weather
The dogs, well mannered!
The Bamboo hedge, where the birds roost in their hundreds!
Airplanes going overhead
The lovely pool at the back
Beautiful rainbow
The house itself

House sitting in Kaihu


I received a call from a lady in Auckland. She is looking for house sitters for a house on a small farm in the Northland. She needed someone to look after the house and cat, for 2 weeks. I was very keen, and it fitted in with our other house sitting commitments. I told her we were keen, and we made the necessary arrangements. We all agreed on the plans.

On Sunday, 18 June 2017, we left Hatfields Beach around 10:00, and headed north on SH1. At Brynderwyn, we turned inland, toward Dargaville. The ride was beautiful, the scenery was breathtaking! We stopped along the way, and had coffee from the flasks.

We arrived in Dargaville, and easily followed the instructions sent to us by the lady. We soon arrived at the farm. She said to look out for a big green letterbox, and she would hang a white pillow slip from the letterbox. It was easy to find!

We drove up the long driveway, and arrived at a small farm house. She came out to greet us. We had not met her before, but she is about our age, so we found it comfortable to talk to her. Her car was already packed, and she was ready to leave. She showed us the inside of the house, and the do’s and don’ts. Then she and I went outside, and she showed me the garden, and the laundry etc. When we were sort of comfortable, she said goodbye, and left for Auckland.

We unpacked, and got comfortable. I was very keen to see the creek, and so I went for a walk. It is a lovely small creek, which apparently has trout and eel. The water was clear, although the stream was pretty fast. I was not sure where the farm’s boundaries were, so did not venture too far.

I took a lot of photos, it really is a nice place. It is by no stretch of the imagination modern, but it is comfortable, and the house is very solid. There is a nice fireplace, and heaps of chopped wood! We kept the fire burning slowly through the stay. It keeps the house nice and warm.

We look after the old cat, Jendy. She is very friendly, and took a liking to us from the start. She is easy, and not demanding, like some cats I know!

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday saw cloudy skies, with some rain. We are yet to see exactly where the sun rises! I tried to do some fishing in the creek, but had no luck.

I awoke Thursday morning at 02:30, with heavy rain falling! This continued, until around 08:00, raining off and on, and sometimes quite hard rain falling. It stopped around 08:30, and did not rain for the rest of the day.

I went down to the creek to see if the water level had risen. I was not prepared for what I saw! The creek had transformed into a seething mass of chocolate coloured water, foaming and rushing along at high speed! The water level had risen by about a meter, maybe more! The spots where I had tried to fish the day before, was covered by water!

I took a long walk around the perimeter of the entire farm. It is 32 acres, and it took me about 2 hours. It is very beautiful, and I just love it here!

The sun broke through at about 16:30, so I took more photos. It was the first time we had seen the sun since Sunday!

Gibbs Farm

We went to Gibbs Farm today. It is about 30 minutes drive from Orewa, in the Kaipara harbour area. This is on the West coast of New Zealand.

We left just after 09:30. Alida did not go with, because one has to do a lot of walking. In fact, we later estimated that we had walked about 6 km, based on Dedré and Steve’s fitness apps on their phones.

It was a nice day, some cloud, but not cold. It later turned out to be very nice.

We arrived, and started walking. There were quite a lot of people there, I would estimate a few hundred. We saw some Alpacas running, and walked toward them. They were on the edge of a big dam, and in the dam there were also white and black swans, ducks, and other water fowl. There is a small island, on which they have placed some balancing stones.

We then went to look at some animals, saw a big bull, with long hair. We then went to the Giraffe enclosure, where the kids actually fed the giraffe by holding branches with leaves on.

We then went on, saw some zebra. Then a long walk up the hill, and on the other side, saw a very nice scene from the top! There was an enclosure with some Reindeer, and in the distance some buildings. There was also an area where the seaside was laid out with pathways, and dams, with walkways, resting places, etc. However, this is private, and the public is not allowed to go there.

Looking down, there were five mounds of earth, with a mower working on one. This is a piece of art by one of the artists.

On the top of the hill, is the biggest sculpture. It is eight arcs, standing on edge, all together, reaching up to a staggering height! These arcs, when joined together, will form a circle. However, as they are now, they just soar up into the sky.

The next sculpture, is a huge pipe-like structure, passing through the top of a hill. It is very impressive!

Then there are glass and stainless steel structures, a long pole with a transparent ball on top, something that resembles a huge snake-like thing, huge boxes with different colours, and a peculiar sculpture which changes shape and looks different from different angles.

There are some frame-like boxes, red from one side, black from the other side. There is a weird looking bridge, a blue pipe structure, over a dam. The public are not allowed on the bridge. There is a spouting fountain in one of the dams. It spouts the water in different patterns, and is quite cool! The wind was blowing a bit, and we went to the edge of the dam, and were drenched by the spray from the fountain!

We then went to another sculpture, four high, upright rectangular pole-like structures, called the Sentinels. There is also an artwork, two rectangles, which revolve as the wind blows over them. The seem to be made from lightweight material, like aluminium. This one is called Two Rectangles, Vertical Gyratory Up (V).

The last one we visited, is called Te Tuhirangi Contour. This is a 252 metre long, contoured wall, made from 6 metre high, 50 mm thick, Corten steel plates. The wall leans over at an angle of 11 degrees from the vertical.

There is also a sculpture in one of the ponds, called Floating Island of the Immortals. It is made from stainless steel, looks very nice, but what is it?

I am not an artist, so all these sculptures look very nice, but I don’t understand any of them.

Gibbs Farm – Floating Island of the Immortals
Gibbs Farm – 88.5º ARCx8
Gibbs Farm – Bloem Family Picnic
Gibbs Farm – Horizons
Gibbs Farm – The Mermaid
Gibbs Farm – Black Square
Gibbs Farm – Te Tuhirangi Contour

Hello world!

Welcome to This is my first post.

Why would I want a blog?

People all over the world use blogs as a means of communicating their thoughts, opinions, rants, raves, ramblings, and general news. They are often used to air political views, review computer technology, review movies or music, or to keep friends and family up to date on the latest happenings in your life.

This is the reason for starting this blog. New Zealand is in a different time zone to South Africa and the UK, and I am finding it difficult to keep our family and friends up to date with what is happening in our lives here, and also to get some information from them!