In the PINK

21:29, Dec 26 2012
Southland Times photo
Yvonne and Richard Nimmo with their newly renovated caravan ''Licorice Allsorts''.

Holidays come in all shapes and sizes - it can be a romantic one-night getaway for two, a mammoth solo backpacking trek around Europe, or two weeks lying in the sun in some exotic sandy location. We take a look at four different trips. Today: The caravan.

WHEN Tuatapere man Richard Nimmo spotted a derelict caravan sitting forlornly on the banks of the Waiau River, he had all sorts of visions of what could be done with it.

Its owners had used it as a bach for whitebaiting but it was in a sorry state, unused for three years.

Traveller style: Attendees at the big fat gypsy wedding on the banks of the Waiau River.

Left unattended on the banks of the Waiau River, close to the mouth, it was in danger of being swept away by an incoming tide.

While most people might not have given it another thought, Yvonne and Richard Nimmo had other ideas.

"The caravan was pretty much in a derelict condition with the vent on the roof missing, the door had flapped itself to death and was also missing, a couple of the windows were missing and broken, in fact, the birds had made it their home and you know what bird sh.t does to metal - the caravan was due to collapse," Richard says.


They approached the owners who, unsurprisingly, weren't bothered by the Zephyr 1968-70 four-berth caravan heading off for a new life.

Richard towed it home and about six months and 300 man-hours later the caravan was ready for the 2012 whitebaiting season.

"I just have to say, at this point, that if I had known how much work would be involved I would have let the river take it."

The caravan was stripped down to its shell and the restoration work got under way.

"I got a lot of advice from a lot of people. Some I took notice of, but mostly I was working in the dark.

"If Yvonne had any words of wisdom to offer I did usually do the opposite to what she suggested - I also have found out that wood glue and hold-fast glues are marvellous inventions," he says.

A fire taken from an old bush hut was restored and installed in the corner of the caravan - it's now referred to as Fred the Fire.

Yvonne painted the inside of the caravan a lime green colour and Richard painted the outside pink and black.

Richard wanted to paint it black because he always paints things black and Yvonne wanted to paint it "pretty in pink" so it would stand out.

A compromise was made with the result being a pink and black caravan - hence the "Licorice Allsorts" moniker.

Tuatapere friend Deborah Ellis made the curtains and swabs for the interior and carpet was laid.

At the start of the 2012 whitebaiting season Licorice Allsorts was taken to the Waiau Mouth where it stayed for the whole season, apart from when the river flooded.

Licorice Allsorts proved to be the social beehive for the season at the mouth.

"Whitebaiters would see smoke rising from the chimney and come in for a brew. We always had the fire going, with the kettle on the boil and it was always nice and warm."

Jetboaters often called in for a social visit and on one visit the boaties got caught out by the rise and fall of the tide and had to cool their heels until the tide came back in and floated their boat.

As Licorice Allsorts was getting quite a reputation for itself as being a good social venue, Yvonne come up with the idea of holding a big fat gypsy wedding to lighten and brighten the moods of the whitebaiters.

"The weather was crap, the whitebait wasn't running so we decided to have a party and a bit of fun with the theme being a gypsy wedding, just like the ones on the television. Frocks were made, complete with hoops underneath, tee shirts with bowties were printed and a three-tier cake was iced.

"We all had a ball," Yvonne says.

Licorice Allsorts was brought back to Tuatapere after the end of the whitebaiting season and Richard plans to make more repairs so it can travel further.

"Next year for Christmas we hope to take our Licorice Allsorts to Lake Monowai, Lake Mavora, Lake Manapouri and Lake Te Anau so we can do some fishing and generally enjoy what our back roads have to offer."

The Southland Times