|Leaving Wellington - the CROW is outside in front of the funnel and only part of the front can be seen - third from the left of the vehicles facing to the left.|
|Approaching Tory Channel at the entrance to the Sounds - as the ferry heads there it is pretty much impossible for passengers to differentiate the opening, so it's a good thing the captain and crew know where they are going!|
This morning we woke from our first night in Geraldine - we arrived here yesterday afternoon, got set up and had a late lunch followed by sitting outside under the awning, reading, sudoko-ing (me) and watching something on the phone (David), sorting out IT stuff inside (guess who ...).
Dinner was going to be out at a restaurant, but as is often the case, I get to the point where I think 'I could cook something and we'd be just as pleased with it and it won't cost anywhere near as much.' So I made a fish pie that was very yummy. I always used to make it with a bechamel sauce (a fancy name for white sauce ...), but recently kicked that to the kerb and just use a small amount of cream with tabasco sauce. It is much simpler and quicker and probably about the same calorifically (is there such a word?) given the bechamel has butter and flour and milk. I have also started using a small can of tuna to supplement the smoked fish and that seems to add to the flavour too. I put plenty of veg (carrots, peas, capsicum, parsley) plus eggs in with it so it becomes a one pot dinner.
So this morning, the intention is that we will go out for brunch - but that is by no means certain as I'll probably decide I can do it cheaper ... Update - David is finishing off watching a movie, so we are going for lunch instead, no brekkie ...
We have been to Geraldine once before back in 2001, when we did a South Island tour instead of going to the US and the UK after 9/11. I am keen to see if the giant jersey (7 feet tall) is still here and if the replica of the Bayeux Tapestry developed from small pieces of the spindles from old knitting machines is still open to view. It was amazing. If it is still here, I will show you photos later.
Update: OK, the Bayeux Tapestry replica is in Hastings UK for the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings - how about that? So if you are reading this over in the UK, you can find it ingood old Blighty! The giant jersey is now residing in the Information Centre as the people who made it and the Bayeux replica are in the UK with the latter.
But back to the beginning:
Our first stop for two days and nights was at Cowshed Bay where Jim and Judy were acting as camp hosts at the DOC campsite there. A lovely place on the Queen Charlotte Track so lots of hikers would arrive in the late afternoon and evening to set up camp. There were also quite a few motorhomers who had made the long winding drive in along the sound from Linkwater.
|On the Grove Track, from Picton to Havelock, we stopped at Shakespeare Bay. This cruise liner was moored up next to the timber port. A strange place to stop but the scenery is wonderful.|
|On the way to Cowshed Bay after Linkwater|
Jim and Judy had saved us a spot down by the water next to them by parking their truck across it so no one would co-opt the space.
|I think I was standing at the water's edge when I took this photo.|
|It's a tough life, eh?|
It was a fabulous place to be in spite of the strong wind on one day and night. We found out the next day that the wind on the east coast had gusted up to 170kms per hour, so ours of about 50 - 60kms ph wasn't such a bad deal!
|We forgot to take the selfie stick on our walk ...|
|As we walked up the track, stops for photos were required - not at all because I was puffing ...|
|Another photo stop - honest!|
|An oyster catcher, I think - I recognised its sound before I saw it, knowing that the noise was NOT made by a seagull!|
|And there's the motorhome - couldn't get much closer to the beach, could we?|
The drive along the coast was amazing - the road and the railway were devastated (not an exaggeration) by the earthquake in November 2016, and the rebuild of them both was accomplished in record time with the road being re-opened (one lane in places) just over a year after the quake in time for xmas holiday traffic in 2017. Work is ongoing and the results are not yet complete, but it is a wonder to behold. It was very emotional driving on it as the superlative efforts to repair and restore and rebuild were very evident.
|The first view of the Kaikoura Peninsula from the north|
|Part of the new road and the large slip in the distance.|
|Before the earthquake, all of this was part of the seabed.|
|And so was this.|
|We stopped for lunch in Kaikoura, having found a tree to park under.|
|The Seaward Kaikouras in the distance.|
We decided to head in on the Inland Kaikoura Road and had a couple of days at Waikene Lodge - it is a very lovely place, like freedom camping but with facilities and a very reasonable charge. It isn't used as much as it used to be because a couple of freedom camping sites have been opened in/near Kaikoura. Joy and Ross are great hosts and the facilities (kitchen with washing machine, showers and toilets) are kept spotlessly clean. You can even contribute food scraps to the chickens ...
|The view from the front of the motorhome at Waikene Lodge|
|Part of the farm|
|Trying to get in the shade of the eucalypts ...|
It was so hot there that we didn't do any of the walks we had planned on; instead we spent the time blobbing and blobbing. And I did do a load of laundry just to make sure we were clean and that I wasn't being too lazy!
We spent time with the only other couple there - they were coming to the end of their 3 month motorhoming trip around NZ - it's the second or third time they have been here from their home in Hamburg. Sue is American and Wolfgang is German. We BBQed together - we were going to use ours, but I couldn't find either of the BBQ hoses - how could we possibly have left them behind, I asked??? So we used the BBQ built in to the side of Sue and Wolfgang's Britz camper - a very good feature, I think. While the rest of us were sorting food, David did a thorough search and found the hoses in the bag that also holds the outdoor matting - then I remembered putting them in there so they wouldn't rattle and clink ... Doh!
We had a night at Hanmer Springs but it was so hot there that I could not venture away from the awning, so a bit of a wasted trip, apart from the drive which was pretty spectacular in places.
On our way south from Hanmer we stopped at Waipara Valley vineyard and had lunch - well, it was right on the main road, so it seemed sensible. I had a glass of their Equinox chardonnay (2015) and it was very very delicious and oaky, so I was going to buy two bottles. But it turned out that it was cheaper to buy three, so I said I'd have three; then I thought I'd have six as the price for three was a bargain - however there was an even better deal on for six bottles! Yay!! We had to take Derek and Ted's idea of keeping the wine carton in the shower. I think they have more than one carton though so I am going to have to search out more vineyards ...
|Waiting for food and wine|
|I liked these roses|
|David had spring rolls with a miso and maple spicy sauce - yep, who knew that maple syrup goes with miso? and I had a cheese board, plus a glass of chardonnay. David did have a glass of wine, but he wasn't tempted to purchase more of it to take away.|
David has been keen to re-connect with people from the past and had tracked down two of them. One is Jack Morris who was the deputy principal at Wainuiomata Primary, the school that David and I were teaching at when we met. So our next stop was in Rangiora where Jack and his lovely wife Joy have recently moved to after many years on a lifestyle block out at Lowburn. It was excellent to catch up with Jack, but he was more than a little obsessed with his memory of my delaying him getting to the pub at the end of one term because I hadn't balanced my attendance register**. His solution, as I recall, was just to fudge the numbers and put the same number in each column (the two that were meant to be the same). Mine of course, pedant that I was even back then, was to find the error and fix it. I did and Jack wasn't very late to the pub - I made sure of that, because I was ready for a drink too!
** The attendance register (aka the roll) had each child's name in it on the vertical axis and the days/weeks on the horizontal axis; and each half day's attendance was noted by a / and a \, making a cross for each kid who was present for each full day. Attendances had to be added up each week and entered in the appropriate column or row. (of course, that was what we were meant to do, but often it got left until the last moment - my pedant nature doesn't extend that far!) And at the end of the term, the totals of the columns and the totals of the rows were meant to match - as they would mathematically speaking as all the numbers being added in either direction were the same. Hence my aforementioned pedant nature needing it to be RIGHT, Jack!!!
We parked the motorhome in Jack and Joy's driveway - that was an adventure as we only just fitted through the gate. Getting in was OK but getting out backwards was a bit of a stress. Paul Avery would have been pleased though as he growled at me once in Westport and told me I HAD to be able to reverse wherever I needed to be, and made me do it. This time it was tricky as I had to pull one side mirror in and it is very spooky not being able to use both. Jack of course at first was guiding me on the side where I did have a mirror available, leaving me feeling very vulnerable on the other side ...
It was a lovely evening spent with them both - I had invited them to have dinner with us in the motorhome but their house was lovely and cool (their heatpump was on its cooling function) and the motorhome was hot hot hot inside. So the prep, cooking and consumption were done inside their house. Made sense to me. We had thai chicken noodle salad (veg and chicken prepared by me, marinade and sauce prepared by Joy) and Jack Potter's carrot salad (made by David). As you have noted I am sure, Jack Morris did not contribute at all. He did however contribute by drinking my chardonnay, having told me as a sop to make me comfortable with sharing, that I had very good taste. However when he told his daughter on the phone about the attendance register, I confiscated his glass immediately!
|Strangely enough, this is the only photo we took of Jack. He is begging for chardonnay and had to kiss my foot as well.|
As a young teacher, Jack had taught with David's dad when John was principal at Harley Street School in Masterton. Jack said that John was one of three principals that he learned from and based his teaching methods and philosophy on. One of them was also the guy who was principal at Wainuiomata when we were there - but his example was everything not to do, according to Jack. As a teacher in the infants, I had very little to do with the principal, because the senior teacher junior classes (STJC) was the person I reported to and she was great - I think she may have shielded her team from him. But David had similar concerns about the principal to Jack's. Of course they both had David's dad as an example of how to inspire and empower teachers and kids, so the differences were stark.
Another friend from the past that David has tracked down is Clark Bragg - we will be seeing him and his wife Sue in a few days. However, in the meantime we are going to to a side trip to Ranfurly to see our Paraparaumu friend Clare who is cycling around the South Island - she is making faster progress than we are ...