Wednesday, October 17, 2012


This number will not mean anything to most of you, but it will to the two people to whom this is aimed!

I am fond of old vintage vehicles. When we stayed in Geraldine last week, I wandered down the road to revisit the wonderful motor museum. It was destroyed by fire in 1979 but they have rebuilt the complex and restored the vehicles magnificently. Lo and behold, on display was a 1927 Austin - almost identical to the "Old Austin" I grew up with (ours a 1929 Austin 12/4). It had to be closely inspected! I could hear it again - purring as only a vintage car can. Memories flooded back..........the time Dad took me up to the confluence of the Harper and Avoca rivers beyond Lake Coleridge to visit my big brother Barry who was fencing up there during the summer..........and the time Dad drove Mum, my sister Katie and I down to Queenstown in the middle of the night for a holiday. I saw my first aurora that night as we froze in the car as it 'purred' along at ~40mph. It was many years later that Mum told me that we drove there and back at night because 'Old Austin' had no warrant of fitness or registration! Typical Dad.
Old Austin was sold when I was ~18 years old. Dad no longer used it but refused to let it stay in the family. He only wanted 15 quid for it. So my brother and I worked on it (I had just bought my first car - 1939 Austin which had an identical battery arrangement (2x6volt batteries). We temporarily transferred the batteries, hand cranked it a few times (it hadn't been started for many years by this time), then fired it up. The old girl started immediately - smoke billowed out, birds flew out of nests, mice scampered, and spiders stirred (I exaggerate). We sold it for 30 quid, gave Dad his 15 quid, and pocketed 7.5 quid each! I shudder to think what the old car might be worth today.

And then I went through to view the trucks. Here was Dad's last work truck. This was the model he last had when working as an electrician for the CCEPB (Central Canterbury Electric Power Board). History again........and the memories flooding forth again. When Mum had her heart attack and then her broken hip, Dad suddenly made the decision to retire - with immediate effect. He didn't even take the truck back to the yard - they had to come and collect it. Typical Dad.

Ah memories.........................................such as they were!

Merit Award

As I mentioned in the last blog, we stopped by the Darfield Artweek to view the exhibition.
To my pleasant surprise I learned that one of my two entries "Te Rewa Rewa Bridge" at New Plymouth, won a merit award. I achieved a similar award last year also, so I am well pleased. It is good to see that photography can stand up there with all the other forms of art.

Getting Away

School holidays - they seem to take forever to come around, then are gone in a flash. The campervan was packed and ready to go early the first morning of the holidays - an hours drive to the first coffee stop!
The aim was to spend the first night at Lake Alexandrina - we weren't sure if the van could get down to the end of the lake after the winter snows, but thanks to an improved road, indeed we did. This lake is one of our favourite spots in the Canterbury high country.
The next day was to be spent at a wee secluded spot on the eastern shores of Lake Pukaki (all of 40 minutes from Lake Alexandrina - a tough driving day). Unfortunately the landowner saw fit to fell half the trees and lay poison everywhere (a long but entertaining story which goes back three years!) - so it was on to Omarama. Lunch the next day in Richie McCaw country, then over Dansey's Pass to the Dansey's Pub.
The plan was to surprise Chris with a birthday treat of dinner and night there, but the pub was closed after a big wedding bash and conference. To our surprise we discovered that campervans were not allowed over Dansey's Pass - certainly no indication of that on the Waitaki side. It was an entertaining drive, fortunately with no traffic on the road.

Naseby and Ranfurly were the same sleepy towns they have always been when we are there. The Internet cafe next to the Ranfurly Hotel provides an excellent breakfast. And if you are looking for a blast back in to the 1950s, then have lunch or dinner at the Ranfurly Hotel - it's an experience!

Two nights at Moeraki doing nothing but sleeping and reading and the occasional walk were great, followed by a morning at Oamaru. What a wonderful town - we keep being drawn back there. The buildings and the culture are wonderful. So good, we have booked the whole family in there for a few days after Christmas.
Fleur's at Moeraki was closed (again) whilst we were there, but the Moeraki pub serves good kai and the beer isn't too bad either.

And so onto Geraldine for a couple of nights - another relaxing spot. Back there too on Show Weekend in a couple of weeks, for an art festival and weekend street fair.
Home via Stavely (award winning cafe and home to the Topp Twins, one of whom was there"to greet us" - yeah right) and Darfield to check out the annual Darfield Artweek and see hoe my two entries fared.

A great and much needed break away from the shaky city.