Monday, 10 September 2001
We finished loading up the rental about 11:00, however, Herself put film into a one-hour developer so that we could provide our hosts, S and N with photographs of their daughters P and E. S invited us out to the country on Sunday, to visit the farm of a friend (and former neighbor). Herself received her baby fix, since A is raising sheep (hardly a surprise for a Kiwi farmer). The ewe’s are lambing, and three of them had been orphaned. They are receiving bottle feedings, and the children got along quite famously with feeding them. We’d several good photos of that, and gave the copies to S and N. But, I digress.
On the road by noon, heading south and west out of Christchurch across the Canterbury plain. I will complement my wife’s faith in my driving, since on this first day I didn’t wind up in the wrong lane at any time, and only waved my wipers at other motorists three times to signal my intent to turn in front of them. We paused in Asburton at Ashford’s, location of a wood-working plant and a grand old house, now converted to a craft shop. Herself purchased some wool cards (used in separating wool, but you probably already know that), and at an adjoining shop I found an old wood-bodied plane and thermos. I do collect antique planes, only if they are serviceable, and the old thermos is for Herself. Made a couple of photographs of the house, and on the road again.
From Ashburton south past Geraldine and almost to Temuka, the mountains were still hiding behind clouds and haze. However, by the time we reached Timaru, the clouds cleared sufficiently for us to see the front of the ranges. Herself kept saying, “There’s Mt. Cook!” I’m not so sure; I suspect there remained enough cloud cover to mask the grand fellow from our sight.
We crossed the stretch between Timaru and Oamaru between 15:30 and 18:00, stopping several times to confound our fellow motorists by getting out of the car to make photographs of picturesque old churches and barns. Between gaps in the clouds could be seen sunbeams through the remaining haze, slanting across the pastures and hills behind our primary subjects. Hopefully, time, chemistry, and film emulsion will cooperate and yield some excellent images.
This fascination with light did slow down our progress a touch, and by the time we paused in Oamaru looking for someplace to eat, we discovered we’d reached the workaday world New Zealand, as all the shops, tearooms, and restaurants were closed or closing at 17:30 - 18:00. We pressed on through the dusk, pausing in Palmerston for petrol and a telephone.
As I opened the door of the car to get out, I quite nearly bumped the gent standing there waiting for me. Not being a total imbecile, I asked him, “Are you here to pump?”
“Why, yes,” he replied, with a grin and an incredulous look on his face. Now, H the Aussie RN we met at Croydon House will probably understand this, since in the States it’s now the rare exception rather than the rule that an attendant at the petrol station pumps petrol for you. I’d also managed to pull in with the filling hatch on the opposite side of the car from the pump, but the hose proved quite sufficiently long enough to cope.
The telephone, on the other hand, was out of service. Not seeing any other public telephone’s in the immediate area, we pressed on through the dark to Dunedin, arriving on the outskirts of town about 20:00. Here I did find a working telephone, and rang up our hosts at Castlewood B&B to get directions. Dunedin being settled by Scots immigrants, the brogue is a bit thick. It proved helpful to be looking at a map as I listened to our hostess, D’s, instructions on the phone...
Go to Octagon, way rrround to ‘totherrr side, oop te hill oon Stooarrrt, turrrn left Carrrgill, yes, that’s rrright, oon Carrrgill...
Well, you should get the idea. It’s a grand old Tudor style house, built circa 1912. We’ve a room facing east on the upper floor, overlooking Dunedin and the harbor, quite spectacular. We should be able to make a very nice night-time photo of the city under lights from our window.
Just now, breakfast is beginning to call; will continue the saga as it develops and try not to bore you too excessively.
Looking Up the Stairs
Our e-mail posts during this trip usually recounted the events of the day before, possibly the day of if posted late in the evening. Thus most of the events recounted here occurred on 10 September. The photographs of Castlewood I did make on the morning of 11 September, after breakfast and before we set out for our explorations of Dunedin & environs.
Indeed, I did make some notes later in the evening in my journal about the day's events.
Tue, September 11, 2001 22:15:27
Following a morning walking down into town after breakfast, a day riding a train up Taieri gorge, an evening walking slowly uphill back to the B&B, and a night eating dinner at a marvelous restaurant named A Cow Called Berta, I concede to sensory overload. So, I am about write down what it was all about.
We walked down to Octagon after breakfast, strolling a bit on our way to the Dunedin Railway Station. This building, by the way, is claimed to be the most photographed building in Dunedin, though I don’t know if that’s because people take photos of arriving family members or it’s very picturesque.
At any rate, we boarded the train about 12:00. The trip uphill took about three hours of the four hour duration; it included several slow stretches “for photographs” according to the commentary (I suppose I wasn’t supposed to see the speed limit for the viaducts (we call them bridges in the States) but I was standing on the carriage platform looking for photo opportunities), and a couple of stops. We actually were permitted to walk across one of the viaducts, if desired.
I suspect the pauses, while made at picturesque spots, were also to allow the locomotive to cool down.
The trip down hill took only an hour. Talk about a roller-coaster ride. Herself is now convinced that New Zealand is filled with daredevils.
Getting back to town we refreshed our memories of walking uphill... the last time was in San Francisco, USA, a place similar to Dunedin in hilliness and general climactic temperature (at least currently), but not in other aspects. We needed to walk uphill after supper at that Cow place (a truly excellent meal, do drop by, bookings recommended), but after the half-litre of beer and most of a bottle of wine, we didn’t mind very much.
Really, I wrote I am about to look at photographs of Christchurch on CD. Bought them as much to have 20 postcard images on disk as because the proprietor of the one-hour photo place, Victoria Photo & Image Ltd. complemented our selection of 800 ISO film for indoor shooting at the conference.
I’m tired. Time to shut the computer down and feed it.
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