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Friday, 29 December 2006

The Road Back Home

(Please NOTE: All photos used in this post - except the one acknowledged as my own - are from Fickr. Click on each one and the photographer's name will appear.)

We arrived back last night from a short holiday in Queenstown.

New Zealand Queenstown
Originally uploaded by maggi_wlsn.

After a Christmas morning breakfast of bacon and eggs, followed by a traditional-to-our-family port and slice of Christmas cake, we opened our presents to each other. Then ABM and S and I travelled through to Queenstown, ABM's home-town. M &K remained behind; they'd organised themselves to cook Christmas Dinner for a friend who had no other means of having a Christmas meal.

Queenstown has gone from tin-pot town at the head of the lake in the 1950s, to international tourist resort.

NZ : Queenstown Pier
Originally uploaded by Ann64.
We have watched it grow - and still it grows. In the thirty years since I've been going there with ABM to stay with his parents, there has never been an absence of construction work of some description - cranes, earth-movers, white, wooden safety-barriers, orange, safety-netting and piles of gravel are as familiar sights as the mountains and lake. I notice too that some of what was erected thirty years ago, is now being taken down to be replaced with something even flashier.

We, however, are lucky to be able to escape this madness, and relax in peace among the pines and gum trees. This photo I took a couple of years ago shows the view we look out on from my in-laws' home.

The highlights of the holiday were:

(NOT the weather! Which was mixed - but still better than the weather back home in Dunedin ...)

The food: Trout caught by a marauding, boat-y, band of brawny, young-adult, male cuzzies, then victoriously hauled home and smoked on the b'b'q. The Christmas Day dinner of mutton roast, new potatoes swimming in butter, beans, white turnips etc. followed by trad. Christmas Pudd., trifle, pavlova etc. Another meal another night, of Pork roast with trimmings ... And on it goes. (Do I need to explain that ABM's family are foodies!? If you knew what their surname is, you'd laugh as it's rather appropriate.)
* The walk: along the lake's edge to where a new lakeside township is being constructed, along with a fantastic, made-to-order golf course. ('Vairy' exclusive: Hollywood stars buy here. Think: pluty, pluty, pluty.) What a site. Just look at the view.

View from Jacks Point
Originally uploaded by le_sloth.

When us plebs walked around the empty sections, we could hear skylarks. I wonder if it will ever be that quiet again once the houses are built and the 'privileged populace' actually move in? Apart from that 'site'; as we walked, there was the even more impressive 'sight' of the lake and mountains. I was once again impressed by the flora - such as the wild flowers; lupins, daisies, foxgloves, poppies; and the cabbage trees. But no camera to record the sights, as S has borrowed it for his jaunts.
* Son. number 3: Seeing C again after he arrived back in Queenstown from Milford after his stint guiding on the Milford Track. But it was a swift Hi and Bye, as now he's off to a musical festival on the West Coast.
* The trip: from Queenstown over to Wanaka to visit the family I used to be nanny for. They are holidaying there. I hadn't seen them since they moved to the top of the South Island in July. And how I've missed them! I got lots of hugs and greetings. It was especially wonderful to see the youngest boy M. again. I looked after him from when he was six months old until he was two. To get to Wanaka, we drove over the Crown Range, a winding mountain road,

with - once again - wild flowers galore. Especially lupins. Clouds of yellow lupins lining the riverbanks.

And glorious smears of purple and pink lupins beside the road.

Originally uploaded by Peter Sundstrom.
Because this has been a wet spring and summer, everything is especially green and verdant. Hawks also abound. Must be some good tucker for them down among the stalks of grass.

The car-ride: With ABM and my mother-in-law (who is recovering from a serious operation, but recuperating well thankfully) up to the top of Coronet Peak - which in winter is a ski resort. What a stunning view from the top.

View from Coronet Peak
Originally uploaded by I Am Joe.

The visit: On the way home, dropping in to see my brother and sister-in-law and as usual having a good laugh with them before we carried on our way home to Dunedin. What was especially good was them offering to take the car we had to leave at their place on the way through, to a mechanic friend at their local garage. (Yes, car troubles on the way to Queenstown on Christmas Day, meant we had to leave the Alfa at their place, which fortunately for us is halfway between Dunedin and Queenstown. We were also lucky in that we were able to travel the rest of the way to Q'town with S who was driving behind us in the other car.)


It is ABM's birthday today. To celebrate, the five of us had a leisurely lunch at Glenfalloch Gardens where we sat outside. Tall, established trees sheltered us from the pesky breeze chopping up the harbour.

As we are still on holiday, we are enjoying having the time to do such things as listen to cds (KT Tunstall, J.J Cale, Eric Clapton, Nillson, Neil Young, the cd called ' Mad Dogs and Okies' which S gave ABM for a birthday present ...) and watch ABM's Christmas dvd - 'Coffee and Cigarettes'.

I've also got a pile of holiday reading to get through - so far though, I am not making good progress. I am 100 pages only into Haruki Murakami's short story collection, 'Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.' I don't know if this slow progress is good or bad. It probably means that I'm more active than I'd anticipated.

It's good to be back home. Even if a trifle cold (because, after a glorious morning and early afternoon, it is now a mite chilly.) ABM is cutting kindling for the fire. We are planning a 'night in' watching dvds and reading by the fire. Ummm... remind me again - it's summer, right?


Kamsin said...

Stunning photos! Glad you've had such a good Christmas!

Deb R said...

Sounds like a good trip and the photos are beautiful!

Belle said...

Good afternoon dear CB,

I thoroughly enjoyed the synopsis of your trip.

I believe you live in a very beautiful part of the world. Glad you shared it with us.

So glad you are enjoying your family.

clare said...

Totally gorgeous post, CB - full of interest and stunningly beautiful scenery. Thank you for that taste of summer.

chiefbiscuit said...

kamsin - Thanks Kamsin.

deb r - Thanks, it was a good trip - a little short perhaps ...

belle - Thanks Belle - It is beautiful - just wish the weather was coming along to the party too (it's being a bit of a spoil-sport.)

clare - Thanks. I guess it is a taste of summer ... altho it doesn't really feel like summer's actually got here yet.

Cailleach said...

great photos - I just love mountains!!!

Summer down your way reminds me that it will soon steal its way back up here before we know it...

chiefbiscuit said...

cailleach - Yep it works the other way around too when summer begins to turn to winter over here for us 7 you begin your spring.
There is something so comforting - and awesome at the same time - about mountains.

Rethabile said...

Happy 2007...

twitches said...

Such great pics! Sounds like overall you had a nice trip. Good for you!

apprentice said...

I'm salivating here, at the food and the views.

I love the lupins. Here we get garden escapees that colonise railway cuttting and motorway embankments and they always add a great splash od colour. I think the most famous types are the Russell Lupins, named after a man who dedicated his life to cross breeding them to get all sort of two/three-toned cominations.

Happy 2007, you'll beat us to it I think. My son is now old enough to go off first footing. He should be welcome being a drak-haired boy!

Catherine said...

Oh that weather! We had a couple of sunny days here, but now I am thinking of hauling out my thermals as it's cold and wet again. Lovely post - I have a greatgrandfather buried in the Queenstown cemetery, so I have a soft spot for the place, but not all the flashy development. (He blew himself up in a mining accident - my greatgrandfather, that is)

Remiman said...

Spectacular views, scrumptious food, warm cuddly comraderie....A feast for the senses! Now that's what I call a holiday vacation. Short enough to look forward to another one in the future, and long enough to refresh.
btw, Pass along b'day wish to ABM.

I'm adding NZ to places I want to visit. ;-)

Becky said...

Oh my god, what superb photos!!!! You are so lucky to live in the midst of such beauty.

Your holiday sounded wonderful and ohmy, the food!!! What is pavlova? Not a dog, haha. I'm sure.


Anonymous said...

It might be appropriate to acknowledge that many of the photos on your blog for 29th Dec are in fact taken from Flickr and are not your own.

chiefbiscuit said...

rethabile - Thanks. You too.

twitches - As 'anonymous' said - not my photos (except the one of the view from my in-law's windows.) If you click on them, they acknowledge the photographer ... It was remiss of me not to say so. Glad you liked them tho'.

apprentice - it's amazing how the lupins have colonised the roaadsides of the South Island over here. I believe a lt of them are the Russell lupins ...

catherine - We are suffering summer rather than enjoying it at he mo. But I think February and March will be better (I hope anyway!)

rel - I will pass on the birthday greetings - thanks. You're welcome to visit anytime!

becky - Thanks Beks - as anonymous above mentions - not my photos - I use flickr so much, and used to conscientously explain each time, until it got repetitive and boring.
Now I take it for granted people know. (I did mention in this post that our son's got our camera so didn't take photos ... so I'm horrified to think someone thought I was pretending they were my own photos.)
Have a Happy New Year my friend!

anonymous - Thanks for the reminder - I had forgotten to acknowledge flickr - if you click on each photo, the photographer is always named and I only use photos that invite 'blog this'.
BTW if you read the post through again, it does mention how we didn't have a camera ...

* I have now edited the post to acknowledge the wonderful flickr photograhers.

ecm said...

What beautiful, beautiful images. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas!

chiefbiscuit said...

ecm - Thanks my dear. They are beautiful images of a beautiful part of my country.

AND Becky - I hope you catch this - a pavlova isn't a dog (ha ha!) but a meringue-type dessert. (I may leave a link on your blog's comments section, or link to an image in my next blog.)

kj said...

what beautiful scenery. no doubt you've had a wonderful holiday. it was fun to virtuallytravel along you.

happy 2007!

chiefbiscuit said...

kj - Thanks - you have a happy new year too.

January said...

Amazing photos--glad you had a nice trip. I just can't believe it's summer there. We had a little snow today.

Happy New Year, CB!

chiefbiscuit said...

january - Yes we had a not too bad day today with some actual sun! (No snow in sight.)

sarala said...

I was in New Zealand more than 20 years ago and one of the highlights was the fields of lupin in bloom. I've never seen the like. I'd love to go back.

chiefbiscuit said...

sarala - Do come back! Thanks for dropping by :)

Avus said...

I come to you via Patry Francis (Simply Wait) and what a wonderful find you are.

Twice we have toured your beautiful islands. Of necessity twice staying in Queenstown! But you back roads, homesteads and mountains were our delight.
One particular cameo stays in the mind. Wading across cold melt streams to climb up Mount Sunday on a clear spring day and seeing that vast glacial valley to North and South with the snow covered mountains around us and not another soul.
NZ is indeed "A little bit of paradise".

(Have added you to my links - thank you!)

chiefbiscuit said...

avus - Thanks. You've seen something I've never seen, not having climbed Mount Sunday - glad you enjoyed NZ you must come back again.

pepektheassassin said...

Thanks for the tour! Blessings!

Susan said...

It sounds like a lovely Christmas!

A belated Happy Birthday to the Hubby and Happy New Year to you all!

mcdinzie said...

Happy new there such a thing as a new year wish, well if there is can I ask for BETTER WEATHER!!!

Now I was going to tell you about not acknowledging flicker pictures but realised I would have to put my name to my comment and we cant have that can we!!!!!!!!

Buffy said...

It all sounds positively delightful.

chiefbiscuit said...

pepek - Thanks - you too

susan - Thanks Susan, same to you. Will pass o the Happy birthday :)

mcd - I'm with you on that wish for better weather!

re anonymous flickr photos comments ... there's always the stats counter. That'll track you down ;)

mapiprincesa said...

Chief, these are striking photos and I love your narrations. Happy New Year! I'll link you to my photos from this week's trip back down to your half of the planet.

chiefbiscuit said...

mapiprincesa - Thanks for that - I'm looking forward to that treat very much - and bon voyage to you - have a fantastic time. I know you will - I look forward to hearing ALL about it!

Patry Francis said...

I don't know about you, but after a wonderful holiday, I'm looking forward to getting back to work!

Happy 2007 to you!

chiefbiscuit said...

patry francis - Yes ... I know what you mean - but we have a bit more of a holiday to go yet - some of us over here have a longer summer break, so I guess that's the difference. I am looking at another two weeks before work starts again. I bet it goes all too quickly. :)


'how this all harbours light'