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Tuesday, 9 January 2007

The Best Thing

The best thing about sitting out on the terrace at my in-laws is looking out at this view of mountains and lake. I took this photo in winter; at the moment there is not as much snow on the mountains, apart from that which is shaded in sunless fissures.

The mountains run north-south, just as, apparantly, most mountain ranges in the world do. I say most because I have it on good authority that there is a range not far from here (The Carolines) that run east-west - a fact which fascinates geologists the world over; so much so, they come out here to have a look-see for themselves. Although, I feel I must clarify; The Carolines aren't really mountains, but high hills (the sort that get called mountains in Wales or Scotland.)

The mountains I am feasting my eyes on these days (until tomorrow when we return to the coast) are called The Remarkables. Scoured, jagged and very close, they seem to stand like towering guards, wearing blue uniforms in the morning light when the sun is behind them, then becoming more defined as the day goes on, turning to the tan of fatigues, or combat-green.

These rocky mountais are evidence of a glacier's sharp turn right to head south, and bear all the marks of the distress this caused. Wrinkled as a rhino's hide in summer, in winter they are more resplendent, cloaked and shrouded in snow. As the sun sinks, they become glass mountains, often taking on an apricot-pink sheen from the reflection of the sun's rays.

Over the years, the distinctive jags on the tips of the northernmost end have become etched on my brain. They've become as familiar as friends. Even when far removed from them, I can still see in my mind's eye the saw-tooth ridge where the range begins, then the way it climbs to three higher points called The Three Sisters. Below them, a scarf of white snow picks out what is called The Queen's Drive.

I said the best thing about sitting out on the terrace was looking at the view - but that's not strictly true. The best thing about it is shutting my eyes, listening to the birds, the sound of the neighbours' children squabbling, the slap and thump of a speed boat making its way up the lake, the hoot of the old steamer Earnslaw as it sets off on its mid-day cruise, then (and here comes the very best part of all) opening my eyes again and seeing that it all hasn't disappeared. That it is true. That it is real; this view. This beauty.


Camille said...

hey chief!

I nominated your blog for a bloggie (new zealand)

thanks for all the great writing!

Jules said...

(The Remarkables...what a great name.) You describe the beauty and peace of your surroundings so well, almost feel as if I'm there.

Maxine said...

Just wanted to come over and say Hello as I see your name in the comments of a lot of blogs I also visit. I do like your blog, and what a beautiful photo. I've added you to my rss reader so I will be back. All my best wishes
(not a granny but old enough to be, and with only half your number of children)

Remiman said...

The scene is beautiful. It's a good thing to just soak up natures ambience. Some how it seem to bring us a sense of harmony.

Catherine said...

We used to see that scene from our timeshare, but haven't been there for a while - we have exchanged instead. Maybe in a year or two it will be time to go back. It's a beautiful spot, it is a pity it is being overdeveloped.

mcdinzie said...

Oh I am so there with you....I wish in a way that djd had seen the same beautiful scene you see whenever you visit Queenstown!!

now off to see how I can nominate you for a bloggie!?!?!?!?!?!?

paris parfait said...

What great mountain views - you're so lucky to be spending time there!

chiefbiscuit said...

camille - Wow! Thank you :)

jules - Thanks Jules - wish you were here too.

maxine - Thanks for the visit and kind comments.

remiman - That's about it.

catherine - I think I saw about ten cranes this time - and NOT the bird variety either.

mcd - We must coax him back and show him what he's just not seeing!

pp - I always feel lucky when I look out at that view.

Atyllah said...

What a beautiful and evocative post. I'm now going to have to stand up and gaze out the window at my own beloved flat-topped mountain.

chiefbiscuit said...

atyllah ... and I hope it does your heart good; flat-topped mountains have something to offer too ;)

Lee said...

I've been trying to pare my blog-hopping time to a minimum, but I see that I've been missing something.

Avus said...

Oh the memories this brought back!
Sitting high on the mountain behind Queenstown with that vast panorama of the Remarkables (still snow capped) and Lake Wakatipu spread below, with "Earnslaw" cutting a "V" across it.
Are you employed by the NZ Tourist Board? - we must, we must come back to your wonderful country.

chiefbiscuit said...

lee - Likewise!

avus - Yes you must come to NZ again (one trip is not enough.)It sounds like quite an impression was made by Queenstown - you remember it so well. No, I am not employed by the tourist board - perhaps I should be sending them a bill??

Becky said...

I think you could get work as a hypnotist, Chief. Your words call up such beauty. I don't want to leave.


woman wandering said...

Ouch ouch ouch ... so homesick. They are amongst my top 5 favourites in terms of NZ mountains. I lived in Cromwell for 5 years and often 'ran away' to Queenstown ... I knew exactly what you were visualising ...

Thank you :)

apprentice said...

Sounds delicious, especially in a storm tossed Scotland in January.
I like mountains very much, but when living in Switzerland they left me feeling a little hemmed in.
NZ like Scotland is blessed with mountains and sea. I don't think I could do one with out the other.

Clare said...

Good post, CB - and like Jules I think the Remarkables a great name....

Jan said...

Really enjoyed all this! I was THERE with you. Your writing is so vivid. Thankyou!

Tammy said...

They are Remarkable! Welcome home ;)

Rurality said...

Oh what a beautiful view! But now you've made me want the audio too. :)

Pam in Tucson said...

What a grand view to have on a daily basis! And you've described the mountains wonderfully: I particularly like the third and fourth paragraphs of this post.

Camille said...

Hey Chief!

Re: your comment on my blog

Craigslist is a community bulletin board.

here's New Zealand's Craigslist URL

The personals are one of my favorite recreational internet reads. New York City's are especially colorful. On second thought, in the interest of decorum, maybe I won't put that link here.

chiefbiscuit said...

becky - Hmmm ... now that's worth a thought - think of what I could get people to do for me around here!

ww - My pleasure. Glad to oblige! Don't worry you'll get to see them again - they're not moving anywhere1 ;)

apprentice - I know exactly what you mean - ABM's mother was saying there are people in Q'twn who have to get away every so often and head for the coast, when the claustrophobia gets a little much.

clare - It is isn't it? I never thought about it much before cos they've just always 'been there' - but when I do think about it; it is a great name for a mountain range.

jan - Same for your writing!

tammy - Thanks. Hope it's the remarkable start for a remarkable year ;)

rurality - You'd just spend your time laughing at my accent!

pam - Thanks for that. I enjoy your descriptions of the birds that visit your place - so we're even!

camille - Fascinating ... I'm just off now to have a look-see. Never heard of it before - but then, I'm known for being a little slow ;)

Avus said...

My memory of two tours of NZ, (once by coach, thank you Kirra, and then, 2 years later, a glorious month on our own, just doing our own thing and stopping where we liked) are almost photographic, such was the impression it made on me!
In my mind's eye I can stand in the windswept vastness of Arthur's Pass, take the coast road into Russell or trace the gravel road over Dansey's Pass to Ranfurly.

chiefbiscuit said...

avus - It's YOU who should be employed by the NZ tourist board!
I am amazed at your recall.
ABM & myself visited your fair shores for two years in 1977 - '78 but I don't think I'd have as clear a memory ... although there is a lane in Welwyn, Herts. which I can recall fairly well ... and some spots in Scotland too.

wendy said...

This reminded me of the old song "Our Love is Here to Stay".

Have fun!

Carole said...

Just popped in to say "Hello". Such a beautiful view and so well described. You are welcome to visit my blog anytime.

Maya said...

I love the name, but I really love your description, "wrinkled as a rhinos' hide". That, my friend (in computer-land) is poetry.

chiefbiscuit said...

wendy - I must look that song up - I feel I should know it, but can't seem to recall it right now. (I'm sure you're right tho'! ;)

carole - Thanks - i have visited and liked what I saw very much - have already added you to my fav. links.

maya - Thanks so much - it's so gratifying when someone notices!

gel said...

I've never been to this part of the world so I'm thoroughly enjoying your personal and rich descriptions. Thank you!

chiefbiscuit said...

gel - Thank you - I'm happy to oblige! :)


'how this all harbours light'