Monday, 31 March 2014

Endings & Beginnings (for Jenny)

The end of the line? Or the beginning? 

My first stop on the drive to Te Anau from Queenstown was at an old railway siding at a place called Fairlight. The place is well-named (although I believe like a lot of European place-names in New Zealand, it was named after a settler's 'old home' back in Britain).

Even so, well-named, because after the close, winding road that hugs Lake Wakatipu through to the end of the lake (or the beginning) at Kingston, the road leads through land that widens and flattens out and does, indeed, appear to be bathed in fair light.
The old railway station is now used (intermittently) as a stopping (or starting) place for the historic steam train, The Kingston Flyer's, excursions.

I believe this church in Garston is where Robert's parents got married. A beginning.

My next stop was at Garston, 'the most inland village in New Zealand'. This made me think of what I posted on my blog about a week ago:  'Tomorrow I head inland. As far from the sea as this island I live on, will allow'. No truer word spoken!

 I seemed to want to take photos of lines, doorways, gate-ways ... Departures or arrivals? Ways out or in? Farewells or welcomes? 

This little rotary clothesline is part of the Peter Rabbit's Home (I kid you not) that I stumbled across, neatly tucked under the over-hanging branches of a cypress tree.

I didn't know whether to be freaked out or fascinated.

I guess it was a mixture of both that made me stop, look, then think, "Oh why not?" and actually write a note to Peter Rabbit in the Visitor's Book!

There were about six books full of greeetings. A quick flick through seemed to indicate that entries date back to 2004.

I bade Garston and Peter Rabbit good-bye.

After a sharp right-turn (or turn westward) at Five Rivers, *Ruby's bonnet was pointing towards Te Anau-au.

* A bit naff, but it's my name for our wee car.

My sister made the comment that my journey seemed to be all about water. Maybe … but as well as the deep and secretive water of the beautiful Lake Te Anau, what else was I seeing?

Lines and ties. Connections.

Vessels of voyages and journeys.

The day had begun with a farewell that left me feeling sad. I left Queenstown blinking back tears. Farewells create absence, but thankfully they don't need to mean a break in connection.

At the risk of this post sinking under existentialism overload, I just wanted to point out how interesting it is ( in a symbolic kind of way) that the 'Outward Going Boat' has right of way ...

“Don't drive too fast,” Jenny told me. I promised her I wouldn't. This sign also seems to be telling me to slow down as I make my way back home again. Slowly.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Rove Round the Cove (Bob's Cove)

 Not a bad view to look out at while having breakfast, I am sure you will agree.

Another view from Chris and Jenny's home.

The Lady of the Lake (The Earnslaw) has been steaming back and forth across the lake (Wakatipu) for one hundred years now.

A walk round Bob's Cove was on the agenda today. Reminders that it is autumn were all around us as we walked through light, native evergreens, silver birches and eucalyptus.

An old lime kiln. Here limestone was rendered into quicklime which was then turned into mortar for building purposes.

Dead trees (eucalyptus) are a striking sight against the clear blue sky.

A bit of a stop on our way to the look-out point farther on. A palpable peace descending.

From the lookout, looking towards the Remarkables.

And farther to the left, Bob's Cove itself.

Back down the track and time to hunt for a picnic spot with some shade. It might be autumn, but that sun was still beating down.


Jenny had prepared a picnic for us: yummy meatballs, crispy lettuce leaves, cheese and bread. Espresso coffee from the thermos to accompany. Yum!

Eyes up to take in some pretty leaves ...

... and some kind of look-out ... or diving board ... or bird-watching contraption?

A perfect end to a perfect afternoon - a swim in the (very cold) snow-fed water. (The photo above is of Jenny swimming. She took some photos of me too. I'll add one when she sends them to me).

No matter how warm the sun, it will never warm the waters of this lake. Very refreshing though, the feel of the clear water felt like velvet on my skin as I dried off in the sun.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Therapy of Green

Yesterday, after the therapeutic value of sun, river and trees, followed by a salmon salad dish for lunch, it was time for Jenny and I to head from Arrowtown back to Queenstown.

On the way Jenny pointed out Queenstown's community gardens. We stopped to have a look.

Plots are rented out for anyone to use. There is a waiting list.

More fresh-air and the therapy of greenness as we strolled around ...  Then back to Sunshine Bay and a dinner (satay-sauce rice) cooked by Chris. That's another sort of therapy, enjoying a meal cooked for you by one of your offspring. It brings with it a sense of a circle softly closing. An encircling. Of a spiral's quiet sway, its reach and hold, then letting go again.

River Ramble

Slender poplars with leaves beginning to turn.

We walked, Jenny and I, by the Arrow river which today was in autumn mode, taking a suitable mellow meander under the willows; it was in no tearing hurry, but content to just bubble along at a steady pace.

We saw a group of school children panning for gold. There are still specks of it to be found in the river.

We were surprised by a grove of rowan - they are usually found alone, doggedly guarding a habitat (according to Scottish legend anyway).

Just like yesterday, again today, red berries. This time, rowan berries; startling and attractive, but not so much for the birds, we thought. We could see and hear flocks of small birds out in the warm sun, but none of them were eating the berries.

After our river ramble, we headed for town and some lunch, spotting the work of a guerilla-knitter on the way.

 We decided the cafe beside the Post Office looked the most desirable - on the way, Jenny went into the original old Post Office (still standing and still operating) to buy some stamps.

We chose a table by some yellow roses to have a late lunch. The perfect end to this part of the day and still with some time left ... (More about that tomorrow maybe).

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Stopping Place

Lye Bow - by the side of the road. (Butchers Dam)

I stopped here today and took a circle of photos of this charmed place. Usually we fly by it on our way through to our journey's end. But as I was on my own today, without a deadline, I stopped.

I was enfolded by silence and sky, water and rock. Paradise ducks, in retreat mode, called from on the water, wary of my approach. Bulrushes still in their thin summer green, quivered in the autumn air. Rose-hip berries like un-fallen drops of blood, ached to be plucked.

Today I fought a dragon called grey rain and won. Today I faced the truth of unseen protection head-on.

At the end of my journey, I happily surrendered myself into the hands of family, content to take off my boots and sit by the fire.

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...