The reason I am here for 3 nights so far I will reveal later.
In the last post I explained the need to go to Christchurch to get my computer fix. Rosie and Zed's neighbour, Leicester, had recommended a service centre for Macs there. It was going to take a couple of days so I pitch my tent in a local campsite and spent the next day doing what I haven't done before, which is to employ the services of an open top double decker red London bus, equipped with cheeky chappie commentator to take half a dozen tourists around the city. The tour was called “the earthquake tour" which would have normally had me running, but as that is essentially the same as a city tour, and it was the title other companies used, I signed up.
|RC Cathedral after...|
|The clock stopped exactly as the quake struck. note the cross/compass on top|
The earth has moved for me twice on this trip so far, the 1st time was in the Van, East Turkey, when I woke to this funny sensation in a room on the 1st floor of a six-storey hotel. It wasn't many months later that that city was very heavily hit and many tall buildings lost. The 2nd time was in Christchurch as I lay in my tent. Both of course were minor, but I did feel a lot safer in my tent.
I did go and have tea with Matt and Debs, who had moved from England to Christchurch 7ish years ago. I knew Matt through his sister Rebecca and it was very good to catch up, learning how to suck tea through chocolate biscuits whilst hearing where they were at the time of the quake and consequences to them personally. Luckily nothing too terrible but fascinating to hear their witness. Matt kindly constructed a side stand wooden prop, Batty had been leaning over at an increasingly ridiculous angle, so it was very kind. In fact this tendency only increase and I had to get an engineer to re-weld and straighten the stand at a few days later.
There are quite a few towns and villages in the South Island named after Devon and the West Country places. In Ashburton I was just driving through on my way south with no intention to stop, however when you've been away from England for 10 months and a sign comes up in front of you that advertises Cornish Pasties, I would defy anyone not to screech to a halt, perform a risky U-turn and muster every rev to see if there was truth in the claim. True enough Neil (I think his name was) had moved from Camelford in Cornwall some years before as a sign-writer, unfortunately he had lost his job but using a recipe his grandmother had taught him, he and his wife started making pasties for local shows etc. This enterprise has grown steadily and I'm not surprised because they were both absolutely delicious....
|I just stopped for coffee at a sign advertising free wifi (about the only place in NZ, otherwise everyone charges a fortune for it) and I found this amazing Aladdin cave of handmade toys. On the Catlin road.|
|Near Curio Bay|
|Mark and Jenny|
|The one yellow eyed Penguin brave enough to face the crowds|
|It says 18958KM to London. The mileage on Batty's clock was just under 20,000 miles from home|
|A Vincent Black Shadow...my dream|
|Because of the sheer drop of the cliffs from thousands of feet above the sea to thousands of feet below, they take these huge tourist boats right under the waterfalls.|
I have been meeting a lot of all sorts of people here, one day I stopped counting after 15 different friendly folk came up and chatted, mostly drawn by Batty, but also it just seems to be a very friendly place. A lot have been British either living here, or holidaying. It is a great place that is very well set up for just hiring a camper van and disappearing off into a beautiful wilderness.
Mark and Jenny live in a beautiful house, in a beautiful town, surrounded by staggeringly wonderful mountains, lakes and pastures. True to their word the door was open, a bottle of wine and copious notes on what to do and see, were on the table. I had thought I would only stay a night, maybe 2, but in fact I had to prise myself away after 3. It was lovely being in a home with a fantastic film collection, a comfortable bed and all the amenities of a modern home.
|A valley between Queenstown and Wanaka|
|Wanaka from the hill behind M&J's house|
|Hill top posing|
|The best my camera could do in this duel between a Sopwith Camel and a Fokker|
|Mount Cook at sunset|
|Rob and Jo on their modern Triumph Thunderbird, Batty and Mirjam, my hostel and dinner companions at Fox Glacier|
|Mirjam is a 5 year round the world cycling veteran. www.CyclingDutchGirl.com is her very excellent blog of her adventures.|
As I write I am awaiting a new set of rings which should hopefully arrive today. I was put onto this chap called Tony who has an engineering workshop, and he kindly let me do the work there. I was rather pleased with myself when I managed to get the piston out in 2 hours 20 min, but then this unfortunate practice has helped. Tony is proving to be a star locating the piston rings and cleaning things up.
|Batty in Reefton Engineering. Tony on the right|