I had the best sleep last night, out to it by 10.30 pm and awake at 8am this morning. As I lay there last night, recovering from 3 hours of continuous fireworks (the good people of Picton must have lots of money!), just dozing off, a train went over the viaduct. The viaduct is curved and for a moment felt like the train was going to come off. It’s funny what tricks my mind can play.
I needed to call in to Blenheim (of the famous narrow bridge for the of you who read my last blog) to get some batteries for the radio and hopefully for the new camera. I was really grateful that no big trucks were on the famous bridge though a short distance down the road, I saw a huge petrol tanker and was grateful. 🙂
I had entered the address of the place to get batteries in the GPS (she needs a name, maybe Kiri . . . . like Siri) and much to my delight the street were closed off and there was a festival happening. Such a bonus! There were some amazing things to buy: from artwork, plants, clothing, everything you could think of including a really cool stall with articles from Bolivia (many made from alpaca products). So tempting. I did buy breakfast there, a beautiful bacon rosti with sweet chilli and sour cream. I nearly lost it on the way back to the Ducato (where I planned to eat it) when I fell down a pothole. Fortunately I didn’t fall flat (in front of an audience of thousands) but stumbled, lost the fork and my rosti slid to one side of the plate 🙂 That was the second minuscule disaster. When I was making the bed I managed to take some skin off my foot and bled all over the carpet. Helpful hint: Blood is easily removed rom carpet with window cleaner.
The drive along the Wairau river valley was lovely, even with the drizzle. Initially it was endless vineyards with newly pruned grape vines (mine has just come into leaf) and I missed having my best camera girl, Dasha, with me. I love driving, I love the beautiful misty rolling hills which later became mountains, I love the feeling of peace and happiness that comes with nature.
Stopping all the time to take photos isn’t sensible and is too time consuming so I developed a technique called ‘point and shoot’. I looped the camera strap over my right wrist, aimed it at the road ahead or out the side window and depressed the shoot button. While a bit random and with many blurry photos, many of the windscreen wipers and rain drops, I did manage a few reasonable photos. I wasn’t looking at the screen so my eyes were still on the road. I hope it’s not illegal!
The scenery changed after the vineyards to general farming; cows, sheep and deer. I was delighted to see new lambs (the lambing is much later here) and I love to see the fresh, white sheep, newly shorn. As we ascended into sub alpine country there was some lovely vistas, lots of one way bridges and always the misty mountains. I was delighted to see an epiphyte with beautiful white flowers. I couldn’t stop or point and shoot, but to see what ever it was was a thrill.
There were few cars on the road, I was on SH 63, a road a haven’t travelled, a very minor road but busy in winter, for the skiing, and summer for the lakes. I stopped at St Arnaud for coffee and then on to Lake Rotoiti. It is an iconic vista and knew I wasn’t going to get great photos because of the overcast weather. As I arrived a busload of tourists appeared and took over the wharf, posed and took photos while I waited, for almost an hour.
There were a few ducks and swans and I took some shots of the ducklings, only to find, later, I didn’t have a card in the camera *blush*. A dad and his young son arrived to feed the eels, which were huge (and the occasional trout) and the little fellow slipped and sat in the water amid the eels. I finally got my wharf photos and a lovely young mum took one of me. I was there for over ages and chatted with some lovely people.
SH 63 joined the main route to the West Coast not long after. I enjoy the minor roads, not only for the lack of traffic but for the things I wouldn’t usually see. Within 1 kilometre I saw a huge Kiwi road sign, a litter of piglets and something else that I have temporarily forgotten. I need a voice recorder.
It rained heavily until I reached Murchison, where the sun came out. There were camper vans everywhere, not the tourist ones but NZ Motor Camp Assn ones, like me, there was a weekend rally and I saw some beautiful vans. Big money! I also saw this, which I loved.
The camp I am staying is is lovely. The owner/manager is from Hawaii, a lovely lady and the camp is clean with good facilities. It is also on the bank of the Buller river. Unfortunately it has been very wet so I had to park up amid the little cabins.
I haven’t the inclination to wind up the TV satellite dish, I am not missing it. It was the happiest of days ❤
REFLECTION: Yesterday, on the ferry, there was a boy maybe 10-12 years old and obviously bored, who was trying to toss his drink bottle and get it to land standing up. A child of a similar age watched him for a while and sat a little along from him and was not acknowledged. The new boy was a Downs Syndrome child. He began to imitate the other boy, who eventually managed to get his bottle to stand up. I ‘woohooed” and he looked at me,faintly smiled and carried on. The second boy smiled the the first boys’s success. Not long after the second child also managed to get his to stand up. He looked at the first child (“See, I did it too”) and he grinned, the most beautiful smile ever. The first boy ignored him. How sad, that the first boy appeared to totally ignore him, because he was different. I “woohooed even louder!