Things that make you go – ah!

I found this little book in Adventure Book in Oamaru and was going to save it for the trip home but I knew it would be ok to start. Tolkien in his scholarly form tends to be… hmmmm… dense reading?

I got to the introductory page though and was sat back in my chair by this:

[writing about the two pieces in this book]…Also they were written in the same period (1938-39), when The Lord of the Rings was beginning to unroll itself and to unfold prospects of labour and exploration in yet unknown country as daunting to me as to the hobbits. At about that time we had reached Bree, and I had then no more notion than they had of what had become of Gandalf or who Strider was; and I had begun to despair of surviving to find out. — J.R.R. Tolkien, Introduction to Tree and Leaf

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Monday in New Zealand

I’m writing you, gentle reader, from the Interislander Ferry as it bears Marge and me back to the North Island. It’s a great way to pass a few hours, have a bite of dinner, a drink, a cuppa and do a little reading and writing.

I’ve been flying the colors for NaNoWriMo today and have been reading my story so far. Made a few editorial changes but I’ve really been enjoying it. Come November first I want to dive into finding out the rest of the story.

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Today started out rainy and it spit rain here and there all along the way. We got back to Murchison in time for a bit of lunch and then back to Picton in time to see Marge’s friends before heading off to the ferry. You can see the photos from my phone today starting here:

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Of note was seeing a Weka, a large flightless bird who was visiting with one of the young women stopping traffic at one of the 23 construction stops we encountered along the way.

When all comes to all, the most precious element in life is wonder. Love is a great emotion, and power is power. But both love and power are based on wonder. — D. H. Lawrence

Sunday, Morning Rush Hour, NZ

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We encountered not one but two mobs of sheep in our travels today. Might be the best part of the trip, LOL. Yes sheep do have the right of way but you can keep nosing through them and pretty much they clear out. Turns out that a Prius may have a slight disadvantage doing this since it makes no engine type noises to let sheep know you’re coming. There are more sheep photos and coming soon, a video.

Other new photos in the album start around here:

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Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the futureThink how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed, savored. — Earl Nightingale -1989

Beyond the Beyond

After the penguins at Oamaru, it was hard to imagine what would come next in our New Zealand adventure. The answer was Waikawa! We had a fabulous little cottage overlooking an estuary. There was another cottage and a lodge and perhaps another accommodation spot, a museum (which had a phone available for local calls), a firehouse and a lot of sheep and some cows.

So for two days we vegged and sewed and painted, went on some short walks and had a great time in our little hideaway. The view was always changing, with clouds and rain and sun and the tide. Saw some people and some birds walk across the estuary.

A brief note that en route to Waikawa we stopped at a lovely walk-in to Purakaunui Falls but we missed the Niagara Falls (of NZ).

Today we drove along the Southern Scenic Route and got within a stone’s throw of the southernmost point of New Zealand at Slope Point. We also saw petrified forest of the Jurassic Era at Curio Bay and a lighthouse. Most of that road was large gravel-covered and being widened. There’s not much out there but spectacular views and a lot of sheep!

When we turned northward, it was to find the Maple Glen garden and nursery where we spent a couple hours gawking at a most beautifully designed and maintained garden and grounds. Anything you’ve ever read about in garden design books – the beckoning vista at the end of a path, the ponds, the pockets of trees, the larger scenes which lead you onward, the small surprises which reward careful viewing – it was all there. Rhododendrons, azaleas, bluebells, narcissus, all sorts of flowers new to me, hellebores, passionflowers you name it. Everywhere birds were singing and bees were buzzing and people were enjoying the wonder of it all.

Photos to come as bandwidth permits! Here’s TeapotLand in Owaka:

Saturday, Landing In Wanaka But Beginning…

I have a few days of photos to upload and commentary t’boot but today… today folks, the day started with

Cheezehenge:

The Night of the Penguins

After dinner, Marge and I headed over to the nearby Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. Looked around the reception area for a few and then went outside with the rest of the visitors to take a seat in a small grandstand to hear some information (in English and Mandarin) and to await the return of the penguins from their daily trip out to sea.

Every night the little blue penguins return to land after traveling about 25 km in search of food. The colony now monitors them and provides them a safer environment, having protection against predators and small nest boxes built into small hills around the grounds.

Sure enough, the first “raft” arrived and what a sight it was – about 38 little blue penguins all close together, all in similar posture, all headed to the same spot. They did look like a raft, all having the same idea: to find their little home on land for the night, maybe tending to their eggs and chicks.

No photography or recording is allowed so as not to frighten the penguins but I’m so glad we went. Last time we met penguins in a different sanctuary but to see so many arriving all together was fantastic!

We gave up the idea last night because it was so cold and rainy and it was a good choice. Tonight was clear and cool but not too windy. Marge found a blanket in the car and an extra jacket to keep her warm, I wore my painting hat and we were good.

Now we’re both warmed up and had some refreshments and it’s about time to hit the sack again. Tomorrow we’re on the road to our next stop.

Wednesday in Oamaru NZ

On the way back from our walking tour of shops with interesting things including Adventure Books, we found a bakery and, needing bread, went on in. We left with a loaf of bread and two speculaas cookies, one each with and without almonds. Gotta love a baker who is more than eager to tell you that the rye bread is 70% rye flour — my kinda bloke!

After trekking back up the hill we sat down and enjoyed some tea and the cookies. Then we were treated by some fabulous blue skies and clouds including a patch of rain which moved across the view before moving back out to sea. Best of all, while it bumped into the land we got to see a beautiful rainbow above the streams of rain.

See downtown Oamaru and more in the slideshow below:

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