Monday, 27 December 2010

From there to here

After a really nice Christmas Day at Julie McDonald's (brother Ross's partner) cute heritage cottage in Invercargill, with lots of her relatives (I must be getting old when I can't tell blondes in short skirts apart - or was that the wine?) and a relaxed 62nd birthday yesterday visiting friends in Invercargill, we've arrived in Wanaka for a week of sun and relaxation. Except that it's pissing down.

We left Invercargill in light drizzle, which became steadily heavier as we headed west through Riverton, then to Tuatapere where we stopped for coffee and directions. Then to Clifden where we turned off the road to Te Anau to pass through the coal towns of Ohai (nearly a ghost town) and Nightcaps (only marginally better), before turning north to Mossburn and the main Invercargill-Queenstown road. We stopped for lunch at Kingston, then when we went to drive off we discovered the car had a flat left front tyre.

We emptied the luggage out to get the jack and the spare, and 20 minutes later we were mobile again, on a little yellow space saver spare wheel. We drove slowly up the lake to Frankton, where I discovered that the "service" in Service Station means "food and petrol service", not "service your vehicle". Oh well, it's a public holiday and they were frantic with queues of customers in pouring rain. We drove carefully on to the Crown Range turnoff, and after a quick debate we decided "We're driving slowly anyway, might as well take the slow road" and drove over the high pass to the Cardrona and Wanaka.

Now we're settled in at our second home (oops, third, since the quake) at Kristine and Eddie's house in Wanaka. It's been becoming a house for some years, and it's now close to completion; they are still living in the granny flat but the main house should be finished by winter. The shipping containers outside have gone, the garage is built, the lounge-living-kitchen area is ready for plastering, Heather's window is in place (it's a long story), and it will be a masterpiece. I'll do a photo essay when the sun comes out.

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