I have been after some dark green Perle No 5 thread for my stitchery project, and while on our South Island holiday I have visited several shops trying to find this elusive thread. As we passed through Cromwell last week, I called into the shop “Creative Heart” on the off chance that I would find what I was after. Not all shops keep a large range of Perle No 5 threads, I have found. But success at last, I found the shade I was looking for, and purchased the five hanks they had in stock. I took them all, as I plan to use the same green thread in the leaves in all the stitchery blocks I will be doing - all I had left was a few strands.
I found exactly what I was looking for
The shop has a good range of wool, haberdashery, and quilting fabrics. The owner told me that there are a lot of stitchers and embroiderers in the area, and that hand crafts are alive and well.
Lots o goodies in Creative Heart
Luckily the weather has been good on our holiday – it is Summer after all. So we are still busy checking out the area. We’ve walked over the Shaky Bridge in Alexandra which seems to be a bit of a well kept secret. Originally a vehicle bridge into Alexandra opened in 1879, it fell into disrepair and now serves as a footbridge. And yes, it is rather shaky to walk across, just as well that we are brave!
The Shaky Bridge, and selfie
Another interesting trip was to Cromwell, where much of the original Cromwell main street was submerged in 1993 when Lake Dunstan was created behind the newly created Clyde Dam. The “Old Cromwell Group” together with the Ministry of Works retained as many of the original buildings as possible, creating the Cromwell Heritage Precinct. And what a busy little place it was, some had been turned into trendy shops, while others were left as they would have been. It was great to walk around and explore. There were people everywhere, looking around, or relaxing on the lake edge throwing bread out to the ducks.
Visited the Heritage Precinct in Cromwell
The whole region was taken over with “gold fever” in the early days and there are monuments everywhere to the early miners who set out to make their fortunes. One was particularly sad and tells the story of an unknown number of miners who perished in the hills and mountains during the “Great Snow of 1863” in Central Otago. Mining settlements and camps over an area of more than 800 square miles were isolated or engulfed by the snow, and an unknown number of men perished.
Monument to miners who perished in 1863
Another interesting day was a trip to St Bathans. We stopped to look down at the Blue Lake, where miners dug away a 120m hill to create a 70m hole. They blasted the hole using powerful jets of water that came from races cut into the sides of the hills, using picks, shovels, and wheelbarrows. This was once the site of the deepest hydraulic mining lift in the world. After the gold ran out, the men and machinery went away, and the hole in the ground filled with water.
Blue Lake, St Bathans
Then we visited the Vulcan Hotel, built in 1882, which the jewel in the crown in tiny little St Bathans, the last remaining pub out of twelve from the heady days when this was a busy, thriving gold town. The pub is said to be haunted by the spirit of a young prostitute known as Rose, who was strangled to death in the hotel in the 1880s, and allegedly still appears from time to time. Poor Rose, no wonder she is not at peace, but luckily we saw no sign of Rose on our visit.
Afternoon tea at the Vulcan pub