Santa and his Elf friend came calling while we were at Pauanui, weren’t we lucky he knew just where to find us. Guess the pair of us had been very well behaved this year as our names were called up to go and sit on Santa’s knee. Poor Santa, we didn’t really want to cause him an injury, so just gave him a cuddle instead.
So nice to see you, Santa
I had a mishap in the caravan when we first arrived, tripping and falling and giving my jaw a great whack. So spent the rally sporting a large bruise, which seemed to get darker and more purply each day. I’m sure the club members were looking at the pair of us sideways, wondering what on earth had happened, but rest assured, Robin was completely innocent, I managed to do it to myself. Not a pretty sight at all, but luckily nothing was broken.
At the end of the rally we oved on to Coromandel, named after HMS Coromandel, which arrived to pick up a load of kauri timber, just the thing for ships masts. Down by the waterside is “Ship in a Bottle” by Rebekah Pearson to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the anchoring of British Naval Ship HMS Coromandel off Colville in June 1820. It really is a beautiful piece of sculpture and only completed this year.
Ship in a Bottle
Right at the top of our “must see” list during our short stay in Coromandel was a visit to Driving Creek Railway. Last time we were here, about 25 years ago we reckon, the train tracks only went part way up the hill, and now go to the top. If we had stopped to think what the name “Driving Creek” actually meant, I’m sure we wouldn’t have worked it out. It refers to the early days of kauri logging, much prized by the British Navy as masts and spars. The loggers built dams across the creeks which slowly filled up, and the felled logs were placed in the dams or in the dry creek bed below. When the dam was full, a rope was pulled, releasing a large wooden gate, and the water drove the logs down to the harbour. So ingenious, but this practice also carried much silt and debris down too, causing them to start to silt up.
Potter Barry Brickell purchased 24 hectares of hilly scrub covered land in the 1970s, which just happened to have plenty of clay needed for his pottery. The idea of the railway came about to transport the clay down the hill, plus pine to fuel the kilns, but has come into it’s own as a tourist attraction. The narrow gauge railway winds up through the hills, with steep grades, curves, tunnels and viaducts. As New Zealand’s only narrow gauge railway the track also has zig-zag sections for gaining altitude within a limited space. All the trains have been purpose built in the workshop to Barry’s designs.
The scrub covered hills have been replanted over the years with native trees, tree ferns, kauri, totara and rimu much in evidence. The story goes that Barry swapped large quantities of his famous home brew for thousands of young trees, with are thriving on the hills. Quirky pieces if pottery are placed by the track, and the areas of clay digging are much in evidence.
On our way to the top
We chugged over the viaducts, through several tunnels, reversed into the switchbacks, stopped while the driver jumped down to change the points, and climbed ever higher. One last tunnel, and what a beauty it was. We had reached to end of the line. The view from the top was amazing. The bush clad hills were covered in flowering manuka, ferns and native trees, hard to imagine this was once scrubby farmland, with the coastline in the distance. This wonderful area is protected in perpetuity by a QE11 Trust Covenant. Barry Brickell died in 2016 at age 80, and is buried on his property. He truly was a man of vision, combining his love of art, conservation and engineering.
View from the top
We are now back in Taupo and the weather has turned wet, cold and miserable. But there was a definite bright spark to the morning today when we called to see Linda and Peggy, my Colourpoint Cat quilt was finished and waiting for me. I’m only giving a little sneak peek at the moment, and it goes without saying I’m thrilled with Linda’s quilting. When we return home next week, this will be top of my stitching list, to get the binding and hanging sleeve applied, and then I will show it in all it’s glory..
So what else have I been doing? A little more hand quilting on my teddy bear cot quilt, and some knitting on another baby beanie. Plus another laundromat visit, but that really goes without saying.
Stitching and knitting
Tomorrow we are driving over the Napier-Taupo road to see my sister Kathleen. She is not well and is scheduled for an operation soon, so we want to take this opportunity for a visit before we make our way home. The Hawkes Bay area, where we are heading to, usually has warm sunny weather so we are looking forward to a change of temperature, after several cold days.