We went out exploring one afternoon, driving an oval shaped route from Gore and back through the countryside, a road we hadn’t previously traveled on. And goodness me, on reaching Clinton we discovered this sign, we had just driven along the Presidential Highway!
This stretch of highway between Clinton and Gore acquired unexpected fame in the 1990s when Bill Clinton and Al Gore were respectively president and vice-president of the United States. When President Clinton visited New Zealand in 1999, a photograph of the road sign was presented to him by the United States ambassador, Josiah Beeman.
Hello, Mr President
Tiny little Clinton has a sunflower oil business and we drove past many paddocks of happy yellow sunflowers, with their flowers growing brightly in the sun shine.
Our stop for the next two nights was Dunedin. The main reason for our visit to this very Scottish city, was to spend time with my old school friend Merilyn and her husband Colin. Dunedin was founded in 1848 by the Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland. The city has a rich Scottish connection. It’s name comes from the Gaelic word for Edinburgh, and Thomas Burns, nephew to famous Scots poet Robert Burns, was among the early settlers.
We spent an enjoyable afternoon/evening with Colin and Merilyn at their home the day we arrived, and the following day they came and collected us to go out for lunch. But first, they took us for a look around the Otago Settlers Museum. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I have Scots blood in my veins, from my Scottish grandfather.
Dunedin was founded by Scots emigrants
Fire Brigade carriage and early tram
I always enjoy finding textiles in museums, and this was an apron made from sacking, with applique and embroidery on the hem. Sadly it was displayed above head height so didn't photograph at all well, but I’m sure you will get the general idea. This is an example of a housewife turning a mundane heavy duty sacking apron into an attractive item.
Applique and embroidery on a sacking apron
There was also a display of early wedding gowns. These two were worn by early settlers to the region, and would serve as “best dresses” later on, I’m sure.
Early wedding gowns worn by Dunedin settlers
A roast lunch was next, and Colin and Merlyn took us to a local pub – what a popular place, but luckily we managed to find a spare table. The roast of the day was pork, so that’s what we all ordered, and very tasty it was too.
Me and Merilyn in the pub
Next we were taken for a drive up to the headland overlooking St Kilda Beach. We went and peered over the cliff edge at the pretty beach below. But my goodness, it was blowing a gale, and we could hardly wait to get back inside the car. That blew any cobwebs away! Just as well that Robin took his cap off before he stepped outside, otherwise it could have been blown down to Antarctica!.
St Kilda Beach
We enjoyed a final coffee together at the local garden centre to finish off our day. Merilyn and Colin had grand-dog sitting duties to do over the weekend and had to hurry back home. It was so nice to have such a great catch up with them both, hear all their news, enjoy a lovely meal in their beautiful home, and lunch out the following day. Old friends are great friends indeed, and Merilyn and I go back to primary schooldays.
Colin and Robin