...random jottings on what may be happening in my life at any particular time, not necessarily anything earth shattering, just ordinary every day stuff; and photographs, mainly taken by me, my GKB and other family members as we travel through this journey called life...
We don't know how or when this tradition started but people stop and hang their old footwear (shoes, sneakers, gumboots, boots, jandals), on this fence. We pass it often on our way south but yesterday we stopped and took some photo's. I've been wanting to take some pics for years but never got around to it. One of the reasons was that I thought it was a private drive but no, it is a side road down to the lake so no problem. I've always thought it was a bit of fun and others seem to think so too. I hope you enjoy my 'fence with a difference'.
When my son let us know they were coming over for a holiday he said he would love to give his wife some sort of a surprise, a trip somewhere special or horse riding perhaps. We arranged horse riding for them but he decided that maybe he should warn her about that and we'd all try to think of something else.
And then my daughter rang and she said she had found half price tickets on the Taieri Gorge Railway. Yippee. We got the vouchers and headed into town and booked our seats. We didn't tell them where were going, just told them not to arrange anything for that day, so it was a surprise for both of them.
On the day we headed in to our beautiful railway station and boarded the train. We had a choice of heritage carriage or observation carriage, we opted for the heritage seeing as we were able to move around if we wanted to get photo's. These carriages date from 1912 - 1923 and are done out in wood panelling and have open platforms at each end. Comfortable, authentic and fun.
A friend of ours was on the train as a guard so he sat down for a few minutes to have a chat. He hadn't seen our son for a few years and they enjoyed having a bit of a catch up. Then he was away to do his commentary.
Anyway once out of the city the train turns inland and heads west and into the hills. For a start we travelled through farmland, sheep, alpaca, horse studs (racing) and cows.
Then it was into more rugged country with deep ravines and rivers on one side and high hills on the other.
There were 12 tunnels in all and 19 bridges or viaducts to be crossed on the way.
We passed one hotel and several workers houses that are now only used as holiday places or getaways for fishermen. Sue, the dog, is a statue in honour of the working dogs in the area. Can you see the bath down by the river in the picture of the house below? You might have to blow the picture up a bit. (It's the smallest white thing in the trees).
The two green bins are very posh longdrops (toilets), the red shed is the hotel.
During the summer tourist season the train normally runs through to Middlemarch where it turns around for the return journey. We only went as far as Pukerangi but that was still a four hour return trip. We got off here for a bit of a wander while the engines changed ends so we could begin the return journey. (Pukerangi is a Maori word meaning Hill of god).
I didn't wander too far though as I'm always worried that the train will leave without me. I'm a bit wimpy that way.
Then it was all aboard...
...and we headed back the way we had come.
We all enjoyed our day out on the train and it was a good way for them to start their holiday. Our son hadn't been on the train before either so it was all new for him as well as his wife, and it was great to be able to do something neither of them expected.
The kids were here for a couple of weeks but are back in Japan again now and back into the daily routine. While they were here we did a bit of a road trip with them. On day one we drove as far as Fairlie and stopped for the night. The next morning we were on the road again to go up to Aorangi Mount Cook to spend the day and enjoy the splendour of the mountains. Then we went back to Fairlie for another night and on day three headed for home again. A round trip of just over 660 kilometres. We packed a lot into three days but well worth the effort.
One of the places we stopped at was The Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo. It is a beautiful old stone church situated on the side of the lake. When we set out it was a lovely sunny, if cool, morning. We drove through high country farmland, with the mountains in full view.
About half an hour or so later we arrived at Lake Tekapo. It was shrouded in thick fog and you could be forgiven for thinking the lake was just a myth. (Excuse the pun).But if you look hard and carefully you can see a little hint of it just below the misty trees.
There was a good hoar frost as well but I never got a photo of it. Very cold! Luckily we had packed a thermos and biscuits as we had arrived a bit early for the church to open so we were able to stand around drinking hot tea and coffee, much to the envy of other tourists who were waiting with us.
After about half an hour the sun had managed to burn off some of the fog and the caretaker arrived and opened the doors for us. A very nice man who knew a lot about the church and the area. That big white disc in the top right corner is the sun trying to get through. It did eventually win, but not while we were there.
The church is still used for regular Sunday services and is full of history, character and charm. From the pews you look towards the altar and out over the lake toward the Southern Alps. The view is quite breathtaking.
Everything is original apart from the tiles on the roof which were originally wood but changed to slate a few years later when they discovered that wood didn't do the job.
The roof and a lantern.
The beautifully hand carved font, which is made from Oamaru stone as is the altar. Every part of the church and everything used in it has been gathered from the surrounding area.
A short history of the church.
I suppose we spent a half hour or so in the church and chatting to the caretaker and then we took to the road again, hoping to leave the fog behind and spend the rest of the day in the sun. We did.
The evenings were still closing in fairly early but we decided to stop at Tekapo on the way back and have another look at the church in the sunshine. What a totally different aspect. It was quite stunning with the lake and mountains as a backdrop.
My GKB and I wandered around the little town and the lakeside while the young ones went up to the hot pools for a dip. I don't know how we managed to do it but I left our swimming togs in the cupboard at home. Oh dear, how remiss of me.
We decided to find something for a bite of tea and sat in the car at the church car park and waited for the sun to go down.
The sky here is designated a world heritage sky and there are all sorts of regulations governing the lighting that can be used outside. There is an observatory on top of a mountain nearby but we decided it was too costly for us so just waited for night where we were. Along with quite a few others who had the same idea.
After about an hour of waiting we were rewarded with a beautiful clear night and stood outside for a time just admiring the stars. After a few minutes gazing you could get a sense of depth, it was quite awesome. We were able to pick out some of the constellations but my daughter in law was a bit confused because she was looking at a different sky to what she was used to. None of our cameras were strong enough to take a decent photo. I could have stayed longer but my GKB was ready to get on the road again and head for bed. And it was blankety blank cold!
So that ended a wonderful day out. The next day we headed south and home again.
I hope you've enjoyed our trip to Lake Tekapo and The Church of The Good Shepherd.