Monday, November 11, 2013

Short hop to Akaroa

Monday, November 11, 2013
oldbearnews editor

The good, the bad and the ugly - sort of.
I was in town and finished with what I had to do way earlier then anticipated - and having had my camera with me I decided to be decadent and treat myself for a stroll through the botanical gardens.  Net-result; a whole heap of pictures of colours and blooms (see the sample picture to the left) as well as other stuff.  All well and good, but duty calls.  Back to the grind stone.  Before I do that - i took some images from pretty much the same spot as a certain mermaid and her darling wee princess earlier in the year - just having a spring feel to it - instead of the autumn we had with the mermaid! hmmmm  must try and remember to go back in summer . . . .
Before you are wondering - no we are not planning a trip to Old Austria with its strudels and music and family.  Nope this was a counter picture to the one posted by three Austrians holding a travel guide to New Zealand.  NOT LONG now Doris / Bernhard  and Wilfred and soon you can test this Bed and breakfast and put its owner through his paces - so to speak! I would advise lots and lots of images and records and stories to keep - so when you are eventually making it back to Vienna you got enough info stored in your memory bank to satisfy a most intense grilling (speak exchange notes and memories) form a mermaid who will no doubt envy you (and be happy for you at the same time).  Meanwhile - the life carries on and sometimes expires altogether.  Mamabear took Friday and Monday of to have a long weekend holiday- only to hear about the recent passing of a long time acquaintance from way back - with the funeral in Akaroa.  So not like we ever need an excuse to get away - but we did and took the old fella, next door from us, with us at the same time.  We got there in good time - partly because I insisted on going early-ish.  It took just under 2 hours driving to get there (90km), but that included a slow crawl OUT of town and the 6km up and 6km down on the other side which us a rather windy road over the hilltop - which slowed you down (not to mention the slow drivers in front and the truck we got stuck behind lumbering up at 10km/hr.)  Lunch was - ok - quick and early and then we split. Yes you read this right.  Funerals I dislike with a passion and attend only if I have virtually no choice.   The other reason being that I always had wanted to go up on the "Garden of Tane" in Akaroa. With Mamabear being unfit and somehow it never seems a high priority, so this time I sort-of used this as an excuse and took of.   After a lightning fast check-in at the local info centre - and a quick check on the map - I trundled off to the track, while the other two paid the respects at the funeral.

The garden of Tane is an area in Akaroa that was planted with literally hundreds of plants from overseas and local specimens!! It is well marked out and eventually leads to no less then 2 - hmmm should be three cemeteries!  The interesting part was - it was the first I have seen on a hill side - so naturally a terraced 'housing' became the way of doing things. I was intrigued however by the local sign - and had to google the 'dissenters' part.
Nothing earth shattering after all - these where the NON-Catholic and NON-Anglicans (which had their own cemetery). So who snubbed who I ask???  For someone who hates funerals - I do, yes amazingly, do enjoy walking around the very old cemeteries in New Zealand.  There are some very neglected but beaut' ones on the West-coast (Denniston springs to mind).  If nothing else - it makes you appreciate the shortness of life and all its fullness it holds and promises to deliver!  I was a bit gutted though,  finding a grave where a little boy lived for 3 hours - yes you read this right - 3 hours back in early 1900's!  From there it was further around and far too soon you exited the walk at the top end. Amazingly the map said 1.5 hours - but I cruised through in less then 60 minutes. Hmmmmmm  Maybe it allowed more time to 'loiter' around the graves???  Still - the peace and quiet along the walk was refreshing and you did hear the Tui / Bell-bird / thrush and occasionally a wood-pidgeon flying (with their distinct whoop whoop sound).  The best part came right at the end - or if you like at the top-beginning. Near the playground area there is this tree (well 3 actually) and it stopped me dead in my tracks - it is a Kauri!!  I didn’t know they could grow successfully down here - thinking they preferred a warmer climate as they are prolific (a long time ago) in the North island. Efforts for  re-growing these giants of the Forrest up north, are being made with and through the 'Kauri 2000' Trust.  So I gingerly walked up to the plague - painfully aware of the possibility of damaging the root system of the Kauri tree and snapped the plaque  - to be read later! As you can see this fine specimen was planted in honour of the then newly crowned Elizabeth - now current Queen of England and other commonwealth countries. That makes this tree 60 years old - 7 years older then myself!!  In typical Kauri fashion - this sample is still (comparatively speaking with his northern brothers) a juvenile pre-adolescent.  While standing about 15-20 meters tall - it is nothing compared with up grows up north.  A real pity then that I won't be around in say 700 or 800 years from now to see this particular tree, fulfilling its total potential!!  Its girth would have been just over 2 or three hand-spans.  Up north - they are so wide you need several people linking arms to get fully around its trunk!! Some trees can go beyond 1000 years life-span meaning they had already began their growth before the first humanoid settlers came to New Zealand, sailing in from Polynesia. From there it was back to the reality and after a quick cuppa of green tea, collecting the other two tribal members and drive back to Christchurch.  Time to catch up on other things before we head to bed - Garden needs watering, plants need - urm - tending too, washing to be folded or ironed, FB to be checked, and - hmmm there was something REALLY important . . . . ..

Can't remember - sooo tudleooo and

Have fun

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