"The Bach" where we are staying
At last I am able to connect with the world again! We have spent a wonderfully relaxing week staying in Hampden (north of Dunedin) in a bach (holiday home) owned by Avis and Brian – but more of that later!
From Cape Foul Wind (so-called because Captain Cook was becalmed there) we continued up South Island to Nelson, famous for its seafood, horticulture and fruit-growing. Fish and chips is the must-have delicacy in Nelson so, before indulging, David and Wayne went for a run, while Raewyn and I opted for a brisk walk, along the seemingly endless expanse of beach to justify the extra calories.
The next day we had to continue on to Blenheim where Wayne and Raewyn were going to a reunion for teachers who had been at the New Zealand Forces School in Singapore 25 years previously. In Blenheim, we stayed at the Marlborough Girls’ School Boarding House – an interesting experience!
We four were the first to arrive, but were gradually joined by others until there were 22 people in all. The reunion was great fun and lasted three days! Even though we were interlopers, David and I very quickly made some firm friends and had a most enjoyable time. Our first dinner was an Asian extravaganza with a multitude of dishes from a Chinese and a Thai takeaway (OK, not quite Singapore, but it had that Asian flavour).
The second day (Saturday) we all piled into a bus and visited four different vineyards for wine tasting. As you can imagine, we were a very jolly crowd. After a good lunch in a restaurant, we went back to the hostel for an afternoon nap before enjoying an evening barbecue.
Sunday was a very hectic day; we began by going to the local Farmer’s Market to have breakfast, followed by a visit to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. This collection of WW1 aircraft and memorabilia belongs to Peter Jackson, the film director, and is one of the world’s largest private collections of its kind. As you can imagine, designed by a film director, everything was presented in a captivating and entertaining manner (see photo of one of the life-like recreations).
The museum is situated next to an airfield and we were all able to wave farewell to two of our number, Wayne and Jan, as they flew off to Auckland in their small two-seated plane (built by Wayne himself!). Then it was time for our departure.
We started down the East coat of South Island, staying in Amberley overnight, on our way to stay in Hampden with Avis and Brian. Here we said farewell to Wayne and Raewyn, although we will see them again once we get back to Invercargill.