Last week Barry and I hooked up at a place called Bowentown, not far from Waihi Beach, which is about an hour's drive from Auckland. We stayed in what kiwi's call a 'bach' aka a holiday home - friends of Barry's own it and we had it to ourselves for two nights which was awesome. Barry and his family used to have a bach a short walk away that his grandmother owned and they'd come here for holidays when he was a child.
Some people have been asking for photos of New Zealand - well you may wish you hadn't soon (!) ...
Jan and Cliff's bach
The bach is across the road from the fishing club where many boats are launched and fishing competitions held through the year. We were treated to the sight of half a dozen kingfishers sitting on the flax bush opposite while they watched patiently for passing fish, which brought back fond memories of the canals of England. Their markings were very different to British kingfishers, being more cream and black rather than orange and turquoise.
Bowentown Fishing Club from the balcony One of the kingfishers
The view from the bach of the estuary with the tide in
School holidays and some boys take advantage of the fishing opportunities - this is where Barry and his brothers used to fish and play when they were children
We had a walk in the sun and visited some of Barry's childhood haunts - and saw the changes since then such as this huge holiday home on the hill
Mt Maunganui and Tauranga, and Mt Edgecombe in the far distance with Matakana Island in the foreground
... and toi toi - or pampas grass as it's known in UK ...
... hardly a cloud in the sky, and glorious shadows of them and the sun on the still water
Easter holidays and a camp site nearby, lots of people out walking on the beach - well about a dozen!
Certainly a calming break away from 'normal' life here - Mayor Island breaking the horizon
Shelly beach, where Barry and his family would water ski from as it's so shallow
Sunset looking across the estuary from Bowentown
The scenery in New Zealand is spectacular and I do feel very lucky to be spending time here. As we're unlikely to get back to England this year, we're trying to make the most of 'being' where we are and taking all opportunities to get out of Gisborne and travel around. Next week I'm off to Melbourne to visit a friend for a week - so there may even be one or two Aussie shots on the blog!
On the drive back to Gisborne we pass Mount Edgecombe, an extict volcano, seen in the distance.
And you thought we didn't have any canals in New Zealand? This could possibly be the only canal in the world with a volcanic mountain nearby?
Sadly no narrowboats to be found on these canals though.
Next stop was Waioeka Gorge and a famous 'historic' Tauranga Bridge from the 19th century. This area of the gorge was 'sold' to settlers to try and make the land farmable back in the 1860s, a part of the process was to build a bridge across the gorge. The original bridge was washed away but there's a replica from the early 20th century. Not old by European standards, but historic here in the Southern Hemisphere.
Sadly despite their best efforts, the land around the gorge chose not to give in and they had to abandon their farms and try somewhere else.
Almost 100 years old (the bridge, not Sandra!)
Barry managed to climb up the hill a short way to get this fantastic shot - he wasn't so nimble on the descent!
Part of the Waioeka Gorge - the 'main', winding road from Opotiki to Gisborne
Returning to Gisborne late last Wednesday, I had a call from my dentist's asking me how my tooth was. Having cracked one of my back teeth (without realising it!) a few weeks previously, he'd attempted to repair it and I'd had a large filling before we left. Sadly, despite pain killers and antibiotics, the pulp of the tooth hadn't survived and the following day I returned to the 'chair' and had my root 'canal' filled - not the most pleasant experience in the world!
The spooky thing is that during my life coaching work we're looking at our core beliefs and how we've built these during our lives. I have a book called 'You can heal your life', by Louise L. Hay, and she describes how any physical problems we may encounter can be due to some blockage/mental cause in our lives and will have message to be listened to. A root canal is all about 'root beliefs being destroyed'! Interesting aye?
Barry had also had an interesting experience in Aylesbury last October ...
Thursday 14 October
We left our mooring half way to Aylesbury earlier than anticipated as a BW working boat came alongside wanting to moor where we were to pick up some sacks of something on the towpath! Not a problem, it made us move onto the last eight locks to Aylesbury where we'll stay overnight then return and do the 16 on this arm all in one go tomorrow.
The Aylesbury arm opened in 1814, one of the later canals, as there'd been much controversy about building a canal that took water from another navigation so was strongly resisted at first. Once it was opened the price of coal halved overnight and it went on to become a successful transporter of coal.
Mid-October now and the temperature is really beginning to drop - today I layered up wearing my thermal vest, long sleeved top, scarf, gloves, ear warmer, hat and waterproof - and I was still cold! Possibly I've turned into a wuss (how do you spell that?), having not had a winter for the past three years, I'm just hopeless at coping in cooler climates!
A very pleasant and peaceful almost straight, stretch of canal
Sixteen single locks along the arm
An interesting collection of part-restored wooden boats at Bates Boatyard at Puttenham
Stunning reflections on the mirror-like surface
Good to see the trimmer boat out, though I think he might be fighting a losing battle
Colourful images reflected this time ...
... then back to black and white - sublime stillness
Happy horses in the countryside surrounding Aylesbury
Not a bad set up for these fishermen escaping from the hustle and bustle of the modern world
Enjoying some of the final narrow locks of our 2010 journey
We arrived into Aylesbury at around 5pm so sadly most places were just closing. We did however manage to just catch the Tourist Information site and bought a heritage walk map for 50p which we set off on to explore the town. And what a surprisingly delightful place it was, with some gorgeous historic buildings that were all well preserved, with the old blending in nicely with the new structures.
We'd just missed the opening of the brand new Waterside Theatre which had occurred just two days previously amidst fanfares and stars - it's a jaw-dropping piece of architecture and alongside the canal basin which is also in the process of being 'done up'. Unfortunately there's a dearth of visitor moorings in the town, but it's definitely worth the while travelling down this canal arm and visiting the town and it's attractions ...
Approaching the moorings in Aylesbury town basin
Packed to the rafters!
Many boats moored up for the winter - we get a mooring at the end on the left
The brand new Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
Make up your mind - which way DO we go??
Aylesbury town - streets criss-cross all around
Real village butcher and green grocer
The historic walk took us along many of the backstreets to discover hidden gems
Quaint cottages encircle the church
Walking around the churchyard, Barry was doing his usual photography when a young Muslim boy walked past and told him in no uncertain terms that he shouldn't be doing that - he recounted a story that he'd once took photos of the church and had a curse put on him and he'd been taken ill shortly afterwards! He was convinced that taking photos had been the cause and seemed quite distressed and seriously wanted Barry to take notice so the same didn't happen to him; bless!
Curses in churches?
Not far to walk to the Sunday service - or a funeral!
Very well maintained houses ...
... of all shapes and sizes
The walk took us around an hour, leading us back to our starting point of the 15th century King's Head pub. It would've been rude not to partake of a drink in the establishment, so we entered and duly patronised The Farmer's Bar, hoping to ward off any evil spirits from the curse!
The light was fading as we walked back to the boat and the new theatre was positively glowing in all it's glory ...
The famous Ronnie Barker, of 'The two Ronnies', 'Porridge' and 'Open all hours' fame, was born and resided in Aylesbury
What do you think of the shiny new theatre Ronnie?
It's b-b-b-b-b-b beautiful!
There was a very damp and frosty feeling to the evening, it's definitely drawing close to the time to fly south for the winter! I have only a week to go as I'll be leaving Northern Pride next Thursday in a hire car to go to my parents for a few days and remove some of our 'stuff' from the boat, then a weekend in the New Forest with my family. Barry will return to the boat after the weekend, to do some more work on the boat prior to getting her into a marina to sell.