madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
Might seem a bit redundant to do a Con Report what with the mini-reports done on the days. On the other hand, might not since those are, after all, mini-reports. On the Gripping Hand, my blog, my dime as it were and so this is how I'm spending it. Y'all read along if you care to.

Travel Report: As mentioned, what with things going on on the Ranch and my own procrastination, it got late enough and I felt tired enough I opted not to drive after dark on Thursday. Instead I got a fairly good nights sleep after loading most everything into Sydney Subaru Outback on Thursday, exception being cooler with some foodstuffs and my carry-on bag. Up more or less regular time on Friday, coffeed, showered, dressed and out the door by ten to seven. Bit later than I'd thought. Not late enough to worry me at all. Stopped twice on the drive down, once for petrol and both for fluid pressure relief. Coffee. Yes.

Art Show Setup )

Then over to Registration, picked up my Guest Pass, 30th Anniversary Messenger Bag and badge holder. Forgot to get my Name Tent Card for the panel, had to go back for it. Checked in with Skippy (of FatFred) in the Dealers Room, got her some ice for her drink. Then off to gawk and gander and just have fun.

And On to the Con )

After that, oh, a few more panels but time moves along. I moved Sydney Subaru Outback out of the garage to closer parking, checked out of the Art Show and loaded that into Sydney, and went back in for the Eye Scream Social and Garage Sale. The Social is a nice visit, the Sale is a fundraiser for Stone Hill. Last year I got some books and other odds and ends, this year not so much. Ate some ice cream (what, you didn't get that from the name?), last bit of visiting with some folks, and then hit the road.

Departed St. Pete at 16:01, arrived at the Ranch at 19:15. Since I'd recorded times both going and coming I could compare notes, and indeed the trip home took about 15 minutes less. I attribute this to two things: Friday traffic on the way there rather than Sunday traffic on the way home, and fewer fluid pressure relief or petrol stops.

The Business Report )

So off I went to Con and home I came from Con, and Herself brought the Bros out for Evening Rounds timed to meet me as I arrived on the Ranch. Squrrl and Houdini came around one of the corners of our private road with Squrrl in the lead, until Houdini saw me waiting by the Horses and then there was no contest. Houdini got to me before Squrrl by about nine Border Collie lengths.

It's nice to be missed.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Sun, September 30, 2001 19:44:47
Unloaded, Unsettled

We’ve unloaded the luggage from the car, and Herself has done some unpacking. I’ve done some too. We are not settled in yet. So it goes. Tomorrow will be worse, since I must go to work.

Went to bed this morning at about 01:30 after arriving home about 21:15 or so. PW is here, on vacation between jobs, and came over to visit. We talked a long time. J and T came by as well; they did not stay the night. J told Herself she felt we would want to be alone on our first night back.

She found a job, she will be working for either a lingerie showing company or a dance company that hires out for private parties. She was quite excited about it; amongst other things there will be a photo shoot for a work portfolio. Herself then told her that if she doesn’t like the photographs done by the company hired photographer to talk to me. We’ll see what comes of this, but she did sound interested.

We’ve lost some animals. Verse the Goat is missing, presumed dead. Chapter is doing well. One young doe is also dead, and so are two, three, or possibly four pigs. Dogs are the suspect, and dogs from the neighbor’s across the road are the highest suspects.

Harrison is running, thanks to S and B. Before doing any work, he needs an oil change, including in the air filter, more gasoline, and air in the rear tires. Otherwise, he’s getting there and will soon be good as gold.

I’ve sorted through the mail. There’s a lot of it. I’ve opened some. There’s still a lot more.
We’ve looked through about half of my transparency film, and all of the black and white. All of the latter came out well. Most of the former came out at least well exposed, some is slightly over exposed. None of this is referring to notes, so I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me.

Welcome back.

It didn't take long for the slings and arrows of everyday life to wear away that magical feeling from the trip.

The J mentioned above we'd hired as our house-sitter, a bit more involved with the Ranch because that required not only staying to the House and feeding cats and dogs, also feeding the Birds and Goats and Hogs and Cows (didn't have Horses yet). We never did do the photography sessions together. Worked as a dancer for a while, then did some other work, and recently (within the past few years) completed Nursing and received her Registered Nurse license. Works at Hospital as well.

Harrison ran well until the year I didn't run him and now he's still in the midst of another refurbishment. There is still a lot of mail, surprisingly since the USPS claims to be nearly insolvent and needs to trim actual post office stations. We still receive rather a few of our bills via paper billing, despite many business' wanting to start us on electronic billing. Most of them also want that electronic billing to be an automatic payment. I've done that; and stopped it.

And as I've said, there is still a significant portion of the film shot which needs to be scanned.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Sat, September 29, 2001 01:09:45
Home In Orlando

We arrived about 22:10, somewhat late. I did fire up the computer again on the short flight from Atlanta but didn’t write anything. The flight from LAX was nearly empty. Atlanta to Orlando, completely full. There are accents in the speech, and we talked with our row partner. People from Europe, on holiday to the States, to Disney World. Their travel plans, like ours, non-refundable so it's go on holiday after the events or sacrifice the money. So they go on holiday to see the Mouse.

I’ve downloaded a month’s worth of AT&T Worldnet mail, took a good long time.

I’m tired.

Not a lot actually. I may even be sitting on this for a bit, trying to get it posted as our Sky Internet is making connections only intermittently.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Fri, September 28, 2001 07:25:11
Departure Day

It’s a good thing I changed batteries, as battery number one showed no charge. They are both charged up now and ready for the long flight. My world time program is showing me it’s about four P.M. in Sandwich, so I may well try calling Sister this morning.

Fri, September 28, 2001 19:06:14
Transcriptions Over the Pacific

28/9/01 13:00
Chch Airport

Called sister S & G, G’s reactions follow.
M: Hi, G, it’s Mad.
G: Oh hi, Mad. How’s things in Fl?
M: Well, G, I don’t have any idea. I’m calling from Christchurch, New Zealand.
G: New Zealand? As in New Zealand New Zealand?
M: Yes.
G: Wait, I’ll get your sister. (S! Come right away!) Wow, it sounds like you’re right next door. (Because he’s calling from Chch, New Zealand!) Here she is.

Great call. Some problems with M, but other wise S sounds really good. She didn’t say anything about K, and I didn’t ask. S enjoyed the visit. She was concerned about the cost at one point, but I reassured her that’s OK, it’s pre-paid and no refund so talk away. She also commented on the quality of the phone connection. She really enjoyed my telling her to tell everyone, I got a phone call today from my brother tomorrow.

Our aircraft may have just arrived. Behind a bit, probably weather. Sunny this AM, but socked in by 08:45. So we arrive, and depart Christchurch in overcast.

These notes are being handwritten first partly to save battery, but mostly for ease of maneuvering. I’ll unship Calf when we board the international flight. Calf and the Y because the headphones on the international flight might fit and work, so I’ll leave headphones in the bag. Already put the Don’t Know Jack game into the CD.

Last photos in NZ and via the Canon, so who knows if they’re fogged or not, of the International Duckling Rescue Effort. Ducklings fell down a sewer grate on Armagh Street. Two police and several more gents working on rescuing the ducklings. Had to move a Mercedes to free up the sewer grate.

The last shots altogether were made with the Point & Shoot (P&S) included potentially some of people unawares. We also found the duck with her brood of seven, all rescued. They were staying quite close to mother.

Could have put more film in P&S; chose not to so as to have empty cameras at airport security check. That proved relatively painless. We’ll see what international is like, and then what domestic U.S. is like. I wonder if they will be stricter or not. I expect them to be.

I also wonder about domestic U.S. connections. Heard many flights canceled due to travel cut backs. Not been able to confirm Delta flight yet — may try in Auckland.

It is time to go home, and yet I am sad. Sister was very certain I will move to NZ. She commented that NZ has all the things I like. It does, so does the USA. Spectacular scenery. Good food. Outdoors life. Bicycles. People and places to photograph. High tech and rural charm.

Four years. In four years I will be at 25 years for Hospital. There will be a change. Will it include NZ? God knows. God also knows it will not if I don’t plan ahead.

I bring my nursing skills with me. This makes me valuable and attractive.

I am moved to tears/at the death of six thousands/not by pre-meditated act of murderers/but from Kiwi touch/draping Old Glory in mourning.

17:17 (aboard the flight)
Best way to go and live and work in NZ, on an American payroll. Advice from another American flying back to the States, works in Australia. Look into this very seriously.

Also, flight to States is very nearly empty. Perhaps 50 passengers on this Boeing 747.

Fri, September 28, 2001 19:22:20
Across the Dateline
We’ve just crossed the International Date Line, making it now Thursday, but not for long since it’s now midnight in California and the Pacific Time Zone. I’ve transcribed my hand-written thoughts, and a poem I composed on Tuesday. Having caught up with that, eaten dinner (lamb casserole), and watched a movie (Brigid Jones Diary) it’s now time to read what little e-mail I have.

Fri, September 28, 2001 21:17:22
So On We Fly
We’ve now watched two movies, and a television drama is on the video. This trip has better video entertainment than the out-bound trip; some consolation about going home, I suppose. I should be making an outline for my presentation to the Chapter this next meeting.

What would I outline? The subjects I went to see. Error control (first session on Tuesday); Reusable, Reposable (Japan is re-using everything); Hazards in Workplace (Kay Ball’s presentation); most definitely World-Wide Nursing Shortage; Transplant Program in New Zealand; Cultural Safety; and Closing Session.

General idea is to make a slide with title of the presentation, and another (or same) with the bullet points summarizing the session. Background of each slide, a different photograph from New Zealand. In between point slides, a clear copy of the previous background slide, perhaps with the title or notes I’ve made for each slide. I’ll need to transcribe those photo notes soon.

I’ve taken my first walk about the plane. I suppose I should remain consistent with my Kiwi English and say tramping. :-) However, that’s up to me, and while I will recall this time fondly, I am returning to America. An America affected by the events of 11 September. I still don’t know if our Delta connection is flying, or if we will be trying to get onto a different flight. Nor can I do anything about it until we get to LAX.

Twenty-eight pages to the September journal. The trip accounts for this prolific bit of writing. I’ve made a note on a World Conference card: Fantasies, or Daydreams. Move to New Zealand, work as a nurse, see more of the country.

Sat, September 29, 2001 02:23:10
Body Time
My wristwatch agrees with the computer, but the lights have just come on in the aircraft and dawn light is showing through the starboard windows. Side-kick’s World Clock shows it to be 07:25 on Friday, September 28, 2001. Breakfast is now being served. Now starts the confused jet-lagged experience, because body time says we should be sound asleep, but world time says it is early morning, yesterday. Indeed, the time in Sandwich, Massachusetts is now only a couple hours after I called my sister S from Christchurch. Won’t Sister love that when I put it into a notice.

Fri, September 28, 2001 07:31:54
Computer Time
I’ve just adjusted the clock on the computer to allow for the time zone changes. I’ve chosen Pacific Time Zone, and it’s showing San Francisco. Confusion, confusion. I probably need to update everything, even setting the time to Eastern Daylight Time. I probably won’t though, until later today.

This is going to be one long Friday. This particular entry about computer time is only about five minutes after my entry about being glad I changed batteries to charge up the second one. We’ve just gotten up; twice on the same day!

Speaking of battery, this one is just a bit over 50% right now. I thought I’d put the machine into stand-by the last time I made an entry, but when I opened the case and pushed the button, it seems I turned it off. I can’t remember if I’d written anything else between the 21:17 entry ended. I don’t think so, but I can’t remember.

The movie we’re watching is something other than what Herself expected. From reading the on-board magazine (Do I want to take that copy with me? I expect not.), she thought we’d be watching Shreck. This is some love story. Amusing, but not Shreck. Well, we’ll just have to rent that film on video. She’s just checked in the magazine again. We probably slept through it. The movie we just watched while eating breakfast was “It Had To Be You.”

Yes, the sun is now up... well, so are we, but there’s only about another hour in the flight. I’ve left my wristwatch set to Christchurch time, and we were told the flight would last 11 hours and two minutes.

Our on-board update informs us that we are 54 minutes from arrival. I expect I shall be shutting the computer down soon. On the list of things that either we didn’t do or which didn’t work during this trip is play You Don’t Know Jack and watching a DVD movie. I think I know why it wasn’t working. I did not re-set video resolution, and probably need to.

We’ve traveled 9,958 kilometers plus, and in fact are about due south of San Francisco right now. We’re moving at 1001 kilometers per hour, and at an altitude of 11800 meters. As I’ve done for most of this trip, I’ve got foreign currency in my wallet, but now, it’s no longer the local currency. Now, it’s souvenirs, or money waiting for my next trip to New Zealand to be spent.
I’ve collected a small pocketful of NZ$2 coins. One at least is going to be kept for myself, maybe (we do have the boxed sets). The others are going to be used as part of the other valuable considerations when I photograph specific nudes.

I’ve an envelop full of receipts that I have entered, and another with receipts I haven’t entered. These will need to be caught up, but I expect I’ll do it after we get home. I may set ourselves up by doing the cab fare now, since I can recall that, and the exit tax as well.

Fri, September 28, 2001 12:33:39
Out of Los Angeles
Air New Zealand arrived a little bit late, not much. Clearing Customs took hardly any time at all, despite our claiming to have packaged lunch meat from, and having visited a farm in, New Zealand. We grabbed a trolley to move the luggage; probably should have grabbed two, but it worked.

Ground transportation left a great deal to be desired, and trying to get over to the Delta terminal in time for our direct flight to Orlando proved a deal more difficult than on the outbound trip. There simply was not enough time, and would not have been enough time, to make the connection even if ground transportation worked. The only thing that might have helped is if we could have checked the five bags for airport handling from the Air N.Z. terminal instead of moving them ourselves.

However, the ground security clearance took enough time as it is that we probably would have missed our flight anyway.

All of the film boxes needed to be opened, though not the foil packets around film. It took three explanations to the security people that no, this particular film package could not go through the x-ray machines at all, the infrared film is particularly sensitive. The laptop came out of its case and was checked for explosive residue. I’d expected that they would want it turned on, but the residue check was sufficient.

I encouraged the security guard to open the packets when she asked, saying to her, “Ma’am, you do what you have to do.” Behind us in line was a gentleman arguing about discarding a $50 pair of scissors. His travel partner kept repeating 'Loose the scissors. I'll buy you new scissors. We need to make our flight.' I’m very glad I heeded the news in N.Z. and packed the pocket knives in checked baggage. Back in N.Z. The security check people offered to box up pocket knives and scissors and such to put into the hands of the flight crew, to be returned on arrival. Not here. Into a trash bin they go. From now on, if Dad’s pocket knife travels with me, it travels in checked baggage.

At any rate, we are now in flight to Atlanta, where we will change planes for Orlando. This gets us in much later today than we’d planned originally. I am not upset at all (though I was with dealing with heavy baggage in a smelly, unfriendly airport), because we will still get in before Sunday. Saturday afternoon or evening (depending on how well Herself and Mother get on) we will drive back to the ranch. I am willing to bet we leave in the afternoon rather than the evening, but we’ll see.

I switched batteries just before boarding in Los Angeles. The previous battery, as noted above, was down by about half charge. So there’s still some reserve, if I decide to keep typing away. I saw some earphones in Christchurch, very compact by dint of being earplugs only. Didn't buy them then, and now they do make sense to me. Actually, they made sense then too, but I was conserving money at that point. I’ve still got about eight-five dollars New Zealand in paper money, and Herself has some also. That’s not counting coin, and I’ve already discussed that.

We are back in the U.S.A. I’m already saying I miss New Zealand. Los Angeles International Airport provided a very mixed greeting to an international traveler. The Delta check-in clerks were friendly, and the Security guards were friendly, but others are appearing to my now educated eyes as Ugly Americans.

Fri, September 28, 2001 18:17:33
Incredibly Bored
So much for playing games. I haven’t done so yet because of power conservation; even making my journal eats power, but with minimal impact. Constant CD access eats power. Also so much for my power adapter to plug into airplanes (primary reason for getting it) since I have yet to find the airplane it plugs into. It does also work in cars, and that helps. Could have used it that way in New Zealand.

Did sleep a little bit on this flight. Did also get up and walk a short distance. Just too darn bored. I know Herself is also, though she hasn’t said anything.
Kiwiland Photographs

I shot 59 rolls of film in New Zealand. Herself shot nearly as much as well. We’ve processed all but five rolls, I think. No more than that. Contacts with some photography people in New Zealand, two by snail mail post. One more by e-mail, possibly more, no less. And Croydon House will remain on our mailing list.

We’re beginning our descent into Atlanta, so I’m going to shut down again.

I mentioned yesterday how empty the trans-continental flight was from LAX to Atlanta, then how full from Atlanta to Orlando. I'd not forgotten (exactly) how empty the flight from Auckland to LAX was, post 9/11 travelling to the US. Going to N.Z. the place settings for meal aboard included metal utensils, but coming back was odd... plastic knives, but metal forks and spoons. Other than that, no real difference between things.

People who wanted to sleep on this flight put up all the armrests in the center sections and stretched out. The upper deck in First Class was closed, but otherwise...

Otherwise, I meditated on the fact that on our flight from Auckland to Christchurch on arrival, we walked up to the domestic gate without going through any security check. Coming home, we did go through a security check in Christchurch. The newspapers I'd read said the process was temporary. I wonder, now, how temporary that proved to be. In the International terminal in Auckland, we went through a security check to get in (again, 'temporary') and then another to get onto the flight to the U.S.

We called Herself's parents from Atlanta to tell them the change in flights. We were still ahead of our original scheduled arrival in Orlando, where they would pick us up. There Mother Mary came in to greet us while Clyde drove around the loop, our first experience of the 'new' aspect of U.S. airports, no stopping without someone right there to pick up right now.

It's been 10 years. We've not moved to New Zealand. Every now and then, though, we think about it, out loud, to each other.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
First portion also a 'day late' as I didn't go on line after getting home yesterday. Heavy weather driving home, drove out of it. The rain skirted Teh Ranch so not a lot there, however the thunder set Mr. Houdini to needing to be very close to his human.

Wed, September 26, 2001 21:46:42
First Night Back, First Day Back

After we unloaded, or more properly while we were unloading, we were greeted by S; Herself got a hug, we both were invited in for dinner that evening. N cooked a shepherds pie, and S was going to get some beer. We settled some of our stuff, then headed out to start the Getting Ready To Go Home chores.

First on the agenda, get some estimates on film processing. We went to two places, Victoria Square Photo (previously mentioned, the place we took early film for processing), and Ken’s Photos (strongly recommended by S). We received a much better price for the color processing from Ken’s, and about equal on the B&W. So the B&W goes to Victoria and Frank, and the color goes to Ken. Then we did a little shopping, not a lot because the banks were closed already. Mostly we wanted cream and a bottle of wine to bring in with us to dinner.

Dinner was marvelous, a great visit, and the girls E and P so full of energy the house shook. They weren’t particularly interested in eating, so they didn’t We enjoyed N’s pie. A (the friend of S & N's that S took us to visit after conference and before driving tour) stopped by to drop off some very fresh lamb for S, and also shared the pie. They’ve done very well in their lambing, and have sold quite a number for good prices.

N went out to swim after supper, and to help the girls go to bed, Herself brought in the Story of Paua, and I read it to them. Then I adjourned (following Herself), and retired for the night. After, of course, completing the travel journal and preparing the outgoing e-mail.

Up by six, I went to check the e-mail and send the journal. Got dressed after that and went to breakfast; Herself joined us late.

We checked mail again after that, primarily so that we could also check available balances for finances. I can afford to get the film processed. So off it went to the respective labs. We did a little shopping after that, then home for a lunch of cheese, pate and crackers. After lunch over to the Botanic Garden again, where I shot most of two rolls of film; there’s two frames left, which I will shoot tomorrow morning in the garden. Then the camera can be put away for the duration.

Red Sultan )

We did a little more shopping after that, did get a few things. Tomorrow we want to go through Cathedral Square to see the artisan venders; finish up our souvenir shopping then. We will probably also be getting a shipping box, to send some things home by post. There simply isn’t enough space in the bags we have to bring every thing home with us; not without paying an excess luggage penalty.

So, off to bed now.

Thu, September 27, 2001 21:00:02
Our Last Full Day

I got up much earlier than Herself, though she made it to breakfast by at least 08:15. S and N’s daughter E had a problem with breathing, so they were up late, especially S. So N cooked breakfasts.

We walked over to Victoria Square Photos to see if it would be possible to get the two rolls of Provia I shot in the last day processed. This is not the case, so I’ll be bringing two exposed rolls of 120 mm and at least two exposed rolls of 135 mm home with us. All the rest are raw film, and none of it wants to be x-rayed, most specially the infrared film.

However, most of the color is done. Probably all of it was done, and we could have picked it up, I don’t know. I did walk over to Ken’s about 17:40 to pick that film up. The folks there were quite concerned about two things. One is major; Herself’s camera developed a light leak somewhere, and it appears to be related to shutter speed (according to Herself). Second; the young lady remarked that the Mamiya is advancing film irregularly. I replied he’s been doing that his entire life. Both of my Mamiya camera bodies exhibit that characteristic.

Tomorrow morning I need to pick up the B&W from Victoria Square, and finish cramming things into the suitcases. We are most probably at least 95% packed, possibly better. I’ve some debate about sending and receiving e-mail tomorrow. Right now the battery is 100% charged, which gives me good juice at the start of the trip. I probably won’t turn the computer on until we’re somewhere in the air, anyway. I don’t know about the second battery, so it might be a good idea to check it tonight.

We went to eat at Dux de Lux tonight; I was hoping to meet S, the manager who was so helpful earlier this month. The food, the beer, her attitude and (Herself agrees) her body are all factors in this decision. It would have been quite a long shot, but I’d have been willing to try lining up a photo shoot if we'd more time, or a couple of years hence.

N turned over most of her garden today; S took the girls up to their block of land. He’d invited us along, but we really needed to get things done in town. We’d not be happy travelers if we’d gone. Then, evening coming on, N invited us out to the garden for some wine and chips. She says they do this every summer, and if so it’s a marvelous thing.

Well, I guess I’ll shut down, and change batteries. I can make notes about other things after that.

Most of the shopping we did on this day and the next was for souvenirs. Being honest, some of those souvenirs are ours. I picked up a duster style raincoat, manufacturer Dryzabone in Aus, for an almost ridiculous price. We also picked up some polar-tech fleece vests similar to two Herself got us at the start of the trip. Those first two a local group of the New Zealand Theatre Nurses Association sold as a fund-raiser, along with matching ball-caps. Herself bought herself a cap as well as the vests for both of us. They are warm vests, too, and my brother previously commented about liking polar-tech fleece garments so we got him and K some.

Oh, on International Fellowship Night, rather than buying one of those caps I managed a trade for the 'international' souvenirs we swapped around that evening. One of two Kiwi RN's wanted to swap her cap for my stockman's hat, really quite an unequal trade. Her mate, when the first refused my offer of the Florida Council periOperative Registered Nurses pin as the alternative to my hat immediately took off her New Zealand cap and held it out saying she'd trade.

We also did that walk through Hagley Park Botanical Gardens, and felt amazed at the progress of things. September is the end of Winter, beginning of Spring in New Zealand. We'd celebrated the Equinox near onto the time we crossed the north end of South Island. Daffodils bloomed at the start of our tour, and tulips (as seen) bloomed when we returned to Chch.

Didn't mention above the reason we decided to get our film, as much as possible of it, processed before leaving. We'd been reading newspapers, and I'd mentioned to Herself shortly after 9/11 that security, once flights resumed in the States, would be a lot stricter than when we flew out. I've mentioned somewhere that between the two of us we'd shot nearly 125 rolls of film. Film, once exposed to light, changes in sensitivity to radiation becoming more sensitive to being fogged. I did not want to ask security people to hand-inspect nearly 130-150 rolls of film. Developed film, on the other hand, is no longer sensitive to radiation fogging. It could be put into one of our carry-on bags and go through any x-ray equipment deemed necessary.

I continued travelling by air with film up to 2005 when I acquired the D70s. Every time I insisted on film being hand inspected, even when inspectors would tell me that slow speed film was unharmed by the radiation in their machines. I calmly and carefully educated them that film changes sensitivity the first time they mentioned this. Thereafter I simplified the process and told them all my film was ISO 800 or higher.

On the first Royal Caribbean cruise we took, in October 2002 the cruise line security refused to hand-inspect film, which bothered me a bit. On the other hand, unlike airlines cruise ships (then) sold film on-board. So theoretically I could replace my film. Prices for film aboard ship, though, matched the prices for alcohol. I won't say this didn't play a part in my decision to go digital. It may not of been primary, it did contribute.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that by looking on Google Maps and Streetview, I'd determined a couple years ago that Victoria Square Photos (on Colombo Street) already either moved elsewhere or simply went out of business. Ken's on the other hand, I could access their web site up until April this year. Ken's is (was, I hope not exactly) located on Armagh Street just a bit east of Colombo Street, and therefor in the Red Zone effected by the February earthquake.


I need to upload a bit more photos from that trip, for another reason.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Tue, September 25, 2001 20:27:39
Hanmer Springs to Christchurch

The alarm clock squawked at 06:45 and was promptly shut off, though when I got up to look for the telephone I discovered it’s inside the private area of Cheltenham House. Ah well, I used the opportunity to check out the local weather.

The sun hadn’t shown itself yet, but there would be no problem seeing him as the mountains shed their grey woolen caps and scarves sometime during the night. Frost lay over the lawn and stone wall, with crystal clear skies above.

Breakfast is served in one’s room at Cheltenham House, actually quite nice the way they are set up. However, it occurs to me that I’m skipping over some things, specifically the evening prior.

There is a full-size billiard table in the billiards room at Cheltenham House. We saw one in the Olveston House in Dunedin, but there we couldn’t play on the table. Les encourages use of this table. Herself and I set the table up for a game of snooker, by reading the rules posted on the wall. We didn’t do too badly, all the balls were more or less in their proper place. Excepting that we were partially backwards.

With a little help from other guests, the table was soon reset and we commenced our lesson in how to play snooker. All of this during the evening wine tasting and guest introductions, a daily event at Cheltenham House in the evening, before going out to dinner. Except that, we were promptly informed, we couldn’t leave until the game of snooker was over.

It took us until 21:30 to sink the last of the red balls, at which point, we each conceded the game to the other. Then we retired for the evening.

After breakfast I rang up the folks at Whale Watch back in Kaikoura. They informed me the first tour’s had gone out, but that the winds were backing to the north-east and strengthening. By 10:30 the chances of a tour going out would be 50:50. We elected to cancel the booking and put that on our growing list of good reasons to return to New Zealand.

So the remainder of our morning passed quite leisurely, taking the opportunity to photograph certain elements of Cheltenham House. The front of the house; showing our room, and the entire house. The back of the house, showing the two rooms in the cottages. The proprietors, Jess and Phoebe (their dog and cat, respectively). The billiard table... and the billiard room, of course.

[ Cheltenham House. Phoebe is apparently still with them, however, Jess has passed on and now Geordie, another golden Labarador is the new proprietor... ]

We were none the less packed by 10:00, though we sat about in the garden a bit longer. Then we hit the road again, driving out of Hanmer Springs en route to Christchurch.

Map - Drive to Chch )

Not far outside of Hanmer Springs is another of the many one-lane bridges we’ve come to know so well, this one called the Waiau Ferry Bridge. It is an historic under-strutted cantilevered wrought iron bridge fabricated on site and opened 6 August, 1887. This bridge replaced a wooden bridge built on the same site by one Henry Handysides, which was destroyed in a Nor’ Western gale in 1874.

Now, above and beyond the fabulous view here, there are two other reasons why I’ve made such extensive notes about this particular bridge. First, 6 August is Herself’s birthday. Second, as we went by we decided to stop and photograph the fabulous view. It being a one-lane bridge, we needed to wait for a Britz Rental camper van to clear the bridge, which took some time for some reason...

Anyway, we stopped at the nearby Jet Boat, Tramping Tours, Bungee Jumps place, and walked up to a vantage point to photograph the bridge and the gorge it crosses. There we discovered someone about to bungee jump, so we prepared to photograph the event. This same Britz Rental camper van kept appearing while in the preparation phases for this jump, and even stopped on the bridge during the jump.

I’ve two or three good shots of the jump itself, we shall see when the film is processed. Then, while I pursued a couple of other scenic shots, Herself started back to the car. On the way, she discovered we’d been witness to an advertising photo shoot, staged with the rental camper on the bridge quite deliberately to advertise Britz.

Waiau Ferry Bridge & Bungee Jumper )

I wonder if I can sell them copies of my pictures?

Once done with the excitement, we continued down the road. This time it’s quite literally down as well, since we shed altitude on our return to the Canterbury Plains. We paused for lunch at the Canterbury House Winery, then continued on the rest of the way into Christchurch. Despite traffic, and one slight detour because of said traffic, we pulled into the lot next to Croydon House by 15:30.

Flags, Canterbury Winery, New Zealand )

There we buzzed to our hosts in the back, S and N H, and announced, “It’s Tom and Herself, we’re home!” We unloaded the boot and the back seat into our room (the same we’d enjoyed during the innocent week of World Conference on the Care of the Patient in Surgery).

And so we’ve come full oval. I would say circle, but the South Island does have a noticeable long axis. My notes show the odometer reading as 2,926.9 kilometers since departure on 10 September. We’ve met more wonderful people, seen remarkable sights, been touched by kindness in the face of madness, faced penguins on their nesting grounds, cruised on a fjord, visited places with names significant for personal reasons, climbed to the center of New Zealand, and discovered that dogs are the same the world around, they all love to ride with their heads out the car windows.

I photographed the flag in the winery because. Because this instance proved the most recent of something we'd seen every since 9/11. For the first few days after the event, the New Zealand flag flew at half-mast everywhere we saw it. Look to the photographs from 15 Sept. in Te Anau for one example. Somewhen about then is when George Bush made his comments about not doing that, about honouring the victims by continuing about our business, and the New Zealand flag (probably other countries as well) went back to the top of the flagstaff.

But. Any place we saw the U.S. flag flown, it flew at half-mast, or draped with black crepe (seen on the porch flagstaff of a farmhouse far out into the wop-wops and I wonder to this day did that family own a U.S. Flag before 9/11), or as in that winery, folded and draped respectfully. Far from home yet not alone, a nation not our own mourned with us. Yes, New Zealand lost some of their own in that incident as well.

I remember the public discussions and the news. I remember the Australian Prime Minister invoking the ANZUS treaty, saying someone attached the US, and so they attacked Australia as well. I remember Aussies giving the Kiwis flak about that, and the New Zealand Prime Minister responded 'We've offered the US intelligence information and SAS services.' Considering the size of the NZ military (considering the size of New Zealand), and considering the quality of the NZ SAS services, that is a lot.

We did, literally, say into the intercom at Croydon House 'We're home' when we got there. After two weeks of so much new every day, going into someplace familiar (even by a week) felt like getting home. Familiar, comfortable. The next day, N worked in the garden between the main house and the cottage (where our room was located), and then hosted a respite in the afternoon with wine and cheese. Something they did every summer, she said.

I remember, it felt like home.

I found a photograph on Flickr yesterday, of Croydon House after the February earthquake. I knew the area, we'd walked through that whole City Centre area during our stay there and knew it as well as any visitor of a week and a half could. I knew the probability to be high the earthquake touched them as well. A month or so after the quake, maybe a bit more, their web site came down.

About a quarter of one exterior wall of the main house is down in the photograph I found. They experienced a tremendous degree of liquifaction on Armagh Street there, with what looked like 30 cm (1 ft) of mud in the road, over the sidewalk. I've no idea whether or not they intend to repair or re-open as a B&B. I can only wish them well.

It's been a decade. We spent a week and a half in Chch, and two and a half driving around South Island. And it felt like home by the end of the trip.

I ended the travelogue with this entry. No more e-mails home, though I did continue making journal entries about the trip. I may post those as well. This one is a day late, because yesterday (as noted) we lost power on the Ranch and the words to post are on computer, not my SmartPhone. Posting it, though, provides some completion to a goal, to do a ten-year retrospective.

'...Ten years have got behind you, no one told you when to run. You've missed the starting gun...'

Or not. Old news, perhaps, this retrospective. Then again, maybe not so much old. What things changed for me then, that it's taken me the interviening 10 years to begin realising? I called that month the Month Immersion In Photography, after an educational thing done for nurses interested in health care, nursing informatics, called the Weekend Immersion In Informatics. Out of 28 days spent in New Zealand, at least 25 involved photography, planned, though-about photography.

Following that trip, a number of aspects of my own photography changed. Progress made on a long-term plan to slowly migrate from one 'job' to another. What a long, strange trip it's been.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Mon, September 24, 2001 16:17:28
Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs: Success At Last

Early morning seemed to indicate a very sunny day in Kaikoura. We woke about 06:30 with bright sunlight streaming in through our window. Early morning coffee in the room, seated at the table in the window proved quite comfortable. It also provided some indications that the bright light wouldn’t last. The Seaward Kaikoura Range wore thick grey clouds like a woolen hat, and proceeded to bundle itself in a matching scarf that soon hid Ohau Point.

Kaikoura Sunrise )

We packed and ate a leisurely breakfast, then left the White Morph to check on the status of the Whale Watcher booking we’d made the day before for 10:30. There we were not surprised to learn that the weather precluded any whale watching today. Since our next stop, Hanmer Springs is only two hours by car away from Kaikoura, we shifted our booking to Tuesday and set off for the thermal springs at 11:00.

There are two alternative routes from Kaikoura up to Hanmer; we chose to turn off Highway 1 just five kilometers outside town and follow the Kowhai River valley up. This is a sealed road, but not otherwise designated (that we could see), and becomes quite a fun alpine road soon after the turn. Despite several areas of switch-backs, some mild rain, and one pause to allow a sheep herd to move around us along the road down-river to new pasture, we turned onto Highway 70 at Waiau by 12:00. Along the Waiau River, across the Emu Valley, through Rotherham and across a leg of a triangle we joined Highway 7 to Lewis Pass to the West Coast. Hanmer Springs is at the end of a short leg off Highway 7, called (curiously enough) Highway 7A. We arrived at Cheltenham House ( L & M E, hosts) by 13:00, merely one hour over the two hour estimate.

Success at last! Alas, our hosts left a notice they were not in and would be back at 14:15. No worries, we bundled back into the car and drove the half block to the famous Hanmer Hot Springs. Here we booked a private pool for 13:30 and enjoyed a half-hour soak in the mineral waters.

Following that, we strolled through town and feasted on meat pies for lunch. Then we headed back to Cheltenham House, pulling in just before our hosts, who I’d seen following us up the street in my rear-view mirror.

Tomorrow morning we shall ring up the Whale Watch folks to see if it’s a go; if it is we’ll head back to Kaikoura, turning right again in Waiau to head downhill quickly to Highway 1 at Inverness. If it’s off again due to weather, we’ll head down on Highway 7 until it joins Highway 1 to Christchurch. In either event, we’ll be into Christchurch tomorrow evening, back to Croydon House to catch our breath from this whirl-wind tour of the South Island before starting the marathon flight back to Kuma’s Playpen, our ranch in Florida.

Hanmer Springs is a marvelous place, and renting the private pool just the thing. Besides enjoying the hot spring water, we also spent the time making some photographs which, guess what, aren't scanned yet. I am continually shaking my head at myself for the fact. Here's the thing. I own a scanner which will handle either 35mm or 120mm film. Pretty much, if you've seen it here, that's how it got digitised. Now, though, a couple generations of computers (two laptops and a desktop) later, the drivers for that scanner are no longer compatible with the operating system. Progress, not so much.

There are some other photographs from the morning in our room at the White Morph that I've not posted either. And I'm not sure I will post those. Something of a double standard may be in play there, I don't know.

Oddly enough, I do not recall where we ate dinner that evening. As will be learned later, we spent a portion of the evening socialising with the hosts and other guests at Cheltenham House before going out to eat.

I'm absolutely suspecting that this retrospective is far more important to me than to most of y'all reading out there. There is some feedback, when I cross-post the link onto Facebook, however mostly the usual quietness of the ether.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Sun, September 23, 2001 09:12:11
Vintage Car
B is a vintage car enthusiast, and owns a 1935 Singer which he restored. I’m about to get a ride in it; should be quite fun.

Sun, September 23, 2001 10:45:59
Indeed. We rode over to the Heritage Park for Blenheim, where B showed my old tractors (many older than my own Harrison Ford 8N, though there is at least one N series in the restored building, and another Fordson listed as an N series which could be, in a British Dominion country). His vintage car club meets there as well, also a woodworkers club and an outdoor model railroad (steam), two gauges of track.

The Singer is quite nice, gauges need a touch of work (according to B, primarily the cables, not the gauges), no syncromesh gearbox, so double clutching is required. He has up-graded to 12 volt electrical, but done so in a manner to appear proper vintage. I’ve two or three photos of the car, one with B in it, and a fourth of ‘Bertie the Bear’ mascot in the back seat.

Sun, September 23, 2001 17:54:46
Blenheim to Kaikoura

We made our fare wells with B, C, and Fenton about 11:20 heading south on Highway 1, our spirits greatly uplifted by our pleasant stay at Opawa Lodge. Today we resolved to see if it is possible for us to actually make a drive between points on the map at the written estimated times.

Our very first stop came rather soon, a small spot called Cobb Cabin or possibly Cob Cabin, since one of the letters ‘b’ was covered on the sign. This is a small household set up in the manner of a settler’s homestead, unfortunately closed. We did peek in through the curtains.
Then we rolled on, underneath the railroad on a one-lane bridge across the Awatere River, past the saltworks at Lake Grassmere, and on to the coastline. We persevered as long as we could and did not stop until we reached Kekerengu. Here we walked on the beach to bid hail and farewell to the Kekerengu River as it emptied into the Pacific Ocean.

On the road again, eager and resolved to reach Kaikoura as quickly as we could. Through Clarence, past Waipapa Bay, past Okiwi Bay, past Paparoa Point... not. Paparoa Point called to us and off the highway we turned into a picnic area. Here Herself explored the tide pool fauna while I clambered over and around the rocks, photographing the surf breaking on the outer rocks. And the waterfall, mustn’t forget the waterfall coming off of Jacob’s Ladder.

Jacob's Ladder )

We tore ourselves from the Paparoa rocks renewing our resolve to eat up the kilometers quickly. Whales offshore of Kaikoura called to us. Onward past Ohau Point, around Half Moon Bay, and left into another picnic area. Here a family groomed their Shetland ponies before loading them into their horse float. That had been our ostensible reason for stopping, but once again we took to climbing on the rocks, looking in the tide pools until...

We saw the seal. We walked within two or three meters of him (we presume a him, though that matters most to other seals) where he lay sprawled on a smooth section of rock, sunbathing. Seal proved more or less unimpressed by the two-legged visitors, rather busily snapping his portrait, and merely rolled over.

Lounging Seal )

I walked around that spot out further along that rock another five meters and stopped. In my peripheral vision lay another seal, rather smaller than the first and also blithely unaware of my presence interrupting his nap. He remained unaware until my shutter went ‘click’ at which point he initiated a rude commentary about two-leg visitors interrupting nap-time. Ah well.

Apparently not being welcome, we soon departed and managed to continue the next 10 minutes into Kaikoura without any further interruptions. Blenheim to Kaikoura estimated driving time (per our map) is one hour fifty minutes. We arrived at the White Morph at 15:15 (I’d say 15:15:15, but must admit I didn’t note the seconds), total travel time three hours, fifty-five minutes.
Perhaps I’ll make this a New Year’s resolution, to make my driving trips in New Zealand within the estimated time. It should be easy to accomplish in 2002.

I've researched Opawa Lodge with an eye to putting a link here if they proved still in business. They are, perhaps, however from the trail I followed B & C sold the place several years back, and it may be serving as family residence and lodging for college students. Or simply lodging for college students. If the latter, they've got quite nice digs.

The White Morph is still in business and we recommend it, particularly the restaurant. On another hand, looking at their photographs posted to their site, they've renovated since we were there. I do not see the characteristic windows of the room where we stayed, which was right up front, bay view.

Using Herself's PC to post this, still not sorted out the problem with my monitor. Truly, the feedback so far is replacement. And I'm postponing that for a bit to both determine is there someplace brave enough that works on monitors. Annoying as it is, they really are looking like disposable items.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Sat, September 22, 2001 18:18:51
Nelson to Blenheim
We started the day with sunny, blustery weather in Nelson. Following breakfast, we loaded the car, then walked into town briefly on the recommendation of the desk clerk to see a flea market. We didn’t stay long. Mobs of people, and nothing that grabbed our interest right off.

I stopped into the young lady’s camera shop (some original name like 24 hour photo, I’m afraid I didn’t make a note of it and we are definitely into the early phases of sensory overload). This time I did have the Old Man with me, and she nodded to it. So I showed him off; turns out she is also an owner of a Mamiya C330. Small world.

It also turns out they were sold out of their Provia, so she referred me to yet another shop around the other side of a walk-through mall. I found two rolls there, and bought them both.

Map, Nelson to Blenheim )

On the other hand, I wound up shooting only one roll between Nelson and Blenheim. The first frame is of the Nelson Cathedral, and the second of the hill in the Botanic with the Center of NZ monument (it is easily seen from our hotel). Three and four, we found at an overlook outside of Havelock, on Queen Charlotte Road and getting into the Marlborough Sounds. Most of the remainder I shot at a small spot called Pelorus Bridge, which is one of many one-lane bridges but the only one over the Pelorus River at this particular spot. A little bit of a chasm, still interesting enough to spend five frames.

Pelorus Bridge )

Frames 10 and 11 are of Shakespeare Bay, right next to Picton. Should one wish to take the car and passenger ferry to Wellington and the North Island, Picton is the point of departure. We turned south, once again riding on Highway One only now from the northern origin (or at least the northern origin on the South Island). A mere 28 kilometers later we pulled into Blenheim about 15:30. Blenheim is another major city here in northern South Island, and yet it is still in rural New Zealand. Nearly all the shops were already closed on this Saturday, although we did find the grocery market still open. Finding the Opawa Lodge B&B (B & C P, hosts, Fenton proprietor) wasn’t difficult.

The view from the veranda is quite nice, and so is the sunset as I write this. C tells us that another couple stayed here the weekend right after World Conference, from Denver, Colorado, U.S.A., that are also ‘theatre’ nurses. Small world, though I didn’t recognize the names.

And now it’s time for dinner. Tomorrow, off to Kaikura. However, Herself is quite tired, and now looking forward to being home. We’ve turned the corner on our holiday, physically in Picton and emotionally as well. Tomorrow is also Sunday, and the start of our last week in New Zealand. God willing, we are to fly back to the States on Friday.

I'm surprised I didn't put anything into the note about the arrows. Arrows painted on the road, in traffic lanes, pointing in the direction of travel. We started seeing them approaching Picton, and again between Picton and Blenheim. Both of us felt quite amused by them, though also impressed to see them. I mean, quite obviously (in one manner) there arrows are Messages: Bloody Stupid Yanks, Drive This Way. We'd been on the road for a shade over a week now, and with two exceptions, both involving road work and road crews, managed quite readily to stay on the proper side of the road.

Proper side, mind you, is pretty easily defined as the side where one won't run head-first into anyone else.

As I recall, south of Blenheim we didn't see any more arrows, until we got closer to Chch again. Then, on the northern approach on Highway 1, we found these arrows once more. We racked our memories, yet could not recall seeing such arrows on the drive south.

I suspect most Yanks get sent counter-clockwise around South Island when they come in for a driving tour.

I also remember at the time feeling quite a bit of humour over the sign on the Pelorus Bridge, as seen in the photograph. New Zealand is the origin home of bungee jumping, and I could see that spot being someplace someone earned a Darwin Award for trying a bungee jump.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Fri, September 21, 2001 21:41:07
Nelson, Day of Leisure

It’s a long walk to the Centre of New Zealand. Most of it up. I can’t tell you exactly how much up at this point, since the only contour map I’ve got at the moment is not of a scale that shows that particular hill.
Our day of leisure started off with a visit to the Miyusa Japanese Garden. Miyusa and Nelson are sister cities, and the garden is a joint project. The dedication plaque marks 1976 as the year of dedication. It may seem quite odd to travel halfway around the world to visit a Japanese garden in another country. So be it; Herself and I are both fond of Japanese gardens for many reasons, shared and separate.

Miyusa Japanese Garden )

The day’s weather forecast indicated fair skies all day, however, by half-past noon clouds moved in. We left the Miyusa Garden and headed back into town, following a different road than the route out. Our destination this time, Founder’s Park, something of an historical park about early Nelson days. This is a bit loosely defined, since there in we also found a number of things rather newer than early Nelson. Vintage cars, an airplane, little things like that. Still, kept our interest for a bit.

Turning right leaving Founder’s Park took us to the Nelson Botanic Garden, wherein is located the geographic centre of New Zealand.

Map: Center of NZ Walk )

Exiting the car, we found no signs (other than the one by the road which caught our attention) indicating where the monument is located. However, we climbed a nearby track under the supposition that it might lead to the point.

After a climb lasting an hour in duration, past several most excellent partial views of the city of Nelson, we indeed found a monument bearing this inscription:

Centre of New Zealand
This signal presented to the city to mark the 21st anniversary of Nelson JayCee, August 1968
Trig B.H. is the point of origin for surveys in the Nelson District.

We also found a spectacular view of the city and surrounds. Hopefully, the panoramic series I made will come out well.

Coming down the hill took significantly less time.

Back to the hotel for a brief rest, and then we set out to see a bit of the city. The bit we set out to see is the Nelson Cathedral. Rather an interesting structure, hardly a traditional cathedral, it is something of an Art-Deco style and design. We’ve now seen three cathedral’s in New Zealand; one in Christchurch, St. Paul’s in Dunedin, and the Nelson Cathedral.

During the stroll I stopped into two camera stores looking for more film. Specifically, I wanted to find more Fuji Provia, the color transparency film I’ve been shooting rather more than less. The first shop dealt only with Kodak, so though they had film, I deferred purchasing any. However, the clerk (nice young gent name of A) wanted to know what my camera was, and when I told him a Mamiya C330 he perked up a bit. Hadn’t ever seen one, and rather wanted to. Unfortunately for him, I’d left the Old Man back in the hotel.

The second shop carried Fuji film, but not 120 mm. Likewise in the third shop. However, while the proprietor was able to answer my question quickly, he referred me to a young lady standing there. She works at a fourth shop, which I’d somehow managed to walk right past without noticing, and she said she believed they had some Provia. Then we chatted back and forth a bit about medium format cameras and how nice they are.

Tomorrow, off to Blenheim.

Other than Chch, I've probably scanned the photographs from Nelson the most. That is, curiously enough, because I also got a commission for a retirement gift which would involve a triptych from the Japanese Garden.

And yet, still I need to finish scanning the film from NZ. Not to mention all the film from before NZ. And most of it from after.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Thu, September 20, 2001 22:03:57
Punakaiki to Nelson

We arose late, and didn’t get to breakfast until 09:00, no worries in this case since breakfast is served until 10:00 at [ Punakaiki Rocks Hotel ]. This is quite a nice place, opened up this spring (April). Following breakfast we took the last of the luggage out to the car, and set off for Nelson, on the opposite side and at the north end of the South Island.

Our first stop was on half kilometer away, once again going to visit the Pancake Rocks. The Old Man co-operated this time, and we both obtained some good shots. It probably helped that the tide was coming in.
Pancake Rocks )
Then we truly departed, driving north to Westport, then east and north through the Buller Gorge. This is another spectacularly scenic area, but we both rather perversely decided we liked particular aspects of the road itself. One, we did photograph, Hawk’s Crag; the other we did not, being busy negotiating a one-lane curve around another prominent and rather vertical ridge. This particular curve calls for a speed of 15 kph, and one would be wise to heed this notice. The specific clue are the two large convex mirrors located at either end so that motorists may see if there are cars or trucks already negotiating the route.
Maps, the Day's Drive )
Hawk’s Crag, a bit further along uphill, is a “half-tunnel” carved into the crag, also one lane wide. We took the opportunity to pause here, at a scenic pull-out, and along came an obliging petrol tanker truck to politely pose as it traversed the Crag.
Hawk's Crag )
From here on, we confess to early sensory overload. We did pull out again at a picnic stop; mostly I wanted to get out of the way of someone who felt I was driving too slowly. We lucked into the site of an old gold-mining town.

We rolled into Nelson about 17:30, and found our hotel without too much trouble. [ Trailways Hotel, 66 Trafalgar Street, Nelson ] We are definitely back in a densely populated area, something we’ve not had to deal with for the better part of a week. Even Greymouth (the largest city population on the West Coast) isn’t particularly big, compared to Nelson.

Now we’ve eaten dinner, and it’s time to get this out to the not-so-eager recipients.

I've been shaking my head about the differences in tech and web between the time of the trip and the retrospective. All of these entries went home on the days posted (more or less) as e-mails to a list of friends addy's. Today, I'd be posting them to this blog, and the photos to the hosting service du jour. Mentioned the other day the maps I collected while there; I'm rather fond of maps, and hold that map-reading skills are paramount to being able to call oneself literate. I still collect printed maps, and will I expect despite the availability of maps on the Web.

Still, I'm looking at how to post links to some of these specific sites on Google Maps, and to either the Google Street or other photos associated with those sites. The curve around the promontory on the Buller River for example: there are photos showing that. We didn't make any; I drove, Herself freaked out being right on the edge of the chasm (even though it isn't terribly high off the river there).

I guess what I'm thinking is the travelogue, as originally done, truly does represent being on the cusp at the turn of the century.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Wed, September 19, 2001 20:46:39
Fox Glacier

Cleared skies (intermittent cloud) lasted through the morning. We drove up to the scenic overlook, and thought hmm. It’s only one spot on the track, and another spot on the road with the same view, somewhat. The one on the walking track is better overall. Then we drove back down, and up to the glacier access. From there we walked in along the track, pausing (of course) for photo opportunities. We lucked into seeing a group on the glacier itself; who knows how they will show on the photograph.

Clouds rolling in encouraged us to walk out again through cold air feeling of rain. A trio of tourists approached me as we walked through the car park to determine what I might know about cars. Theirs would not start. I checked what I could: Steering wheel locking the ignition? Anything electrical operating when the key is in the on position? The answers were no, and no. I offered to drive the two ladies into town to obtain better help.

They are from France, here in NZ on holiday and due to go to visit a veteran friend living in San Francisco, USA. Specifically, they are from Normandy. We saw they had a ride back out with a mechanic, and that’s the last we saw of them. I wish them well.

After lunch we drove out to Lake Matheson to potentially see the “View of Views” from the end of the lake. We did find some interesting photo opportunities, but rain encouraged us to leave the lake and head for other opportunities. After all, the famous mountains were cloaked in clouds.

So we drove down to Gillespie Beach, there potentially to see a seal colony. We discovered the walk to the seal colony required three hours, and since sunset was little more than two hours away we deferred that opportunity, and instead photographed southwester waves and sky on the west coast of New Zealand.

Back to the hotel after closing down the cameras from both lack of light and excessive rain, for a hot shower and supper. As mentioned yesterday we got our dinner this evening from the pub which is attached to the hotel, a very hearty stew, and much better to our taste than what we had in the dining room yesterday.

This morning came with fewer clouds, but Mounts Tasman and Cook still held their visages behind cloaks of grey. We chose to thank the two mountains for the somber mood offered in condolence of the deaths of thousands in our homeland, and continued on northward.

Map, Fox Glacier to Punakaiki )

We paused several places, some planned, some spontaneous. One spontaneous stop was a shop in a small town offering jade, bone, and wood carvings. The name, Kotuku Galery in Whataroa, his name, L A. We never did get his wife’s name, and she was the one who extended the hospitality. After mentioning that the jade pendant I bought, I wanted because it called to me, she and Herself started talking rocks. She invited us into the back of the shop/museum which is their house. There she showed us rocks they’d collected over the weekend, and gave us one, very special, very rare, mixtures of color blue and (something).

We met her husband; a former helicopter pilot. He flew for a lumber company in Malaysia, and Herself thinks it is an American company. He does have a brother in Chicago, Illinois. Then she showed us the workshop, where they polish and carve the stone, and gave us several more pieces.

She recommended we stop in Hokitika when Herself asked about the woven kit bags (kita may be more correct, a lady traded one to Herself on Fellowship Night). We did stop, saw a couple of camera stores, and I went in to ask about 120 mm film. Did find some, outdated infrared and Ilford 400 speed B&W. I bought all eight of the outdated infrared, and one Ilford B&W. Then while I inquired at a Fuji film store (none there, she recommended Network in Greymouth), Herself found a jade place with nice pendants ranging between $5, $8, $10, and $15. I bought one at $15, two at $10, and two keychains at $10; Herself bought several more.

One planned stop in Greymouth yielded more film to replenish our stocks, and information for Herself to aid her search for greenstone in the raw (you may know it as jade).

We arrived at Punakaiki and its famous Pancake Rocks shortly before sunset; about two hours. Herself was able to make some photos, but my “Old Man” as Herself calls the Mamiya chose to lock up on the film advance. Again. It should be easily fixed, as it’s happened before. All I need do is open the back, and things reset. Usually I do this long after dark, with the camera well swaddled to protect the film from light.

That being the case, it’s time to close this journal.

What a difference a decade brings in terms of resources. I've maps in the box with the other information and the negatives/slides from this trip, yet I'm not going to dig them out for reference. Maps are available on-line. The road we drove over to the coast on is the Cook Flat Road which we then turned off onto Gillespie Beach Road. I've retraced our route through Haast Pass as well. Fascinating.

On the other hand, I think the Google Street views are still rather old. Nor do the satellite pictures show any of the earthquake damage.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Mon, September 17, 2001 07:17:41
Queenstown Thoughts

Queenstown: bungee jumping, jetboat rides, alpine skiing, mountain bicycling, lake steamers, gondola cable car rides. What did we do?

We went to a bird sanctuary to see Kiwis. The kiwi is a nocturnal bird, so there are several places that have set up bird sanctuaries including Kiwi houses, where they trick the birds into thinking that daytime is night time for the tourists (that would be us). There is one over in Christchurch, where we spent our first week here in NZ. However, it is out near the airport, and we did not go there.

Here in Queenstown there is one a block away from the Dairy Guesthouse B&B where we are staying, so we went there. For the benefit of our Yank friends, Kiwis are a flightless bird with a long slender beak. Their external nostrils are at the tip of the beak, making it very easy for them to smell their food sources as they search around through the loam, old trees, under rocks, and other places that tasty grubs and insects may be hiding from a hungry Kiwi.

There are two Kiwi houses at this sanctuary, and we saw one Kiwi out of the four that live there. We were told this was the male Kiwi, the smaller of the two birds, and he was the size of our chickens back on the ranch. In one house, the pair may be nesting and preparing to lay an egg. Right, one egg, a large one between 20 - 25% of the female’s body mass. The male incubates the egg. Kiwi hatch with feathers, not down, it takes a full 24 hours for their feathers to dry, and the parents do not feed the chick, it must fend for itself.

After visiting the Kiwi’s we tramped about the sanctuary to look at other birds. There are quite a few ducks there, and another species of bird (something Spring) which looks like a duck but sounds an acts much like a goose. The females are brown with a white head and neck; the males are irridescent blue-black with blazes of brown spots on their backs, and very aggressive. Fortunately for me (unfortunately for them) I’ve lived around geese and knew how to talk to them in bird body-language.

What next exciting thing did we do? We left Queenstown to drive 22 kilometers to Arrowhead, an old gold mining town. Queenstown is also originally a mining town, and this part of the New Zealand was (and is) gold country. Much of the local history relates to that, and while not wanting to slight our Kiwi friends, it is very similar history to the American gold rushes in California and Colorado.

Beware of the Dog, Arrowtown, NZ )
Masonic Lodge, Arrowtown, NZ )

Queenstown, in fact, reminds me very much of areas around Denver. It is not so large a community as that city, but is rather like the smaller ski resorts around there.

The evening sky presented a dramatic difference from the day, and many of the locals were hopeful for snow.

Mon, September 17, 2001 18:29:49
Queenstown to Fox Glacier

Loaded luggage partially before breakfast, and completely after breakfast. We also stopped for petrol and food before officially departing town. Took the high road to Arrowtown in order to avoid the construction zone along Highway 6A. We did a bit of road wandering in Arrowtown to figure out how to continue on the road. Our goal, to bypass a longer loop by following the Crown Range road to Lake Wanaka.

Maps - Arrowtown to Wanaka and South Island Drive Day 8 )

Have I mentioned the two other American couples staying at the Dairy Guesthouse? I think not. One, a lawyer and his wife, the second a book publisher and bible scholar with his wife. They are traveling together through New Zealand, though one couple goes to Australia when the other couple heads home. I helped them a little; the lawyer’s wife cut her toe on some broken glass, and I provided a magnifying glass to look for sliver (there wasn’t one). They presented me with a book, and an inscription. Now I shall feel obligated to read it, but this may not be so odious.

Relatively clear skies stayed with us up to Lake Hawea, past Wanaka. We rejoined Highway 6 in Wanaka, and wound around the southern end of Lake Wanaka, to run along the western shoreline of Lake Hawea. We paused for a photo opportunity at the south end of this lake, and again at an overlook. Shortly before the dogleg over to the upper half of Lake Wanaka, it started to rain.
Haast Pass was open, and we carried on; only one pause for photos at Fantail Falls. We emerged from the car covered in our cheap raingear. I brought the tripod with me because the light was so low. Took one photo of the falls, at one-quarter second to get very deep depth of field (f-stop 11 to 16). Then I discovered the film would not advance. With seven frames exposed, the camera is stuck.

Fantail Falls )

We are waiting to see if the camera warming up will help, but I suspect I shall have to crack the back to get things working. I am planning on re-rolling the film (it is Agfa B&W) and noting that I need to get the roll up to frame eight before making new images. We shall see.

At the acme of Haast Pass, we saw a “Welcome to the West Coast” sign. The West Coast is known for rain forests. We can attest to that. Heavy rain coming down the Haast River valley, getting heavier as we approached the west shore. Herself spotted the Tasman Sea before I did, since I needed to concentrate on the road. I did pull off at a scenic overlook, and dashing between raindrops both visited the loo and made one image of some impressive rocks along the shoreline. That was using Herself’s camera. Mine still objected to weather and temperature.

I would say we’ve met one of the famous Nor’westers. Rain heavy enough at times to slow me down to 60 kph. Sheets of rain passing across us when it was light enough to see that well. This rain continued across Jacob’s River (Herself did get a photo of the town sign) all the way into Fox Glacier.

We experienced no problem finding the Fox Glacier Hotel. After all it is right on Highway 6. They obviously deal with a lot of rain here. There is a porte coche at the main door and at the junction between the two Sullivan’s Wings. So we could unload the luggage without drenching ourselves.

Warming up the room, we walked up to the lobby to check out the requirements for the laundry (we need to do some), Internet access (coin operated, no laptop access), dinner (we have bookings for the dining room buffet; tomorrow we shall get our meals from the bar), and some Bailey’s Irish Cream. Bailey’s and coffee in the room, postponed only by a spectacular sunset.
There is (or was) enough gap between the clouds and the earth for the sun to shine at sunset. We could see a marvelous full rainbow across the hills which we see across Highway 6. Herself dashed out with the camera, but the arc was too close to put on film entirely. Still, there should be a few frames there. The clouds cleared sufficiently for us to see snowcaps on neighboring peaks, but closed in again as dark settled. The forecast for tomorrow indicates we shall probably still be under cloud here at Fox Glacier, but we’ll see what God sends us.

Meanwhile, tonight’s e-mail will be checking the Worldnet, and possibly the Globalnet if I can.

Tue, September 18, 2001 06:49:52
Not Quite Internet Cafe

Well, I didn’t get over to the Global Net, but did check the World Net. Four dollars NZ bought me 20 minutes of e-mail time, and the wonderful speed of the connection meant not much mail work. However, I did determine that Herself’s cousin, CD, is OK but busy in the wake of the Twin Towers, that Clyde Kingston forwarded the message that Uncle R sent, and that SW is thinking of us. I also notified the folks at Cosy Kiwi that I will owe them money for a phone call, and the folks at The Dairy Guesthouse that we really enjoyed our stay.

God’s sense of humor is showing. Today we have blue skies with some cloud. It’s quite pretty. Oh, and releasing the back of the camera also released the lock-up on the film advance. I need to re-load that roll, which is still sitting in the camera re-wound on the spool. I expect I shall waste frame number eight.

Right now, coffee and visit with Herself.

I improvised a 'changing bag' (which is a light-tight zippered bag with armholes for loading/unloading unexposed and exposed but unprocessed film) out of one of our heavier jackets, and sat in the bathroom with a towel stuffed under the door to open the back of the Mamiya. This did indeed reset the mechanism, allowing film to advance, and as you'll see in later comments I carried on with that one roll, advancing past the point where the camera locked up. The Old Man still does this periodically, and the fix is still put it into a changing bag, open the back, rewind the film.

I've inquired about getting this looked into at a couple of photography equipment shops, and both were reluctant to work on the camera unless it was in the 'locked up' state since it is intermittent. So we stay with the Fix for now. I've contemplated purchasing a replacement camera body (often available on e-Bay or in used camera forums). We'll see. It's a measure of shifted priorities, I suppose, that I've not thought much about this since '05 and acquiring a DSLR. The times I've shot film since then, the Old Man didn't act up.

The laundry in the hotel used tokens, purchased at the desk. We got our laundry done, and repacked. Dinner, as mentioned, the first night was in the Dining Room, and the second evening at the Pub which is also part of the hotel. Frankly... at least in '01 the food was better in the pub. Not that dinner the first night was bad. Just, better in the pub.

The pub here is also where I inquired about signs I'd seen in several other establishments throughout South Island that serve alcohol. First of all, for 'Spirits' the message usually was 'Unless otherwise specified all Spirits are a double'. So, if one ordered a single-malt scotch, say, it would be a double. So was the Baileys we got the first evening. Second of all, there was always a sign saying they could not serve you if obviously intoxicated, so drink responsibly.

I inquired on this occasion about this and learned that the NZ drunk driving laws are significantly different from the US laws. Now, part of this is the law is national, not State. On the other hand, a first offense DUI, no property damage (i.e. no motor vehicle crash), could result in a suspended license along with other penalties. If the DUI involved a motor vehicle crash, property damage but no personal injury, I understood that the penalties in that instance started with a suspended license.

Closer to home and time, ran into a problem yesterday with my monitor, just under two years old. It is shutting itself off. I can feel some heat behind the monitor above the vents when this happens, nothing intense. Leaving things powered down for a couple minutes helps, yet in a few minutes the monitor will shut itself off again. So, probably looking into a new monitor. Bah.

Of course this happens while I'm wrapping up on photographs for an art show. Borrowed Herself's monitor. Figure to get those photos done today, ready to go. Then... we'll see.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Sun, September 16, 2001 08:07:13
Slow Waking Up

I’ve been awake for a while, and even tried going back to sleep. However, my usual routine seems to be still going strong. Herself is sleeping next to me as I write this, and sunlight is pouring in through the “picture-frame” window. She’ll be waking soon, it’s about to shine right on her. I’m off to the shower to freshen up.

The "picture-frame" window mentioned above I dubbed because it looked like one, set too high on the wall to look out directly. There's a lot more on Queenstown, just not in today's posting. And we run into the odd bits on how and what I've scanned of the photographs. There are several in my memory from the day which I rather liked when I made them. Now, I've not looked at them in a decade. Will memory hold up?
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Sat, September 15, 2001 08:21:11
Milford Sound Addendum
Regarding the Milford Sound cruise boat: the boat is designed to look like a coastal trading scow from NZ history. It has sails, though they didn’t do much for the effort. The chop on the Tasman Sea ran about 1 meter; they’d described strong winds at the narrowest part of the fjord, but we didn’t feel them outbound. On the other hand, we did feel them inbound.

Now we’ve finished breakfast and are about to start packing the car. Time to set off on the next leg to Queenstown.

Sat, September 15, 2001 21:50:50
Lake Country

New Zealand Flag, Te Anau, 15 September 2001 )

Sights About Te Anau )

We bid farewell to Te Anau about 10:30, after another marvelous breakfast of a family recipe for pancakes, home-baked bread, a brief stop at the grocery store for our picnic lunch, and petrol for the rental. Te Anau, as I said, isn’t large. Our first day, pulling in, a wonderful lady named M greeted us at the CalTex station where we gassed up for the trip to Milton. She was there on the way out too (no, I’m not surprised). It turns out the friendly and slightly tipsy Kiwi we met on the way home from dinner the first night is her brother.

For those who are interested, it’s a Nissan Primera, overdrive automatic transmission (I did decide not to force-learn shifting a manual with my left hand), and according to the tour package it’s supposed to be a 2 litre engine. For those of you who aren’t interested, skip the preceding paragraph.

Drive from Te Anau to Queenstown; same map as Drive from Dunedin to Te Anau, eh )
At any rate, today’s personal pilgrimage included visiting two towns listed in the order of Herself’s father’s given names: Clyde and Kingston. We passed through Kingston on our way to Queenstown; recommended activity (vis-a-vis the tour booking agency, so far the only fumble) being a ride on the Kingston Flyer, a vintage steam locomotive railway. We may still get our ride, depending on when air service to the United States resume, since the Kingston Flyer operates from 1 October to 20 April every year.

Leaving Kingston, we drove along the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu, mountains to the left of us (Eyre Mountains, across the lake), mountains to the right of us (the Remarkables), and the road running quite literally at water’s edge. There is an interesting geological feature called The Devil’s Staircase running up into the Remarkables from the eastern shore of the lake.

Lake Wakatipu is a long, narrow, zig-zag shaped lake with Kingston at the southern end, and Queenstown on the north shore just west of the first bend in the lake. We checked into our B&B (The Dairy Guesthouse, B and S H hosts, 10 Isle Street, Queenstown, 64 3 442 5164 [they sold it in 2003 - The Dairy]), and then headed out of town again, east to Cromwell, there across the Clutha River (my apologies to my Kiwi friends if it isn’t the Clutha River, but it appears to be based on the map that I’ve got), turning south to Clyde. We ate our picnic lunch at a roadside pull-off by a hydro-electric station at the confluence of two rivers. Interesting, this area, as the Clutha runs through a quite steep gorge here, and the Roaring Meg bounces across several small waterfalls to join the Clutha.

There is a dam at Clyde, Clyde Dam in fact, and a very nice little town is Clyde. Herself and I decided that Clyde Kingston would like living in Clyde, since there is a nice golf course there, and it’s a long way to go on very windy, steep roads for Mary to go shopping.

We left Clyde just before sundown and drove through gathering dusk to full dark returning to Queenstown. This is the home-town of bungee jumping, if you’re interested (I’m not, but that’s a personal choice), and some very good skiing. We probably won’t do that either, as prices here are rather dear. Queenstown is also the loudest place we've been here in NZ. Much of that was contributed by tour busses, but also many of the shops stay open very late.

Map, Central Queenstown )

There are other things to do, though, and we’ll catch you up on those as soon as we’ve done them.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Fri, September 14, 2001 20:53:51

Milford Sound

Milford Sound, as in the body of water, is actually a fjord. Milford Sound, as in the small town and harbor, is also 119 kilometers from Te Anau. If one drives straight through, and the weather is good, the drive will take about an hour and 20 minutes. If one stops frequently to admire the scenery (and, coincidentally photograph it), it may take somewhat longer. There is only one road into Milford Sound, and it is an Alpine road. This then raises an interesting question. Herself says she does not do roller coaster rides, but she does ride in a car with me driving...

En Route to Milford Sound )

Guaranteed to get your attention is Homer Tunnel. One must pass through this tunnel to drive to Milford Sound. As with many tunnels, there is a sign before entering to turn on the automobile’s headlights. Kiwi’s have a sense of humor, and it appeals to me, so perhaps I should not have been quite so surprised to discover that Homer Tunnel goes downhill. Steeply. With no lights other than one’s headlights, and those reflecting off small, and rather road-stained reflectors.
At least it is straight. The road on either side consists of multiple switchbacks.
The trip is worth it. There are several tour companies there operating boats on the Sound, and the one we used our travel bureau arranged, so I can’t speak unbiased. I can comment that if you take Fjordland Tours, on the Milford Mariner, the food in the luncheon buffet is excellent. Don’t worry about the caloric count, because you’ll burn it off staying warm out on the fjord.

Map )

I won’t bother trying to describe the scenery, you’ll have to wait for the photos.

Milford Sound Photographs )
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Default)
Thu, September 13, 2001 21:02:32

South Island Day 4 to 6


We left Castlewood by 09:15, finished with the bank by 9:45, and walked by the cathedral; I knew it was Anglican, and it is St. Paul’s. One of the reverend’s greeted us as we walked up the steps, a lady, my first time meeting a priestess (do they call them priestess, or priest? Or minister?). We paid our respects to the victims of the New York attack, lit a candle. We then walked back to the car and were on the road by 10:20.

Stopped in a small town about 11:00, and I’ll need to look at the map to recall the name. Either that, or my photo notes. We ate our lunch at a picnic stop just outside town, right about noon, because Herself told me the services at St. Paul’s started at noon.

Then we proceeded from there. Paused in Clinton to take some photos, and Herself started taking photos from the car. We drove the Clinton-Gore highway, and yes, it is labeled the Presidential Highway.

We made another stop just south of something Dome for another photo session. Some interesting pines there... weather warm, don’t know the thermometer reading but into the high teen’s, I’m sure. Celsius, that is, of course. Temperature here is measured in Celsius.

Arrived Te Anau near 16:00, found the Cozy Kiwi B&B with no problem. Then again, Te Anau isn’t very big, and the two places we’ve stayed previous to this were both in larger cities (Dunedin population is approximately 100,000).


Dinner early this night, and done with it by 19:45. I ordered venison, which is an export product here in NZ. Seriously, they raise deer to export the meat. Fairly big product for them, and not a lot of local restaurants offer it for that reason. Caused the cook to pause when he asked how I wanted it done (sort of a cafeteria style, not exactly, and could specify which cut one wanted going through the line). Told him to 'Threaten it with the heat.'

We tried to get back to the B&B straight away, but side tracked ourselves finding the Southern Cross again, and then being mildly accosted by a friendly and more than slightly tipsy Kiwi. While we never learned his name, we did learn he worked on a dude ranch in Montana for 50 days.

Even with that side excursion, we made it back to the B&B before 21:00, and are about to treat ourselves to a movie for my birthday. Small screen, though, not on the television.

We'd looked for the Southern Cross several times in Chch, however the skies were often overcast and the city glow also didn't help. We hadn't looked in Dunedin. It is a fabulous sight, finding it; no surprise once one's seen it why both Aus & NZ feature the Cross on their flags.

The Cozy Kiwi was interesting and not quite what we expected, in one manner. The building is (was, in 2001) fairly new. The rooms looked and felt more like motel rooms, though they still provided the commons which served as the breakfast room and a lounge for anyone throughout the day.

There are other things from the drive, things I started to notice as we went through the various small rural communities. One item, because we stopped for this a couple times, is the public restrooms. I mention this because of a comment Robert Heinlein made in interviews and in his fiction, that one measure of the health of a given society is the cleanliness of their public restrooms. Sad to say that here, not always a place I'll choose to actually use. By this measure, though, pretty healthy place, NZ.

The other: every community we stopped in, many we simply drove through we still saw, the Memorial. All of them, with a memorial to the Great War. I've commented on this in other postings here, won't go into it again much now. Simply, finding Memorials in Chch and Dunedin, both fairly big cities, didn't surprise me much. This, though, finding them everywhere, started to pique my interest.

No, not posting photographs from the drive. Made them, yes. Not scanned yet.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Thu, September 13, 2001 08:53:39
Departing Dunedin
Unknowing stranger
in a strange land
greeted with smiles and
open arms; the feel of
our childhood...

Warm slippers, tea and
coffee service, cozy
beds, warm muffins,
open doors; the feel of
our childhood...

Found again with joyous hearts
Stolen by madmen
Crying Havoc! Loosing the
dogs of war upon
Our homeland
Your hospitality, heals

Written the morning we departed from Dunedin and Castlewood, P and D M’s bed and breakfast. Hand-written in their guestbook. Herself added comments and well-wishes that the angels bring their daughter’s home safely.

When I checked their website the next day, realising I needed to contact them about something, I found that P copied and posted my poem into the guest comments page.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Wed, September 12, 2001 08:20:05
Yesterday’s Occurrence, Today’s News

We’ve just learned on the morning news, in fact, a special news report, that the World Trade Center in New York, New York has been destroyed in terrorist attacks involving the hijacking of several commercial airliners. The Pentagon in Washington, D.C. is damaged. The death toll is very high.

God have mercy on their souls, and grant eternal rest upon them. God forgive those who wrought this event.

Wed, September 12, 2001 10:05:39

Our hosts, P and D M, kindly set up the television in the lounge so we could follow the current reports. (Think I forgot to mention, there are no televisions in the public areas nor in the guest rooms here. Their brochure states they feel their guests are on holiday and so they seek to avoid television. So bringing their TV down... is a big deal.) D received telephone calls from her two daughters, both abroad, and both in good health. One daughter called from London; she is due to return to New Zealand, and may be booked on NZ Flight 1 which is grounded in London. The other is in another Pacific Rim country.

All airports in the U.S. are closed now. I expect that traveling home may not be as easy as coming out was; security checks in the States will no doubt be more stringent for a while, until people become complacent again.

I hope that is a long time.

Wed, September 12, 2001 22:57:43
The day started off early, just before sunrise, and making photographs of that sunrise over Dunedin. The light was quite spectacular. Then, the radio alarm came on to wake us up, and wake us it did. That’s when we received the news of happenings back in the States.

Sunrise Over Dunedin/Otago Bay )

Listening to the news caused us to miss our early appointment at Olveston House, which is a very interesting turn of the century house. Lots of neat things here; also some interesting history as one family lived through it. No photographs, that pastime not being permitted. I presume this is in part to help further the Olveston Trust, which it succeeded in doing in our case. One may purchase picture post cards and a book about the house.

Then we walked through downtown Dunedin, looking for (surprise) a camera store with my film in it. We found some, then headed back up the hill (again) after lunch to get into the car and drive out Otago Peninsula to meet some penguins. Quite interesting to discover that the apparently clumsy penguin is actually quite nimble ashore. We paused a couple of times on the way back in for some night-time photos of Dunedin across the bay. Hmm, photography seems to be becoming a bit of a stuck record here, doesn’t it?

Otago Peninsula Drive )

Anyway, we’re now mostly packed and ready to depart Dunedin on the morrow (which will be when I actually send this, but then who’s counting).

I close this portion of the journal with a prayer for all those who perished in New York and Washington D.C.

Wed, September 12, 2001 23:11:54
Addendum: the windows which I photographed in Castlewood B&B, well, the entire history as known transcribed from a flyer in our room: )

And I'm not sure, other than habit, why I've redacted the owner/proprietor's names to initials. Or I am sure. Castlewood closed as a B&B about six years ago, selling their license to another house and owners in the hills overlooking Octagon.

Things I didn't write down: In Octagon set into the pavement of the plaza are plaques commemorating medal-winning (or not) Olympic athletes from Dunedin.

There are a lot of Olveston House references on the web.
Main web site:
A Wikipedia entry:

Photography outdoors is permitted; I think I've just not scanned those negatives yet. Actually, there are a lot of photographs from NZ not scanned yet. More on that later. There are layers of UV resistant plexiglass inside the windows in Olveston House, which the guide explained is due to the high UV factors in NZ. This is related to being so far south, and the hole in the ozone layer.
madshutterbug: (c)2001 (SterlingFalls)
Tue, September 11, 2001 07:32:52
Monday, 10 September 2001

We finished loading up the rental about 11:00, however, Herself put film into a one-hour developer so that we could provide our hosts, S and N with photographs of their daughters P and E. S invited us out to the country on Sunday, to visit the farm of a friend (and former neighbor). Herself received her baby fix, since A is raising sheep (hardly a surprise for a Kiwi farmer). The ewe’s are lambing, and three of them had been orphaned. They are receiving bottle feedings, and the children got along quite famously with feeding them. We’d several good photos of that, and gave the copies to S and N. But, I digress.

Map of South Island, Day 1 Drive Route )

On the road by noon, heading south and west out of Christchurch across the Canterbury plain. I will complement my wife’s faith in my driving, since on this first day I didn’t wind up in the wrong lane at any time, and only waved my wipers at other motorists three times to signal my intent to turn in front of them. We paused in Asburton at Ashford’s, location of a wood-working plant and a grand old house, now converted to a craft shop. Herself purchased some wool cards (used in separating wool, but you probably already know that), and at an adjoining shop I found an old wood-bodied plane and thermos. I do collect antique planes, only if they are serviceable, and the old thermos is for Herself. Made a couple of photographs of the house, and on the road again.

Ashford House )

From Ashburton south past Geraldine and almost to Temuka, the mountains were still hiding behind clouds and haze. However, by the time we reached Timaru, the clouds cleared sufficiently for us to see the front of the ranges. Herself kept saying, “There’s Mt. Cook!” I’m not so sure; I suspect there remained enough cloud cover to mask the grand fellow from our sight.

We crossed the stretch between Timaru and Oamaru between 15:30 and 18:00, stopping several times to confound our fellow motorists by getting out of the car to make photographs of picturesque old churches and barns. Between gaps in the clouds could be seen sunbeams through the remaining haze, slanting across the pastures and hills behind our primary subjects. Hopefully, time, chemistry, and film emulsion will cooperate and yield some excellent images.

This fascination with light did slow down our progress a touch, and by the time we paused in Oamaru looking for someplace to eat, we discovered we’d reached the workaday world New Zealand, as all the shops, tearooms, and restaurants were closed or closing at 17:30 - 18:00. We pressed on through the dusk, pausing in Palmerston for petrol and a telephone.

As I opened the door of the car to get out, I quite nearly bumped the gent standing there waiting for me. Not being a total imbecile, I asked him, “Are you here to pump?”

“Why, yes,” he replied, with a grin and an incredulous look on his face. Now, H the Aussie RN we met at Croydon House will probably understand this, since in the States it’s now the rare exception rather than the rule that an attendant at the petrol station pumps petrol for you. I’d also managed to pull in with the filling hatch on the opposite side of the car from the pump, but the hose proved quite sufficiently long enough to cope.

The telephone, on the other hand, was out of service. Not seeing any other public telephone’s in the immediate area, we pressed on through the dark to Dunedin, arriving on the outskirts of town about 20:00. Here I did find a working telephone, and rang up our hosts at Castlewood B&B to get directions. Dunedin being settled by Scots immigrants, the brogue is a bit thick. It proved helpful to be looking at a map as I listened to our hostess, D’s, instructions on the phone...

Go to Octagon, way rrround to ‘totherrr side, oop te hill oon Stooarrrt, turrrn left Carrrgill, yes, that’s rrright, oon Carrrgill...

Well, you should get the idea. It’s a grand old Tudor style house, built circa 1912. We’ve a room facing east on the upper floor, overlooking Dunedin and the harbor, quite spectacular. We should be able to make a very nice night-time photo of the city under lights from our window.
Just now, breakfast is beginning to call; will continue the saga as it develops and try not to bore you too excessively.

Various Features of the House known as Castlewood )

Our e-mail posts during this trip usually recounted the events of the day before, possibly the day of if posted late in the evening. Thus most of the events recounted here occurred on 10 September. The photographs of Castlewood I did make on the morning of 11 September, after breakfast and before we set out for our explorations of Dunedin & environs.

Indeed, I did make some notes later in the evening in my journal about the day's events.

Tue, September 11, 2001 22:15:27

Following a morning walking down into town after breakfast, a day riding a train up Taieri gorge, an evening walking slowly uphill back to the B&B, and a night eating dinner at a marvelous restaurant named A Cow Called Berta, I concede to sensory overload. So, I am about write down what it was all about.

We walked down to Octagon after breakfast, strolling a bit on our way to the Dunedin Railway Station. This building, by the way, is claimed to be the most photographed building in Dunedin, though I don’t know if that’s because people take photos of arriving family members or it’s very picturesque.

Sights In Dunedin )

At any rate, we boarded the train about 12:00. The trip uphill took about three hours of the four hour duration; it included several slow stretches “for photographs” according to the commentary (I suppose I wasn’t supposed to see the speed limit for the viaducts (we call them bridges in the States) but I was standing on the carriage platform looking for photo opportunities), and a couple of stops. We actually were permitted to walk across one of the viaducts, if desired.
Taieri Gorge Scenic Railway )
I suspect the pauses, while made at picturesque spots, were also to allow the locomotive to cool down.

The trip down hill took only an hour. Talk about a roller-coaster ride. Herself is now convinced that New Zealand is filled with daredevils.

Getting back to town we refreshed our memories of walking uphill... the last time was in San Francisco, USA, a place similar to Dunedin in hilliness and general climactic temperature (at least currently), but not in other aspects. We needed to walk uphill after supper at that Cow place (a truly excellent meal, do drop by, bookings recommended), but after the half-litre of beer and most of a bottle of wine, we didn’t mind very much.

Really, I wrote I am about to look at photographs of Christchurch on CD. Bought them as much to have 20 postcard images on disk as because the proprietor of the one-hour photo place, Victoria Photo & Image Ltd. complemented our selection of 800 ISO film for indoor shooting at the conference.

I’m tired. Time to shut the computer down and feed it.

September 2015

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