Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Bra Fence

Remember my blogpost last year about Havelock's Shoe Fence?  If you've forgotten, you can find it here...

Well, Nikki came down for a long weekend last week, and while driving back home from Nelson after a day of doing cafe's and art galleries there, we detoured to have a look at Cable Bay on the way home.

Cable bay was very pretty, even though the tide was out.  It's a marine reserve, so the waters are protected and there's a few walks or hikes you can do as well.  Definitely going back there when my ankle is better...

The surrounding countryside was pretty too.  I found a sheep and geese farm...

Most New Zealand farms are sheep and beef, or dairy, or just plain sheep, so this one was different!!!  (You do realise I"m having you on don't you?)

And in front of this was the Bra Fence...

As you can see there are all shapes, sizes, and colours, and there were even a pair of boxers thrown in.  But I'm curious.  Do people see this fence, want to be part of it, and as they drive past, strip their bra off and add it to the collection?

The reason I'm asking is that if you look closely, there are some bras there that are seriously, well,  Large.  Huge over shoulder boulder holders.  If girls just stripped them off there and then, it would be a bit of a worry.  Because, there's a chance if the car went over a pot hole once they left, that they then could knock out the driver.  Dangerous driving indeed.

And then there's the expense...

I know Bra's are a dime a dozen in the USA, and even in England in Marks and Sparks, but here in NZ we pay premium  prices.  NZ boobs are holstered in pricey stuff.  So it makes me wonder why people are racing to add theirs to a fence.  In the middle of nowhere.  I was almost tempted to try some on.  Some were in such good condition, but there were no fitting rooms so I had to refrain.

But hangon - what's that?  These bras are hosting a whole new ecosystem....

Here is the Male Orichalcum Vas Aranea,  more commonly known as the Boobus Holderus Spider (Thanks Henry).   Only a male would make himself comfortable there right?   It is the sole reason I didn't try any on!!

Oh - and rest assured, neither Nikki or I added anything to the fence.  Nikki was driving and I valued my life!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

St Clair Half Marathon - Blenheim - 8th May, 2010

I had booked for this event ages ago - back in November.  I had so looked forward to it, then in January I hurt my ankle badly.  Thought I still had plenty of time, but the foot isn't getting better so very disappointed, I had to pull out a few weeks ago. 

However, the rest of the group were in.  From Blenheim were the walkers -  Mary, Carol and Kim, and from Auckland the hybrids (run/walk mixture) -  Debbie and Sheila, who came down for the weekend.

Debbie insisted we allow 40 minutes to drive to the event.  She was still in Auckland traffic mode, and no amount of convincing would let her leave any later.  So we left at 8.20am.  We arrived at 8.25am.

So we sat down and waited.  Sheila had a bit of a snooze, and Debbie rearranged her feet.

I didn't need any sleep, and didn't have any feet to rearrange, so I played with my camera.  It was difficult getting a decent photo of them both as they always seemed to pull strange faces.  This one was okay.  I could post up an example of the strange faces, but I value my life.  I was made to promise to delete them too, but I haven't yet so if anyone wants to see them, just drop me a line with $5 and ... no no - I promise - I'll delete them I'll delete them!!!!

Don't they look thrilled to be running/walking 21 km?  In fact, they look happier than most of the others around them.  I promise I didn't spike their breakfasts.

Here are the Be U girls...  from left to right - Mary, Kim and Carol...

 They look pretty excited to walk the 21km as well.  I wonder if they looked this happy at the end of it?  Unfortunately I wasn't there to see - but I did see them this morning (3 days later), and they were still alive.  Just!

 Here they are apparently walking over the start line.  Well - I hope they were, they could have walked the whole 21km like this and I wouldn't have known.  I must find out!

See - look how happy they are compared to the rest of the people around them.  Makes you wonder what they had for breakfast doesn't it?

All five of them did really well.  I didn't stay around as Debbie and Sheila said they would be at least 3 hours.  Sheila rang me 2.5 hours later to say she had finished in 2 hours 25 - she had run all but one km.  Debbie didn't come in much after that, so I went back up to the vineyard straight after Sheila had rung, and we managed to get a photo of Debbie....

Getting closer...

and closer...

And look at that determination.  Not sure if she just wanted to beat 2064, or whether she was just determined to finish.  I suspect it had something to do with 2064.

They looked great at the end, and with a Bacon Buttie to celebrate, they collected their 'free' bottle of St Clair Sauvignon Blanc, and we headed off back home. 

Next year - I'm definitely doing it - my ankle will be better courtesy of the local Orthopaedic Surgeon, so who is joining me for a weekend of running/walking, winetasting, kayaking, eating, bushwalking, and boating?

Monday, May 3, 2010

French Pass - Day Trip

While my friends Jill and Ian were down staying me a few weeks back, I took advantage of the fact I had a great driver on hand, so suggested we do the road to French Pass up the Pelorus Sound.  It was a day of fun and spectacular views.  I would say this is the most Scenic Drive in New Zealand, but it's not well publicised.

We left home fairly in the morning. Our first stop was at the Pelorus River about 40 minutes down the road.  I wanted to take a look as autumn colours had started..

It was quite blowy and a bit chilly.  I was trying to get photos of the leaves blowing past me with no luck.  But from the trees, you could definitely tell summer was over and winter was on it's way.

We forgot to fill up the car before we left though, but fortunately there was a couple of pumps on the side of the road that were operational via credit card, at Rai Valley just before we turned off, about half an hour from my home.

After turning off the main Highway (6), the first part of the drive was through the Rai Valley farmland area. The paddocks were lush in comparison to dry Marlborough.  Up some pretty steep hills and into Okiwi Bay which was dotted with campgrounds and kiwi baches.  I quite like the idea of staying there over the summer one year.

Up over the hill and then things started getting spectacular.  From the top of the hills where we were driving we could look into bays.  Full of mussel farming too.

The road we were on was only built in 1957.  Prior to that supplies to the outlying farms would have relied entirely on boats.  The road was sealed most of the way, but after Elaine Bay it was metal from then on.  Elaine Bay was also a tiny little settlement with a few baches and a campground.  We stopped for morning tea there, but it was bitterly cold from the wind coming directly into it so we didn't hang around for too long.

 Elaine Bay would have been so pretty had the sun been out though.  I did love the jetty so experimented a bit..

 We left Elaine Bay, and hoped there would be a nice 'hot chocolate' shop at French Pass.  It was that cold.  I love my outside temperature gauge in my car, so found it interesting what temperature it was.  12C.  Jill was ready to bop me over the head and dismantle the guage by the end of the day!!!

The road goes along the top of the hills, with little offroads taking off to the various bays.  Back on the hilltop road, not far from Elaine Bay, the vistas really started opening up.

And a bit closer...

Interesting to see that small square patch of commercial forestry on that hill.  The rest would be sheep farming.

Further along the road, another side road took us down to the bay where this particular farm had the farmhouse.  I wouldn't mind living there - I thought it was beautiful.  Although I guess it would be remote..

From up on the hilltop road when we looked down and saw this, we saw a small waterspout travel up the channel.  It was very windy, and you can see how windy it is by the waves being pushed into the bay.  There were heaps of cool letterboxes up this way as well.  My favourite was the old fridge letterox...

My fridge isn't that much younger looking, but this one is much better as it has a padlock.  I'm sure if I padlocked mine I would lose weight quite quickly.  It's nice to know my fridge can be used as a letterbox one day soon.  It's slightly bigger than this one, but that's okay - it can fit much bigger parcels in it :)

Back up to the hilltop road, and onto the remote French Pass farm that takes us out to the French Pass settlement.  We stopped to talk to some cows.

They were quite skittish, so I sang to keep them there so I could photograph them.  Jill mentioned something about me being certifiable.  Fortunately I'm deaf and didn't hear her properly.  Don't take any notice of the blue sky and sun - it was still only 12C, and windy as heck.

Further along the road we were coming to the end of the road where French Pass is situated, and this view greeted us.  That's D'urville Island on the left, and beyond that I guess is the North Island.  On a clear day I'm sure you'd be able to see it.

This shot looks good in Black and white as well.  And then we were at the pass itself.  It's a small, very dangerous strip of water where boats plied to and from Wellington and Nelson.  Here the water races through on each tide at up to eight knots creating whirlpools, eddies and currents, a truly awesome passage feared and respected by mariners. Once navigated by Maori in canoes it proved more difficult for French Seafarer Dumont D'Urville. In 1827 he spent several days investigating the passage before venturing through it. He described the sea as a seething sheet where great precaution needed to be taken. On his journey through he clipped the reef twice before ‘floating majestically into Admiralty Bay.

Even here you can see the seething current between the mainland and the island, and a small boat about to take it on!  Not for the faint hearted!

Round the corner and there was the French Pass settlement, consisting of a beach and wharf where water taxi's take tourists over to D'Urville Island on which there is a camping ground and lodge.  We didn't go this day as the water was fairly rough.  It's something on my to do list for the future.

It's quite a pretty bay, but it has a very big downfall.  There wasn't a cafe where we could get a hot chocolate.  I was cold and wanted one.  That blue water has not been touched in photoshop, it is straight out of the camera, as is.  It's one of the thing I love about the Sounds - the water is always such a spectacular colour.

This was the water taxi going to and fro between D'Urville Island and French Pass settlement.  I would say it would double up as a fishing boat.

And a view of the wharf from the beach, which was sandy.  However some interesting coloured rocks on the beach - many of them red.  I'm not a geologist and would love to know what kind of rock this was - I took a photo of a cliff face not far from the beach that shows the red colour...

We stopped and had lunch at a small reserve at one end of the beach.  We ended up sharing our lunch with some of the locals.  They loved our fresh bread, but didn't like tomatoes.  Meet the South Island Weka, the bird that won't eat tomato...

They are slightly different to the North Island Weka - the NI one is more Teal coloured, the South Island one is a bit duller.  The North Island Weka is endangered, but the South Island seems to be more in abundance.

We were still craving a hot chocolate so decided to start heading back the way we came and to stop somewhere on the way home for one.  The drive back was a little different, as the sun had finally come out...

I found another interesting letterbox on the way back.  The little letterbox with the big view...

Views to Australia!  I wouldn't mind putting my next house on that spot!  Seems wasted on a letterbox!

Did I mention that the views were spectacular?

Just as well Ian was driving.  I would have probably driven us off the road by now while looking at the views!   To give you an idea of what the road was like ...

They were okay - but not that wide.  I wouldn't have liked to have met one of those cattle trucks up there!

That road turning off to the left takes us down to the rusty fridge and remote farm pictured earlier in this blog.  Just at the top of that road, the wind was coming up full strength and would buffet my car strongly.  Very exposed place.  I tried to capture the tussock grass blowing, but couldn't do it justice.

Just along from here, this view came into sight.  I got Ian to stop at the side of the road so I could take the shot.  I had to do it from the car as it was so windy, I wouldn't have been able to stand up properly with my lack of balance at the best of times.  Even taking the shot through the open window was a mission.

When I turned to tell Ian that I had finished.  He was nowhere to be seen.  He had got out of the car, and was acting quite strangely.  My certifiable behaviour is obviously leanred from my friends!  I have the proof!

I actually have a number of these shots.  Here Ian is jumping into the wind, and the wind was carrying him backwards by about half a metre - it was THAT strong.  How fun!   It was a fun day full of laughs.

Just a couple more images of this drive...

I was taught to call these old 'barns' by their proper names on these trip.  The old kiwi woolshed.  These are iconic around New Zealand.

This one was also in an amazing spot with a fabulous view.  I wonder if I could convert this one into a house for me later?

This last image is one we found when we came back into Okiwi Bay.  I'm not sure if these possums were hunted or whether they are roadkill.  They were placed rather macabre-ly on this bridge so I stopped to photogarph it. 

Possums are a huge problem here in New Zealand.  They were introduced from Australia back at the turn of the century for hunting.  Unfortunately they have no natural predators here, so they're busy chomping through our native forests unchecked.  Last count they were 30 million of them - about 7 per person, so I don't feel sorry for these 6 at all.  They are protected in Australia, and some Australians get really upset that we kill them.  My answer to that, is they are welcome to come and pick them and take them home!  All of them!

We finally got our hot chocolate at Havelock that afternoon - only 15 mins from home.  It was the best hot chocolate I've ever had.  The very next day I went out and bought a thermos flask.  I figure if I'm going to survive the South Island's remoteness, I'm going to need one.