Hi from Picton. We are here again, staying in the same house we enjoyed in August. It’s starting to feel a little like our home away from home. The last two and a half weeks we’ve been in a little rural apartment near the Rarangi beach just outside Blenheim.
We intended to have time to rest and re-energize before taking our friends on a whirlwind tour through New Zealand. This opportunity for down time is welcome. In Spring Creek (that’s the address of the place near Rarangi beach), the chickens provided most of our entertainment. Our hosts also had a pony, a goat, three dogs and two cats.
The weather remains rather sporadic. One day last week it was warm enough for shorts and a tank top with blue skies and sunshine. The very next day it was half the temperature, cloudy and windy. Conditions have proven to be dramatically changing, just like we are used to in Colorado. Since we’ve become somewhat familiar with this region, most of the tourist attractions had already been checked off our list leaving us to enjoy community activities, time at the beach, a walk or jog, or a visit with our friends in Blenheim. The temperature remained cool for most of our stay with the exception of a few days, but even on the sunny cool days it was perfect to get out for some exercise. With visitors coming in a few weeks and two more couples planning trips to see us next year, we got busy booking accommodations and activities for all of us. It’s been fun organizing the trips, and we certainly anticipate just as much fun playing tour guides.
The first Sunday we were here, there was a big A&P show (it’s like a county fair in the U.S) in Blenheim along with a Fête in the city square to wrap up the Marlborough Garden tour.
We spent the day wandering through the square, admiring the vendor’s crafts and garden art, all of which were, unfortunately, size prohibitive for travel. The food and fresh produce booths gave us ample opportunity to spend our cash though. It is so hard to remember that it’s November with fresh produce beginning to come into season.
One of the most notable events of the last two weeks was the day I drove us to the beach. I wanted to give it a go to see what it was like operating a car from the right side and driving on the left side of the road. After we’d stayed in the rural apartment for a couple of days, I noticed there was minimal traffic, the roads were straight and flat without dangerous ditches or cliffs on either side. All that combined to give me the confidence to drive for the first time in 5 months. I jumped in the driver’s seat and successfully navigated Zed to the beach, parked and decided that was likely enough driving for me. The road seemed even narrower from the driver’s seat than the passenger seat and I knew that this was not nearly as narrow as many of the roads Paul had safely brought us over thus far. I now marvel even more at the truck drivers here and knowing my tendency to hug the shoulder will make me ever more cautious as a pedestrian, as more tourists arrive and take to the roads as “first time on the left” drivers .
While we were here so close to Blenheim, we had a chance to enjoy three of our favorite walking paths. Both Wither Hills and the Taylor River walkway through town we’d done before. This time we also tried out the track from Rarangi beach over the hill to White’s Bay twice. One day was warm enough at White’s Bay for me to actually get my feet wet. After so many months admiring the waves from the shore, it was utterly refreshing to get my feet wet even if it was only a few minutes before they went numb from cold.
The roads around our apartment were quiet enough to enjoy walks on too plus the property where we were staying had a vineyard we could roam through as well.
Once again, we found ourselves grateful to have the time and technology allowing us to keep in touch with family and friends half way around the world. We spent quite a bit of time on skype this month. It’s certainly far from a hug but it beats being completely out of touch. Toward the end of our stay in Spring Creek I was even more thankful to have the means to stay in frequent contact with my family, checking in from afar as my Dad spent some time in the hospital. We’re relieved he’s back on the farm, but I’ve struggled with the helpless feeling of being so far away and guilty for not being there to help. Those feelings have compounded the surge in homesickness, but have also served as a reminder to me to focus on embracing the present moment. Nonetheless, I am really looking forward to being home in January. I am also really looking forward to showing our friends some of this amazing place. The scenery here is unbeatable.
It is noticeably warmer in Picton for us this time around. So far, not too many new adventures, though, we did drive up to a lookout over Shakespeare Bay to see the cruise ship docked. We watched it leave port and then drove to a lookout further down the road to watch the massive ship move through the sounds. It just so happened that a ferry was coming in to port at the same time.
That provided an impressive comparison. The ferry boats seemed so big to us before and the cruise ship made it look small. Now there’s just over a week before we hop on board that ferry to the North Island to meet our friends. Then we’re off to see some new territory up there for a few days before revisiting some of our favorite spots in Southland.