Saturday, February 22, 2014

Another of a fading generation

We attended a funeral last Wednesday of Harry Irons. He was one of Desiree's uncles.

But he was also one of the last of a fading generation - those who served in World War Two.

Harry was a Pilot who served in the RNZAF, based in the UK and then later in Burma.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Southern Sojourn #6

The same day we visited Bannockburn and the sluicing remants, we spent a bit of time wandering around 'Old Cromwell'.

Cromwell as it is today is a recent development. A hydro dam was built further down the Clutha River at Clyde, which had the effect of backing up a lake which drowned a large area of the surrounding countryside, including the lovely old Cromwell Gorge road, and a good part of Cromwell township.

This area was the site of 1860s-era gold-mining, and so there were a lot of buildings which dated from that period. A number of these buildings were 'saved' by being dis-assembled and re-located above the new lake level into 'Old Cromwell Town' - an open air museum. So, of course, we had a wander about in the glorious sunshine:

The Lake looks pretty, and there have been successful efforts to plant the surroundings attractively, so I was left with mixed feelings about whether I like the outcome or not.

And despite the generally seer surrounding countryside, when water is applied in a garden setting, the colours are striking and glorious.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Southern Sojourn #5

One of the things we did while 'down south' was to visit Bannockburn.

Why? you might ask?

Well, because it's there, is one answer. But the real answer is that, it has the best preserved example of the effects of sluicing by gold miners.

So? Well, sluicing was one of the key periods in the evolution of mining techniques. And there is a family connection, albeit not in Bannockburn! One of Desiree's ancestors (a John Edie) operated the first sluicing claim in the Waitahuna Valley.

So we were keen to see what the effects amounted to. And they are amazing! Have a look for yourself.

The area is now home to numerous vineyards and olive groves.

There are sign-boards at the entrance to the reserve to explain what's in front of you

And there are now some lovely wild-flowers growing in this wasteland:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Southern Sojourn #4

One of the nicest things we discovered about staying at 808 Refankton Road was that just across the road was a lovely little cafe. Housed in what had been the NZ Railways local freight office, the Boat Ramp Cafe is well worth a visit. In addition to lovely food and good service, you can enjoy the stunning views - whatever the weather!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Southern Sojourn #3

Frankton is dominated by 'The Lake' and by 'The Remarkables'.

When the weather was fine (as it was on some of the days we were there), the Remarkables are ... well, remarkable!

And the Lake provides beautiful perspectives:

But then the weather switched, and ... well, it was remarkable in a different way:

But wet or fine, there is a beautiful walkway along the shore of the Lake. So we were not marooned without a car for the first few days - we simply walked into 'town' and revelled in the surroundings:

And remember this was in early January! Our summer!