Monday, May 21, 2012

The Naki and Back #2

On Saturday night we met up with an old friend we hadn't seen since before we had kids, so more than 30 years. Bryan was one of my flatmates when I first went flatting, and was one of the select 17 guests (including a number of children) at our wedding nearly 40 years ago. (Party next February folks!) Mac has been turning old 8mm home movies into digital format and Bryan was delighted to get copies of him and other friends riding motorbikes around (no longer) empty industrial lots in Hamilton.

  Next morning we headed into the central city for a hot chocolate down by the Len Lye Wind Wand before walking up the street.....
 .........past beautifully resurrected old buildings.
 When I was at school there in the late 60s, everything was run-down and grubby,
 but now it's lovely.
  Next stop was the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, where Bryan works, and we spent an hour and a half there having a personal guided tour, including out back, down in the 'dungeons', were all the behind the scenes work is done. I would have loved to have stayed all day, but we did have to get home.

 Unlike the gorgeously revived New Plymouth clock tower, Stratford had, for some obscure reason, revived its clock-tower in the 1990s in mock-Tudor style. I was not impressed!
 We decided to take a long way home - from New Plymouth to Stratford, and then up the 'Forgotten Highway' to Taumarunui. I'd always assumed (and heard) that it was a hard drive, and I guess it is long and twisty and has lots of ridges, but it's pretty easy driving really - and lovely on a sunny day.

 Not far out of Stratford, we found the first spot where we could see both Taranaki and the central North Island mountains

 However, it is definitely 'back country' and I don't think I'd cope with the isolation of living there.

 Around a corner and suddenly a tunnel. Kind of scary - just earth walls and roof.
 Around another corner and a gaspingly beautiful remnant of autumn.

In Taumarunui it seemed, at first glance, that winter had ousted autumn, with brown dead leaves on the trees,
 but then in behind I caught a glimpse of a maple glowing in the sun,

 and a bit further along, a final splash of green and gold.
This morning I look out at Mt Karioi again, and although she is not as handsome as my first love, my Taranaki, I find the sight of her a joy, and am glad to be home.

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