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Posts tagged ‘timaru’

Road trip without much yay

Andrew’s grandfather, Eric Batchelor, died last Saturday night.

We drove down to Oamaru yesterday for the funeral today. We left the house at 6:30am. It was still dark but for a pink smudge along the horizon. Frost sparkled in the car headlights.

At the bend before Rarangi, the car tangoed across the road and slid to a graceful stop at the verge. We came across three accidents along the SH1, including a freight truck slumped drunkenly in a ditch. Until we reached Kaikoura, the act of driving was a bit like playing Russian roulette in a Gran Turismo PSIII nightmare where the stakes are YOU NEVER WAKE UP. (Sorry about The Drama: I recently read two of Tim Winton’s books – Dirt Music and Breath – which both depicted spectacularly splattery skin-crawling scenes of viscerally grisly car crashes.)

The remainder of the journey was more relaxing. It was a bright, sharp day which dramatically presented the snow-capped mountains in black and white. There were explosions of spray as the sea dashed itself against the coast.

We stopped for a picnic just beyond Timaru. I had baked bread the night before but miscalculated the timer, with the result that the bread was too hot for cutting before we left the house. Beside one of the wide, bleached rivers the South Island does so well, I carved the bread on the back tyre and dressed it with cheddar cheese and chunky feijoa chutney. Jed was torn between playing in the shallows of the icy river, or begging for crumbles of cheese.

We made good time; the trip took 8½ hours including diesel stops, coffee top-ups and chasing sticks.

Ducks: a savage species

So the next post was to be an account of the great road trip home from Oamaru. I am pure MORTIFIED to be writing about it so long after the event. At least two weeks’ hindsight bathes the trip in a warm, rosy tint – what I can recall of it.

Although we were sailing the following day, we planned on hitting the road early. At least, that was MY plan. Husband being an off-the-cuff, extemporaneous, free-spirited, spontaneously impromptu, much like a dandelion in the wind sort of type (i.e. completely disorganized), he decided to plaster Her Goatiness’s kitchen around the time we should have been blazing a north bound trail out of Timaru.

Then he and Agent of Death disappeared in the Red Truck, and reappeared with a MIG welder.

For anyone wondering why a MIG welder was required for the journey home, I never quite got to the bottom of this. I asked Husband, and he said its purpose was: ‘to weld stuff’. So now you know as much as I do.

There followed some heated discussion about how to transport the MIG welder, along with three times as much baggage as I had arrived with – and that’s not counting the emotional variety.

Since the welder was roughly the width of the car, Husband suggested lashing it to the roof rack. Then he debated the merits of lashing the cool box to the roof rack – and the dog – or maybe the dog would fit IN the cool box – except the cool box was full of blue cod, lamb chops, abalone and dead ducks.

By this stage, I was all for lashing Husband to the roof rack, but we eventually fitted everything in the boot in a precariously wedged jumble of bags, MIG welder, cool box, camping chairs, and dog.

The journey from Oamaru to Picton was largely unmemorable. In Picton, we stayed in pet-friendly Aldan Lodge Motel (which I would have no hesitation recommending unreservedly but for their website featuring a picture of some slut with savage seventies hairdo in a bathtub. Our studio unit had a shower, which was thankfully accessorized only with a soap dispenser).

The following morning we were up at 05:20hrs to catch the 06:05 Interislander ferry. True to form, we set off later than ideal; tensions flared when I thought Husband was about to drive over a two-foot high kerb and let out a piercing scream; then – and I’m still not sure how we managed this given that every road sign in Picton directs you to the Interislander – the ferry, after all, being the whole POINT of Picton – we got lost on the way to the terminal.

But that was all so much dramatic tension: we made the crossing. We took our time driving up from Wellington and, about 30km south of Turangi, turned west off the Desert Road towards Mount Ruapehu. After driving a few kilometers up a gravel road, we stopped to introduce Jed to snow.

And here’s another, this time without the same extent of puppy talk and insane, spine-chilling cackling:-

That evening, we stayed at Creel Lodge. The following morning, I hauled Husband out of bed at 06:30 for a walk along the Tongariro River. Husband claimed he was still technically asleep, but that didn’t stop him bitchin’ about the hour of morning and how <expletive deleted> cold it was. He was more unimpressed than I’ve seen him in a long while.

His mood lightened imperceptibly with the dawn and my offer of a hat. However, he was cast back into the black abyss of despair when I produced my cream beanie with the cutest little tomato-stalk design feature on the crown. He must have been really very chilly, because he also donned my baby-blue fleece. Regrettably there is no photographic evidence, but even if there were, I would not be allowed post it: Husband censors graphic images and any mention of his entertaining inability to process alcohol.

Later that day, we stopped in Cambridge to take Jed for another walk. Generally, Husband and I pride ourselves on being entirely responsible dog owners, but we let the side down at Te Koutu Lake Reserve, when Jed plunged into the lake and struck out towards a group of ducks. Husband and I were rendered useless with fits of giggles; we couldn’t even gasp a squeaky recall between the pair of us.

Jed’s such a great pussy that if one of the ducks had quacked sideways at him, he would have been out of the lake yelping and trying to crawl up my leg. Thankfully, none of the ducks savaged him – or us. We all arrived home largely intact in mind, body and spirit – although Husband’s sanity was mildly dented

Operation Beautification

Operation Beautification commenced the week before Husband’s triumphant return. General follicle extermination, eyebrow plucking and trimming,  intense moisturising, deep conditioning, teeth straightening, moustache waxing.

However, he highlight of the entire campaign was The Hairdo. I have been growing my hair for what feels like several millenia. One of the reasons for this – apart from how long it takes hair to grow – I mean, what is WITH that? – is that hairdressers seem to treat an instruction to trim the ends within a tolerance of half a centimetre like some sort of dare.

Since I did not trust a hairdresser near my voluminous tresses, the long and not-so-short of it is that I had not had a haircut for a good six months.

Mother-In-Law’s hairdresser, Kris, was fully booked and getting married the same day Husband arrived.

“Well, I appreciate that, but this is an emergency,” said Mother-In-Law. Indeed, when she explained the extent of my hairiness including inadvertent cranial topiary, Kris bumped some local celeb to fit me in on Tuesday afternoon.

Bless her, Kris did an awesome job. She thinned it at the ends as per the photo I provided, and funked it up around my face. Now I look like this except without the highlights and self-satisfied pout:-


The day before Husband flew into Christchurch, I decided to test the gorgeousness. Hair straighteners being a relatively new technology for me, it took me half a day to blow-dry and straighten my hair.

Being a responsible dog owner, I still rolled up my jeans and took Jed for his half hour walk across the fields before going into Oamaru to do some work.

Note the walk.

It is relevant.

Because as I sashayed up Oamaru’s main drag tossing my hair around and feeling totally foxy, I attracted a more than fair share of attention. ‘By chuff!’ I thought, ‘you may be skidding towards middle age, but obviously you can still work it BABY!’

Around this stage, I even adopted a self-satisfied pout.

Then I noticed a passerby staring intently in the region of my lower leg, which was when I realised one leg of my jeans was still rolled up to the knee

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