Published: March 10th 2009March 8th 2009
Randy and Jer
Friday night, after Jeremy got into town on the Atomic Shuttle, we and Randy Axelrod, our neighbor here in fortress America, went to his favorite Pub, the Creek on King Street for the evening roast. The meat in question was pork, which they rotate with beef and lamb. The three of us went over early while Jorgina and Nahid got dressed, and shared a brew.
This weekend our friend, Jeremy, came to visit us in T-town. Jeremy is a long term acquaintance, having graduated from high school slightly ahead of our sons, tried college, and, since he wasn't totally enthralled with what he was studying, joined the US Navy as a photographer. Traveled a lot, saw a lot, grew a lot, and the result is a wonderful young man. He has recently graduated from the University of Washington (where he is once again in contact with our two doctor sons), and, while he awaits starting grad school this summer, he is living in Christchurch doing some personal research. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Jer. He is bright, funny, and has deep insights into himself and others.
He arrived on Friday afternoon. We had supper with our neighbor Randy at his favorite local pub, where he has a number of mates. I had a very lovely (there's that word, Jer) meat pie, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We were in the midst of some terrible and ridiculous torrential rains (as I have mentioned, the weather here has been so bad that people have taken to apologizing for it). On Saturday, we intended to drive toward
The American contingent...
in what is otherwise a workingman's pub. Randy has made friends with a number of the patrons, and they came up to greet us whilst we were eating.
the mountains...Lake Tekapoa and Mt. Cook, but after driving through Pleasant Point, it became clear (or rather cloudy) that the skies were too saturated with water to drive up there and expect to see anything, so we turned around, passed through T-town, and went south toward Omaru. I had looked at the Timaru Herald, the trusty local paper, and the forcast for our region indicated that there was "no chance of flooding." Obviously, whoever made that mis-statement had not gone outside and noted that the ground was saturated with water, and everything was water logged. However, the mantra "there is no chance of flooding" became a great comfort to us, as we drive along through what appeared to us very much to be flooding.
We went to Omaru and stopped at our favorite pizza place there, ate, and went up the road to the Moereki boulders. Due to the inclement weather, we did not want to brave the mud and rain to watch the penguins and seals at the lighthouse. We returned home. Nice, full day, though.
By Sunday, the rain had stopped, and the clouds had lifted. We decided to attempt to go to the mountains again,
"No chance of flooding..."
An ill informed road allows local precipitation to overflow itself...here on the Canterbury Plain, there is a lot of flatish land from the lava flows of the mountains that form the backbone of the country. Water has to go somewhere...
despite the marginal conditions. We were rewarded with partly cloudy skies by the time we got to Tekapoa, and visited the Church of the Good Shepherd, the Sheepdog Monument, and Mt. John. I saw an article in the paper that the largest lamb exporting company in NZ was eliminating sheepdogs in their processing plants owing to the concerns of animal rights activists that the dogs were "distressing" the sheep...as if being turned into lamb shanks and cutlets doesn't "distress" them. This is along the line with research the Kiwis are doing to decrease the amount of methane that cows and sheep "burp" (I don't think the burps are the problem, I think it is the other end of the animal) and its contribution to global warming...the world has gone mad!
Mt. John is an interesting place. The observatory was set up in the 60's or 70's as a place for the US Air Force to monitor Soviet satellites. It was handed back to the Kiwis in the 80's owing to objections from the Soviets. This place is one of the few places in the world where there is nearly no air polution to cause light scatter for visual telescopy
"No chance of flooding 2..."
This backhoe belongs to a guy that was driving along with his son and noticed the local gendarmes attempting to get logs that were obstructing flow of water through the culvert under the road. He asked if they needed help and brought his backhoe in to try to help. I saw the backhoe reaching under the bridge and was afraid it would get pulled over. A picture of this appeared in the Timaru Herald.
(except when the Auzzies have the terrible fires of last month). It is also one of the few places you can go to have near astronautic darkness since there are few lights around to clutter things up. The Kiwis have been sucessful in getting the place designated as a "starlight reserve" by the United Nations, which will probably increase tourism and result on restrictions on the type and shielding of light in the town at the end of Lake Tekapoa (curiously named Tekapoa).
From here we returned to T-town as Jer needed to catch the Atomic back to Christchurch. Nice weekend, awful weather...but no worries, no chance of flooding...lovely, Jeremy.
There are more photos below