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April 18th 2008
Published: April 18th 2008
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Yesterday I went on a daytrip to Akaroa which is a small town about an hour away from Christchurch. It was briefly a French settlement until we told them where to get off trying to claim land that we'd already taken, so is supposed to have a very French feel. Personally I thought it was all incredibly English, with hills that reminded me of the Malverns. I spent a nice day pottering about, looking in craft shops and taking photos of lighthouses and doing all the usual things.

While I was walking around at about 3.30, I spotted a couple of deciduous trees (pretty rare in these parts) with leaves that were turning orange and brown. In the afternoon light I suddenly had a very strong feeling that it was October which was most disconcerting. It's strange here how they still refer to summer, autumn, winter and spring but they're completely backwards...I remember reading an old magazine that was lying about in a launderette back in February and the editorial was talking about how it was great that summer was finally here because the weather was hot, you could have barbeques every day and Christmas was coming! It's just so wrong. Similarly, when we were in Queenstown our guides were telling us about the winter ski season, and they mentioned that all the mountains would be covered in snow come July. The funniest thing though is their concept of what autumn involves. At home, this is a time when it's cold and dark, the central heating goes on and you need a brolly, jumper and coat to battle your way to work in the pitch black through the driving rain. In Australia, I was reading a magazine article about the new autumn fashions which was advising people to start wrapping up against the chill, while it was 27 degrees outside and I was wearing a skirt and a tshirt! Admittedly that was a month ago, but even now when it's definitely the middle of autumn it's still 20 degrees in Sydney and 25 in Cairns. In England this weather would be an excuse for everyone to hurl themselves bodily at the nearest beach and get horribly sunburned, but apparently here it's time to get the jumpers out. Even in New Zealand where it's colder I haven't felt the need for a coat once. Autumn? They have no idea.

Anyway, after that weather based rant, photos of Akaroa are available on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=48073&l=885f2&id=503895728.

This is my last entry from New Zealand! I'm off to Perth on Sunday morning and from there to Singapore and then Heathrow on Tuesday. I have a final entry that will probably be written in Singapore airport, but for now it's bye from NZ!


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