Saturday, 12 January 2013

On the Road Again

John the home owner returned from Australia two days ago, the cats knew something was up, either that or they were fed up with the noise of the vacuum, but the three ‘kids’ spent ages, milling about the front gate, I explained to them he wasn’t landing till midnight and that we were going to collect him, so they could all chill out.
Ustinov coming out of the border to join the vigil
 We caught the news bulletin which alerted us to a bush fire that had destroyed 4 houses 15km north of us, and according to the bulletin on the route we’d be on, if we didn’t go the most direct (but easily missed) way. All cats, good as gold, had come in, including Miss Tiffany Fluffit (dirty stop out as she could be) so off we went, took the easily missed turning but sadly came to a road block. The nice policeman sent us back to Lincoln and out (on the road we had been avoiding) on our way to Christchurch, so there I am, in the car trying to map read in the pitch black, program Doris (the sat nav) and send John a text saying we were on our way but might be slightly delayed, in area with no cellphone coverage! Not easy, so much for calm and chill!
Miss Tiffany Fluffit - only the freshest water will do!
There is space for B too, really!
Got to the airport parked up, walked into the terminal just as John came through, in the car and away, perfect timing! The cats were all very pleased to see him, apparently at one point he had three on his bed, but I’m pleased to report that Rosie remained faithful, coming between us as she had most nights! (She and Brian are in love!)

So back to Christchurch the following morning to swap car for van along the now unroadblocked road, to see a farm building a twisted shell surrounded by blackened earth was horrifying. (we hope it was just a farm building, but it could quite possibly have been the house too).
A last one of Tigger too, he says he's quite comfy like this!

We weren’t getting the same van back, we knew that, she’d told us as we dropped our old one off (which amazingly had driven passed us as we’d sat outside Lincoln library one morning having just skyped Helen and Ian) we were getting a newer one! As long as it’s the same size I’d said, “oh yes, same chassis, just the same”. Sadly all vans are not created equal, yes this one is much newer, has Air Conditioning, fly nets on the upper windows, and a water heater (which doesn’t seem to be actually working!) BUT the cooker is lower so we’ve lost a food cupboard, we’ve had to keep the mattresses for the spare bunk (so they arrive in Auckland with the van) which take up a surprising amount of space where one big bag and all the rucksacks went, and the water tank is inside the locker where all the climbing gear went and not outside the vehicle! So having left the rental company the first time elated, I did leave the rental company in tears this time! So back to John’s to try and shoehorn everything in! With some minor modifications, everything is in and all is well, and hopefully the plusses will outweigh the minuses! 
Rosie giving the van the once over
 Due to the extra time taken we decided to stay another night at the house, and another night with the cats, so bright and early this morning we set off to Lake Tekapo which is quite beautiful and a truly amazing colour. 
We’ve had tea and cake, (we stopped at a market en route and bought a cornish pasty for lunch and cake for tea) and are just chilling.

Oh yes, and the good news is, of the 4 kg I'd lost on arrival at John's I've only put 2 of them back on! Not looking as skinny as B though
B has been sunbathing, but I think he needs a little more practice!
The statue to honour Collie dogs in the sheepfarming community

1 comment:

  1. Dear Jackie and Brian, It seems this has been the most traumatic week of your trip to date. A new van that doesn't fit, a bush fire nearby, Brian's stripey mankini leaving a tell-tale sun tan and having to leave the new loves of your lives - John's cats!
    I hope that now you are back on the road again, things will settle back into the routine of lovely days followed by Brian writing a huge essay and Jackie giving an easy summary (bit like those revision books we used to buy to get through the more difficult set text at A level!!). Thanks for the Collie dog statue! Maybe Rudi will do something great for us to honour him too - one day. Take care and lots of love from a freezing cold (1°C in middle of the day!)Brum. Helen & Ian xx