The lost weeks … pt 1 Cromwell and Whare Flat

Right then, sorry to have gotten behind on this. I’ll have to do better, maybe that should have been one of my New  Year Resolutions?

From Earnscleugh we headed up to Pisa Moorings past Cromwell on 23 December, and parked on an empty section across the road from my sisters. The weather was lovely and calm, and so was Lake Dunstan. On Christmas Eve we moved up to Wanaka, to Wyn’s son’s place above Mt Barker Road, with a fabulous view out over the Wanaka basin. We had a great Christmas breakfast there with Gareth and Kim, before moving back down the valley to Pisa Moorings for lunch/dinner at my sister’s place. My three children arrived over from their holiday at Queenstown, and it was  good to have them as well. Later we erected the privacy room thing on the awning, and some stretchers were found for them to sleep on in it.

Bowing Day was an outing to Cromwell which was not exactly alive with Boxig Day sales. Mind you I did manage to find a good bargain on some new sandals. It was a hot day, so we headed over to the real fruit icecream place, and had fun watching their robot lawn mower in action. That night two of the kids slept inside in the lounge, while the longer one had the awning to himself. The wind was flapping the awning which was creaking and growning.

The next day the wind continued, and it never really went away. The longer son went home.

Sunday 28th December and the wind was picking up. I realised that one arm had come adrift, so we had an emergency dismantling of the whole thing  – not easy in the wind. It’s performance in the wind was not impressive, it remains to be seen how useful it it in the long run. We were all suffering a bit from cabin fever, so headed off to explore Bendigo diggings across the lake. We walked around the track to Aurora Creek, what an interesting landscape – I’ve never seen the like in this country. The gorge seemed more like something Australian. The causeway and bridge across the creek were amazing, as was the ruined Welshtown. And the shafts, and the Matilda Battery. It was hot and dusty, and well worth the visit.

The next day was windy and hot – again. We packed up and left. It was very hot on the road, and got hotter as we approached the coast. Bits of the road were melting around Lawrence, where we stopped for the regulation icecreams. Back at Dunedin we booked into the Leith Valley Camping Ground where we were lucky to get a site. All the fish and chip shops in North Dunedin seemed to be closed, so it was pizza for tea – not that the kids complained. Andrew wanted a night at home, so there was just the three of us for the night.

We loaded up more camping stuff the next morning, and headed out to Whare Flat for the folk festival. Many of the camp sites were already taken by the time we got there, but we managed to squeeze in at the top of the bottom field. It was touch and go getting up there under the trees – 3.5m high is proving to be a bit of a challenge in places. My two children disappeared off into other tents for the duration, only returning for food. I pitched our small one for the biggest son who came out for a few nights. That evening we enjoyed a concert of local performers – it is always amazing the local talent that exists.

New Years Eve was going to be when I learned to dance. There were Salza lessons, but I got left behind within the first 10 minutes and gave up.  There were concerts after that, and mid-afternoon we marched around the camp with the Waitati Militia drummers, Wyn on teapot and me as teapot bearer.  That evening there was the barn dance, crowded and fun. Then at 15 minutes to midnight the militia marched through the marquee, as a diversion for the act setting up for midnight. As teapot bearer I got to lead the drummers – it was interesting how the throng parted. There was the countdown, and then 2008 was over and it was 2009. After midnight King Leo and the Growling Dogs got the dancing going – we retired exhausted about 1.45am.

New Year’s Day started slowly, and it was an afternoon of mini-concerts of a very high standard. And an evening with a full concert.  And the same sort of thing the next day. The rain came about 4pm, and continued until early evening. There was a great final concert, with Women in Docs a perfect finale. We hung aroud for a final session up in the hall – with some magic music – until about 3am, making the most of the festival.

Saturday the 3rd was packing up and drying out – it was sort of sunny again. I helped a bit with the stage demolition, and borrowed a pruning saw to sort out a few of the overhanging branches. So getting out was a lot easier than getting in. We headed back to the Leith Valley Camping Ground, and Wyn started some serious clothes washing. I took Andrew home again for the night, and then had some time out to read the paper before falling asleep early in the evening. Tea was late that night … (to be continued)

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