Saturday, October 12, 2013

150 blingin' years of rail in NZ!

Today, at Wellington Railway Station, there was an exhibition celebrating 150 years of rail in New Zealand. I use a train most days of the week, and who doesn't love a bit of rail history? Psycho killers, that's who.

We started by travelling in on the Matangi, a short but fckn picturesque ride that I take every day to work.

First up was a DA class diesel-electric loco:


The best thing about this? I got to look under the rocker cover at the massive valvegear:



The kids also sat in the driver's seat, but who cares about that?



Next up was a JA Class steam guy:


Old carriages next. Check out the pressed tin ceiling and the cool light fittings:


Coupla business twerps on their way to the provinces to inspect the raw materials:


Some sort of wheel conrod component on another steam engine. I dunno the details, sorry:


Ah right yep, the previous shot is from this guy:


Imagine this bongoloid in charge of that much tonnage:


Or worse, THIS bongoloid:




Rach and Ella being told how this engine was changed from coal- to oil-fired. Betty looks for the ignition key:


A more different OLDER old carriage with velvet seats:


"Angelic" (note scare quotes):


You know how, at school, you ironed those badge things with your name on into your undies, so people who know where they belonged if you lost them? They do something similar with trains:


Another bloody businessman:


Ever wondered why you see bugger-all sludge on trains? Here's why:


The new tourist carriages are great, but a bit of a kick in the face for the now-closed Hillside Workshops in Dunners, as they were the last things they built:


Please click for big on this next one to see a large number of instances of the word "cock", and the phrase "cock end":


Most people seem to fixate on the codpiece in this picture. How about you?



Whanganui RA RA RA

Went skiing the other weekend; the mountain was shut, so we did a road trip from Ohakune to Whanganui instead.

We passed the Ratana Church, just before Raetihi:

then drove through some quite serious rain to Whanganui. Here's the start of the trip in timelapse:

They were having a market when we got there (it was a Saturday) - they had Jesters Pies, Raku pottery that you decorate and then they fire in front of you, wicked Cornish pasties - it was great!

The riverbank looks a lot different to the last time I was there about eight years ago. There's a nice boardwalk/wharf, and a whole lot of sculptures like these:

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There's a tram museum, which we didn't really look at, but it had a sweet partially derelict Austin tramline maintenance truck outside:

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About every third building in the main street has a heritage plaque on it. Here's a few pictures which give you an idea of why this is:

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I even managed to drag the people I was with to the Serjeant Gallery:

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There was a really interesting show on about the Wanganui Computer.

No visit to Whanganui is complete without a trip up the Durie Hill Memorial Tower:


It was phenomenally windy, and some of us made ourselves feel a bit chunderous by running back down the tower.

The top of the earth elevator is next to the tower, so Blair and I went down it, then demonstrated the amazing acoustics of the tunnel at the bottom by playing Whitesnake and Nirvana on our phones, from opposite ends of the tunnel:


We had some fairly mediocre food at the café attached to the Information Centre, but then went upstairs to look at the gallery full of glasswork. All the pieces were from the Wanganui Glass Festival, and they were all amazing:






This one was made out of the glass from old CRT televisions:








The riverbank pencils farewelled us as we left:


..and the world's most stupid-yet-friendly heater welcomed us back to Ohakune:


Saturday, September 29, 2012

I still walk to work sometimes...

A while ago I did this post about my walk to work from Wadestown.

That was a pretty much two years ago; now that we've moved to Crofton Downs (yes, nearly a year ago) I can walk to work once more.

Hat-tip to Just Bung It In's inspiration/reminder post too.

First off, I walk out the door and towards the blazing morning sun:

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I'm listening to:


The first climb is Churchill Drive:

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Past the to-be-rebuilt Countdown (not too busy at ten to seven on a Wednesday):

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Countdown brings a change to the soundtrack - what else but this recent Kiwi classic?:

Next up is the Brethren Bunker:

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Allegedly this has been sold, but there are still regular gatherings of Toyota Previas and Kia Carnivals and the like throughout the week.

Over the crest of the hill and there's Bowen hospital:

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I've been there once for an x-ray - it's very nice, everything's all shiny and new.

Downhill time now, still on Churchill Drive:

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Across the little gully/valley is Wadestown:

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Time for the next song:

The other bit of Crofton Downs (the bit that gets no afternoon sun) is up there under some ominous-looking weather:

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At the bottom of Churchill Drive, I turn left up Blackbridge Road:

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Blackbridge Road is reasonably steep:

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This place on Blackbridge Road is cool, but I'd be bollocksed if I could walk up and down those steps all the time. Imagine leaving your cellphone/groceries/child in the car - "oh shit, I'll just walk down and ... actually, fuck it, they can just stay there.":

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This place on the other side of Blackbridge Road was for sale not too long ago. It only has one bedroom, which might go some way towards explaining why they appear to be building a wendy house out the back:

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At the top of Blackbridge Road, I turn left up Wadestown Road, like the blue sign suggests:

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I also find myself listening to a new track:

The magnolias are in flower at the moment:

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This church on the corner of Lytton Street was sold a year or so ago, it's being turned into a house. Haven't seen Kevin McCloud hovering around licking his lips, but it looks like a reasonably Grand Design to me:

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Looking back towards home, I can see the railway line I'd normally take to work (yes, yes, how do I fit it in my bag, haha):

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Wadestown Road's fairly steep too:

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Wadestown has some sweeeet houses:

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It also has The Wadestown Kitchen, which is really nice, but would be even better if it was open at this time of the morning:

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See look, the butcher's there:

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Past the Wadestown shops, it's quite literally all downhill:

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All downhill, to this tune:

There's the Wadestown Library, with Spike Milligan Corner to the right:

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Now I'm in Highland Park, with its cool bus stop. I won't be going down the road here, but along Hosking Lane, behind the bus stop:

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Hosking Lane is, of course, just a narrow path:

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To the right, I can start to see the city through the trees:

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A new track accompanies me across the footbridge and into Lower Watt Street:

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I can see the harbour from the footbridge:

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Lower Watt Street is the steepest one yet - usually I'd be going up it on the way home, thankfully I go down it on the way to work:

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Houses on Lower Watt Street look "if you have to ask, you can't afford it"-level expensive:

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By going across the footbridge, I've missed out a couple of 180-degree corners, which are fun in a car, but a bit annoying on foot:

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The Cake Tin!:

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I've never found out what this building is - maybe a greenhouse? Whatever it is, it's awesome:

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I always expect to hear barking and meowing coming from this place, but never do:

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Almost on the flat in Thorndon now:

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Speaking of things that rhyme with "flat", time for the next song:

Newman Terrace is a cool street, and one of the many alternative ways home. Looks like a dead end, but like so many Wellington streets, it turns into steps at the top:

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The Italian Embassy:

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It seems this part of Thorndon is popular with Auckland-based slumlords:

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Down Park Street and across the motorway bridge into Thorndon:

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Time to stop at Mojo Summit:

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Police National HQ is right next to Mojo; an ideal time for this track:

While waiting for my coffee, I can look out the window at the brutalist edifice that is the US Embassy/Fortress:

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Looking a bit more like a city, on Molesworth Street:

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Here's Thorndon New World, home of the most spectacular beer selection:

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Time for a bit of House of Pain, I think:

They finished redoing the Thai Embassay a few months ago. A bit boring really, but at least it's not another grey bunker:

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Speaking of bunkers, here's the recently-worked on National Library (through the glass roof):

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Old St. Paul's is still there, it's not a concrete bunker:

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Never been to the Archives, must go there one day:

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It's still a bit early even for the buses:

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Down into the subw00t:

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Through the station:

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Along Waterloo Quay:

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There's Work!:

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Right next to Shed 35, which is rumoured to be turned into an indoor market:

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So, that's the walk to work. I like it, what do you think? What's yours like?