Friday, November 06, 2009

1400 km (b)

IT CONTINUES (remember to click on the pictures for big).

You may remember from the last post that we had just left Ohakune, en route to Palmerston North.

We decided to continue with a theme we started as we left Ohakune, i.e. taking pictures of ourselves next to outsized roadside objects. The next available one on the way to Palmy was at Taihape, the gumboot-throwing capital of the world. What else but a giant gumboot?


It's made of the now seemingly ubiquitous corrugated iron, the material of choice for rejuvenated small towns New Zealand-wide.

We stopped at the DC-3 in Mangaweka, which were slightly disappointed to find was closed for upgrading. Good place to stop though, I'm sure they're still trying to get the biscuit crumbs out of the carpet.

No pictures taken for some reason so here's a FILE PHOTO (Wikipedia):


We got to Palmerston at about 5 p.m., bang on time for Rach's cousin Shaun to let us in to his mum's place, where we were staying. Greta is Rach's mum's sister, and we were made to feel very welcome by her, her husband Paul, and their daughter Mandy.

We had such a relaxing time there that we forgot to take very many pictures. Here's Greta (with Betty in an unusually relaxed mode):


They have a lovely dog called Tara, whose nose you can see poking its way into the picture. Ella had a great time playing with her, and even Betty (who is sometimes even scared of the cat she's known her whole life) warmed to her.

Mandy works as an early childhood teacher, so of course we just dumped the kids on her. Not really, she obviously loves her job, and the kids loved hanging out with her, jumping in bed with her in the morning to watch cartoons.

Here she is, returning the favour by jumping into their bed:


By now it was Saturday, and quite windy. It's been windy every time I've been to Palmerston North - the locals reckon I've just been (un)lucky. WHAT EVER BRO. I had made a ballsup and not packed any jerseys, so we had wander around the central city on a fruitless search for one.

Having had a good look at the city, as well as the newly-extend Plaza (looking and feeling frighteningly similar to Gayfair), we went to see Rach's cousin Dawn.

While it may seem to the casual observer that Palmerston North is 36% full of people who are related to Rach (and therefore to Ella and Bethan), this is not really true.

It's more like 40%.

Dawn is Jan's eldest daughter. Jan is Greta and Rach's mum's sister. Dawn is married to Wayne, one of the nicest guys on the planet. Dawn is about 10 weeks younger than Rach, and in a nice bit of symmetry, her and Wayne's daughter Lucy is about 10 weeks younger than Ella.

They also have Austin and Jack, twin four-year-old boys. The kids all got on fantastically, so much so that we went away and came back for dinner.

Clicking on this picture of Ella and Lucy will take you to a set of pictures of mostly the kids doing their thing:


Sunday dawned bright and early, with us heading to church with the rest of the family. HA HA NO IT DIDN'T but I did go for a run. Yep, I've turned into one of those.

Once I'd regained what little fat I'd burned by eating 18 rounds of toast, we took off to Ashhurst, where we didn't stop.

Instead we drove over Saddle Road to Woodville. Woodville wasn't our main goal either - we stopped in the middle of Saddle Road to look at the wind turbines.

It was raining and, quite frankly, fucking freezing, but none of that could detract from the majesty/beauty/general amazingness of these things. There are far more of them than I ever realised, literally hundreds.

Driving up the road and seeing them loom out of the hillside is like being in some slightly surreal sci-fi movie.

You can park directly underneath one at the top of Saddle Road, and it's only then that you realise that not only are they awesome/eerie etc. - they're also bloody huge.

Due to the horizontal rain (dunno how it wasn't sleet or snow with the temperature being so low), photos were a bit tricky. Here's a lucky good one of Ella and a turbine:


It mystifies me why there are people who don't like and don't want these things around.

After the shock and awe of the turbines, we went to see Rach's cousin Errol (Dawn's brother) and his wife Carla before sodding off to Wellington.

Which I'll write about next time.

Feel free to comment your arses off, you know you want to.