We arrived back in the chestnut orchard a month ago when the trees were still bare ….
…. and when we left last week the orchard was a field of dappled green grass covered with small white daisies, bright yellow dandelions and thistledown heads which look like a faintly bluish carpet when viewed in the late afternoon sun.
Birdlife had increased markedly; apart from the usual sparrows and blackbirds etc there were some quail and ducks. We had a daily visitor named Chookie who would be most insistent if I did not feed her NOW, came at my call and took bread from my hand. Penny was very good and ignored them all.
Not long after our arrival we joined a local Dog Walk event, but unlike the one in Blenheim people were not very friendly. The walk was supposed to be a 5 km round trip in the Groynes area through some nice semi-bushland, much of it reclaimed land, but 2/3 the way or so we came to a locked gate and had to return the way we came. Quite a walk!
I’ve spent some time recently knitting trauma teddies to send to a friend of a friend in Ireland who is collecting them to give to refugee children together with a special book. A great way to use up some spare wool. The Australian Red Cross are doing the same thing.
Driving around Christchurch we were both struck by the increasing number of changes. It is getting progressively more difficult to work out one’s location! More new buildings have gone up since our last visit, including the impressive new bus exchange. There have been some mutterings because the buses have to back out of their pens, normally buses are forbidden to reverse. The temporary ReStart mall (made from shipping containers) has been moved to a new location.
Late one cold and windy afternoon we decided to go to the Ferrymead Historical Park as the vintage steam train and trams were running.
There was also an early electric tram. We had a number of rides but not time to explore much else.
We did however visit the smithy; in the cold afternoon wind we enjoyed some much-needed hot lebanese food and coffee.
As it was a special weekend many people were dressed in period costumes including these ladies (one with a spoiler!) and three children who I spotted from the top of the electric tram. When I tried to find them later they had all disappeared.
One old cottage had a walk-in pantry. They seem to be coming back into vogue as they are feature of several Show Homes we have seen recently.
That rather annoying American custom of Halloween rolled round again, and one of the caravan ‘ladies’ went round all the caravans in our little community to warn people that her grandchildren would be visiting that weekend. She gave us bags of sweets to give them as most people would not be expecting the peace of the orchard to be invaded. As dusk fell the visiting witch with her little ghostly helpers DID look rather good, although Penny wasn’t too sure what to make of them! Grandma obviously went all-out to give the grandchildren a wonderful experience, even decorating their caravan.
We went out to our house in Templeton (Christchurch) and removed all our remaining belongings which were stored out of sight in the attic, plus some bookshelves etc still in the garage. Grateful thanks to Nienke for arranging a trailer. We’d been expecting to need to do quite a bit of gardening but the tenants plus the regular lawn mowing guy have kept the place reasonably neat and little was required. It was a bit of a wrench to see all my roses, grape hyacinths, daffodils etc and the two ballerina apple trees all of which I had planted when we first arrived, just starting to look their best. Two of the rosebushes we had brought from our old home in Linwood Ave but they will have to stay now.
We are currently home-sitting in a lovely little country home between Richmond and Motueka, More in the next blog. Just before leaving we attended the wonderful Hororata Highland Games – also in the next blog.