… New Zealand in the wee hours of the norning. Well, actually it will be just about daylight when the flight takes off, but the getting up and driving to the airport for the required 2 hours before international flights happened in the wee hours. I must say, traffic was a breeze!
It has been a delight getting to know Mark, sharing his home/family/work/life. And a real adventure in papermaking during the wet, chilly weather we have been having.
The rains continue with short windows of sun. Low lying areas are still underwater which I am told hardly ever happens. The Southern Alps have their first crowning of snow and they are lovely. A nor’easter came through this morning with a welcome warmth – hopefully the plane will lift off before the strong winds that accompany that warmth start up.
Just two quick days in Melbourne to do laundry, reorganize and repack luggage and have a last (for this trip, anyway) outing with Anne. Then on to Alice Springs where I will be busy teaching a bunch of small classes during the Alice Springs Beanie Festival. (You might want to check out the festival’s site – looks like a lot of fun!) I am looking forward to the Red Centre’s desert dryness!
… are just plain no fun for a papermaker who works outdoors! Although there are other things like correspondence, shipping and hollander beater making that can still fill the time.
While I listen to the rain on the roof of Mark’s small cottage – bundled in a thick comforter to keep the chilled damp at bay – let me fill in some details from the past week in NZ.
The recycling spot in town is a popular destination and a great place to pick up extra cotton sheets and towels that may be just the right color for a batch of pulp. Found the sweetest little aluminum tea pot – single serve with a great spout – that I might use to check out plant color potential while traveling. Or I might use it for hot water…
Nearby Frog Rock is on the scenic train route. Big limestone formations line Weka Pass in the valley through the foothills of the Southern Alps. The whole area reminded me of the scenery in the Hobbitt movies. Mark’s youngest sons were with us for the weekend and were delightfully silly. (Pics below)
We actually got up close to the railroad cars in their maintenance building. A crew of dedicated volunteers work to keep them in good order. The oldest engine they had was a steam engine from 1909. (Pics below)
A surprise visit from older son Sam and his family pushed Mark to make the two grandkids their own ‘wolf suits’. To help on cold nights in NZ in a wood/coal stove heated house, Mark made himself a giant onesy out of fake fur and calls it his wolf suit. Eight year old Christian and five year old Charlotte wanted their own to wear, so … The suits come complete with tails which Mark and I sewed on last night while watching the movie Cassablanca.
We watched the movies Philomena and Jane Eyre while popping dried flax ‘flowers’ out of their molds the other night. Both good shows. Between the movies inflight and those shared on the ground at friends’ homes, I’ve seen more movies lately than I have in a very long time.