Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Geraldine’s World Record Holder.

Today we had a more relaxed visit in Geraldine calling on the Barkers Jams and Chutney shop where everything was open for tasting. There was plenty to choose from and something for everybody. Next came the cheese shop but there was nothing to tempt our palates. The chocolate shop fared a little better with me buying a lump of Rocky Road.

After a bit more window shopping it was off to the Giant Jersey wool and knitting shop. On the wall hangs a woollen jersey 7’3” tall and 5’ wide designed and machine knitted by the shop proprietors Michael and Gillian Linton. It was entered in the Guinness Book of Records in 1991 and to date has not been beaten. The pattern design all has a NZ flavour to it apart from the Australian connection with 2 koala bears.

Guinness book of records world record holding Giant Jersey in Geraldine. 7'3" high and 5' wide.Guinness book of records world record holding Giant Jersey in Geraldine. 7'3" high and 5' wide.World record holder Giant Jersey.World record holder Giant Jersey.

Out in the back room of the shop hangs a replica of the Bayeux Tapestry which has taken 20 years of pains taking passion and dedication. Two million pieces of spring steel measuring just 1/96 in area were glued on to tape and then a copy of the tapestry was hand painted on it. The Tapestry measures 42 metre’s and weighs 288 kilograms.

Half of the reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry in Geraldine. It took 20 years of passion and dedication to complete.Half of the reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry in Geraldine. It took 20 years of passion and dedication to complete.

Historians have always maintained that part of the tapestry was missing so Michael and daughter Rachael researched the missing 3 month period up to William the Conqueror’s coronation and have nearly completed another panel which is half as big again which depicts the battle of Stamford bridge prior to the battle of Hastings. They hope to complete it by May this year.

Historians have seen their research and agree with what they have found and produced on the new panel. If you are Geraldine this place is a must as nobody could not be amazed at what Michael and Rachael have produced.

Medieval Masterpiece of the Bayeux Tapestry in Geraldine.Medieval Masterpiece of the Bayeux Tapestry in Geraldine.A small segment of the Geraldine recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry.A small segment of the Geraldine recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry.

Back at camp the sun finally came out but it was decided an afternoon of rest was in order so I have been carrying out a repair on a cupboard door.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Geraldine here we come.

Our camp at AshburtonOur campsite in Ashburton, down in the paddock!

We were in no great hurry to leave Ashburton as we had a few chores to attend to and we wanted to call into Village RV, the Autotrail dealership.

Meeting Allan King, the Sales Consultant at Village RV and having a long chat proved quite productive. He asked us if we could email him any information on problems we had encountered since taking ownership of the Arapaho. Also what sort of things should he be looking at in the way of spare parts. I’m sure we can enlighten him on quite a few matters.

We eventually arrived in Geraldine and found our camp site. We were actually the last of our group to arrive but there has been a steady flow of new arrivals all afternoon. This camp is probably the best we have encountered so far and we plan to spend a few days here as it’s very central to quite a few places of interest.

Geraldine Vintage Car and machinery Museum.Geraldine Vintage Car and Machinery Museum.

After lunch we ventured back into town just 10 minutes down the road. Dot and Jenny were then dropped off at a lace museum while Robin and I visited the Geraldine Vintage Car and Machinery Museum. We could have spent a lot longer there but we had arranged to pick up Dot and Jenny by 4pm. Both museums had plenty of amazing exhibits, well worth the visits.

There are not very many Singers around these days.There are not very many Singers around these days.1954 Morris Minor with a 1948 Morris Eight series "E"1954 Morris Minor with a 1948 Morris Eight series "E"RNZAF David Brown tractor.RNZAF David Brown tractor.1950 Vauxhall Wyvern and a 1942 Fordson van1950 Vauxhall Wyvern and a 1942 Fordson vanThe machinery shed at Geraldine Car and Machinery Museum.The machinery shed at Geraldine Car and Machinery Museum.International Gypsy Wagon.International Gypsy Wagon.Interior of an International Gypsy Wagon.And the interior of the Gypsy Wagon.Who said Motorcycle hearses were a new thing? This one is a Harley Davidson.Who said Motorcycle Hearses were a new thing? This one is a Harley Davidson.

At 4.30pm everybody in camp was invited over to the owners house for drinks and nibbles or 4 zzz’s as we know it. There are two other vehicles of interest in camp, an Autotrail Savannah and an Ultima fifth wheeler which I hope to get a closer look at tomorrow.

Geraldine Low Cost Park.Our low cost park at Geraldine, although this photo does not do it justice.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Restored Cars in Ashburton

This was driven here 10 years ago and is next in line for restoration.This was driven here 10 years ago and is next in line for restoration.American car restorers dream.American car restorers dream.Another Chrysler awaiting restoration.Another Chrysler awaiting restoration.

Back in camp I was treated to a visit around the camp owners private collection of restored American cars, Chryslers, Dodges and Oldsmobile’s dating from 1902 to 1938.

All repowered ready for the body to be put in place.All repowered ready for the body to be put in place.A 1936 Chrysler under restoration.A 1936 Chrysler under restoration.1902 single cylinder Oldsmobile.1902 single cylinder Oldsmobile.

All in working condition and used regularly, they are immaculate. He certainly has a passion for restoring old cars and has plenty of spare parts to keep them on the road.

1925 Dodge which was taken to Africa for a vintage car rally. The red 1929 Dodge has been across the Nullabor.1925 Dodge which was taken to Africa for a vintage car rally. The red 1929 Dodge has been across the Nullabor.1936 Chrysler.1936 Chrysler.

I feel very privileged to have been given a private tour of the owners pride and joys. Its amazing what one finds out in the countryside.

Rakaia Gorge.

Rakaia river below the gorge.Rakaia river below the gorge.

We were off on a tiki tour today out across the Canterbury plains towards the Mt Hutt ski fields. First point of call was Methven where the winter skier’s are catered for with a lot of accommodation and hostelries.

Rakaia Gorge road bridge.Rakaia Gorge road bridge.Mt Hutt Ski fields minus the snow.Mt Hutt Ski fields minus the snow.Rakaia Gorge.Rakaia Gorge.Rakaia Gorge road bridge.Rakaia Gorge road bridge.Rakaia Gorge showing distinct geological patterns in  the rock face.Rakaia Gorge showing distinct geological patterns in  the rock face.Logging truck passing over the single lane bridge over the Rakaia river.Logging truck passing over the single lane bridge over the Rakaia River.Famous sheep station in Canterbury.Famous sheep station in Canterbury.

Jenny had read about a cafe in the town of Staveley which was famous for it’s sausage rolls so as this wasn’t too far away we headed off there. We were not dis-appointed with a wide variety of sausage rolls with cheese and pineapple, cheese and bacon, bacon and mushroom plus several others. This shop is the last remaining business in the town along with a church and just a few houses. Earlier in the 20th century there had been several timber mills, a blacksmith and a dairy factory producing cheese but all these had closed by 1930.

Famous sausage rolls at Staveley.Famous sausage rolls at Staveley.Memorial to the early settlers of Canterbury at Staveley.Memorial to the early settlers of Canterbury at Staveley.

Returning to Ashburton by another route the rural landscape was changing with more grain silo’s being erected on farmer’s properties indicating an increase in grain farming. This along with some more huge dairy cow herds and irrigations systems measuring up to a kilometre in length, is vastly different to the sheep and lamb image of the past.

An unusual house near Staverley with 3 floors and an open viewing deck on top.An unusual house near Staverley with 3 floors and an open viewing deck on top.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Ashburton and Plains Pioneer Village.

Plains Museum and Railway, Ashburton.Plains Museum and Railway, Ashburton.

Despite a wet start to the day the weather improved for our visit to the Plains Pioneer Village Museum and Railway. By a stroke of luck we had struck lucky with the railway having a live steam operating day. Todays loco being a “K” class 1877 Rogers 2-4-2 being of American origin pulling 2 wooden bodied carriages and a wooden bodied guards van all circa 1920.  The “K” class was transferred in 1932 to the much larger 4-8-4 loco’s built in the Hutt Workshops.

K88 about to leave the station.K88 about to leave the station.

Our tickets covered us for 2 return trips out along the 2.5km track past the golf course and open farm land. Apparently the railway can be extended but the Plains Railway Society feel that what they have is adequate and manageable.

K88 all set for it's 11am departure.K88 all set for it's 11am departure.

The guys had a good look around the open buildings but there were loco’s missing,one in particular being 4-8-2 class Ja1260. When we enquired as to their whereabouts we were taken to another huge building where we were given a private viewing of Ja1260 along with a Dubs 0-4-0 tank loco built in 1873. The Ja is next due to appear in steam at Easter so mark that in your calendars.

Miniature steam traction engine hidden away at Plains Museum.Miniature steam traction engine hidden away at Plains Museum.Mainline staem express loco Ja 1260 still in working condition.Mainline steam express loco Ja 1260 still in working condition.Dubs shunter built 1873.Dubs shunter built 1873.Derek having an I wish moment.Derek having an “I wish” moment.You don't see many of these around now.Not many now.

After an hour or so of trains it was time to explore the rest of the village depicting rural life over the last 100 years or so. Steam powered traction engines mobile and static along with the many diesel and petrol driven varieties that have been produced.

Last relicensed 2008.Last relicensed 2008.Ruston diesel shunter at Plains Museum, Ashburton.Ruston diesel shunter at Plains Museum, Ashburton.These were a common sight once upon a time.These were a common sight once upon a time.RL Bedford set up as a rural unit.RL Bedford set up as a rural unit.You don't hear of those brand names any more.You don't hear of those brand names any more.

An early pioneers colonial cottage has been restored on site with the different rooms all done out in the early 1900’s style. Some period wallpaper had been found up in the attic of an old Woodville store and purchased for $1.20 a roll. This may have been a bit out of character as most cottages were plastered and painted inside. No gas or electricity and certainly no labour saving devices we see today. Other buildings depict the school dental room or Murder house as the kids used to call it, the Grocer, phones and a rural telephone exchange, newspaper printing room along with all sorts of early electrical gadgets that we all remembered as kids.

Inside an early colonial pioneer cottage at Plains Museum. No gas or electricity here.Inside an early colonial pioneer cottage at Plains Museum. No gas or electricity here.Dental surgery.Dental surgery “The Murder House”

For those interested in wood work and carving etc. there is another huge building housing all sorts of wood working tools and equipment small and large. There are also some beautiful  examples of what has been produced using the various tools.

Wood working museum at Plains Pioneer village.Wood working museum at Plains Pioneer village.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Onwards to Ashburton

Us in the Andover. Parachutists jump from this door.Us in the Andover yesterday. Parachutists jump from this door.

Despite the fact that there is probably a lot more to see around Christchurch than we have achieved it was time to move on. Christchurch is not that far from Wellington and we can always make a return visit , however the same cannot be said about Dunedin and the deep South.

IMG_5717Tai Tapu Domain where we had the place to ourselves.

After a cross country journey we eventually came out onto SH1 and the dead straight roads across the Canterbury plains. Get up to 90kph and switch on the cruise control and all you have to do is steer. The change over from Sheep farming to Dairy farming across Canterbury is certainly becoming very obvious as we passed dairy herds of cattle numbering in the hundreds but also the huge circular irrigation rigs to keep the pastures green. There has been a lot of money spent on all of this plus milking sheds and milk storage facilities. Is it all sustainable, I wonder?

Christchurch's Bridge of Remebrance closed due to unsafe masonary near the Lion's tails.Christchurch's Bridge of Remembrance closed due to unsafe masonry near the Lion's tails.

Arriving in Ashburton we visited the local Countdown supermarket to top up provisions and then went in search of Village RV’s who are an importer of Autotrail motorhomes. We eventually found the yard a couple of kilometres south of town but despite the yard being open there was nobody in attendance. We will call back when we leave town.

River Avon, Christchurch.River Avon, Christchurch.

Eventually arriving at the NZMCA POP site we were in for a surprise as the whole paddock is littered with old cars and parts, mainly American of the 1920’s era. The owner, a retired farmer has a passion for car restoration and he has all the heavy equipment with which to do it. He has 2 cars on the production line at present and reckons to turn out one car every 2 years. Apparently he is well known around the farming community and does a lot of repairs that others won’t touch like an old tractor that he has just repaired the front suspension.

Christchurch's new container shopping centre built after the recent earthquakes.Christchurch's new container shopping centre built after the recent earthquakes.River Avon.Another view of the River Avon in Christchurch before we left.