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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

I was surprised to see this broom stored beneath the window inside a Metro bus, along with a dustpan.

Broom on Bus (Small)

Do the drivers have to clean their buses between trips?  Or is it just in case of an accidental spillage?

“Drivers supplied with broom and pan
must keep their buses spick and span.”

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Riding on a steam train at the Weka Pass Railway is a real treat.  Yesterday afternoon a group of us took advantage of a clear day to enjoy an excursion across the Canterbury countryside.

Weka Pass Steam Train

Weka Pass Steam Train

The journey from Waipara to Waikari  (11km) takes about half an hour, with a stop part way for a photo opportunity.  The scenery is beautiful and includes spectacular limestone formations.

Canterbury countryside

Canterbury countryside

When you reach Waikari, the engine is manually turned ready for the return journey.

Turning the engine

Turning the engine

This railway is run entirely by volunteers, who are dedicated to preserving New Zealand’s railway heritage.  It’s like a colonial cousin of the Orient Express.

I did the same ride in 2012, and there are more photographs on my blog about this.

“It’s fun to take a ride by train
and I was pleased to go again.”

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Taking public transport makes me feel like I’m on holiday.  It’s forty years since I was a regular bus user, and then it was mainly for going into town with small children.  My paid work has almost always been within walking distance of home.

Buses and trains, in my experience, are for foreign places, or travel to the airport.  On Friday, for the second time, I caught a bus to my poetry group meeting.  It’s possible to catch a bus in Manchester Street, but I just missed one, so walked to the Bus Interchange in Lichfield Street.  The signs there are very clear.

Bus information screen

Bus information screen

There’s also a helpful announcement system, and plenty of seating after 9am when Super Gold Cards allow free travel.  I imagine it would be very different when crowded.  You just need to sit and wait at your designated platform – all covered and litter-free.  I boarded, waved my Gold Card at the driver, and settled in for my free ride.  I can see why so many ‘Seniors’ wear their card on a lanyard, but I haven’t quite got to that stage.

“No road cones and no parking fuss
it’s relaxed travel on a bus.”

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The 110th Oxford A & P Show which had the status of being a ‘Royal A & P Event’ was our Easter Saturday destination.  The road led to a rainbow

Rainbow Road

Rainbow Road

and then to a large car park.  It was just as well we’d decided to go early.  When we left at noon, the line of cars waiting to go in was long and slow.  This ‘Royal’ event obviously drew people from far and wide.

We were pleased to see chooks, including our favourite Chinese Silkies, but they were in the process of being judged, so I couldn’t get close enough for a photo.  Other animals were more accessible, and I wished they’d cut the wool in front of the angora goat’s eyes.  How could the poor thing see at all?

This goat had the wool pulled over its eyes

This goat had the wool pulled over its eyes

The alpacas were gorgeous as usual.

Elegant Alpaca

Elegant Alpaca

They have knee joints on their back legs to help them sit down.

Rear end of kneeling alpaca

Rear end of kneeling alpaca

There was a Music Fairy to entertain the children and get them singing and dancing.

The Music Fairy

The Music Fairy

We sat on a hay bale to watch ponies being ridden around the arena.  Volunteers were everywhere, directing traffic and staffing stalls.  I bought raffle tickets, and chocolate chip cookies that had been baked by the pupils in Room 13 of Oxford Area School.

Cookies

Cookies

No sign of any sand saucers this time – maybe they’re no longer fashionable?

“At Oxford the A & P Show
was definitely the place to go.”

 

 

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Stephen has been fond of Clydesdales ever since he spent three weeks driving a team around Auckland in the 1970’s to publicise a Widdicombe Fair at the Epsom Showgrounds.  When we saw this team in Devonport we had to have a ride.

Clydesdales in Devonport

Clydesdales in Devonport

In the Wynyard Quarter there was another opportunity to take a tour on an open cart, and we couldn’t resist.

Clydesdales at the Wynyard Quarter

Clydesdales at the Wynyard Quarter

The horses all wear nappy bags to catch any by-products.

Nappy bags for Clydesdales

Nappy bags for Clydesdales

“We like these gentle horses who
all wear smart bags to catch their poo.”

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Our week in Auckland was a success in so many ways.  We had beautiful warm sunny days.  There was perhaps a tad too much humidity, but that just reminded us of why we don’t want to live there any more.

Our accommodation at the Quest Apartments was most suitable and reasonably priced.  Beforehand we wondered why there was an extra loading for New Year’s Eve, then realised it was because we had a perfect view of the fireworks at the Sky Tower from our balcony.  I disapprove of casinos and wouldn’t frequent one, but I loved being able to watch fireworks (and have an hour’s sleep beforehand).

Even though we were in the heart of Queen Street the sound we heard most was birds, not traffic.

View from Quest apartment

View from Quest apartment

A few shops were closed for holidays, but that didn’t affect us, and the consequent decrease in traffic was a bonus.

Some shops were closed (sic)

Some shops were closed (sic)

While we were sorry no trains were available we took advantage of the excellent bus system.

“A week was long enough away
to relax, sit, and read, and play.:

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I woke to a blinding sunrise, which surprised me as our windows face west.  As my awareness surfaced I realised the sun was being reflected in a glass-walled building opposite.

Being Sunday we planned to visit the Liberal Catholic Church of St Francis where we were married and our daughters baptised.  Past the hospital and Domain we stopped in Outhwaite park, site of a ‘pocket’ volcano.  This is one of Auckland’s smallest volcanic cones, which erupted 50,000 years ago, slightly later than the Domain volcano.  The park is the legacy of the Outhwaite family and has a small hall which would make it an ideal wedding venue.

The Church service was Prime, because they now have Eucharist only every second week, and I was intrigued to find the lay celebrant was a woman.  There were only seven in the congregation, including us, and I gather that’s not unusual.  The celebrant told me that on a really good day they might get fifteen.  Numbers are dwindling as for many traditional churches.  I wonder whether there will be any service at all next time I’m in Auckland.  The Christchurch branch has folded since the earthquakes, and I miss the opportunity to go occasionally in honour of my mother who was a lifelong member.

Later we visited Newmarket and Parnell, then I met with two old schools friends and thoroughly enjoyed catching up with them.

“I seized this opportunity
as church is now quite rare for me.”

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