Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Week of the Year: Maniototo

Another trip back from Dunedin; I took a different route this time, through the Maniototo.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Week Fifty-Two: Pathetic Fallacy

I had occasion to travel to Dunedin last week, and though my mind was overwrought, the stunning Central Otago scenery with sheep grazing nonchalantly before weird rock formations and blue skies always gives me pause for thought, as do the fabulous cherries from the Packhouse at Roxburgh.

I needed time to think and clear my mind so I went down to the beach at St Claire in Dunedin and walked on the wide sands inhaling the sea air and allowing the fresh breeze to blow through me like a Pentecostal cleansing. I love the expanse of the horizon: the thought that there is so much out there although all we see is sea. To paraphrase the master, 'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy.'

As I drove home I was very sad, and the rain fell on ruined buildings in a way that perfectly matched my mood. Thomas Hardy would have been proud of such pathetic fallacy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Week Fifty-One: Gateway to Paradise

Glenorchy, at the head of Lake Wakatipu, bills itself as the gateway to Paradise - there is a small settlement, just up the river a bit, called Paradise, but obviously you are meant to draw biblical parallels with some heavenly delights. That might be pushing it a bit, but even on a gray and overcast day, it still has some atmospheric appeal.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Week Fifty: Tour of Arrowtown

This week I went on a mini-tour of Arrowtown with David Clarke of the Lakes District Museum who happily shared his local knowledge. He told us tales of all the buildings and their previous inhabitants, spinning yarns and weaving anecdotes while we listened and took photographs and notes.
I was particularly interested by the gaol which I had never visited before. Apparently it was last used as a corrective facility as recently as 1987 when New Year revellers who'd had a drop too much were locked up overnight to sober up! It is occasionally used as a facility for art-work or a venue for ghost tours. Apparently the Dairy Queen has performed here in her incarnation of a drunken village trollop. She hid in a cell when a tour-group were being shown around the premises, then crashed out of the door and gave them all the fright of their lives! Sounds fun...


Monday, December 6, 2010

Week Forty-Nine: Going Rural!

We're working hard in rehearsals for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gardens, as you can see. Picnic baskets in the Botanic Gardens by the pond in glorious sunshine. Okay, so it's not all hard work...

The boys (Jason Fullerton, David Oakley and Sam Farr) are increasingly perturbed by the lack of mustard. I know - you'll just have to come along and see it in performance (January 21-23).

My friend, Mad Alice was having a birthday party in a woolshed, as you do. She wrote in her invitation, 'Remember the good ol' Woolshed Dances we had in the 1970'S??!!' Actually, no, but I went along to see what it was all about. It was very rural - I danced in a woolshed, slept in a tent, sat on a haybale and communed with nature (by which I mean I sneezed a lot). It was fun (apart from maybe all the sneezing).

See those skies - that's Central Otago scenery right there folks!

These curious cats investigate our sleeping arrangements. Later they bring us viscerated rabbits and calmly lick their paws.

The girls gather round the tables while the boys gravitate to the barbeque, but at least all are drinking.

Where did you get that hat?

And inside the woolshed, things are quintessentially Kiwi, apparently.

The next morning, as we pack up our tent, we are treated to a Van Gogh style sky with broiling clouds.