One of the things that our kids were playing on at Amberly’s Brew Moon café was an ingenious use of an old vehicle chassis to make a picnic table.
The heap of photos of them larking about on it are not for publication here for privacy reasons, but it did lead me to taking a few extra photos of other bits and pieces that caught my attention.
Therefore this post is a compilation of items that caught my eye… not just as we leave Brew Moon, but also of our trip here from Christchurch and back.
There’s the familiar Kiwi sign that tells you how high the fire risk is at the time… often in a South Island summer the arrow is almost permanently pointed to “Extreme” but the late start to summer and few Nor’ Wester’s this year has meant that it was “Moderate” at the time I took this photo.
That’s a good thing… the region doesn’t need the horrific forest fires of past years on top of the current earthquake stress.
There are the taken-in-a-rush whilst speeding by a wool buyer… they use special hooks to ‘grab” into the huge bales and shift them around. Don’t be fooled into thinking that wool is only light fluffy stuff, these bales are very densely packed and are very heavy indeed.
One driving tip for New Zealand is: be extra careful around logging or wool trucks, their loads are mega heavy and if the truck stops suddenly the load often doesn’t.
As a teenager, our family narrowly missed a multi-vehicle pileup when we stopped in Timaru for fish and chips and my Mother ran into an old (retired) colleague inside the chippy. They chatted for an extra ten to fifteen minutes even though their orders were ready. A short way up State Highway One in the direction of Christchurch we were passed by fire engines, police cars and several ambulances with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
Only a kilometre or so further on was a accident site where several cars, a caravan and a wool-truck towing a semi trailer had collided. There were wool bales everywhere and cars were crushed like soft tin cans. On the News later we heard that people had died and that the accident was caused by a car carelessly overtaking the truck, the failure of this manoeuvre resulted in a head on collision with a oncoming car which then veered into the wool truck. In attempting to remain on the road the driver lost his load of wool bales with devastating consequences.
We realised that we could have easily been right at that spot when the accident happened had it not been for the delay my Mother and her old colleague caused in the fish and chip shop.
The rivers we cross are so very typical of South Island rivers… wild, wide and braided, with several deep channels and a multitude of shallow ones, popular with the jet-boat and fishing fraternities. Often deceptively swift they need to be treated with a good dose of respect and they also have a habit of rising metres or even tens of metres in flash flooding if it’s raining heavily in their headwaters in the Southern Alps. I’ve crossed the Waimakariri River bridge once when the water was so high it was almost lapping the road deck.
So very different looking to the severly tamed rivers I see in Europe, the sight of water and gravel like this always tells me I’m Home.