We were talking over dinner about how we have spent our past New Year’s Eves. There has not been one that was extremely remarkable – well or at least nothing to write in a blog about. In a way then we were a bit like a fish out of water. What does one do on New Years Eve especially in a foreign country?
At the very least, we knew to get moving. That seems to be a regular part of our day this week – get in the van and drive somewhere. It may be short or it may be long, but it’s still part of the day. Today’s drive took us from Oamaru to Christchurch. There was a glimpse of the alpine mountains from this coast. The Island at this point is under 250 km wide. There is a train that runs from Christchurch to Greymouth in half a day. That is remarkable and one does get a glimpse of the mountains, but I do prefer the views from the other coast. The positive part is on this coast, we can reach our destination much faster. It’s all a trade off. Raspberries are in and we were able to pick up some on the side of the road. No pick your own this time, but I’m not complaining. Produce and summer has been one of our favorite parts of the trip. We are getting a chance to live here and not just tour about. Picking up life at home will be hard just for that reason alone. So we’re getting it while we can now! In Christchurch, we headed straight to the Art Centre on Worchester. This is a boys school that has been converted into chops, galleries, theatres and restaurants. It’s quite English, don’t you think? If that’s not English enough for you , it is right next to a set of botanic gardens that are considered to be of national worth. It’s even the Avon river that runs through the gardens and city. I specifically went to the Arts Centre to meet Marilyn Rae-Menzies who is a tapestry weaver there. She was very generous with her time and her pieces are amazing. It’s one thing to see them on her blog site, but another altogether to see them in person. Her studio space is shared with two other weavers, but it is a wonderful space that brought me comfort and inspiration. From Marilyn’s studio we went to a wool co-op that carried fleece, yarn and finished goods. I was able to pick up two skeins of Romney – one dark and one light. They should complement the Gotland well and be on either side of it in value. I’m thinking if I could get a black and a white natural yarn, I’d be pleased. Truth be known I would like to find one of the more amber colored yarns. Well, there’s still the North Island to go….
Even with the very traditional architecture of the Arts Centre, there is still a splash of the contemporary. Some are simply glass boxes, but others have some interest. Outside of the Canterbury Art Museum was this stainless steel sculpture called “Reasons for Voyaging” by Graham Bennett. These easily stood two stories high. There is a “string” across the bows that I watched and listened for vibrations. No such luck. The piece is still beautiful. Christchurch is about the size of Greenville, SC, which means it is large enough to hold a New Year’s Eve Celebration. The night started with a Swedish band who attempted to impersonate ABBA. The music was fun to sing to, but the as always the second band was much better. This was The Black Velvet Band that mixed mostly rock versions of Irish jigs, with Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and a little bluegrass. They were fun and I think they would thoroughly enjoy keeping up with the front porch bands playing bluegrass on Fridays in Oolenoy, SC.Here is the last second of 2009! 2010 came in with bagpipes playing Auld Lang Syne and fireworks. Our wish for your is a wonderful and prosperous 2010! Happy New Year!
For more pictures, check out:http://picasaweb.google.com/jjpeavey2/20091231JRP?feat=directlink