A drive in the countryside

Our lockdown is over so my sister could finally move house. Philip and I loaded up the van and travelled north for four hours to check out the new abode and install curtain tracks and curtains for her. It was a fast but pretty trip. Here’s the view from the van window as we bowled along the grandly-named Centennial Highway, not far north of Wellington. A lovely fine day, and with the longest, thinnest cloud I’ve ever seen. The South Island isn’t far away – you can catch a glimpse of snow on the Kaikoura mountains there.

Kris Pearson - Centennial Highway and sea

There’d just been a 3-day holiday weekend, and enough traffic on the roads to have accidents again. (At least Covid-19 had one good effect.) Anyway, we kept clear of the holiday traffic, and on weekdays it seemed almost everyone else did too. This is the main highway north – not many people wanted it except us.

Kris Pearson - New Zealand main road

It was so nice to catch up with my sis again. What with having a knee too bad to drive with, and then a new joint so I couldn’t, and then lockdown, it felt like ages since I’d seen her. The house is a 1930’s timber bungalow. Ours was built in 1914. We like old houses in this family.

She was barely unpacked (and won’t be for ages, if I know her.) We had the fun of helping her to dress the house, and were serenaded the entire time by a bird way up the top of a tree. It was singing when we arrived and it was still going three days later. Amazing songs, and she says it never stops. I have no idea when it ever gets anything to eat!  As we left I tried to photograph it to find out what it was, but the best my little camera could do was pretty bad.  Philip had a play on his computer when we got home and we could finally see its spots. It was a song-thrush, and it could teach the ones down here in Wellington a thing or two about singing.

The fine weather gave out for the trip home. The last photo is taken on an amazing piece of road that was only ever intended as an emergency bypass.  It goes up over a high windy ridge of hills. They improved it some to give access for trucks carrying all the towers and blades for a wind-farm. There are almost 200 wind turbines up there now – quite a sight when they’re not lost in the mist. The big steeply-sided river gorge road nearby suffered yet another catastrophic slip a couple of years ago – bad enough to finally close it forever. Therefore the old bypass has become the main road and is under constant reconstruction because heavy trucks tear it apart. Not ideal, but we’re grateful to have it in the meantime while the road engineers decide what on earth they’re going to replace it with.

Kris Pearson - driving home over the hills

Home safely – to finish writing a summer novella. It’s fine and cold today – six whole degrees by lunchtime.