|It has been an uncharacteristically long time since I last made a journal entry here. This is not down to laziness, or lack of anything to talk about, but more a shift in momentum from travelling to working. For anyone who does not keep close tabs; I have been in a small town on the South Island of New Zealand called Dunedin since, I guess, around April. Dunedin is New Zealand's answer to Edinburgh. Dunedin, I am told, is the name given to Edinburgh by the Celts. The town is very much like any town you would find in Britain. So after many months travelling I have settled down for a pause.
I started working on a building site of what is set to be the new low-security prison for the South Island. It being July and it being the Southern Hemisphere, the weather is bloody cold, day and night, so the prison job had to go, which is a shame because it was enjoyable, and at fifty hours a week, brought in plenty of money. I am now working for the New Zealand Ministry of Health, pushing paper around. This earns slightly more per hour with less hours, and has the added bonus of being warm and dry.
If anyone has made the effort to look around the entire site, (which I am sure you all have), then you will be aware of the Itinerary Page, which, has remained quite non committal and empty for the duration of my travels in South America. Well, that has all changed, and without spoiling the overwhelming feeling of suspense that grips you every time you log onto my site, I shall divulge a small amount of my master plan:
In short, I have booked a flight home: Shocker! This is, however not before some more Skiing. I shall tell you about this weekends antics in a moment so hold on! I also hope to take a jaunt around the North Island with Alison; an adorable northern bird from the homelands of Lancashire, who also happens to be going out with me, (another shocker!).
So that is the state of things at the moment: 9-5ing in an office job, (which is very enjoyable). This weekend, however, I took time off from city slicking in Dunedin to visit a friend; Matthew who is actually practically family. Matt lives, (as the little red dot on the map suggests), up in a small village called Calverden, near The Hanmer Hot Springs. His Mum, Rosy, (my God-Mother), is visiting him for nine weeks, and we took the opportunity of me being up to do a spot of Skiing. The ski slopes are less than an hours drive from Calverden and can be easily reached by 4x4 (or at least we thought!). The snow capped mountains can be seen from Matt's house and as you ascend into the Southern Alps, snow starts to line the roads until it is in huge drifts. The last little climb up to the lifts was quite dangerous and had to be taken at snail pace, due to the packed ice and snow on the steep gradient. From the road up the mountain, you can look down over the foothills dropping away, into the distant, and in the distant, broken by the odd hill; the Horizon on the Pacific Ocean can be seen. It feels like standing in a topography diagram of mountains, plains and sea that you would find in an Encyclopedia or Atlas.
Because of the strong winds, skiing was kept to a minimum, however, I did have enough time to dust off the cobwebs from a two-year skiing drought, and get some good photographs.
Visiting Matthew also gave me the opportunity to try out the first tangible asset of Hilliard Excavations Ltd; a Kanga, which is basically a small digger for getting into tight places. Take a look at these pics!
So, enjoy the photographs of snow in July, and soon I will supply some regular journal entries with some pictures from my and Alison's adventure of the North Island.