Monday, January 09, 2012

Vintage village

Left Nick hard at work at the office today and took ourselves off for a Geraldine excursion, a 40-minute drive north. Geraldine is a beautiful and quiet little town largely populated by retirees who have time and inclination to maintain pretty gardens. Nick and I have commented to each other that my parents would love this town and if ever (hypothetically) they were to relocate, Geraldine would be the town for them. And they loved it! We found the Recreational Reserve where we stopped for a picnic lunch, then back to the main road for a look at the Vintage Car Museum. I'm not generally a fan of old cars and dusty junk, but the museum was quaint and the ancient farm equipment was particularly impressive, especially in sheer size - just look at this one hovering very close to Mumsie!!
Apparently Aunty Doreen used to have one of these Zephyrs (above).

From there we meandered around town looking at the interesting shops, until we came to The Giant Jersey, a rather remarkable shop owned and operated by Michael and Gillian Linton, selling jerseys and hats and scarves and snoods and things as well as housing the World's Biggest Jersey (verified by an official Guinness Book of World Records certificate).
Through the shop to the back, for $2 per person, you can view a mosaic rendition of the Bayeaux Tapestry which has been painstakingly made by Michael using 2 million tiny hand-painted pieces of former cog-teeth.  Even more remarkable than that though is Michael's maths brain and the remarkable puzzles and cubes and problems he has created.  We were awed!
Back onto Talbot Street where mom bought cherries and Dad found souvenirs at the Kiwi Country - a large store which didn't appear to have any staff hovering!  He was amused at the apparent trust they have in the passing public but she assured us that they have security cameras and they were watching (Big Brother style). 
Also found Barkers of Geraldine which sells a variety of sauces, jams, chutneys, juices, spreads and fillings.  It's a family-run business and has an interesting history which you can read here. I bought a bottle of mango and peach chutney and a bottle of spiced plum sauce (which can be used instead of tomato sauce - how yum is that?)
And then, having exhausted the streets of Geraldine, we drove another 20 minutes north to the Peel Forest area which has a tasty selection of walks appealing to many palates - disabled, families, super fit, and everything in between.  We found a 20-minute walk called the Big Tree Walk which took us to...wait for it...a Big Tree! 
This is the biggest tree in Peel Forest, standing at 31 metres with an 8.4 m circumference, and is believed to be 1,000 years old.  There is some debate as to whether it is a kahikatea or totara tree.
True to the sign, the walk was about 20 minutes although we stopped a few times for refreshments and rests.  Below - a stern rebuke for the boys who were mucking about with their apples - my parenting was NOT helped by the grandparents who were laughing way too much!

Home by about 5.30 for a tea of soup and bread (yay for leftovers)...all very tired but my parents who are usually early sleepers were still up at 10.30 - we think the long days are confusing them :)
And did my parents enjoy Geraldine?  Their comment was "if we came to NZ we would happily settle here"...

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