Saturday, June 25, 2016

Frightening and Unforgettable

Today started out well.  We went to church this morning in the tiny Christ Church, Coromandel.  The priest was in Europe for 3 months, so lay readers led the service; it was just fine!  It's always a pleasure to use the New Zealand Prayer Book...they have a real knack for molding the language beautifully.  Afterward we were invited to coffee hour and had nice conversations with several folks.  The congregation was about 10 or 12 people, plus us.  WE learned that regular oatmeal cookies are known here as ANZAC biscuits..ANZAC refers to the combined forces of Australia and New Zealand...these biscuits apparently were sent many, many times to loved ones on the various fronts in World War II.

Lunch was at a roadside stand of sorts, the Coromandel Oyster Company.  See photo below.  Barry said that the oysters on the half shell were really fine and fresh.  And he loved the mussel chowder.  I had fish and chips, which was lovely.  The chips were made of kumara, which is a purple sweet potato.  They were delicious.

After lunch we decided to walk the track around Coromandel Town.  On the map it looked very tame.  But in reality it was anything but tame.  The person who laid out the track went in a more-or-less straight line, which meant lots and lots of steep stairs.  There was a boardwalk covered with netting, which was torn and which tripped me up as I crossed it.  Ouch.  Then lots of slippery paths due to the rain recently and the clay soil.

Next came the thunderstorm, which was scary.  We took shelter in some bushes and crouched down most of the time...and it passed over us in time and went away.

To add insult to injury we had to ford a stream towards the end of the walk--which we didn't know about at the beginning.  And the scary thing was that it was really swollen from rainwater that fell in copious amounts recently.  The normal fording place was unusable--flooded too deeply.  We found another place and Barry gallantly went first as I hung back and whined about how scary it was.  He helped me to cross, then promptly lost footing and partly fell into the rushing water.  But he got out again, thank God.  And after getting himself to the top of the slippery bank, he hauled me up, too.

This is one of those memories that we'll always we're laughing but at the time it was scary as can be.  The boots are drying and the muddy pants are being washed, and all is well.  Thank God.  Must have been the influence of Christ Church, Coromandel!

1.  Yesterday on the little deck outside our "bach" (I think the word is a shortening of "bachelor pad" or something like that.  We're in a basic little cottage, which is great.
2.  Christ Church, Coromandel
3.  Lunch today--oysters on the half shell, mussel chowder, fish and chips.
4.  Barry in front of a giant kauri tree...pronounced "cowrie" like the shells...These are indigenous to New Zealand and have been used for timber, including being hollowed out to form Maori waka, or war canoes.  They are being replanted and preserved--threatened these days with 'kauri dieback disease" which must be some kind of bacteria or fungus...
5.  Looking up that giant kauri.  They can be up to 50 feet around!!!  And live over 3000 years.  National treasures.
6.  On the FIRST part of our walk today, the fun part...looking at the bay and in the foreground on right is a small kauri tree, part of a replanting effort.  I hope they come back and thrive.

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