I am still trying to convince myself that my nose and eyes have not turned themselves into taps – just keep taking the medication. Today there is a slight mishap whilst emptying the chemical toilet. One of our party inadvertently drops the lid down the pit into which the contents of said toilet are destined to go. Someone therefore has to retrieve the lid from the hole into whence it has gone. I played no part in this procedure. We have distinct jobs whilst on the road, mine are things like trying not to get us lost and making sure all the cupboards are locked before we set off. Emptying toilets is not on my list.
We drive into Akaroa and learn that there will be no boat trips today. We are cynical enough to wonder if the predicted winds have been exaggerated in order to justify cancelling a loss making trip, on which we may well have been the only passengers. The tour booking lady says it just means we will have to come back. Sadly, that is unlikely but we are glad we visited Akaroa anyway. It is a distinctive, slightly hippified community (plenty of crystals and crafts on sale) with a French flavour. We suspect it is the holiday home location of choice for the wealthy of Christchurch. It is marketed as an ‘historic’ town, with many of its original, mid-nineteenth century buildings. We visit the very interesting museum and learn about the town’s history, its Maori heritage and development from a whaling station to an agricultural area and now a tourist centre. A would-be French colonist arrived with French and German settlers in August 1840, just as New Zealand was being assigned to the British, giving Akaoa a mixed national heritage.
The area became well known for producing seeds for cocksfoot grass, which was the pasture grass of choice in Australasia. The museum, which had the advantage of being free (donations are welcome), is partially housed in the old court house. There is an impressive collection of old photographs, these include a couple with a surname that we recognise. There are/were properties called Clovelly and Ilfracombe in the town, so we suspect a local connection.
Whilst I attempt to recouperate whilst doing yet more Suduko, Chris is trying to work out why, when our water tank is full, no water is coming out of the tap. Fortunately, as this is our last day dependant on the van, it is not the problem it might have been. If the van is going to malfunction, let it be when we no longer need it, that’s what I say.
The next day, we manage to pack up all our belongings without too much trouble and set off to Woolstone in Rangiora, just north of Christchurch. Thanks to excellent directions, our only mishap was to turn slightly too soon and end up detouring round a Christchurch shopping centre. Our hosts make us very welcome and drive us round the locality, so we can learn about the area. We are staying on this farm for the next two days. I am slightly less germ ridden today, although my voice is still somewhat deep and interesting.