Narrowboat AREandARE

From the 2009 & 2010 tantalising tales, traumas and stunning photographs of Barry (photographer) and Sandra (writer) from New Zealand aboard NB 'Northern Pride', to the stories of their 2013 return journey, purchase of 'AREandARE', progress on sustaining their live aboard continuous cruiser lifestyle, and Barry's quest to gain residency and 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' in UK ...

Monday, 26 September 2011

The final days in England 2010 - Witley Court 2010 & 2007

It hasn't quite taken 12 months to complete our 2010 blog, but it's certainly come very close!  We're still pondering our 'ten favourite places' of the journey and wondering if we'll actually be able to narrow it down to ten!  We have decided not to have a 'top ten' as that implies that number one is superior to number ten, and we're sure we couldn't be so selective.  It wasn't just the places in 2010 either, we have so many happy memories of the people we met along the way as well, even more than in 2009.  Anyway, we'll get there in the near future, I just need to find some time to really consider what to put in and what to leave out ...

In the meantime spring has sprung here and our clocks have moved forward an hour, making us now 12 hours ahead of GMT.  There's still a cool breeze, but the sun shines most days.  Today we're off for a couple of nights to Mahia, a peninsula about an hour's drive away, where there's some of the world's most beautiful, mostly deserted, beaches .  It's my birthday on Wednesday, and yesterday we celebrated the second wedding anniversary of our first wedding (read that blog post here) on the roof of Northern Pride.

Friday 29 October 2010

My daughter Kim came to stay with us for a couple of nights just before we returned to New Zealand last October, and we had a delightful day in the autumn colours around the 19th century mansion of Witley Court, a short drive away from my parents home in Ombersley, Worcestershire.
















 Very serene ambling along by the trees and water














 Kim and Sandra enjoy their day together before we leave once again


 The magnificent Witley Court gardens from the front of the ruined house 


 The entrance to Witley Court - it would have been a grand affair in its heyday before it was ravaged by fire


 Making beauty out of disaster















  The stunning Perseus and Andromeda fountain which springs into life at various times in the day


 A panorama of the pristine gardens and fountain at the back of the ruined Witley Court

The grounds and building are a utopia for Barry, and we used them when we visited in 2007 on our holiday to England, having a 'photo shoot' of the Walsh family ...

family at fountain 2007 The extended Walsh family, April 2007

Here's some of Barry's favourite spots from 2010:









Also in the grounds stands a Baroque Church, which is in use as a local Parish Church whilst welcoming visitors from around the globe ...




























 Kim and Sandra check out the ornate ceiling from the mirror


 It's as incredible as the buildings in Rome 

More autumnal scenes, it really is colourful in England in October ...




On the Friday evening, Kim, Barry and I drove into Birmingham to meet up with Lisa to say goodbye for now.  Of course it also gave Barry an excuse to say his farewell to the canals in Gas Street Basin!


 The Mailbox in Birmingham City Centre - a hub of illumination and activity around the canal basin


 This could be a scene from the late 18th century - it's modern yet timeless on the waterways of England


 Always sad to part, but also wonderful to see each other and appreciate precious time spent together











 Colourful balls of light adorn the walkway to the railway station



















Haere Ra, farewell for now to Lisa and then Kim - breaks my heart every time - such beautiful, amazing women I grew :-) 

On Saturday we had to return the hire car to Enterprise, Northampton and catch the train back to Droitwich.  Now we know about the car rental company that will collect us from the boat and take us to the premises (and they even gave us a lift to the train station!), we'll definitely be considering using their service when we're back on the canals instead of relying on public transport - it's probably cheaper and more reliable.


Thank you!

We flew to Sydney on Sunday 31 October and spent another couple of days with Peter, Barry's brother, before arriving back in Gisborne on 4 November, ready for the southern hemisphere summer. 

As I write this at the end of September 2011, it's almost 12 months from our return to NZ, so we know it won't be too long before we're back on the canals for the foreseeable future - if all goes to plan by the northern hemisphere spring of 2013.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The culmination of the 'down south' experiences ...

As soon as Emma (Barry's niece) put the announcement on facebook earlier this year that she and Mathu were getting married in Queenstown, I sourced the cheapest flights I could to make sure we could afford to go!  I've covered many of the sights and experiences in the North Island of New Zealand, and knowing we're planning on returning to UK to live for the foreseeable future around February 2013, I'm on a mission to see as many of the parts of the Southern Hemisphere I've not been to as possible in the time left here.

I booked flights from Auckland to Queenstown return for us both for less than $500 (around £250).  If we'd travelled from little old Gisborne it would have cost around $2,000!  As luck would have it, I had a Life Coaching weekend just prior to the trip, so Barry just had to fly up and off we went.

We imagined that Emma and Mathu had chosen Queenstown as it was one of their favourite spots, but as keen skiers and snowboarders, they'd decided that as they also hadn't seen much of the South Island (isn't it odd how we don't visit our own 'back yard?), they would tie in a road trip with a wedding.  Cool idea, aye?  Emma's organisational ability was amazing, she made her own dress and chose a stunning wedding location and the reception was definitely different to any other I've had the pleasure of being at.  Oh and of course lucky Emma had Uncle Barry as the photographer ...














 The beautiful bride with an incredible background - and the happy couple

Emma reminded me of Cate Blanchett as the Elf Queen Galadriel in the NZ film Lord of the Rings.  The silver wrap was hand knitted by her amazing mum Joy, who also just managed to finish Mathu's cardigan that he wears underneath his jacket, the evening before!


 Almost all the Teutenbergs - Barry, Jenny, Wayne, June, Peter, Ray, Mathu, Emma, Sandra, Lauren, Daniel (sort of a Teutenberg!) and Joy

Of course for the family photo Barry set up the camera and someone else took it, so by the time he'd skipped into the group we ended up at opposite ends of the picture!  P1440901 The newlweds and the proud parents of the bride - Ray, Mathu, Emma and Joy 














 Heavenly location - a photographers dream

We were bussed from Queenstown to the wedding venue in the mountains on the Lake Hayes Road, and then back on the bus for a winery tour.  The wedding ceremony and photos had taken a little longer than anticipated, so we only managed two of the three wineries that had been planned for a visit.

The first one, Amisfield Wine Company, had a spectacular setting overlooking Lake Hayes.  The blue skies and sunshine against the white mountains was invigorating - we had to drink more wine and eat more food we felt so alive and healthy!


 Amisfield Wine Company with the wedding party in the foreground 

An hour or so later, having tasted the most delicious cheeses, honey combs and pinot noir (their speciality), everyone was rounded up once more for the next destination of Gibbston Valley where they have built an underground wine cellar.  The cellar remains at a constant, pleasant, temperature all year round and was a very intimate and cosy setting for some more platters and a lot more vino!  Of course there was the obligatory (cup)cake cutting ceremony, and a few speeches and toasts to Emma and Mathu ...














 A loving kiss at the cave entrance and the mouth-watering food platters all ready to consume

The wedding and reception ended around 2000hrs, and we all travelled back to Queenstown where some people got changed and partied the night away - mainly those of a certain young age, and of course Barry's brother Peter managed to stay the course!  As I mentioned previously, I played nurse to Barry and Jenny and we all had an early night after their slight disasters!

On the Sunday, I had a brainwave and we booked a rental car so we could explore a little more of the area with Jenny and Lauren, Barry's sister and niece.  Although it was great to spend time with the Teutenbergs, and Emma and Mathu's friends, after travelling so far it would have been a shame not to see farther afield, and of course get a glimpse of the ski-fields that Queenstown is famous for ...


 Up in the mountains, on the drive from Queenstown to Wanaka


 The Cardrona Hotel

The Cardrona Ski field is just behind the Hotel, and today's temperature is minus 3 degrees!  The Hotel is infamous for the fact that some years ago, the owners marriage broke up and the story goes that the wife took half of the building, the restaurant, with her to Auckland!  You certainly can't tell I have to say, it was such a neat, quaint place, and I'd love to stay there one day.  Sadly we had to get the hire car back to Queenstown by 1800hrs so could only stay for a 'to go' coffee and a quick look around.


 Some of the old settlers bits and bobs out in the back garden

Wanaka is a little less than an hour's drive from Queenstown and is well worth a visit.  It has a much more open feel about it, more spacious and less touristy somehow.  Here's a few of Barry's favourite pictures ...













 Under the thumb?  Sandra?  Never! Oh OK, maybe occasionally :-)

After lunch and a quick look around, we went to Puzzling World.  The website states:

Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World is a world unique attraction specialising in puzzling eccentricity. For over 35 years this remarkable business has entertained and amazed visitors of all ages, attracted to this beautiful part of the world. Offering the world's first "modern-styled" Great Maze, incredible Illusion Rooms, a Puzzle Centre/CafĂ©, large Gift Shop and eccentric architecture and Oddities. We are possibly the most photographed attraction in New Zealand.

We'd been recommended to go here by a number of people, and thought that one a half hours for the visit would be sufficient to see everything - how wrong we were!  It was a fascinating place and we had to literally drag ourselves away.


 The Hall of Following Faces - seriously, as you walk around each face follows you - spooky!










 The Tilted House, with a lean of 15 degrees (I am on my way up not down in this picture ) - I was so nauseated in here I could hardly stand up and couldn't wait to get out - totally upset my ears' bony labyrinth balance centre









An interesting couple of puzzles made from single sheets of metal - the left one is easy enough to see but the right one is still beyond me (click on image to enlarge)

The Ames Forced Perspective Room was hilarious. Again the website states:

The technique of this illusion was used in The Lord of the Rings film to create tall people and little people. The shape of this room is totally distorted although when viewed from outside through a window, the room looks perfectly normal. Prepare to be amazed!

Well there you go, you learn something new every day!

P1450233BIG BROTHER - little sister!

P1450229 It's all a matter of perspective

Then came the maze which has 1.5km of passages.  Now Barry had told me when we went to Hampton Court the secret of getting through a maze, but for the life of me I couldn't remember it!  The challenge was to get to the four corners and then find your way back out.  I beat Barry to the four corners by about a minute, but getting out again was another thing - Barry managed it easily whereas after more than 30 minutes of going round and round in circles, I cheated and slipped through one of the emergency exits!  Time was running out, we had to get the hire car back after all - does anyone else know the maze secret?  I know it now, but if I told you I'd have to shoot you ...










Lauren trying to find her way to the four corners


 The very effective Roman Style toilets - "Designed to replicate Roman-style ablutions with a magnificent Diorama (mural)"


Lauren the Mighty!!

There's certainly plenty to see and do around Queenstown, but as with most things, you need a lot of money if you want to 'do it all'.  We managed to fit in some great experiences and had an 'amazing' time - thank you so much for the opportunity to be at your wedding Emma and Mathu and for the experiences we had in Queenstown.