The Road to Oihi - Picton

We got away a little later than planned, 8:45 am instead of 6:00 but there was a lot to do. Packing for instance. Parking the cats. That sort of thing. This week had been pretty busy, what with one thing and another and most of yesterday afternoon was occupied with our annual Christmas party for clergy and families. Clemency, Bridget, Scott Noah and I spent the afternoon in company with these lovely people and got home very late in the afternoon. We were tired. We had plenty of time in the morning. We went to bed.

So this morning we hooked up the caravan, packed a toothbrush and a change of shorts and headed North. It started to rain when we were on the Kilmog, and was sunny again by Timaru. So it alternated, wet and dry all day long. We stopped for coffee in Oamaru and for lunch in Rakaia. We got fuel in Amberley and had a lovely dinner at a quaint restaurant on the Kaikoura coast before arriving here in Picton about 7:45. We'll park up here for the night before boarding the ferry at 6:30 am tomorrow.

This whole journey is along roads so familiar to both of us and so laden with memory that it is a kind of temporal pilgrimage through the shadows and memories of many decades. We travelled through my diocese and then through my first parish, past the house where our children were babies. Then northwards through the town I was born in, and across the Canterbury plains which I have traversed by car and foot and bicycle and train and motorcycle on trips with a thousand intentions. Skirting Christchurch we followed the coast road. It's been a very long time since either of us has driven North along the Kaikoura road, but tracing our route through the familiar little towns, up through the Hunderlees and into the tawny hummocks of Marlborough there were memories at every turn. There was a time when we made that drive many times a year to visit families and to visit each other and to return to work or study. There was the spot where Rob Lepper and I used to fish for paua, sleeping rough in the back of Rob's Hillman van. There was the patch of winding hilly road where I once raced a car on my Suzuki Titan, badly misjudging a corner and careening precariously around it with a comet of sparks showering from the downhill foot peg (The car conceded at that point). There was the little church where Clemency and her friend Sue sheltered from rain when they made their grand tour of the country by motor scooter. There was the rocky coastline and the mountains and the tunnels and the seagulls and the seals. Awesome. Yes, really. And tomorrow the ferry. Last time I was on the ferry was December 1998 when I was driving South to become Vicar of Roslyn.

It is all so rich and deep and lovely, this land and the life God has gifted me. I am so grateful for it all.


Kate said…
Your lovely description makes me smile because I could see all the mind pictures too. I spent four years at varsity in Christchurch, returning to Havelock North each term break, driving with friends, motorbike, flying over, bussing, train etc. And a boyfriend in Timaru so frequent journeys that far south too. Know all the names! Safe journeys y'all.
Elaine Dent said…
The last two sentences are take-aways into my day(s) ahead. Thank you.
NIE said…
What a beautiful day's drive for starters! Will be praying for similar inspirational views today. Hope the crossing is ok and that as that the pilgrimage onward to Auckland on this very long day's drive will be equally blessed. Love and travelling blessings to you both.
Kelvin Wright said…
On the Arahura right now Noelene. I've never seen Cook Strait this flat. Millpond. Pancake. Me singing Verdi.
So you went to Canterbury Kate? So did I but no doubt earlier. Fine Arts I assume?