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Showing posts from April, 2014

Low Sunday

The Sunday after Easter Sunday is called Low Sunday because in comparison to the festivities of the week before it is just that. Whenever we reach a peak we have to come down the other side and just get on with things again. As I did after finishing the Hikoi and entering straight into Holy Week. From Palm Sunday through to midday on Easter Sunday I led 9 services; pretty average for the time of year I'd say. There were two chrism Eucharists, where our people renew vows of various sorts - baptismal and ordination - and where anointing oil is blessed for use in the coming year. Then I went to Queenstown to lead Wakatipu Parish's celebration of the risen Christ which involved the usual cycle of services on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a baptism on Saturday afternoon.  Most years I seem to be spread thinly about the place, leading portions of the Easter celebration in a number of different churches, sometimes preaching, sometimes presiding at the Eucharist, some

Day 30

photo (c) Valerie Swatridge 2014 It felt strange, yesterday, to be getting ready for the day by ironing a purple shirt and polishing my black shoes. Stranger still to be getting into a car and driving through the city to the Cathedral. This was the day when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in town and I needed to be at the Cathedral earlyish, although I had precious little to do in the service. The inoffensive looking young cop was embarrassed as he told me I couldn't park in my accustomed spot, but we found one fairly near and I had an hour or more of thumb twiddling and heel cooling as the cathedral filled with the faithful and the curious. The motorcade was late, the service started 20 minutes after its alloted time and rolled on its well rehearsed way for the requisite hour and ten minutes. The choir was large and sang beautifully. The dean preached well and Clemency quite enjoyed wearing a hat and sitting next to the royals. There was coffee and champagne in the cry

Finish: Day 29

We got away almost on time for the final leg from Duntroon to Kurow. We were joined by Mary, who had walked some of the way with us a few days previously, and Jane, Mary's daughter. The weather was dull; not actually raining but always promising to. The road was flat, and for most of the way, devoid of corners. We stopped at the rock drawing site just out of Duntroon and looked at the barely visible artworks left for goodness knows what purpose during the 18th and 19th Centuries by groups of roving Maori. More visible than the works themselves were the works of Pakeha plonkers - the 19th Century ones who had removed the best works, ruining the limestone surface and making the survival of the rest problematic and the 20th Century ones who thought we needed to know their names and those of their assorted girlfriends. We walked past many soldier trees. After the first world war the locals planted  oaks on the roadside near the places where fallen soldiers had lived or worked. The

Duntroon: Days 27&28

The last couple of days have been across the undulating hill country on the South side of the Waitaki Valley. I have driven this route many times but, again, the difference in perspective gained from viewing the familiar landscape at 6 kph and with no intermediary metal and glass has been revelatory. We have been joined at various points over the last couple of days by people from the local parishes who have walked with us. We have stayed the last two nights with Alison, widowed 21 years ago and who continued farming on her own account since. She is intelligent and well informed and all of us - Phil, John, Graham, Tash, Dion and myself - are sharing her house and her conversation. It has been wonderful. We have been ferried to and from our starting and ending points in the van which has provided our mobile headquarters over the past month. Yesterday it was overcast and cool; today clear, still and warm. On both days there has been a succession of tiny rural hamlets on a road which

Maheno: Day 26

I took this photo as I waited in Hampden for the van to appear with the others so we could begin our day's walk. The sky continued this blue and the wind continued this still. It was a beautiful day for walking. From Hampden we journeyed North along SHW1, accompanied for a short way by one or two of the locals. Then near the Mill House we stopped for coffee before heading down the coast road towards the distant sea. 19 km later we arrived at All Day Bay just South of Kakanui, and took the gravel road straight to Maheno, arriving at St. Andrews Church just before 2:00, having covered 27 km. We are on the last leg now. Since All Day Bay we have been heading inland, and we continue for another 3 days until we reach Kurow on Saturday afternoon. This evening we met with the people of this lovely village for a pot luck dinner and I spent some time talking with a local farmer who has walked the Camino Santiago twice. As we talked I thought again of one of the characteristics of the C

Hampden: Day 25

We set off in the rain just before 8:30. Threading our way through Palmerston we found the road to Trotters Gorge and followed it for the next 13 or 14 km. It wound its way up through hills covered in exotic forest, reaching a 240m summit in the steepest climb we have encountered to date. It was one of those annoying roads which promises the end of the uphill just a few metres ahead, until a corner is turned or a crest reached and another climb is revealed with another promised ending. We stopped for a break at what we fondly imagined to be the top just before 12 before climbing a another 50 metres or so and descending into Trotters Gorge. The gorge has high limestone cliffs rising tortuously on each side of a narrow river. Occasional house sized boulders lying on the bank show that the combined effects of rainwater on the hills above us. Wilding pines grow everywhere giving it a very un-New Zealand appearance but it is nevertheless beautiful. Walking is definitely the right way t

Palmerston: Day 24

It's only about 17 km from St. John's Waikouaiti to St. Mary's Palmerston, so we were finished by lunchtime. We set out just after 8, just the three of us and Mary who wouldn't mind me telling you she is not in the first bloom of youth. She walked briskly all the way, conversing with each of us in turn. It was great to have her along.  We walked out through the town and spent most of the trip walking on the shoulder of SHW1. We passed prosperous looking North Otago farms, a few forests and the occasional stylish house with a B&B notice at the gate. There are a few small hills and several bridges, most of which, oddly, seem to cross the Pleasant River. We walked steadily, stopping around 10 for a breather, and arrived in Palmerston around mid day. We were met by Juan Kinnear, the the priest in charge of Waikouaiti and a small group from the local parish who had prepared a tasty lunch of sandwiches and savouries. St. Mary's is a pretty stone church with a surr

Waikouaiti: Day 23

photo (c) Phil Clark 2014 In Oamaru our diocese has a couple of strong congregations, but the rural churches making up the rest of the North Eastern corner of our patch are small. Over the past few weeks they have come together to plan this morning's regional event and the result of the hard work involved was readily apparent today. What an event they put on! We met at St. John's Waikouaiti, the first church built in the Diocese of Dunedin. A large gazebo had been erected and fitted out with a sound system and the necessities for a Eucharist. Around the tent were a couple of hundred chairs and behind it was the lagoon: a beautiful still and stilling backdrop. We arrived in time to walk the 1 km or so from the main road to the church accompanied by about a dozen people. In the parish hall coffee and tea and the customary well filled tables were waiting. People arrived and chatted and moved slowly over to the gazebo. The service was due to start at 11:00 but the old double

Waikouaiti: Day 22

It rained on Saturday when we walked from the Blueskin Bay Library to Waikouaiti. I am very familiar with this territory but as always I was amazed at the shift in perspective that comes from changing the mode of transport from 4 wheels to 2 feet. We began at about 8:00 am with some of the Waitati locals walking the first couple of km and then as we crossed the Warrington Bridge, we were joined by a Catholic priest and two sisters from different Dunedin communities. It bucketed down. My Goretex jacket kept most of it out and managed to breathe in the way it was designed to do, but no raincoat can keep you perfectly dry and by the time we reached St. Barnabas' church I was a little damp. St. Barnabas is one of my favourite places. It is a tiny wooden church set in a churchyard at the end of a long leafy path. It is beautifully maintained and the colours of the interior fittings are all well chosen. It has a golden woody glow offset by highlights of brass and the shifting colou

Waitati: Day 21

There is a back way out of Dunedin; or several, actually, but my favourite is via Leith Valley Road. I've driven it several times, cycled it twice and today I walked it. Strolling through Woodhough Gardens and up Melville Street, you rise gently through Leith Valley until the road becomes narrow and disappears into the bush clad hills. It climbs more steeply with the raucous infant Leith tumbling along beside it. The houses become scarce, and then disappear altogether although the occasional Rapid Number attached to a post tells you that there is one hidden somewhere up a convoluted driveway. After a while the road narrows further and the tarseal is replaced by lightly rutted gravel. Eventually the road crosses SHW1 by way of a plain concrete bridge, and follows the main road for a bit before doubling back over it at the crest of the hill and then winding downwards along Waitati Valley Road to Blueskin Bay. On a good day the views are amazing, and today was a good day. The sky w

St. Hilda's: Day 19

Day 18 was a rest day. So, apart from a meeting to discuss the St. Hilda's Hikoi the next day, meeting Debbie to go through some of my email, collecting and fixing the bikes and making some running repairs to Te Harinui , I did nothing much. Then today we undertook another phase of this highly varied pilgrimage.   St. Hilda's Collegiate School was founded in 1896 by Sisters Etheleen and Geraldine of the Sisters of the Church who had been brought to Dunedin by Bishop Neville for precisely this purpose. Today's Hikoi within a Hikoi was a walk through the city to connect with some of the school's heritage. The event had been meticulously planned by Benjamin Brock Smith who has done most of the organising for The Hikoi of Joyful News and Gillian Townsley, the chaplain at St. Hilda's. A busload of us: students, staff, the Principal, old girls, visiting Kenyan missionaries and pilgrims on Te Harinui began at the Dunedin wharf and moved  by stages around various pla