Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Scone Palace

It was a long drive from Akaroa to Alexandra on Saturday - marginally under 500 kms. When we arrived I went for a walk to bring the days total to 10 kms. I have a new policy of walking at least 10 kms, even on the days when travel or weather has prevented me from setting out for a normal training walk. The new policy came about after I realised that because of one thing or another I have lost almost a month recently. It is not obsessive kilometre counting, just that it feels so hard to plunge back into 20 or 30 kilometre days after doing nothing, even for a few days, never mind 4 weeks. So the 10 kms a day policy is just to maintain smoothness and a tickover.

Sunday morning I walked from Alexandra to Clyde along the river route. As with so many places in New Zealand, there is much evidence of gold extraction. NZ really did seem to be paved with gold in those days. I set off without breakfast because at the Post Office (now a café and restaurant) in Clyde they have some wonderful world-class date scones. I had one of those and a coffee for my breakfast. I was ready for it, after walking 15 kms on an empty stomach. Normally Gay would have been walking with me (although she would have been full of porridge or cereal) but because she has not yet recovered from the chest infection, she drove out to Clyde to meet me. We had my breakfast, her tea, and a look at the papers together, before I set off for the return trip, this time 10 kms via the first section of the Central Otago Rail Trail. Gay drove back.

There was a very strong wind, which shifted me sideways a couple of times. Nothing like the colossal storm which has caused so much damage in the Pyrenees areas of both Spain and France recently. When we first heard of this we wondered whether our home village of Puivert had escaped. Then I read Randy’s Possumworld blog and she was talking about the damage and power outages in Chalabre, which is only 8 kms from Puivert. Fortunately, we managed to contact our neighbours and discovered that, although there had been roofs torn off and the like, our house seems to be OK.

Our stay in Alexandra was short, and was designed so that we could attend, on Sunday afternoon, the Cromwell Country Music Club, which meets on the first Sunday of every month. There is a resident band and a constant stream of people arriving with guitars, putting their names on a blackboard, then when their turn comes, getting up to sing a couple of songs. Some are better than others, of course, but we find it admirable that so many people will get up and have a go.

We shall be back in Alexandra for the second half of the month, as we find it a most excellent place to exercise, but on Monday we drove a couple of hundred kms to the Catlins. More about that later.

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