Bluff to Dunedin……………………….

I left Bluff and continued along the south coast before starting to drive north up the east coast to Dunedin, where I was hoping to see the first day of the first test match between New Zealand and England; I managed to get a ticket for the 1st day’s play and took a stroll to the venue, The University Oval, the day before the game, to find out how long the walk would take me from my motel……….

 

It was a beautiful sunny day (Tuesday) and when I arrived at the ground, the England team were practicing in the nets that are just inside the main entrance; I was allowed into the University Oval, where I spent a couple of hours watching the players in the nets, and strolling around the lovely little ground……….it was a very relaxed atmosphere and it was entertaining listening to the banter between the players as they practiced, they are obviously in a relaxed and confident frame of mind…..

 

My run of good luck finally took a tumble on the day of the match (Wednesday) ……..the weather was quite good when I got up at 7 am but when I got to the ground it was dark and overcast with heavy black clouds, the intended start time of 10.30 am arrived and it started to drizzle and then batter down with rain……………….

 

Above and below, the very pretty University Oval Dunedin, the day before the test match was due to start……………….

Above and below, the England captain Alistair Cook, facing delivery’s from Steve Finn…..I think this man could still manage to look elegant if he was hanging wallpaper………….

It’s that man…………..K.P…………”padding up” for a stint in the nets……….

and below, texting a couple of his chums in the Kiwi’s dressing room……………

New Zealand produces some excellent clover, and lavender honey, I saw this rather chubby bee feasting on lavender, in the park, just outside the University Oval……………….

10.30 am Wednesday 6th March………..waiting for the rain………………….didn’t have to wait long…………….

It is now 9.00am on Thursday 7th March here in Dunedin, as I am preparing to leave my motel and drive north, probably to Timaru for the night before my flight to Sydney on Friday, so this will probably be my last post until I am in Australia……….

 

As you may have concluded, I have had a great time in this wonderful country; one of the great advantages that New Zealand has, apart from its astounding natural beauty, is its glaringly obvious underpopulation (don’t tell anyone)……………………New Zealand is larger than the whole of the UK and more than twice the size of England, it has a population of 4.4 million and if you exclude the populations of 3 major cities, Auckland, Wellington and Christchuch, there are barely 2 million people inhabiting the rest of this country……….the UK has a population of 63 million, London (including greater) over 8 million…..Manchester more than 2.5 million, so, with this perspective, it is easy to understand why this country, and its roads seem so quiet, slowly-paced and leisurely..…………………. and why for visitors from the UK, at least, it distills the very essence of a bygone era……….. it seems naive and far too romantic to describe it as having an unspoiled innocence, but it is difficult to dismiss that opinion when you are here.

 

I have found the New Zealanders, warm, friendly and extremely helpful; every-time that I have asked someone here for help or directions, my customary apologetic approach of “so sorry to trouble you but” has been met with a “it’s no trouble at all” or “that’s okay, only too pleased to help”………it’s the pace of life here, everyone has time for each other, and on occasions, time itself seems to hang suspended…………….

Oh, and they still employ people in garages, who put petrol in your car’s tank, say hello, smile at you, clean your windscreen and rear window, and ask if there is anything else that you need…………..

Thank you New Zealand………………(*_*)

 

 

 

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