30 November – Blenheim

This morning we wake up to find the verandah wet. Rain? We haven’t seen any since the tropical downpour in Port Douglas. We even spread washing out inside to dry, as it looks unlikely to stay dry all day.

After coffee, Harry decides that Blenheim is the place to go.

A mere hour’s drive away, and a pleasant town. Bigger than it looks at first, with lots of facilities.  We park, wander, buy a “home-made lemonade” from a man who tells us his mum was from Birmingham, and he and his wife  lived and worked in London for a couple of years.

We eat our cheese and crackers and drink the lemo on a bench near the market square – another slightly incongruous mock Tudor clock. My faithful Opinel knife cuts the cheese.

Back to the car, and then on to the Aviation Heritage Centre at Omaka,
just outside the town – an excellent display of genuine and reconstructed world war 1 planes, some of which are still flown in exhibitions. Alongside these planes, there are films relating to the time, uniforms and other ephemera from the Allies and the other side. Models of people engaged in various activities add to the atmosphere. The whole is housed in a large building with subdued lighting. Peter Jackson, who directed Lord of the Rings is an aviation and WW1 enthusiast , owns some of the displays, and was instrumental in setting up the displays.
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We arrive half an hour before closing time, but we’re told that they kick everyone out an hour after that. Last entry at 4 pm. This gives us plenty of time to look and absorb.

As we drive back the rain begins again in earnest and we see another side to the hills. Mist-shrouded moody mountains, and a greyer sea. DSCF5436

A refreshing change in some ways. At least we’re not having to hide from the strong sun!

Along the road from Picton to Blenheim we saw the “shoe fence’ referred to here by Robyn Carter, aka The Ambling Rambler.