OK, day 7, I have been shirking writing this story about our final day of travel on the Majacraft experience of the 2012 NZ Fibre Festival. Even more infuriating is that this is my second attempt. I had made great progress getting this written before I managed to lose it all through quirks of WordPress and my own stupidity. However, despite my reticence, it would not be appropriate to avoid the dramatic finale to our seven days away. After all, there are so many unanswered questions, "did we make it home", "were there more flat tyres", "was tea waiting for me and my children remember me". In brief, yes, no, yes, yes. However, here is the recounting from the beginning to flesh out the picture.
We had a nice relaxed start at 9.00am and waved goodbye to Rosalie and Graham after a restful visit. We did not really have any objectives or tasks on the return so this story is mostly a relaying of interesting sights and experiences. Our first stop was at Otaki which has a bunch of garment factory shops which Glynis suggested we stop and look through as there are often bargains to be had. I was also quite keen on a coffee break and this bakery cafe caught my eye. I thought the name was very cute and fun and liked the way they had presented themselves.
After half an hour we were on our way again. Over Christmas this year, Owen was given a biography about a New Zealand possum trapper/hunter/jack of all trades called Davey Hughes who, with his wife, started up a business called Swazi that makes hunting and outdoor clothing. I ended up reading the book through twice for many reasons including it was a jolly entertaining read. I very much admired his ethic in Swazi as he is committed to providing employment to local skilled craftspeople that work in the factory. Despite the opportunity to make more profit by not doing this, he chooses to support his local community. He is quite a character and often makes appearances on the "Border Patrol" series which is a reality TV program about New Zealand and Australian customs as he returns from wild hunting adventures around the world. He also drives a big black Isuzu 4wd that has been called Bodacious. I insisted on visiting the Swazi factory shop in Levin to see where it all happened. It appears as though Davey was in that morning as Bodacious was parked out the front of the factory. I confess I was a little star struck!
We had a lunch break in Taihape which was near the middle of our journey and is a regular stopping point for travellers. They have a large corrugated gumboot on the outskirts of town that is quite a clever feat of engineering and there is an interesting story about the gumboots and the significance to the farming community of Taihape but if I explain it, my description may come across as patronising which is completely not my intent so I will leave it at "we had yummy soup at the cafe and here is a picture of the Taihape gumboot".
My final little story involves the Lord of the Rings. As I indicated earlier in this saga, I am a bit of a movie geek and even have the Location Guidebook. Stepping sideways a little, there is a stretch of highway in New Zealand that is quite high up and is called the Desert Road. It is one of the areas I really enjoy travelling and would like to explore the land more on foot. Anyway, back to the LOTR thread, Orodruin which is Mount Doom in the movies was based on Mount Ruapehu which is the most significant landmark on the Desert Road. I always have a little smile to myself as I drive past and note I live not so far from the land of Mordor (where the shadows lie ).
So, we did make it home again, although surprising and unsurprisingly at the same time, a seven hour journey took us over nine hours. We did not have any punctures and we have a mechanically joyfully uneventful drive. My children did recognise me and I had the pleasure of cuddling and reading them stories before they went to bed. My wife and family missed me and to top it all off, I had a tea waiting for me!
I (and I think I can speak for Glynis here) had a great time, meeting new and old friends and sharing what we do with amazing and creative people from around the country. I am very grateful to all the people who helped make it happen in direct and indirect ways in workshop: Owen, Rob, Lance, Baz, Scott, Andrea, Amanda and of course my family for being very accommodating of my time away.
Thanks for reading and until next time (touch wood it will be loom news!)
P.S. a later amendment. Mount Ruapehu was certainly used for scenes of Mordor and on Mount Doom but I have to confirm that it actually *was* Mount Doom - it might be Mount Ngauruhoe which is just across a bit and missing photographing the correct one would really break my story a bit. I can, with conviction, say that Mount Ruapehu is 'mostly' Orodruin