18 January 2012


Today - at Whakarewarewa, Rotorua
When I was eight years old, a new teacher arrived at my little village primary school in the heart of East Yorkshire. She was tall, slightly exotic in appearance and spoke English in an accent we had never met before. She was Miss Sanderson and she came from New Zealand.

On several Friday afternoons, she led singing sessions on her ukulele. The songs she taught us were as unfamiliar as her accent...”Riding home from Bangor on an Easter train/Met a student fellow, handsome tall and plain/ Quite extensive whiskers, beard, moustache as well...” But the song that really stuck in my little eight year old mind was "Pokarekare Ana", sometimes known as "The Waters of Lake Rotorua".

That’s where we are tonight – Rotorua - in the geothermal heart of the North Island. Our cedarwood chalet looks out on Lake Rotorua itself. This morning we visited the Whakarewarewa Maori village, built around an area of significant geothermal activity. Some of the pools are so hot that the people cook in them. For forty minutes we watched a little Maori cultural show in which the performers sang a languorous version of the song I first heard from the mouth of Miss Sanderson some time in  1961.

Yesterday was a true milestone in the history of blogging as when Livingstone met Stanley or when McCartney met Lennon. I visited the Tauranga mansion of Katherine de Chevalle with its lofty riverside views and there I met the great lady herself. I know that Mr Brague of Canton, Georgia will be extremely jealous about this but I don't care. Katherine gave Shirley and I a lovely homemade lunch which we consumed with Katherine’s affable daughter. The roast kiwi was succulent. Embarrassingly, I managed to drop some of our gracious hostess’s delicious green tomato chutney upon the tablecloth. Silly me!
Dr Livingstone I presume?
This is only the second time I have met with a blogger I have often linked with but I was glad I called in on Katherine. We got on fine in spite of initial and mutual nervousness and I wish we could have stayed longer. It was great to see some of Katherine’s portfolio of artwork – surrounding her investigations into the lives and perspectives of bees. Thank you Katherine. It was lovely to meet you and visit your characterful home.

Tomorrow we head for Gisborne on the east coast of the North Island.


  1. It's lovely to be able to meet up with a fellow blogger - and especially one who is on the other side of the world!

  2. I am not jealous. I am not jealous. I am not jealous.

    I would be even more jealous than I already am if it were not for the fact that we have a piece of Katherine de Chevalle's art on our wall -- a lovely painting of grapes that is with us always, not like that chutney.

  3. ...gave Shirley and me...

  4. And, on our part, 'twas indeed a great pleasure to meet you both YP. May amiable weather and interesting sights continue to accompany you for your last week in KiwiLand. (It was nice and succulent, wasn't it?)

    Robert: I have had the chutney-stain framed.

  5. Looks and sounds idyllic.

    But it's my turn to correct your grammar when you say that you 'met with a blogger'. As a transitive verb, 'meet' does not require the preposition 'with' between verb and object.

    One of my personal bugbears I'm afraid!

  6. Nice work with the Photoshop - too many dull Sheffield winter days to fill in I see ;)

    Seriously, wow!!

  7. When we visited Whakarewarewa, Rotorua about four years ago, the thing that I asked myself most was....How do those people who live there put up with the smell and the fog and the uncertainness of another vent opening at any time? I mean, some vents are on the grounds of apartment buildings. Some are on the golf course. But, we loved it there nonetheless.

  8. Cook's Cove or bus(t)...

  9. So - - you can find your way to New Zealand to meet up with a fellow blogger - - but you haven't found your way to Leeds yet, have you? Harrumph!


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