There’s something marvellous and uplifting about old machinery still in use making beautiful, timeless products. This morning we visited Stansborough Mill weaving establishment in Petone. It’s an unassuming shopfront that holds its treasures behind with 6 late -19th century British looms, producing textiles with the wool from the unique ‘Stansborough Greys’ bred by the business owner. The woven items include scarves, rugs, throws and blankets. The sheep, shorn twice a year, produce a soft grey curly fleece that feels a bit like patting a curly spaniel. How wonderful that these machines have not been scrapped and are maintained religiously, with new parts as required being fashioned from the engineering works opposite or by a wood craftsman friend. There are also apparently lots of original spares. The garments for the films The Hobbit and Narnia were woven here, and we were given 50 reasons for visiting the village/screen set at Hobbiton, between Hamilton and Auckland (that’s probably on tomorrow’s itinerary). As we have a significant anniversary looming, a lovely soft grey throw (to accompany the other soft grey items close to home) was purchased. D passed on the suggestion that a poncho would be a terrific thing to take on that mountain climb, or on the horse ride (King of Jordan has one for this purpose).
Getting out of Wellington was fairly easy, just follow No.1 north…First stop was at an ‘outlet town’: every shop on the main road being the graveyard of brands…but T got some Magic Pudding (Icebreaker) socks, that come with a lifetime guarantee…if holes appear or they shrink, or…just bring them in and they’ll be replaced. Not sure how that works…’a bit like Tupperware’ said D. Don’t know how that stands up re curing T’s foot…
Driving through central NI, we wondered where were the mountains and campervans. The sky darkened approaching Lake Taupo and showers were intermittent. It does rain in NZ, we thought.
At 5:30 it was time to look for a bed; Taupo offered heaps of options. ‘Just give me a lake view’, said T, ‘since there’ll be no outdoor activity’…the sky was bruising up nicely for the camera.
So, choice was made promptly, with a bistro next door. It’s now a ‘whiteout’ with that threatening storm now pouring down. Might need to ask for a refund, as can’t see the lake anymore – the little sailing boats are scuttling for home, heeling ovdr in the wind..
This morning at Stansborough we were told that NZ sheep farmers were edgy as there’s been no rain for 6 weeks….maybe some lambs need to be sold…now a bit of magic! The Cran drought breakers are in town!
And someone else is very comfortable, thanks! Maybe T will retreat to the back bedroom if this soft black thing refuses to vacate.
The storm passed and we donned coats to dash next door to the Jolly Good Fellows eatery. And suitably jolly it was…D had a Guinness/beef pastie (measured around 12cm x 10cm) + peas and T went for the lamb’s fry and bacon (a treat last eaten about 5 years ago in a pub at White Cliffs, NSW). Both were fabulous.
Rain had cleared to a gentle evening, so a walk around town in search of a supermarket for breakfast supplies was a sensible but fruitless exercise. This tourist town takes on a lonely feel after dark, out of season.