From Upover to Downunder and Back Again...

August-September 2007 From time to time some of us are let out from under our dank, stone bridges and let fly about the mundane planes. Sometimes we stop and linger here and there to smell beverages, taste the air or even buy souvenirs like plush toys, placemats or fudge. Although, fudge makes a poor souvenir since it never seems to make it home. The original plan was to go to Leeds in what used to be called Yorkshire. We didn't go so far astray because they reorganised the British counties (although it certainly didn't help... I'm pretty old fashioned in some ways). A trip downunder to New Zealand and Australia may have been our second choice (well third choice actually) but it could never be something to regret. I am reasonably convinced that people are pretty much the same, kind, helpful, wonderfully eccentric, generous and hospitable just about everywhere, but damn... some of them certainly do talk funny!

Bagshot Row (Matamata)

We have come to a land where the folk are short and wooly, and there are smials everywhere. The folk are shy. Most of them stay indoors. This is why we have come.

Photo: S.MacLeod ©2007

Sharon Loves the Party Tree... (Matamata)

What surprised me wasn't that my lovely wife hugged the party tree, it was that no one else did. We love most trees (we are tree-huggers from way back) but some are more famous and better for hugging than others.

Photo: R.Crossby ©2007

Bag End Then and Now... (Matamata)

Because of unresolved licencing issues which are still under negotiation, the farm is not allowed to keep anything in the same condition it was in during shooting. They do, however, have a few photos here and there of what things looked like in their prime.

This is the last photo of the famous sheep farm in Matamata. When we later flew to Australia, we had to fill out the little card that asked, among other things, "have you been on a farm in the last week?" Of course we had to answer in the affirmative and this, naturally, got us pulled over at customs. "Where were you on a farm?" I was asked. "We were on a sheep farm in Matamata." I replied. "Ah," said the customs man, "we know those sheep... they are good sheep". (Another strip search narrowly averted. Huzah!)

Photo: S.MacLeod ©2007

Letting Off Some Steam (Rotorua)

The thermal valley of Rotorua at Te Puia (which means "Our Puia"). The valley smells like Hell, but it's good for our sinuses and we get used to it pretty quickly.

Photo: S.MacLeod ©2007

Sea of Boiling Mud (Rotorua)

The thermal of Rotorua is just what it sounds like. We never thought we'd come across photogenic boiling mud, or take pictures in which almost everything is the same shade of grey. Live and learn.

Photo: S.MacLeod ©2007

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