My friend, Chris and I arrived back last night after four wonderful days tripping around the north, mainly the Hokianga area, on a mission to photograph old churches. I now have so many church photos I don't know what I'm going to do with them. Maybe I will start a Sunday "Church of the Day" post. Will think about that.
The weather was pretty lousy, mostly very overcast, scattered showers as the weather forecasters say (some of them quite heavy) and a lot of the time a chilly wind. But most of the time the weather cleared for us when we stopped - we put that down to our being on a "blessed mission".
Along the way we travelled hundreds of kilometers on back country dirt roads, this one below is sealed but recent bad weather had caused a slip up ahead and we crept very slowly past what looked like a loose rock above the road.
We passed through forests with swollen streams:
Visited wild west coast beaches:
and holiday houses shrouded in rain:
A waterfall on a back road was an unexpected pleasure. Two vehicles stopped to see if we were OK when we stopped here as it was getting quite late and we were miles from anywhere. A passenger in the second vehicle remarked to Chris that he had a car at home that would fit the tyres on her car, she had better not break down and leave the car there or he'd be back for them. This amused us as Chris' car is brand new, we would have thought he'd be more interested in the car than its tyres.
We saw houses of every imaginable description from those that had finished their life
There were unexpected pleasures. We loved this old boat sitting by the side of the road in Rawene:
Oh yes, and so many graveyards. Some little cemeteries were so bright with flowers and ornaments:
and some graves brought a tear to the eye:
Lucky for us nearly every Catholic church we visited was open. We were not so lucky with most of the others. Some of them had found unique ways to lock up. The broom propped against the door here was nailed to the door.
and this one just had an old seat upturned against it.
As we were getting back in the car outside the church above we witnessed something rather special. At this stage we were on State Highway One in an open speed zone, there wasn't a lot of traffic but the cars and trucks that were passing through weren't going slow. We waited while a young Maori lady approached leading one horse with another younger horse trotting quietly behind. Occasionally she would stop and speak quietly to the following horse. We thought the second horse was the foal of the one on the lead but when she came up to us she said, no, she had never seen it before. She had been leading her horse along the road back to her place and the younger horse had been loose on the side of the road and had fallen in behind. She was going to take it home to see if she could get a rope on it, then ring around the neighbours to see if she could find its owner. I felt we had met a lady horse whisperer, her manner was so quiet and gentle.
At the end of Day Two, thanks to some dodgy navigating on behalf on yours truly we ended up being closer to the East Coast than the West Coast where we were headed, so carried on to the east and arrived well after dark in Kerikeri. But even dodgy navigating has its reward, through the rain on the windscreen there was a little pretty colour in the evening sky.