About an hour's drive here over the Lewis Pass took us through yet more scenic countryside.Although the mountains aren't quite so high as those further south they are still pretty striking with lush green valleys.The day we arrived was hot and very sunny so we decided to have a round of golf.First of all we found accommodation at Kakapo Lodge a youth hostel where we managed to get an en suite room with a microwave and fridge - and free internet! - very comfortable it was too.Hanmer Springs golf course is very picturesque the most challenging aspect being the very, very fast greens. We both had very good rounds which might indicate that the golf is at last improving - but then again maybe not. Hanmer Springs is a very attractive large village which thrives on the natural spring waters and skiing in the winter. While we were here we heard that snow was expected over 600 metres, not surprising when we woke on our second day to significantly colder and overcast weather. This gave us another opportunity to do nothing much other than a wander round the shops, a cup of coffee followed by a walk through the local forest to enjoy the autumnal scenery (much of the vegetation is non-indigenous). Later on we went back up the street for a meal in Robbie's Cafe Bar.
The following morning the weather continued dull and cool with low cloud, which put paid to doing some of the higher level walks we'd thought about doing. But as it remained dry, and as M had previously negotiated a 'deal' with the golf club, we set out for another round.With the improvement in the weather we completed a round which was a creditable performance, albeit not as good as before.On the course we'd exchanged pleasantries with a New Zealand couple whom we bumped into later on in the local.Elaine and Snow, from nearby Ashburton, were good company and we had a rare blether over a couple of drinks.On our previous visit to this pub we met a temporary barman, Dave, who was from Dumfries and beaming at Queen of the South's success, beating Aberdeen , to reach the Scottish Cup Final.
Back at the hostel, while cooking up a splendid pot of stovies, we got talking to a number of people in the kitchen. One couple, Cat and Des, turned out to be living near Edinburgh.Cat, who was originally from Musselburgh was going to be living at Bilston when they returned from NZ in a few days.Very interestingly, and here the six degrees of separation law comes in again, her mother in Bilston lives next door to Susan Downie.We both knew a Susan Downie from Bilston when we worked for PSA in Argyle House, Edinburgh in 1976.Susan was one of M's best workmates and was instrumental in M & E meeting up.Now, we wonder if this is the same Susan Downie.We have her address and will send her a postcard, and Cat has also promised to pass on a message when she gets back home.Watch this space!
E & M xxx