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This page last updated: 29th November 2005.
|Day 21: Napier||Map|
About 6.30 a.m. the bird-scarers start up. They sound like gunshot going off. I make tea and toast and try to find the news and a weather-forecast on the television. As per instructions, we leave the key inside the villa before getting away about 9.30.
We take some quiet back-roads and eventually get on to SH2 just before Masterton. We stop at the little town of Woodville. There are a few second-hand shops. We spend a while wandering in and out of the various shops, but find nothing of especial interest. We get an early lunch, before continuing up SH2.
On the outskirts of town, we pick up a hitchhiker. He is a young New Zealander returning to the farm where he works after a visit home. He asks us about the UK and we share our knowledge. He hasn't even been to the South Island of New Zealand. He seems rather over-awed when we tell him how different the roads are in the UK and the amount of traffic they carry. We drop him off near Waipukerau, and continue via Hastings to Napier. As we drive in towards the town along the shoreline, some huge gusts of wind shake the car ominously. We hope the events of seventy years ago are not about to be repeated.
We follow instructions to our overnight accommodation at The Large House, Napier. We find it in Hadfield Terrace. Access from the street, is via a series of stone steps, which Christine has difficulty negotiating. There is no answer at the back door on the first level reached, so we have to descend some wooden steps down to the front of the house.
We are met by Judith. She shows us into the lounge and tells about its history. Built in 1858 on what was once an island, it was the home of James Stanibridge Large, a furniture dealer and cabinet maker. Constructed of solid pitsawn kauri, it was one of the few buildings to survive the 1931 earthquake which destroyed much of Napier, and led to the town being rebuilt in the Art Deco style for which it is renowned. Judith takes us upstairs into a very exquisite room. Across the landing is the guest's sitting room, which leads to the kitchen and the back door. John arrives shortly and helps me unload the car and bring the luggage down the stairs to the back door. We will be able to use this exit and avoid at least one flight of stairs.
Christine has a sleep, while I relax in the sitting room reading the paper and looking through some of the books that tell the history of Napier and the surrounding region. Later we go for a drive out to Bay View and back to town. We find a small coffee bar that serves plain food. It is dark by the time we find our way home to the Large House.
|Journal - Day 22||Photographs - Day 21|