It all began one wet Christchurch morning…
but…. half an hour out of town heading in a westward direction that changed (the wet that is)!
We left the clouds and rain behind and set our sights on the sunny West Coast…
Jim: Our driver
Steve: Chef and No 1 food shopper; chief vehicle-packer… (an Aussie, as well!)
Rosemary: Steve’s wife (another Aussie), my cousin, chief sandwich maker
Judy (myself): Jim’s wife; tour director and planner and dish-washer (yeah well, I had to give myself some label, didn’t I??)
The plan: To traverse the alps and passes and countryside and see as much as possible in nine days.
We were equipped – snow chains, coats/jackets (about 3 per person), scarves, gloves, beanies, long-johns, wooly socks, boots, thermals…. snow… here we come!!
Everything had been booked by aforementioned planner (self) and Steve had bought food to be cooked on our first night at Lake Brunner.
Hang on…. someone mentioned pies…. Springfield… top pie shop… that’d be at about morning tea cum lunch time… oh well, sandwiches will keep for a day….
Sheffield is a few “k” short of Springfield and begins with same letter so when the sign “Award-winning pies” was spied approaching Sheffield where else would we stop… “someone” must have got the “S”s muddled…
Judy pops into the said pie shop, looks for the “necessary”, can’t see one, enquires… “500 metres down the road”…. gives Jim her pie order and says, “I’ll meet you at the loo”, and off she trots (well, strolls, actually) in keen anticipation.
When one is in a hurry for a “short stop” 500 metres is a very long way… and one hopes one’s driver might just come, pick one up and make the journey a little shorter or briefer! However, one’s hopes are often dashed… My driver was so excited to get a hot “award-winning” pie he couldn’t wait to consume it so did so sitting right outside the pie shop…. while his wife strides it out down the main road to the nearest you-know-what. And this particular “u-no-wot” (short for “you-know-what”) was in a sports ground – at the back of the sports ground – so it wasn’t just 500 metres, it was 500 metres plus another 200 across the sports field!
Driver and passengers arrived as I was about to cross the sports field so I (with a little bit of annoyance apparent!) jumped in the vehicle and was taken the last 100 metres to the u-no-what. Feeling much relieved I then said we would stop at a picnic table adjacent to the sports field and have our coffee and pies… oops, change that to pie – mine, the only one not yet consumed!
Now, on the subject of pies (to which we will return not infrequently) … I don’t actually like them. Jim does, but as I am his dietician (ha! ha!), he rarely gets to eat them (mmmmm….. in my sight!). However, I was willing to give one of these special pies a taste… I chose a New York Steak & Pepper pie… and I must say that it was the best pie I can ever remember having eaten – full marks to Sheffield’s Award-winning pie shop.
Well, we haven’t progressed far this time but soon we will continue our journey west – from Christchurch through Arthur’s Pass to Lake Brunner near the West Coast…