This past weekend it was the annual Tattoo Festival and you know what? My adorable girlfriend drove us all the way up and back again.
Arriving just minutes before my appointment to get stabbed, I had a dagger added to my other arm by Brooke. We wandered the festival, bought a few presents, and watched a daredevil couple perform.
That Saturday night in New Plymouth the options for entertainment were: the Tattoo Festival, the Seekers at the Bowl of Brooklands, or the annual local Christmas parade.
We found a pub two blocks back from the street and sat in the sun drinking beers and watched the children watch the parade.
(at a distance: really the only way I like children)
Overnight, we stayed at a fancy hotel called the King and Queen Suites and I don’t think I’ll ever stay anywhere else in New Plymouth ever again – the bed was a gigantic white cloud.
(I felt terrible leaving my colourful-plasma mark on the sheets.)
The Govett-Brewster gallery is currently closed for renovations so another trip to New Plymouth passes without me visiting. One day I’ll get there.
Instead we drove back down the Island stopping at all the places with signs which had piqued our interest on the drive up.
Near Hawera we stopped at the Tawhiti Museum and almost balked at the $12 entry fee. But, you know what? For a small museum in small-town New Zealand, with a lot of displays including mannequins, it was an excellent excellent place to visit.
On the drive up the country we flew (at the speed limit) past a man, parked near the entrance to “William Birch Pond”, surrounded by chickens. Yes, chickens. And roosters.
I couldn’t work out if the man in the car had brought his chickens to the park or if, perhaps, the chickens lived at William Birch Pond. I had to find out.
It turns out the chickens and the roosters live at William Birch Pond. The more you know.
We’d also seen a sign on the road shouting “HISTORIC PLACE. 800m” and 800 metres later, a sign shouting “HISTORIC PLACE. CAMERON BLOCKHOUSE” and an arrow pointing down what appeared to be a private driveway.
Of course we stopped.
I’m not sure what we were expecting, but the “enter at your own risk” sign seemed ominous.
THE Cameron Blockhouse (not a memorial for a man called Cameron Blockhouse) is a small red shed at the beginning of a farm. It’s pretty empty inside.
It’s the kind of place you walk inside, read the sign, look around and say “… huh.” before departing again. But if I’d never visited, I would have always wondered about HISTORIC PLACE, CAMERON BLOCKHOUSE.
Our final stop was Ratana. It was open and empty and quiet.
You know, I like New Plymouth more and more each time I visit. Perhaps I’ll move there after London.
(I’m kidding. Maybe.)