Steam punk and sculpture – Monday 27th February 2012


I slept well and woke feeling much better. I ate a tentative breakfast and got up. All good so far.

Oamaru has a brilliant Victorian centre by the harbour. The buildings, unusual for New Zealand, are elaborate white limestone. For a large section of the town, Corinthian columns adorn the facade of banks and civic buildings, while down by the harbour, solid limestone blocks form warehouses, which today, are use for artistic creation.

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Seem store wool bails, whilst others house potters, limestone scullers and a wonderful array of costumiers. We saw a warehouse dedicated to operatic and theatrical costumiers, which had no access irritatingly.
Oamaru has its own cheese factory, “Whitestone”. It’s cheese has won loads of awards and you can enter a viewing gallery to watch them go about their every day work. We were lucky enough to be there when they were straining the curds from the whey. For lunch we just had to have a cheese platter with an assortment of 6 cheeses. Despite my recent recovery, I found it delicious.

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It’s definitely a town with artisans. The Steam Punk HQ has graced the town with it’s metal sculpture. All has humour, all is larger than life, all is metal.

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There are several outlets for limestone sculpture. None too keen for photographs, presumably industrial espionage is a factor! One is very animal inspired and I am not drawn to it. One is set alongside clothes and jewelry and I like some pieces a lot. The last is an artisan who is currrently at work, tapping away, costs the most of all and has some large pieces, none of which quite fit with us. For ages we discuss the merits of shipping some home, and which piece we both like, and how much we are prepared to spend. Eventually we return to the shop which had the mix of clothes etc only to find it closed for ‘sickness’ reasons. Damn! Be more decisive in future!
Oamaru also has a passion for penny farthing bikes. At least three places offer static bike to try out and the children’s playground is being built around this theme.

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Near the harbour, we find Fleur’s other place but it is closed every Monday. So no meal out today!
Just when I feel well enough too! We settle for a drink in the lovely Victorian pub, which is nearly deserted.

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I am so pleased we stopped here. It’s a lovely, charming town and the Highway Mews is one of the nicest motels we have seen.

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They loan us two of the three DVDs for Lord of the Rings and we have film night, curled up together. I’m beginning to miss those ‘do nothing’ times.

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