Saturday, June 11, 2011

Spot the Dalmatian

Northland is in the papers today, featured as a part of NZ that's suffering more than most from recession-caused unemployment, especially amongst the young; and certainly on a dull day like this, the abandoned and derelict cottages, closed businesses, graffiti and the aimlessly loitering hoodie-d young men were more noticeable than the green and pleasant scenery and the long long beach (though not quite Ninety Miles).

It's a shame that things have changed so much: less than 100 years ago, it was all happening up here. Russell, or Korororeka, was briefly the national capital, heaving with industry, commerce and people, the missionaries were working hard spiritually, practically and academically, timber was being cut and hauled across the country, and all around this area, men from Dalmatia were living horrendously hard lives out in the bush in sacking huts, spending their days digging deep holes in swamps to extract the kauri gum left from forests felled by an unidentified cataclysm (tsunami? hurricane? eruption? comet?) 100,000 years ago.There's a saying "mad as a gum-digger's dog" - and it must have been a tough life for a small return. And all for varnishing coaches and coffins on the other side of the world...

But once the gum was gone and the land cleared, they had the right to buy it for farming, so there was a long reward - and some of the Dallies got into wine-making, and we all know how that ended. There's a winery attached to the Carrington Resort here and we were meant to have a wine-tasting today; but we'd much rather go back to the restaurant for another excellent meal tonight and taste the wine there in action, so to speak. Maybe we'll have some of the Angus beef that they raise here too. Mmmm.

2 comments:

the queen said...

Oh no - another quake in CC. 5.2 isnt too bad, is it?

Pam said...

5.2 in a sound city wouldn't be too bad, perhaps - but this was 5.5 and then a 6 in a place already full of cracks, literal and figurative. (Remember the numbers go up exponentially.)

No deaths reported so far, or major damage yet, but more power outages, failed sewage systems, liquefaction, broken roads and widespread despondency. Poor Christchurch.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...