Early Spring

I had the odd  bike ride, one along the Waimea Inlet Estuary, one to Brightwater and the another to Wakefield. The tide was coming in on the Inlet ride, very still and bright blue sky but a chilly morning.  Not many water birds were about except for some oystercatchers and the odd duck.   A running marathon was in progress so it was to keep ahead or let them pass. 

Brightwater Primary School about to do some native planting by the Waimea River.

On the ride out to Brightwater, just over the cycle swing bridge, we came upon a school class from Brightwater Primary, busy helping to plant native shrubs along the river bank. It was good to see and also their mode of travel too. By pushbike. There were several classes involved this day, one class after another throughout the day. We passed one class on the way and while I dodged the puddles in the road, nearly everyone in the class rode their bikes through every puddle they past! It was good to see and much more positive than just protesting and waving banners around. 

Along Out Wakefield  Way: another bike ride was out to Wakefield along the cycle trail passing the old Knapp house at Spring Grove. Built around1852 by James & Ellen Knapp and it appears to be in fair repair after all those years. I took a photo of the house in 1979  and it doesn’t look much different 40 years later except there’s more rust on the roof! It seems it is used to store hay now (and James and Ellen don’t live there anymore).  

Knapp’s house 1979.
Knapp’s house 2019.

The bike trail follows the back country road, through some fine totara’s, a stream, then we pass the historic church on the hill to coast down into the village of Wakefield. On a wall of one shop facing the main highway is a mural depicting the early days of the district. It even included a steam engine, alas, all a memory now. 

Wakefield shop side mural.

Coming into Brightwater on the way back we passed the old Newman homestead. I think anyway. At the back was an old barn type structure along with a hay loft which I guess might have fed the horses of Newman Brothers. The brothers started in around 1876 with a horse and dray, to become a nationwide bus company. By 1904 they ran passenger services to Nelson, Blenheim to Westport. They owned ten coaches and wagons, 150 horses and had 20 stables along the routes. Then in 1911 they bought their first motor vehicle, a 4 cylinder Cadillac eventually the last horse drawn carriage was retired from service in 1918. Newman Bros are now part of the Inter-city Group.

A reminder of horse drawn days?

A New BikeI bought a new push bike. I just thought to go into a bike shop and get a bike but things are not like that now it seems. First it is the cost and as I walked past some ‘specimens’ on display and taking note of the price tags with prices of $2000 and then one of $5000, I did a double look to see where the decimal point was in all those naughts – but noted that they each still had two peddles. Then I passed a rack with battery powered bikes and as I’d already seen too many naughts, I kept my eyes straight ahead. 
It wasn’t just to pick one out with two wheels, handle bar and a seat. Oh, no! Every item had choices like size, width, treads, brakes and gears. Disc brakes, hydraulic something and gear ratios. 

I took off but came back a week later and said I just want a bike to ride along bike trails, some roads and the odd rough track and that I didn’t want to bend over the handle bars to far. They said they would order ‘that one’ and to come back in a week. 

Crossing on the swing bridge over the Waimea River.

July Rainfall: 203.5mm (average 88mm) while the August rainfall was 101.5mm (average 115mm) so if for the rest of the year rainfall is average we will have 1131mm which is not too far of the average for a year at 1322mm. The years with the lowest rainfall were 2015 – 830mm & 2009 with 902mm. So nothing out of the way over the years, just a normal wide variation. 

1 Comment

  1. What a great story and diary Will and fantastic photos. Many thanks.

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