1-3/1/16. Thames was wet. Thames was interesting. Thames was friendly. Thames was pretty.
We liked everything about Thames apart from the weather – which was awful! We spent three nights there in order to have a day to look round and then a day of rest to accommodate Christine’s church and pill day on Sunday before leaving on Monday – only to find that we had miscalculated and we would be departing on Sunday! (In our defence the days of the week are pretty much an irrelevance to us at the moment.) When we realised we did a bit of juggling of the pill day to Saturday and left after church as we had a relatively short and easy ride along the cycle trail.
Some unkind people might suggest we are going by the seat of our pants! We prefer to call it being flexible!!
Anyway, back to New Year’s Eve and Day. The wind picked up a lot overnight waking us several times with the tent flapping a bit but the rain held off other than a couple of very brief showers. However, it had only been saving itself for the next morning when it started to throw it down. After breakfast in the crowded communal kitchen we retreated to the tent to read for a while – and we both ended up snoozing, Stephen for quite some time.
In the afternoon and on Saturday we took the opportunity of brief respites in the weather to go into town for a look round and more food shopping. Thames was the site of a gold rush in the 1870s and, for a while, very prosperous place with a famous School of Mines (or so it claims, at least). It has been left with some pretty and interesting buildings from that time. The town museum also features a collection of models of some of the more important and interesting buildings that have been lost over the years. These were made of recycled kauri wood by a Thames born man.
On Sunday, Christine went to the local presbyterian/methodist church which is claimed to be the best example of a wooden gothic church in NZ. It is certainly beautiful with the inside showing off kauri wood as a splendid building material. After the service the minister and members of the congregation pressed Christine to join them for coffee and to bring The Husband too! They were lovely people who were fascinated to hear about our trip. We were disappointed to turn down an invitation to stay the night from one sweet lady, Mary, who had spent 10 years travelling around Europe after her husband died. We are sure we would have had a lively evening swapping stories but, unfortunately, we had done a little forward planning for once (wonders will never cease!) and booked ourselves a motel room 35 km up the trail in Paeroa.
Saying goodbye, we set off in the dry (the rain, which had been coming down all morning, having stopped during the service) and had a wonderful ride – flat, away from the traffic and with a tail wind! What more could two rather bedraggled cyclists ask for? Well, I guess it would have been even better if the rain had held off completely. As it was we had a few light showers while cycling but the heavy stuff stayed away until we had got to our motel although it did catch us when we nipped out for fish and chips in the early evening.