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4 November 2007

Old Coach Rd


page 2

Coming down from the right is what looks like the other end of a possible shortcut that headed off a little way back.

It's steady but easy enough. The original grade was to be managed by horses pulling a load.

You can see the nature of the underlying rock along here. Topsoil is a scarce commodity. I never fail to be surprised and amazed at the ability of small plants to find a crevice for their roots in strong rock and somehow trap enough dust to provide a livelihood for themselves.

It's attractive farmland, but I doubt it gives much away. Miranda lived here for a few years as a child when her parents farmed a small lifestyle block in the area.

We keep on walking and the pylons march past regularly as we climb.

The English poets of the thirties were vastly taken with these structures, contrasting them with human habitation centuries old

The Pylons – Stephen Spender
The secret of these hills was stone, and cottages
Of that stone made,
And crumbling roads
That turned on sudden hidden villages.
Now over these small hills, they have built the concrete
That trails black wire;
Pylons, those pillars
Bare like nude giant girls that have no secret...

It's a brilliant capture of the clumsy and grotesquely humanesque forms, whether they be in concrete or in meccano style..

At least here, you can see the series of ridges that have to be negotiated; not like coming over hilltop after hilltop only to find that another lot, formerly hidden, awaits your (?) pleasure.

We were always told as kids that you climb over a fence right alongside the post. Not right here you don't.

It's been a season or two since these have been anywhere near a set of shears, and, as well, some of them are obviously scouring badly for whatever reason. Gorse appears here to be on it's way back as well.

The mist is getting thicker as we climb, and the wind stronger still.

The hill forms in the mist are nevertheless quite startlingly beautiful. they remind me of a painter whose work I used to see in the sixties and seventies a lot, when I visited my university friends in their parents' homes. Helen Brown, if my memory serves me. I loved her work, especially those paintings featuring the Hauraki Gulf islands. There was something magical about the light.

It's not exactly the big billy goat gruff, but we approach cautiously all the same. I send the women on ahead.

Another series of ridges awaits.

We're starting to lose the valleys, and any sense of real height, but the cotton wool wrapping is nonetheless eery.

And here we are at the top.



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