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A great day out was experiencd yesterday on a bus trip with members of the West Coasters Club here in Ch Ch. We spent the day in Hororata which is a large farming community. Hardly a cow in sight.:lol::lol: Hectares of cereal about 12 inches high and as green as can be. I suspected it was wheat. Horo meaning ravine, Rata of course being the Southern Rata. The big rivers like the Waimak, Wilberforce, and Rangitata wind from the Alps to the east coast not very far away. The Mt. Hutt skifield can be reached through Hororata.
The public gardens have a manmade lake where the settlers would ice skate in the freezing winters. One of the first settlers was John Hall, later knighted and became Premier of NZ. His great grandaughter lives in the original family home. This tall slender, beautifully spoken lady welcomed us to morning tea in the old church and talked about the early settlers, some whose names we are familiar with, Bealey and Lady Barker were two. Being well educated these settlers wrote many letters to family back in England and have left a lasting history on life in this harsh environment.
Sir John Hall built the present magnificent church in memory of his wife. Not what I am used to seeing in a country town. We wandered around the old graveyard and unlike many of these towns there were some rather grand headstones among the usual Gothic shaped smaller ones. One inhabitant had served in The Boer War. Quite a considerable number of deaths were from drowning as men struggled to cross the large sometimes raging rivers There was a cenotaph in memory of those young men who gave their lives for us in all the conflicts from the Boer war.We were invited to enter the church which was very Church of England and so peaceful and spacious. A beautiful round stained glass window was positioned behind the altar. The Kauri interior, which is seen in most of these country churches is testament to the native forests which must have covered so much of this mid Canterbury country side and almost wiped out. Even exported to England.
A Christmas dinner was laid on at the Hororata Hotel. There was a good sized group of motor cyclists sitting outside having a rest and chat. The men in our contingent gravitated to them like blowflies, no doubt with memories of their own motorbike days. Our dinner was superb and we threw caution to the wind and cleaned up our plates with gusto. Dessert was buffet style and I often wonder why such small plates are provided when we want to have a taste of all of them. Pavlova is not my scene, but a firm farourite with most. I made do with plum pudding and custard and cream with some fruit salad. The plates were really piled high. As a nation, don't we love our Christmas desserts. Two rooms were already decorated with Christmas baubles and old fashioned memorabilia of long ago times.
It was time to visit the old sod cottage and Museum. The cottage is not the original but was made as a replica with roof shingles made from cedar from Canada. Even down to the hard earth floor. The hostess told us that when it rained the floor would swell and the door could not be opened. Something to remember when I am washing my vinyl covered ones. The travel distance to Hororata would have been no more than sixty kms, yet we spent a good eight hours out sightseeing. How many other small country towns are there seething with history and stories of the day by day hard toil of our early settlers?
Plan a family or group day out, by car or hired bus, which is kinder to Dad. Old Graveyards are a must to visit. The local Citizens Advice Centre will possibly have a list of towns open for public visits. Happy journeying:lol: