A busy few weeks… knee reviews and the Burt!

These last few weeks have seen a knee replacement review (finally), the Burt munro and the start of the Super rugby season down under. Here’s the news from the deep south!

Finally, I managed to get a knee replacement review appointment – after having to cancel the scheduled one due to our dramas on the Gold Coast. Lets just say I was not too amused.

So, the best thing to do is to move swiftly on.

The other weekend we were wandering through town looking for something to do and hubby decided suddenly that the escape rooms would be a neat thing to do, so I was quite literally dragged in there!

I have never done an escape room and have quite honestly never wanted to! The idea of being deliberately locked in somewhere did not fill me with thrills. But, I decided to run with it. The room we were put into – we had to solve the clues to get into the bank safe and rob the diamond whilst evading security checks and getting out before the time ran out.

I have to admit, it was pretty hard work and it did amuse me that Mark’s solution was to rush around as fast as possible, and it he couldnt figure out the door code, then tap something in randomly – repeatedly! The lady had to come in and tell him to stop it!

Meanwhile my approach was to sit in the corner and quietly and calmly survey the situation to slowly and systematically come to a solution! The approaches could not be more contrasting!

We got out in the end, with a little bit of assistance!

This weekend we headed up to Dunedin to the first home game that the local super rugby side were playing to kick off the season: Highlanders V Sharks.

The trip in itself was in jeopardy because in recent days we have had unprecedented floods throughout Southland which have caused the evacuation of several towns and closed so many roads that the Local roading company ran out of signs and traffic cones!

We live on the main highway that connects Invercargill to Riverton. Close by is another connecting route heading to Winton. Both of these roads were closed due to rivers bursting their banks. Our road was closed for 4 days. Invercargill was cut off for a number of days. The road through the catlins was also closed and many people were trapped in the middle, unable to get out of the Catlins in either direction.

We got through Mataura ok – decided to miss out Gore (the worst affected town) and headed up a back road to connect us to Balclutha and on up to Dunedin. We expected the journey to take us a lot longer due to flooding and closed roads but we managed to choose probably the best and least affected route.

At the game, we were sat in front of what turned out to be a visiting American family from New Mexico, who’s son was coming to the University of Otago for 1 semester on exchange. I could hear them trying to work out what on earth was going on during the rugby game, so at half time I had a chat to him and offered a mini overview! As an American Football fan, he was struggling to work out what was happening at the breakdown, what on earth a scum was and what exactly had to be done to score a try, because in American football all that is needed is for the ball to cross the line!

On the way home, we stopped at the Whistling Frog Cafe, a regular stop of ours on our way through the Catlins. The owners know and recognise us so came over to have a chat, making sure we had been ok throughout the floods. Apparently they had been cut off for a number of days with a number of passing visitors seeking accomodation in an already overbooked camp site. The evacuation of nearby Fortrose meant that their cafes sent the perishables to the Whistling Frog, so that they could keep their cafe open until a delivery could get through.

An American couple sat nearby in the cafe were asking us for advice on how to get through. The section of road we had yet to get to on our journey home, was apparently the worst affected and was still closed with a temporary diversion in place. The American couple realy struggled to grasp the idea that there really was only one road. and it went to either Balclutha or Invercargill. Nope, there were not alternative back routes from here!

flooded roads in southland

The regular route (closed) runs along the river. From a distance we got a glimpse of the area, and I would suggest the road was going to be closed for some time yet, as it was still well under water!

This is the temp alternative route, which itself was damaged in many sections, with temporary aggregate, as pictured.

We are very lucky to have come through this unscathed, considering the scale of the damage to all the surrounding areas.

At this point, I digress temporarily: this is a picture that my Dad sent to me at Christmas. He painted it and it came freshly torn off the pad and rolled into a tube. Here it is, framed and looking amazing. This is a small bay on Stewart Island that he visited when he came to New Zealand in 2013-14. Isn’t it amazing!!!!?? He only took up painting recently!

There has been an inevitable effect on the Burt Munro challenge, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest motorcycle rally that was held this week (5-9 Feb). Many of the incoming visitors could not get through, being trapped by closed roads in various places (even the devils staircase, the only road through to Queenstown was closed). So I am sure that had an inevitable affect on numbers actually arriving. I know my business, which usually is crazy busy during the burt, has been quiet as.

We watched the street races today, and there are some bikes in town of course, but numbers are down massively its so sad!