…I loved trains. Back then, the only trains I knew were hauled by coal-powered engines. Yes, old memories have surfaced again. Thank you, EC, for the nudge.
If you’ve been wandering around Idle Thoughts for a while you’ll know that I grew up* in a country of some ingenuity. This problem-solving was due, in no small part, to the geographical location and geological peculiarity of the land.
Now, I’m not going to enter that age-old argument between neighbours over who first made use of a wire loop and a stick as a gate and kerosene cans for storage drawers. Or who made the first Pavlova. (But if I ever met the bugger I’d shoot him!)
No. Today I dips me lid to the engineering brilliance of NZR. Specifically, the lines they built in formidable country. And, mostly, to the engines that rode those rails, to the delight of little boys and girls up and down the Main Trunk line: the mighty K Class.
The mighty K. (image and more info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NZR_K_class_(1932)
That photo, above, is of the road, but terrain was much the same.
I recall a “bit of a miff” with my mother on a trip to Wellington (probably late 40s, early 50s) because she would not let me get off the train to pick foxgloves. We had 5 engines on the train and our speed was so reduced that quite a few people (including my father, who, I still believe, ought to have taken his Darling Daughter with him!) had stepped off the slow-moving train to walk alongside the track for a while.(Imagine Health and Safety wearing that today!) And the foxgloves, spilling in purple ripples down into the steep gullies…Oh! how they called out to me to be picked!
As I said, a bit miffed …
One day, when I’m back across The Ditch and have the time, I’d like to take a train ride to Wellington. But it wont be the same.
Of course, New Zealand does have other steep, twisty roads. It’s known as The Shaky Isles for good reason. And it’s largely our geography that has thrown up so many innovative minds.
* I should say “spent my early years” as it’s more accurate to say I “grew up” in London!
ED In the previous post’s comments, mention was made of a tree that smells like peanut butter (which, I have to say, would tend to put me off!).Possibly not something that would cope well with my environs, but some of you might care to give it a try. Clerodendrum trichotoma.