Thursday, November 8, 2007

A mini holiday in Southland

Photo above: a typical Southland rural scene - the road to Mavora Lakes

I've just had a wonderful three day weekend in Southland ending in a
full-on family reunion yesterday in Invercargill. Anyway I'm pretty
exhausted [but at least got home in daylight]. I was able to go
someway towards linking together modern genealogy tales/insights from
my cousin Deirdre's work [she could not attend] on the Harris family
to the Sopers: three generations ago, in my grand mum's era, three
Harris girls married three Soper boys. The end focus for myself
though was that as a little kid I used to hear so much great comment
about my father's cousins in Southland, but travel was not an easy
matter in those old days, and when we did meet them I was too young
to appreciate their quality. Yesterday I met three of them again and
some of their families, and now I understand the [justifiable]
enthusiasm. What wonderful people!!

This side of my family kicked off four generations ago in the midst
of the gold mining era in the Athol, Nokomai and Garston areas. Is it
any wonder I've always had a funky fascination then, for these places
that are just whistle stops on the main road!

As further recreation on my travels I visited the early headwaters of
the Mataura river [4wd] thereby getting views of the nature of the
Eyre mountains, the head of the bush on Nth. Mavora lake [by foot],
and climbed a gnarly little peaklet overlooking Lake Hauroko to see a
wonderful Fiordland sunset. I also once again, after twenty years,
drove through Ohai and Nightcaps, travelling on with some stress to
the nearest gas station to ensure I had enough fuel to escape these
very humbling and poor neighbourhoods [why do they exist in the midst
of Southland's rich resources!?]. From the stares I got not many
camper trucks [which represent $$] go down those main streets!

And the driving was so demanding for a lot of the trip.... there was
snow, sleet and hail on my travels along with the usual high winds of

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