Part I can be found here.
I have to say, our reception at the Taranaki Pioneer Village was very positive. We were showered with compliments, asked many curious questions, and asked by several parents to have photos taken with their children. We were asked if we might pose for a photograph with Lacey, a young girl dressed as Queen Victoria who thought it was amusing when we gave her plenty of curtsies. We also ended up posing for a photo with a husband locked in the stocks (I wish I had asked for a copy of that…)
Not long after posing at the stocks, the pipe band struck up so moved to the village green to listen as they played my favourite song ever on bagpipes, Amazing Grace, and also the Skye Boat Song. If you follow my Facebook Page, then you might know that I also tried my ever live stream which was a bit….rough around the edges… Hopefully, with a bit more practice and confidence, I’ll get better as time passes.
We visited the hospital before walking around the lake to find Brookes Road Cottage where Liane decided to do some washing and where we had a lovely chat to another volunteer, who was absolutely thrilled that we had stopped in. Funnily enough, as we said goodbye it did feel a bit like Liane and I were out and about making calls.
Then we found where the Victorian Bustle Photographer had set up for the day – in the old Tariki Station. We stepped inside the station and when Deidre turned around she got so excited she could barely contain herself. ‘I heard there were two ladies walking around!’ she said and asked if we wanted a photo. She was busy with another family at the time so we sat and watched her arrange and photograph them before turning her attention to us.
As she was quite busy we didn’t have much time to chat but we exchanged details and were then shooed out the door when trying to pay, which was so super lovely and completely unexpected. Thank you so much, Deidre, that was a treat.
We continued our wanderings and ended up back on the other side of the lake, pausing to take photos on a bridge (is it possible for me to not take photos on one?)
Finding ourselves back on the village green we stopped to chat to the bowyer, who was lovely and happy to chat. I think that it is wonderful that old trades are still being preserved, even if they are considered hobbies these days. I would have dearly loved to have had a go with one of the bows but, alas, I’m not so highly skilled with a bow as I would like to be (I once came close to hitting the bull’s eye – of someone else’s target).
Leaving the best of residences until last, we called in at the Original Homestead and the difference compared to the cottages was noticeable. The dining room and front parlour had been opened up because it ‘was a special day’ so we got to get more up close and personal then most visitors to the village would get. Liane even played the piano that was in the parlour and attracted a small audience.
It was, at the time, we realised that it was half past two and we had forgotten to have lunch so we headed up the hill to Shakee Pear Cafe and both discovered that we were hungrier than we thought. It was lovely to sit for a while too, as we had basically been on our feet for five hours with minimal respite.
By then we had almost exhausted all of the possible things to do – or so we thought. On finishing our lunch we took a ride on the little train that circumnavigates the village (twice) and watched the blacksmith at work.
By then, there was only one other place to visit, somewhere that ties in with the theme of this year’s Oamaru Heritage Celebrations: The Police Station. I have to say, however, that the constable on duty was the most unhelpful I have ever met…
By then, four o’clock had definitely rolled around and the village had all but emptied, save for the volunteers who had begun packing up, and ourselves. We may very well have overstayed our welcome a bit because, once we had finished chatting with the volunteers (who thanked us for coming and who we thanked in return for putting the day on), and had listened to two songs that the blacksmith played for us on the pianola, it was five o’clock!
The carpark was well and truly empty when we hopped into the car and I was so happy to be able to liberate my feet that had been protesting for the last hour from my shoes. Buoyed by a day of success, warm welcomes, and kind compliments, we headed for home, looking forward to our next outing and adventure, and also to coming back to the Taranaki Pioneer Village next year to do it all again.