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  • Day23

    Around Larnach Castle and Dunedin

    November 13, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    There was a light in the corridor outside our room that burned bright all night and was really irritating, Pete fixed that this morning, took off the cover and unscrewed the bulb. That should sort it. He will screw it back when we leave.

    Since Janet and I are full of cold, coughing, sniffing and sneezing all over the place we did not fancy doing anything too strenuous, so we decided to explore the castle this morning and go to Dunedin this afternoon. As we are staying at the castle we could have a free audio tour. This was very interesting and gave a lot of the detail about the history of the house and its owners. It was like going round a stately home in the UK, all the rooms are furnished in period décor and furniture. It was built by William Larnach for his family. He was a very inventive and progressive person, even to the extent that he recycled horse and human sewage, harnessing the methane gas and using it to light the chandeliers in the house. However for all his work on the house and money his was not an entirely happy life and he ended up committing suicide when he was in his 50’s. His son also committed suicide when he was young as well. The current owners, the Barker family bought the castle in 1967 when it was in a poor state of repair and have spent years renovating it and furnishing it with period pieces. The gardens have been similarly renovated worked on mainly by Mrs Barker. They are a blaze of glorious colour and we can see that in a couple of weeks the laburnum arches will be a blaze of colour where at the moment they are hanging their pendulous buds in anticipation of spring sunshine and warmth. Similarly the delphiniums are budding up and promising a grand show of colour in a few short days. Shame we will not be here to see it. Scattered around the grounds in strategic places are various sculptures that enhance the gardens.

    We drove into Dunedin and after finding a pharmacy to purchase more tissues and some decongestant – we can’t bear the thought of flying whilst this bunged up, we decided to go and see the Chinese Garden. It was small but very tranquil with all the elements expected. A lily filled pond, a zig-zag bridge over it, rocks with a waterfall and trellis with the Chinese fretwork everywhere. We found a relaxation garden with several circular tables and seats. On each table was laid out a different game for visitors to try. Janet and I sat down to enjoy a game of Chinese chequers. Peter tried moving marbles from one bowl to another using just chopsticks. It was so peaceful we loved it.

    Next we went for a stroll in Dunedin Botanical Gardens. Although the huge glass houses were shut we did find an aviary with lots of large cages. There were many types of parrots and macaws housed there, some for breeding purposes to return fledglings to the wild. However having seen macaws and parrots flying wild in the Amazon it didn’t seem right for them to be caged for although the cages were large they could not compare to flying wild. It made me sad to see them so. Some did seem to be showing signs of boredom and frustration. The gardens though were beautiful, especially the rock garden. Tumbling cascades of colour covered the rocks, looking from afar like a multi-coloured tapestry.

    Since Janet and I were fading fast we decided to grab a bite to eat and head back to the castle and our nice warm beds. An early night would be very welcome.
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