26 Feb ’13
In our quest to Live More Awesome (while we’re not trying to beat depression, this seems a good way to live one’s life) we’d found this event and decided to attend. The lighthouse at Castlepoint has been a Beam of Bright Light for 100 years, protecting ships and sailors from the rugged coast. To celebrate this milestone the Centennial Committee organised a weekend of activities, including the chance to walk up the lighthouse. Cool!
Saturday I’d baked up a storm so we’d have goodies to take for a picnic lunch on Sunday.
The Courgette Tart was inspired by a recipe I’d read in the Herald, and by a glut of yellow and green courgettes in our garden. The sausage pie was the very first thing I cooked at Manual (now called Technicraft) at school. It’s a family favourite and really easy to make.
When we arrived the sun was shining and a light breeze was blowing. I’ve never been to Castlepoint, or spent much time at all on the east coast of the Wairarapa. The coastline is very different from our side of the island. The sand is golden, it is more rocky and a devilish wind blows up from the South. We decided to slog up the hill and join the queue to enter the lighthouse.
After standing in the queue for about 20 minutes, a queue that didn’t seem to be moving despite a few people popping out on the lighthouse balcony above us, the Lovely Man went to see what was going on. It turned out that only 36 people an hour were able to get through, and there were about 50 people ahead of us. We figured it just was not going to be worth standing there for and hour and half with bored and grumpy children, so we went exploring instead.
I love it. No fences. There’s a handrail for people climbing up the path to the lighthouse and the lookout, well built stairs and rails down the other side. But after that there are no restrictions. No PC, wrap-us-up-in-cotton-wool-we’re-too-stupid-to-not-fall-off-the-side nonsense. How very refreshing. So we explored, climbed over rocks, discovered fossils and watched the seagulls and terns soaring up the steep cliffs from the Pacific Ocean below.
Back down on the beach we went to see what else was going on. There was a sheep shearing demonstration, which always draws a fascinated crowd of townies and tourists. The good folks from the Wheelwright Shop were making wagon wheels and offering people the chance to take home a souvenir of the day.
I happened to have a gold coin in my pocket, so Jacob jumped in and gave it a go. The branding irons were sitting in the fire, pick your choice of wood block, grasp the brand with a protective rag, press firmly and rock gently. Bob’s your uncle!
The weather started to turn for the worse. We ate our picnic on the rocks of the breakwater, in a passing shower. Grr. But the pie and tart were good! That cold wind had come up and we were dressed for summer. A walk along the beach out to the lagoon inlet was enough. No swimming for the kids, just a quick paddle in the waves.
It is beautiful place, rugged and not quite wild, I’m glad we went. I was a little disappointed not to have been able to walk up the lighthouse, it being the main reason we’d gone over in the first place. I’d love to spend some time, experience the coastline when the weather turns rough, swim in the lagoon when it’s warm and calm. Another thing to add to the bucket list.