I love it when disparate topical threads get brought together into a thrilling conclusion. That’s why I like movies like Lock Stock so much – here’s a combination of two of my favourite things – macabre toys and roadkill.
Roadkill Plush Toys. That’s right. Cheer up your kiddy (or your inner kiddy) with the thought that things could be much worse.
“Grind (Rabbit) Plush Toy
* He measures a healthy 12 inches from the tip of his twitching nose to his outstretched back paws, and 5 inches across the widest part of his body. His fluffy bunny ears add another 5 inches to his length. One is half-cocked vertically upwards, the other lies flat on the ground. In the middle he squishes out to 3 inches high with the blood and guts stuffed in, and 2 inches high with them out. He weighs a piffling 1.6 kilos. He won’t be the first to admit it, but as his modest dimensions show he was the runt of the litter. A litter which stretched to 211 brothers and sisters.
Splodge (Hedgehog) Plush Toy
* He measures a statuesque 23 cms from nose to tail, and 21 cms from outstretched paw to paw. And in the middle he flattens out to 13 cms high with the blood and guts stuffed in, and 11 cms high with them out. At 300 grams he’s slightly overweight for a hedgehog. This is due to his unhealthy obsession with bread and milk.
Twitch (Raccoon) Plush Toy
* He measures a healthy 15 inches from nose to tail, and 10 inches from outstretched paw to paw. And in the middle he flattens out to 2 inches high with the blood and guts stuffed in, and 1 inch high with them out. He weighs a piffling 350 grams. He won’t be the first to admit it, but as his modest dimensions show he was the runt of the litter.”
Driving is a hungry business. Sometimes when I’m on the road and I run over some Australian fauna or driving past a hoard of dead animals I think to myself “boy, I wish I had a crock pot here with me so I could cook this up…”
Today is national bad similie day. I’ve just declared it. Hence this post will be filled with them – like a flea circus on the back of a mangy dog.
Our little car that could, a red kia Picanto, chews through fuel like a fire breather chews through kerosene – quickly and in spectacular fashion.
We made the 100km journey from Lake Tekapo (a quaint lakeside village) to Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) in double quick time – like tinned food on pension day…
Actually, we were slowed unexpectedly by a chain of cattle at muster time. These cows – we guessed there were about 200 of them (a fifty/fifty split between adults and calves) – were travelling between paddocks – along the road. We spent some time travelling in cattle class – and some further comic release was provided when an add for a local butcher came on over the radio. We promptly wound the window up so as not to scare the locals into some sort of frenzied stampede.
Mount Cook is a glacial behemoth. It has killed over 130 people. So deadly is it that the Visitor Information Centre includes a book listing those who have died – and a video of a recent rescue effort that ended with the untimely demise of the rescued climber.
The base of the mountain is also home to the Sir Edmund Hillary centre – a museum dedicated to the kiwi mountaineer.
The coffee at the Edmund Hillary centre’s cafe was bad – like a similie without a corroborative noun. How hard can it be to make a palatable coffee?
The cattle were still lowing on the way back. En route I was surprised by the amount of roadkill on New Zealand roads.
The only billboards we’ve seen on our travels have been for road safety – and it seems that sentiment doesn’t extend to animals. The distance between Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo was 106km. On our journey we counted 136 individual pieces of roadkill. Birds, possums, rabbits, unidentifiable fur balls. That’s a road kill index of 1.28 animals per kilometre. I’m sure that’s high. In fact, there was a 20km stretch about 10 minutes out of Mount Cook that accounted for 48 pieces of roadkill – a significantly higher roadkill index of 2.4. Is there anywhere else that boasts a figure like that? If so, I haven’t seen it.
The township of Lake Tekapo is a small town on a big lake. There’s not a whole lot of exciting stuff there. There is a Peppers Resort – which is where we stayed. Our track record with Peppers hasn’t been great. It was a Peppers Resort that lost our booking on our wedding night – almost leaving us sleeping in a stable… before upgrading us to the one available luxury room. This Peppers experience was much better. On our second night in Lake Tekapo we dined in house at the restaurant, and enjoyed a fine sirloin steak and superb lamb rump.
One of the township’s famous attractions is the Church of the Good Shepherd – an old stone chapel built right on the lake. We spent a bit of time at twilight last night taking photos in what was pretty photogenic light.
The chapel is a working church – shared by the Anglicans, Presbyterians and Catholics in town – outside the chapel there’s a little letterbox styled post – asking for donations. There’s no need to pass the plate around if your church is a tourist attraction.
Actually, this afternoon we toured the Christchurch Cathedral – having only seen the outside on our first stop. They “encourage” a five dollar donation, and those looking for a “truly memorable” experience can donate a church chair for just $320.
As I’ve already pre-empted – like a US president’s foreign policy – this morning our trip came full circle – back to Christchurch. We’re at the Off the Square boutique motel which is the first place we’ve stayed to offer free broadband. Tonight’s dinner was probably the best of the trip. Bailies Pub, just around the corner from the hotel and the cathedral, cooked up a sensational sirloin steak with mashed potato. And Robyn’s lamb shanks were cooked to perfection.
Not content with my destruction of a work of art, tonight I stooped to an all new low. I joined the exclusive road kill club. It was a bit wet, in dark outskirt streets and my windows were foggy and I swear that Echidna just jumped out at me.
It made a funny crunch sound. Almost exactly the kind of noise you’d expect a prickly animal to make. I was doing the speed limit (100kph) so couldn’t really stop to make sure it was dead. I guess it’s the kind of incident where you want the thing you’ve hit to be dead for its own sake.
What is the road kill protocol? Should I have stopped to make sure it was dead – utilising the tyre iron in my back seat for a quick blow to the little blighter’s prickly head? Should I have just continued on my merry way under the false assumption that I’d missed him, hit a stick and he was actually fine. I’m calling it a him because I think under the circumstances it’s safe to assume he was a he. Girls just don’t have the propensity for playing on the roads after dark.