Saturday, March 8, 2008

Drinking Deeply

I first off apologize for any typos or mistakes in advance. Charlie recently spilled apple juice on the keyboard, and after drying out in pieces, still has resulted in sticky or simply non performing keys.
What an interesting weekend this has been thus far. I received a call last weekend from an old friend of mine, Adam, whom I met here in New Zealand through our common work back in 2000. Adam and I connected from our very first meeting, and we have ever since, even though Adam is far younger than I am. I always find his company interesting, the discussions lively, and we always seem to be laughing. He moved to Ireland six years ago to pursue his first passion, which is Irish music. Adam is a classically trained violinist, yet his love is the "fiddle". So to hear from him and find out he is in Aotearoa for a period was fantastic news. He came up from Wellington last evening and it was a fine reunion. Charlie loved him, and we were treated to a lovely "concert". Adam's playing has gotten so much richer and resonant, his voice deeper and stereo sounding. I was blown away, he was pretty good before he left. I hope Tara and I can hook up with him for St. Patrick's weekend as he is in demand by the Wellington area Irish music folk. What a small world!

In any case Adam expressed a desire to, finally, come and see the Ruahines with me and we have planned a trip to Top Maropea in the next few weeks. He has always known of my love for the mountains so the opportunity to share some of that with him is very cool. How I look forward to that! I may even carry Adam's fiddle - after all its only an over nighter! I generally rely on the lovely natural symphony of the mountains for my "soundtrack" while there, but the thought of hearing the lovely classical or Irish strains of Adam's violin at Top Maropea has a certain charm and appeal to it.

This afternoon Tara and I, being child free for a rare moment, took a drive to Shannon, a tiny little village about 30 minutes south of here. In Shannon there is located a second hand book store we have grown very fond of - and gathered some excellent and inexpensive books for our burgeoning collection. We found a few as usual. Then Tara walked into the shop next door, which I was not really interested in, but eventually, and reluctantly, followed her into. Almost immediately I spotted an original camp oven, a heavy duty iron pot with lid and handle so as to hang over a fire. They can be used as a boiler, fryer, or even to simmer a soup or stew. And best of all to make camp oven bread - something I have always wanted to try and now I will! Plus, they just look cool and rustic, a relic of the Ruahines. At one time common in all Ruahine huts, and the main method of preparing dinner back in the days of deer culling when men lived in the huts for months at a time. They have slowly disappeared, or been stolen such as the one at Maropea Forks, which went missing last year sometime - most likely by helicopter parties as no tramper or walk in hunter would care to load a rather large and unyielding iron pot into his, or hers, pack. Unless very keen to have a camp oven. The proprietor mentioned a few folks had cast their eyes upon it. Well, I knew what I was looking at and bought it for 25 bucks! A bargain, as for me it is a treasure. I am going to use it and relish it, and eventually I am going to take it to Maropea Forks and gift it back to that special place and the Ruahine Ranges. It is only a small gesture.

Me kimi i te ao nei

he waahi hei rite

ki toou kaainga tupu

e matea nuitea nei

Hei aha oona kino

hei aha ona here

ka taawhai te ngaakau

ko reira noho ai

Seek in this world

wherever you may

a place with home to compare

Whatever its ups

whatever its downs

the Heart will yearn

to be there

Sir Apirana Ngata



vegetablej said...

Sounds like a nice trip and with fiddle music! I'd love to hear him play; don't suppose you could record a bit and put it on your blog? Maybe set him in front of your computer for a moment and record directly and then put up the track. Not sure how to do that last bit, but sure it must be possible.

In any case, have a great magical trip and by the way, that big pot is a real beauty! Should make all sorts of great cooking possible.:)

pohanginapete said...

Kia ora e Robb,

I know that bookshop! It's excellent — the sort of shop you can spend ages in, just exploring, and you never know what treasures you'll find. Maybe I should take a look in the adjoining shop, too...

Now, Adam simply has to meet Tony and Viv and Paul, who, with a few others, collectively form Slate Row, a great Irish band based in Palmerston North. I suspect he already knows them, or at least of them, but I can certainly arrange for them to meet up. Tony et al. usually meet on Tuesday nights for a jam session at the Celtic, so if Adam's around, it'd be awesome if he could make it there to join in. Let me know when he's around and I'll see what I can do.

VJ, it's good to see you enjoying Robb's blog too, and that's an excellent idea about the sound bite. Maybe I'll see if I can get a snippet of something from Tony to post on my blog (he's working on an album and has the recording gear, so who knows what might be possible?)

I think I might actually be here on St Pat's day (and not in the Ruahine, for a change) Ooh, I feel excited about so much excellent music and great company Let's make it happen, Robb!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora e hoa VJ and Pete,
Cheers for that! VJ I actually thought of you when I decided to post that photo of the camp oven - it is a beauty! I keep looking at it, wondering about it's history and use, and planning how to best use it. My boys think it is just a big old pot and I am a bit nuts. Maybe I am but it is cool to find value in old things. I will try to figure out how to download some of Adam playing, or at least his band in Ireland as he gifted me a copy of their new cd.
Pete, I will be in touch about hooking up Adam for a jam with Slate Row, I know he would love it. That book store is awesome. I stopped in there after driving by for years and then brought Tara who fell in love with it. Yes, you can browse in there for hours, that
musty smell of old books so nice on the nose, and always find a few treasures. Wow, what a small world indeed. Thanks Pete, will be in touch.

Gustav said...

Kia ora brother

Cool camp oven.

You make a mean stew and this will be an excellent vehicle for you to display your powers as a cook.

I'd love to hear Adam play - any links to his music? Same with Slate you know I have a passion for certain Irish musicians.

Great to hear you and Burnsie may be coming down to Tassie for a walk in wildness. I just returned from the Walls of Jerusalem. It was a magical journey of the highest order.

Asta my fine friend

Ruahines said...

Kia ora e hoa Gustav,
We have shared some fine soups and stews brother! With the use of finely controlled gas burners, as in our stove, I reckon this camp oven with the lid on will be magic. Not to mention using it enclosed again within the confines of my charcoal Weber grill, convection within convection, huge scope!. The possibilities are endless and riveting. Yet, I will gift this treasure to Maropea Forks, a koha - offering - to a place which has given us far more in return.
Aroha my fine brother,

vegetablej said...

Envious of all the fun you guys seem to have in store,what with music and camping, but thought of something for your stews and soups.

How about baking powder dumplings? If you make them large and put them on top after you finish the stew or soup (just make sure you drop them into liquid and there's enough) you can put the cover on and have a very substantial bready starch without the hassle of making bread separately.

Let me know if you need a recipe. I like some herbs in mine. :)