Sunday, 23 October 2016

Chapter 6 ~ Taking the Bull by the Horns

So, all of a sudden, I find myself stranded in the little rural town of Bulls. With a population of only about 1,600 people, it's even smaller than Marton, and easily traversable on foot.

During my first exploratory stray, I quickly find out that this place is hell.


Pun-hell, to be exact. Somehow, I always knew I'd eventually end up there. My father tried to warn me but, alas, I would not listen. And now, I am stuck in place where a million puns on the word "bull" constantly besiege me from all the sides. Charming!


The police station...


...the motel I'm staying in...


...even the trash cans are incorporated in this conspiracy! I almost feel bullied!


Also, there are quite a number of creative murals around...


...as well as a Trojan Bull.


After getting a (rather expensive) meal and (more importantly) free WiFi at the local McDonald's, I quickly find the ideal place to work from during my time here.


The public library of bulls (Read-A-Bull) not only provides me with a nice workstation for my laptop...


...but also has free WiFi, which is quite essential for updating my blog. Since I have quite a bit of time at my disposal now, I also make great progress on the Chronicles of Ceal during my stay here, and eventually finish the climatic Final Chapter. Now, all that's left is writing the Epilogue, and giving the entire 500 or so pages a final review before I can give the manuscript to my first set of proofreaders.

Afterwards, I grab some yummy ingredients on my way back home from the local supermarket, which is a "FourSquare"...


...before cooking up a delicious meal in the motel's humble kitchen.


Only too late do I realize that the motel's kitchen comes without forks, so I have to improvise (yep, that's a screwdriver).


And neither does it have spoons, which makes eating the pasta quite... fun. I wonder if that's where people first got the idea of cup noodles from?


In the morning, I eat a healthy diet of bread with strawberry. In a final act of kindness - or maybe as an apology - the Varneys have bestowed upon me a loaf of home-made bread, which I do not intend to waste.


Straying around Bulls


One can only get so much writing done before the lines start blurring together on the screen, so sooner or eventually I take some time off to explore the landscape around Bulls.

There isn't terribly much to see around here, but I still spend a nice afternoon straying along the bank of the Rangitikei River...


...finding tiny caches...


...and what must be the world's smallest bottle of juice.


Eventually, I enter the Bulls Domain, a small public park and sports area by the edge of town...


...where people have come up with more creative ways to cross fences, for those of us who have tired of using doors.


The scenery here is quite idyllic...


...and eventually, I also come across a creatively disguised Geocache.


After a long day of writing and subsequently straying around, I eventually return to the motel and have my dinner... only this time, I am prepared!


Cursing myself for not heeding my father's advice and refusing to take the convenient multi-cutlery tools along, I bought a set of disposable forks and spoons at the FourSquare. Being the stingy fox that I am, I naturally do not dispose of them, but rather wash and re-use them. I guess I must have read to many Uncle Scrooge comics during my childhood... =>,>=

Days come and pass, and finally, I find myself checking out of the motel, and sitting in the McDonald's again, killing time until my bus arrives. My next destination will be the small town of Te Horo in the region of Wellington, where I will help getting the grounds of a bed & breakfast lodge into shape. I am already looking forward to doing some physical work again, and am curious about the jobs that Pierre and Ian, my new hosts, are going to have in store for me.

Can you See the Mountains?


With the bus having a delay of 40 minutes, I end up waiting at the Bu(ll)s station for a while. However, the weather is nice enough to sit outside, and the time passes quickly.


Eventually, however my ride arrives. Imagine my surprise when I find out that there's NO driver in front this time!


Just kidding. It's actually a double-decker bus, and I manage to get a seat on the top deck. It's not in the front row, but it still gives me a nice outlook on the scenery along the way.


On the way, we pass through the city of Palmerston North, which is the seventh-largest city of New Zealand with a total population of 84,300. Contrary to what you might think, there's no "Palmerston South" in the immediate area. Rather, the city's name was originally simply "Palmerston", but in 1817, the NZ post office renamed it to "Palmerston North" to distinguish it from the settlement of Palmerston on the south island.


Since I'm merely passing through, I don't get to see a lot of the city. However, I do notice that some of the roads have rather creative and progressive designs.


After that, it's pretty much of a straight road. And with straight I mean "winding a lot and going up and down all the time", because that's just the way highways are here in New Zealand.



Eventually, I come across something I haven't seen in a long, long time...


A proper mountain range! These are actually just the foothills of the Tararua Range, with the highest peak reaching 1,570 metres.

After not even two hours, I finally arrive in the small village of Te Horo. I am the only person getting off here, so the bus driver (who existed after all) gives me a personal announcement, and drops me off at the side of the road.

Fortunately, Pierre is already waiting for me, and not even 15 minutes later, we turn into the driveway of the Te Horo Lodge, where the first animals I encounter curiously are a pair of wild rabbits, which are quick to run away after noticing our approach.


Once inside the actual lodge, I am greeted by Ian, my other host, and Kathi, a fellow WWOOFer from Germany, as well as Koru, an adorable old Border Collie.


Much to my delight, I find out that Ian is a big fan of mushrooms, and the mushroom stir fry we have that night is absolutely delicious!

The rooms are equally astounding! Being a former lodge, Kathi and I reside in the guests rooms, which have private bathrooms and everything. Regrettably, my fellow WWOOFer is only going to stay for another day before moving on to Wellington, but I am definitely looking forward to what we will work on during that day tomorrow. But for now, it's time to rest, and dream of the days to come in this place.

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